Sunday, September 16, 2012

Parents to Africa

(Blogger admits some faults -- and paragraph breaking is one of them. Sorry, for the HUGE, long paragraph. My version had indents and breaks.) Soon after we got here (almost a year ago), Missy's (daugher-in-law's), friend, Rachel, asked us to contact a young man she knew while she was here in Ghana a few years ago. His name was Godfred, and he was 12 or 13 at the time. He was a cute, cute young man, and she thought he could use the church. They have remained good friends and have been able to stay in touch. After some delays, she got his phone number, I called him, and we visited several times (he's now 16). He came to the temple complex to visit, and I gave the sister missionaries his number and turned things over to them. We stayed in touch off and on, but he wasn't really interested in the "lessons," which is understandable; he seemed mostly to want American friends. This last week, he called and said he was getting baptized! No way. He told us today that a wile back he was at the market (these are outdoor vendor stalls), and the sister missionaries (a new set) approached him - the result was today. His baptism was very , very cool. He was in the front, we were in the back, and he came to hug us. We gave him a ride to his home afterwards, (these are rather rudimentary places to live -- his home reminded me of the wooden houses in Pirates of the Caribbean ride, without the water, and without the stilts), and introduced us to his 2-year-old sister, Mary, his 22-year-old uncle, and his 16-year-old cousin. They were so polite and generous to us. In the picture, Godfred is the one in a white T-shirt and some worn shorts. And, his face just radiates goodness - he just wants to do good things. David left a little money with the Ward Mission Leader to help Godfred get some church things. Next week he will be confirmed. The Ward Mission Leader conducted and is going on a mission soon. He opened with, "We are so much grateful...," and welcomed everyone. Later he said, "You will be glad you came and wasted your time here with us today." Their phrasing is just awesome. We sang 4 complete hymns before the baptism started, acapella, because there are only limited keyboards around, and always one person sings by him/herself the first 5-6 measures to give us the pitch, then the music leader says, "1...2...Sing," and everyone sings...loudly. In harmony. I was sitting with a new senior sister missionary, and her husband was sitting behind us with David. The closing song was, "Now Let us Rejoice," and people sing so loud, I can't hear myself...subsequently, I tend to make up notes. But behind me I could hear David singing baritone, and always on pitch because that is what he does. When I wander off a note, I can listen to him, and he brings me right back on...which is the story of our whole mission. It just made me feel good to hear him singing. The sister missionaries here are just darling -- all 2 inches of them. They are the thinnest little things, and dress way cute. Oh, they are sweet. When we walked into the building, they escorted us to the baptism room, and they were so supportive of the brothers running the meeting. No American sisters will be sent here, so they are all from other places in Africa. We are early...but we are already starting to say, "When we get home, let's ______________ (fill in the blank). There is a funny part: Godfred is yet a little limited in his English skills, so when he called, he told me he was getting baptized on Saturday. "What time, Godfred?" "Saturday, at 12:00." We repeated this conversation 3 times. We arranged our Saturday to include the baptism, and NO ONE was there. I called Godfred, "Godfred, we are at the church..." "Please, I am coming." This is how they phrase everything, with "please" in front. He walked from his home to meet us at the church. We were thinking we were just early -- come to find out the baptism was for today. Sunday. We were, however, thanked today for being on time, and David said, "Well, actually, we have been on time twice...we started yesterday. Africa.