Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Worth of a Soul

Another great week if you can believe it.  We sure do have a lot of adventures here in Africa.  You seniors should come and join us :).  As soon as we left the Caspersons last week we were driving home and still on the road when we get a call that Sis Caperson had fallen and had a two inch cut on her chin, black and blue bruises all over her legs and neck along with bruised ribs.  She has had a struggle this week just getting around because her whole body hurts.  She was on a ladder over her tub cleaning a small spot of mold and reached too far.  I guess there was blood and guts everywhere (not sure about the guts...).  How fun to go home all black and blue.  They come to Kampala this coming Thursday and leave that night for SLC after fulfilling an 18 month mission.

We went to Jinja again on Saturday for additional training and to attend a returned missionary fireside.  President Chatfield and his wife were 1 1/2 hours late because there were two accidents on the road and the tow trucks were there to clean everything up.  It is usually a 2 hour drive on a bad day but it took them 4 1/2 hours on Saturday.  A great message was taught about how he does not like the title "returned missionary."  These young men and young women do not return to the life they had before.  They have been changed and if they continue to be guided by the principles taught in the Preach My Gospel book after their mission, they will be successful in life.  Returned missionary is replaced by royal missionaries. 

President Chatfield also talked about the worth of a soul (the spirit and body combined).  We are taught that God wants us to have all he has - even to become like him.  If our worth is so great shouldn't we act in every way to allow him to bless us in becoming more than we are now (D&C 18:10 and D&C 82:10).  We know that God can do anything (except sin, lie, take our agency) so when we say "I can't" we have essentially said we don't believe He can do what we need Him to do in our lives. We take away our own agency.  The greatest poverty in the world is the poverty of desire.  When we lack the desire to change, we will go nowhere.

Ok, now to put the week in pictures.  Once the mission found out there was damage to the apartment when Sis Casperson fell (broke the shower) they put out the following flyer... This will be on the mission office door when she comes in on Thursday. (Okay, I made the flyer).

This royal missionary had a traditional dress made for Sis Casperson and surprised her with it before church.  She also had a tie made for President Casperson so they would match.  Fun

We found some new cute kids in our new Branch.

Tell me about this smile.

Dress and matching tie

Another Mission Leadership Council (MLC) meeting with dinner at Hotel Protea, yum.

The Sister leaders

We went with Caspersons to dinner on Saturday night to a very nice place overlooking the Nile river.  Lots of monkeys came to eat fruit and visit.

The baby will hold on the the mothers stomach and they still move fast.

How cool is this?

Here is a video of meal time in the trees.

We cannot pass a playground without having to pause while Sis Squire plays on the equipment...Sigh

Monkey and the sunset

Goodby monkey

Well, R U?

Finally, we are very excited to have two of our girls that will be coming out in November.  We have been wanting a very real experience for them as they tour and visit Africa.  We already have made some of the Hotel reservations.  Here is the front of the Hotel.


Not much from the front but it really does have a nice pool and hot tub.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


We are shifting as they say in Africa when you move to a new area.  We have been serving as an office specialist and the mission nurse for the last 8 months and will continue through October until our new mission doctor arrived at the end of October.  Having a doctor arriving allowed President Chatfield to move us behind Elder and Sister Casperson, from Riverton Utah, who have been serving as 2nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency and as Member Leader Support (MLS) for the Jinja District in Uganda.  They have been so humble in their service, they are loved and will be missed.  We will now be responsible for 34 missionaries (10 sisters and 24 elders) and 14 rentals.  I think we will stay busy :).  Sister Squire will still continue to be a medical adviser for the missionaries in the Jinja area.

We also went out and visited all the missionary homes that house the sisters and the elders.  We will be doing inspections on them all every transfer.  Lo and behold we found an Elder from Kaysville, our neighboring town back home. He is also in my brother, MJ's ward.  Here is Elder Allred whose dress pants were being dried but we wanted a picture anyway. These missionaries in this branch had a goal to baptize 24 people this year and they reached this goal quickly, so they made a new goal of baptizing 48 people this year.  I think they are only 2 baptisms away from making this goal.  The missionaries and members are so awesome and the joy of the gospel is spreading in this Bugembe Branch! 

This week we have been staying with the Caspersons and being trained in their assignments.  We have been visiting each of the 7 branches in the district and interviewing the Presidents and their counselors on the work.  What wonderful men and we love the support in the Branch from their spouse.  We were so amazed at the love and dedication they have for their members.  They have to be strong because the Church has only been here in Uganda for 20 years and there is much to learn.  They are doing it with humble dedication to the Lord.

