This blog covers the years 2014-2016 when we (the Robisons) were at the Ghana MTC. To see the blog covering the period 2016-2018 click on this link:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What to Expect at the Ghana MTC?

Full-time missionaries begin their service at one of the Church's 15 missionary training centers (MTCs) worldwide. The Ghana MTC in West Africa was established in 2002 and is a choice place where staff, teachers, and leaders strive to serve the individual needs of each missionary who comes to receive training.

The length of training for missionaries at the Ghana MTC is 11 days, unless a missionary is called to learn French or English for six weeks.   Each group arrives and departs together. The number of missionaries in a group ranges from 50 to 65,  but can go up to the MTC capacity of 96, with missionaries in the group divided into individual classes consisting of eight to ten missionaries each. 

Missionaries trained at the Ghana MTC come from and serve in a variety of African countries, including Benin, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Togo, Cameroon and South Sudan. Others who are called to serve in Africa come from nations outside of Africa—such as the United States, Great Britain, and the islands of the South Pacific—and come to Ghana for their training. Training is conducted in both English and French for those who already speak those languages, which are the two major mission languages in African nations.    

When should missionaries arrive?

Missionaries should arrive at the Ghana MTC no later than Friday at noon.  Many arrive on Thursday night.  The first Friday is in-take day where missionaries' papers are verified, training materials are explained, medical history is noted, and family history research is augmented.

What is the typical 11-day schedule?

The typical missionary day is filled with class instruction, daily opportunities for teaching progressing investigators, physical exercise and sports, and meals prepared by the wonderful kitchen staff. Weekly Sunday meetings, and devotionals include instruction from members of the Africa West Area Presidency, MTC leaders, and recorded talks by members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Missionaries will also have personal preparation time to read, ponder, and write to family and friends.  

When do these devotionals take place?

The Robisons present the doctrine of Christ in a series of orientation meetings, devotionals and training sessions.  During the welcome meeting, the theme of obedience is introduced with a special focus upon understanding the doctrine.  At the first Sunday night devotional, the themes of faith and repentance are presented.  Covenants and baptism are the topics of the Monday evening temple preparation seminar and the following Sunday the Gift of the Holy Ghost and "Enduring" comprise the wrap-up devotional.

Who attends the general meetings?

All missionaries participate in all the general training, devotionals and training seminars.

Do missionaries need to participate?

The missionary training center experience can be fulfilling and spiritually edifying. Learning to teach the gospel in order to help in the work of establishing the Lord's kingdom throughout the world is a challenging task that will stretch your capacity and capability. The spiritual blessings that accompany this work will bring about great personal growth.

What do missionaries wear?

Missionaries  (elders) wear short-sleeved white shirts, ties, dark slacks, and Church shoes.  The sisters wear most dresses suitable for Church attire.  When attending the temple, the elders wear long-sleeved white shirts.

What happens after the MTC experience?

After 11 short days, each missionary departs the MTC for his/her assigned field of labor.  Except for those serving in Accra, all missionaries depart by plane.

Will missionaries participate in the temple?

Missionaries will also have the opportunity to attend the Accra Ghana Temple  during their stay at the MTC.  Well over 50% of those who enter the MTC have not yet been to the temple.  This experience represents the highlight of their stay at the MTC.

Ghana Pioneer Dr. Kissi Visits Every Ghana MTC Group

Intervew with Dr. Emmanuel Abu Kissi
Recently, Mormon Newsroom visited one of the most accomplished Latter-day Saints in Ghana, Dr. Emmanuel Abu Kissi, a renowned medical practitioner, former lecturer at the University of Ghana Medical School, prominent Church leader and distinguished author. After working as a general surgeon at Korle-Bu Hospital, Kissi and his wife Elizabeth, who is a nurse/midwife, established Deseret Hospital, a medical clinic in Accra.  Dr. Kissi also visits the MTC every other Saturday to counsel with every missionary who will be serving in Ghana about their health.
The more than half-hour interview with the respected father and grandfather brings to light his experience about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has helped him and the people of Ghana.
Background History
Newsroom: Can you tell us briefly about your background?
Dr. Kissi: I was born in Abomosu. I was named after my grandfather who was called Kissi. My father was a farmer. My mother never went to school. I don’t know how it happened, but at one point my father was at the same level of education with his elder brother. When it came to the time for them to continue on at the secondary level, my grandfather asked the two of them to ballot. Whoever won would further his education, since Grandfather did not have enough to pay for the two of them.
My father declined, saying he could not ballot with his elder brother and that his elder brother should carry on with his education. Unfortunately, later on a misfortune befell my uncle and he was killed.
My father served as a ‘foreman’ in the first diamond company at Abomosu.

