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, September 30, 2015

What do we do the one day the missionaries are gone?

All of the missionaries left yesterday, even the six week missionaries finished their language training. So what do we do?  This is the mecca for shopping....if you are into baskets, beads and fabric.  Sister Robison is.

If it wasn't so far, I am sure many women would want to come here just for the shopping.  (By the way, indigo is quite popular right now.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

And our 42nd Group is Off!

This particular group flew to Kumasi today.  All of the groups who left  are well-trained and will make a difference in the lives of so many people.

First MTC President, Stephen Hadley Passes Away

In the November 24, 2001 Church News, there was an announcement of the call of Brother and Sister Stepehn Hadley, to preside over the newly constructed Ghana MTC in January of 2002.  Here is the announcement:  Stephen Merrill Hadley, 69, Bountiful 25th Ward, Bountiful Utah South Stake; assigned to Ghana MTC; former mission president of Canada Toronto East and Cleveland Ohio missions, bishop; earned law degree from University of Utah Law School; worked as chairman of Industrial Commission for State of Utah. Born to Lawrence and Emily LaVon Farr Hadley. Married Shirley Marie Ward, parents of seven children.

On September 8, Brother Hadley peacefully returned home to his Father in Heaven after a long struggle with Parkinson's disease.  Here is his obituary:

 Stephen M. Hadley 1932 ~ 2015

He was born June 23, 1932 in Ogden, Utah to Lawrence and Emily LaVon Farr Hadley. In his youth he learned to work hard and rise before dawn, delivering the Salt Lake Tribune. He was known as "Scooter" on his basketball and baseball teams for his speed and agility during his years at Boise High School and Boise Jr. College. In addition to sports, he had a great love for the arts and enjoyed playing the piano and dancing.

After graduating in 1952 from Boise Jr. College with an Associate of Arts degree, Stephen went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Accounting in 1954 from San Jose State College. After college he enlisted in the Army  and served his country from 1954-1956.

He was called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Eastern Canadian Mission  from 1957 to 1959 and as the Missionary Counselor to President J. Earl Lewis and President Thomas S. Monson.

Brother Hadley received his Juris Doctorate of Law from University of Utah in 1962. After graduating he and Kenneth Rigtrup, opened their legal practice.  Stephen married Shirley Marie Ward in 1963 in the LDS Logan Utah Temple.

In 1967 Stephen was appointed by Governor Calvin L. Rampton as a Commissioner on the Utah State Industrial Commission and served for 29 years.  He served as Chairman of the Commission from 1985 to 1996. As a member of the International Association of Industrial Accidents, Boards and Commissions, Stephen served as Chairman of the Executive Committee, Board of Regents, and of the Workers' Compensation College. Years later Stephen also served as a board member of the Utah State Board of Corrections and handled legal mediation in the private sector.  He also served in his community  as President of the Bountiful Kiwanis club and as President of the Bountiful chapter of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers.

In his Church assignments, he served  as an LDS Bishop, High Councilman, Stake Mission President, Mentor to the Homeless, Temple Sealer and Ordinance Worker, Mission President, MTC President and Temple President.  He presided over the Canada Toronto East Mission, the Ohio Cleveland Mission, as well as the Ghana, Africa Missionary Training Center and the Toronto Ontario Temple along with his dear companion Shirley.

Above all, he was a family man. His greatest joy was spending quality time with his wife, 7 children and 34 grandchildren. His love of the Lord and family will continue to be his legacy. His funeral was held in the Bountiful 25th Ward on September 19th.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Tonight the Districts Sang Farewell to Each Other

Nephi District

Moroni District

Alma District

Ammon District

Helaman District

Jacob District


Americans Singing America The Beautiful

New 2nd Counselor in African West Area Presidency

Elder Vern P. Stanfill

First Quorum of the Seventy
Elder Vern P. Stanfill was sustained a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2015, at age 57. At the time of his call he had been serving as a member of the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy in the North America Central Area.
Elder Stanfill received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Brigham Young University in 1981. He started his career in managing the family ranch in large cattle, hay, and grain operations. He sold this business in 1998 and became involved in managing family assets and trusts. During this time he was involved in managing a portfolio of real estate and financial instruments, as well as structuring philanthropic and estate matters. Elder Stanfill holds both commercial fixed wing and rotorcraft ratings and has been involved in aviation for both business and pleasure. 
Elder Stanfill has served in a number of Church callings, including full-time missionary in the France Toulouse Mission, executive secretary, elders quorum president, bishop’s counselor, bishop, high councilor, stake president’s counselor, high priests group leader, and stake president.
Vern Perry Stanfill was born in Townsend, Montana, on August 8, 1957. He married Alicia Cecile Cox in 1980. They are the parents of four children.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Most Impressive Work of Art!

