Thursday, May 29, 2014

Monkey Business

We had District Conference this past week.  What a treat, it was like being in a Stake Conference in Utah.  Instead of only a few black people dispersed in the crowd, there were only a few muzungu (white) people in attendance.  I loved it!  The spirit was there and you would never know you were in Africa from the teachings we heard.  We had an area seventy attend from the Congo, Elder Kyungu.  We were able to spend time with him after the Saturday conference at dinner.  He told us his conversion story.

When he was 25 he was living with his uncle in the Congo.  His uncle was a judge and had thrown a member of the church in jail for some offense.  The senior couple that was serving in the area came to get the man out of jail.  The judge wanted to know what they were doing with this African and how they came to know him.  They told him they were members of the same church.  Elder Kyungu agreed to let them take the man if they agreed to come and teach him at his home at 4 PM that day.  Of course they agreed and the uncle called Elder Kyungu to also attend so he broke off his appointments and came to listen.  It took 6 months to find all their answers as they wanted to make sure the Book of Mormon did not disagree with the Bible.  Once he had his confirmation, he joined the church along with his Uncle.  He is over seminaries and Institutes and then travels every weekend to different conferences.

Elder Kyungu, President Chatfield and Sister Chatfield

Elder and Sister Story, Wallace, Casperson and Hansen

View from the other end of the table.  Best steak I have had in Africa at this nice restaurant in Jinja.

Elder Kyungu speaking at conference.  They set up tents outside one of the chapel buildings so they have room for everyone to attend.

 Some of the sister missionaries with one of the members

Our Lugazi Branch rented a van to bring them to conference.  The three white girls are here for internships.

Most of the Elders from the District, they have fun getting together.

We drove over on Saturday and because it is a two hour drive back we stayed overnight at the Nile Anchor Hotel.  Nice clean place and the beds were softer than our last hotel experience.  Because we had time before the Saturday conference we took a boat ride out on Lake Victoria and the Nile to see the headwaters of the Nile. The first picture is of the village where we picked up the boat.  You can see Lake Victoria is very high because it is the rainy season here.  Some of their homes are under water and the shops where the start of the Nile were also under water.  In the dry season they will be out of the water.

 Our sweet ride, all to ourselves.

They have fish raising beds and the birds like to stick around for a free meal.  They have nets over the top but they still get a few.

This is a fishing village across from where we picked up the boat.

There are two prisons around this end of Lake Victoria.  The guy in yellow is a prisoner and helping them catch fish.

Our driver would shut off the engine and paddle around the areas where there were birds or other animals to see.  He had to run and get a plastic jug of gas based on our wanting the 90 minute tour instead of the 60 minute tour.

Our guide, Frank

A sail boat out on the lake.  You can tell where the lake stops and the river starts as the current starts to pull you down river.

A big old dragon lizard sunning himself on the island. 

We finally found the family of monkeys.  They were hard to find in the trees but they were moving across the trees and I could get a glimpse every once in a while.

Gandi wanted his ashs spread across 4 of the great rivers of the world.  The Nile is one of those and they put up this monument to signify the event.

I guess this is one of the places they actually have a bathroom.

 Normally this point is out of the water but not during the rainy season.

World's longest river starts right here folks.

Finally, I wanted to do something really crazy for my 60th birthday so I got this sweet fairy tattoo to always remember the day.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I'm 60 :)

Really?  I remember how I used to view people that turned 60.  That is scary.  Knowing your life is more over than beginning causes one to reflect.  It goes so fast and so many things have happened.  Getting married to a wonderful woman, raising five of the best kids ever, having jobs and relationships that I have loved, what could be better?  Other than those times I was learning how not to be such a jerk and being more kind, (most of you know that is still a work in progress) this has been a wonderful ride.  I am so grateful for good parents that raised me to believe in God, His Son and the Holy Ghost.  Even those years I spent away from the Church, I knew it was true and that I needed to change.  Many of my promised blessings were passed over but how wonderful to know that because of Him, I can have as many chances as necessary to return and live with Him again.  I know this and I know it for each one of us.  We can find Him if we are humble and seek to change from who we are to something better.  What is difficult becomes easy when we show our determination to do what we know is right.  I am a lucky boy.


I think of my good mom who fasted and prayed many days for me as I hitchhiked across the western United States and how I was protected from some events that could have been pretty bad.  Mom is suffering from Alzheimer's disease but she is and will be the same loving and kind person she was before the onset of this disease.  I know mom will be very excited when her time to move across the veil has come.  Dad has shown his true colors many times as a loving, kind and patient person who dies a little bit when thinking he may have to let someone else take care of his sweetheart. I love their example and that they had the patience to raise one such as I.  I am a lucky boy.

