We have just returned from the MTC, helping mostly French missionaries with their family history. The elder I was working with was from Liberia [English] and had records for both sets of grandparents. Very unusual! He also had his deceased father’s information so we could print cards for his father and both grandfathers. He was excited to do the ordinances for them. We will go to the old MTC in Tema once more before they move to the new one adjacent to the temple. Liberia is one of the five poorest countries in the world.
Being next to the temple has many benefits for the MTC as well as for the temple. It will give back about 3 hours of travel time per missionary per week. Plans for changes in the temple schedule have been made although all of the details are not yet worked out. Those plans are made for the current capacity of about 100 missionaries and will need to be updated frequently as we gradually increase to well over 300 missionaries, probably by sometime next year.
Our power and water have been off for most of the day and we have no internet so if you do not get this before Monday, that is why. I was very grateful to have a can of tuna to make sandwiches for lunch—otherwise we would be limited to some fresh fruit which is not ripe yet.
We heard an interesting account of the dedication of Senegal for the preaching of the gospel. It was not easy for the missionary couple (the Parkes) to find an appropriate site —it must be a location that will not be built upon in the future — but eventually they chose a lighthouse which is on a high hill overlooking the city and the sea. It is the furthest west point on the African continent. As the small group gathered in the pre-dawn light, they sang the hymn “The Morning Breaks, the Shadows Flee”. Elder Bednar gave the prayer, which was not written out ahead of time and was immediately translated into French by an interpreter. As he began, the lighthouse beacon was still flashing. By the time he finished, it had stopped and the sun was peeking over the horizon.
We also heard about the organization of the church in Mali and in Gambia and were told that a branch will be organized in a fourth country shortly. Senegal is a Muslim majority (92%) country, as are the others. The Lord is bringing people there to be leaders and to share the message of the restoration with friends and family. It is an exciting time to be in West Africa!
We were very busy this week in the temple. Sr. Webster and her husband have now left - she was the mainstay in the temple office. Also, our former recorder is now released and we don’t have an assistant recorder called yet, so we will be short-staffed for a while until replacements are called and trained. We are trying to fill in the gap and enjoying the challenge - but we go home very tired each day!
We send our best wishes to Sr. Currit who is now serving at the Polynesian Cultural Center and also to Elder and Sr. Roti serving in the Kiev Temple. We have no doubt that you will love the people but hope you will adapt quickly to the new environments.