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:

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Field Trip To The Ghana Accra Temple

Today we took the French-speaking missionaries to the temple.  The drive lasts one hour due to traffic.  On our way we saw bats.

We had the opportunity to purchase a lace table cloth on the street.

And voila, we arrived at the temple.

Here is our fine group of French-speaking Missionaries.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Small World - Connecting Parents of Missionaries Serving in Africa with African Leaders

One of our Sister Missionaries' parents offered to host the Egukos in Utah.  Pictured here with the Provo MTC president couple, the Nallys are the Willardsons, the Nallys (center) and the Egukos, who begin their service today as the mission president couple in Nigeria Calabar.

Elders No Longer Bring Suits to Africa

This letter was sent to Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, Parents, and Missionaries last week.  When we were in the West Indies missionaries wore suits on the plane coming to the mission and returning home - that was all.  So the policy is now changed.  (Now about that suitcase policy?)

Dear Elder _____________:
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have approved discontinuing the purchase and wearing of suit coats by missionaries called to serve in missions with hot climates. The (African Mission), to which you were assigned, is in a hot climate, and you will not be required to purchase or wear a suit during your mission, while at the MTC, or while traveling. You will be expected to follow the remaining guidelines outlined in your missionary call packet concerning clothing type, style, color, material, and quantity of clothing items. 
Missionary Department

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Where Did Our New Missionaries End Up?

Most went to Cape Coast as shown here

Here are the missionaries they replaced.  These are all returning home.  Note they are wearing suits for the first time.

Welcome lunch for our MTC graduates

Another angle looking at the MTC graduates

President Stephenson welcomes his new missionaries

More comfortable seating that at the MTC

Another look at the welcome meeting

And they are now oriented

Radiant Sister Missionaries

Meet the June 26th Group Relief Society

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Four Fotu Missionaries Serving At Same TIme

Elder Hill and Elder Fotu

Elder Fotu is from Tonga.  Right now his parents have four children serving missions at the same time: New Guinea,  New Zealand, Philippines, and  now Ghana.  (His companion Elder Hill is from St. George, Utah and is our only American in this group.)

Fotu Brothers

First Sisters from Namibia and Malawi

Meet Sister Swartbooi from Mamibia and Sister Gomani from Malawi.  Sister Swarbooi's brother was in our last group and they are the first elder and sister from that country that we have had.  Sister Gomani is our first missionary from Malawi.  Do you know where Malawi is?  It is hard to find on the map.

Malawi AT A GLANCE     
  • Church gained legal recognition: 1995
  • Current number of congregations:  9
  • Current Church membership in Malawi: 1,931
  • 1979: First Malawian to be baptized
  • 1995: Church gained legal recognition in Malawi
  • 1999: Sitima Village Branch organized
  • 2002: Blantyre Branch organized
  • 2005: First Church-constructed meetinghouse in Blantyre
  • 1992 – present: Humanitarian aid assistance
  • 2011: Blantyre District was organized
  • 2011: Zambia Lusaka Mission formed
  • 2012: Lilongwe Branch formed

  • First Church presence in Namibia: 1924
  • Church is legally registered: 1990
  • Church is dedicated for missionary work: 1992
  • Current Church members: 793
  • Congregations: 2  
  • 1927: Frist unit, Karibib Branch organized
  • 1928: First convert baptisms, Johannes Andries Cloete and Martha Vermeulen Cloete
  • 1969: First missionaries in Windhoek
  • 1983: Windhoek Branch organized
  • 1983: Mission transferred from South Africa Johannesburg to South Africa Cape Town Mission
  • 1990: The Church gets registered
  • 1990: A. Eugene and L. Ruth Hilton become the first missionaries to serve full time in Namibia
  • 1991: The Windhoek District is organized. However, the district was dissolved in February 1992
  • 1992: Elder Russell M. Nelson  dedicates the country for missionary work
  • 1992: Andre van Der Merwe called as first missionary from Namibia
  • 1994: Seminary Program begins           
  • 1997 : Windhoek  Branch meetinghouse, first meetinghouse in Namibia, is dedicated   

Friday, June 26, 2015

How Much Luggage Do You Need for Two Years

Here is the luggage of thirteen missionaries from the DRC.  They have the shirts and pants they need, as well as the essentials.

