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: http://ldsghanamtc.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ghana MTC Slideshow of 22 August 2014 Group

MTC Presidency Counselors Are From Local Wards

L to R:  President Obeng (1st counselor), President Robison, and President Acquaye (2nd Counselor)

President Martin A. Obeng, age 55, is from the Adenta 2nd Ward, Adenta Stake and has been serving in this calling for 2 1/2 years.  He was baptized in 1994 and was introduced to the Church by his wife.  She was baptized four years prior and had been a Muslim.  He is a professional teacher and social worker and grew up in Accra.  He and Sister Obeng have one son, Kojo, who is now 26.

President Michael A. Acquaye, age 51, is from the Dansoman Ward in the Kaneshie Stake and has been serving in this calling for a year.  He was baptized in 1997 and joined in the Dansoman Ward.  He was taught the gospel by a senior couple, Elder and Sister Page.  His wife was baptized a year later.  He is a builder in construction management and grew up in Accra as well.  However, he studied French in high school and then learned it well while living for 12 years in Cote D'Ivoire.  He and Sister Acquaye have three children - their oldest son is a returned missionary who served in Cote D'Ivoire, the middle child, a daughter is serving a mission now in Nigeria, and their youngest daughter attends MTC meetings with them.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Elder Yirenya-Tawiah Addresses Largest MTC Group This Year!


Here they are:  the August 22nd group, our largest group to-date.  They leave the MTC next Tuesday and they will be ready.  Today's speaker was Elder Yirenya-Tawiah, an Area Seventy, who is the Area Physical Facilities Manager for the Africa West Area.  He has been serving in his call as an Area Seventy for the past three years.

Pictured in the group with Elder Yirenya-Tawiah are MTC President and wife, President and Sister Robison, Sister Heidi Johnson from Utah, Elder and Sister Malmrose, from Washington State, Brother Eguko, the MTC Manager and 92 missionaries.  These missionaries are from Botswana, Congo, Cote D'Ivoire, DRC, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom and the United States.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"Please, I Will Try." (said the first person baptized in Accra)




  Pricilla Sampson-Davis talks about her seeing a vision in the middle of the day and what she was taught by it.

Priscilla Sampson-Davis, who received her copy of the Book of Mormon in the Netherlands and was the first person baptized in Accra in 1978, told a story that underscores this sense of love that permeates these Saints.

She explained a vision that she had, “One day after having my lunch, it seemed I was in the church in sacrament meeting. I looked and saw somebody in front of the pulpit dressed in white apparel who was beckoning to come. I came up and stood by him and looked at the faces in the congregation. He asked, ‘Do you think they are all happy?’ I said that I thought they were. 

“He asked me to look again, and asked me if now I thought they were all happy. I realized that many of them had their heads bent down. He said, ‘They are illiterate. Wouldn’t you like to help your brothers and sisters so they could join in singing the hymns?’ She answered, ‘Please I will try.”

The vision or dream closed and immediately she started to translate the hymn “Redeemer of Israel.” She showed her work to Brother Joseph W.B. Johnson, who founded congregations in Ghana long before the Church came, and he said her translation was good.She went on to translate the hymns into her native language.

Some time later she was sitting under a mango tree, when she read an article in the Ensign about somebody translating the Book of Mormon into Hawaiian. She thought, if I translated the hymns, couldn’t I also translate the Book of Mormon? She began her work that afternoon. Since then she has gone on to translate the Doctrine & Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, the missionary discussions, five missionary tracts and three film strips—all out of love. “Wouldn’t you like to help your brothers and sisters?” and she answered, “Please, I will try.”

Source:  Meridian Magazine http://ldsmag.com/ldsmag/articles/040112impressions2.html

Sunday, August 24, 2014

What is this African Delicacy Called "Grasscutter?"



Our last visitor to the MTC from the US, Donny Dayton, was bold and ate a bite of "grasscutter" while he was in Ghana.




