Saturday, April 25, 2015

Toil and Trouble - Witches Brew

One of the coolest things about being on a mission is spending more time learning new insights about the scriptures.  I love the things I have been learning and some of the topics that have given me additional insights as I ponder their meaning.  One of the wonderful topics is the grace and mercy that each one of us requires in order to go back and live with our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ.  As you know, we are to emulate the Savior so we can learn what we need to know to return to Him.  In the book Receiving the Atonement, by David Wright he states: "When we are offered the privilege of helping someone else who may not technically deserve our help, as God does to us, we are placed on holy ground.  It is holy because we are placed in the temporary position of God to determine whether we will act with grace and mercy as He has with us."  Isn't that a profound thought that we stand on holy ground as we continually get opportunities to love our enemies (Luke 6:27). 

He then gives this example, that is very powerful to me, because it is one that almost anyone who has any experience with will agree as being something very difficult to deal with.  "A woman had been physically abused as a teenager by her father.  As time passed the abuse affected her increasingly and she allowed it to consume her life.  She began to harbor anger toward her father and was confused and hurt when others didn't feel the same.  At the same time she could find no peace in her life...She would not forgive him because he did not ask for her forgiveness.  One evening she learned the principle of giving grace to receive grace.  She recognized that forgiving her father - even though he had not asked for it -- was the grace that she could give.  It may have been unmerited or even undeserved and that's what made it grace.  A great spiritual awakening began to happen within her...These gifts were Gods grace for her willingness to give grace to her father."  As we give grace we begin to receive even more grace for ourselves.  We are already His sons and daughters, so now we need to use our time here on earth to become like Him so we can be with Him.

Grass doesn't grow under your feet on a mission unless of course you allow it to.  We were able to go and help with the Jinja Branch Mormon Helping Hands project.  It was cleaning a medical facility a few miles up the road from where we live.  We cleaned the outside getting all the cobwebs and such from under the rafters to everything else around the place.  You really don't want this stuff in your eyes.

 I found this cute girl cleaning the windows and dusting.


Getting the "lawn mower" ready.  It takes a group of men to sort thing out.  It sure beats slashing the grass.

Sisters - always ready with a pose.  I wonder if I could learn to do this...


 Yep, even the elders get to sweep, mop and squeegee the floors.


After you get grass all over the dirt driveway you need to sweep it clean again.

 Even the area around the place needs to be swept clean of grass.


The sisters had some kind of dance to make it fun.  I like the one in the middle that doesn't have a broom but works it anyway.

Good thing we were all clean at the medical center because a three star someone drove into the compound.  He didn't stay to help us clean...darn-it.


Here are the famous helping hands of Jinja.


This group of kids came to watch the action and they did help a bit in picking up the grass clippings.  You can see why the average age in Uganda is 15.


After we had finished cleaning the kids were playing games just like anywhere else in the world. We heard the clapping and went to investigate.  While in the circle they were yelling "succo."  I asked one of the Branch members what it meant in Lugandan.  She said they were saying circle.  They have a hard time with the letter "r" in their language.  They would clap and take turns going into the middle to show off their dance moves.

Someone has to show them how a real man dances so by default it has to be me.  Nice to see that I still "have it" when it come to shaking a leg.

Why are all these kids looking at the weird man?  I am just waving goodbye so we can get going onto our next project.


Zone Conference!  Sister Chatfield teaching them about time management.  She and Sister Squire teamed up to help everyone understand we only get so much of it and we decide how we spend it.


Yea, preach it sister!  She did a great job.


There was a time limit dice game to help teach the principle.



After the meeting we finished up by feeding the 40 people sloppy joes, pineapple, watermelon, chips and cupcakes.  Sister Squire was a busy girl with all this going on. After the conference we asked the Elders if they wanted a picture and they all said they had plenty.  However, the sisters are always ready for a photo and they were kind enough to show me how to do the famous right arm poke.  I nailed it!

Sister Squire is a natural.  Notice the gentle lean toward the lens, I will have to work on that.

Time to move to the next activity, the Relief Society Birthday party.  Sister Squire made the cake and helped with the activity.  I got to go home for a while.  Guess how all these sisters arrived from Iganga...yep everyone popped out of the van behind them.


 Everyone wanted to hold the knife as they ceremoniously cut the cake.

 One of the more cute attendees. (Baby Patience)

No need to set up a bunch of chairs, just chill on the lawn.

Another senior couple bites the dust.  We had transfers this week so everyone was in town and we had the dinner for Elder and Sister Story who will be leaving the first week of May.  Great couple that helped a lot of people learn self-reliance. (Sister with pink scarf and Elder behind her)

Sister Squire with the twin girls that work at one of our favorite eating establishments.  They are cute and fun to visit with.(They are also our neighbors!)

