): Our Final Post :(

Well it has been a wonderful few weeks.  I’ve been promising a last post and so sadly…this is our final post.  Our leaving Ghana was very hard but we had a fantastic few weeks.  Play by play….

On Monday June 30th Elder & Sister Ivie and Elder & Sister Julander came to the mission home and met the Stevenson’s.  Then it was time to leave:

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We said goodbye to Theresa :-(

 

 

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…..and Rebecca.  We love             them both!

 

 

 

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And we felt very sad when we turned the mission over to the very capable President & Sister Stevenson.  They will do AWESOME!!!

 

 

 

The Ivies and The Julanders traveled into Accra with us.  It was nice to have them there at this very sad/exciting time.  We stopped at the temple and yes…..

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….we did the traditional jump.  We were jumping into our newest adventure.  I want you to know I really did jump of the stairs…I just landed quicker!  Haha!

 

 

 

This is the next site that we saw:

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Fifteen of our  twenty grandkids.  It was awesome.  All but one family was there.  They were busy with a family reunion…This was awesome and the two little ones that were babies when we left joined in…ran and gave us hugs without fear.  It made Grandma cry!!  I was so thrilled.  I can’t believe how much my grandkids have grown!

 

That was on Tuesday…we went back to our house and had grilled hamburgers and hotdogs.  I don’t know when they ever tasted so good!   We took Wednesday and Thursday to unpack and get a little settled.  Then we had a family gathering on Friday.IMG_0007

 

We started at our son’s (Nates) house for a fun swim.

 

 

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Then back to our house for pizza….

 

 

 

 

 

….fun with cousins

 

 

 

 

 

sparklers…..

 

 

 

 

 

more sparklers……

 

 

 

 

Then preparing…..and anticipating….

 

 

 

 

 

…..fun fireworks!!!!

 

 

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We had the privilege of being home for our sweet Annie’s Baptism.  We are so grateful that we got home in time for it.  I felt honored to be able to speak at her baptism.  She is such a sweet girl.  Doesn’t she look like a princess?

 

 

 

After the baptism we had a great buffet with lots of yummy food and family!  It was a very special day!

 

 

 

We spent the next week just spending as much time with family as we could.  It is so fun to have grandkids old enough to just come over and play games with Grandma and Grandpa!  We really have enjoyed our family!  We do miss our missionaries but are so happy to be home.

Our Homecoming was on the 13th.  I can’t tell you how touched we were by the people that were there.  It reminded us of how very blessed we are to have had the opportunity to serve…not only as Mission President but our other two missions as well.  We saw people from our first mission….from our second mission….missionaries returned home and families of those who are still serving in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission.  It was such a wonderful day (well after we got the nervousness of speaking over with)! We had family members that we haven’t seen for so long and it was great to have them there!  There were several things that touched our hearts.  As we sat on the stand and looked out at the congregation it was overwhelming the love that we felt for everyone there. I just want to tell all of you that are there how much we appreciate the love and the support that you have shown us.  No matter what our connection, we are so blessed to know you!  Thank you for following us through the last 3 years!  I hope our paths will cross often!

I’m just going to close by testifying of the truthfulness of the gospel, the blessings that come into our lives as we serve our Father in Heaven and of the joy that comes as we share the gospel with others.  Please remember the importance of your role in this great work.  One thing that I have found out is the joy that comes into our lives when we take the time to help others “Come Unto Christ”.  Thank you all for the giant part that you have played in our lives…We love you all!!!   President & Sister Shulz

Here are pictures of some wonderful people!  Thank you so much for being there!

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I can’t go without thanking the Schiffman’s.  They were so kind to totally decorate for our little open house after our meeting.  They had such fun decorations and really made it African looking.

 

 

 

They thought of everything.  Even a book for those that were there to sign.  Richard and Marilyn…Thank you!  We love you!  You are AWESOME!!!

 

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We are missing 4 of our grandchildren but it was great to have 16 of them there.

 

 

The rest of these pictures are of all the wonderful missionaries and family of missionaries…some family and great friends!

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WE’RE COMING HOME!

I can’t believe it is time to say goodbye!  This week I took many pictures and had a lovely week…BUT they came today to clean out my phone so I can’t get access to the pictures.  I have to wait until we get home.

So I’m going to make this short and sweet!  This has been one of the longest yet one of the fastest journeys I have ever taken.  Words cannot express what is in my heart.  All week long I have been so excited one minute and shedding tears the next.  This experience has taught me so much about life and I’ve learned a lot about myself!  I learned to love and appreciate my husband like never before.  He is a great man and has done an awesome job.  It hasn’t been easy but he and I both loved it!  My testimony has grown so much as I have watched these Elders and Sisters bring souls unto Christ.  I have been amazed at how the spirit works through these young missionaries. I have gained a lot of respect for these missionaries.  It is not an easy life but they have made the best of it and they all seem to love the journey they are on as well.

Well I’m hoping when I get home I will get a new phone and will be able to load my photos from the back up on my computer.  If so I will put them on here next week which will be my last blog entry.  I have appreciated all your support…it really has been an adventure!  I’m grateful to all of you that have shown us such great support. You have been awesome and I appreciate all the comments that you have made.  It has been an amazing journey.  Now our wonderful journey has ended.  We met the new Mission President and his wife.  They are an awesome couple and as hard as it is to turn over our missionaries…they couldn’t be in better hands!  I know that they will love President and Sister Stevenson and I know that President and Sister Stevenson will love them.stevenson photo

This last week we have experienced miserable joy!  Words cannot explain the joy I feel inside at the thoughts of seeing my family again.  Yet, every time I see a missionary or say goodbye to one of the members we have grown to love, I feel miserable!

I know that there are many parents that have been following my blog.  I have almost felt like I would be letting you down…but of course I won’t be here to see how your missionaries are doing!!!  I will want a report the same as you.  Well the Stevenson’s have giving me their blog address and would encourage anyone that would like to follow it to do so.  The address is:  www.stevensons-in-ghana.blogspot.com  I’m sure you will enjoy that.  They have got to be better bloggers than I am!  :-)  I try hard…tee hee!  Well I hope to do one more entry with pictures of some of you!  We hope to see you at our homecoming!  Until next week!  Love you all!

