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:

Thursday, December 31, 2015

OK, Just How Big Did You Say Africa Was?

Big.  Far too many people outside of Africa think of it as a country rather than as a continent.  It is huge!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I Love to See The Temple

I love to see the temple.
I'm going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I'll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.

I love to see the temple.
I'll go inside someday.
I'll cov'nant with my Father;
I'll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I've learned this truth:
A fam'ly is forever.

Children's Songbook, The Gospel, I love to see the Temple, 95, Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry

"I love to see the temple.  I'll go inside someday."  Someday is today and inside the missionaries went today.  Out of our 58 missionaries in the MTC, 40 of them had never been inside the temple before for their own work.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New MTC Making Steady Progress

The shell of the buildings are now complete and the workers are focusing upon the interior.  We are about a year from completion.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Meet the Districts of the Dec 22nd Group

Abinadi District

Jacob District

Alma District

Lehi District

Ammon District

Nephi District

Helaman District

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Special Christmas Eve Experience

Far too often the records in some parts of Africa are not totally accurate.  It was feared this was the case with Elder Louis Muzala Kapele, who is from the DR Congo and will be serving in the Kinshasa Mission.  Upon arrival, Elder Kapele needed the second half of his temple recommend.  To complete that I needed his confirmation date.  Unfortunately it was not on the missionary application that I have on file.

Elder Malmrose placed calls to his leaders in an effort to rectify the situation and after multiple calls discovered the date was October 24, 2001.  Meanwhile, Elder Kapele was very anxious about the situation and found he could not sleep.  After much pondering and prayer, and tossing and turning, the thought came to him to check in his suitcase for his patriarchal blessing.  Sure enough, the date was noted as October 24, 2001, thus confirming what the real date was.

This special Christmas Eve experience was very tender to Elder Kapele and Elder Malmrose, and added witness to the power of prayer.  He listens.  He answers our prayers.  Even the anxious prayer of a brand new elder from the Congo, who could not sleep on Christmas Eve.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Senior Couples Spend Christmas Afternoon at MTC

This group photo includes the senior couples who most frequently work with the MTC missionaries upon their arrival and at the temple.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day Activities at the Ghana MTC

Did they enjoy it?  Look at their faces!
It is hard to say who enjoyed the day the most, the missionaries or the niece of the Acquayes

Merry Christmas With the Elder and Sister Curtis

Elder and Sister Curtis spoke to the Ghana MTC missionaries on Christmas morning for the Area Devotional.  Elder Curtis is the Area President of the Africa West Area.

Today is Christmas. We began the day with an Area Devotional presented by Elder and Sister Curtis. (Elder Curtis is the Area President of the Africa West Area.) He said that in searching for Christmas card possibilities to send this year, he could not find any online that made references to the Savior. He centered his remarks around "why Christmas is worth celebrating with Jesus Christ being the center of our celebrations." One of the best references that answers this question is found in Alma 7:10-13. "It is a glorious thing that we can overcome the challenges of this life - death, sin and our challenges - because of the Savior. I sing with great enthusiasm 'Joy to the World.'" What a great way to begin our Christmas celebration.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Robisons

South Africa 2015

Dear Friends,

Once again we tap the resource of social media to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.  We have received our release letter effective January 18, 2016, but have two more groups to train before we return home to our family.

This year has been a joyful one of blessings and individual growth.  We are so grateful to our Lord and Savior for His life and sacrifice for each one of us.

As we have reflected over our love for the Savior this season, Diane has captured  the Spirit of the Season in her second annual Christmas illustration "Joy is Born."

