Welcome to Ben and Julie's Missionary Page
June 2004 Missionary Training Center (MTC) and Arrival in Ghana

Sister Markham with a Dork Dot
Sister Markham with a Dork Dot

Since the missionary discussions were revamped 18 months ago, we don't have to memorize them word for word -- we can teach the topics 'by the Spirit.' The first discussion is now entitled, "The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Sister Markham decided teaching by the Spirit meant she could restructure the entire discussion and present it using Isaiah scriptures. Of course she thought it was a great lesson. Elder Markham was speechless! They agreed Sister Markham would teach the first half of the discussion [to a volunteer who weekly role-plays the part of an investigator] covering apostasy, Heavenly Father's plan, and the Savior. Elder Markham taught the second half about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost. The volunteer 'investigator,' a little grandmother, played her part well, and afterwards still seemed well founded in the Gospel, so no damage was done.

Jones and Markhams point to Missions

Elder and Sister Markham attended five days of classes at the MTC before they arrived in Ghana. Also in the MTC were Elder and Sister Jones, friends from New Jersey. Elder Markham and Elder Jones served together in 1965 while missionaries in Japan. Both agreed their companions are much better for this mission! The Jones' are serving a 23 month proselyting mission in San Francisco.

Elder and Sister Markham were in the MTC with Senior Missionaries going to: Mexico City, Zurick, Cambodia, Tonga, Brazil, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Guam, Nova Scotia, Sweden, Mongolia, Bermuda, Mozambique, New York, Mississippi, Hawaii, Colorado Springs, DC, Orlando, California, North Dakota & Connecticut. Three couples were going to three different missions in Nigeria. Two couples were going to different missions in South Africa. One couple was going to Cape Verde.

Pres. and Sister Anderson

Part of the instruction process at the MTC involved Elder and Sister Markham teaching discussions to volunteers who played the roles of investigators seeking to learn about the Gospel. At the end of one of these discussions, we learned that the woman we had just taught was the wife of Elder Markham's first Mission President in Japan in 1965. Above is a photo of Elder Markham and President and Sister Anderson.

On Thursday, June 10, there was a severe hail storm at the MTC

Julie plays with hail
Mouseover to see Sister Markham play with hail

**********We arrive in Ghana 15 June 2004**********

Elder and Sister Markham in front of the Accra Temple
Elder and Sister Markham in front of the Accra Temple

The Skeltons, our shepards in Ghana The Area Office Building
The Skeltons, our shepherds in Ghana The Area Office Building behind
Elder Markham and Sister Skelton.
Our office is the dark window on the
top floor. Nice Temple view!!
Elder and Sister Markham have an office and computer in the Area Compound in Accra, which includes the Temple, a two story Stake Center, and a four story office building. Floors are numbered the British way Ė the first floor is the ground floor. The next floor is one and the floors above are numbered sequentially. Our office is on the top floor (third) facing the temple.

Ghana has many beautiful things

Beautiful Flowers Beautiful Flowers
Flowers at the Temple.
They look like Bird of Paradise
Beautiful flowers everywhere, what are these??

Our apartment in Accra---not bad!!

Living Room Dining Room
Living Room Dining Room

Bed with hand tied Mormon quilt Bath
Bed with hand tied Mormon quilt Bath

Water Heater over tub/shower Kitchen where Elder Markham does the dishes
Water Heater over tub/shower Kitchen where Elder Markham does the dishes
Sister Markham has not yet passed quality control to be able to wash and purify the dishes correctly. This is way more than style, itís how we stay healthy.

Stove with poached eggs--ummm good Doorbell
Stove with poached eggs--ummm good Doorbell

We are very secure here

Locks on our front door Baba's place
Locks on our front door Our fenced yard and barred windows
Our apartment is the lower level, back half

Baba's guard house Port the guard dog
Baba's guard house Port, the guard dog
This is the cement shed where Baba our security guard lives. Heís Muslim, so Friday he is at the Mosque and we get to open and close the gate ourselves. He washes our car when he thinks itís dirty. His standards are pretty high.

