Friday, February 20, 2015

What is black and white and not read all over?

I love studying the New Testament.  In Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 6:46, 13:25-30 and 3 Nephi 14:21-23 we are taught to do the will of the Father.  However, I believe we need to be careful with all the noise going on in the world today that we don't just go through the motions of living a good life without properly learning to know the Father.

President John Taylor declared: "We are told that 'Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name and in Thy name cast out devils, and in Thy name done many wonderful works?'  Yet to all such he will say; 'Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.'  You say that means the outsiders?  No, it does not.  Do they do many wonderful works in the name of Jesus?  No; if they do anything it is done in the name of themselves or of the devil.  Sometimes they will do things in the name of God; but it is simply an act of blasphemy.  This means you, Latter-day Saints, who heal the sick, cast out devils and do many wonderful things in the name of Jesus.  And yet how many we see among this people of this class, that become careless, and treat lightly the ordinances of God's house and the Priesthood of the Son of God; yet they think they are going by and by, to slide into the kingdom of God; but I tell you unless they are righteous and keep their covenants they will never go there.  Hear it, ye Latter-day Saints!" (taken from verse by verse: The New Testament.  Ogden and Skinner)

I often wonder what I am doing to really get to know the Savior.  I think being willing to leave parents, children, grandchildren and the comforts of home is one step but could just be going through the motions if that is all I do.  We all have to make the sacrifice and pay the necessary price to know the Savior no matter what stage of life we are in.  This is why I think scripture study and prayer are so important for all of us to learn and then act upon the promptings we receive.  Slow down, He will guide us to where we need to be if we will let Him.

Here we live in the Pearl of Africa and haven't gone on a safari since December.  Man, what were we thinking to wait so long.  This worked out well because Elder and Sister Wallace are heading home in another week and we wanted to go on one last trip with them.  The Wallaces are the office couple and fortunately are training the Taylors to take over for them until the next office couple arrive at the end of April. We found this week worked well because the Taylors could work the office and we didn't have any obligations that could not be moved.  This park is only 3 1/2 hours away from Kampala so it was an easy journey.  Elder Wallace found us a nice resort to stay at.  We later found we paid $300 for a tent to sleep in.  What is up with that?

This is the smallest National Park in Uganda but the only park that has zebras and eland antelope here in Uganda.

If you look close wherever you are you can always find something to play with.  Hello, I am talking to you through this zebra skull.


Look at the size of those molars!


We arrived and found each campsite was located in a secluded spot.  None were close together and you had to hike to get there.  This is rough!

We finally arrived at our campsite.  Each one hidden in the trees with a view over the salt lick and watering hole to watch the animals.


As you can see, life in Africa is not easy. 

Our tent from the outside.

Our deck that is part of the campsite.

Pondering, pondering.

I did not let Sister Squire know this little guy was outside our door until the next day.

This is the bathroom.  Very nice and the shower and toilet are open to the outside (just a screen on the windows).  That is the reason you need a secluded spot I imagine.

The main part of the lodge where we ate some of the best meals we have enjoyed while here in Africa.

After getting settled in we went on our first self-guided safari.  Um, this is awkward but you have some food stuck in your teeth.

Zebras!  The first we have seen in the wild here in Uganda.  They burn the grass in January and July, during the dry season, so the new grass will come up better.  It looks a bit weird.

These two were scuffling a bit as we drove by.  I settled them down, always the peacemaker...

Caught this little guy playing in the mud holes.  This is the dry season but we had rain the day before we arrived and we found lots of wart hogs in the small pools of water.

I liked this one.


After our first drive we rented the open air jeep and a guide to go with a spotlight to look for leopards. It became a long night as we left at 6pm and didn't get back to the lodge until 9pm.  No leopards, daddy shot them all last night.

They had a hidden blind by the salt lick where you hike down and watch the wildlife.

Our guide with the spotlight.  I think they know what the eyes look like.  It was cool when you would come on a heard of deer like creature to see all those yellow eyes looking back at you.

This one looked like me with all the wrinkles.

This was on a rock just outside our lodge as we were coming back in.

I wanted to drive and was ready but they decided not to let me do it. 

Eland, only found in Uganda here in this park.  This picture was taken down by the water hole.

Even their tail gets into the act with the striping thing.

The female impala.

Use sunscreen and you will not get that nasty burn!

Uganda has the largest of variety of birds not found in any other place.  More than half of the total species located in Africa are in Uganda.  This one was really pretty.

Can you ever have too many cute monkey pictures.

After all the safari trips we decided to take a quick boat trip out on Lake Mburo.  Two cute girls came with us.

The fish eagle sure looks like the golden eagle.

We found a baby alligator out sunning himself.

A bigger alligator enjoying the sun.  The birds didn't seem to mind walking right in front of him.

You don't ever pass up a chance to shop I have found.

Here we are enjoying our new purchase.

Seriously, she really likes her new hat!

