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, July 31, 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

70 Youth from Niangon South Stake in Ivory Coast Visited MTC Today

PrĂ©sident BEY, Stake President of the Niangon Sud Stake in Cote d'Ivoire brought 70 youth to tour the MTC today.  Elder Vinson and I spoke to them.  We were very impressed with how prepared they are and with Elder Vinson's progress in learning French.  He pronounces the words well.

A Peak At The Future...and the present

Future missionaries from Ivory Coast Visited the MTC today

Unlike American culture, Africans don't mind people in their space

Elder & Sister Vinson Spoke About Doctrine, Principles & Applications At Our Area Devotional

Pictured above is our 38th Group since arriving in Africa.  They entered the MTC on July 24, 2015 and depart for the mission field next Tuesday.  Tuesday or Wednesday, each went to the Ghana Temple, so now the entire group has been to the temple at least one time in their life.  Seated in front next to the missionaries from right to left are the Malmroses, the Vinsons, and the Robisons.  Notice the African dresses on the Sisters.  They have embraced the culture and blend in well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesdays most of the English-speaking Missionaries Visit the Temple

The English-speaking missionaries had their day in the temple today

This is truly the House of the Lord
The group had arrived 15 minutes early so took a walk to check out the construction on the new MTC.
After viewing the progress on the new MTC, the group paused for another view of the temple.
And it is official.  The July 24th group has now been to the temple.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

Companions Become The Closest of Friends

Elder Manyuru and Elder Bennion

Elder Brooks and Elder Maendesa

Elder Kalu and Elder Onyenwe

Elder Sithole and Elder Divver

Elder Hekking (220 lbs) Elder Tugume (120 lbs)

Elder Johnson and Sakala (Elder Adu-Gyamfi and Elder Park behind)

Elder Ngabonziza and Zohner
Elder Wallin and Elder Aniwa

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday is a full day at the Ghana MTC

For Sunday School, the missionaries meet as Districts
Each missionary learns to lead music
During Priesthood Meeting, the elders learn to consecrate oil and give blessings
Sunday is a great day for personal journal writing and reading the scriptures
It seems like the schedule has missionaries always on the go to the next meeting

And the food is a hit, or at least the proportions: 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

How are the missionaries taught about the importance of the Sabbath at the MTC?

When the missionaries enter the MTC, they have two Sunday experiences with us unless they are learning a language, then they have six. They will each prepare a talk and many of them will be called upon after the Sacrament is passed, to give that talk. Each missionary arrives 15 minutes early and has the opportunity to ponder and prepare spiritually for the meeting. No announcements are given at the beginning of Sacrament meeting. We have learned that the fewer things that are done to distract missionaries from their real purpose in coming to the meeting, the greater the likelihood is that they will learn from what they hear, see and feel. Missionaries are taught the language of prayer. Soon they will be teaching investigators how to pray and will model the correct usage of the words thee and thou. They are also reminded prior to the Sabbath day, that when one is invited to offer the prayer, that person does not say "let us pray, before beginning the prayer." This is a practice that many recent converts bring to our Church that lovingly needs to be discontinued. Missionaries are also taught the importance of teaching the doctrine in changing behavior. For example, to teach the importance of wearing a white shirt while administering and passing the sacred emblems of the Sacrament, one possible approach is to teach the importance of the Atonement (the why), the principle of reverence (the what) prior to teaching the importance of wearing a white shirt (the how). This is a great example to all of us about the importance of thinking about the Atonement of Jesus Christ during the passing of the Sacrament. We invite Latter-day Saint missionary families to review within their families the importance of the Sabbath Day and during the time your son or daughter is serving, write to each other feelings about what you are experiencing in Sabbath Day worship.

And did the Americans get over jet-lag?

We will let you be the judge on that question.

What are the first days like at the MTC?

You mothers will be relieved that health is stressed from the beginning of the MTC experience
They are interviewed
They fill out alot of forms and have orientation

They play soccer - many without shoes and can hit that goal from center field with pinpoint accuracy
They can play beach volley ball

Most Americans opt for Basketball
Basketball requires rest

And they jog

Empty Sea?

MTC, not Empty Sea

Where is the Empty Sea anyway? Is it near the Dead Sea? Or the Red Sea? While this one might be a more common mix-up for neighbors and friends outside the Church, even children or youth in the Church might be confused about why the missionaries had to report to the Empty Sea!
How do we use it?
This is a funny mistake that sometimes happens when we talk about missionaries going to the MTC—short for “Missionary Training Center”—to learn how to be a missionary before entering the field.

Source:  LDS Living (

Friday, July 24, 2015

And you might ask - how are the Americans doing today?

You decide.  They seem fine to me.

What a group from Zimbabwe!

