President Uchtdorf was one of four speakers at the Regional Stake and District Conference for Southeast Africa. This was a video broadcast and every speaker was wonderful. President Uchtdorf began by telling the listeners how much he loves the people of Africa, their testimonies, their faith and being "uplifted by your joy." I agree with his sentiments,the people of Africa are a very easy people to love. He talks about being in the temple and how it doesn't matter your color, your profession, you status or what calling you hold in the Church. Everyone is dressed in white and all are loved equally by our loving Savior.
In Matthew 20: 20-28 the mother of Zebedee's children wanted a favor of the Savior, to have her two sons sit - one on the left and one on the right of the Savior in Heaven. He gently told her she didn't know what she was asking and said it was not his to give but His Fathers. The other disciples were moved with indignation against the two brethren. Jesus taught them how each us can become "great."
"Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." I have read this many times but this time it really hit me what it takes to be like Him. He was not sent here to earn glory or to be praised by man, even though that is an outcome. He was sent here and did spend his entire life ministering to those who lived during his earthly ministry.
I am not one who actively searches out opportunities to serve. Sure, I love signing up and going to do service when given the opportunity but those are all planned by someone else. His life was spent looking for opportunities to serve and, being perfect, knew where to find them. It is good that I married way above my level. Sister Squire does actively search out opportunities to serve and I tag along with her. I am way better than I would be on my own. I do hope that I will start now to not look for ways to be ministered unto, but to minister.
Now on to the adventures. I mean it isn't like I had to fight a lion to save Sister Squire, lift a zebra in a mighty show of strength or scratch a crocodile's eyes out, but still, we did a lot of fun things. On Monday, the Jinja zone was having a bonding activity for one of the Elders heading home this coming week. However, he was called into Kampala for his final exit interview with President Chatfield but the party must go on!
Sister Squire and I were going to have hot dogs and luckily when we stopped at the church the bread man was stopped on the side of the road so we purchased a dozen buns. Perfect!
We saw this rouge elephant as we were heading into the park by the Nile river. It should have been a warning for what was to come...
Elder Sherwood with the kerosine to help get the charcoal started.
It was a chilly 82 degrees out and the elders were enjoying the heat.
Meanwhile, the sisters were cutting up their meat. I still haven't had the courage to buy meat from the butcher shops along the streets in Jinja. The sisters knew what to do with each cut.
Even sitting, they go into a pose when the camera comes out.
I think even her companion was a bit unsure about what to think about this situation.
She may have some anger issues...
For the moms out there, yes they were also having some vegetables.
Mom saw to that.
Eve showing where the women's bathroom was.
The sisters got first crack at the grill and yes all that meat is for them. The coals were too far from the grill and the meat turned out really tough. The sisters were all getting a good smell as it cooked.
The elders were doing tinfoil dinners. They turned out pretty good.
Elder Matli showing he was going to cook and eat a muzungu meal.
Not a lot of talk at this point in the day.
Banana boats in Africa, are you sure?
Oh wait, did I say I didn't have to hold up a zebra in a fantastic show of strength?
Or fight a lion to save sister Squire.
Oopsie, I guess I missed one. It was only a flesh wound.
Actually on further review, I scratched out his ears not his eyes.
One of the murals on the walls.
Back to posing.
The zone by the Nile.
This is the back of the shirt each missionary received at Christmas. Every missionary had their last name on the back.
I actually didn't fight this spider and stayed quite a ways from it.
So after a great Monday I receive a call on Tuesday that one of our members has passed away in Iganga. They were asking if I could pick up the body and transport to his village where he would be laid to rest. When we got to his home we found him laying on a mattress in the front room. They don't go to the mortuary but prepare the body at home. The funeral happens soon because they need to be buried quickly. We took the body to his village and the funeral was on Wednesday. He was an endowed member and only wanted endowed member to handle his body so I was able to help lift him into the coffin.
There is much loudness at an African wake. When we got to his village about 1 1/2 hours from Iganga his family started to very loudly show their sadness. After, I went in to the living room I asked if it would be possible to offer a prayer for the family. A peaceful calm settled over the room and I know comfort was offered to the family. It was a precious experience.
Here is the coffin from the store. We then went to his home and put him in the coffin and then traveled up to his final resting place in his village.
Well now, what to do with our Wednesday. Fight wild animals - check. Drive around with a coffin in back - check. How about a handover? What is a handover? Well, you have the Church Humanitarian build 11 bore holes, 8 latrines and 3 10,000 liter water tanks along with some hygiene training for some of the villages. At the end of this huge project you invite the surrounding villages where the work was done and you have a party. That is a handover.
The latrines will help a population, with an average age of 15, to have the opportunity of their children going to school. The schools cannot open if they don't have proper latrines. 40% of this district is unable to attend school because of inadequate infrastructure.
It is summer break in December and January. Here are the desks stacked against the wall waiting for the start of the new year.
Welcome to our school!
Yo bro, how about a ride?
Each project had a sign to show who funded the project.
All the latrines were for 3 boys and 3 girls.
You really do have to have good aim to make these work. The community has to be trained to make sure they will keep the boreholes and latrines clean and serviceable.
I don't know how they will handle the infusion of kids when all these kids grow up and have families.
After the latrine we went to see one of the bore holes. We had a ribbon cutting ceremony at each site that we visited - three total.
While waiting for the Govenor of the area to arrive I taught them the two handed high five. A rather advanced high five I must say.
Godfrey Kitimbo was the contractor of all the projects. He is also the branch President of the Mpumudde Branch.
Some of these pants left you free and easy.
Sister Squire with a bunch of her peeps.
This is the governor of the district. It is an elected position and she was very charismatic. I really liked her and she knows how to take over the crowd. Here she grabbed one of the kids and striped him down for a quick bath to show the village how it is done. The little boy was very good for having his first public bath in front of around 40 people.
Short video of the bath.
It looks like we are both giving each other a dreamy look...I was thinking how nice it will be for these kids to have a bathroom, she was thinking how frightening I look.
When we arrived at the hand-off ceremony, 2 1/2 hours late, there was a crowd of at least 500 people who had been singing and dancing while waiting.
Three tents with a more than full capacity crowd. Talks, thanks, dancing and networking. What more could you ask for. It lasted around 1 1/2 hours.
Dancing and singing as we were seated.
This girls did a type of rap about hygiene.
As we were walking back to the car we saw this jam session going on. I love the wooden xylophone and the great sound it makes.
The rest of the week was for meetings, office work and other mundane projects. Fun stuff! We did have one of our members go a bit crazy and take off all his clothes except his boxers and run around and tore up Elder Thorton's shirt. It is sad because there really isn't a program to treat mental illness here in Africa. I tried to reenact the scene but didn't really capture it.
This is how you do road work. You pile up a bunch of dirt on the road and some day you come back a grade it out smooth. It is really nice until the rains come again and the ruts show up again.
See you next week.