If you have ever been to Petra, you will see that the building facades carved out of the side of the hill are most impressive...I was reminded of that as we saw this incredible work of art showing ordinary citizens helping their leader - "lift where you stand" as President Uchtdoft says.

I cannot believe we have lived here for 20 months and had not been to seen the Aburi Botanical Gardens before yesterday.  Impressive!

We also had other adventures at the Aburi Botanical Gardens:

Hold fast to the tree - 1 Nephi 8

Helicopter Adventure in the Aburi Botanical Garden
Deja vu?  Here are two photos from our mission in the West Indies:

What is happening tonight in the Ghana MTC - Devotional and A Goodbye

Elder Cruz is from Paris and flies to Reunion tonight

Elders Flandro and Cottle are from the US and also fly to Reunion tonight

Learning About The Culture in Ghana

Our former Director of Temporal Affairs,  Nene Dunenyo First (Philippe J. Kradolfer) is not only a Church employee, but a wonderful photographer. This past month, he and his wife came back to Ghana to attend the Kente Festival and took some fabulous photos. They give you a flavor for Ghana.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Youth from Two Districts in the Ivory Coast Tour the MTC

Thursday we hosted the youth from the District of Gagnoa and San Pedro of the Abidjan West Mission in Cote d'Ivoire.  Each of these young people would love to serve a mission.

The youth come from Ivory Coast on a bus and spend one week at the Ghana Accra Temple with their parents.  Each week during August and September, a different group from Ivory Coast comes to the temple.  Small wonder that a temple was announced one year ago for the faithful saints in Ivory Coast.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ghana MTC 17 September 2015 Slideshow

Help! Please Carry Glasses to Ghana

This photo was taken when we did the same project 3 years ago in Guyana with these same doctors from Utah County and their wives.  We had over 400 referrals and distributed almost 10,000 pairs of glasses.  We will do this same thing in Ghana.

If you are flying to Ghana next Thursday, we need your help in bringing eye glasses.  Missionaries will distribute 10,000 pairs of glasses in Accra in less than one month.  Please contact Dr. Ronald Pugh at 2696 N University Ave, Provo, UT 84604; phone number 801-666-3960 or send me an email at

Registration Next Week At the MTC

We are not sure why Elder and Sister Sanders are having so much fun torturing our missionaries, but we love having them come to the Ghana MTC.

Primarily, it is the African missionaries who did not get their immunizations prior to coming to the MTC.  We must verify, as part of registration, that every missionary has received:

Missionaries must have the following vaccinations:

Yellow Fever
Hepatitis B (3 shots)

If they do not have that shot we give that to them, even Americans.  It is called the gift of health.


Yellow Fever Card
Pass Along Cards
Immunization Record
Temple Recommend

Conversion Story of the Egukos

Mathias Eguko was the manager of the Ghana MTC until July 2015 when he left with his wife to preside over the Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission.  In three years, Mathias will be back leading the Ghana MTC, only this time in Accra.

This is his conversion story:

The Eguko Family

Nungua 2nd Ward, Tema Ghana Stake
The death of Mathias Eguko's sister left him devastated. He had prayed so earnestly and fervently for God to have mercy on his ailing sister and cure her of her ailment, not take her away from the family. But that did not happen and she died. Mathias did not understand nor, indeed, did he want to. Attending church on Sundays became a chore.

In the course of time, God gave Mathias a sweet baby girl. The baby girl was enrolled at a day-care institution. And while still a toddler, not yet two years old, this little girl came home from the school every day singing gospel hymns! Mathias was touched! He felt the spirit. He said to his wife: "Let's find a church to attend!"

The church Mathias Eguko and his family found was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This was early in the 1990s in Lagos, Nigeria. Mathias, his wife and the four children they have raised since then have never looked back.
Two years after he was baptized, Brother Eguko was called as counselor to the first stake president in Lagos. Later Brother Eguko accepted a position to work as a vice principal at the Nigerian Embassy School in Benin. While there, he was instrumental in establishing the Church. He was the first branch president of the Gbedjromede Branch. He lived in Benin for over seven years, long enough to help get the Church on sound footing. He now works for the Church and is based in Ghana. He is the Manager of Training and Operations at the Missionary Training Center in Accra. The "baby girl" who sang, has received a call from the Church to serve a mission in Haiti. Two sons are also preparing to serve missions.  Brother Eguko has been called to serve as mission president of the Nigeria Calabar Mission, beginning July of 2015. This family of six has been on the Lord's errand in a variety of ways through the years, and all it took was for a little girl to sing hymns!