I will take a  to see if you would be

Too Many Goodbyes ;(

This week has been a very emotional week. We said goodbye to so many people!  I thought my heart would break into…and it did!  Several times!  We had 4 combined Zone Conferences and said goodbye to 170 missionaries.  And that was only the beginning:

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                                 Cape Coast, Yamoransa and Abura Zones

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                                              Assin Foso and Prazo Zones

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                                          Swedru and Winneba Zones

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Takoradi, Sekondi, and Kojokrom Zones

Here they are….the absolute best missionaries in the world!!!  They are AMAZING! We love them!  We contemplated on our last zone conference.  We decided that Jeff would instruct and I would be in charge of a blind walk.  His instruction went very well and the blind walk was awesome!

 

 

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The missionaries were blind folded and told that they were going on a walk.  We asked them that when they faced challenges on the walk to think of life’s challenges and think of think of the life’s lessons we can learn from the challenges.

 

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This walk was very difficult in places.  After we took them through all kinds of challenges we had them let go of the rope and “wait for further instruction”.  Most missionaries had quite some time to wait for the “further instruction”  which was the leaders starting to sing “Come Follow Me”.  If they followed the singing they would go towards the sound of the message “Come Follow Me”.  This was an awesome thing to watch!  Most missionaries didn’t take to long to figure it out.  It was fun to watch as they would come towards the music.  Some walked quickly (remember…they were still blindfolded. Some were very cautious!  There were a few that put one foot in front of the other feeling to make sure that there was nothing going to stop them.

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When they got to where the singing was one of the leaders would great them with a hug and would say “Welcome Home!  You made it!”  I went from tears to laughter and everything in between.  But the spirit was strong.  The life’s lessons were amazing.   The purpose of this walk was to help them to understand that life can be difficult just as mission is.  But if they hold to the rod…and stay focused on the Savior…then they will remain “FOREVER STRONG”  Which is our mission motto.  We have always told them that although we want them to be great missionaries what is more important is that they go home prepared to be great husbands/wives, fathers/mothers and great leaders in the church.  We want them to be “FOREVER STRONG”.  The blind walk was a reminder and a message with life’s lessoned learned from it!  It was great!  IMG_3491 IMG_3492 IMG_3501

 

On Friday night we were invited to a Family Fireside.  There was dancing and fun in the beginning.

 

 

 

It was fun to be able to see our missionaries again.  They are so great!

 

 

 

 

After the fun we went into the chapel for the  meeting part of the evening.  There were so many people and the kids were so hyped after all the fun.  The Ivies spoke first and I felt so bad for them because the noise level was way to loud!  But they did a great job. Then there were several other speakers but it wasn’t long after the Ivies spoke that the power went out.  They had taken some of the children out of the chapel so the noise level went down but then the power went out.  So when we got up to do our thing we were yelling at the tops of our lungs just to be heard.  It was kinda funny.  But it was also another goodbye.  Hard…but we made it through!

Saturday morning we got up and headed towards Kumasi.  We could not leave Ghana without going back to our Ghanaian roots!  We started here 13 years ago and we learned to absolutely love Ghana from our Kumasi friends.  We couldn’t leave without telling them goodbye!  So we went to church on Sunday and had hopes that we would see some of our friends.

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We had several of them show up at the Dichemso ward.  It was so fun to see them again.  We felt so honored that they would come.

 

 

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Some showed up a little later…

 

 

 

 

 

Simmons is a young Returned Missionary that we knew as a small boy.  We are so proud of him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is President Asante.  He was a counselor in the Branch Presidency when we were here…now he is a counselor in the Stake Presidency.

 

 

 

 

These were two of our YSA.  Acquah and Stephen.

 

 

 

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Real late comers but I’m glad we didn’t miss them.  We actually got a call from them when we were visiting a family after we had left the church but we did come back and were happy that we did.

 

 

 

This is Jessica.  Jessica was just 2 1/2 years old when we left.  Now she is taller than her American Grandma!

 

 

 

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This is Lynnette.  She is my namesake.  She was named after me.  She was born a few years after we left.  Her Grandma had a hard time saying her name so she just called her “Sister Shulz”.  Funny!!

 

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After we left the church we had to stop and see the Kontoh’s.  Nat Kontoh was President Shulz’ supervisor when we were here before.  We love this man and his wife Angelina.  Nat had a stroke quite a while ago and has a hard time getting around…but his mind is smart as a whip!  We really enjoyed our visit.  This is Lynnette’s grandparents!

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This is Esther and her little boy Ezekial.  Esther was one of our YSA and is now a mother of 3.  We loved her and we loved her father.  We were so excited to see them both.  Her father passed away not long ago and we didn’t get the opportunity to see him.  It was very sad. But it was fun to visit with Esther and her little boy is just adorable!

 

 

We returned home on Monday in time to go to a FHE at Abakrampa.  They had planned a “Send Off” meeting.  They knew that we were really busy and kept it very short which was really appreciated!

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They presented us with a “Chiefs Chair”.  It was a very nice gift.  President is sitting on it so you don’t get a good view but it has scriptures carved in the base of the chair.  So appreciated!

 

 

 

 

This was so fun to see these people again but it was so sad to say goodbye.  I don’t know why but we have had “God Be With You” sung a few times but it hit me hardest here.  It is so sad to say goodbye to these beautiful people!

 

Well…there is our week.  I don’t know if you can imagine how hard the week was on us.  This week will be much easier.  Not so many goodbyes.  Mostly just getting the house ready for the new mission president. It is very hard thinking that this is all coming to an end.  But on the other hand we are so excited to come home and see our family and our friends!  I can’t tell you how blessed we feel as we look at our missionaries and the beautiful Ghanaian people that we have served with for the past 3 years.  We love them and our hearts will break when we close the door to this wonderful experience!  BUT…we know that the door is still opened at home and we look forward to entering it!  We love you all and appreciate the love and support that we have felt from you.  We appreciate the parents of our missionaries.  You have all raised such awesome young men!  Thank you for sharing them with us!  We hope to meet you someday!  I figure I have one more post to do and then we will bid you farewell to the Ghana Cape Coast Mission Blog!

Til next week….