Church Membership
Newsroom: The records show that you have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 35 years.
Dr. Kissi: Yes, we were baptized into the Church in February, 1979. Fortunately, we have been successful with the Church. The Church has brought so many blessings to Ghana. Sometimes I ask myself, if the Church hadn’t come to Ghana, what would have happened to all the people who have benefitted spiritually and physically to reach the level where they are now? I realize that the Church has brought so many blessings – and I beat my chest and say well, well, well the Lord is great. He has done great things for Ghana.
Newsroom: What moved you to become a Latter-day Saint?
Dr. Kissi: I finished medical school in Ghana in 1969. When I finished medical school, my next object in life was to find a church with teachings I could feel were true. That was very much on my mind. In the 70s I went to England for further training. When I got to England, I said to myself that I was there to do two things. First, I would finish my surgical training. The next thing was to find a church that would be right for me. During those days I had worked myself up religiously. I was very critical when people talked religion. I listened carefully to see if what they were saying made sense. Even when I finished at the university, I studied religion on my own. I bought the books at the University of Ghana bookshop. I educated myself in religion.
When I had the chance to go to England, I took a job near Manchester. My wife was usually at home with the children. The Latter-day Saint missionaries met my wife at home. She had an interesting experience and was excited about their message, but the missionaries told her she would benefit more from the Church if she was with her husband.
She told the missionaries that I usually got home at 9 p.m., so it was not going to be possible for them to meet me since missionaries were expected by their rules to report back at their apartments by 9 p.m. It so happened that one day the missionaries came to the hospital where I worked. Before then my wife had told me about her experience with the Church. So when they later came and shared the story ofJoseph Smith (founder and first worldwide leader of the Church), especially his account of what happened to him, I said I could not reinvent the wheel. I felt Joseph Smith’s experience answered all the questions, so I just needed to do the right thing.
I got everything I could read to find out more about the Church. My wife and I met quite a number of pairs of missionaries. I used to question them a lot. At times they fumbled with answers to my questions. They thought I was throwing dust into their eyes.
Initially I asked them to go back to the mission president (volunteer supervisor of a large group of missionaries) and present the questions which I had. At another point I said to the missionaries, “Get permission from the mission president I would like to write to the prophet (worldwide leader of the Church).” So after all that, when they challenged my wife and me to be baptized and I said yes, they did not believe it. They expected me to say no. They asked, “How can you say you have accepted to be baptized?”
But the truth is that after asking all those questions, one morning I woke up and it was as if something had happened to me. It was like all the questions I had were no longer questions. My conclusion was that the Holy Spirit had come to communicate with me. So I was comfortable and didn’t need to ask further questions.
Educational History
Newsroom: What was your education in Ghana like before you won a scholarship to study in England?
Dr. Kissi: At that time, we had free education. You didn’t pay fees for the subjects you studied. You just bought a few books and that was all.
Professional Practice
Newsroom: What was your professional practice like?
Dr.Kissi: When I was going to Britain, my intention was to live there for a short time. Some of my classmates with whom I came did not return to Ghana. I did not pay school fees. My school fees were paid through the toil of the peasants, and so on. So it was my intention to go to England, learn, then come back and serve my people.
When I was about to return to Ghana, there were many attempts to retain me in Britain. Many people came to me, saying “We want you, we like you, we want you to stay” – and my response was always “Well, you like me, you want me, but my people need me.” I told them that in Britain, medical doctors were all over the place, but in Ghana medical doctors were hard to come by. So I returned to Ghana and took a job as a lecturer at Korle-Bu [University of Ghana Medical School].
Newsroom: For so many years now you have been working as a private practitioner. What inspired you to break into the private sector?
Dr.Kissi: When I came back to Ghana, it got to a point where things were very difficult. Things become unbearable for my wife. There was a time she told me “You call yourself a lecturer at the medical school. When you go to the school you see all the medical students around and you are swollen headed, but when you come home there is no food on the table.” This statement got to me strongly. It was too much for me to take, but it was true. I felt I had paid my dues to the public sector, so I decided to set up a private clinic. Since then I have been practicing privately.
Life Experience
Newsroom: Looking back in life, do you think there is anything you should have done differently?
Dr. Kissi: I have no regrets in life. I feel very much accomplished and I am very grateful for my membership in the Church.
Emmanuel Abu Kissi wrote Walking in the Sand: A History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ghana. At the age of 75, not only does Dr. Kissi continue to serve in the Church, but selflessly devotes his time and energy to the patients at Deseret Hospital, extending a hand of loving service to his Ghanaian fellowmen.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grahams Tour Ghana MTC Six Months After Returning to the US

Six months after their service presiding over the Ghana MTC, President and Sister Stephen Graham were sent by the missionary department to provide training for a newly called mission president in the Ivory Coast, President and Sister Guei.  How wonderful it was to spend time together visiting the MTC and reliving the Graham's fond memories of 2012-2014.  (Pictured above are:  Patrick Appianti, President Graham, Sister Graham, Sister Robison, President Robison, and Cyril Mensah)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Ghana MTC Slideshow of 27 June 2014 Group

This group of 35 missionaries entered the MTC on June 27, 2014 and leave for the missionfield on July 8th. They are our twelfth group of missionaries.

Elder Ben Davis Speaks at July 3rd Area Devotional

This is our 12th group.  Elder Davis is an Area Seventy and is from Cape Coast.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Doing Hair is an Art Form in Ghana

Two members of the local ward have shops at the Aburi Woodcarver Market.  Between their carving time and their selling time, they do each other's hair.  This particular project takes several hours and will last two months.

Where do you stop to eat in Aburi?

You stop at the Hillburi Resort, of course and either order the Mediterranean Pizza or the Obama Burger.  Either choices are great!

Discovering the Woodcarvers Market in Aburi

About an hour north of Accra on Liberation Street is the village of Aburi.  It is known for its botanical gardens, but it also has a great market featuring woodcarvers.  Senior couples seem to prefer the work of Abel (0) 246 20 4042 the best.