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:

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Missionaries Must Learn to Recognize Ghanian Fruit


After leaving the MTC, missionaries will not starve.

Ok, Beads Last Week, then Fabric...what about Baskets?

This is the source for the best baskets we have found in Ghana.  They are sold at the end of the street North of the US Embassy, just past the French Ambassador Residence of course.

You're Kidding! Batik Across the Street?

We have lived in Ghana for a year and on two occasions have made the journey north of Accra to Esthers to make batik prints on fabric, a fascinating art.  We just discovered this week that an even bigger and yes less expensive operation is across the street (literally) from the MTC.

The owner's name, and rightly so, is Prosper.  This is his establishment.

Here is where the fabric sits in tubs to soak
This is a photo of the fabric drying

Prosper's wife does the stamping (Prosper hand carves the stamps)
The irons are kept hot in a tub of smoldering charcoal

And Voila, Batik Across the Street

What is the Status of Ebola in Western Africa?

  Truckload of food and supplies for LDS families provided during the Ebola-virus outbreak in Sierra Leone
Ebola Outbreak Update
  • For the first time since June 29, 2014, there have been fewer than 100 new confirmed cases reported in a week in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
  • On January 18, 2015, Malian authorities and the WHO announced the end of the outbreak of Ebola in Mali. Forty-two days have elapsed since the last Ebola case tested negative in laboratory tests on December 6, 2014. (Source: Center for Disease Control)
Although the outbreak in West Africa was increasing exponentially, Ebola is not as contagious as many other infectious diseases. Transmission requires direct contact with infected body fluids. Measles, influenza and pertussis (whooping cough) on the other hand, are spread by respiratory secretions. They are much more explosive because transmission does not require direct contact with an infected person.

In spite of this fact, thousands of potential visitors to Africa altered their plans.  Most do not realize the vast size of Africa (you can put Europe, India, China and the US within its borders).  Travel between Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia is so difficult, that the rest of Africa was never at high risk.

The speed with which an outbreak grows depends on how many additional people are infected by each infectious case and the time interval between infections. To put the current Ebola numbers in context, one person with Ebola will on average infect only 1.5 to 2.2 additional people.  The relatively low number of people infected by a single case should make it easier to interrupt transmission. Further facilitating control is the fact that a person with Ebola is most infectious after the onset of signs and symptoms.

By contrast, a person with measles is infectious for several days before they become sick. And a person with measles will on average infect 12 to 18 additional people.   In 2014, 594 measles cases were reported in the United States through September 29th, the most in two decades.

Regardless of the misunderstanding about Ebola in 2014, the good news is that all signs point towards the end of the crisis.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ghana MTC Missionaries Have Fascinating Conversion Stories

Here are the experiences of the four sisters in the Alma District:

Sister Goodwin from Nigeria - stayed with her grandmother at age 10 because her parents were not well to do.  At the end of her first year there, missionaries from the US came to her school on bikes.  The students in her school ranged from ages 10-16.  Because the missionaries were white, the students were very curious and many were receptive.  Many did not go home for the weekend because they wanted to be near these missionaries.  Each student was given a hard bound copy of the Book of Mormon which they studied.  One Saturday morning the missionaries said they were being transferred and so the students cried.  One of the missionaries gave the young Sister Goodwin a triple combination set of scriptures and wrote their names in the cover.  Soon her grandmother became ill, so Sister Goodwin returned back to live with her parents.  She carefully protected and hid the Triple Combination in her father's shed.

Eight years passed and Sister Goodwin did not see the missionaries but about then a new family moved into her neighborhood.  They were LDS she discovered because she saw that one of the children had a Book of Mormon.  Soon she found the missionaries, was taught the discussions and six months later was baptized.  However, because she and her family were Jehovah Witnesses, she faced major obstacles in getting baptized. And her family made it very difficult for the missionaries as well.  Her parents were very hard-hearted  about this and her father threatened to disown her.  With a heavy heart and tears streaming down her face, she prayed fervently to receive the restored gospel.  Prayers were answered and her parents and Sister Goodwin were baptized October 8, 2011.  Her mother was so excited that she exclaimed "I am so happy that these young boys brought this great medicine to cure my diseases."  To this Sister Goodwin added "I will also go out there to tel the people in the world."