Random pictures:

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Elder Lelea…one of our Tongan missionaries…made these beautiful leis for us!  He is such a great young man!

 

 

 

 

Elder Cavaness…our new assistant.  Love him!

 

 

 

 

Oops…two pictures.  Elder Cavaness and Elder James.  Both assistants.  Love them both!

 

 

 

 

Elder McGuire…almost won this game of musical chairs…but the cute little girl beat him at the end.

 

 

 

 

One thing I will miss for sure is the beauty of this country!

 

 

 

 

 

I forgot to mention that after FHE we took Alice home.  This is her village.

 

 

 

 

When we got to her house she was ready with these corn cakes and roasted ground nuts and an unbelievable amount of oranges…and a pineapple too!

 

 

We met her brother Samuel.

 

 

 

 

 

This is Alices broken oven.  Hopefully she will be able to get it fixed soon.  The rain got to it and it fell down.  She uses it to bake bread that she sells.

 

 

 

Another picture of her village.

 

 

 

 

 

…and another

 

 

 

 

This is Alices brother’s family and others.  The young man and young women are making Garri.  It is a Ghanaian food.

 

 

 

Samuels wife and some of the children are his

 

 

 

 

This young man is splitting bamboo into strips to put around Alice’s banana tree to protect it from the goats

 

154 Weeks Down…2 to go!

Wow!  I can’t believe we only have two weeks left! This week was another full week.  I hope the next two weeks will be full as well.  That’s the way we like it!

 

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On Monday evening we had our last Safe Journey Meeting.  Elder Brown, Elder Moore and Elder Molefe spent their last night on mission at the mission home.  It was a wonderful evening with 3 fantastic missionaries!  We miss them!

 

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On Tuesday morning we loaded up their bags and were on our way to the Temple and then to take them to the airport.

 

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Our traditional farewell jump!

 

 

 

As we sit back and think of all the transfers…losing great elders and sisters, then gaining new great elders and sisters we have come to find out that the work will forever move forward and the caliber of missionaries will always be outstanding.  I was looking at a picture file of the missionaries that have come and gone.  It is amazing what wonderful missionaries that we have been blessed to work with.  What amazing memories we have!  We are so grateful for them.

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On Wednesday morning we brought our one and only new missionary back to the mission home for orientation.  Elder Nwata is going to be a great missionary!

 

 

On Thursday we spent the day getting our things ready for the packers to come on Friday. It seems so weird to take the pictures off the walls and our souvenir decorations out of the bookshelves and other places.  Our home is bare.  It seems strange.  When we go home  to Hooper our walls will be bare.  We didn’t decorate our walls because we wanted to wait until we got home.  It will be strange but fun to make decisions about what we want.  Well the packers came on Friday morning.  I wish I would have taken a picture of all they had to pack.  We were so impressed with them.  They were so professional and so fast!  Which was a very good thing because….

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After the packers left we had nine of our former missionaries come for a “mini” reunion.  We had (front row…which is hard to see) Elders Ihekaire, Gaye and Anouman.  Back row:  Elders Anucha, Abioye, Dadzie, President, me, Elders Oseghe, Eze and Lamptey.

 

We had such a wonderful time!  Elder Lamptey, and Elder Dadzie are Ghanaians.  Elder Abioye, Elder Oseghe, Elder Ihekaire, Elder Anucha and Elder Eze are from Nigeria.  Elder Gaye is from Liberia and Elder Anouman is from Ivory Coast.  All but Elder Anucha are here for either school or work.  So we decided to have this little reunion to see them before we left Ghana.  Elder Anucha  heard that we were having the reunion and he came from Nigeria to party with us.  It was so good to see them all!  We are so grateful that we could see them before we leave.

On Saturday we had our last Mission Branch Leadership and Auxiliary training meeting. It was really good.  I had the opportunity to train the Young Women leaders and it was great!  They were really good…loved their callings!  The only picture I took was:

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This picture of the Mission Presidency.  President Amankwa, President Shulz, President Julander and William Aquah…secretary.  These are all great men and have been a great help to President Shulz.

 

 

Today we went to the Agona Nkwanta Branch Conference. This little branch has the sweetest spirit.  Every time we have been there I have enjoyed!  They have such a sweet Branch President.  The best thing about the branch is they really run things so good!  I walked in and all the classrooms were organized and ready to go.  There were table cloths on the desks and manuals and things written on the chalkboards.  They were prepared and you could tell by the spirit that you felt throughout the day.  Great to have such a great Sunday!

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This is the entire Agona Nkwanta branch.  Well some left before we took the picture.  When the picture taking was finished the Branch President called us both into his office and he had all the Presidents of the organizations in his office and they were so kind in bidding us farewell.  It is getting real!  We really are leaving!  This next week will be hard.  We will spend 4 days saying goodbye to our missionaries.  It is not going to be an easy thing to do!  We love them and will miss them.

I only have two more posts to do before I get home.  I hope that you have been able to tell through this blog that we have had a wonderful experience and have enjoyed it so much.  We truly feel so blessed.  I don’t know why Heavenly Father saw fit to bring us back here to Ghana…to a land and a people that we already loved and then to throw in hundreds of amazing missionaries to fill our hearts with more love than you can even imagine.  We are so very grateful and hate to see this experience come to an end!  On the other hand….we are so very excited to be reunited with our family!  We have missed them terribly!  Our 20 grandchildren have grown up so much.  i can’t wait until I can throw my arms around them and squeeze them to pieces!  It is definitely a roller coaster ride that we are on right now!  I guess we just need to enjoy the ride!

We have had many of you ask about our “Homecoming” or Mission Report.  We can finally say when it will be.  Our Stake divided today so we weren’t sure about what time we would meet.  But now we know.  Our report will be on July 13th at 1:00.  We will meet in the North Chapel in Hooper.  The address is 5050 South 5900 West.  For those of you that are planning on coming and don’t know Hooper well…if you are coming from the freeway you take the Roy exit (exit 338) Go west.  You will be on 5600 South.  Just follow that road until you hit 5900 West.  Turn right at the Hooper Elementary.  You will see a chapel on the left…this is NOT our chapel.  Keep going and you will see a chapel (red brick) on the right.  This is the one that we will meet in.  For those of you that are planning on coming, we would love to have the opportunity to visit with you!   We  have reserved the Hooper City Center for that purpose and would love to see you following Sacrament Meeting.  When you leave the parking lot of the church if you turn right (north) and go to 4600 South – it’s the first right after the church – you just go up (east) 4600 until you see the City Center on the left.  We really would like to have an idea who will be coming so we know how many to plan for.  If you could RSVP at ma_paghana@yahoo.com we would really appreciate it!