Since the Egukos have been in Ghana since 2010, many have inquired if the children miss their home in Nigeria. "They tell me," Brother Eguko responds with a smile, "that Ghana is also home!"
The Eguko family clings to the Church with passion. This is because the Church offers hope in a world full of challenges. Hope brings happiness. It enables us to make conscious choices that draw us close to the Savior.  As we make good choices, we can recreate the world by following the pattern of life Jesus has shown us. With these efforts, we may see God again!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Area Seventy, Elder John Koranteng Spoke At Area Devotional

This is our 42nd group since we arrived in Ghana.  Missionaries in this group are bound for Kumasi, Benin, Brazzaville, Madagascar, and two missions in Nigeria.  Elder Koranteng speaks 7 languages and directs the Self Reliance Program for the Africa West Area.  He has been an Area Seventy for 3 years.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Mission Interrupted By The Freeze

Missionaries coming to the Ghana MTC should be familiar with the history of the Church in Ghana as well as with the period known as the "Freeze" in Ghana.  This period has been compared to the Kirtland period of the Church and shows that even though the Church was "blocked from progressing" by the government for a period of time, faithful members emerged who have been the backbone of the Church in Ghana.  Members are actually grateful for how their testimonies were strengthened.  The following article from the August Liahona gives a good summary of the "freeze."  It was written by Billy Johnson's daughter.

"My father, Billy Johnson, known to many as the first leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ghana, was a very simple soul with an unusual grace.  He was a very prayerful man.  Prayer was his source of strength.  Constant fasting was his spiritual weapon. My dad in all his life did not mock God; he strictly followed the commandments and tried to serve others. My father’s enthusiastic devotion to God and the restored gospel kindled my eagerness and ardent interest to also serve God. Hence, at age eighteen, I applied to serve a mission.

Alice Johnson and Billy Johnson (her father - pioneer of Church in Ghana)