Sister Agboyin from Nigeria - learned about the Church in 2006 from her mother's sister and husband her were members.  At the age of 11 she had just come to  live with them because her mom was very sick and she had lost her dad. Her father had died in an accident at sea when she was five and her mother became very ill in 2007 and died that year. Sister missionaries came to teach her and quoted from the Book of Mormon.  She was not interested because at the time she was a Jehovah Witness and longed for the day when she could be a missionary like the Jehovah Witnesses were.  She soon discovered that she could be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well, so that interested her very much.  Later in 2006 she was baptized.  As she grew older, she began to seek the truth about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  She searched the Book of Mormon diligently.  She read the entire book and fasted and prayed to know if it was true.  "I have never known anything as well as I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  I did not have a vision or a dream or learn for myself in any other way but I felt something powerful confirmed the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  I felt an overwhelming emotion that caused me to feel pain in my heart but also feel very happy and joyous as tears fell from my eyes.  At that moment I knew that I was in the right Church and for the first time in my entire life, I knew for myself that the Book fo Mormon was true and that the prophet Joseph Smith was the Prophet called of God to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Sister Auma from Uganda - was a Muslim who found the Church in  2011 through the missionaries in 2011.  One day as she walked home from daily prayers at the Mosque, she was approached by two missionaries who made an appointment to teach her.  At her home they taught her brother and her mother.  Meanwhile in a different village, her father was being taught the lessons have heard what they were learning.  So she and her brother decided to be baptized and they were shortly followed by their mother.  A short time later her father was baptized.  Because their friends were Muslim and they had joined the Church, they were rejected by most friends.  Her brother, whose name is  Brian and who was baptized with her, passed away in 2013.   Through the teaching of the elders, she and her family were able to overcome their pain and sorrow.  She can still remember Elder Hallady and Elder Phiri and the help they gave her family and friends.  "We are now peaceful in the family.  I strongly believe the Church is true and the Gospel is also true."

Sister Winnie Mandela from Kenya - met the missionaries in May of 2013 and was baptized in August.  (The missionaries had been out of town in June).  Sister Mandela had a friend who took her to Church.  When the missionaries invited her to have the discussions, somehow she could not say no.  She was particularly impressed by the Plan of Salvation because she had lost her father at the age of 17.  He suffered from a blood clot and died a month later.  The plan of happiness made that empty feeling in her leave and she wanted to learn more and more.  When she was baptized she became the only member of the Church in her family.  Her friend too her to Church so that she could meet the missionaries.  She had agreed because it was a chance to see the inside of the church building.  She had been told it was a cult.  The missionaries invited her to church and on May 26, 2013 she went to the Sosiani Branch, Eldoret District in Kenya.  The next Tuesday Elders Simelane (South Africa) and Kigongo (Uganda) began to give her the lessons.  She traveled out of town for a month, yet the Elders continued to persist in staying in touch.  The day she returned, they gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and asked her to pray before reading it.  Her mother was an Anglican and her father was a Catholic.  She read the Book of Mormon all night long and in the morning an answer came into her mind "this book is true."  She discovered also that she was crying.  The missionaries continued to teach her and the hope that she could one day see her father, made her happy.  Ever since he had died in 2005, no one could answer her questions to her satisfaction.  The young missionaries however, were able to answer many of them, but she realizes now that Heavenly Father wants her to return back home to Him.  "I am so thankful and grateful for the restored gospel and I knwo the Book of Mormon is true."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Is the MTC growing?

Ok, so why the dip in 2014?  Two reasons, the MTC was closed for two weeks in July for repair and the increase in missionaries staying 6 weeks to learn a language.  In July 2014, we started teaching English to French-speaking missionaries.  These missionaries stay 6 weeks, rather than 11 days.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Where Do The Missionaries Come From and Where Are They Going?

This past year we trained 1374 missionaries.  Nigeria provided 392, the DR Congo sent 274, Ghana gave us 256 and the next four biggest suppliers were:  Ivory Coast - 85; US - 79; Madagascar - 43 and Uganda - 40.