Goose egg and a drink

I know what is important to me now.  God, my wife, family and sharing what I know with anyone that has an interest.  I love people that have different opinions, even within my own faith, because I know we each have our own journey and if we are kind and respectful, we can still have a wonderful relationship.  I always remind myself that if the Savior is true, no one is loved more than another.  He wants everything he has to be ours; no matter how we are currently living, where or what circumstance we are living in or what color our skin is.  I am still a very selfish man but I am trying to be better.  I am a lucky boy.

Yea, I'm all that...OK not so much


My five children have brought me so much happiness.  I know the way they turned out to be thoughtful, caring individuals is the result of having their own good mom.  Nancy has been the rock of our family.  She knows what is right and will live it no matter the consequence.  Nancy has been the core of helping me to be a better person and to recognize where I need to change.  I love her.  Every one of our children has somehow found someone who we can love just as if we had raised them.  Each child has a wonderful supportive spouse that builds them up and we love them all so much.  Another blessing is the soon to be 20 grandchildren we love to spend time with.  Every song, play, recital, art work, game or talent they share brings joy.  Having them live within 30 minutes from our house in any direction - I am a lucky boy.

Having the opportunity to serve a mission is wonderful.  I am the designated driver for the mission nurse and get to meet lots of missionaries.  I have the opportunity to share my testimony of the restored gospel while waiting at the pharmacy or doctors office .  I am able to share experiences on this blog and hope it is one of joy and happiness.  I have learned that my bad attitude, sadness, or feelings of inadequacy are a direct result of my choices.  It is wonderful to have agency and decide how I will react to any situation, not to the person or persons that may have created the situation.  I don't know where I would have served if I had gone at the age of 19 but I do know that at any time we can begin to have the change of heart that will guide us back to our Father in Heaven.  He loves us all the same and always - I am a lucky boy.

The unhappy years...

I am grateful for all of you.  Having family, friends and soon to be friends brings me joy and happiness.  Having a testimony that after the apostasy there was a need for a restoration and that a young boy had enough faith to ask the question of which church to join, brings me great joy.  To know that God the Father, His Son, even Jesus Christ, bearing witness through the Holy Ghost appeared to Joseph Smith and restored the keys of His kingdom to once again have prophets, seers and revelators on the earth is a blessing.  I know Thomas S Monson is a prophet of God, he guides this church with direct revelation from the rock of this gospel - Jesus Christ and the gift of revelation.  That Jesus Christ suffered in Gethsemane, on the cross at Golgotha and was resurrected on the third day, I know to be true.  Because of this, I too, along with everyone else who has lived on this earth will be resurrected to whatever state of glory we will be most comfortable in.  I marvel and joy in His love for me, a weak and lowly man.  I am a very, very blessed boy!

Ah, the 70's

Now then, when you get to be my age, you pick up a lot of baggage.  While no one has to carry a load of baggage heavier than we each choose to carry (yes, He will lighten our burdens but it is always our choice what we off load), it is good to find other methods to carry said baggage.  Here in Uganda we have bodabodas and bikes.  How about a few examples?

This guy has two rows of eggs stacked high that almost ended up on the road.  We were in the usual traffic jam and a man in front of our vehicle decides to turn around.  He turns right and the bodaboda hit the side of the car while loaded with the eggs.  Once he hits the side of the car the eggs start to tip precariously but another bodaboda came up and pushed them upright.  He is smiling so all is well.

This bodaboda seems to have a wide load.  I have had the same thing said about me when I turn sideways and you see the belly.  You have to give them as much room as a car when you are passing.

Not just bodabodas have baggage.  You see a lot of bikes that are hauling goods to the market.  These are matooke bananas.  In Uganda it is steam-cooked and the mashed meal is one of the national dishes of the country.  It is typically eaten with a sauce made of vegetables, ground peanut, or some type of meat (goat or beef). They never turn yellow but are processed and eaten this way.

The jerry cans are used to carry water.  He is hauling them somewhere.

When you have a lot of baggage sometimes you need a break.  Here is the icecream man.  Just let him know what flavor you want.

I have no idea what this is.  Impressive that he got them all on the bodaboda.

Here you have a a couple of riders and then you see the stork waiting until the next crash for dinner.  Our guide book said that 5 bobaboda drivers a day lose their life.  The way they weave in and out of traffic has me believing the statistic.

Best cakes, delivered right to your door...