Our visitor from Utah, Heidi Johnson took an unclose look at grass cutters and saw how they are cooked.





As you can tell from the reaction, I do not think Heidi will be tasting a grasscutter.  We will save that for Donny's next visit.
Mothers!  I would suggest you not let your missionary sons eat grasscutter.

What does Wikipedia say about Grasscutters?  
Greater cane rat (Thryonomys swinderianus) is one of two species of cane rats, a small family of African  rodents.[ The cane rat lives by reed-beds and riverbanks in Africa.   Cane rats can grow to nearly 2 ft in length and weigh a little less than 19 lb. It has rounded ears, a short nose, and coarse bristly hair. Its forefeet are smaller than its hind feet, each with three toes.
Cane rats live in small groups led by a single male. They are nocturnal and make nests from grasses or burrow underground. Individuals of the species may live in excess of four years. If frightened, they grunt and run towards water.
However, the peoples of the region  utilize the cane rat as a food source as bushmeat, considering the meat a delicacy. Consequently, grasscutters (as they are often called in Ghana and other regions of West Africa) are beginning to be raised in cages for sale.

Why Did You Come On A Mission? "Because I Have Faith", She Said.

Sister Robison shared this report from Relief Society today:  "We just finished Relief Society here in the MTC. It's the first of two Sundays with this group of sisters - and I like to help them become unified. I invite them each to share a little bit about themselves.

It turned into a sob fest today. The stories were so touching. Many sisters are the first in the family to serve missions, or the only member. Some have wanted to serve and waited for this moment for years.

One Ghanian sister, Patience Kumedzro, caused us all to pause and think about sacrifice. 

Sister Patience Kumedzro, from Ghana, serving in Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission

She joined the church two years ago and her family is extremely anti. Her sister was a member for a while but decided to stop going because of the family. Sister Kumedzro decided to serve a mission and received her call and assignment. She had to push forward against opposition and discouragement.  

Two days before she was to leave, her family told her she absolutely cannot go on a mission. Her uncle came to the house and told her she would be disowned if she went on a mission - and that she would have to move out of the house.

Sister Kumedzro said her bags were already packed for the mission, but this uncle said she had to take everything out of the house - not even a pin that she touched could be left. So she called a friends and packed everything to leave. Her uncle took a big stick and beat her, told her she was wrong and that the church is evil. But she took her bags and left. She has now been disowned by her family."

When I interviewed Sister Kumedzro the day she arrived,  I asked her why she was serving a mission  She answered that it was because of her faith.   She said "I have found the truth in your Church and the answer to where I am going after this life.  God has healed me.  I am so happy."  

Ghana Is known For Chocolate!



 Heidi Johnson, our US visitor to the MTC reminds us of how much we love chocolate!


Cocoa is the chief agricultural export of  Ghana and the country's main cash crop. Behind  the Ivory Coast,  Ghana is the second largest cocoa exporter in the world. Cocoa cultivation is not native to the country; Ghana's cocoa cultivation, however, is noted within the developing world to be one of the most modeled commodities.  Cocoa has a long production cycle, far longer than many other tropical crops, and new hybrid varieties need over five years to come into production, and a further 10 to 15 years for the tree to reach its full bearing potential

How Do Africans Carry Babies On Their Backs?

 It is practical.

 It is effective.


 Even children can do it!


When carry two, you run out of arms.  That might be why Africans carry things on their heads.


And US visitors appear to be quick learners.

It looks complicated!  It is hard to explain, but the baby is carried on the back with a baby quilt wrapped around the person carrying the baby and the baby..  The baby is swung up onto your back as you lean forward and this the blanket is wrapped around you and the baby together and tied at the front and tucked in under the baby's bottom.  The baby's legs are left out in the open with the feet facing forward and voila!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sister Baidoo Is Married - Now Sister Adjei



One of our MTC teachers, Sister Contance Efua Baidoo, was married today to a man that she has known and dated since 2003.  Eleven years of courtship!

