Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20

Monday, April 13, 2015

POST 102

Well Hello there,
          Hahahahaha… I’m freaking going home!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe it’s come! I was sad to leave Offinso this morning. I feel like I came to do something, and I know that I did my best. Especially in Offinso.  Elder Ilunga is staying in Offinso though, and his new companion is a South African, Elder Shobede.
          We had a little crowd of people at our place last night that wanted me to stay, and for themselves they didn’t want to leave. Haha… And at the end, they got me with water! It was alright. There were mostly some converts and members. I am sad to leave this dang place!! Which I never thought I would say that, but its true. I really hope to return some day in the future years and to see my people here.
          I thank you all for your love, support, and strength you have shown and given to me upon these past two years on my journey here in Ghana.  I can’t wait to see you all on Wednesday.  Anyway, I’ll save the rest for when I see you.
          But yeah, any place to eat sounds good to me. I’ll just pig out and be in aww from not just eating rice every dang meal. Haha..
                             Take care,
                          Love ya all, Elder Blackburn

 Here's a bunch of pic's (sorry for the overload)

All packed up and ready to go.

Burning my old things last night.

Offinso family

Enjoying Fufu with other Offinso missionaries.

Cute kids


Another cute family.

My Offinso family.

Monday, April 6, 2015

POST 101

Hi Everyone,
          Well I guess this is the last email! Haha.. My journey as a missionary is coming to an end, and is pretty much finished. Only with one week left!!  I, like you all, feel the same way; that me coming home just came and faced me like that! I sometimes feel like I should just continue to do my part as a missionary, and just to stay in Ghana. But life goes on, and yes, I think I’ll shed a tear or two when I leave this place. Yesterday, I gave my last testimony in the Offinso chapel. It went well. I held out good, but Elder Ilunga got a little teary eyed. It’s really is something to look back and see people that are at where God wants them to be, and you are a part of all of it.
          It really is relieving that we have a Savior and Redeemer, knowing that he has paid the price. All we need to do is come unto him with a broken heart and contrite spirit. Christ is the doorway to eternal life, but having faith in him is the key.
          So my next weeks plans are.. I will go to the Mission Home next Monday evening. I’ll stay the night there, Tuesday morning go to Buokrom to the airport, fly to Accra, visit the temple, have lunch, and that evening departure. I get butterflies when I think about taking off and seeing you guys again.
          We went to Bonwire today, it is the Kente village. I bought some more Kente and a few pairs of sandals. I have bought some really cool things and have got all I wanted to buy. I am just thinking now that I have a lot of stuff and memorabilia from Ghana, but I’ll be fine with getting it into my bags.  I’ve already got most of it packed. I’ll see. Anyway, I’ll try and email small next week.
          Take care! See ya all next week! Better go! Thanks for everything!
                                 Love, Elder Ty Blackburn

Esther's baptism day


Offinso missionaries

New baptismal font at the Offinso chapel

Monday, March 30, 2015

POST 100

          Well I don’t have much time today.  We went to Lake Bosomtwe, and had a pretty good time. We are now in Kumasi at the cafe, and many people are waiting for a computer. We need to get back before it gets too late.
          So anyway, the week was good. We had 8 investigators come to church and we were actually able to have the baptism yesterday for Felicia. We had it at Offinso at the chapel in the new font. As Felicia came out of the water she said she saw a light and was very happy to be baptized.
          Yeah, it will be a bit strange to see all white people when I get home. Sometimes I feel like I’m too white, but once I get back I’ll probably be like I’m too dark. Haha...
          Thanks for the travel plans. I’ll be traveling for 24 hours from the time I leave Ghana to when I get to SLC.  But yeah, it would be great if we went out to eat somewhere; but I’m not too sure of my stomach will agree.
           Well that’s about it. Next week my letter will be better. Thanks for everything! See you very soon.                                
                                      Love ya,
                                 Elder Blackburn

