Monday, March 30, 2015

In D-Nile

I love this time of year as I get to think about how a loving Savior, who came to earth to pay for my sins, was resurrected and so I too can live again.  I have no comprehension for how much he loves each one of us but know that I am expected to love each and everyone the same way.  We are so blessed to have this hope and knowledge that we will continue after this very short time on earth.  I am blessed by each one of you and love you.  I hope Easter Sunday will find you some place where you can reflect on the goodness of a loving Father in Heaven and the gift of His Son.

We needed a little electrical work done on our apartment this week.  They carry their tools in a plastic bag but amazing what they do with the resources they have here in Africa.

This is the location of our Mission Office.  They are updating the stucco on our building because it was built much earlier than the rest of the buildings. Here are the workers putting up the scaffolding.

What, we stopped by the airport and look who showed up.  I guess we will have to have some fun this week.

The fun started right off the bat.  Tyler seems excited about the hearty steak from Ozzies.

It was so good we gave the very short Australian lady, who moved to Africa, a big smooch for the great steak.

This guy was watching over us as I introduced Tyler and Al to shoestring potatoes

Tyler had to see the source of the Nile so we also had one of the High Council members who is a bird watching guide come along with us.  Godfrey is in the front.  He had a lot of knowledge about the local birds and per square mile Uganda has the greatest number of different birds.

Our boat guide Samuel.

Woodland King Fisher

Monitor Lizard

Pied King Fisher

Bird with some kind of creature in the beak.

Just drying out my wings kids.

Update the paint and you are good for another few years.  Do try to live every moment, life goes fast.

No wonder they can't find the Loch Nest monster, it is at the source of the Nile.

Ibis bird with pretty colors.

Love the colors of this Woodland King Fisher.

This lady was just driving by our boat all by herself but I love the smile as she is enjoying the experience.

This kind of puts a crimp in my style...

Ta Daa!

Alison, can't hide fast enough as we throw up the "U" to celebrate the sweet 16 run.

Yes, he would wear this in pubic.  It would do well with his dalmatian suit.

Al working with Hope to create her own masterpiece.

I have to tend the kids so everyone else can play around and have fun.  Tough duty!

Ah, well done Alison!

We have to kill some time before dinner so off to Itanda Falls we go.

Here is the young man that threw himself into the falls so we could enjoy watching him come down.

Forbidden fruit, I think not.

Hello, my name is Elder Squire.  Have you heard about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ?

Al feeding the monkeys.

Waiter, please bring me some bananas for the monkeys on a platter!

Definitely a hit.

Bunge jump for those interested.

Oh Tyler, just give the monkey the banana.

If you watch close, you can see the man head into the water and over the falls.

The second swimmer went over a rougher part of the falls.

Happy Easter on Sunday!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Block Out! (in honor of Utah being in the sweet 16)

I just signed up for GospeLink this week and it is a great program.  It has all the gospel talks built around any scripture where a General Authority has used it in a talk.  I am still learning how to use this new tool but it is really cool what I have been able to get so far.  As I was looking at the site I found this quote from Sheri Dew in her book, "If Life were Easy it Wouldn't be Hard."

"Years ago I attended a fireside at which a General Authority asked the audience how to tell if someone is a true follower of Jesus Christ. The chapel full of adults responded with a chalkboard full of answers, none of which was the one he was looking for. Finally he wiped the board clean and said something I've never forgotten: "Observation and personal experience have taught me that the way you can tell if someone is truly converted to Jesus Christ is by how that person treats others."

His answer surprised me.  In fact--and this will reveal something about my level of spiritual maturity at the time--I didn't buy it.  I immediately flipped open my scriptures and began to search for evidence to prove him wrong.  But as it turns out, the doctrine that you can identify true followers of Jesus Christ by how they treat other is everywhere in the scriptures.  

When the Pharisees asked the Savior which was the greatest commandment, He responded, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart...This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandment hang all the law and the prophets."  (Matt 22:26-40)

So how am I doing?  Sister Squire and I were down at the market this week and one of our pre-missionaries just happened to come to us in a remote area of the huge shopping center.  He needed his yellow fever shot, before he can get his visa, and was told he could get it for free at the downtown municipal building but that was not the case.  Sister Squire asked how he came to find us and he thought about it a moment and said the Spirit just kind of directed him to come this way.  It really was a random place we were at.  