We love you all and hope you have a great week!

Hear are some random Ghana pictures:IMG_1907

This is a picture of fufu.  This is what the missionaries learn to love to eat.  You see a spoon by the bowl.  We put it there just in case but very seldom do they use a spoon.  They use their fingers.  They take their pointer finger and middle finger and pinch off a piece of fufu.  Then they make a spoon out of the fufu and dip it in the soup to get a “spoonful of soup”.  Then they put it in their mouths and swallow it.  No chewing!  It is not unusual to to eat the chicken…bones and all!  This is a very traditional meal for the Ghanaians.  It is very satisfying and I don’t think you have to eat for a week after you have eaten a bowl this big!  But the missionaries don’t seem to have any trouble downing it and brownies and ice cream as well!

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Yes…we are going to miss this beautiful country!  As we were driving to Agona Nkwanta today for the last time I was brought to tears just realizing that we wouldn’t get that far again before we leave.  This picture was taken a while ago.  It is not far from the Ola Chapel in Cape Coast.  BEAUTIFUL!!!

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Great picture of the market!  You can buy anything here!

 

 

 

This is one of my favorite sights!  Especially when the baby is sleeping. But do you notice that this mother has both hands free?  It is amazing what they can do while a baby is wrapped on their backs!

 

It’s JUNE?!?!?!?!?

It’s JUNE!!!  Our time is moving so fast…which is so very exciting…and so very sad.  I will never be able to describe what an incredible experience this has been and the mixed emotions that we are having.  We are so grateful to our Heavenly Father for allowing us to be here.  What a wonderful opportunity!  We have enjoyed so much the amazing missionaries that we have worked with for the last 3 years.  We are definitely experiencing our “lasts“!  We completed the last interviews this week of our 170 missionaries.  This week we will experience our last transfer.  Then we will move into our last zone conferences.  Tomorrow (Monday) we will have 21 days left.  So for the time being we are just going to continue to work hard and enjoy those 3 weeks with our missionaries.  This was a busy week:

We finished our interviews. I’m sorry I didn’t take many pictures…I know there are mom’s out there that love to see their sons.  I will post what I have at the bottom.  The interviews went well and convinced President Shulz (and me) that we still have the absolute best missionaries in the world!  While President did the interviews I gave my last instruction.  It was really sad by the time we got to the last Zone!  I just reviewed some of the things we have taught them.  It was an amazing experience.  We talked about how these life’s lessons will help them be “FOREVER STRONG” (our motto) It was hard knowing that we will be saying goodbye to these missionaries very soon!  They are so good and so strong…such amazing young men and young women!  In between our interviews…we had our last Mission Leadership Council.  The leaders in our mission are so awesome!  They help us out so much and take care of so many problems!  Today we attended our last Branch Conference…we went to Nkroful for the last time.  Yesterday we had our second to the last Leadership Training.  I’m so excited I can’t stand it…but I’m so sad I can hardly bear it!

For the parents who have followed this blog…I just want to say THANK YOU for raising such AMAZING young men and young women.  And THANK YOU for sharing them with us.  We love them!!

We’ll be back here next week with some more “lasts”.  Till then remember that we love you all!  President & Sister Shulz

I’m just putting all my pictures here from the last week:

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Assin Foso Zone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above was a parade on the way home from Nkroful.

Sister & Elder Julander with a member of the Nkroful Branch and President and I.

 

 

 

 

Elder Egbert, recent convert, Elder Iwuchukwu and a member of Nkroful Branch.

 

 

 

These cute bracelets were made by the Julanders grandchildren and sent.  These girls loved them!  They are made out of some kind of elastics.  So cute!

 

 

 

 

 

As much as I like to be on the other side of the camera…I do enjoy taking pictures with these great missionaries while we wait for President to finish his duties!  This is Elder Beck

 

 

 

Elder Mosweswe

 

 

 

 

Elder Barrett

 

 

 

 

 

Elder Sakala

 

 

 

 

Elder Ofordeme

 

 

 

 

 

Elder Boamah

 

 

 

 

 

Elder Lelea

 

 

 

There was a break in the sand and the Lagoon was emptying into the ocean.  We found out that they dug out the sand to empty the Lagoon. We were also told that within a week or so the sand would fill in again…interesting.

 

 

 

Mission Leadership Council

 

 

 

 

Here we go again…I tell you…I can’t believe that I post these “lovely” (haha) pictures of myself.  I only do it so mothers can see their missionaries!  This is Elder Oluk.

 

 

 

 

 

More Leadership Council

 

 

 

 

 

Elder Ormond

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elder Ormond and Elder Suntau

 

 

 

Ghana is Great!!

I love Ghana!  This has been such an incredible experience.  And it is not over!  We still have 4 weeks!!!  The last few weeks have been awesome.  I’m sorry I haven’t stayed caught up on this blog.  But pictures are more interesting so you will see the last few weeks in picture:

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We said goodbye to this wonderful couple…Elder & Sister Crittenden.  What great people they are!  We miss them already.  I’m not sure if I have mentioned this before but this was their 4th mission.  After their 3rd mission they were only home a matter of weeks when we called and asked if they would be interested in coming to Ghana.  They came and had an awesome experience.  We love them!

 

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The day we said goodbye to them…we said Hello to our son Matt!  (Sorry about the blurry picture)  We are so happy that he was able to come and we thoroughly enjoyed the week with him!

 

 

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Two days later we had to say goodbye to another awesome couple.   It is always so sad when we have to say goodbye to someone that wants to stay so badly and have to go home for health issues.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schiffmans.  We love you and miss you!