The missionaries were called to serve in countries throughout Africa and in Haiti.  The biggest destination was Nigeria - 549; then Ghana - 279; then the Congo - 203; and Ivory Coast - 120.

Temple work for 3239 performed in 2014 as result of efforts of MTC missionaries.

Last week, Elder Nelson, chairman of the Missionary Executive Council, taught from the scriptures that missionaries are to help establish the Church by “preaching and practicing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.”  He did this at the seminar for new MTC presidents and spoke at a devotional for the missionaries.

“All steps are essential,” he said. “If any is omitted, or that exact sequence is not observed, we will not establish the Church in the Lord’s way.”

Elder Nelson exhorted the missionaries to begin all of their teaching with the end in mind, which he defined as the blessings of the temple.  “Those blessings are unique to this, the Lord’s Church,” he said. “Those blessings allow God’s children to return to Him prepared for the greatest of all the blessings of God, and that is eternal life.”

How is this being done at the Ghana MTC?

During the year 2014, 1372 missionaries were entered the Ghana MTC.  Of those 54% or 742 were not endowed.  These missionaries were responsible for the temple baptisms and endowments of 3239 family file names they prepared and 1108 sealings.  In addition 22 missionaries participated in live sealings to deceased parents.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

26th Group Sisters - January 23rd Arrival Missionaries

There are 19 sisters in the current MTC group.  Also we have 21 elders.  The numbers are smaller because the temple is closed for three weeks, so most of these missionaries are here for 6 weeks to learn a language.  Over half of these sisters have lost a parent.  Many of them are the only Church member in their family.  But they are here and they are ready to serve!

Mathias's daughter Tessy is now Sister Eguko, shown pictured here with Sister Willardson from Utah.  Sister Eguko was assigned to Haiti whereas Sister Williamson is bound for the Reunion Islands. Both will speak French.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Winnie Madela Enters MTC

Sister Winnie Mandela points to the home of Nelson Mandela
You have to love African names.  We only have 40 missionaries this time because the temple is closed for a few weeks.  However, one of our sisters (pictured here) is Sister Winne Madela.  Why?  Because her father liked the name.  Here are some other names in this group:  Sister Lucky Auma, Sister Glory Godwin, Elder Sam (I am), Sister Nofuma (yes, she does not smoke), Elder Desire Issan, Elder Prince Mengy and Elder Bienvenu (French for Welcome) Zotahon.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Missionaries Bond In the MTC

As you can see our missionaries quickly become good friends in the Ghana MTC.

What is the weather like in Ghana?

It may be Winter in Utah, but I would call the weather pretty consistent here in Ghana.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Parable of the Mango Tree

The people of Africa as well as those in the Caribbean often throw rocks at mango trees in order to get the delicious fruit.

So it is with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  From the time of the restoration people have thrown rocks at the Church in the form of persecution.  Why, because of the fruit.  Notice that no-one throws rocks at empty mango trees.

Madagascar Madness!

We had an entire group from Madagascar last intake cycle.  They were here six weeks learning to speak English.  The top name has 17 letters in it. One of the other members of his district had 23 letters in his name. The bottom word means "cute" in Malagasy, not that I would ever say that in either language.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Start that Temple Prep Early!

We teach temple prep to the missionaries their first Monday in the MTC.  As you can see, temple preparation study begins early in Africa.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ghana MTC Teachers Are Great!

 Today the MTC teachers gathered to say farewell to our two Madagascar teachers,  Brother Ramiaramanana and Sister Rakotovao.
You might wonder what training our teachers gave the two RMs from Madagascar?  Has Remy found "she?"
Has Sister Rakotovao decided it is too hard to leave?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ghana Missionaries Introduce Caroling

Missionaries from the Ghana Accra West Mission celebrated the new year with a new tradition — singing in the mall.

In Ghana — a nation of 25 million people designated as the most religious country in the world by a survey from the Pew Educational Trust in Philadelphia — the holiday tradition of Christmas caroling was imported by LDS Missionaries and carried into the new year.

Missionaries from the Ghana Accra West Mission carol in the mall on New Years Day, Jan. 1, 2015.

