Behind the scenes of Mormon missionary work in Ghana MTC
The Grahams, who are from Provo, Utah, and speak French, serve together with two counselors in the MTC Presidency, and their wives serve in the Relief Society presidency. Together with Brother Mathias Eguko, manager of training and operations at the Ghana MTC, and his group of returned-missionary teachers, they help the MTC run effectively.
Many of the missionaries arrive at the MTC not having been endowed in the temple, so the Grahams prepare them for this experience in the temple in Accra.
“That’s a choice experience,” President Graham said. “Every other week we spend two half-days in the temple. My wife and I are set-apart temple workers, so we can help with that.”
The Grahams are always looking for ways to improve the MTC experience for incoming missionaries, especially with the surge of new missionaries, due to the lowering of the ages when missionaries can serve.
“When I think of the Provo MTC and how beautifully streamlined it is, I’m a little jealous,” Sister Graham said, laughing. “Our numbers are not going to go down. They are only going to go up; I think it’s an area that we need to constantly improve on.”
President Graham has a wealth of experience, having worked at the Provo MTC for 40 years before retiring. Not long after his retirement in 2011, he was called to preside over the Ghana MTC, which he helped open in 2002.
“One of my many assignments over the years was to visit the international MTCs,” President Graham said. “I have always been grateful for the concept of the international MTCs and how they so wonderfully fill the needs of missionaries from outlying areas of the worldwide Church. So many of them come from non-member families and they don’t have a lot of support. When they come to an international MTC, which is generally smaller, they can more easily receive the personal attention they need.”
A large percentage of the African missionaries are relatively new to the Church.
“Fifty percent of some groups are recent converts,” President Graham said. “Being here is a new experience for them. Few of them have had the experience of being in an environment where a majority of their peers are members of the Church. It’s a life-changing experience for them. Here, the president and his wife get involved and acquainted with each of them.”
The MTC in Ghana trains all French-speaking missionaries for Africa and Madagascar, as well as all English-speaking missionaries called to serve in the nations of West Africa. All English-speaking missionaries called to serve in countries in the Africa Southeast Area are trained at the South Africa MTC.
Up until last January, missionaries spent 19 days at the MTC in Ghana. But having missionaries spend a shorter time in the MTC has been a blessing, President Graham said.
“I truly believe that the missionaries going out with this 11-day program are just as ready as they were after 19 days. The Lord in some way compensates.”
President and Sister Graham will complete their two-year assignment at the Ghana MTC in January 2014. Until then, they will welcome a new group of missionaries every other week, and the busy, gratifying process continues as the Lord hastens His work.
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