 

On Saturday we had Priesthood Leadership and Auxiliary Training in Winneba.  Another last!  It was sad to look out into the congregation and realize that we would not see those people again.  Although we do get to go out and do a marriage seminar with them.  On Sunday we started at the Cape Coast Stake Conference.  We had the opportunity to speak and say our goodbyes there.  As soon as we spoke we had to ask to be excused so we could go to our Mission Branch Conference.  Again we said goodbye to some very dear, dear people!

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These are very dear sisters to me.  I will miss them!

 

 

 

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We love our missionaries.  It is so fun to see them at these conferences.  They do such a great job with the members and with their investigators. This is Elder McGuire and Elder Bannerman.

 

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President Amankwa, President Shulz and Brother Acquah.  President Amankwa is my husbands first counselor in the mission presidency.  Brother Acquah is the secretary.  We love and appreciate these fine men!

 

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While we were waiting for President Shulz to finish some interviews…we took a nice walk along the beach which is just right across from the church.

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew gathered some sand to take back to a friend.  There’s nothing like African sand!  Hahaha!

 

 

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Monday was our Fufu night.  Now all of our children have experienced Fufu.  Wish their spouses had been able to.  No worries…I will just fix it for them when we get home.  Yay!!

 

 

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We love having the Elders nearby join us.  Clockwise from the bottom center:  Elders Cardon, Atuake, Prince, Brown, James, President Shulz, Matt, and Elder Miskin.  GREAT missionaries!

 

 

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On Tuesday morning we had Interviews with the Yamoransa Zone.  From left:  Elders Obia,  K. James, Lee, Adjavon, Tembedza, McGuire, Halverson, President Shulz, me, Bayoh, Jakopo, Hodges, Ble, Brown, Ntlhaakgosi, James, Mngoma, and Elder Tobler.

 
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As much as I dislike cameras…I love when the Elders come and ask me for a picture.  I get the fun of that while President is interviewing!  I love these missionaries!!

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Wednesday morning we woke up and went to Kakum…the tree walk.  While President and Matt did the walk…I went souvenir shopping.

 

 

 

We stopped to see some rock pounders and these women came running…we thought that they just wanted us to take their picture…and they did…for money!  They wanted us to pay them for taking their pictures.

 

 

This is what we stopped to see.  These women sit hours in the hot son and pound these large rocks into gravel.  They just pound with that little small hammer.  I would say that it is back breaking work!!

 

 

 

Unbelievable work!

 

 

 

 

 

We ended the day at Biriwa.  Matt enjoyed eating dinner and watching the waves roll in.  It was a very nice evening.

 

 

 

Biriwa is a beautiful place…

 

 

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Thursday we made the long drive out to Ankobra Beach.  It was a long ride but we enjoyed that time with Matthew.  It was a rainy day so the drive was pleasant…not hot…but the beach was very wet.

 

 

 

 

This was a fun sight on a main street coming home from the beach.

 

 

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On Friday we went to the Cape Coast Slave Castle.  While Jeff & Matt did the castle tour…I went…yep, shopping.  It was fun.  I’m just trying to stock up on souvenirs.  Our time is short and it is very filled for the next 4 weeks so I’m hoping to get the things I’ve been putting off getting for 3 years.

I think Saturday was our funnest day.  We started at the Orphange – Helping Hands Childrens Home.

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Matt’s little family sacrificed some of their hard earned money to give this orphanage some food.  He bought some rice, oil, and tomato past and delivered it.  They were excited to have it!

 

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It was Saturday and all the children do their own laundry.  They wash it in big wash tubs and then lay it out to dry.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a toilet at the orphanage.  It is non-flush but at least it doesn’t have slivers….tee hee.

 

 

 

 

 

This is one of the classrooms where they have school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is playground equipment which you don’t see often.  They are very blessed to have this equipment.

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the Childrens artwork….

 

 

 

 

 

 

They have the most beautiful children here in Ghana!

 

 

 

 

Elder Aaron Brown’s (from Australia) mother and grandmother made these cute skirts and dresses for the orphanage.  They are very much appreciated!

 

 

 

 

This is one of my favorite little girls at the orphanage.

 

 

 

Another of my favorites….

 

 

 

 

 

This little guy just stayed by Matt.  He was so cute.

 

 

 

 

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Elder & Sister Ivie had a visit from their daughter Christy and her family.  Two of her daughters are pictured here with Matt.  Abigail Acheampong is in the picture as well.

 

 

 

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After the orphanage Maxwell and Abigail took us to a village.  This is a chicken coop.

 

 

 

 

This is a bath house.  They take a bucket of water in this little “house” and “wash down”.

 

 

 

 

This is the family kitchen.  It is a building by itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The inside of the kitchen….

 

 

 

 

 

Cute children at the village.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even in the bush he can’t get rid of the phone!

 

 

 

 

The community water pump?

 

 

 

 

 

This is a very popular toy for the boys.  They push this stick around….

 

 

 

 

 

This is what the wheels look like.  I asked what they were made of and they said they take old flip flops cut a circle out of the soul and put a whole in it.

 

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After the village we headed to Accra to put Matt on an airplane home.  There was a wedding at the Stake Center on “Temple Square”.  I saw this woman with her headdress and asked if I could take a picture.  Some of these headdresses are so fascinating!

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed the beautiful temple grounds.

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite views of the temple!

 

 

 

 

 

This was the end to a terrific week.  It gave us a welcomed break and now we are ready to go hard for the next four weeks!  We are excited about the next few weeks.  I can’t think of saying goodbye to these missionaries but we will start doing that soon.  The thought rips our hearts out…but the thought of going home to our family fills that hole.  We love you all!  Hope you have a fantastic week!  President & Sister Shulz

 

May 18?!?!?! WOW!!!

I can’t believe that it is really the middle of May!  I’m sorry I’m behind again on the blog.  It has been a couple of crazy weeks!  I hope you enjoy pictures because that is about all I’m going to have time for…we are heading into another crazy week!  I’m afraid for the next 6 weeks it’s going to be a little crazy!  Lots to do…the work is never ending!  That’s why we love it so much!  I’m just going to highlight the last few weeks.

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I really dislike the fact that I can’t hug the elders.  So I allow myself one hug when it is time to say goodbye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another one of my favorite things…to watch these wonderful missionaries make the leap into their future!  They are so awesome!  Elder Oodoh, Sister Baah, Elder Dikane, SisterMnisi, Elder Baird, Sister Udo, Elder Dinku.