On the way back we let the guide know we really wanted to see a python.  He got all secretive and said he would take us to see one that had just killed a water buck and was in the process of putting it down the hatch.

You can see the water buck but the pythons head is underwater.  The python would roll around and we were told it would take a week to get it down the hatch.

So less than a hour after seeing the python and heading back out of the park what do we see...

I will go to my death sorry that I didn't grab this guy by the tail and see what would happen (Sister Squire says it isn't just the young missionaries that do dumb stuff).

Here in Africa, when you get the wish bone, it is much larger that what many of your are used to.

No more safaris until next month...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Love'in Life

Love is all around. 

Well, we had a wonderful Valentine’s Day celebration and I am grateful for Nancy and the love I have for her.  It is such a blessing to have someone to love and have them love you back.  There are so many in this world that will not have this opportunity because of where they live, things they have done in the past,  or perhaps they have been born with some disability or mental illness.  We are told by some to love our friends but it is OK to hate our enemies.  However, the Savior taught, even when we are experiencing opposition and persecution: “love your enemies, bless then that curse you, do good to them that despitefully use you and persecute you.”  

Of course, the Savior set the perfect example.  He had all power to remove either himself or his enemies but chose to love them instead.  In His perfect doctrine on how to become perfect; the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us to bless those who would hurl curses at us and pray for them that despitefully use you.  Why would he have us do this?  He tells us in Matt 5:45 it is: “That you may be the children of your Father which in is heaven.”  I understand we are all children of Heavenly Father but I think this may be more about being with Him through the eternities.  

Everyone in the world finds it easy to love those that love us and treat us kindly.  That is not the higher law he required of all of us who desire to become his children and be with him.  The genuine love we need to develop is to care for the abrasive and those who have traits that we either hate or despise.  We don’t have to accept the behaviors of these types of people but we do need to learn to love them and genuinely care about their success.  That is a very high law to learn.

We had a fun and interesting week.  Here are a few of the pictures.

The two zones around Jinja had a super activity where they got together and make assignments to make different foods for a meal.  Every missionary paid an amount for the food and then had an assignment to help cook or make something.  It was a great success.  Here are most of the 32 missionaries in the two zones. 

Look at all the different types of food and smoothies that were prepared.

Sister Lubonga noticed I have a habit of chewing on my tongue when I do anything and so she is helping me be to be humble by making fun of me.  Cute kid!

The sisters get to go through first.

We had a white guy come in off the street and he looked like he was a bit confused.  We fed him and sent him on his way.

We always have to do some shopping whenever we go downtown Jinja.  There are lots of shops that sell many of the same type of items. This is Florence (notice sleeping baby on bottom shelf on left). Sister Squire is on first name basis with many of the shop owners.......

Did I mention that one year ago this week we went to the MTC.  I had to celebrate with a nice steak lunch.  It is about $8.00 for the steak, mash and salad.  Sister Squire put me on a one steak a week diet.

We had a dentist come for the fifth year in a row to work on African missionary teeth.  Dr Openshaw brought another dentist and his daughter who is a dental hygienist.  She also cleaned all the senior couples teeth.  Dr Christensen will think I have been a good boy when I get home with nice clean teeth.  Before 7 months ago the African missionaries only had to do a short mission application form which did not require a dental exam.  Many of these problems will now be solved before they go on their mission.  One elder had 11 cavities and another had 7 teeth pulled.  All those who had any dental pain were invited to come and get it fixed.  For the week they saw a total of 42 missionaries. 206 teeth were filled. 17 extractions. 3 wisdom teeth extracted. 2 cosmetic restorations. 100 Quads of deep cleaning. There were no major complications and 2  missionaries had 10 fillings each and one had 11.

Sis Chabra and Elder Chabra (medical) helped the entire week with the dental volunteers.  They had a very busy week.  Mulago Hospital has a dental college that let us use three chairs and the space in their facility for the week.

Here we have a choo-choo going across the Nile river.

We went down to the Nile to try a new place for lunch.  While we are out on the boat waiting for our food we see them cleaning up the leaves.  They just burn all the trash anywhere in the city, home or business.  You can see the fire by the side of the business.

Here we are on the boat enjoy a nice lunch.  It has been so hot that being on the water really cooled things down.  It was nice.

Did you think missionaries forget Valentines Day?  No, never.  The Hannans came out to Jinja and went with us to the Jinja Boat Club for a sunset cruise and dinner.  The seem happy and in love as well.

Another loving couple.

Some of the birds on the sunset cruise.

High step-in to the music.

Home by the river.  Quite a nice place to live I think.

Village by the river.

Fishing for Talapia.  They will fish all night.


Random photo of a goat standing on the window seal of a home during construction.

I will never stress over appreciation notes again with this helpful way of identifying who to thank.

We missed another great day in the life of our grandchildren when Reese was baptized this past week.  We do miss them but love the opportunity being on a mission has provided us and our family.

Yes, I know I have a future in the card business.