“While Ghanaians enjoy music, no one has gone house to house before singing Christmas carols until now,” said Daniel Abeo, Stake President for the Accra Tesano Stake. “It is surprising to people here. It is so unusual to see anyone going round singing on street corners, in housing compounds, or on city streets. People stop and listen. Sometimes they join in. Sometimes they want to have their photos taken with the missionaries. Often they want to know more about this gospel.”

On Christmas Eve and again on New Year's Day, the missionaries from the Odorkor Zone gathered together at the mall, not knowing exactly what to expect. The mall was filled with shoppers. They started at opposite ends of the mall and began singing as they walked toward the mall entrance. Some people followed them; others stopped and looked over the handrail from the upper floor. Families gathered around them as they arrived at the entrance.

“The look on people’s faces was amazing," said Elder Henry Bwamble from Masaka, Uganda. “I was not on a mission last year and no one sings Christmas songs in public places like this back home so I was a little nervous about it all. I did not need to be worried. Sometimes people would stop and just admire what we were doing. At times, little children would come to hold our hands or just stand beside us. We all had kindhearted feelings that are hard to put into words, but we knew it was the Spirit of the Lord. In our mission, we have missionaries from 24 different countries so when a zone with 20 of us gets together; we are already an unusual sight. “

The missionaries did some things to appeal to the local audience that gathered as well. “I brought a locally made drum to play when we sang ‘Little Drummer Boy,’ " said Elder Kade Kochevar from Henderson, Nevada. ”There is a different beat that is used here and I seem to have picked it up rhythmically so it really shows that we understand the local culture. Then, we close by singing ‘How Great Thou Art' in Twi, a local language spoken in this part of Ghana,” he said.

With the closing song in a local language sung together by white and African missionaries from countries outside Ghana, the spectators spontaneously broke into applause and rushed the missionaries, shaking their hands, congratulating them, and asking questions about what they were doing in Ghana. Some thought they were professional musicians hired by the mall. Others made appointments to find out more about the gospel message. All had a great time.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ghana MTC 9 January 2014 Slideshow

The 2015 Mutual Theme is "embark in the service of the Lord." (D&C Sec. 4:2) The music is downloadable from

We used this music as the background for our 9 January 2015 Group Slideshow. They comprise the 25th group we have trained since our arrival in Ghana.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Flashback 1970 MTC (LTM)

Elders Gleave, Woodruff, Holmes, Weed, Merrill, Robison and Whiting  (June-August 1970) learning French at the Language Training Mission in Provo.  Elder Reed was released last July as the President of the Benin Cotonou Mission.  I, Elder Robison, have one more year remaining at the Ghana MTC President.

Tema Motorway Smokes Up

Sometimes the burning of trash or the brush along the freeway can get so smokey that it is difficult to see ahead.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Elder Dube Speaks to Our 25th Group of Missionaries

Yesterday, Elder and Sister Dube spoke at the MTC for the Area Devotional.  The missionaries were spell-bound.  This Area Presidency member is from Zimbabwe and not only served a young mission there but also was mission president there.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

MTC Manager Called To Be A Mission President

Brother and Sister Eguko have been called to be a mission president couple beginning this July.  Brother Eguko will be the mission president of the Nigeria Calabar Mission.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Party Time for the MTC Teachers

Our friend from the US, Heidi Johnson returns to Washington D.C. today.  Being with Heidi was fun for the teachers and all who went on outings with her.  She loved her stay at the MTC and the loving Spirit that is felt here.

Hastening the Work of Salvation

Sister Ebong from Nigeria, new missionary called to serve in Kumasi, Ghana. Just came out of Temple after being sealed to her parents for eternity. She was so excited!! The Watsons were able to help her with her family records and were honored to be proxy for her parents.  (The Watsons are the family history couple for Africa West Area and come to the MTC every two weeks to instruct the missionaries on how to submit family file names.)  This is such a sweet work.

Michelle Acquaye Turns 11

President and Sister Acquaye's youngest child will be 11 years old Wednesday.  Yesterday we had a party for her at the MTC and she made a fold-out plan of salvation artwork project.  (The Acquaye's other two children are also engaged in the work - their daughter is on a mission and their son teachs here at the MTC.)