Felicia's baptism 

Zone Activity at Lake Bosomtwe

Zone at Lake Bosomtwe

Monday, March 23, 2015


Hello Everyone,
          Well the past week has been good. Only three weeks till departure. Bye bye Ghana! But yeah, yesterday we confirmed Janet and her mom Rebecca. It was great!  Offinso is well! Things are going just dandy! Also yesterday we had a correlation meeting. We talked to the Group Leader and I told him what was on my mind.  All of the loose nuts and bolts were tighted by the end of the meeting. He admitted to not doing his best and not doing his part 100%. But anyway it was good.
          Elder Nielson called me last night and said he heard E. Montgomery from Arizona got his plans from his mom. So he's going to Amsterdam, then to Washington, to Phoenix. I’m sure that it’s the same for Nielson except for Phoenix.   Is it the same for me? I would imagine. Cockrum said his is the same somehow.
          Anyway, it has been raining quite a bit. Things are starting to green up and recover from the dry season. They have closed the road in front of our place from the main junction. They are starting in on the rain gutters up the street. So now we have to go up to the station to get a tro to Kumasi now.
          I’m getting tired of mad (crazy), drunkards coming up to me and wanting money and what not. Also on weekends we usually have 5-6 big funerals in our area, which is really quite the site to see. Big speakers, red, black, chairs and canopies all around with pictures of the person on a table. There’s dancing, listening to music and mourning. Ilunga and I have decided it seems like a party and an excuse to get out of the house to go and eat, and reminisce. Haha.. I don’t want to go farther into that one.
          But yeah, that is about it for the week. I'll see you in three dang weeks! I can't believe it! It feels like a dream!  Take care!
                                                      Love,  E. Ty Blackburn

Me with my new African attire

Enjoying p day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


          Well I’m sorry about Monday. I didn’t get time to email. Elder Ilunga and I went to Nkawkaw early Monday morning and got back late that evening. Everyone we saw were doing fine. Some of my converts were home and are doing well and are still strong in the church and their conversion. The last stop was at Eugina’s house. They fed us yam and cabbage stew. It was really good. After, we headed back for Kumasi and Offinso.
          So yesterday I had my last Zone meeting at Bantama. Bantama was my first zone, first zone meeting, acitivity, conference and so forth, and I’ll have my last of those things there as well. I’m really going to miss that place. I have many memories there.
          I want to get 5 more baptisms before I go home.  It’s possible!  They are all coming to church and progressing, and they want to be baptized. We have one investigator named Esther. When we met her for the first time we taught her L1 and gave her a baptism date. Between that day to the second visit, she said she pondered and thought about it a lot and asked us if she could be baptized. The thing is, she is in a wheel chair. Her left leg doesn’t work. She used to walk, but the past year she hasn’t been able to. So we said, “Yes its’ possible, we can do it”. So on Sunday Ilunga and I went and fetched her and wheeled her to church. She is only 26. She says she will be going to a surgery soon so that she can walk.
          So things are good and cool here.It sounds like everyone is doing fine and things are fine back home. I better go. Take care. Love you all!
                                            Elder Ty Blackburn

