Friday, May 13, 2016

The Dove Has Landed


Have had more spiritual experiences in one day than was had in Germany.

Met a young man this morning named Generous.  Isn’t that a great name? He is Muslim and has been investigating for about a year.  Is very excited about joining the church.  We talked about Allah and Elohim and how they are the same God that Abraham worshipped.  Then we spoke about Jesus Christ and that he was not just another prophet but the actual son of God and the one who could relieve us from sin and from whom we could receive the Holy Ghost as a constant companion.  He is coming to church tomorrow.

Met all of the missionaries in Tamale (16). There was a couple from the states
the others were from the south Pacific and Africa. When they bore their
testimony they were strong and had a burning knowledge that the gospel is
true. It was wonderful.
Later we went to dinner the mission president and his wife, Elder and Sister
Halladay, and met President Ofusu-Hene and his wife. He is the police
commissioner here in Tamale and is the church district president. He was one
of the guards of the church buildings during the Freeze, the big shut down of
the Church by the Ghanaian government in the 80’s. He dutifully kept the
members out and was an armed guard to make sure they stayed out. He then
got curious. What was it that made this “cult” so strange as he had been
taught? So he went in to the building and started picking up the literature that
had been scattered about when the building was ransacked. One of those books
was the Book of Mormon. You can read the full story on Search for
The Freeze in Ghana.

Also at dinner we met Thomas Abanga. Thomas had just returned from a
business trip to India today. President Cosgrave had been wanting us to get
together and talk. Thomas is setting up a tractor manufacturing plant in
Tamale. He has worked a deal with the Ghana government, USA, and the
World Bank to assist in establishing this plant to give employment to
Ghanaians. We had a lively discussion about his plans and now he wants to
hire David to help him. Of course he is busy, but Dad can help some. He then
proceeded to teach us at the table about Moroni 10:3 – 5 and how he had read it
over 100+ times and knows it is true. He is also coming to church tomorrow.

This meeting of Thomas was not just a coincidence. The Lord has a hand in us
being here in Tamale at this particular time. Thomas and Dad were supposed
to meet. They became instant friends and brothers in the gospel even though
Thomas wasn’t baptized yet. H said he was supposed to have been baptized
that day in Accra. The fact that he arrived here when we did with President
Cosgrave and that President Cosgrave was able to arrange the dinner is a

Dad is like Goofy just before he goes down the ski slope. Yahoooo! He can’t
contain himself. I’m right behind him. The Lord has been preparing us for a
long for this very mission. We are in the right place at the exact right time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mission Training Center

Mission Training Center

So we go from the unbelievable experience of being set apart to plunging back into the fight by giving a deposition the very next day.  I was getting whip lash from the emotional changes in direction.  With the last dose of the world we finally enter the Mission Training Center (MTC).

We arrived Monday morning April 11th, checked into our room, received our missionary badges making us official, and joined 84 Senior Missionary couples for orientation. After
introductions, which included where we were from and 84 different places of where we were going, we were split up into our districts.

Our cute trainer, Amy Anderson

                         Our District
Left to right:Elder and Sister Roberts--going to Russia, Elder and Sister Corbett--going New Orleans, Amy Anderson, Elder and Sister Renfroe--going to Ghana, Elder and Sister May--going to Cove Fort in Southern Utah
We had more fun together!  One minute we are all laughing and the next crying.  By the end of the week we were best of friends.

Cafeteria scene of Elders from Japan.  They are being trained and then some are going back to Japan and others to Brazil.

Here we are pointing to Ghana on the map.

