Thursday, January 27, 2011

What? Another trip to Liberia?

Yes, we are flying tomorrow.  We fly into Accra, Ghana and fly out the next morning to Monrovia, Liberia, with Elder and Sister Dickson, of the Area Presidency.  He will be doing a Mission Tour, instructing the missionaries and also visiting members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Bushrod Island District and the Monrovia District.  There are approximately 7000-8000 Latter-day Saints there.  We will be there until Monday when we fly back to Accra.   We'll get back to Freetown on February 1st.  We'll take lots of  "snaps" for all of you wanting to see your missionary. We should have a post uploaded by Feb 2.  (By the way, we estimate that we will do at least 36 trips to Liberia during our mission.  This is the seventh!  :-) )

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Plantains from the tree behind the Mission Office.  They are delicious fried just right!
Mangoes!  Throughout the Mission Office grounds we have mango trees.  We also have monkeys who love the mangoes so it is a race to see who gets them first.  The monkeys like only the side that faces the sun because it is ripe. Often mangoes are found half-eaten because the monkeys are so particular.  President Roggia had three tonight.  He says they were very, very tasty.

One morning while getting in the vehicle, this really fantastic praying mantis was on the roof.  If you click on the picture, you can really see it's eyes.  It looks like it's staring right at us! It is just such a detailed picture...I liked it.
Before Elder Gunderson (Dano, now) left to go home in November, we drove to Liberia.  We saw the rubber trees and he used my camera to get these really great pictures.  Notice that the bottom one caught a drop just perfectly...thanks, Dano!
This DHL bike is how we receive our pouch mail and some boxes.  They have a  truck that comes when we have large orders from distribution in Accra, Ghana.  Mostly, though, we see this same delivery man on this bike.  We like to see him as do the elders who live in the apartment by the Mission Office!

Markus goes to the post office and picks up our packages and any letters that come to the "Box 263" address.  As you can tell, Christmas had a large overflow of packages. And this was only about half of them.  We received lots more after this picture. Surprisingly, some packages only took two weeks to get here and some were two months.  Go figure...
The flora here is so wonderful.  I just have to give you all some idea what it is like.
Beautiful hydrangeas!  One of my favorites!
On our way to Bo a couple of weeks ago... the sun was behind the haze and fog of the early morning.  It was so vivid.  I wish I could have gotten it better for you all.  It was so very distinct and clear at the time.
Elder and Sister Neves on one of their many trips to Bo and around Freetown to take mail, propane tanks, food etc, to the missionaries.  They do a lot of teaching too.  They do so much in so many ways...
Elder Jenkins (6'4") and Elder Lambson (6'2") with one of their investigators...such great kind and good.  He really wasn't that short; it just appears so between these men of stature!
Elder Njaga...just really a great picture of him and shows his tender heart. (Elder Lambson in the background)
The Young Men and Young Women of Freetown Branch had a youth conference and are playing a board game.  They were laughing and having a good time together.
We went to a store called "The Essentials".  We had gone there to explore it the day before but decided to go back to buy a couple of things.  When we got there, the electricity was off and their generator wasn't working either.  So, the clerks handed each of us a light (in my right hand) and off we went upstairs to shop.  We were the only ones in the store.  We decided to call it "the blue light special".  It is one of the better stores in Freetown with lots of items but also pretty expensive.  It was totally dark in there even though it is light from the flash in this picture.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Life!

On a personal note:  We had a sweet baby girl born to our son Dean and his wife, Melanie last week: Carmella Riley Roggia.  Yes, grandbabies just keep on coming whether we are there or not. This is #11.
Then, last night at 36 weeks, little Rosalie (#12) came early to our daughter Cathy, and her husband, Jason.  We are so blessed to be able to listen (and even though it is freeze frame,) see our newborn grandchildren.  Two future sister missionaries!  :-) We have had three grandchildren born while we are serving here in the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission.  We are grateful for their health and the health of their mothers.  We count our blessings--and there are too many to count.  We are grateful for the protection and love our Heavenly Father gives to each of us.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

More Freetown Zone this week.

Five of the elders in the Freetown Zone, who were the "youngest" on mission, taught the Fundamentals of Preach My Gospel, "How to Teach".  This is Elder Norton teaching his portion on receiving revelation through prayer.
Elder Jenkins and Elder Visser standing tall to see if they were the same height.  Each around 6'4"! January is President's Interview month.  Elders were everywhere in the office waiting patiently for their time with President Roggia.
Elder Emanuelson smiling at the joy the missionaries have when they get to see each other and share their testimonies with each other.  It is a wonder to watch and so touching.
The assistants gathering everyone to take back to the East Side of Freetown.
Elder Hickey waiting for Elder Grabau to back up the van and taking an opportunity to practice balancing his scriptures on his head.
When the assistants drive and back out, for safety reasons, one is always on the ground directing the other where to go. (Elder Hickey doing the honors this time)

Elder Grabau backing out with his load of missionaries.  It takes them about an hour to get to the East Side apartments and then about another hour to get back to the Mission Office.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Freetown Zone Jan 12-14