The cats Neighborhood buzzard
The cats Neighborhood watch buzzard
There are animals in abundance here in Accra. A Doberman, at least three cats, and a buzzard live on the grounds of our apartment. We awake to the sounds of roosters. We often see goats and chickens along the road. There is a section of road we travel often that has trees that are frequented by fruit bats. These are also called Flying Foxes. These bats are very large, and these pictures donít do them justice. They are much larger than the bats we had living in the woods near our home in New Jersey. The first day we drove along this road I saw five large turkeys grazing. I was astonished and asked Joseph, who was taking us to get driverís licenses, if turkeys were native to Ghana. He didnít believe I had seen turkeys, but on our return, we saw them, still bobbing along.

Beautiful tree, next door Fruit Bats
Beautiful old tree, next door Flying Foxes--Fruit Bats
Accra is very green. Bushes, trees and palms are abundant. Flowering trees and plants are everywhere. Near our home is a very, very large tree. Notice the palm tree growing straight up through the branches.

Elder Markham is now fluent in Ghanaian money, called cedis[seedees.] One 20,000 cedi bill is worth a little over two dollars. I do just what I did in Japan Ė I stop converting and pretend itís Monopoly money. Fruits and vegetables are relatively inexpensive. Imported food such as cans of soup or boxes of cereal can be quite pricey. We are finding food to eat--don't worry!

Ben with 6.5 million Mission Home
Elder Markham ready to go for groceries The Accra Mission Home
Is the razor wire to keep new Elders in??
The Mission Home is not far from the Area Compound. Three Elders from the USA were on the flight with us from London to Ghana. The Mission Home Missionary Couple expected them to arrive three days earlier, but after waiting for them for two hours at the airport, they left. They returned to wait at the airport on Monday night, but again the Elders didnít arrive. They called Salt Lake, and were told, mysteriously, that the Elders were arriving later in the month. Elder Skelton, who arrived to pick us up, took the three Elders to the Mission Home. Even though it was very late, the President and several Elders came outside to warmly greet them. We took this picture of the Mission Home a few days later while out exploring.

Grape juice in 4 languages Favorite products
As Bro. Shakespeare said,
"Grape juice by any other name..."
Favorite products

At the Post Office Internet Cafe
At the Post Office An Internet Cafe
(yellow sign)
The Skeltons told us they prefer to use this Post Office near the airport rather than Pouch Mail. The mail is taken from the boxes and put directly on the appropriate plane. Their children in England receive letters within two or three days. Sister Markham wrote Willie, Matt and Melanie to see how long it would take to arrive. The Post Office was very quiet. No one was in line. Perhaps that was because the only way to get to this particular Post Office is to pay for parking (about 30 cents US) at the airport and drive through the parking lot to the Post Office. This mysterious telephone pole (below) is outside the post office. Land lines are not reliable in Accra. We upload information to our web site from an Internet Cafť.

A good mom Telephone pole
A good mom is easy to find in Ghana ...but land lines are not too reliable!
A common sight is a beautiful woman with a load on her head. Another common sight is a woman carrying a baby on her back. I was lucky to snap this shot as we drove by. These women can hurry across an intersection with the utmost of grace. We love to see them. Men also carry loads. I have seen men with children, but they carry them the way I carry them.

Church at Madina Church in Madina
Church at Madina Ward Street sign for the church
We traveled to Church in Madina with the Skeltons for our first Sunday. We thought the meetings were great. One of Sister Markhamís comments in Relief Society was translated into Fanti. Sister Skelton leaned over and told her it was because they wanted to make sure all the women understood it. At the time Sister Markham was flattered. Later she learned they have great difficultly understanding American accent. Sister Skelton, who is British, is easily understood, however. It was Fatherís Day. In Sacrament Meeting all the Primary Children sang, ďIím So Glad When Daddy Comes Home.Ē

View from Madina Chapel second floor Lunch
View from the Madina Chapel second floor Elder Markham cooked lunch after church
Hey--at least it is not toasted cheese
sandwiches and chicken noodle soup!

We have been warned that weevils can be found anywhere. Ben bought a box of macaroni and cheese at the store the day before. We shouldnít have been surprised that the weevils beat us to it. Deciding we didnít need their added protein, we strained them out. Do to Julieís vast experience with weevil infestations in the States, all our boxes of food are now safely in the plastic storage bags we packed our clothing in.

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