It was a very busy week, starting with temple visitors from Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. We love meeting the saints that come from all over West Africa. It did get a little tricky when we had a couple of women who spoke only their tribal language; fortunately there were a two other women in their group who could translate for them. Later in the week we had a lot of patrons from Cape Coast, with several who spoke Twi or Fante and not much English. This is a wonderful place for a polyglot. Unfortunately we speak only a couple of languages, with a few other foreign words to add in. Our new temple recorder reminded us that he speaks ten languages. Wow!
An unusual thing happened this week. We had a couple who came to the temple to be sealed, (to follow her endowment). They arrived late (compared to their appointment time) and after getting their records checked they decided that they needed to go out for lunch. Eventually they returned and received all the planned ordinances, but much later than originally planned. Schedules and planning are a foreign concept for people who don’t pay a lot of attention to clocks. That’s not a bad thing, unless you come too late or can’t stay overnight because the housing is full and you didn’t make a reservation.
The temple was very busy yesterday. There were so many patrons that we had to hold two simultaneous proxy sealing sessions (thanks to the two sealers who came in) to accommodate those who couldn’t attend the already full endowment sessions. If I have time, I’m going to actually count the number of patrons in the temple at once on that kind of day. It is my impression that every space is filled: ordinance rooms, dressing rooms, offices, foyer, waiting room, baptistry, and more outside the door waiting to come in. We dream of having a chapel or another waiting room or more space to accommodate the patrons, but eventually (3-4 years?) the temple in Ivory Coast will be built and that will ease the pressure - perhaps. It is a wonderful challenge to have!
Our ward has had a very supportive relationship with the New Horizons School, through some involved members who volunteer there. This is a private facility to educate and work with the less-abled young and older children in Accra. There is no government-sponsored special education in the country. We held a program in our stake center yesterday to recognize the families and teachers who work with them. The students and others performed, with songs & dance, etc. The founder, who is now 88 years old, was in attendance and received special recognition for her pioneering efforts that began 66 years ago with her oldest child. She formed a cooperative group to help educate and care for their children, some whom are now senior citizens. It was a wonderful, noisy, happy event.
In other news, you may have seen the report of Elder Bednar’s visit to West Africa. He is the first apostle to visit Senegal, Mali, and Gambia, where the church is in beginning phases. The report (with great pictures) can be found here: http://www.mormonnewsroom.com.gh/articles/elder-david-a-bednar-first-latter-day-saint-apostle-to-visit-three-african-countries .