Often the baggage is a family affair, we have seen 4 plus the driver but getting the camera to cooperate is often the problem.  It is now against the law for more than one passenger and they must wear a helmet.  Other than the helmet, nothing has changed so far.

Update, when I woke up this morning to go on my morning walk this is what I found.  A wall that said "Do Not Urinate Here - Fine $50,000 Sh."  A little background, here in Africa there are very few public bathrooms so you go where you need to go.  You will then find men (and a few women) urinating wherever the need arises and so some people put up signs telling them not to go on their wall.  I think it may have something to do with the smell over time :).  At the very end Elder and Sister Hansen put happy birthday, sweet!

Just so you know I am still a work in progress, I admit I still have a problem with people telling me what to do...  I bet she makes me clean up my own mess.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

King Me

Another great week here in Uganda.  For those of you new to this blog, it is a country in Africa...Yes! Africa, I am here in Africa - can you even believe it.  What an adventure we are having.  For those of you at a certain age (old) you should come and join us here in Africa.  There is a great work as the work goes forward with these good people.

We had a special opportunity to go with the young elders to teach a lady that has some hard decisions to make.  She has been taking the lessons for 3 months but has a boyfriend, who doesn't want to get married and is not interested in the church.  The elders asked on Thursday if we had plans for Friday night around 5:45.  We did not have plans so we agreed to go with them to help teach and encourage.  Around 5:15 the elders showed up to our door and I invited them in believing they were there to see the nurse.  They didn't say anything until Sister Squire finally remembered the conversation from the day before.  I don't need reminders, my mind is like a lock, I just can't ever find the key.  We made it to the appointment and had a wonderful discussion about faith, prayer, the holy ghost and listening to the spirit.  I don't know what her decision will be about being baptized on the 25th but we will be praying for her.  It is wonderful to introduce the people of Uganda to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the Congo Mission they had 5,000 baptisms last year.  The mission was split recently and I imagine both missions will be doing great.  We are working to a goal of 1150 here in Uganda in 2014.

Yesterday we spent our P day going to see more of the history of the area.  We went to the Parliament building and the Palace. I did not know that Uganda has a King along with President Museveini who is over all of Uganda.  The King is over about half of Uganda in an area called Buganda.  King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, he is the current Kabaka  (King) of Buganda.  After the disaster of Idi Amin and his torture of thousands of Ugandans, The King agreed to support President Museveini  as the President of all of Uganda and he had input of his area of 56 clans.


Idi Amin was the third President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979.  He took control by deposing Milton Obote who was out of the country at the time.  Over his eight year rule it is said he killed from 100,000 - 500,000 of his people.  Anyone who he thought had more education, was believed to be a threat to his rule and was eliminated.  The tour guide put the number at 300,000.

This is a statue of the current King outside of Parliament 

Here is the view from parliament looking down the royal mile road to the Palace.  They drive down for special occasions only a couple of times a year.

Here is some of the pictures of the 56 clans.  The people are all born into one of these clans and they can't marry someone from the same clan and they can't eat whatever their token is.  I would want to be from the broccoli or any of the other vegetable groups.
 This is the chair where the speaker sits.  They wouldn't let us sit here but we could take a picture standing by it.
This is a picture of the Palace.  The King no longer lives here because of all the people that were tortured and died here.

 This is a Bentley the British gave to the royalty of Buganda. The king had a total of 10 different nice vehicles he had been given.  Idi drove it around for a while and then destroyed all 10 of the vehicles.  You will see that Sister Squire had to be given a skirt so she would be dressed modestly to tour the grounds (she had slacks on - "P" day).

 This is the top of the area where Idi tortured and killed the people he believed were a threat to him.  They would grab the people and put a hood over their head and drive around all day then when it was dark they would drive them here and throw them in one of the four cells with no food or water for four days.  Then they would have them come out and stand in around 10 inches of water and electrocute them. 

This was a group from Kenya that had traveled to Uganda for tours.  They all have school uniforms.

 Not a great picture but you can kind of see the heavy electric wires at each end where the current to the sliding doors and to the water was run.

If you look along the right hand side you can see the where the level of water was.  After they killed the prisioners they would haul them off to Lake Victoria and feed them to the crocodiles.

 This is a picture of the gate looking back down the royal mile to the parliament building.

What a fun surprise today at church.  We had these four come in just at the beginning of Sacrament meeting.  The two girls on the left (Katie and Tessa) are going to be in Lugazi for three months doing an internship (they are BYU students).  Tessa's sister Britta and her husband Clark just came over with them and then they are heading out to see some of Africa on their way home.  They have been put right to work.