Our greatest joy comes from our family.  Here is a snap shot view of their lives in 2015:

Staleys:  Tessa, Julia, Jack, Joelle, John, Grace and Rachel

Robisons:  Justin, Lisa, Henry, Emily, Dallin, Amanda and James

Moyers:  Bauer, Cohen, Jenny, Jason, Taylor, Cooper and Mason

Robisons:  Sylie, Olivia, Jeremy, Karenin and JJ

Jamie: center
Our joy this past year also comes from our missionaries.  Miracles surround them.  Miracles have brought them here to the MTC and miracles await them in the mission field.  We are better people for having known each of them and we have been uplifted by their Spirits.

This photo is representative of one of the 50 groups we have trained since coming to the MTC.  Seated with us are the MTC Senior couple (Malmroses), former MTC President and current Ghana Temple President Couple (Grahams), the Robisons, and our counselors the Obengs and Acquayes.

During a brief breaks while the MTC was closed, we visited South Africa and Zimbabwe (July) and France (December).

While in France, we thought about how much we love living the French lifestyle - lots of walking in beautiful places - focus on people, and great, healthy, fresh food. They have long meals with lots of conversation. Now we need to figure out how to bring the things we love into our lives.  But most of all - we need to keep the highest focus on our Savior. Though him we find real happiness. And He’s given us the way to Him - and it is through the covenants and ordinances of His restored church. He has given us the exact pathway to happiness. So most of all - our time should be about reviewing and realigning ourselves with the covenants we have already made.

Forty-five years ago, I met and taught the Geslins and Cruezils in Rosny-sous Bois.  Ever since that time our families have stayed in touch - their children with our children and their grandchildren with our grandchildren.  Just last Sunday we met with this wonderful group of friends and rejoiced in the love that is felt by keeping connections such as these alive - all because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

One picture says it all:

As we look forward to 2016, we are grateful that our oldest grandchild, Julia, has submitted her mission papers.  She will likely leave on her mission in May.

We also look forward to the dedication of the Provo City Center Temple.

And of course the Paris, France Temple:

So we enter 2016, full of high hopes, dreams and the desire to keep the highest focus on our Savior. Though him we find real happiness.  May the Joy that He brings shine upon you this Christmas season and always.

With love,

Reid and Diane Robison

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ghana MTC Missionaries' Traditions At Christmas

What is Christmas like in each of their countries?

DR Congo

Christmas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is more of a religious festival than being commercial. Most people won't have any presents.
Christmas Eve is very important with Churches having big musical evenings (many churches have at least 5 or 6 choirs) and a nativity play. These plays last a very long time. They start at the beginning of the evening with the creation and the Garden of Eden and end with the story of King Herod killing the baby boys.
People taking part in the play really like to show off their 'best' acting skills and tend to go over the top and 'ham it up'! King Herod and the soldiers are often figures of fun (like pantomime 'baddies') and Mary is often well advanced in labour before she arrives!
The birth of Jesus is timed to happen as close to midnight as possible and after that come the shepherds, the wise men and the slaughter of the innocents. This means the play normally finishes about 1am. However, in some places there will be further singing until dawn! The Christmas day service then starts at 9am with lots more singing.
On Christmas day, most families try to have a better meal than usual. If they can afford it, they will have some meat (normally chicken or pork). The rest of the day is spent quite quietly, maybe sleeping after a busy and late night on Christmas Eve!
People go back to work on the 26th (Boxing Day).
In the Lingala language, which is spoken in the DRC and some other African countries, Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Mbotama Malamu'. (


People in Ghana celebrate Christmas from the 20th of December to the first week in January with lots of different activities. Many people travel to visit their relatives and friends in other parts of the country. 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 make chocolate) in Ghana. Ghana is the worlds second biggest cocoa producer. I really like some fair-trade chocolate that's made with cocoa from Ghana!
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 or other drama. Then choirs come out to sing and people come out in front of the priests to dance. Songs are mostly sang in the languages that the people understand best. This makes them feels that God speaks their language. 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.

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.