 

 

 

 

Our wonderful couples.  I cannot express how grateful we are for these incredible couples.  They have made our lives so much easier!  We love them!  The Crittendens, Shulz’, Julanders, Ivies & Schiffmans

 

 

 

Our new missionaries – They are a great group and we are sad that we won’t be working with them for very long.  I’m sure they will all be fantastic missionaries.

 

 

A week ago today we went to Tarkwa to their Branch Conference.  We had a really nice day. Sister Julander and I attended Young Womens and it was so refreshing.  The teacher did a great job and we really enjoyed the Young Women!

 

 

 

I think it was the week before we went to Axim and this is the only picture I brought back from that.  We went to Axim Beach after church and had a picnic lunch.  It was nice.

 

 

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We had Mission Leadership Training a week ago.  We have such incredible leaders.  Love these sisters!!!  Sister Ravudra, Mekonnen, Klass, Ndenga, Lyomu, Me, Nansamba, Babirekere, & Zaccheaus

 

 

 

Just having fun with Sister Mekonnen and Sister Nansamba!

 

 

 

 

A week ago Friday The Senior Sisters went shopping and I said as we left the house.  Remind me to take pictures…this is the only picture that I came home with!  Hahaha!  I forgot and no one remembered to remind me!  But isn’t this a cute little baby?

 

 

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That evening we all stayed at the mission home. We played some games and….

 

 

 

…had a farewell dinner for Elder & Sister Crittenden (in the middle).  They will be leaving on the 23rd.  Aaagghh that is this Friday!  Wow time goes fast!  We will miss them!

 

 

 

Elder and Sister Julander made up a special farewell song for them.  It was awesome!  They are really talented.  We had a fun night together!

 

 

 

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On Monday we went to take our car into Accra to be serviced and ready for the new President.  On Tuesday we had a wonderful farewell dinner with the Curtis’….this is Sister Curtis and…..

 

 

 

…This is Elder Curtis.  Elder Curtis is the President of the West Africa Area.  We enjoyed dinner and a wonderful visit with these lovely people.  I think it was one of the first signs that our time “is far spent”!

 

 

 

We started doing interviews this week.  President Shulz has to spend the whole day in an office interviewing.  The assistants and I instruct and then I just get to visit with the missionaries!  It’s GREAT!!  This is the Swedru Zone.

 

 

On Friday we were with the Winneba Zone.  I didn’t get a picture of the zone.  :-(  But we had two visitors…Elder Okoro and Elder Abioye.  Elder Abioye was an assistant and left last July I think.  Elder Okoro was in our mission but when the mission split he stayed in Kumasi.  They are from Nigeria but have returned to Ghana.  It was such a pleasure to see them!  We look forward to another visit!

 

 

On Saturday and Sunday we were involved in the Praso District Conference.  Saturday we had Priesthood and Auxiliary Training.  This is a group of beautiful woman from the Kenkwasi Branch.  They are so faithful and love the gospel!

 

Well those are the highlights.  I keep telling myself that I will do better next week.  I will try to hold to that.  We are very excited for this coming Friday.  We have our son Matt coming for a visit!  He comes the day that Crittenden’s leave.  Maybe that will take away the sting of them going!  It has been such a joy to have family come.  We are excited for him to be here.

I was looking at our Mission Cookbook and it took me back a couple of years when we had a contest.  The elders and sisters sent in recipes and we chose winners in several different categories.  It was such a fun thing.  Just to give you an idea there were several really good recipes and there were a few quite hilarious ones as well.  For example:

Toast Ketchup  -  Put margarine on bread, fry in pan, then add ketchup.  The longer you’re out on mission, the more this tastes like a hamburger.

Indomie Snack  -  Get an Indomie Package (it is like Ramen Noodles) and break or crush the dry noodles in the package, then open the top, sprinkle the favor packet inside the package of indomie noodles and eat it on the go.

Candy Bread  -  1 small can sweetened condensed milk…2 T. margarine…Sugar Bread

Cut bread into slices.  Spread margarine on both sides of bread.  Then spread sweetened condensed milk on one side.  Place the side with milk down on a heated pan.  Then spread milk on top of the slice of bread.  Let sit until it looks like it is turning brown.  Then flip and wait again.  Take it off, let it cool, then enjoy! ***Warning*** Some pans the Condensed Milk sticks so you kinda have to scrape it off if it happens.  But if you do it when it’s hot it comes off easy.  Just throw this on the bread and it will still be good.  Repeat this as many times as desired or until you run out of stuff (ingredients).

I just thought I would give you an idea of how these missionaries eat.  JUST KIDDING!!!  Well I’m sure they have eaten some of these things…BUT they make pumpkin pies, brownies, fried chicken, all kinds of sauces to go over rice.  They definitely learn how to cook when they are here…if they didn’t know already!

I can tell our time is getting close.  I’m reminiscing about all the wonderful times and missionaries!  We feel so very blessed to have had this experience.  Heavenly Father has been so very good to us.  We are going to finish strong!!!  Love you all!

Random Pictures

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We followed this “tro tro” for a long time and these little boys could not have been more thrilled.  Everytime I waved at them or gave them a thumbs up they would laugh and get all excited.  Oh the kids are SO cute!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This spider was right above my head at church.  It wasn’t until later that I found out it was dead…it didn’t look dead to me.

 

Where Did April Go?

Another month has passed!  Unbelievable!! I don’t know where the time goes.  This is such a wonderful experience.  It just seems like everyday there is something fun to see or do.   Or there is something interesting or we are on a new adventure.  That is what makes the time go fast.  BUT….I have to admit that when I start thinking about home…the time starts dragging.  So I try not to think about it.  I understand now what it means to be “trunky”.  Although I am trying my hardest to stay focused and work hard!  It is not difficult to work hard because there is always something to do!

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We went up to West Tanokrom District for District Meeting.  Now these are some serious Elders!

 

 

 

Well maybe not so much….

 

 

 

Honestly this is a fantastic group of Elders!  On the front row we have Elders Wamono, Govathson, Ntlhagosi and Andrews.  Back row we have Elders Ord Cavaness, Jensen and Abhulimhen.  Have I told you lately how awesome our missionaries are?  Haha I’m sure I have!                                                 We love them!