Monday, March 9, 2015


Hi Everyone,
         It was a great week.  Offinso is progressing!  E. Ilunga and I had 13 investigators come to church yesterday, and last week we had 14.  The total at church yesterday was I think 60, so it was great.  The only thing is our group leader likes teaching about tithes/offerings toooo much. He wants to make our group a branch real quick,  so he can get released. We had a nice talk about all the things that are not favorable, and it seemed to sink in small. But I don’t think he quite gets it.
          But anyway the weather is the usual, just hot and scorching!!  The power situation is the same and even worse. The landlord has not payed the power bill, so they have disconnected the line. Last night I had had it, so I went down and connected it. This morning I went down and disconnected it. I can’t be getting hand cuffed now. Haha…
          Oh, a woman we have been teaching for a long time but have never seemed to have dropped, finally came to church yesterday.  Next week she said she wants to bring her husband. That makes us real happy.
          So I’m not sure really how to remember and to know how it will be to be back home.  With most of things I think it’ll be easy to adapt to once again, but for a few things it will be jaw dropping. haha. I have had many experiences and events that have happened the past 23 months in Ghana that have for the most part helped me and shaped me into the person I think I’m suppose to be. It’s not easy to stay and think positive when you are walking home in the dark, hungry, knowing that you will not have power and possibly have no water.  Ha… I know that Ilunga has helped me to stay positive here in this village. But I’m happy to be here and to be a part of this. Haha… Enough preaching!!
          Something I think is kind of funny: People over here when they think of farming, they think of a man, a few acres, and a big cutless (machetey). They can’t wrap their head around hundreds of acres and big machines. They get blown away when you try and explain it. Most of them think that we eat Fufu and what not in U.S. too.  Haha…
          Well that’s about all for the past week. Today we are going to Piri Piri.  It’s Ilunga and Gibson’s six month mark. It’s also Elder Amakye's first p day so they wanted to celebrate. I may as well too, I only have 4 p days left!  But thanks for everything.  Your dresses look awesome!
                                  Take care!
                             Love ya, E. Ty Blackburn

(Yams cooked then mashed, with eggs and palm oil)

Monday, March 2, 2015


Hi Everyone,
          Well for the most part everything is great. There’s only six weeks left, so its getting close.  So yeah, I’ll be staying in Offinso with my same companion for the remainder of my mission.   Elder Ilunga and I are going on 7 and a half months together.  We still get along great.
          So yesterday at church we had 75 people there.  Every room in the church was full.  The little sacrament hall is way too small. They have built a canopy/ roof over building to have sacrament in. It is exciting to see people come like that, and to see the smile on their faces when they are there. The only thing is we need a more serious group leader. President Holmes said once we become a branch, they will be sure and get someone that is more serious.
          Owasu John was baptized yesterday.  It was a great day. He has already read the Book of Mormon and he gave a powerful testimony about the Tree of Life in 1 Nephi. Wow! He’s the most powerful convert so far! It really made me happy and full of joy to see that.
          Ok, so you asked which has been my favorite area in Ghana. I would have to say it's here at Offinso.  We started from nothing, and now today we are almost to become a branch. I have a lot of good memories/experiences here.  It feels nice to be the oldest missionary on mission and are preparing for departure. I’m happy to stay in Offinso and to finish what I have started here.
          Today I am in Kumasi and we went the culture center. I hit up my guy Tijani and made a few more purchases.  I got a bunch of other cool stuff.  You will just have to wait to see it all.  I did buy some African wear, top and bottom which is pretty cool.
          That is about it for the past week. I’m just trying to stay alive and to endure. Haha.  Best go! Take care and have a nice week. Love ya all!
                                     Love, Elder Ty Blackburn

Owasu Johns' baptism

My last planner on mission.  haha….
(6 weeks to go)

Monday, February 23, 2015


Hi Everyone,
          Today is good. We came to Kumasi and accomplished a few moves this morning. Yes, last week I sent the snake skin from the Kumasi Post Office. It’s in a big brown padded envelope. I hope it gets there. It cost me 50 cedis to send it, which is like 20 dollars.
          Anyway, things are fine here in Offinso.  We had 6 investigators come to church yesterday. We were planning on baptizing Owusu John, but we didn’t get all the lessons in; so this next week are planning on it.  He also is very happy to become a member of the church. We are also planning on having a few more in March; maybe 5 solid people.
          So yeah, every week the chapel is full. Every Sunday I give my seat to someone and go and stand out in the little over flow thing. The chapel is real close to our apartment, like maybe a 10 min walk. It’s  just across the ridge.   I usually get the chance to share my testimony every fast and testimony Sunday. I always thank them for their hospitality and kindness to us. It always seems to make them light up and smile. It will be a little strange going from people that possess nothing to going back to people that possess everything in their day to day lives. Haha… It will be quite the change! It may be a bit bigger than me actually coming to Ghana.  Well enough of that!!
          So I got the email of the dress measurements. I’ll give them to her tonight or tomorrow. She is really good. It will be cool to have them.
          It sounds like the fast went well, and the blessings are starting to come.  We know that as we always try to remember him, he will surely remember us. Well best go. Take care!
                                          Love ya,  Ty