Elder Casperson is the 2nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency so he has even more responsibilities than I will have as only MLS.  The goal is to have the Jinja District become the Jinja Stake soon.  Soon, may be this year or it may be some time early next year.  The numbers are getting close so that is why they wanted to have the Senior Couple support to continue.  We have not had any new senior couples come to Uganda since we arrived in February.  All the other senior couples in Kampala drive a couple of hours every Sunday to the different branches in Jinja to help train and support the leadership.  That support has been a real blessing for each Branch.

We have loved what we have been doing since we arrived here in Uganda and I know the missionaries will miss Sister Squire.  She is their mom away from home and she treats each elder or sister that way.  They love her.  October will have us filling both callings and so we will be doing a lot of driving between Jinja and Kampala.  Once November arrives we will have the new medical adviser trained and will shift full-time to Jinja.  November will make our half way mark and we will welcome two of our daughters that will visit us for a week.  Is life good or what?  We are called as missionaries for the Lord Jesus Christ and so where we serve is really not a problem.

Of callings, President Eyring said in a 2002 conference talk: "you are called of God. The Lord knows you. He knows whom He would have serve in every position in His Church. He chose you. He has prepared a way so that He could issue your call. He restored the keys of the priesthood to Joseph Smith. Those keys have been passed down in an unbroken line to President Hinckley. Through those keys, other priesthood servants were given keys to preside in stakes and wards, in districts and branches. It was through those keys that the Lord called you. Those keys confer a right to revelation. And revelation comes in answer to prayer. The person who was inspired to recommend you for this call didn’t do it because they liked you or because they needed someone to do a particular task. They prayed and felt an answer that you were the one to be called."  The unbroken line now goes to President Monson, I know each of us have the opportunity to serve where we can learn and grow and more importantly, make a difference in someone else s life.

Jinja had a district primary activity and Sister Squire was able to work with all the leaders for a wonderful primary activity.

 Solving the worlds problems...

President Mbiro (the District President) with President and Sister Casperson.

If you need a bread delivery it is much cheaper to get it delivered on a bodaboda.  We saw him pull over an give some to the guards on the dam over the Nile River.

Side view, not much room for the driver.

We had another baptism in Lugazi last week.  Love how the Branch is growing.

We wanted to get a picture in front of the baptism font because we have another wonderful grandaughter getting baptized this next month.  Ada was baptized this month and now Sophie will be baptized in October.  She turned 8 last week.

I usually post a couple of pictures our our beautiful birthday girls and boys but we were out all that day and did not get it done.  Here she is, Happy Birthday Sophie!

Our daughter Rachelle was going to come in November but put her plans on hold when she found out we were shifting to Jinja.  We learned she was only coming because we have avocado trees outside our apartment.  Luckily we found this tree outside our NEW apartment and hopefully her plans are back on.

When we visited Robert and his family this past week (the hairdresser that we are teaching English to), Betty was warming something up that looked like beans.  Later we found she was making us a treat and we had Fanta strawberry soda and warm peanuts.  They were so kind to think of something they could do for us for helping the family with English.  We later took them over to see where the closest ward meets.  She was going to try and go there on Sunday.

Some of the cute kids outside Roberts home.

I had to "school" Sister Squire on the basketball court this past week.  

Basketball or Ninja training, you decide.

Ah, the ever famous over the top backward basket.  I think I made one the entire day.

The form is impeccable
Just when you things couldn't get much weirder I have to say that I have grown up a lot on this mission.  Here is proof...

Before Mission

During Mission

You will have to wait for the after mission photo...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Finally an elephant!

Another wonderful week right down the tube.  We are loving the adventure and the wonderful senior couples, Mission President and his wife, and of course the Elders and Sisters.  We rub shoulders with the most wonderful people and that doesn't even get to the people we meet on the street or in our everyday dealings here in Uganda.  We do get a little sad when we miss a sweet granddaughters baptism or the newest addition to our family, Talmage Jex Squire.  We are blessed on so many levels.