After Zone Leadership training, many elders came in to wash and dry the dishes.  They liked looking at the grandkids on the refrigerator.
Left to right around the table are: Elders Smoot, Ewudzie, Kitson-Dodoo, Afadi, Lanari and Adjei.  Elder Grabau and Elder Hickey looking and talking with President Roggia.
Friday we had Zone Specialized Training.  We asked the "Caribbean Fusion Cafe" to cater for us.  They made rice and beans, "jerk" chicken (which is very, very spicy---almost burns your lips spicy) and some veggies.  We also served bananas and some little cookies.
Each serving had a chicken leg and thigh.  The brown peppi sauce is what made it so spicy.  The missionaries loved it and every serving disappeared!
The Freetown Zone!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bo Zone Interviews, Leadership Training and Specialized Training

Elder Vogl and Elder Kenner: New companionship in Bo Zone.  They both wanted haircuts so we did that on Monday during our Specialized Training Day.  I'd neglected to bring my clipper so we used Elder Vaughan's battery operated one.  Thank you very much!  It worked great.
Front Row: Elder Mazani, Elder Svongwa, Elder Chikwendu, Elder Lancaster, Elder Vaughan
Back Row: Elder Tippets, Elder Eshun and Elder Bennion.  All were waiting for President's interviews.  The new companionships were Elders Eshun and Bennion and Elders Lancaster and Vaughan.
Elders Tada, Wood and Eyinda.  Elder Wood and Elder Eyinda are new companions. 

As always, mail is a wonderful treat. (Elder Vogl and Elder Kenner reading his mail)
Elder Nyarko, Elder Bennion and Elder Eshun---Had to get a shot of the black and white striped ties. (They didn't coordinate it.)  
Elder Hilton and Elder Nyarko, Bo Zone Leaders and President discussing the zone.

Lunch on Saturday during Zone Leadership Training.  Must have Sab's hamburgers and fries... We provided the water and cookies.

President Roggia training...

All of Bo Zone after Specialized Training.  It has been a wonderful treat being with them!  They love the people in Bo and spend a lot of hours serving them.

Some of the primary children from the Njaboima Branch came in Saturday and wanted to sing for us.
So, here are their sweet voices singing "I Am A Child Of God". 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Next phase of Transfers for January.

We had four missionaries going to the Ghana MTC today:  Elder Wango, Elder Foday, Sister Farama and Elder Fofanah and from Liberia, Sister Cooper flew to Ghana also. . All are going to a Nigerian Mission after three weeks in the Ghana Missionary Training Center.

 The assistants loaded all four up in the van to take down to the wharf to take the water taxi to the airport.  Even though you can't see much I couldn't resist that fact that they were "leaving" and there is a great big yellow "leaf" falling on the right front of the van...get it? We used to say in college "make like a tree and leave"
We had the last of the transfers into the office.  Our Branch Missionary, Br. Sesay who served with Elder Lambson for a few days is on the left.  Elder Ogoloma is next. He came in from Monrovia.  Elder Allred came in from Bo.  He will be Elder Ewudzie's (on the far right) companion.  I will get the pictures of the other elders who came from Liberia this next week.  We travel to Bo Zone tomorrow for meetings and President's interviews.  We'll take more pictures then.  Also, next week, Freetown Zone will have their interviews and meetings.  We should be able to catch up with the new companionships by the end of next week.  We go back to Monrovia the end of January for interviews.
Elder Lancaster and Elder Bennion laughing at Sister Patterson showing how missionaries pose.  It was just a fun picture so had to post it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January transfer 1st phase

Elder Svongwa from Zimbabwe.  He flew in from Accra, Ghana last night.  We fed him and the assistants  dinner.  We took his picture in his suit and then we had him hang it up in the "sacred suit closet" until his two years are complete.  He and his sister are the only members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  His best friend is already in this mission, Elder Mazani. who came out in July.  He is eager to see him again.
Elders Njaga, Visser, Ewudzie, Bennion, Adjei and Laneri.  Elder Bennion is transfering to Bo.  His district and zone leaders wanted to say good-bye.
 The elders who are transferring from Freetown: Elder Amoa-Ohenawka (going to Liberia), Elder Wood, Elder Svongwa, Elder Bennion and Elder Lancaster all going to Bo. The "board" with everyone's picture is a popular spot.  President was taking some time to talk to them about their new areas.
Elders Svongwa, Wood, Lancaster, Amoa-Ohenawka and Bennion before climbing into the truck to go to Bo.
Elder Patterson,, with hands on the vehicle, giving some direction on tying down the tarp with three huge suitcases.
The tarp all tied down with Elder Patterson feeling like it looks tight and right for the four hour drive to Bo.

All the missionaries gathered for a word of prayer before the trip. Elder Neves, on the right, stopped by to say good-bye.  That's Markus in the middle with the striped tie.  He'll be doing the driving to Bo and then to the Liberian border to transfer the missionaries leaving Bo to go to Monrovia.  The Kimballs will come from Monrovia to meet them with missionaries going to Sierra Leone.  Markus will take those five missionaries back to Bo and Friday on to Freetown.
Elder Grabau and Elder Hickey taking just a few minutes to watch the transferring missionaries leave.  They were on the road by 6:45 a.m. picking up all elders who were leaving from Freetown.  We gave them lunch and then they were back out teaching some families the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It had been a busy, full day for all of us in the office.