Tuesday, September 1, 2015

God Be With You Till We Meet Again...

Our hearts are full this week.  We had an awesome District Conference with 875 of our friends.  Can you believe it?  That is almost a 50% turnout where people live miles and miles away from the meeting place and no vehicles to attend.  And yet they came.  We will treasure our time in Kampala and Jinja with senior missionaries that we love, the best Mission President and wife that ever lived and the people of Africa.  If anyone reading this blog is thinking of going on a senior missionary adventure, we highly recommend Africa.  The people love our Savior and have brought us much joy and happiness.

The final week is one filled with much packing, saying goodbye and tying up many loose ends.  The Lord's purpose it to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" and I am so thankful that part of that process had Nancy and I serving in Africa.  Words cannot express our love of the Savior, our knowledge that He did come to earth to atone for all of our sins and the restored gospel is here in fullness across the world today.  I recommend to all to come and be part of this great work.

We attended our last missionary leadership training meeting dinner a week ago.  How I will miss the BBQ night at Protea!

Elder and Sister Chabra came to do medical and allowed Sister Squire and I to move and become part of the vineyard in Jinja.  We loved both halves of our mission and each brought different blessings to our lives.  We love our fellow senior couples.  You have an instant connection to the ones we are blessed to serve with.

The Howard's came to fill the humanitarian needs of the mission.  Very experienced and knowledgeable on how to do that.  He is blessed to take over the monthly vehicle reports from me.

There they are, our now lifetime friends President and Sister Chatfield.

One of the last things we did on our mission was helping John (pre-missionary) get a suitcase large enough to hold his mission clothing.  We took him home where he lived on a military base by Jinja.  These kids were there and usually they are full of smiles but his one gave us the once over for the longest time.  We loved it. Mzungo's!

Kids playing on the roof.

Because the bodabodas are a death trap missionaries are not allowed to travel on them.  Sister Squire did want a pictures however.

Our dear sister Consulate gave us each a pair of sandles from Kenya.  They are made with tire rubber tread and dressed up with beads and leather.  We love them.

Not sure if we have published the milk delivery.  The cows are milked and then the milkmen have a route where they come and dish out the amount of milk people need.  They have a set route they do every day. There are no fridges so they don't have a place to keep it cold, hence they need daily delivery.

Goodbye Jinja house.  You really do not live in huts in Africa.  Very nice places to live.

When doing road work, this is how to block the road in Africa.

One of the security firms training their new recruits with wooden rifles.

You know it is time to go when you find big holes int he bottom of your pants.

Two of our amazing guards.  They work 12 hour shifts 24/7.

President Mbiro, one last picture as we were leaving District Conference.  Elder Clayton and two other Seventy's attended and will report back if Jinja is ready to become a Stake.  My vote: Absolutely!

Elder and Sister Hall from South Africa - one of the Africa area Seventy's.

Our two District Clerks, Moses (leaving on a mission in a couple of months) and Rodger.

The head table, it is very nice when you have a nice breeze to have conference or other meeting outside.  Uganda has the best weather ever!

Elder Clayton

Sister Squire listening while holding Latisha on her lap.  They became good friends from choir practice.


Rose, our housekeeper, and Helen coming to say goodbye to Nancy who helped Helen get to the temple a month ago.

One of the wonderful High Council members with his beautiful wife (Ivan and Dorah)

After conference and a four hour training meeting, Elder Hall and wife, Elder Clayton and wife, Elder Squire and wife, Elder Hamilton and wife, Elder Chabra and wife and of course the people that plan everything, the office couple, Elder and Sister Goodwin came to the mission home for soup.


Elder Clayton and his sweet wife were on the same flight back home and took us under their wing letting us come with them to the airport lounges while waiting for our flights home.  I did take advantage of the food of course.

Homeward bound!

Talmage has waited his whole life to meet his other grandparents.  A wonderful reunion but he will take a couple visits to get comfortable with us.

How is this for an arrival greeting.  Rachelle had school and internship so we missed her at the airport but she came to our home with hugs and greetings.

Now that is a happy grandma!

Yes, pizza was our first meal back.

Many hands did pray for us over the last 18+ months.  We thank you all for your prayers and support.

Grandma gets hugs and grandpa gets the silly string treatment.

Just a reminder, as we look at our children with all their toys, when you don't have a lot children will still find a way to play and have fun.

One last group for Sister Squire to teach primary songs to.  We will both miss their sweet personalities.

Back by popular demand another traditional clicking song.  How does she do it?

Finally, here is the trek back to the vehicles.  What a welcome home.


