Accra Ghana Temple

Accra Ghana Temple
Accra Ghana Temple

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Memories of Miracles

Gregg recently made his first visit to Liberia.  In 2003, during his first week as Managing Director of Security for the Church, a civil war erupted in Liberia.  This quick moving event caught a zone of African Elders behind rebel lines.  Gregg and his team worked with the Mission President and the Area Presidency to determine a way to get the Elders to a safe location and eventually evacuated. 

Arrangements were made for them to stay at a hotel near the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, if only they could get there.  The Elders had a cell phone but, as typical for young men, forgot to take the charger.  So they could only call periodically. They passed through check points controlled by both rebel and government forces.  They were helped along the way.  A member of a Stake Presidency escorted them part of the way and a Catholic Priest gave them sanctuary and a place to rest overnight.  At one check point, the guards took everything they had including the cell phone.  There was no contact with them for a day or so.  They eventually made it to the hotel but the rooms reserved for them had been given to others.  However, they were permitted to stay in the lobby where there was a phone, allowing them to make collect calls.

As a "coincidence," the wife of Pres. Charles Taylor, the First Lady of Liberia was at this hotel. She knew of the Church and seeing the Elders asked if she could help them.  She kindly arranged a military escort to get these 11 missionaries to Roberts International Airport.  After a day or so of waiting at the airport, the missionaries got seats on an airplane (with help from influential members in West Africa).  All safely arrived in Ghana where they continued their missionary service.

It was fascinating for Gregg to now see the hotel, the U.S. Embassy, and the airport.

Sadly, Liberia is still feeling the effects of this terrible civil war.  Electricity is not yet restored to many parts of Monrovia.  City power and water are still scarce commodities.  If you are lucky enough to have a generator, you can enjoy a reliable supply of electricity.  Many major roads are in desperate need of paving and repair.  But the Liberian people seem to be moving forward with the hope of a brighter future.  The Church continues to grow in Liberia bringing the light of the gospel to them.    

Mud Puddle or Opportunity?

It rains here! And not all roads are paved.  This makes for some great mud puddles!  These are truly some of the biggest I've ever seen.  Fortunately, around Accra most major roads are paved.  But when you get off the main roads, they are usually dirt.  

In his travels, Gregg has found the very best mud in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Niger River Delta area of Nigeria.  Mud holes can be deceptive, as you often don't know how deep they are.  It is very reassuring to observe others enter and exit the puddle before you try it.

In several locations, Gregg and I have observed that muddy roads can be an opportunity for the entrepreneur.  For example, on his recent trip to Liberia, a small pond next to the road was turned into a "Truck cleaning station!"  The locals would encourage the driver to drive his vehicle into the pond where several individuals would quickly wash the caked mud off the vehicle for a small price.  And for a very short moment, you could have a clean car.