Christmas in Malawi

The Language most people speak in  Malawi is Chichewa or Tumbuka.
Religion in Malawi? 70% of Malawi is Christian 20% is Muslim and 10% are Tribal Religions.
Weather? December in Malawi is much warmer than in Utah.
How They Celebrate Christmas? Meats are roasted, gifts are presented to each other and families visit each other. Most gifts are hand made like this Christmas angel ornament made in Malawi. Clothing? Women wear colorful dresses a head piece and a blouse if they can afford one.  Most men wear pants and a shirt, but some men wear religious robes/ clothes Foods?
On Christmas day they eat roasted meat, banana bread, sweet potato cookies, peanut puffs and banana fritters.
Traditions? On Christmas day carols are sung in churches and most of the focus is on Jesus' birth. Jesus' birth is mostly celebrated in church. There's also a lot of singing, dancing, and drama.
Presents are given and as far as I know they have no Santa.
Malawi's Flag Fact's About Christmas in Malawi says their Christmas traditions are much like our Christian traditions around the world. Also they celebrate Christmas on December 25 in their calendar, which is probably January 7 for us. Hope You Enjoyed!Moni Wa Chikondwelero Cha X'mas! - That's Merry Christmas in Malawi. - (Written by Caitlyn S. Garner)

Ivory Coast

Christmas Day (December 25) is celebrated by local Christians with all-night church services that start on Christmas Eve (December 24) and end at 6:00 a.m. During worship, you can expect singing, group dancing, poetry recitation, skits, testimonies, prayers, and a sermon. Ivoirian Christians do not exchange gifts on Christmas, they wait until the new year to signal good prosperity. (


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 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. Christmas cards are sent 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.
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. (


The people of Madagascar normally attend church services on the eve of Christmas. It is also quite common to witness hundreds going to church on Christmas Day. Most sermons are centered around the birth of Jesus Christ and how he impacted the lives of human beings across the world.
Members of individual families normally reunite during this period and engage in different activities to help foster their bond. It is common for family members to eat different meals together while catching up on how each one's year had been. On Christmas Day, the people of Madagascar exchange presents to show each other just how much they care for each other.
Different people from different communities also pay visits to the elderly and spend time with them. During this time, elders are known to pass their knowledge and share in some words of wisdom. The Malagasy also pay visits to those in hospitals, prisons and orphanages in order to share their time and some material support. (

South Africa

Because South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas comes in the summer. So there's lots of sun and beautiful flowers in full bloom.
The schools are closed for the Christmas holidays and some people like to go camping. Going caroling, on Christmas Eve, is very popular in towns and cities. Carols by Candlelight services are also popular on Christmas Eve. And many people go to a Christmas morning Church Service.
Traditional 'fir' Christmas trees are popular and children leave a stocking out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
The Christmas meal is either turkey (or duck), roast beef, mince pies or suckling pig with yellow rice & raisins and vegetables, followed by Christmas Pudding or a traditional South African desert called Malva Pudding. People also like to pull Christmas Crackers! The meal is often eaten outside in the summer sun! If it's really hot they might even have a barbecue or 'braai'.
outh Africa also has several other UK Christmas traditions, because of its history with the UK.
On Christmas day afternoon, people visit family and friends or might go for a trip into the country side to play games or have a swim. (

Coming to the Ghana MTC for Christmas

Fifty-eight missionaries left their families three days before Christmas and came to the Ghana MTC.  What a great display of commitment.

Here is the latest group to arrive:
These missionaries traveled 6000 miles to come to the Ghana MTC.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Joy Is Born

Merry Christmas from The Robisons!

Sister Robison loves art.  Here is her artistic representation of Christmas this year: 

Below is her creation from last year:

(If you would like this as a iphone screen saver or to have the digital art, please email her at

Monday, December 21, 2015

More Nativities

Our former Director of Temporal Affairs, Philippe Kradolfer has an eye for photography.  He is known among the African people for capturing the beauty of their culture.  The photos here represent his work showing an appreciation for the birth of the Savior from amongst the peoples of the world.