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You know we really hate when our Elders get sick but there is a silver lining in every cloud.  We had the opportunity to have Elder Riehle with us for a few days. I enjoyed him so much but I didn’t like knowing that he was sick. I’m only putting this picture of him on because I know his mom knows that he was sick but I wanted her to see that even when he wasn’t feeling well he still had a smile on his face.  He is all better and back working hard! We sure do love him!  He is AWESOME!

 

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Last Sunday we went to Daboase Branch for their Branch Conference.  This Branch meets in this school building.  These seats are about 6 inches wide…not meant for adults to sit in.  They are not comfortable but it doesn’t stop the people from coming! This was when Sacrament Meeting had just gotten over.

 

 

 

 

This is where the Relief Society meets…they carry chairs out from Sacrament Meeting.

 

 

 

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This is the youth Sunday School Class and is also where the Young Women meet.

 

 

 

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This is where the Primary meet.  They carry their chairs from the “chapel” as well.  If you notice our missionaries in the back…hard to see but that is Elder Egbert and Elder Richards!  Great Missionaries!  We love them too!

 

 

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Today we went to Abakrampa Branch conference.  I didn’t get a picture of Sacrament meeting.  They meet in a house (a large house) and there arrangements are a bit nicer.  This is Elder Adjavon (left) and Elder McGuire (center) teaching the investigators class.  They are incredible young men and wonderful teachers.  And you guessed it….we love them so much!

 

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This is the Relief Society room.  These sisters are so lovely.  So friendly and kind.  Today the lesson was taught by a Brother Amos.  It was all in Fante and I didn’t understand a word.  But I know they talked about the Sabbath Day.

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These are the Young Women.  They have a great teacher…she is sitting facing the camera in the right hand corner.  She does such a great job with these YW!  When we first came there were about 4 Young Women.  It is wonderful to see so many here!

 

I think of the conditions that these wonderful people have to come to church…(and by the way pictures don’t really show what it is really like)…it helps me really appreciate what we have at home.  I think of the nice benches and the carpet and the beautiful pictures in our chapels and the wonderful heating and cooling systems, the beautiful Relief Society room and classrooms that are equipped with chairs and tables, the baptismal fonts and the cultural halls.  I hope I will never again take these things for granted.  We are so very blessed!  But I will tell you that the Saints here in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission are such a happy people.  They don’t mind sitting on those 6 inch slabs of wood or having to carry their chairs to another room (or outside).  They just love the gospel and that is all they need.  I love them!

Our time is going quickly so we are just committed to enjoy these last few months to the best of our ability.  It’s hard not to think of home but we are going to stay focused and work hard until we are finished.  This missionary work is awesome and it really does bring blessings.  We are so grateful to be a part of it.  We love you all!

Happy Easter

There is a video that goes along with this message but I couldn’t get it on here.  Just wanted to have a nice Easter message for you and thought this was GREAT! We hope you have had an enjoyable Easter Day.  We hope that you have been able to focus on the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 BECAUSE OF HIM

Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. Because of Him, death is not the end, and life takes on new meaning. We can change, we can start over—and we can live again with God. This Easter, celebrate His life and discover all that’s possible because of Him.

THE MEANING OF EASTER

The sun rises up over the vast cityscape of Jerusalem, lighting the white limestone walls of the old city and creeping over buildings. Just north of the walls, a garden sits undisturbed.

Shortly, a throng of tourists will arrive and take their spots on the benches overlooking the garden. Some will descend the steps to the lowest point in the garden, quietly duck through a door carved in stone, and stare reverently into a hollowed portion of the rock where a body was laid to rest about two thousand years ago. As they leave, they will notice a sign on the door: “He is not here, for He is risen.”

The tourists don’t come to the Garden Tomb because this is where they hope Jesus was buried; they come because they hope this is where Jesus did what had never been done before—He lived again.

God sent Jesus to earth to teach us a better way to live. Though His ministry lasted only three years, His teachings have influenced billions for nearly two millennia. But the greatest gift Jesus gave to us was His life. He paid the price for our sins, died on the cross, and rose from the dead—providing a way for each one of us to return and live with God someday.

How has Jesus helped you live a better life? 

Luke 22:44

AND BEING IN AN AGONY HE PRAYED MORE EARNESTLY: AND HIS SWEAT WAS AS IT WERE GREAT DROPS OF BLOOD FALLING DOWN TO THE GROUND.

The night before His death, Jesus visited a garden called Gethsemane, just east of the walls of Jerusalem. Leaving His Apostles at the edge of the garden, He trod through the dewy grass and past gnarled olive trees, walking farther inward.

He had prepared His entire life for this moment, carefully following His Father’s commands in every step of His life, in every breath He took. Now the time had come. Even as He prayed, “Father, if it be thy will, remove this cup from me,” He accepted that this was His burden, and His alone, to bear. He was the only one who could free us from the awful consequences of our sins.

In the coolness of the night, He knelt and began to pray. Though we don’t fully understand how, He willingly took upon Himself our sins and sorrows, suffering in body and spirit for every sin, every sadness, every mistake and imperfection of every single one of us. The pain that came was crushing, exquisite and infinite. Blood oozed from His pores as this impossibly heavy weight caused Him to tremble with pain.

Why is Jesus Christ’s sacrifice significant to you? 

Luke 22:48

BUT JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, JUDAS, BETRAYEST THOU THE SON OF MAN WITH A KISS?

Sometime in those seemingly endless hours, the pain ceased. If only that were the sole burden He had to bear. As Jesus rejoined His disciples at the edge of the garden, they watched the glow of distant torches steadily approaching.

The faces of people armed with swords and staffs flickered menacingly in the torchlight. From the middle of the crowd emerged Judas, Jesus’ own Apostle.

“Master,” Judas said, and kissed Jesus on the cheek.

“Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?” Jesus asked Judas.

How can you receive comfort in times of heartache?

Mark 15:17

AND THEY CLOTHED HIM WITH PURPLE, AND PLAITED A CROWN OF THORNS, AND PUT IT ABOUT HIS HEAD, AND BEGAN TO SALUTE HIM, HAIL, KING OF THE JEWS!