Monday, February 16, 2015


Hi Everyone,
          Yeah you said it.. Hot!!!  Everyday it looks like it will rain, but by 10 or so the sun is blazing and scorching.  We just walk down the dirt roads and I can hardly open my eyes to look ahead.  My squinting is beyond squinting.  All of the sun glasses I have bought have been crap, so I have stopped buying.  I’m just going to hold out and get burnt.  Other than that, things are fine.
          We didn’t have too many of our investigators come to church yesterday, only 5.  But the thing that is good is that all of our people we have baptized are there every Sunday, and they are helping the branch grow. The one gave a talk last week which was powerful. She asked us to help her a little on her talk; it turned out really good.
          Yesterday, we went to Bantama to have the baptisms, since there was no water in Suame. We went to the Stake Center. My companion and I had three baptisms.  Two of them were Joyce's daughters who are 10 and 12. We are working on making Joyce's family all members. The other guys are teaching her parents and siblings. She was the first person we contacted our first day in Offinso, and now is one of the strongest members. The other baptism was a guy named Kelvin. He’s a teacher and is really smart. I think we will start to have him teach the investigators class. I forgot my camera the day of the baptisms, but E. Gibson took a picture. The computer won’t read it so maybe next week.  Also, next week we are planning on baptizing Owusu John.
          I really can’t believe that my departure is at hand. I received my flight itinerary today from Sister Preator who is the mission secretary. She  asked me what airport I wanted to alight at.  Salt Lake is what I said. I think they will also be on the same flight. They are getting released with us as well. But as I look back it seems somehow of a big flash. From the beginnning till today it feels like a long time, but really it is not. I am humbled and comforted as I look back upon my journey here in Ghana. I know that I did my best and gave it my all to help and bless others. Even to be an instrument in the Lords hands to bring his children to the full knowledge of him, and all the blessings that are attached as they partake of his gospel.
          As for the zoo visit last week. It wasn’t anything like Hogle, but it was cool. All African animals of course. As for the monkeys, they are something else! One male wanted to fight us.  He was throwing fruit at us, and about ripped Elder Richmonds hand off. There was a little baby doing tricks and showing off for us. I have a video I’ll have to show you all when I return.
          So as for the dresses you can mix and match color or design to what ever you want.  I will need your choice by next Monday, so she can start for the three of you, if that is what you guys want.
          Well next week is transfer news. I’m pretty certain I’ll be staying to die in Offinso. Maybe with Ilunga, that would be correct revelations.  But that is about all. Take care, till next week.
                                Love, Elder Ty Blackburn

Monday, February 9, 2015


Hi Everyone,
          Well I guess things are fine here. Still no lights, it’s the same thing every week.  I think that it is starting to effect me mentally. I am starting to have hallucinations about going home. Haha…… It’s way tooooo hot! We are always buying water everywhere we pretty much go everyday. But we still somehow seem to pull through from day to day.
          We had 9 of our people come to church, which was good. We are planning for 3 baptisms this Sunday, and then hopefully 2 the next Sunday. We have found people that have really been prepared to receive us. It’s not easy to get someone enthused about the gospel or church. It seems like it usually takes a person a few visits to really make trust, and then we can start to be friends. One of our investigators is Owusu John. He is a powerful guy. On the second visit he explained the first five chapters of 1nephi better than I would of. We didn’t even ask him to read it, but he did anyway. Everyone else is good. There’s still quite a bit of persecutions, anti-doctrine, about the church, the gospel, Book of Mormon, and such. Haha.. Some of their ideas are flat out hilarious to even say and think.  We just laugh when they say such things!
          Today we went to the Kumasi zoo.  We had some monkeys try to run us off by throwing bananas and oranges.  I got a front row seat with a little elephant and also a camel!
          So Mom, would you, Belle and Bryler want a dress or something from here.  I  could send a picture chart next week of one you want.  The woman said all I need is a picture of the person and she can have the measurements. Haha…  Anyway, I hope all is well back home.  Take care till next week.
                                       Love ya, E.Blackburn