So the question is, do you need more than one suitcase to serve a mission in Africa?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pitching Senior Couple Missions

Elder Hales spoke in General Conference of 5 reasons that prevent senior couples from serving missions.  I call them the five F's.  Fear, family concerns, finding the right mission opportunity, financial challenges and faith.  It is a great talk:  Elder Hales, April 2005, "Couple Missionaries:  Blessings from Sacrifice and Service. 

This sculpture at Deseret Book by Mike Call is called "Eternal Companions."  It tells the story in art form of the love that come from serving missions with the companion you have chosen.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What do six week missionaries do when the 2 week missionaries leave?

They make journals during a two hour break, they attend the temple, they practice their language, that's what.

They mentor a future missionary who speaks fluent French.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Senior Couples Needed for Accra, Ghana Temple

Elder & Sister Parke
The compliment for the Ghana Accra Temple is 3 senior couples, however not one has been found for this September with Elder and Sister Parke return home.  The Parkes, who were featured in an earlier blog post this month, complete their 18 month mission the first week in September.

If you are aware of a senior couple contemplating serving a mission at this time, please contact me at with their email address and phone number.  I would love to tell them how wonderful this assignment would be.  As an added bonus, you work 1-2 days every week with new missionaries.  Some of the work is in French, but this is an English-speaking temple so both couples who speak French and those who speak only English are needed.

Why do we serve senior couple missions?

Here is one big reason (all of our 18 grandchildren):

This photo was taken on Memorial Day, 2015, in the cemetery where Sister Robison's mother is buried.  So pleased that all of our family was able to gather together.  Families can be together forever.  It is all about family.

And they are off!

Headed for the Accra West Mission

Bus to Cape Coast

Final Instructions for Cape Coast

Monday, June 22, 2015

Farewell Meeting - Singing Called to Serve

They leave tomorrow.  Each district sang a hymn and their their teacher bore a short testimony.  This was a great group.

The First MTC was the School of the Prophets - linking to Ghana MTC

Here is the dedicatory prayer of the Ghana MTC as a matter of historical record:

Dedicatory Prayer – Ghana MTC – Tema, Ghana
May 17, 2002 – by Elder H. Bruce Stucki, Africa West Area President
Our Dear Father in Heaven, we bow our heads before Thee this day, on this special occasion, as we present this Ghana Missionary Training Center unto thee for Thy purposes.
We ask for Thy Spirit to be with us as we share this occasion together, that we might be united in prayer and purposed with each other, that we might be one in heart, mind and spirit with Thee.
The member of Thy Church have willingly given of their skills, time, talents, money, love, support, and commitment to build this beautiful Missionary Training Center.  They have done so to be able to help in preparing Thy Missionaries to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all lands and peoples of the World.
We love Thee, Dear Father in Heaven, and we gladly give of that which we have for Thy work here on earth as we strive to improve ourselves and become worthy to return unto Thee.
It is with joy in our hearts, that we present this special building unto Thee for Thy use in teaching Thy Word to the missionaries, and instilling within them a strong and enduring Testimony.
We ask Thee to bless this beautiful building that it may stand firm and sound against the storms and elements that might act adversely against it.
Bless the land upon which it is built, that it might support this structure and provide a solid base for the foundation upon which it stands.
Bless the foundation, the walls, the floors, the roof, and all associated equipment that each might faithfully perform the function for which they are designed and that they may be sound and secure for many long years of service.
Let Thy Spirit always be felt within these walls guiding, protecting and comforting the missionaries and their teachers and leaders against the evil influences prevalent in the world around us.
Bless this Chapel, that Thy word may be taught here, and hearts warmed by Thy Spirit as we renew our covenants with Thee.  Let brotherhood, compassion and love always be felt and experienced by the missionaries as they study and learn here.
Bless all who teach in this training center that Thy Word and the Doctrines of Thy Church will be properly taught and correctly understood by the missionaries and that faith and righteousness will be strengthened within them.
We ask Thee to be with and bless the Mission President and his wife as they serve Thee.  Inspire and strengthen them as they lead the missionaries in their training and preparation to serve.  Please provide for them good health, protection from harm or evil influences, and with all other blessings they may need in their calling as President and Wife.  Bless their families and sustain them in the absence of their parents.
Let righteous and caring teachers and staff always work in harmony and under the direction of the Holy Spirit to prepare and strengthen the missionaries in their special calling to serve.  Please bless and sustain them in their callings and individual needs.
Bless the missionaries that they will come in humility and with a sincere desire to learn of Thee.  Bless them with a desire to study, learn, and live Thy Word; to be obedient, to have a love for the people they will teach, to follow the example of Jesus Christ and to teach His Gospel.  Bless them with good health and with knowledge and a desire to properly care for themselves and for each other.
Instill within the missionaries a love for their companions and a desire to be the best missionary they can be!  Bless them that they will serve an honorable and complete mission and return to their homes with joy in their hearts for having served Thee well.
Let their missions be preparation for the callings to leadership and ministry in Thy Church and Kingdom that Thou hast foreordained them to receive.  Let Thy Spirit always be with them, and protect and guide them in their faithful and righteous service.
May wholesome, righteous, spiritual teachings, events, and occasions occur within this building, which will strengthen the testimony and commitment of the missionaries and cause them to become hard working, faithful servants as they do Thy work.
May the instructional materials provided within these walls be a source of inspiration to the missionaries, and may they be used often and continuously in the teaching of Thy Gospel.
Bless this building that it may ring with beautiful sounds of music that will comfort, inspire and lift the missionaries and give them the courage and strength to continue on in the face of trials and discouragement.
Truly we love Thee, Dear Father in Heaven, and we dedicate this Building unto Thee with joy in our hearts.  We ask thee to consecrate it for Thy purposes, and pray that no evil influence can ever come within its walls.
For Thy use and purposes we dedicate this building unto Thee, and we do it by the power of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, which I hold, and under the direction o0f our Prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, and in the name of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Can the Congolese Ever Sing!

The Congolese are practicing Souviens Toi (not in the English hymnbook) for tomorrow's devotional.

Ghana MTC 12 June 2015 Slideshow

Do The Missionaries in the MTC Feel The Power?

We hope so.

Please Sir, Can I Have a Cup of Soup?

This looks like a scene from the movie, Oliver Twist, but actually it is a group of missionaries going to the Ivory Coast on Tuesday.  They just realized that their flight is not until 1 p.m. and they are asking if they can go to the temple one last time before they fly out.

Of course, Elder Malmrose said yes.

Dr. Kissi Examines Every Missionary Serving In Ghana

Every other Saturday, Dr. Emmanuel A. Kissi, a true LDS Pioneer in Ghana, comes to the MTC to perform a medical check-up for every missionary serving in Ghana.  This is a requirement of the government, that missionaries are medically certified in order for them to renew their visas.  Here is a little bit about Dr. Kissi as well as a few photos of some of the missionaries he tested today.
Dr.Kissi was born in Abomosu, Ghana. He studied medicine in England. In 1979, while completing training in surgery in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England, he joined the LDS Church.
After his return to Ghana, Kissi and his wife Elizabeth, who is a nurse, established a medical clinic in Accra which they named Deseret Hospital. The hospital at times has been aided by groups of LDS Church members from the United States. He has also been involved with trying to coordinate humanitarian medical care by other doctors in Ghana. Kissi was among those featured in the film Lives of Service about Latter-day Saints of African descent.
Initially after his return to Ghana, Kissi was a professor at Legon University medical school and was working as a general surgeon at Korle Bu Hospital.The first Latter-day Saint he met in Ghana was Priscilla Sampson-Davis who was reading the Doctrine and Covenants while waiting for treatment at the hospital.
By 1982, Kissi was serving the LDS Church as a district president in Ghana. He had also been a branch president,and in the late 1980s he was a counselor in the presidency of the Ghana Accra Mission. Then in June 1989, the government of Ghana suspended all meetings of the LDS Church and expelled all foreign church representatives. Kissi was designated as the official head of the church in Ghana, a position he held until "The Freeze" was over in November 1990. At the same time, from 1989 to 1991, he was president of the Ghana Accra Mission.
After this Kissi served the church as a Regional Representative of the Twelve, then as a counselor in the mission presidency. Kissi was serving as patriarch of the Accra Ghana Lartebiokorshie Stake[ before being called as an area seventy from 2002 to 2007.