Part of our hearts will always be in Uganda with our wonderful African friends!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hopping Along, Singing a Song

Our last Sunday in Busia.  We will really miss our little branch but not the one hour and 40 minute drive to get there on Sunday's.  We were both able to speak and bear our testimony in Sacrament Meeting.  Sister Squire gave a great talk about being "not afraid, only believe" (Mark 5:36) and listening to the spirit.  She has some great experiences as the mission nurse and being guided in the actions she was to take.  She talked about having faith to handle the medical needs of 180 missionaries, even when her specialty was in women's services. She talked about listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost who would guide her in medical decisions.  She also expressed the joy of sharing our testimonies of the gospel and watching many people enter into the waters of baptism and some who prepared, saved and went to the Temple in Johannesburg to be sealed for eternity.

I talked about adversity because much like in the USA, people have a hard time with life.  We have to understand it is part of the great plan of happiness for each of us to have trials.  We come to know the Savior as we rely on Him to get us through our tough times.

Apostle Orson F. Whitney (1855–1931) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”

Elder Richard G Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explains that God loves us perfectly and “would not require [us] to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for [our] personal benefit or for that of those [we] love.”  President Harold B. Lee once remarked: “Sometimes when [we] are going through the most severe tests, [we] will be nearer to God than [we] have any idea.”

I believe it is our perspective that determines how we view God as being either merciful or unkind.  He is merciful and loving and will give us what we need as we live worthy and ask in faith even in spite of our trials.  It is difficult during times of trial or loss to view God as merciful but if we remember we asked to come and experience this life along with the trials we begin to have the eternal perspective we need.

We have never felt uncomfortable in Africa and felt safe in both the big city of Kampala and our little town of Jinja.  We love it here.  It will be a busy week preparing for District Conference and a special Priesthood Leadership meeting in Seeta and an auxiliary training meeting for Nancy in Kampala.

The zone had an activity and we were invited.  These two stinkers beat me in a game of HORSE. 

Carmel corn and buttered popcorn.  We all loved it.

The committee assigned to wave goodbye to us.

Chapati John, this is where we buy our chapatis for lots of different things.  John is a member and we hope he will choose to go on a mission.

This is Sister Squire's creation.  Wait until you see the final outcome.

This is how you cook a chicken in Uganda.  We went to visit Joseph and he was in the middle of cooking dinner.  You clean the guts after it is cooked.


So much initiative, this is a suitcase handle with the two wheels (suitcase is gone) they are using to give each other rides.

Ever since we have been married Sister Squire has had this thing about turkeys.  She says there is something about them that reminds her of me.  Still trying to figure that one out...

This is McDonald's in Africa.  When you pull over they rush to see what you want to buy: chicken on a stick, soda, water, maze or other vegetables on a stick.

I thought President Chatfield was all alone with the horns on his vehicle but then we saw this cow horn vehicle at the market in Kampala.  Not a Hartebeest but still cool.

Robert giving one last cut.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am so very tired of being the fairest of them all!

Saying goodbye to Mwesigwa with a couple of pictures.

No carpet in the churches because of all the mud so everything is tile and has to be scrubbed each week.  See the children scrubbing the floor. We had zone in Bugembe Branch and they had a wonderful turnout to clean the building.

Here they are all happy with a belly full of chili dogs.

Need a tank of air, no problem.

Oh my, love this girl!

Another marriage and another cake.

Last Sunday in Busia.  These kids we sitting on three chairs in Sacrament Meeting.  Quiet the entire meeting.

Sister Squire gave Book of Mormon story books to all the primary kids for a goodbye gift.

Even the Primary President got one.  Cathrine is going on a mission and just waiting to see where.  Busia has six missionaries who just turned in their papers.

Usually there are 25 kids to primary.  They missed out by not coming this week.

President Ojambo by the new font.  We had a baptism and this font leaks like the last two.  Crazy!

Guess who came from Nairobi to visit.  This is Squire in the outfit Sister Squire sent.  Cute kid!

They came to say goodbye and to have me give a priesthood blessing to Squire.

The Busia Elders and Cathrine.

I don't even know what to say...

If that drool hits my head...

If I knew how much fun it was having all these parties we would have left every week.  The zone came over for a family home evening last night.  One of the games was that you got to decide what you wanted someone else to do.  Here Sister Squire is touching her tongue to her nose (trying).

She had to smile for 15 seconds.

Telling her conversion story.

Another game, figuring out where everyone is sitting while blindfolded.

Lots of laughter.

I asked for an African hair cut and man-o-man did they deliver!  I have to blindfold myself every time I look in the mirror.

Why anyone would want to see me hop on one leg and sing the "Sunbeam" song I will never know.

The district.

Silly kids!

Elder DeLisle won the crazy face battle.

As you know we will both be looking for jobs when we get back and if our old type of jobs don't work out then we will need some new skills.  Sister Squire could be a herder.

I could be a Pied Piper

Finally, this is so cool.  Listen as Sister Mbonyana sings one of her traditional songs from South Africa, but also includes the "click" as she sings.  I have no idea how they can click while talking and singing at the same time.  I mean, I fall on my face just chewing gum and walking!  So cool.