The Kumasi zoo.  
(It's nothing like the one's we have back home)

Saying "Hello" to the little elephant.

Sleeping Lions

Monday, February 2, 2015


Hi Everyone,
          We came to town today to email again.  We come most every Monday now, just because there is no power hardly ever in Offinso. To get here we take a tro tro. They are Dodge Sprinters. They usually fit like 22 people inside. We also went to Boukrom today and saw a few people. It was nice.
          So the past week has been pretty good and we were able to have some success. We have been trying our best to seek out and find the ones that are truly prepared for us. It seems to have worked so far. Out of the 13 or so new investigators we have had in the past two weeks, there are 4 or 5 that say they have received an answer to the Book of Mormon, and know that it is true. Once they know that it is true, then the rest just falls into place. Ha ha..
          Anyway, everything else is OK. We had 7 investigators come to church yesterday, which was not as good as last week, but we achieved our goals. There were still a lot that did not come. We went and saw some of them after church and they said this next week they will be there. haha… Me and my companion call it the “Ghanian Act.” On Saturday almost all of the ones we scheduled for the day had their phones switched off, so we went to their house and they were there. Haha.. They blame it on the lights being out, but it’s not a good enough excuse. But we are doing our best, and our testimony about the work is growing and becoming more firm.
          This is probably the toughest area I have been in. The persuctions, people not keeping time, etc; but we are doing fine other than that. The power situation is still the same, it’s just the norm nowadays.
          So I think I’ll send the skin through the mail.  I’ll send it from the big Post Office here in town.  I’ll probably keep it and have a pair of boots and a belt made out of it, or I could sell it. We’ll see..
          Well I better go. Extend my greetings to everyone. Thanks for everything and have a good week.
                         Love, Elder Ty Blackburn

Here's a few pictures of some baptisms we had in January.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Hello Family,
          Well today we came to town (Kumasi) and went to the cultural center and bought a few things like hand weaved baskets and smocks. Ha.. And now I’m finally able to send a few pics.
          So church yesterday was great! We had 12 investigators come, but still a bunch that wanted to didn't make it. We are hoping for maybe 3 possible baptisms this next month.
          It finally rained for the first time in 2 months. Just enough to clean the roofs off and keep the dust down, but now its starting to pick back up. It’s been pretty over cast, so it holds the heat down and the humidity. But for the most part things are OK.  We haven’t had power hardly at all. Maybe each day we get if for a few hours, just enough to charge our phones and cool our water in the fridge.  It’s a good thing we don’t store much food in the fridge or we would be out of luck.
          We have been able to make progress with our people. Owusu John is a man who came to church on his own last Sunday. We were able to meet him on Saturday. He is a guy that is really prepared and ready to receive the gospel. We actually contacted his house a while ago with the help of the Spirit, but we did not meet him, and some time down the road he found us.
          The snake skin I bought a few weeks ago was 200 cedis, which was a pretty good buy. The man started at 350 and I got him down because I bought other stuff from him, so now I’m his customer.  So the snake skin rolls up. They say they have regulations on importing fruits and animals from other countries into the USA; so I’m not sure how to get him home, or should I send it through the mail?
          Sounds like things are going good back home and you are all doing fine and enjoying life. It’s going to be a shock for me to get back and actually have lights for more than a few hours a day. Haha… Well better go!  Take Care! May God Bless!
                                    Love,  E. Blackburn

Cleaning up the official church building in Offinso.

