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, December 31, 2014

New Years Eve In Ghana

New Year's Eve is the last day of the year, December 31. In many Ghana New Year's Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Many people attend a watchnight service at Church. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into January 1, New Year's Day.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Harmatton Has Arrived Again in Africa

When we arrived in Ghana last January, we wondered if we would ever see blue skies.  Then in March we did.  Now we are back to this condition again, which is called "harmatton."  The Harmattan is a cold-dry and dusty trade wind, blowing over the West African subregion including Ghana. This northeasterly wind blows from the Sahara Desert into the Gulf of Guinea between the end of November and the middle of March (winter). The name comes from or is related to an Akan cognate.
This photo was taken in the car today on our way back from the Temple in Accra.

New MTC Construction Progress

As of the last week of the year, progress continues to be made on the new MTC.  Now the footings for the walls in the class room building are being installed.  However since this is the last week of the year, there has not been much activity since before Christmas.  Things will recommence in earnest next week.

Monday, December 29, 2014

MTC Presidency 2014-2015

(Left to Right:  First Counselor - President Obeng; MTC President - President Robison; Second Counselor - President Acquaye)

How do you connect with family while on a mission?

They make a nativity video for you and upload it on youtube:

Here is the one they did in 2011.

And during our mission in 2006

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

What is Christmas Like in the Ghana MTC?

First, the missionaries played games all morning.  This is called "there is a fire on the mountain, run, run, run (like Duck Duck Goose).  They love games like this.
The missionaries were served a great Christmas dinner by the senior couples.

We loved hosting over 90 people for dinner on Christmas Day.
Each of the missionaries enjoyed their Christmas day.
Each of the missionaries was given a journal and the elders were given a white baptism tie (the Sisters were given bracelets)

Even though they are far from home, senior couples bring the love of their homes to the people they serve in Africa.  We love Senior Couples!
The Africa West Area President, Elder Curtis and his wife (and their son Sam and his family) joined the missionaries on Christmas Day for a very special Area Devotional.

My Birthday Comes On Christmas

Elder Malmrose is a gem...Gerald E. Malmrose.  His father was born 100 years ago today.  In the Malmrose family every Christmas, they would sing a Spike Jones song entitled "My Birthday Comes On Christmas."  To the delight of the missionaries in the MTC on Christmas and the Africa West Area Senior Couples who gathered to celebrate Christmas together this day, Elder Malmrose "performed" his family tradition.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

He Is The Gift

This video has been viewed nearly 20 million times in nearly 200 countries this Christmas Season.  Merry Christmas to All!

The Missionaries Hasten The Work

 A little while ago, we had Elder Kamisese from Polynesia in the MTC.  Here is a December 24th photo showing what the work is like out in the field (Ghana Accra West Mission).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Robisons at the Ghana MTC Wish Each of You a Very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Traditons in Cote D'Ivoire, Benin and Togo

Learning English in the Ghana MTC are two districts.  One group is from Madagascar and the other from Cote d'Ivoire.  What is Christmas like in Cote d'Ivoire or in Benin, where some of them come from.

In Côte d’Ivoire and Benin, like in Ghana, Christmas celebrations mostly focus on the religious aspects of the holiday.  The commercialization is often absent.

The Ivorian Christmas is described as “discrete” by rural church representatives.  Midnight Mass is central to the Christmas celebration, and those who can afford to gather family for a holiday feast.

In Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire , Christmas is mostly a time when Ivorian youth indulge in heavy partying.  In the past people would return to their village to spend Christmas and the New Year with family.  Today, celebrations have become more urban.  On December 25th and on January 1st, familes who are in the same city gather at the home of an elder to eat and drink.  During the season when partying, the youth spend most of their time in bars without roofs called “maquis” and in night clubs.

Religious sermons dominate Christmas celebrations in Benin.  Some villages include dancing and masquerade parties similar to Nigeria.

Over 40% of the people in Togo are Christians.  French Christmas traditions are common.  Unlike other West African countries, Santa Claus and Christmas trees have become part of tradition.  Only Christmas dishes remain Togolese.

Christmas Traditions in Madagascar

We have a large district from Madagascar in the MTC for six weeks.  They are spending Christmas with us.  Madagascar is an Island off the east coast of Africa, so it is very warm at Christmas time! Even though it's hot, common decorations include holly, robins and snow even though none of them exist in Madagascar!

The official language of Madagascar is Malagasy. 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year' in Malagasy is 'Mirary Krismasy sambatra sy Taona vaovao tonga lafatra ho anao'.

Most Malagasy's only exchange small presents. In Madagascar, Santa Claus is called 'Dadabe Noely'.

Most people go to Church on Christmas Eve in Madagascar. The services start about 5:00 p.m. and lasts until after midnight! Different groups in the Church, especially children, perform songs and plays celebrating the birth of Jesus. People also go to Church on Christmas Day as well.

After the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service, churches give out sweets or biscuits to the people in the Church.

Christmas Traditions in Nigeria

Christmas in Nigeria is a family event, a time when lots of family members come together to celebrate and have fun. Most families, that live in cities, travel to the villages where their grandparents and older relatives live.