I have been thoughtful this week on some of the postings from the remembrance of the 9-11 tragedy.  It is sad that people will claim the lives of innocents to justify their cause.  Some have mentioned where they were or that the event caused them to reconsider their whole life and what they stood for.  It is always OK to consider where we are going with our lives and what is important.  We can change from a Conservative to a Liberal or Democrat to Republican or vice a versus but I love the one thing we never have to change is our relationship with our Father in Heaven.  He never changes and His love for us in unconditional.  None of the measures we so often use for one another really matter to Him if we are living righteously, doing good works and love Him and our neighbors.

I know we had a spirit that existed previous to our coming to mortality.  All living things exist as individual spirits and our spirit is in the likeness of our physical body (Gen 2:5).  Each and every one of us is a literal son or daughter of God.  He knows us and we know him.  We are immortal and will live with our Father in Heaven once again.  God is our Father and through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, he has created this wonderful world on which we live.  I always feel sad when someone rejects the only way to find peace from trials and hardship.  The only way to find comfort is to keep the pathway to our Father in Heaven open with sincere prayer, reading scriptures and pondering.  The Holy Ghost will comfort and help us understand when we are humble and believing. 

God knows the end from the beginning and while we may not understand why the world seems to be out of control at times, He does.  Even in time of trials we can find peace and joy.  We never have to question God, only what we need to do to have His spirit to be with us.  We can be happy, we will have joy, and we will at some future day understand why things happen that we cannot currently understand with our limited capabilities. Never, ever stop believing there is a higher power that is watching over us with a perfect understanding of all.

President Uchtdorf summed up quite nicely that we as members of his church are not perfect but we never have to stop believing in God.  “To be perfectly frank,” Uchtdorf said, “there have been times when members or leaders in the church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles or doctrine.  God is perfect and his doctrine is pure, he said, but human beings — including church leaders — are not."

We finished the training in Lira on Wednesday afternoon and then drove to Chobe to stay overnight at this beautiful resort.  We went there for lunch only when we traveled back from Gulu after the knickers humanitarian effort.  It is still beautiful and we were able to see many animals.  What a wonderful Country Africa is.  They were able to train 58 midwives on how to resuscitate newborn babies that are not breathing at birth.  Currently 90 babies out of every 1000 deliveries die.  In the U.S., 1 baby dies out of every 2000 deliveries. This will save 90% of the babies if the principles taught, along with the equipment, are used.

This is the administration building where the training was held.

 These are the trainers: Dr Joyce, Sister Squire, Dr Charles and Dr Lind

The final speech, she did great

This was a much bigger class than the first one.  We had 8 extras attend this one.

President Chatfield was able to give final encouragement and talked about how you can't use this training for yourself.  You have to use it helping others and how wonderful that is for all of us.

Some of the class wanted a picture with Sister Squire.

This is one of the midwives preparing to do a skit in front of the class at graduation.  It was cute.

This little girl would only let me hold her if she was asleep.  I got a phone call and handed her off to Sister Lind and she was not happy to see an unfamiliar face to wake up to.

This Nun had a baby as part of the training, it was cute.

Sister Lind kept everything organized and made sure everyone received a certificate at the end of class.

Babies and hair, love it.

As we got close to the lodge we finally saw our first elephant in the wild.  This guy was close to the road and we were able to take pictures from around 20 to 30 yards away.  Part of our group was with the rangers having arrived earlier and were about 100 yards away.  They were waving at us and we thought it was to get out of their picture so we slowly moved down the road as we waved back to them.  Later we found out the ranger was telling them to get us out of there because the elephants like to ram vehicles and tip them over. 

Senior couples have it rough.  Here we are on the Nile river at sunset.

Several hippos in the water.  There are litterly tons of hippos in the water around the lodge.

 Nice huh?

Elder Wallace caught a Nile Pike a month ago when he came up for his anniversary.  He was willing to go again so here is Patrick, our guide, catching tilapia in the pond at the lodge for bait.

On the way to our fishing spot we caught our first glimpse of giraffes.  They run so gracefully.  We saw a couple of very large heards on the way.

You can see we are not fishing for a little fish here.

Getting the grass off the line for another cast.

We tried to get a picture of a hippo with its mouth open and Sister Squire finally did it.

If you hold the fish out in front of you it actually looks bigger.  Elder Wallace caught this one and it was all we got.  Next time...

Love me some gariffe pictures.

We were told the light spots are female and the dark are male.

I like this one with the Impala in front.

Almost done, here are the two events we missed this past couple of weeks.  Sweet little Ada was baptized.

Welcome to our family Talmage Jex Squire!

Love you all!