One of the themes for our zone was unity. Sister Chatfield did a wonderful job teaching how important it is to the Savior that we have unity and that we remove contention from our lives. In John 17:21 it talks about how the Savior and the Father are one. The Son would only be doing what the Father would do if He were here. In D&C 42:6 we are told to go out "two by two" in His name and declare the work of God. D&C 38:27 lets us know again that we should "be one and if we are not one ye are not mine." In Mosiah 18:21 we are "commanded them that there should be no contention one with another...having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another."
So does it work for a marriage to have unity and no contention? I would think that is where we should all be heading. We had a couples fireside on Saturday and one of the men said it was OK to have disagreement but not to be disagreeable. I agree that we always have to discuss and communicate when we have disagreements but I don't think we have to be disagreeable with people. That is a skill that may take a lifetime to learn.
President Chatfield then discussed what the Savior taught when he came to North America in the Book of Mormon. When someone descends from heaven I think we should listen to what they have to say. I wonder what is most important for us to know now that the resurrected Lord has come to his other sheep. In 3 Nephi 11:28-29 he teaches first that we need to be baptized and then that there "shall be no disputations among you." In verse 29 he teaches us that "he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another." This will give me some things to work on this week...
Zone conference is always a highlight. We have 32 missionaries in the two zones that meet in Jinja and the assistants to the president and other bring the total to 40 people we were able to cook for. We enjoy the meetings and the interactions. Here is our zones as they get ready for the conference to start.
The theme of our conference was missionary unity. At the break they had an activity to work together to get untied.
Many of the elders and sisters we knew enjoy hot dogs so we thought chili dogs would be a great treat for them. We had chili dogs, carrot sticks, potato salad, and a butterscotch blondie treat.
Here is where it gets weird. We were out later in the week doing missionary apartment inspections before transfers next week and asked how they liked the chili and hot dogs. This group said they don't like hot things. That is not unusual because most traditional African meals are quite bland to our standards. We said there wasn't anything hot in the meal, we didn't even add anything too spicy to the chili. The elders told us they have had chilies before and they are hot and they didn't eat the hot dogs because, well there "hot." As you can see, some things get lost in translation.
You don't get the missionaries together without a whole lot of pictures. Here are the sisters.
Here we have our latest medical miracle. This elder had a stick lodged in his throat before coming on a mission. Some of it was removed, but it was too close to 7th cranial nerve and carotid artery so there was a small piece of wood left in his neck. On his mission, he started to have problems and lots of neck pain. He was sent to Johannesburg where they said he would be in surgery for 3 hours, there may be permanent nerve damage and it would take up to 6 weeks to recover. Through fasting and prayers, the surgery was 30 min. The surgeon was amazed. He said it was the most amazing surgery. Everything was perfect. The elder was in the hospital for 4 days, then he flew back to Uganda. The Lord loves his missionaries! Here Sister Squire is clipping some of his stitches.
Young and errr... slightly older
We went with the District President on a couple of visits. Here we are going to a member of the Branch Presidency in the Iganga Branch. He rides his bike 22km to church every week and 22km back home. This would be around 33 miles round trip every week. He loved seeing us and we loved visiting him. Here is his compound where he and his extended family reside.
Well off he goes and Sister Squire is going to hitch a ride. See you at the church.
Another family member with a cute child. They were trying to shake the baby to wake it up for the picture. We told them she was very cute just sleeping.
Seriously, how do they expect me to get back up from this chair?
President Mbiro is the District President. Here we are in their own personal family grave yard. All the rock markings are children that died during a measles outbreak. I think there 18 children that were buried here in the 1980s from the outbreak.
When you have grace and dexterity even you can hold up a large jack fruit on your head (especially when it is still hooked to the tree).
This is how you plant a banana tree. President Cyprian has a missionary grove with trees planted by different senior couples that have come to visit over the years. He will fill in the hole as the banana tree grows so it will have a good root system. Otherwise it would blow over in severe wind storms.
Just add water and watch it grow.
Some of the boys around the compound after Sister Squire outfitted them with a sucker.
You don't go and visit in Africa without getting fed. The custom is that if it is your first visit you are fed. We had chicken, sweet potato, yams, cabbage, and cassava with rice.
Those boys, always playing with the machete.
I love those smiles.
Another visit this week was to go out and invite members to the upcoming Njeru Branch conference. We went to four homes and started at 4 and did not return home until after 8. Long distances and getting everyone together to start was the culprit. At our first visit, the sister was just getting wood on to start cooking dinner. The kitchen is not attached to the home in the villages.
Her home and other that live in the same complex.
The Branch President, Elders and Primary came along in our group. The District leaders went to other homes.
This sister had quite the operation. They grow what they eat and she had almost every kind of fruit and nut you can grow in Uganda. It was really nice. That is her husband buried at the bottom of the picture.
Our next adventure was doing a Mormon Helping Hands project. This one was in Iganga and they agreed to do a government slaughter house. I think Sister Squire did well not sitting this one out in the truck. She did breathe through her mouth all morning.
This really is critical for the community. We had 5 leaders from the community come out and all were very appreciative of our coming out to paint, clean and plant some trees.
They were spreading this mixture out to dry when we drove up. I asked what it was and it is dried blood. It will be dried and then used as a high protein chicken feed.
We saw lots of animals coming to see what we are doing.
These kids came through on the water brigade to fill up their jerry cans.
Like a goat to the slaughter.
Well where did you think that cow would end up? I just didn't think we would have to fight our way around it as we were cleaning up.
A couple of the goats.
Here is the meat market just outside the slaughter house. The meat is guaranteed fresh with flies on the side!
You know you are in Africa when all the byproducts come from the building into a ditch and out into the farm land. That is why we Jik (bleach) all our produce. After that, it is wonderful!
The inside job done.
Another part of the helping hands was to plant some trees. These will grow quickly and the shade will be a blessing to all those who come to work and shop. They had me help "commission" the tree. We have a member of Parliament, me, the local political leader, and the Iganga Branch President.
Random photo of cabbage being transported.
Our next event was a couples fireside. This is the President of the Mpumudde Branch and his wife. She is due to have their first child any day. We had a great fireside and dinner after.
Outside the sisters were building the fires and fixing the many different dishes.
These sisters are really hard working.
The final meal, greens, cabbage, matoke, Irish potatoes, rice, chicken, and goat.
You save on cleanup because you don't have silverware. Just dig in!
We travel one hour and forty minutes from Jinja to Busia, by the Kenyan border, to church. Today was a great day. They were scheduled to have eight baptisms but a couple that was scheduled to be married yesterday and baptized today were not married, so no baptism. They had six today and each one is wonderful.
I interrupt this blog to let you know of my latest obsession. These are small shoestring potatoes that have become my very best friend. They never stick around very long so I don't know if we really have a future. I get a side order to go along with whatever else I am eating.
Sister Squire does miss the snow a little bit. Today she had me take her over to these flowering trees that look like snowfall and tried to do a snow angel. It was damp and they did not respond in a reasonable fashion. When the blossoms fall the leaves come back on.
See, I am not the only poser!
The dogs and puppies have plenty to eat when you have a dump nearby.