Welcome to Ben and Julie's Missionary Page
August 2005 Update

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Some things remind us that we are half way around the world...
Temple Painted on Ostrich Egg

Our friends, Elder and Sister Flerchinger, are new Temple Missionaries. As they were getting acquainted with life in Ghana, they became intrigued with fresh ostrich eggs in a local market, so they bought one. Sister Flerchinger thought it could become a beautiful decoration. With the help of a temple custodian, a hole was drilled and the contents removed. (The Flerchingers enjoyed very tasty scrambled eggs for a week from one egg.) A local member and artist, Fojig, was commissioned to paint the egg. What to paint? Of course a temple scene! This is definitely a unique African souvenir. (Sister Flerchinger, thanks for the picture.)

... but we are also reminded how small the world is made through the Church.
Cousin Doug with Faustina

Sister Markham's first cousin, Doug Smith, and his wife, VJ, were recently in London. They picked up their daughter, Hayley, who had been in London as a teaching assistant in a BYU study abroad program. That Sunday at church they met a sister on holiday from Accra, Ghana. VJ said, "Doug, isn't your cousin a missionary in Ghana?" Then she turned to the woman and said, "Do you know Sister Markham?" Faustina replied, "Auntie Julie? Auntie Julie! She is one of my best friends." The sister is our good friend and 'cultural advisor,' Faustina Otoo, and we missed her dearly while she was gone for six weeks this summer. Auntie Faustie, as we call her, is a long time Church member and employee who is very helpful to obruni missionaries. The picture is of Faustina, Doug, Francis (Faustina's friend in London), and Hayley. (VJ, thanks for the picture. We count this as a tender mercy.)

Web Site Update Table of Contents
The months of July and early August were full of activity. The highlight was President Hinckley's visit to Nigeria to dedicate the Aba Temple. Several of our associates were there on assignment, so we are able to document the event in absentia. In mid-July a group of missionaries made a quick trip to Mole National Park. We opted out of the trip, but we loved the pictures. Several volunteers and interns who had been working in Ghana for the summer finished their adventures in early August. Some offered us copies of their digital pictures and stories about their experiences. We also 'helped' some young missionaries who needed to free up space on their camera memory cards. We downloaded their pictures and burned CDs for them. With great photographs from so many sources, this is a large and varied update. Hope you enjoy it.

Click the buttons below for this month's features.

More Favorite People
The longer we are here, the more redundant "favorite people" becomes.
Giftie and Family Bradley
Giftie (from August 2004 update)
in her father's wood carving shop
with her mom and brother Godwin
Bradley shakes Elder Markham's hand
His mother, Wendy Asare, is a
Church employee.

Faustina 2 Francisca Kulekor
Faustina Baidoo
While Faustina Otoo was on holiday
in the UK, Faustina Baidoo often
covered the receptionist desk.
We affectionly call her Faustie 2.
Francisca Kulekor
Francisca works in Physical Facilities.
She often covers lunch breaks for
the receptionist. Cooperation among
the employees is very good.

Spouses of the Area Presidency and church employees often work with Ghanaian members to help them develop skills and start micro-businesses. Sister Schultz and Sister Krieger have helped Bernice start a sewing business. She produces handbags and totes of various sizes from Ghanaian fabrics. It is common in Ghana to name children after people who are admired. Bernice's baby boy is named Kreiger-Schultz. Thank goodness he was a boy! Being born on a Wednesday, his day name is Kweku, but he is called Kreiger-Schultz.
Bernice and Krieger-Schultz Sister Child admires little Krieger-Schultz
Bernice and Krieger-Schultz Sister Child admires little Krieger-Schultz

President Olukanni
President Olukanni (center) from Nigeria is a new counselor in the
Area Presidency. He is a very gentle and humble man, who is a strong
leader. President Olukanni will continue to live in Lagos, Nigeria,
so we were fortunate to catch him on a trip to Accra.
He is flanked by Kofi Aggrey, an employee, and Elder McOmber.