Inside the new building.

Companion (Elder Ilunga) with my "purchase of a lifetime."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Hello Everyone,
          Well yeah, everything is OK.  Last week I was at a crappy cafe and waited and waited for your email to send, but I guess it didn’t?? I apologize.   But on the bright side, we moved into our new chapel building yesterday. It went very well.  We filled the sacrament hall with…. I think there was 50 or 60 chairs. and they were all full with a few people out side on chairs. The thing that was cool was there were lots of little kids in the primary room. It was completely full!! Also, we had 3 baptisms which was also great.  We spent Saturday morning cleaning the yard and building for Sunday.  We burned weeds and leaves, and such. We even saw a snake. It was a yellow mamba! It made a quick escape! We weren’t fast enough to kill it.
          So the power has been really crappy the past week and a half.  There’s outages everyday. It comes and goes like flies. We get it for maybe 6-12 hours a day, so its not easy to get much done. It just seems like the norm around here now. Just as long as we have water I can put up with it.
          Transfer news was Friday. President Holmes released me as DL and said I’ll be staying in Offinso for another transfer with my companion. He said he is real happy and pleased with the work in Offinso. As a district so far for the month of January we have had 7 baptisms, and still have two more Saturdays to go. Now that we have the new chapel, things are going to go a lot smoother. It will be great once they get the font erected.
          The investigators are doing fine. We have 5 or 6 pretty solid progressing ones. They for the most part just have small farms. They raise, yam, plantain, casava and corn. They seem to do pretty well and can survive on eating and selling a few acres of produce.
           I’ve been unable to send pictures from these small little crappy café’s.  They all have virus’s so when I try to send pictures they will never download. Next week we are going to go to Kumasi and start to buy some things.
          It sure sounds like everything is running smoothly and doing well back home. Spring is somehow around the corner. Haha… When I left it was snow and cold, and when I come home it will probably be the same.  I’ll probably freeze to death!!
           Well I better go. I need to find something to eat. There isn’t much to find on the streets of Offinso that a guy can be satisfied with and not get sick. Fried rice is pretty hard to come by, its only around at nights. But anyway I have made the purchase of a life time last week. I bought an 11 foot python skin that’s about 2 feet wide. I got it for a steal of a deal!!  The only problem is getting it home and past airport security.
                               Till next week. Love you all.
                                               Love E.Blackburn

Monday, January 5, 2015


Hi Everyone,
          The New Year was good. That is good to hear that people are still thinking about me over here.  Mostly everyone probably feels like I have just disappeared off the face of the earth. Haha… Well yeah, it’s true, I have. Haha..   We didn’t end up going to Suame for New Years. We will go there on Tuesday night because on Wednesday we are having a Zone Conference at Bantama, with the Bantama and Obuasi Zones. Suame is a part of Kumasi when you are coming from Offinso. The Elder's names are Richman and Rindlisbacher, they are both from Utah.  So for us on Wednesday (New Years) we stayed up. Well just me, Gibson and Helgesen. Elder Ilunga went to sleep. I watched Gibson and Helgesen play chess, and I made one of the brownie mixes. That is pretty much all that happened.
          We are planning on moving into the chapel the next Sunday after this one. It will be great. We could have probably an easy 15 people come when we are in the new building.
          So another blessing that I have received while being on my mission is being able to see how the gospel can bless others, and how they can prosper while living the commandments.
          That is good to hear about the calving.  It sounds like it has turned to Winter.  Over here it is just getting warmed up. It’s starting into the dry season. This morning it was quite windy and dusty. They have graded the dirt road in front of our house which was a mistake. It’s just all powder and the tro tro’s just fly down it. All the roofs are just caked with at least a half an inch of dust. We have to keep our windows closed always now.
          That is about it for the news here. It sounds like everyone had a good time for New Years. Well I better go! Thanks for all you do.
                                                 Love,  Elder Ty Blackburn