So you have already found out that all the missionaries from Sierra Leone and Liberia were evacuated and that we are now safe and sound. I was sad to leave our investigators and branch without giving them any kind of notice or heads up but that is just how it is. We did have complications with our first flight and we were not sure when we would be able to leave the country. The church is definitely true because they worked miracles. Within 24 hours of finding out that we would not be allowed to leave the country they found a way (not as first planned) to get 274 missionaries from Sierra Leone and Liberia. Travel arrangements for everyone to get out safely were made using commercial flights. That is at least something I would call a miracle. My own travel arrangements took me from Liberia to Belgium to London to Ghana. This is where I am now serving. I have very obviously been blessed by the Lord in so many ways on my mission but more so this past week. So many things have lined up and have worked out despite the odds. Miracles were just a part of every hour of every day this week. It was a week that I will never forget and a week that very easily could have changed my life forever.
Everything happened so fast. We got a call Wednesday night saying we were not allowed to leave the apartment for any reason and that we are not to contact anyone: no investigators, no members, and even no missionaries and that we would be called and told more the next day. Later, we got a call saying that we were being evacuated that we should pack our bags. We were the first to be picked up at 5 in the morning. We were all given new mission assignments by the quorum of the twelve. I was given a call to the Ghana Accra Mission. The evacuation was a very large operation amazingly pulled off.
When I got to Belgium one of the first things I did was get a Belgium waffle. After that I just waited for the next flight to London. Once in London I quickly bought a postcard and then went to the next gate. I loved hearing everyone speak it made happy.
We had another long flight to Ghana. Our original flight normally would have been less than a two hour flight into a 24 hour ordeal but I got to basically tour Europe because of it. Any way things are good.
I am ok we have made it to Ghana I was called to the Accra Ghana mission and I will most likely finish my mission here but I am safe and I was told I can call you tomorrow to talk with you more. I did try to call you just now but it is not working.
We will be traveling to my new assigned area of Tema New Town by car and I will get to use a bike. While at the Ghana Mission Home we were fed by the mission president’s wife and the couples. They have been making us food every meal and it has been great. I did get a good night’s sleep and they let us sleep in. They have treated us and taken good care of us.
Love you all – Elder Orton
[The last pictures taken by Elder Orton before leaving Liberia]