Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 12 & 13 - District Conference, Wearing Your Religion, and Broken Down Car

Its hard to go back and recreate blog posts several days after the fact, so I will try my best. My wonderful wife Katie is blogging every day so that I know what is going on at home, so I need to make sure that I blog every day, at least for her. I need to try and get caught up and then I will be able to resume my regular daily blog posts.

I am throwing in a few random pictures along the way. Andrew and I tried to make tortillas this weekend. They turned out pretty good, except it was hard to find any good butter / margarine. They were edible enough that we will probably make them again.

This weekend was district conference here in Koforidua. The adult session was on Saturday afternoon from 12:30 to 3:00 and the regular session was Sunday morning. Saturday afternoon wasn’t too well attended, but there were quite a few people there. I don’t know if it was the fact that there had been a priesthood leadership meeting right before it, but there were not very women who attended the adult session.

The overarching theme of the conference was families and their importance. It was really great to be reminded of this important principle, especially at a time when I am so far away from my family.

The Sunday morning session was a great experience. We showed up about ten minutes early, but the place was already almost full. Talk about something that we American latter day saints can learn. The importance of being on time. There was one other thing that they did which I had never seen before. The entire audience was signing hymns in preparation for the conference. It appeared that they had been doing it for at least 5 minutes before we got there if not more. The signing really helped to bring the Spirit into the meeting.

For all of you out there who have ever served in the primary, how many of you know the extra verses of “Pop Corn Popping on the Apricot tree?” I didn’t know that there were any, but apparently there are an extra 3 verses that talk about missionaries, going to seminary, and families. And it didn’t appear to be something that just the primary knew. The entire congregation was singing them, along with the mission president, the temple president, and other local church leaders. If and when I get some time, I will try and upload the lyrics to the "new" three verses.

One other thing that I saw firsthand was the notion of “wearing your religion.” I saw this literally. As Andrew and I were sitting there during the conference, they was a sister sitting a few rows up that had on a very unique dress. The material had pictures of all of the latter day prophets up to Gordon B Hinckley. At first, we thought it was an isolated incident, but after the meeting discovered that it was much more than that. There were at least 6 to 8 women who had on the same dress. Come to find out, that a few years ago there was some type of anniversary (not sure it it was 150 years of the church or something related to the relief society), but they had some cloth made and several of the sisters had dresses made. Come to find out, there was even a similar pattern of cloth made (gold instead of blue) and some of the men had shirts made out of it. I now have a greater appreciation for the phrase “wear your religion!!!!!”

So Andrew, the BYU grad that I am here with, has been working on a potential business idea. When he first got here, he noticed how many people walk along side the roads at night. There are no streetlights on most of the roads and the people blend in with the side of the road. Andrew found a report showing that people dying in car accidents kill more people in Africa than Aids. A portion of these people dying in accidents are pedestrians getting hit because the driver didn’t see them. Andrew has the idea of selling some type of reflective slap bracelet as a way to help drivers see these people better.  Saturday evening we went out to a local village to sell some bracelets and conduct some research on how well they might sell. We took with us Chris who is a local member of one of the LDS branches here in Koforidua. In the space of a little over an hour, he was able to see 14 bracelets.

So the past few days one of Burro's cars has been having some trouble. One of the rear tires was making a weird sounds as we drove. It sounded like it might be some bearings. Andrew and I drove it all weekend, without any major problems. There was one time, however, where were were driving slowly and all of a sudden we couldn't move forward. One of the tires had locked up. We were able to put it in reverse and after backing up a little bit, the problem temporarily resolved itself and we were able to continue on. On Sunday evening we had to go pick up our laundry from a sister in one of the branches. We made it to her house ok (although the tire was making a lot of noise), but when we went to drive off, the tire was locked. We tried backing up, but to no avail. We ended up leaving the car there for the night. The next morning, the mechanic went out to fix the tire. One interesting side note. Here in Ghana, the mechanic goes out to your car. Tow trucks don't exist, or don't seem to be used. According to the mechanic, the seal on the axle was broken, and all of the grease leaked out and sand and dirt got in, causing the bearings to freeze. Of all of the places that it could have stopped, this was the best. Had it been at the office, it probably would have been taken out to the village and who knows where it would have been broken down.


maynormom said...

Justin, i've been loving reading ur experiences in Ghana! It is humbling read abt the Saints in Ghana. I remember as a newlywed just having the barest of necessities and life was just so much easier; or at least it's seems that way now. Their lives remind me of "My Turn on Earth": they will bring with them the most important Treasures...nothing to do with our material possessions. I'll be looking forward to the additional verses of "Popcorn Popping". Thanks Again for sharing with the rest of us!

Jennia said...

This just brought back memories of at least one care being broken down at any given time. Good times, good times. Funny how we always seem to be the ones who "discover" the car troubles. . .