Today Mathias Eguko, the MTC Manager and myself attended the wedding of Sister Constance Baidoo and Brother Ernest Adjei in Dansoman (suburb of Accra).  It was held at the stake center.  The service began at 10 and ended at 1:30 p.m, followed by photos, followed by a reception.  One of the classiest aspects of an African Wedding was the cutting of the cake.  In this ritual, the woman feeds the man the piece of cake that she has cut while they both eat from the same piece.  The bride is counseled to take care of her man by properly feeding him, but said in a very eloquent manner.







Many of the tributes were given a miniature testimonies.  The bridal party and church leaders were invited to sit at what is called a "high table" after the MC called out their name and had them walk up to the table.

The couple will be sealed in the Ghana Temple early next week.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Meet the Current MTC Teachers


Back row:  Left to Right - Brothers Taki, Adams, Afful, Boadi, Owusu, Adu, Opuku, Kotey, Djoussou, Okai, Dadzie.
Front row:  Left to Right - B. Boateng, S. Ampobona, B. Sakpaku, S. Okrah, B. Kyeremateng

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Remembering Your Religion

Unlike the United States where some schools face persecution for using words like Christmas or thinking about using the Lord's prayer, Ghana is very open about its beliefs.

The BYU Magazine in the Spring said"take a drive down the streets of Accra, and it's clear why Ghana has developed a reputation as a religious, tolerant, happy nation:  Christian churches and Muslim mosques sit side by side as peaceful neighbors, and local business names like the pictures below bespeak a pervasive faithful enthusiasm."

Religions: Christian 68.8% (Pentecostal/Charismatic 24.1%, Protestant 18.6%, Catholic 15.1%, other 11%), Muslim 15.9%, traditional 8.5%, other 0.7%, none 6.1%)

It is therefore not usual to find religious sayings on taxis, cars or in the names of businesses.




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What is in Ho (Ghana)?

Ho is a town in Ghana 3 hours North of the MTC  It lies between Mount Adaklu and Mount Galenukui (Togo Atakora Range), and is home to a museum, a cathedral and a large prison.  Ho has a population of 96,213 people.  It was the capital of British Togoland.

Heidi Johnson, our American visitor helping in the MTC this month, ventured up to Ho yesterday for one reason.  She heard there were monkeys and she found them.


Feeding a monkey a banana in Ho

But the MTC Teachers Feast on Waakye






Waakye is a Ghanaian dish of cooked rice and beans. It may be prepared in the home, but is mainly sold by roadside vendors.  This is where the teachers found this particular meal.   It is prepared by boiling the beans and rice together. It is a popular dish in Ghana.
Waakye is mostly eaten for breakfast or lunch. It may be eaten with Kelewele, fried fish, wele, fried plantain, boiled eggs, fried chicken. It originated from the northern parts of Ghana.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Missionaries in MTC Feast on Eba

If we have missionaries from Nigeria and the Congo in the MTC, our cafeteria serves "Eba" at least once during the 11-day cycle.  Today the missionaries were treated to this African favorite.
 Wash first and after because you eat this with your hands.

Voila!  Can I have some too?

Remember to eat this with your right hand.

Ẹbà is a staple food eaten in West Africa,  particularly in the Southern parts of Nigeria  made from cassava  (manioc) flour, known in West Africa as gari.

To make ẹbà, gari flour (which should be further pounded or ground if not already 'fine') is mixed into hot water and stirred well with a large wooden spoon until it becomes like a firm dough, firmer than, say,  mashed potatoes,  so it can be rolled into a ball and can keep its shape.

To eat, a small amount of ẹbà is taken with the fingers and rolled into a small ball and dipped into the obe (a thick soup) such as okra soup, bitter leaf  (ewurò) soup or pepper soup (ọbẹ ata or efo depending on dialect) with either okro, ogbono (Igbo)/apon (Yorùbá), or ewédú, meat or fish, stewed vegetables or other sauces such as gbegiri or egusi soup (melon).


