Sunday, November 16, 2014

Not Lyin', we saw a Lion

We have had a most wonderful week with Alysia and Rachelle here in Africa.  I hope they had a good time and I know they really enjoyed being able to have some service opportunities while here.  It would have been fun to have the whole family here but you take what you get and we had a blast with those two.

We had a couples fireside yesterday and they paired up the chairs in rows of two.  This kind of forced the couples to sit together.  Often in Africa, they sit in different parts of the chapel, not with the family.  Just one of those quirks the gospel culture will cure over time.  In D&C 42:22 we are given sacred instruction to "love they wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else."  In this age where there seems to be an unending assault on marriage and the family, you can see why the Lord would offer this instruction.  There is a good expression that should be at the heart of every marriage, "When the satisfaction or the security of another person becomes as significant to one as is one's own satisfaction or security, then the state of love exists." 

We hear of so much selfishness that goes hand-in-hand with failed marriages.  President Spencer W Kimball said, "Every divorce is the result of selfishness on the part of one or the other or both parties to a marriage contract. Someone is thinking of self—comforts, conveniences, freedoms, luxuries, or ease. Sometimes the ceaseless pinpricking of an unhappy, discontented, and selfish spouse can finally add up to serious physical violence. Sometimes people are goaded to the point where they erringly feel justified in doing the things which are so wrong. Nothing, of course, justifies sin. …

The opposite of selfishness is sacrifice.  Gorden B Hinkley stated, "without sacrifice there is no true worship of God.  The Father gave his Son, the Son gave his life.  We do not worship unless we give of our time, substance, strength, talents, faith and testimony."  When we sacrifice we have a more humble and joyful marriage.  It was great to be with our African brothers and sisters learning about happy marriages.

Now, we did seem to find some time to enjoy some uniquely African experiences with our two girls.  I don't think I can live with myself if I don't show you some pictures of our adventures.  For any senior couples, you too can have an adventure like this!  Just send me your name and I can hook you up.

OK, time to see what a couple of hard working missionaries do in a typical week.  The Hansen's (another senior couple) also had their daughter and son-in-law come to Uganda a day earlier than our girls.  It was great because we could travel in a pair on the way to Paara and across the park to Chobe.  These are the lodges where we visited during our two night, three day stay.  The first picture is all the girls on the ferry going across the Nile River to the lodge.  Alysia, Rachelle, Sister Squire, Sister Hansen and Paige.

As soon as we got checked in we set up our first safari drive and guess who we saw within the first five minutes into the drive...

Just a bit further down the road we saw a group of elephants with the scavenger birds that eat the bugs off the elephant. The guide was explaining that elephants eat for 18 hours a day and my sweet daughter said "just like you dad."  I don't think people understand just how hard it is to keep a figure like mine.

We saw lots of these guys over the next couple of days.  This is the Ugandan Kob antelope and we saw herds in the hundreds.

This is a Jackson Hartebeest and you can tell by the long face.  I can't count the number of times Sister Squire asked the Hartebeest "why the long face?"

Our guides had a fellow guide tell them where they found a lion the previous day.  He followed the tracks off the road and after several minutes told us to stop.  Right outside our window she was waiting for us.  Sister Squire had the window down and was trying to climb out the opposite window while getting the camera up for a shot.  Quite comical actually...

 I think here is where she smelt the bacon I was still digesting from breakfast.

You can get some great shots when you are this close to a lion in the wild.

I really wished I hadn't stuck out my tongue at her.  Not happy.

Finally, she saw a sliver of the moon and started to howl like a coyote.

The next day as we drove past this tree the Hansens, in the vehicle behind us, saw this Leopard stand up so they got a shot before it moved off.

 No idea what bird this was but it was big and looked cool.

The girls wanted a shot with some giraffes in the background.  This one worked out quite nice.

Simon was our terrific guide.  We found out he has two wives so I think I better understand why he can only make it home every two or three months.

The next morning we were up bright and early to start again.

Once again, several of these big guys were out and about.

This giraffe had a wounded leg and was hobbling around.  They said they had a vet who would come out and help fix the leg if the lions don't get there first.

We had to get a shot of the Cape Buffalo.  They and the elephants are the most aggressive according to our guide.

The birds like riding with the Buffalo as well.

The Uganda Crane, the National bird.

You really can't get too many shots of the elephants.

Mom and baby hippo.  It had to be a girl because the mom has to move out if it is a boy baby because the lead male in the School will not allow it to stay.

Another day in paradise.

Baby giraffe.

Lizard shot for the grand kids.

Chobe Lodge with the girls.

Smooch, smooch

After a crazy three hour drive across the park, on a road where you couldn't see where the road went in several places because of the tall grass, we arrived at Chobe and while waiting for lunch time we saw these three big elephants in the bay cooling off.

This was a fun shot.

Baby hippo

If you look close you can see the baby elephant behind the lead elephant along with several other smaller elephants.

Life is good with these three around.

I hope you understand how much work it is on a mission.  I don't know how we do it day after day.

Murchison Falls, the most narrow place along the entire Nile River.  Lots of water going through a very small opening.

An even better picture

We're going on a boat ride, we're not afraid.

If I had a dollar every time these two would start making any song into singing rounds, well my mission would be completely paid for.

When we got back it was off to Ndere Dance Troope for traditional African dancing and music.

Work it girls!

The girls had some decisions on what to do on the final day here in Africa.  We had a list of activities and they chose to spend the time at the Sanu Babies Orphanage.  We love this place because every time we go there is such a need.  It never stops and these sweet kids need all the love and affection they can get.  We learn so much from them.

I held the little girl on the right for a while. They were having a party when we arrived because two of the children were being taken to new homes.  It was wonderful to be part of the drumming and singing as they said goodbye to them.  They work to have every child in a home by four years of age.
Oh yea, the little girl turned out to be a little boy but they wear whatever they have that is clean.

Some of the toddlers that Alysia was helping to feed.

Alysia with one of the kids at the going away party.

Rachelle helped to feed the less than one year olds.  They had two new babies that were both less than 4 lbs in the isolation area.  They are kept separated until getting all their shots.

Just a cute child.

When we were done we still had enough time to drive to the equator because their flight did not leave until 11:30 PM. If you remember I tried to heal mother earth at the equator several months ago.  It still needed work so we came back to make another effort.  I really have no idea how this girl power really works but I wasn't in a position to put up a fuss.

I finally had to take a chance and try to pull the world all together with the help of my sweet wife.

Judging from the happy faces, the world will be a better place.

Finally it was time for the girls to leave.  No amount of sad faces at the airport would turn them back from their desired course.  Ah well, we had a blast.


  1. This trip was AMAZING!! You guys spoiled us rotten and I loved every second of it. Thank you so much! I miss you already! Love, Alysia

  2. What an amazing adventure!!! I LOVED it. Best.Trip.Ever!! Love you guys.