Patriarch Joseph William Billy Johnson addressed a fireside of the senior missionary couples in the Accra area. How interesting was his talk? Sister Markham has a watch (carried in her bag) that beeps on the hour. The fireside started at 4:30 pm. She was enthralled by Patriarch Johnson's "pioneer" stories, so when she heard the watch beep, she thought, "It can't be 5:00 already." She was correct, it was 6:00. One of his stories was about his wife leaving him and the children when he was leading several congregations before 1978. He would take his baby son Brigham with him to meetings and sometimes carry the baby on his shoulders when he spoke.
Sisters Markham and Huff with Patriarch Johnson Sisters Markham and Huff with Brigham Johnson
Sisters Markham and Huff
shake the hand of a man who has
communed with Joseph Smith and
Brigham Young.
Sisters Markham and Huff
with Brigham Johnson

From the middle of June through the middle of August, Elder Markham traveled each weekend to train audit committees and auditors in preparation for the August audits. Sister Markham accompanied him on some visits, but he took Brother Clement Baddoo, who speaks the native languages, for some Districts to ensure leaders understood the training.

Training Session in Koforidua
Training Session with Koforidua District
From left: R. K. Otchere; Seth Otchere; Eric Owusu; Pres. Joseph Q. Bamforo;
Clement Baddoo; Isaac Adu Donkor; George Mahu, Jr.; Charles Agyapong; Elder Anderson

Brother and Sister Holbrook The CES Crew
The new CES Director for West Africa
is Brother Gordon Holbrook. He and his
wife are outstanding. She is already
Primary President in North Ridge Ward.
He has been Mission President in Chicago.
CES nurtures the saints in West Africa.
These are the CES Coordinators.
William Ansah-Arthur(Admin Assistant);
William Quee(Sierra Leone);
Tony Kaku(Cape Coast);
Kwesi Badu Mensah(Takoradi);
Emmanuel Nelson(Accra);
David Harris(Liberia); Holbrooks

The 175th Anniversary Celebration

Children's Choir

The stakes and districts in West Africa all held activities for the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Church. Most of these activities included singing, dancing and parades by members through their cities. The message of the blessings from the restoration was proudly presented to all who witnessed these events.
Dancing Parade
Liberian Saints from the refugee camp
performed native dances at a celebration.
Large groups of members gathered in
cities to celebrate by parading with
shirts, hats and banners.
Ghanaians call this a "float."

Central Accra
Central Accra from a 7 Story Parking Garage

Goodbye to the Whisenants

Vern and Donna Whisenant
After completing their work for the Cultural Event and dedication of the
Aba Nigeria Temple, Elder Vern and Sister Donna Whisenant returned home having
served well and faithfully for over 19 months as Area Public Affairs Directors.

Goodbye (sort of) to the Merrills

Dr. Keith and Diane Merrill
Elder (Dr.) Keith and Sister Diane Merrill completed their second consecutive
missionary assignment as Area Medical Directors. They are going home for a
quick reconnection with family, but expect to submit a missionary application
and be back in West Africa by November!

The Temple Complex Choir Sings for Whisenants and Merrills
This clip is about 750kb, so be very patient.

Markham children--be prepared to sing
this with your mother in December.
Music and words attached here).

Elder and Sister Thompson Elder and Sister Lewis
Elder Roger and Sister Colleen Thompson
New Area Executive Secretary
Elder Marv and Sister Pat Lewis
New (additional) Humanitarian Missionaries

Elder and Sister Hales Elder and Sister Markham
Elder Thane and Sister Joan Hales
New Area Public Affairs Directors
Guess who are 'old timers' now?

New Mission Call
Mike and Joan Cannon
Sister Markham's brother Mike and wife Joanie will soon
leave their placid life in New Mexico to serve in Boston.
Mouseover to see the difference.

Melissa and Sammie are married.
Sammie and Melissa
Forever One

Click this link to read a Tribute by Travis: Relationship Revealed
Or click the Wedding Album to jump straight to the photos.

Many people expressed concern about us missing Sammie and Melissa's wedding, as well as the associated family gathering. We were concerned about how our day would go. Fortunately we had a lot of work to do, and we planned to go to the early evening temple session to be in the Celestial room at the approximate time of the sealing. We both tried to have a "gird up your loins" attitude, but we knew the cover on our emotions was fragile. A little after 8:00 am, Sister Markham ran upstairs to take care of some business. Elder and Sister Strong, the humanitarian missionaries showed up at our office with a wedding cake. Thoughtful Sister Strong had decided if there was a wedding, there needed to be cake. She also brought a table cloth, serving utensils, plates, forks and napkins! Upon her return to the office, Sister Markham was totally surprised and deeply touched by this gift. Instead of moping through the day, we partied. Sister Markham did not feed 5,000, but it went a long way.
The Angel of Mercy Sister Markham feeds the first of many
The Angel of Mercy
Sister Strong wins our "tender
mercies" award for the year!
Sister Markham happily feeds
the first of many.

Sunset in Accra
Sunset in Accra During the Rainy Season

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