The mission received 17 new, experienced missionaries from the Ghana and Nigerian missions. Most of them were from the United States. Previous to this we had received 22 experienced missionaries from the same missions, they were all African. We are now up to 37 missionaries. They arrived on Tuesday afternoon. I helped pick them up from the Seabird, a boat dock where they arrive from the airport across the bay. Sister Sherwood stayed at the mission home preparing ground nut soup and rice for dinner. After they were fed and welcomed by President and Sister Clawson, we took 6 of them to Grafton to spend the night in the Elders apartment next door to ours. The Miles helped with transporting them there. It was 9:00 pm before we got them settled in. We had to have them back to the mission home for breakfast at 8:00 am.
For the next 2 days, President and Sister Clawson, and the other mission home couples trained and orientated them on the special needs of a mission that was starting from nothing after a 2 year closure. We helped out as needed. Elder Sherwood had a special assignment of getting maps ready for the entire mission. With these new Elders, the President felt he was ready to call district leaders, zone leaders, and assistants to the president. He wanted maps ready for each zone and district and proselyting area.
Wednesday we decided that we would move to Bo even though the apartment isn't ready. We had 9 Elders to transport to Bo(5) and Kenema(4) plus all their luggage. We were tied up in the mission home from 8:00 am to 8:00pm every day. In our spare time we had to pack and be ready to go Friday morning at 7:00 am. Plus we had to have the apartment in Grafton ready to receive the Carlys who were arriving Friday evening. They are a new humanitarian service couple going up to Makeni in a week.
On Thursday we put 7 young, newly set apart Elders and 2 Sisters from our mission to the MTC in Accra Ghana. All of them going to various missions in West Africa. One of them had received his call 1 week before they closed the country because of Ebola two years ago. He has patiently waited and has been a branch missionary preparing for when he could finally go. He was so excited.
Friday morning came and we had a special visitor. Elder Vincent, the West African Area President, was here from Accra, Ghana, and wanted to speak to all the missionaries. That delayed our moving out for several hours. It was a very good meeting however.
Then off to Bo. We traveled with 3 elders in our vehicle and 6 in another. Their bags were all in a van that was coming an hour behind us we thought. The beginning of a crazy 3-4 day odyssey. We arrived in Bo about 4:00 pm. Everyone was starving so we fixed them p b and j sandwiches. We wanted to take them all to their apartments but the luggage wasn't there. Long story short, we got the last Elders to their apartments in Kenema about midnight and got back to our apartment at 1:00 am. 2 sets of elders in Bo couldn't get into their apartments so we put them with others until morning. For the past few days we have been working with Marcus in fixing problems with apartments in Bo and Kenema. Just simple problems like, no water, no electricity or generators, not enough beds, missing supplies for the apartments, and on and on and on. Meanwhile we had a very dirty couple's apartment to make habitable until the new apartment was ready. Unfortunately it was the bottom of a very long list of things that needed done. We think they are all settled in now, we haven't had a phone call in the last two hours.
On one of the trips to Kenema, we stopped to take a picture of the Sewa River which flows from the north down to the ocean. People were in the river washing clothes and bodies. Children were swimming and having a lot of fun. Canoes were in the middle dredging the bottom for the sand. They would dry it and sell it. They also were searching for minerals including diamonds. This part of the country is known for it's diamond mining.
These children were happy to explain to us all that was going on. Unfortunately the jolly ranchers were not unpacked yet. We couldn't reward them.
On Sunday we attended the Gbondo Town Branch which is within walking distance of where we live. We witnessed 3 confirmations for the baptisms held on Saturday. 3 young men between 16 and 20. They were all ordained during priesthood meeting. They asked us to bear our testimonies in Sacrament Meeting. As best we can tell there were baptisms in 3 of the Bo Branches on Saturday. Right when we were moving elders and their stuff all day long so we were not able to attend any.
We are tired. It has been a long, hard and wonderful week. We are now in Bo for the next 22 months. Hopefully we will be able to unpack our suitcases soon when the apartment is finished. It does have a well now by the way.
Love, Elder and Sister Sherwood