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:

Friday, October 31, 2014

What is Cassava?

Here Brother Djoussou feasts on "cassava" which has been prepared outside of the MTC.  It is not served in the MTC, but as you can see here, it has been prepared correctly and he is enjoying it.  You are invited, as he would say.

So what is Cassava, you ask?  Cassava is Ghana’s most highly produced crop and a main staple of the Ghanaian consumer diet, with per capita consumption averaging 148 kilograms per year. While the crop is cultivated in large enough volumes to produce an annual surplus of more than 5.6 million metric tons as of 2010, its commercialization is significantly limited by rapid spoilage upon harvest and a lack of processing capacity close to production areas. Due to these factors, cassava has historically been consumed only in raw or lightly processed form, primarily in staple foods such as gari, fufu, and agbelima.Cassava is the third largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize.

Cassava is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people.  It is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. Nigeria is the world's largest producer of cassava, while Thailand is the largest exporter of dried cassava.

Cassava is classified as sweet or bitter. Farmers often prefer the bitter varieties because they deter pests, animals, and thieves. Like other roots and tubers, both bitter and sweet varieties of cassava contain antinutritional factors and toxins. It must be properly prepared before consumption. Improper preparation of cassava can leave enough residual cyanide  to cause acute cyanide intoxication and goiters, and may even cause ataxia  or partial paralysis.  The more toxic varieties of cassava are a fall-back resource (a "food security crop") in times of famine in some places.

5th Missionary from Professional Lady Golfer's group Arrives at MTC - Forget Me Not

Sister Forget Me Not Mubvumbia, the 206th missionary prepared by the Professional Lady Golfers, CC, Reeve and Lolly, arrived at the Ghana MTC today.  Her mother passed away in 2008, so she was raised by her grandmother.  When she was training to straighten out her name legally at the government offices, since her mother is gone, they registered her as Forget Mubvumbia.  But really she is "Forget Me Not" and will be an outstanding missionary in the Zimbabwe Harare Mission.

Connecting With Elder Hammon's Mother

"On Wednesday, October 29, my 15-year-old daughter Jadi and I flew home to Virginia after speaking at a conference at BYU. While standing in security at the SLC airport, we noticed a lean, tall young man in a dark suit saying goodbye to whom we assumed was his family. After a few final hugs, he joined us in the line.

I turned to Jadi. "That young man is going on a mission."
"How do you know?"
"Look at his mom." 
Just a few feet away, a woman stood between a man and a young adult, perhaps another son. The woman wiped tears from her eyes, but did so without looking away for even a second.  Fortunately, though the mother might not agree, the line was short and we were quickly on the other side looking back.  I watched her for as long as I could and imagined her mixed salad of emotions: sadness, pride (the good kind), joy, satisfaction, loss and longing.

Then, I did what I hope someone would do for my own child.
"Hello there," I said to the young man after we'd all collected our things from the security belt. He was standing alone and seriously studying his boarding pass. 
"Are you heading on a mission?"
His eyes lit up. "Yes, I am."
"Where to?"
"Ghana, the Kumasi mission." (He really said 'Benin Cotonou')

We discussed his trip through Chicago and, eventually, to the Mission Training Center in Accra. As he spoke, I looked him in the eye and saw myself two decades ago making the long journey to an unfamiliar land and language.
"Can I tell you something? I'm just so happy for you." As soon as I'd said the words, I realized I hadn't said them to be nice, I was genuinely thrilled for his adventures ahead.
We talked briefly about the country and he beamed with enthusiasm. When he struggled to find words, which happened more than once, he said simply, "I'm really excited."
As I said goodbye, I shook his hand and reminded him what he surely already knows. "The Lord is going to take care of you, Elder. He loves you. And He's grateful for your service."
"I know," he said with a nervous smile.
"And trust me, work hard, because it's going to go very, very fast."
"I know," he said, again.

We said farewell and I caught up with my daughter. "That one is going to be a great missionary," I told her.  Then we slowly walked away and I looked back to see the elder check his boarding pass one final time and begin his best two years.  If his mother stumbles across this account of our brief exchange, and I can only hope it is shared online until it finds her, she should know that her son has faith in his eyes and fire in his bones. Though our conversation was brief, he represented his family, his faith and the Savior he serves exceptionally well.  And though I forgot his name by the time our planes went in different directions and I could sit to share my thoughts, I'll never forget the impression that your son loves God, and how He must love him, too!  While the days at home may sometimes crawl, before this tearful mother knows it, this powerful missionary will be walking back to her side of security and back into her arms.  I hope she trusts that in the meantime, he is in the Savior's."  (Note:  his name is Elder Brandon Hammons from Payson, Utah)
Laura Leigh
"Before you can change your life you need to change your heart

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What does a Missionary Apartment in Ghana Look Like?

