Welcome to Ben and Julie's Missionary Page
December 2004 Update

This Month's Features:
We've Grown Accustomed to You Now
Missionary Life in West Africa

Clean Water for Ghanaians
Click to jump directly to Clean Water

The Christmas Lighting
of the Accra Temple Grounds

Click to jump directly to Temple Grounds Christmas Lights.

We hear that it is very cold and snowy at our home in Provo!

Flowers at Church
But in Ghana, we see flowers like this at church.

To see more flowers and plants we found
this month click on the button below.

Six months ago we were trying to figure out what we could cook and eat in Ghana. Now we see a vegetable and fruit stand and we not only recognize everything, we have purchased, cooked and/or eaten it all. Sister Markham decided she likes plantains so much she has started buying and cooking them for us. There is a bit of an art at picking the right shade of green on the outside to find the best subtle pink fruit inside that will fry up nice and golden. She about has this down. Expect her to learn the plantain delivery schedule at Wal-Mart so she can get the good ones when she is back in Provo!
Raw Plantain Plantain Cooking
There are many ways to cook plantain. Frying thin slices is our favorite.

Cooking the Other Side Plantain Ready to Eat
It is kind of like frying sausages. The finished product is delicious.

Vegetable and Fruit Stand
Sister Walker at a veggie and fruit shop.
Can you identify everything here?
What are the log looking things in the bottom center?
How about the jugs in the top right?
Yams and palm oil!
The green bowling balls are watermelons!
The green pineapples are Cape Coast variety.
They are ripe and ready to eat---very delicious!

Elder Markham's specialty:
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches
Don't worry about Elder Markham--he can still make a great toasted cheese sandwich if he needs a quick meal on Sunday after church.
Toasted Cheese Sandwichs

Comings, Goings, and Gatherings

Recently there have been some significant comings, goings and gatherings for us in Accra. Dale and Sandy Yates from Utah came to visit Dale's brother who happens to be the husband of the U.S. ambassador, Mary Carlin Yates. Dale and Sandy attend church in Utah with Sister Markham's sister Susan. (Another item for our "small world" list.) The Yates were most gracious in offering to bring us some computer related things we needed, and some precious gifts for Sister Markham from her sisters. We helped them connect with church things here in Ghana. While the Yates were still here, we received another "care" package via Molly Cunningham who attends church in Virginia with our son, Sammie. She brought Libby's pumpkin and Stove Top stuffing. The senior sister missionaries had determined those were needed for a planned Thanksgiving dinner. Molly travels in her profession and is significantly more adventurous than the typical senior missionary couple. We were able vicariously enjoy some of her activities. She left some good photographs on our hard drive which we are using in this update. Thanks, Molly! She attended church with us both weekends she was here.

In the first week of December, Elder and Sister Walker completed their mission and returned to North Carolina. These were the first Area Missionaries (ones we see every day) to leave since we have been here. The bond that grows while working together as missionaries in Ghana is wonderful. It was very difficult to say good-bye, so we opted for "see y'all a little later!" Elder Markham burned a CD (thanks to the blank CDs the Yates brought) of Elder Walker's photgraphs for him to carry home. The Walkers were humanitarian service missionaries who spent a lot of time in villages. Several pictures on this update come from Elder Walker's collection. He gave Elder Markham permission to use them. Thanks, Derl.

These events all helped us to realize that the "we're new here" tag no longer applies. We have survived start-up quite nicely. Now it is time to lengthen the stride and quicken the pace!

Dale and Sandy Yates
Sister Markham beams over her "special" gift
hand delivered by Dale and Sandy Yates
from Centerville, Utah.

Molly Cunningham
Molly Cunningham and Elder Markham
at an Oriental restaurant. (above)
Molly's opinion of the popular
non-alcoholic health drink, Malta. (right)
Molly's vote on malta

Vendor prepares coconut Fresh coconut milk
This vendor is preparing a fresh
coconut drink for Molly.
She likes it...but how could she not
like it with the vendor (and his machete)
right there watching?

Thanksgiving 2004
Thanksgiving Dinner 2004 at the Whisenants
left to right: Markhams, Walkers, Findlays, Nobles, Armstrongs, Whisenants

Farewell Luncheon for the Walkers
Farewell Luncheon for the Walkers
Standing from left: Findlays—humanitarian (recently evacuated from Ivory Coast);
Markhams—auditor-trainers; Skeltons—executive secretary to Area Presidency;
Whisenants—Public Affairs. Sitting from left: Armstrongs—Family History;
Walkers—humanitarian; Merrills—Medical director.