Ẹbà is made from dried grated cassava. It can either come as yellow or an offshade of white. The yellow garri is often eaten by the Igbo tribe of Nigeria. It is made from mixing dried grated cassava with palmoil. Gari is very rich in starch and carbohydrate. It is quite heavy as a meal and a staple food of the western Nigerians. It is often eaten with richly made soups and stews, with beef, stockfish or mutton depending on personal taste. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eba)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The World Needs Senior Couples



This picture in front of the Ghana Temple says it all.  Imagine serving 18 months with your eternal companion as you love people into the Church.  Does it get better than this?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What is Banku?



        During the braiding hair experience of Sister Johnson, who is helping out at the MTC, it was mentioned that she had Banku.  When missionaries and teachers at the MTC hear that Banku is being served, they are very pleased.  It is a Ghanian favorite dish.

        Banku is one of the staple foods enjoyed by all tribes inhabiting Ghana. It is prepared by mixing fermented corn and cassava dough in varied proportions. The actual proportion for combining the two different kinds of dough is not specified in any banku recipe and most people vary it according to their taste.

        The actual process of preparing the banku is not complex. It involves mixing the two kinds of dough thoroughly until it results in a smooth white paste. The paste is then cooked over fire until it hardens and the entire dough gets cooked. A dish of banku can be made in 45 minutes on an average. The dough also needs constant stirring while being cooked in order to avoid lumps within the cooked banku. The lukewarm banku is fashioned into rough balls before being served.

        Kenkey, another popular staple is a variation of banku which is left half cooked and then steamed while wrapped in banana leaves.

History Of The Banku Recipe

       There is no recorded or documented history for the banku recipe in Ghana. The food has been eaten traditionally and can be traced back to the tribes residing near the Voltas river. The Ewes have been credited with the origin of the first banku recipe although it is enjoyed by almost all the tribes of Ghana.




The above dish is a photo of the actual plate of "banku" served to Sister Johnson last Friday.

Ingredients And Banku Recipe

       Banku resembles the fufu and can be made with unequal parts of fermented corn and cassava dough mixed together. No other ingredients are added to the banku which imbibes the taste of the soup or the stew that is eaten along with it.

      The procedure of preparing the staple according to the traditional banku recipe is quite simple too. The first step involves mixing a little warm water with corn flour and grated cassava and kneading properly to create an uniform mixture. The smooth paste is then covered with a clean piece of cloth and left to stand for 2-3 days in a warm area. The banku mixture will take a longer time to ferment in cooler areas. A slight rising of the dough along with a sour smell indicate that the fermentation has taken place. The whitish color turns slightly gray after this process and needs to be kneaded thoroughly again.

      Boiling water in a large pot is next with the dough being added to the pot and stirred vigorously from time to time. Cooking takes place until the banku stiffens into a fufu like consistency when it is removed from the flame and rolled into rough balls. It is usually eaten warm or in a lukewarm condition.

Ghana MTC Slideshow of 8 August 2014 Group

What are the faces of Ghana?

When you visit Ghana, what do you acquire African Eyes?  Do you appreciate what you see in the faces of Ghana?  Here, there is beauty all around.




Batik, Beads or Both?

Today we took Elder and Sister Malmrose and Sister Heidi Johnson to Esther's home to make batik table cloths.






Et voila, our table cloth.  When it dries it will be "Tiffany Blue" - our favorite.

Then we headed over to TK beads to introduce the group to the science of bead making.





We want to purchase some of these to put in a walkway back home.






Do Those Yellow Vests Represent the Mormons or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?



Members and missionaries throughout Africa united today, August 17th, in the all African Helping Hands Service Project.  Even the temple was closed so that members could participate.  And yes, on 60 minutes after Hurricane Katrina, it was reported that primarily two groups turned out:  the Mormons and the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.