Ghana MTC Shares Compound with Two Local Wards - And yes, they have funerals too

Ever wonder what the various colors worn to funerals in African mean?  Here is a photo taken this morning of a funeral in the chapel right next to the MTC:

A local columnist, Emanuel Mensah recently wrote an article about what the colors mean:

"In this age of modernity and technology, does it really matter what colors one wears to say goodbye to the dead?

On weekends, particularly Saturdays, most streets in Ghana become awash with mourners clad in red, black, and sometimes white clothing.

The Ghanaian is very superstitious and has a strong belief in ghosts and ancestors.  It is believed the dead cannot rest in peace until a befitting funeral and burial ceremony are held for them.  According such courtesies to the dead requires special funeral clothes, which traditionally come in red, black, brown, and white colors.

People sometimes have to pay a high price for these clothes.  But the reality is, one cannot afford to attend a funeral in just any attire without attracting criticism.  According to Dr. Dan Bright, a sociologist at the University of Ghana, funerals are special occasions in Ghana because they celebrate the life of the deceased.  “When a person dies, he enters the spiritual realm, and for that matter, the ordinary cloth we wear will not be appropriate.  It is a special event,” Bright said.

Culturally, the black and red attire for funeral ceremonies in Ghana signifies a grieving period.  Traditionally, red is associated with danger and black with grief, hence the use of these colors to communicate the passing of a loved one.

However, when a person grows to a ripe old age of seventy years and above, the belief is that the person has lived long and has been blessed, so why not rejoice instead of grieve?  Traditionally, white signifies victory or joy, so on such an occasion as the final funeral rites for someone over the age of seventy, the white cloth is used to celebrate the life of that person.  In most cultures in Ghana, too, the white cloths are worn on Sunday, the final day of the funeral rites, to show relief in the assurance that the deceased has made a successful transition into the spirit world."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Elder Dube Meets Our Zimbabwe Missionaries

Elder Chimbiriwiri, Sister Sande, Elder Dube

Elder Dube, the first General Authority called from Zimbabwe, is in the Africa West Area Presidency and recently received a transfer to Salt Lake City.  During a visit to the MTC today, he was able to personally greet Elder Aston Millard Chimbiriwiri, who remembers his service as a mission president.  He also met Sister Yvette Emelda Sande, whose uncle served as an Executive Secretary to Elder Dube while in Zimbabwe.  It was a tearful reunion.  Both these missionaries are going to serve in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission.

Which Ghana MTC Employee has been at the MTC the longest? Selasi

Selasi and her son, Elder Antwi
Selasi was hired as a full-time MTC employee in May 2002 when President Handlie was the Ghana MTC President.  Her son, Elder Antwi, is currently one of our six-week missionaries learning French.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Meet the MTC Districts

Here are each of the missionaries in a photo with the missionaries in their respective districts:

Helaman District (called to serve in Cape Coast)

Mormon District (Nigeria Lagos Mission and South Africa)

Jacob District (Cape Coast and Kenya Missions)

Abinidi District, in MTC for 6 weeks learning French
Nephi District, in MTC for 6 weeks learning English

Ammon District (DR Congo Lubumbashi & Cote d'Ivoire Missions)
Amulek District (Ghana Accra West Mission & Cape Coast)
Alma District (Cote d'Ivoire Mission)

 We have 78 missionaries with us at the present time.  Fifty-eight of them will leave for the mission field next Tuesday.  Thirty-one of these missionaries speak French and 49 speak English.  (We have 59 elders and 19 sisters this time.)

These missionaries come from Botswana, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Samoa, Togo, Tonga, Uganda, the United States, and Zimbabwe.