Being a Missionary is Fun To Do

Our primary assignment is to train audit committees in Stakes and Districts (groups of congregations) regarding the internal audit process of financial matters for local congregations. This month Brother Baddoo, our Ghanaian assistant, had a great idea about how to motivate audit committees in an area that needs much improvement. The idea created an excellent venue to distribute some resource materials Elder Markham was working on. Sister Markham put the packages together in a nice looking booklet using spiral binding. We love it when a good idea comes together! The LUAT Team
The LUAT Team:
Brother Clement Baddoo, Sister Markham,
and Elder Markham.

Working with a Clerk Computer Resource
Elder Markham works with a clerk, Fifi,
preparing an old account to be closed.
As a sideline, Elder Markham helps
other senior missionaries with computers.
It's a tough job, but someone has to do it!

Sister Markham Does Family History Sister Markham's passion for Family History work is alive and well in West Africa. She volunteers us and our laptop computers to assist our friends the Armstrongs whenever possible. They go to wards and branches to do hands-on training with leaders, teaching how to get names ready to submit to the temple. Names and dates before 1950 are often only avaiable from memories of family members or of village elders. Just like we have seen in Anglo-European genealogy, miracles happen and ancestors get found. We have heard many testimonies from people who, years before they heard about the Church and Temple work, felt a great desire to go to their home villages and gather family names and dates from sources who were soon to be gone. Elijah is "alive" and well in spirit in West Africa.

A Sunday at Ashaiman Ward with the Armstrongs
Photos by Molly

Ashaiman Ward The Big Tin Awning
Ashaiman Ward is 15 miles from Accra.
They meet in a rented facility.
There is very limited parking (shown here)
but a major Tro-Tro terminal is nearby.
There are small open rooms forming
a square around a large courtyard.
A tin awning and canvas flys provide
shade for the central meeting area.

Classrooms Organist
The classrooms are mostly open to
the courtyard. There are a few lights
and some fans for ventilation.
Elder Jubber was the organist.
He was evacuated 8 days earlier from
Ivory Coast via an Italian cargo plane.
He has been CALLED TO SERVE,
so no big fuss, the work goes on!

Elder Armstrong with Laptop Sister Armstrong with Paper
Elder Armstrong runs Temple Ready software
for members with existing PAF files.
Sister Armstrong helps first timers
start with a paper Family Group Sheet.

Laptops Under Tin
Three Laptops Under a Tin Roof
Elijah must be proud!!
Nice pics Molly, thanks!

Some Pictures from Elder Derl Walker's Collection

Education of the children in Ghana is an issue. The government has made primary education compulsory, but doesn't have the money to fund it, so parents must pay hefty school fees. The more you can pay, the better the education. The infrastructure is in poor shape, but recent economic gains have allowed channeling of some funding to build new schools. Still, somehow, most children are in school, and there are many dedicated educators helping them along. Students in a Classroom
Students in a Classroom

School Yard School Teachers
School yard School teachers

Election Posters
Election Posters
On December 7th, Ghanaians voted in a peaceful, democratic election for their president and parliament. This is only the fourth such election in the history of Ghana. The incumbent president, John Kufuor, was re-elected. Many believe he will continue solid progress in improving the economy of Ghana. This country is a model for others in West Africa.

Clean Water for Ghanaians

Bore Hole in a Village
Bore Hole in a Village

Click the button to learn more
about Clean Water for Ghanaians.

Bath Time in the Village
One Last Thank You to Derl and Erna Walker
from Healthier and Cleaner Children in Ghana!!
Nice pics Derl, thanks!

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It is time for the shop/sign of the month contest.
Click below to see this month's results.

Some Fun Around Ghana

Momma with Fuel and Baby Turkey with Baby
Most Ghanaian moms carry a baby
on their back while doing daily
chores like gathering fuel.
This must be a Ghanaian Turkey!

Emma Baddoo Abankwa Twins
This is beautiful little Emma Baddoo.
Her dad, Johnny, works in church finance,
and her grandpa, Clement, is our assistant.
Bishop Abankwa's wife recently had twins.
They were a pleasant surprize,
as their only other sibling is 13.

Nancy Owusu Nancy Owusu is the Relief Society President in the ward we attend. Sister Markham really likes her. Sister Owusu is very solid in the gospel and a great teacher. During a lesson on fasting, some poorer members in the group asked if it was OK to just fast, but not give an offering because they were so poor. With true love, Nancy responded, "Fasting was not about food or money. How can we expect the Lord to care for us, if we are not caring for those around us?"