The cruelties of the next day have echoed throughout the ages: the cries of “Crucify Him!” as He stood before Pilate, wrists bound like a common criminal; each lash of the whip, laced with bone and metal, tearing the flesh from His back— once, twice, even thirty-nine times; the purple cloak sopping His blood as soldiers pressed a woven circlet of thorns into His scalp; the spitting, the cries of anguish, the blows of the hands, the insulting, derisive cries.

At the summit of Golgotha, soldiers stretched Jesus’ arms along a wooden cross. Their hammers clanged dully as they drove thick nails into His palms and wrists; sharp, hot pain shot through Jesus’ body. The wood grazed the bloodied grooves in His back. As his body rose, onlookers saw the truth that the Jews mocked written on a plaque above His head: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

Tired, sweaty, bloodied, Jesus did only what a Redeemer could do: He forgave His murderers, comforted the criminal suffering next to Him, and trusted in His Father. When His sacrifice was complete, Jesus willed Himself to die as only God’s Son could do. He gave up the ghost, but His death wasn’t an end. It was the beginning for all of us.

How does it make you feel to know Jesus Christ died for you?

Matthew 28:6

HE IS NOT HERE: FOR HE IS RISEN, AS HE SAID. COME, SEE THE PLACE WHERE THE LORD LAY.

The empty tomb in that Jerusalem garden is a reminder that when the women who so lovingly cleaned, anointed, and wrapped his body came to observe the tomb, His body was gone, and in His place were two angels.

“He is not here: for He is risen,” they said.

The door on the tomb repeats that phrase: “He is not here, for He is risen.” It reminds visitors that the Savior not only lived and died for us but that He also rose from the dead.

Because Jesus Christ is the Savior of all mankind it’s possible for each of us to live again with God.

INCREDIBLE WEEK PART 2

I know it is shocking to see me here again.  I wanted to finish my incredible week.  It was so amazing!

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Wednesday Morning we got up and went to Kakum…the canopy walk.  If you remember right, I have not been able to do this since 2003.  It scares me to death.  But look at Taylor and Branson.  They walked all the way across 7 bridges without holding on!

 

 

Nate made it as well.  I want you all to picture those great tall African trees.  This canopy walk is at the top of these trees.  It is VERY high off the ground!

 

 

 

 

I didn’t get a picture of President Shulz because I wasn’t going to carry a camera. But here is proof that I did it!  I had told myself that I was not going to let my grandkids do this thing without me watching them.  So…I DID IT!!!

I was very slow and I held on the whole way but I DID IT!!!

 

 

After the Canopy Walk we stopped at Praso at the end of their District Meeting.  We love to see  our missionaries!  Then we went to the Schiffmans and she had made some yummy brownies and treated us to brownies and ice cream…Yummy!

 

 

Then we headed towards the Haans Cottage to see the crocodiles.  It was fun…again.  Next time we go there I need to get a picture of the women that feeds the croc’s.  She sees us coming and she goes right for the chicken.  She knows that President Shulz is  going to reward her well for giving us a show!

 

 

Wednesday evening while President Nate, and Branson got dinner ready, Taylor and I attended the Young Womens activity at Baakano.  We had a lesson on Dancing then the Young Women taught Taylor how to dance Ghanaian style.  At the end of the evening Taylor gave the Young Women letters written by her Young Women at home.  It was a great night!

 

On Thursday we went to Swedru and met at the Ivies for lunch.  Maxwell and Abigail Achampong were there and helped with the lunch.  It was yummy!  Nate and the kids new Maxwell and Abigail from when they lived at our house 13 years ago.  It was fun to see each other again.  After lunch they took us to a village.  There were so many fun sights to see.

 

 

 

This is an oven that is used to bake bread.  It’s amazing people still bake like this…but they do!

 

 

I mostly took video in the village and I’m really sad because there were so many fun things to see and I don’t know how to put videos on here.  There were many students from the school that we visited that followed us around the village.  I think Taylor and Branson really enjoyed this and I know Nate did as well.

 

 

There is nothing cuter than little Ghanaian children!

The following pictures are of the orphanage we visited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone enjoyed these children.  It was fun for Taylor and Branson to give them treats.  It was so fun to watch Nate holding these precious children!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Maxwell, Abigail, Angela, Shawna, Nate, Branson, and Taylor at the orphanage.  We sure appreciate the Achampongs for the help they give us when family comes.  The are incredible!

 

 

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Above we have pictures of Friday.  We drove up to Axim to a incredible resort…I can never remember the name.  We had lunch and the kids were able to play in the ocean for a while.  It was so fun to be with them!

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Saturday we went shopping in town and our fruit lady had her baby so I asked her if Taylor could put him on her back.  If you have tried this you know that it isn’t as easy as it looks.  They just feel like they are going to fall off!  But they don’t.  They sure have it right…they can do anything with the baby on their back.

 

 

 

The Crittendens invited us over to lunch so we enjoyed a very nice lunch at their place.  Have I told you how “incredible” our couples are?

 

 

 

 

We took Branson looking for an African shirt and this little boy was a real cutie.  He was a little camera shy but we finally got a picture.

 

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On Sunday we went back to Bakaano for church.  This is their Primary.  Taylor went back  to Young Womens and the Young Women had already written back to those who sent letters.

 

 

 

This is the dress that we had a woman named Salumai make for Taylor and the shirt that Branson picked out.  Don’t they look good?!?

 

 

 

 

We stood in this very place and looked at the temple as it was being built.

 

 

 

 

 

We had a wonderful Sabbath day.

 

 

 

 

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We had sandwiches on “Temple Square” and then we had to take them to the airport and say our goodbyes.

 

 

 

We had such an “incredible” time with them and were sad to see them leave.  But we are so grateful that they were able to come. I think my favorite time of this “incredible” week was at night time.  We watched movies, ate popcorn, played games and ate ice cream bars.  It was such a family, homey thing to do.  It did make me excited to be home in my own house having family come to “hang out”!  I miss that so much! On May 23rd Matthew will be coming and then every family has had at least one member come to visit!  We are really looking forward to Matt’s visit.  That is the end of this blog.  Hope you are all well!  I’ve included some random pictures:

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