Alice Johnson Haney & Daughter

My Mission
Immediately after graduating from high school in Ghana, I was called to serve a full time mission in my own country.  I was just 18.  In September of 1988, I reported to the MTC at Accra Osu Christiansburg, excited but at the same time full of emotion
One of the unique things about my mission was that none of the missionaries at the MTC attended the temple before serving their missions. We all served a mission without the temple endowment, just as it happened to the early pioneers. Nevertheless, we were to become instruments in the hand of God.
I served under President Gilbert Petramelo and his wife, Gretchen.  My first assigned area was Koforidua in the eastern region of Ghana, “the most fertile field” I experienced during my mission.  My senior companion, Doe Kaku,  later a member of the Cape Coast, Ghana, Stake Relief Society Presidency, and I were the first sister missionaries to ever serve in this area.  I was blessed with a companion who was spiritually inclined, and we connected so well in terms of following the promptings of the spirit. 
With constant prayers and fasting, we were very successful in tracking, teaching the gospel, and baptisms.  We did suffer our fair share of persecutions but our successes outweighed our persecutions.  We were blessed with multiple baptisms almost every month but needless to mention, not all our discussions resulted in baptismal commitment.  There was one occasion when we had a chance to meet Elder Pace who was visiting Ghana.  He had a chat with my companion and me.  Then he asked, “How many people do you have in your teaching pool?”  When we answered, “Sixty-six,” he was pleasantly surprised.  
I became an instrument in the hands of the Lord for bringing over a hundred souls to Christ.  This work is spiritual; and it takes spirituality to accomplish it.  Bringing souls to Christ can never be accomplished without the spirit of God.
The death of a Bishop in London brought about the salvation to many in a small African Village.
One of my most humble moments occurred while serving in Koforidua, when a senior couple from England, Elder and Sister Reeves, were assigned to serve in the same branch with us.  The Reeves’s past bishop in England, Bishop Danso, was a native of Ghana, and when this good bishop lost his battle with a terminal illness, his remains were sent to Ghana to be buried in his home town, which is located near Koforidua.  
When the Reeves were called to serve in Koforidua, their ward in England asked the Reeves to lay a wreath on his grave.  This act of kindness opened a marvelous work.  My companion and I, the Reeves, and the branch president of Koforidua, Richard K. Ahadjie, travelled to Akim Mase, a little town of the late bishop; that was a memorable moment. 
This late bishop, Twum Danso, was a royal so we needed to obtain permission to visit the royal cemetery.  Therefore, we visited the “Akim Mase” palace and met with the chief and his elders.  The Reeves informed the chief and palace authorities of the purpose of their visit and also their desire to share the gospel.  We were permitted to visit the cemetery to lay the wreath and then we were paraded thru the town with the help of the king’s men.  We later scheduled a date with the palace to introduce the gospel to the community leaders, which was a week after the visit and it was a sight to behold. 
The first discussion took place at the palace and it was a mass discussion.  Most of our investigators were the school teachers of the town; most of whom eventually accepted the gospel and committed for baptism.  Our first baptism was 30 converts, followed by 27 and then 21 souls who entered the waters of baptism.  Most of these converts became the first leaders of the group at Akim Mase.  The death of Bishop Manso in England indirectly saved dozens of wonderful people in a distant village and the thoughtfulness of a single ward expedited the salvation of a large group of new converts.  What a caring God we serve!
In April 1989, my parents were called to serve a full time mission.  They attended the England London MTC and returned to Ghana to serve at Koforidua, the same area where I was serving. In fact, we were serving in the same ward together!  I was living about two miles away from my parents. 
Just a few weeks into their mission and my ninth month on my mission, June 14th 1989, the government of Ghana banned the church’s activities for allegedly conducting ourselves in a manner that undermined the sovereignty of Ghana.  I was proselyting with my companion sister Hetty Brimah when the news was broadcast to the public, but we were not aware of it.  We soon realized that a lot of people were staring at us (more than usual), and my companion commented, “Why is everybody looking at us?”  I ignorantly responded, “Because we just came out of the hair salon and we look beautiful.” 
Immediately when we reached home, our landlord, the late Patriarch D. K. Boateng, told us that we needed to report to the local mission home (my parents’ home).  My dad, Elder Billy Johnson, told us the sad news and advised us to gather our personal belongings, for we all needed to report to the Accra Mission home early in the morning.  My dad was very calm when he told us the news and there was a period of silence.  He later became very defiant and exclaimed, “This is the work of the devil, and we must fight him with prayers and fasting.”  When we reached the Accra Mission headquarters early in the morning, the yard was packed with missionaries; a sight I will never forget in my lifetime.  There was not a single dry eye; everybody was crying.
On July 12th 1989, all missionaries [including myself] were honorably released to go home until further notice.  My parents were the only missionaries serving in disguise; they continued their full-time mission without wearing their name tags.  Their mission was to strengthen the members during this period; to get them to hold on to their faith and wait for the reopening of the church. 
Returning home suddenly from my mission after just ten months was a very confusing moment in my life.  I felt like I was losing everything of significance in my life.  I couldn’t go back to school immediately due to the time of the year, and I could not find work.  All the returned missionaries faced the same challenge.  I was very desirous to complete my mission as I vowed to my Father in Heaven, but since I wasn’t sure when the ban would be lifted, I decided to find temporary employment while I waited. Within a few months, I was offered a job at Cadbury Ghana limited western region as marketing and sales associate by Benjamin Abbey, a marketing manager who was one of the returned missionaries.
During this waiting period, I decided to prepare for my future life as well, so I enrolled in an evening remedial class to retake math and biology to further my education. I was successful with my remedial classes and gained admission to attend Holy Child Teachers Training College.
On September 1990, before the first semester ended, the Ghanaian government finally lifted the 18-month freeze on the church effective November 1990.  I felt obligated to return to complete my mission, so when I returned home for the Christmas holidays, I did not go back to school.  I put my education on hold to complete my first priority in life, “to serve God”. 
I returned to complete my mission in early February 1991 under the presidency of Grant Gunnell and his wife.  When I returned to the mission field for the second time, I fully understood why my spirit was so eager to complete my obligation to God.  After the freeze there was no MTC in Ghana for about six months, so all the previously serving missionaries just picked up their scriptures and went off to the mission home, and then to the field without any problems.  But problems soon started erupting when the new missionaries arrived without any training.  Their behavior needed immediate attention.  I suddenly became the new female missionaries’ trainer as well as assisting those who needed special encouragement to stay focused.  I was very successful on both of my missions, because I tried as much as I could to be in tune with the spirit.  I submitted to the Lord’s will and learned to listen as the Spirit directed.  I was finally released from my mission on March 12th 1992, serving an additional 13 months.  In total, I served 22 months in my mission.
In January 1997, I was blessed to attend BYU-Hawaii under the work-study program.  Due to life changes, I moved to New Jersey to complete my Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering Technology and Masters of Science in Information Systems.  I met and married my husband Vernon O. Haney, and we have been blessed with a precious gift, my daughter Veronica Haney.
The gospel has always been the very core of my life through numerous callings, from Sunday school teacher, ward missionary, ward music chair, a member of the Relief Society presidency and a leader of the stake African members.  Active participation in the church has been my greatest source of strength and support."  (By Alice Johnson Haney, August 2015 Liahona)