We have been asked, as missionaries, to not give out funds because it doesn't help the African people as they never learn to do for themselves.  Being self-reliant is going to change Africa not the current practice of dumping money.  I sometimes get a bit feisty and I did this with Trevor.  Well what are you going to do about it I asked sternly?  Afterwards, Sister Squire let me know I may have been a bit too hard on him.  I thought about it and she was right.  There wasn't any need for me to be that way when a loving attitude and voice would have done the same thing. Holy smokes, the spirit guides him to us for help and I give him a bad time.  Anyway, always trying to get better and glad we get as many chances as we need to get it right.  For all of us, just keep trying.

We went back this week and took another picture of the huge tree stump after the prisoners had dug around it.  I think they will have to chop it up from here.  

We got our first batch of bananas off our very own tree.  I couldn't wait to try them out.

Caroline, one of our guards, bringing up some more bananas.  We have two bunches and they are still trying to ripen up. Each of the guards and the sister missionaries behind us each got two bunches also.

We plan to go back to Lira when Tyler and Alison are here next week and wanted to drop off some building blocks for the kids at the center where they get a meal and tutoring every afternoon.  Here we have the elders and sisters participating in our service project.  Sanding and then painting the blocks.

They said it was better than digging, the usual service activity.

After they were sanded we brought them in the house for a coat of paint.  The painters kept right up with the sanders.  Red, yellow and green with a couple of blue, black and white thrown in.

Sister Squire is becoming quite the cook. These are Krisp and Creamy donuts and they really were quite delicious.

Picture of the gang and waiting for the paint to dry.  We will have to come back and paint the other half when these dry.  There are a few over 100 blocks here.  Now if the Utes will use this as inspiration to "block" out in the next game...

Silly kids...

Wow, that was fast, here are the finished blocks.

Here is an interesting story.  We were visiting the Jinja Hospital to see the young man who lost his fingers and thumbs to an industrial accident.  While there an official looking man in a uniform thanked us for visiting the hospital.  He is a guard at one of the two maximum security prisons here in Uganda.  One is in Jinja and the other in Kampala.  He asked if we would be willing to come and talk with the prisoners and we said we sure would.  He called later in the week to set up a meeting with his boss.

The picture below is the gate to get into the prison.  It is surrounded by water or you have to take this road to get out so very few have ever escaped.  We were very impressed with both the head of the prison and the women's prison supervisor.  Both of them talked about love and trying to change the people that come in so they don't repeat when they get out.  We will have to come back to talk to another man to get permission but how cool to go and visit the most humble of Heavenly Fathers children because of past mistakes.  I think they will enjoy knowing they have a Father in Heaven who loves them just as much as he loves each one of us and, through Him, they can change.

They wouldn't let us take any other pictures.

They opened the new market in Jinja and you can get anything you need here.  Crazy place but it will sure be nice not having to wade through the mud when the rains start.

We went to the source of the Nile to try a new place to eat.  You have to pay to get in so we will not be going back because the food was not good but how cool that Sister Squire found some new shops.

I made it to the bottom and found a good place to wait for my sweetheart to finish up.

At the source of the Nile is a statue of Gandhi.  After his murder Gandhi was cremated, per Hindu custom.  Under normal circumstances, Hindus inter the ashes of their dead in a river as an offering to the gods. Because of his popularity his ashes were split all over India and interred in several large rivers like here at the headwaters of the Nile River.  He was a good man and his ears look just like mine.  

More info on Gandhi.

As we were getting ready to go to lunch a group of school kids were arriving for a school activity.

Here they are gathered around Gandhi for a lecture.

After we got home Sister Squire wanted the sisters behind us to teach her to carry things on her head. She does really well with empty baskets.

The sisters were a bit worried however...

Finally, at church today I found these two cute twins.  It is fun to see them dress the same.

Primary President and Sister Squire.  Ha! Not twins at all!

Primary and Young Women for a photo op.

You see people hitching a ride on almost every truck hauling things.  I don't know how they decide who gets to ride but some of them will be filled with people.  Just three little one on this truck.