They all know Elder Dube.  They were all assistance in their preparations by Reeve, Ceci and Lolly....the three lady golfers.  And now there are here and they are great men!
Left to right: Elders Maendesa, Chitiyo, Sakala, Machaka, Chemhuru, Dini, and Sithole

Connections on First Day of Our MTC Experience

Sister Robison, President Robison and Elder Barr

Meet Elder Ryan Michael Barr from Rexburg, Idaho.  He recently moved from Alamosa, Colorado where he was mentored from one of our West Indies Mission Assistants Elder Spencer McDaniel.  Spencer was his priests quorum advisor and became a very close friend.  He will always remember seeing Elder McDaniel's photos from his mission, especially with the beautiful children of Guyana.

Elder Brooks and President Robison

Here is Elder Brooks.  As he sat in the dental chair in Mesa, Arizona, his bishop told him that he had served as a young missionary with me in Paris France.  Bill Woods was also a mission president in Louisiana. 
Elder Malmrose and Elder Nelson

Elder Nelson is from Covington, Washington, not far from the Malmroses' hometown of Sequim.  Recently Elder Nelson was in Sequim because he loves to travel around Washington.

Pioneer Day Story for Africa - The Covenant Path from Rwanda

African Eyes: Here is a pioneer day story from the Ghana MTC today about a missionary from Rwanda.
Last night an elder came to me who had lost his luggage and had not brought any carry-on luggage - not even a change of underwear. Do you know what his only request was of me? He wanted a Book of Mormon, so he would not miss any time studying the scriptures.
Who is this missionary, you might ask? Well his name is Elder Christian Ngabonziza and he is from Rwanda.

African Eyes: Here is a pioneer day story from the Ghana MTC today about a missionary from Rwanda:
Last night an elder came to me who had lost his luggage and had not brought any carry-on luggage - not even a change of underwear. Do you know what his only request was of me? He wanted a Book of Mormon, so he would not miss any time studying the scriptures.
Who is this missionary, you might ask? Well his name is Elder Christian Ngabonziza and he is from Rwanda.
He was born June 10, 1992 at a time of great racism between fellow countrymen, many of whom fled to different countries. This practice continued until 1994 when the genocide occurred. More than one million people died in that year, among whom was Christian's mother. She was killed by rebels who were against the government. Elder Ngabonziza at age 4, remembers being carried on the shoulders of his father as his father and mother ran away from the violence. His mother did not make it. Three years later his father and two brothers died of diseases that spread rapidly when there is war and so much killing. The surviving children went to various family members and life was difficult. In 2003, they decided to reunite in spite of this difficulty and together cultivated crops in order to earn school fees.

Elder Nabonziza's oldest sister decided to quite school and care for her siblings. Together the children continued to eek out meager funds until he finished high school. Christian was considered the youngest child because the child younger than him had passed away.

In 2012, about 4 months after graduating from high school, Christian's aunt told him about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Unfortunately shortly after learning about the Church, Elder Ngabonziza had to return to a far away province to work. However three months later, he resigned the job because it was filled with temptations and so he returned to live with his aunt. He started listening to the missionaries and found the doctrine difficult to believe at first, but the elders repeatedly challenged him to read, ponder and pray, asking the Lord if the message was true. Elder Ngabonziza did this more than ten times. After a month, he started feeling peace and happy without knowing where this peace came from. The missionaries explained that "the fruit of the Spirit is peace, happiness and a clear conscience."

Christian was baptized November 17, 2014 and has a firm testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, promptings of the Spirit, answers to prayer, and knows that the Church is led today by President Monson and that Joseph Smith was one of the greatest prophets just like Moses and Noah. He enjoys his life with his brothers here in the MTC from different parts of the world and testifies that there is no other place where you can find joy, peace, and happiness and the greatest of all gifts -- eternal life.

Our final American Arrived

This morning, Elder Johnson from Denver, Colorado arrived.  Now all the Americans are here.

First Order of Business in MTC

Email home of course.

They were all awakened at 5 a.m. by missionaries singing "Called to Serve" in the shower.  Next they took a 30 minute walk outside to get over jet lag.  And then they sent emails home before breakfast.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Americans Have Landed!

This is the largest group of Americans we have ever had in the MTC since we have been here (19!) and we still have one more who missed his connection who will be arriving tomorrow.  They arrived at the Ghana MTC at 11 p.m. and were bubbling with enthusiasm.  What a great group!

Left to Right:  Elders Wallin, Ngabonziza (adopted brother), Goodrich, Peters, Divver, Brooks, Bennion, Park, Martineau, and Mantz.

Left to right:  Nelson, Paddon, Barr, Burningham, Bay, Zohner, Jolley, Hekking, and Perry (missing Johnson).