Many different languages are spoken in Nigeria. In Hausa Happy/Merry Christmas is 'barka dà Kirsìmatì'; in Yoruba it's 'E ku odun, e ku iye'dun'; in Fulani it's 'Jabbama be salla Kirismati'; in Igbo (Ibo) 'E keresimesi Oma'; in Ibibio 'Idara ukapade isua' and it's Edo it's 'Iselogbe'. 

Many families will throw Christmas parties that will last all night long on Christmas Eve! Then, on Christmas Morning, they go to church to give thanks to God. Homes and streets are often decorated. Most homes will have an artificial Christmas tree.

Children love to play with firecrackers at Christmas. The church choir may visit the church congregation in their homes to sing Christmas carols to them. They also send Christmas cards to  friends and family members.  Presents are exchanged amongst family members and some families may take their children dressed in new outfits to see Santa Claus. 

In addition to serving turkey, a traditional Christmas meal in Nigeria may include beef, goat, sheep, ram or chicken. Other dishes might included pounded yam, jollof rice, fried rice, vegetable salad and some type of stew.

Christmas Traditions In Ghana

People in Ghana celebrate Christmas from the 20th of December to first week in January with lots of different activities. Many people travel to visit their relatives and friends in other parts of the country. In the MTC, the manager and his family have gone back to their home country of Nigeria to visit family.  Everyone of the teachers is planning to visit relatives on Christmas Day.

Over 66 languages are spoken in Ghana and all these language groups have their own traditions and customs  December is also the start of the cocoa harvest (the bean that is used to make chocolate) in Ghana. Ghana is the worlds second biggest cocoa producer.

Christmas Eve night is the time when the celebrations really start with Church services that have drumming and dancing. Children often put on a Nativity Play. Then choirs come out to sing and people come out in front of their religious leaders to dance. Songs are mostly sung in the languages that the people understand best because they feel that Heavenly Father speaks their language. (That is why we sing in French in the MTC - grin). Sometimes these services and dancing go on all night long!

Other people celebrate Christmas Eve with fireworks and parties.
On Christmas day the Churches are very full. People come out dressed in their colorful traditional clothes. After the Church service on Christmas morning, people quickly go back to their houses to start giving and receiving gifts.

Traditional food includes stew or okra soup, porridge and meats rice and a yam paste called 'fufu'.

Some Ghanaians also go to Church on the 31st December to thank the Lord for sending Jesus and to pray for a good and safe New Year. People may also use that time to remember those who died during the previous year and to pray that the difficulties that they faced the past year will not carry over over into the New Year.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Every day Photos in Ghana

Once a missionary leaves the MTC, what should they expect to see?

Yes, these are everyday sights in Ghana.  The photos were recently snapped by some of our senior couples.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Cheer From Our Sister Missionaries

There are only five sister missionaries here for Christmas.  Last group had 31, a record.  But these five are so eager to learn French and are doing well!  Joyeux Noel!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How Do They Do Christmas Primary Parties in Ghana?

Well, for one thing, they last all day.  They feed the children lunch. The children all shout "Hurrah for Israel!" (just made that one up), and Santa does not come to this party.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Just How Long Was That Name?

He is one of our 8 missionaries from Madagascar, here in the Ghana MTC to learn English.  Oh, and there are 23 letters in his name.  The longest name we have seen thus far.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

He Is The Gift

Sister Robison loves to draw. Her creation "He Is The Gift" shown below was was inspired by a painting we saw last December in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris entitled "Le mille e una notte," by Vittoria Zecchin. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Navity

O Come Immanuel - Celebrate the Meaning of Christmas

Published on Dec 4, 2012 - Celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and watch "O Come, Emmanuel" featuring ThePianoGuys, Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson (piano/cello).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday is Temple Day For The French-speaking Missionaries

The first stop after arriving at temple square in Accra is to take a quick photo of the progress of the new MTC.  As you can see, the foundation of the classroom building is now complete and filled in with dirt.

Next, we take a moment to grab a photo of the Moroni District.  They are here to learn English for six weeks.  Today each of them will receive their endowment.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Construction Making Progress on New MTC - December 2014

This view show the foundation for the six story building that will house the missionaries
This is a view of the foundation of the building that will house the class rooms.
Here is an ariel view of how the completed MTC will look.

Architectural Rendering of the New Ghana MTC

Friday, December 12, 2014

The MTC is a short 10 minute drive from the ocean

 Ten minutes from the MTC is the main harbor for Ghana.
 Each day fishermen go off shore about 1/2 mile and drop their nets.
 Although they did not need the help, Brother Steinegal and I offered our services.
 For one hour over 40 men pulled in the net to check their haul.
 Once the net surfaced most went down to the shoreline to gather in the fish.
 This man seemed to be the chief among the workers.
 Unfortunately after all that work, the haul seemed very small.
 How disappointed for all those people to wait with baited breath for the fish to surface and not many were in the net this time.
 I would think that the haul averaged about one fish per person.
Brother Appianti is always looking for an object lesson to show how one fish can become many.
But, all in all, most of those who came to haul away the fish, sadly walked away empty-handed.