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

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Wheels for Rebecca!
Rebecca in Her New Wheelchair
Rebecca in Her New Wheelchair

Attempting to add commentary for this picture seems so shallow. Just look at the smile on the face of this six year old and the calluses on her crippled feet and knees from crawling over dirt paths her whole life. To review the Huffs first meeting Rebecca, click the Huffs Meet Rebecca button below. To go directly to pictures of the LDS Charities visit to Dodowa, click the Books and Wheelchairs button below.

Dogon Doors
Dogon Door
Sister Findlay examines an authentic Dogon door
at Abdul's antique shop in Accra.

The Dogon are an interesting people who live in the country of Mali on the edge of the Sahara Desert near Timbuktu. They are farmers, who for generations were cliff dwellers along the sandstone walls of the Bandiagara Escarpment. With more peaceful times, many have now moved to villages in the valleys and on the plateaus. They have a unique culture, art and religion/cosmology. Their cosmology features Sirus the Dog Star. Elder Markham was impressed when he learned that some ethnologists have indicated ancient Dogon traditions teach that Sirus is three stars---two close together and a third that is invisible. Modern telescopes reveal that Sirus is a double star. Very recently radio telescopes have identified a third body of super dense matter in the same area. This could be a link to their far neighbors in ancient Egpyt.

An interesting manifestation of Dogon art, culture, history and religion is the carved wooden doors that were used (still are, in many cases) on the dwellings, public buildings and even graineries. The carvings contain family and village histories, genealogies, religious history, and mythical figures whose purpose is to ward off dangers, another potential connection to ancient Egypt. Their villages and individual homes are often built in the shape of a human body. In addition to the doors, adobe walls often have raised representations. Elder and Sister Findlay did a trek through Dogon country after one of their African missions. They are very knowledgable about Dogon culture, and Sister Findlay loves the doors.

Dogon Door Dogon Door
The wooden pieces of this large door
are held together with metal clips.
Hinge attachment marks are clearly
evident along the edge of the door.

Abdul and Elder Findlay Abdul's Shop
Abdul, the African antique shop owner,
was pleased by Sister Findlay's interest
in the expensive door. Elder Findlay
has the "here we go again" look.
Abdul's shop has many interesting pieces,
such as this crocodile, but our website nudity
standards limit the pictures. The Dogon
door barely passed (no pun intended)!

One other interesting tid bit, Dogon history teaches that when the Dogon arrived at the Bandiagara Escarpment, it was inhabited by a small, red skinned people named Tellem. They no longer exist. Sounds very similar to the Anasazi of the four corners area to me. Some ethnologists believe the deep spirituality and religion of the Dogon came from the Tellem. The picture on the right (from the Findlay's trek) shows a modern Dogon village built on the canyon floor below older cliff dwellings. After an introduction to the Dogon from the Findlays, we have read and observed a little more. Africa has no shortage of interesting things to see and learn about. Dogon Village

Post Scrip on Dogon Doors: Purchase price, the challange of packing and transporting undamaged, and how to display a full sized Dogon door in a typical western home were factors that resulted in Sister Findlay NOT buying Abdul's door. "Maybe next time," was her parting comment.

Dogon Doors can be found in various sizes, newer and antique, both genuine and replicas. Sister Findlay has purchased smaller ones before. Last year, when we first heard the Findlays were talking about Dogon doors, Elder Markham thought Elder Findlay was saying "doggone doors." Fortunately, before putting his foot in his mouth, Elder Markham picked up "Dogon" from Sister Findlay and learned about the Dogon people. While standing by Elder Findlay as Sister Findlay examined this large door, Elder Markham thinks maybe his initial hearing of Elder Findlay might have been correct.

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The Bare Escape or What's More Scary Than a Bath
This little guy came scrambling and yelling into a Chucrh parking lot, apparently seeking sanctuary from his mother with the bucket of Saturday morning bath water. He ran face-to-face into Obruni Effie (a.k.a. Sister Markham) and her camera.

Bather on the Run
The escapee was last seen screaming
and running back to Mom and the bath.

Home Repairs and Contractors

Home Repairs Home Repairs
Jacob(l) and William(r) were contracted
to waterproof (outside) and cosmetically
enhance (inside) this hole where a
wall A/C unit had once existed.
The landlord wanted easy access (no
cement bricks) if the unit were ever
reinstalled. Inside, recessed plywood
covered by wire mesh for mortar was used.

Home Repairs Home Repairs
The approach was creative,
and the work quality was good
by local standards. But the tools
and work practices reflect lack of
training and proverty of most people.
Watching this work made us appreciate
even more what the Church building
program accomplishes both in finished
building quality and in being a role model
for higher standards of craftsmenship.

Count Your Blessings

Polio Polio
Polio is almost a forgotten disease in
North America. The skateboard men of
Ghana remind us how blessed we are.
Many beg all day in heavy traffic.
John, shown here at Sister Markham's
car window, is always happy and friendly.
When he sees Elder Markham alone, he
expresses real concern about "Madame's"
health and well being.

An Audit From Bangui
Perhaps the most isolated branch of the Church in West Africa is little Bangui Branch in landlocked Central African Republic (C.A.R.). The branch has existed for years, but with only one or two visits a year from the Mission President or Church employees, it had never been audited. Since our assignment is improving the quantity and quality of local unit financial audits, getting a French speaking auditor to Bangui has been on our to do list for more than a year. This summer a qualified Church employee from Ivory Coast visited C.A.R. and among other assignments, completed an audit. The official document has a place of honor in our files. By the way, the funds are all accounted for, but several opportunities to improve procedures were identified.

Bangui Audit Report
The First Ever Bangui Branch Audit Report

Sister Markham, Sprinting to the Finish
Anyone who knows Sister Markham realizes she is a very organized person.
She just prefers to work in piles, not files.
Membership Record Piles Fabric Piles
Sister Markham sorts records, then
addresses and stuffs envelopes for
units all over West Africa to help
with membership records. The piles
behind her are a week's work.
In trying to establish the record
for the most yards of African fabric
taken home, Sisters Markham and
Armstrong often have big piles of
beautiful fabric in their offices.

While fabric is normally produced for profit,
this material was produced for prophets.

Prophet Fabric
Sister Markham with Her Prophet Fabric
Religious freedom in Ghana, coupled with the faith and zeal of the people,
creates an openness that is not experienced in most countries.
This fabric was manufactured in Assin Foso for the celebration of the
175th Anniversary of the Church. The Temple Complex Choir women are
having dresses made and the men will have shirts from this material.

The Accra Ghana Temple at Sunset
We recently found these beautiful Temple pictures taken by an unknown
(likely professional, possibly Matt Reier) photographer.
Mouseover to see the sky change.

Accra Temple at Sunset
Sunset at the Accra Ghana Temple

Click the button below to see recent pictures of the Accra Temple taken by Sister Markham.

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