Missionaries are wonderful anywhere you meet them. Here in Ghana the blend of nationalities and backgrounds is amazing. The gospel and their callings bond them together almost instantly. The Elders at the right are: Wilson from Utah, Korangteng from Ghana, Gould from Wales, and Genaw from Michigan. Elders Gould and Genaw were among the 38 non-African missionaries evacuated from Ivory Coast. President Gay in Ghana had been praying for more Anglo Elders, but he never expected 38 at once. Four Fine Elders

Two Fine Sisters P-Day Couple
Sister Amantchi from Dublin, Ireland,
and Sister Uulenga from Namibia
A senior couple on P-Day

Elder and Sister Moore Elder and Sister Moore had dinner with us in Accra. They are MTC classmates of ours from Salt Lake City. After six months and two robberies in Nigeria, they are being transferred (not at their request) to Washington DC North Mission. They will serve in downtown Baltimore which is much safer!! It was fun to see them at the temple in Ghana before they leave Africa.

Christmas Lights at the Accra Temple Grounds

As a 'Gift to the People of Ghana' the Church decorated the grounds around the Accra Temple with Christmas lights and a beautiful nativity scene. The grounds are open for visitors during the evenings. The lighting ceremony was held on December 11 with nearly 3000 people in attendance. Most were members, but many guests and dignitaries were also present. The Christmas decorations are some of the best ever in Ghana. A choir of 130 local members provided the music. The profile of the Church in Ghana has been raised another step.

We had fun watching excitment build with the preparations and planning. The only hitch was the arrival of Mary and Joseph for the nativity. The crates from Utah were so large that Lufthansa Airlines had trouble air freighting them from Europe to Africa. No problem, the Christiansborg Stake President and his wife, Richard and Emelia Ahadjie, stepped in. They donned robes and used a white 'resusci-baby' that the Area Medical Directors have for training they give at local hospitals. The airline promises that the permanent figures will be here soon, so all is well. As we arrived at the parking lot for the lighting event and stepped out of our car, we almost expected it to be cold like Salt Lake City or Washington, DC. It was 90 degrees. But the spirit was there to make the event a wonderful success.

Frank Osei-Tawiah
Frank Osei-Tawiah is head of Security
for the Area. Security is very busy as the
Temple complex is open to all visitors
for the first time since the Temple
open house last January.

The First Step was Raising the Christmas Tree

Many hands make lights work!

Shaping the Tree Topping the Tree
Shaping the Tree with Lights Jimmy Walters Ephraim, in the bucket lift,
backed by a Golden Angel,
tops the tree.

It Looks Good Job Well Done
It Looks Good Job Well Done

Stringing Lights Wrapping Palm Trees
Stringing lights is fun to do! The Christmas Palms

Lighted Christmas Tree
The results are beautiful.
This is the temple view
from one of Accra's major thoroughfares,
Independence Avenue.

Nativity Scene Nativity with Wise Man
The 'live' Mary and Joseph was a big hit.
President Richard and Sister Emelia Ahadjie
are very well known and loved by members.
Even a 'Wise Man' visited them.

We left this event with the true spirit of Christmas in our hearts. We had wondered if this would happen while far away from family, in a very different culture and climate. The evening was very well planned. The music, messages, and lights were impressive. We saw many Ghanaian Saints beaming with pride. But what touched our hearts the most was to see so many church leaders and employees from all over Ghana--Takoradi, Kumasi, Asamankase, Accra, etc.--that we now know and love. In our short time here we have been accepted and welcomed as we do our work. People like us. They want us to meet their families. We feel like we belong to something special. Christmas in Ghana is going to be fine. Richard Dadzie Family
Richard Dadzie Family from Madina

Joshua and Friend Jimmy and Augustus
Joshua Akomdo and Friend
from Lartebiokorshie
Augustus Dadzie and Jimmy Ephraim
standing in front of the Christmas tree
they helped build.

Johnny Baddoo and Family Sister Markham with Emma
Johnny Baddoo and Family--
Emma, the baby, is one month old
and featured above as a newborn.
Give the baby back, Sister Markham!
She is cute, but you can't keep her.

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More Pictures of the Temple

Temple Entrance Couple from Nigeria
Temple Entrance Paul and Grace on their sealing day.
They were married a week before in Nigeria.

Temple Temple

Accra Temple
The Accra Ghana Temple Silhouetted Against a Buttermilk Sky

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