While at the MTC we had a chance to visit the Provo City Temple.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Setting Apart - Thursday April 7, 2016

     After flogging our poor little Prius through 60 MPH cross and head winds crossing the plains of Kansas then up 10% grades to the Eisenhower tunnel to emerge on icy slick roads on the western slope of the Rockies and then through the southern deserts of Utah, we arrived in Salt Lake to Hotel Hathaway (what we call Jerilyn's sister's, Jan Hathaway, home basement).  This is our staging point for repacking our bags to go to the MTC for a week, then repack again for the assault on to Africa.  But first we must be set apart as missionaries.  This means that we are given a blessing by one having the authority from God to set us apart, like being given our commission as an officer in the military.  From this moment on we are to live a new set of rules as special representatives of Jesus Christ.  We will wear name tags showing who we are whenever we are in public and to wear a suit or a white shirt and tie or a missionary dress except when we are working in service projects.
      We are in rather a peculiar circumstance.  Normally the setting apart is done by the stake president at home, who would be our close friend, Alan Gauldin, president of the Springdale Arkansas stake.  But for the last 33 years we have been close friends with David and Sue Bednar, who for the first 15 years of our association we thought were just normal fun friends.  Then David was called as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He couldn't believe it and neither could we but there he is.  Actually we should have known something like this would happen.  While we were serving together in various callings we would often get in to gospel discussions and would be amazed at his insight and spiritual maturity and wondered how did he get so old and still be so young.  Now what makes this association with him so amazing is that in this calling as an apostle of Jesus Christ he has been set apart by a prophet of God to be a special witness of Jesus Christ.  Like the ancient apostles he is a traveling witness of the divinity and reality of Jesus Christ.  We'll just let that sink in for a while and let you ponder what that means.
     So as our friend and an apostle, our stake president arranged for Elder David A. Bednar to set us apart.  On Thursday afternoon we arrived at his office in the church office building next to the Lion House and the Joseph Smith building across a square from the Salt Lake temple.

There we sat with him, Sue, our good friend Carol Skeeles, and Elder Ulisses Soares of the presidency of the first quorum of seventy who was to assist Elder Bednar in our setting apart.

Elder Ulisses Soares

Carol, and her late husband, Kirk Skeeles and best friend, were part of the Gang of Three or the Bedskroes as I used to call us.  So we recalled old times together and entertained Elder Soares.  
     Then Jerilyn and I were asked to hold hands, unusual for a setting apart, and Elder Bednar and Elder Soares then placed their hands on our head and proceeded to give each us a blessing preparatory to us entering the mission field.  Just recalling the moment brings tears to my eyes.  Promises were made and blessings pronounced that entered our ears and hearts.  Words cannot describe the feelings we had, the increased love we felt for each other and for the savior, and the desire to give that feeling to others.  Isn't that what this is about?  This is not just another adventure around the world but an adventure into the hearts of people, individuals.  To go see our good friends whom we have never met.  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

So long, farewell, aufwiedersehen, goodbye...

Our last goodbyes to family in Fayetteville.
Hadley and Harper made this cute banner

Kevroe, Morgan, and Sweet Adeline

All the Wagstaffs--Heather, Mark, Austin 18, Harper 6, Braden 16,
Hadley 9, Chad 12

Bye Bye.  Never seen a site that didn't look better lookin' back.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Life changed from the moment we received our mission call on January 12th, 2016, to
Kumasi, Ghana mission.  

Besides lots of packing and repacking we have had to get immunizations, redo our health care insurance, get medicare deferment, financial changes, visa applications, 16 passport pictures, find someone to live in our house, change hair color, get two year supply of prescription medications, and much much more.

 Heather made these cute invitations and planned a wonderful goodbye party for us.  A lot of people came.  We have made a lot of good friends in our 33+ years in Fayetteville.

Before reporting to the MTC (Mission Training Center)  on April 11th we visited Allen and family in California and Jena's and Kathryn"s families in New Jersey.

Left to Right: Truman 15, Brigham 11, Becca, Allen, Mollie 8,
Jerilyn, David

                                          Left to Right:  Boyd, Kathryn, Zach 8, Jerilyn, Ben 9, Adam 10,
                                                   Miles 4, Josh, Jenalyn, Andrew 5, Chase 7.