Meet Elder Caldwell and Elder Mukendi.  Elder Caldwell is from West Valley in Utah and Elder Mukendi is a French-speaking elder from the DR Congo who learned English in the MTC.

Elder Caldwell sleeps here and is careful to use his mosquito net at night.

Elder Mukendi sleeps here and he too has an effective mosquito net.

The kitchen is of ample size and in a room of its own.

This is the study room where the Elders eat and prepare lessons.

Each missionary apartment has an ample inventory of brochures and Books of Mormon.

In another room, each Elder has his own desk for personal study.  This particular apartment is across the street from the MTC.  It has had missionaries for 8 years and from time to time houses four elders.  It has a bedroom with four beds, a kitchen, two study rooms and two bathrooms.

Friday, October 24, 2014

First General Authority from Australia Speaks at MTC

Elder Terence M. Vinson was sustained a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy on April 6, 2013.  He is the first General Authority from Australia and is the first counselor in the Africa West Area.  Yesterday, he  and Sister Vinson spoke to the 66 missionaries being trained in the Ghana MTC.

In 1974, Elder Vinson received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and statistics from SydneyUniversity with an education and teaching diploma from Sydney Teachers College.   In 1990, he received a financial planning diploma from Deakin University and a master’s degree in applied finance in 1996 from Macquarie University.  His career has involved teaching math, training, and lecturing at universities.  His main occupation for the last 23 years has been as a financial adviser.  He recently retired as joint CEO and chairman of Northhaven Wealth Management.  He joined the Church in 1974 shortly after his marriage to Kay Ann Carden that same year.  

Elder Vinson was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in March 1951. They are the parents of six children and reside in Sydney, Australia when not on assignment in Africa.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hole for Foundation of New Ghana MTC Gets Deeper

This is where the residence hall will be that houses 320 missionaries in the new Ghana MTC.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mission Presidents Gather for Fall Seminar

Pictured above are the mission president couples from the Africa West Area including the Area Presidency and their wives and the MTC president and his wife.  The seminar was held October 14-17 at the Royal Senchi Resort in Ghana.  Included in the gathering were the 5 mission presidents from Nigeria, the 4 from Ghana, the 2 from Ivory Coast and the mission president from Benin Cotonou.

Preparing the Youth of Ghana for Missions

News Release —  16 October 2014

The Strength of the Youth in Ghana

Accra — More than 600 young members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ages 14-18, spent five days at the Okuapemman School near the city of Akropon Akuapem, participating in the first “For the Strength of Youth” conference in Ghana.
Themed “Come unto Christ,” the youth event took place during school vacation when the school campus was available to house the young men and young women, counselors and leaders from many Latter-day Saint congregations in Accra and its surrounding communities.

Classes, inspiring talks and activities all contributed to promoting unity and teamwork as well as reinforcing important doctrines and principles of the Church, which helped strengthen those who attended.

During the conference, 10 to 12 youth were assigned to each counselor and then group names and group scriptures were chosen. Jessica Addo, one of the youth participants, said her group chose “Humility” as their name.

“We stand for humility,” Jessica said.  “It is a sign of strength.  When others hear our name, we want them to think of our standards, our principles, and that we follow Jesus Christ always.”
Groups were encouraged to make commitments in physical, mental, social, and spiritual areas. A follow-up activity, called “Taking It Home,” reminded participants to do their part in keeping their commitments and helping other members of the group to keep theirs.

When asked what they were enjoying about the conference, many participants mentioned the opportunity to meet new friends, a favorite class, uplifting talks, and helpful instruction from speakers.

 LeGrand R. Curtis, senior leader of the Church in the West Africa area, encouraged the young men and women to become better acquainted with Christ, pointing out the areas which need the most concentration, such as scripture study, attending church and seminary, praying and repenting.
Raymond Egbo, session co-director, taught the youth about the importance of dressing modestly, acting wisely and using appropriate words and actions at all times, knowing that friends closely watch the choices they make and the way they live.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ebola Tragedy Continues

Here is the baptismal picture of Simon Kamara - the father - with his wife and children. Simon passed away yesterday. His wife passed away two weeks ago. The baby passed away two days ago. A face and a name on Ebola.

This tragedy happened in Sierra Leone.  The dreaded ebola disease is confined to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.


Ebola is a viral disease that is thought to be transmitted from infected bats to monkeys, gorillas and humans.  The current epidemic has a fatality rate of 48% not the 90% reported in the media.  The risk of acquiring infection is low and can essentially be eliminated by not coming into contact with an ill person’s blood or bodily fluids, infected bush meat or sick wildlife, (especially bats, monkeys and gorillas). This is NOT an airborne virus



There are no current cases of Ebola in areas where our missionaries are serving at the present time.  No missionary will become ill with Ebola if they do not come in contact with the body fluids of someone who is ill with Ebola.  With proper precautions all will be safe.