Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Jan 9, 2017

Too ill to go to work. It's a shame because I have so much to do.

Jan 8, 2017

Too ill to go to church. I am miserable. It is all in my throat.
Don went over to the PVA to visit with Saidu Thoronka who is our site manager at the
War Wounded Academy. While there, Saidu wanted Don to look at the building of the
new chapel the church is putting in there. Don was appalled at the sloppy work, the
poor quality of the concrete and the size seem to be quite small. He called President
Clawson to discuss this with him and learned that President Clawson was only 4 miles
away and would be driving right pass the PVA. When he arrived they both agreed
things were not done right. President Clawson said that the bid they accepted from the
contractor had plenty of money in it so they would not have to scrimp or cut corners.
President Clawson is not happy with this and will follow up with FM tomorrow.
Don went over to talk to Sahr Doe and came back quite excited. He was able to Home
Teach them plus he learned that Brother Doe has been giving counsel to a woman who
was in a vehicle accident on the road to Bo and has the exact same injury Sahr has. Her
accident happened about 6 weeks ago. Her husband came to visit Sahr and was happily
encouraged to see the progress Sahr has made. He assumed his wife would be a
paraplegic the rest of her life. He was thrilled Sahr could sit up and has small
movements of his thumb and index finger. Maybe this is the path the Lord has for Sahr
to follow.

Jan 7, 2017

OH! I am ill. Stayed close to home and was up and down all day.

Jan 6, 2017

We leave this morning for Sierra Leone. My heart is heavy. When we came here on
Monday, it felt like we walked into the modern world. Normal driving, stop lights and
stop signs and people obeying them. The streets are wide and clean. There are no
beggars. This morning it feels like we are going back in history. Sierra leone is 50 to 75
years behind the times.
We arrived home safely, no incidents.
I am beginning to feel a cold coming on.

Jan 5, 2017

Today we had a field trip to the Demonstration School for the Deaf. This is a school the
Bakers are doing a chicken project for. On the 14th the school will be receiving 1,500
baby chicks. This school contacted the Bakers for help when a strong wind came
through and took the roof off of their chicken facility and killed most of their chickens.
The Bakers did a roofing project for them and are now supplying the chickens. This
school has a foreman who works with individuals and classes on taking care of pigs and
chickens and they have vocational training in hairdressing, weaving, dyeing, cooking,
catering, and some other things that I cannot remember. They have a large facility and
have 432 deaf students that board there and attend school. They work on academics as
well. The school is very clean and the buildings are well kept up. It is really a school
that can be used as a model.
From the school we went to the botanical gardens. Oh my goodness! I saw and
learned so much. The first thing we saw that was truly amazing were the Cedar trees of
Lebanon that are the same kind of trees used in the old testament. We saw a nutmeg
tree and the guide threw a stick into the tree and a nutmeg came out and hit the
ground and popped open. A nutmeg has a casing around it much like a walnut. The nut
itself has a red rubber looking growth around it and that is the spice mace. The nut is
We saw a cinnamon tree and learned cinnamon is actually the bark of the tree. The
guide peeled off a small piece and we tasted it. Oh, it was so good. It tasted a lot like a
cinnamon toothpick. We got a piece of camphor, saw a quinine tree, cocoa trees,
groves of bamboo, the hosannas tree which is the kind of tree they took palms from
when Christ made his triumph entry into Jerusalem, traveler palms which require a lot
of water so if you can find a traveler's palm you can dig around the tree and get water.
We crushed a leaf from a tree which I cannot remember the name of and made bright
red lip stick. I tried it out. Everyone took pictures, except Don. We took a pod off a
tree and I cannot remember the name of it and it is used to make perfume. I squished
it and rubbed it on my arm. I could not smell it but Don said it was nice. There was a
450 year old cotton tree and another one that was planted in 1804. We saw so many
things and the place was so beautiful: Tall trees, mowed grass, nice walkways. We left
there and John Buah wanted to take us to a really nice restaurant. There was one close
by and it was beautiful. We walked through the open-air restaurant and was led down
a beautiful walkway with stairs to a beautiful gazebo that over-looked a breath-taking
view of Africa. The food was wonderful and the company fun and entertaining. We
came back to the Temple grounds and all split up for the evening. Don went and spent
some time with President Stanfill, and Herman Paine who is the West Africa Mental
Health Doctor and Sister Nay to give her pictures from his phone of many of our
projects. I came to our room and got ready to leave tomorrow. We go back to Sierra
Leone tomorrow morning. When Don came back we went for a walk and found a great
place that has outdoor seating for three restaurants and they have Christmas lights up
and on and African music and just a really neat atmosphere. We went into the spanish
food restaurant and had dinner in the a/c and a live singer & keyboard player. It was so
relaxing and pleasant. We both really enjoyed it.

Jan 4, 2017

Another day of meetings:
Welcome -John Buah
Opening Prayer - Sister Parke
Spriritual Thought - Elder Baker
Finance Issues - The team of Finance officers came in and we talked for almost 2
hours. There were many questions and we learned so much from our different
countries. Liberia and Sierra Leone are very close the same except the banking system
in Liberia is far above Sierra leone. Sierra Leone's banking system is 1940's and is
horrendous to deal with. But, Senegal has not registered the Church yet so the
humanitarian couple cannot get a bank account so Accra sends money to the Parke's
home account in America and then they have it transferred though western union to
them in Senegal. Then they take the money to the bank and the bank writes checks for
the Parkes and charges $10.00 USD for each check. Senegal only works on a check
system. Sierra leone works on a cash only basis. Because of all the different challenges
in each country, we came to realize what an awesome job is being done by the finance
department in Accra in dealing with all of our issues. I know I have gone way away from
policy in some of the things I have done that was necessary for my country and the
people in Accra have just dealt with my "off the beaten path" way of doing things and
have adapted my methods into their books. It is all legal and correct just awkward. It is
just not normal bookkeeping procedures. But Liberia has had to do similar things and
again Accra has quietly worked their magic in the background. The people supporting
us missionaries are awesome. They never criticize nor even imply we have done
something screwy. They just fix it.
Public Affairs
Legal - Elder Webster who is the attorney for West Africa came to talk to us about the
legal part of our job and what we are suppose to do. 10 Months into our mission and
we are just now learning we are suppose to have a contract for every project with every
contractor, site manager, project monitor, etc. He and Don had a small back and forth
disagreement. We are building a bridge in Kenema and the contractor wrote up a
contract and had the community sign it saying they will never hold the church liable for
any accidents and failure in the bridge. After the community signed it, they gave it to
Don. Don asked John Buah what to do with it and John said to send it to him. Which
we did. John took it to Legal and it took almost 3 weeks for them to get it back to us.
We waited a few days and when we did not hear back from the Legal Department, we
went ahead and started the bridge. Elder Webster said that he always looks at the
contracts right away and gets back to us quickly so he doesn't hold up a project. Don
called him on that statement and they went back and forth. It was not pleasant, but it
was not severe.
Welfare Training: The Law of the Fast - Brother John Buah & Chidi
Discussion: What works and what doesn't in each country
Closing Remarks: John Buah
Closing Prayer : Sister Nay
Temple Session
Dinner: in the Conference room of leftover lunch. More important, time to hang out
with the other couples.