I just like how this tree still trying to thrive even with many parts dying off.  Well done tree!

Anything I say could get me in trouble so I will only say that I find witches hot.

  • Q: Why don't angry witches ride their brooms?
    A: They're afraid of flying off the handle! 
  •  Q: What do witches put on their hair?
    A: Scare spray
  • Q: How does the witch know what time it is?
    A: She looks at her witch-watch.
  • Q: What is a witch's favorite subject in school?
    A: Spelling!
  • Q: What did the witch do when her broomstick broke?
    A: She witch-hiked!
  • Q: What does a witch kid want for Christmas?
    A: A haunted dollhouse.
  • Q: Why do witches wear name tags?
    A: So, they would know which witch is which!
  • Q: What do you call two witches living together?
    A: Broom-mates.
  • Q: What does a witch ask for when she is in a hotel?
    A: Broom service.
  • Q: What did one witch say to other when she asked for a lift?
    A: "There's always broom for one more."
  • Q: When do witches cook their victims?
    A: On Fry Day.
  • Q: What do you call a witch who lives at the beach?
    A: A sand-witch.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Got Gender Issues?

Conference was great as usual.  I love to hear the prophets let the world know what we should be doing and the proper way to go about our lives.  I always try to pay special attention to what our Prophet, Thomas S Monson, is trying to tell us.  This year he started off with this wonderful thought.  "All of us commenced a wonderful and essential journey when we left the spirit world and entered this often-challenging stage called mortality. The primary purposes of our existence upon the earth are to obtain a body of flesh and bones, to gain experience that could come only through separation from our heavenly parents, and to see if we would keep the commandments. In the book of Abraham chapter 3 we read: “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”

"When we came to the earth, we brought with us that great gift from God—even our agency. In thousands of ways we are privileged to choose for ourselves. Here we learn from the hard taskmaster of experience. We discern between good and evil. We differentiate as to the bitter and the sweet. We learn that decisions determine destiny."

Decisions determine destiny.  Wouldn't it be great if we were able to learn that at an early age and consider the outcome of every decision.  For me, I sure didn't give a lot of thought while in my youth and it certainly is something I have had to learn - still trying to learn.  What effect will doing something our conscience (holy ghost) is trying hard to guide us not to do.  Will the outcome be something that will help us to grow or pull us down to a level we would rather not go to and suffer from the hard taskmaster of experience.  I think as we begin to fear the Lord more than our peers we will find we will have joy and success because we will always make the right choice.  Not easy but joy will come never the less.

As we were driving to Busia on Sunday we saw these large crowds of people in the round-a-bouts and later saw several race cars driving along the road, weaving and racing in and out of traffic.  Interesting...

Another load of people going somewhere.  It was fun to wave as we passed them.

On Monday, the Jinja Zone had an activity where you shared a talent or did a skit.  Here the sisters had one dress up as an Elder.  She was sent home.  OK, she finished her mission this week and went home but my production seems a more exploiting way to present it.

Gender questions seems to abound.  Here we have a wife and husband doing a skit.  Cute.

Two beautiful sisters sharing a very nice hymn.

Two more beautiful sisters sharing a hymn.

Two handsome elders sharing a hymn.  Elder Peterson said he never sings but a mission lets you find many talents you didn't know you had.  They did great.

What, who are these cowboys?  Sister Squire always has some great ideas.

Oh yea, I am a singer!  Just look at her swoon as I serenade her.

The Easter eggs the kids sent with notes for us were put to good use as the Zone had an Easter egg hunt after the skits.

You will not see this anywhere in the USA.  A petrol truck with some riders on the main highway.

I had the opportunity to do an interview in our old Lugazi Branch and they had 37 kids in Primary.  The Branch only has 62 members.  Many "street kids" show up every Sunday to sing and get a treat.

Jiggers, yes we did another jiggers project.  President and Sister Chatfield had their oldest daughter and husband along with their 3 oldest kids come and do an Eagle project.  Sister Squire taught the school girls where they were using one of the classrooms for jigger removal a song.

After she got to the part where she did some kind of shimmy action they broke up laughing.  Cute

Another group of kids, another song.

The lineup of feet that will soon be cut to get the jiggers out.

First you scrub.

Give them a sucker to keep their mind off the cutting part.

And start cutting.  This little one spent over an hour and a half because of so many jiggers.  You can see the tears running down her cheek.

Finally, and this has to hurt, you put iodine on all the open cuts to make sure you don't get any infection.


Jared, Jo and their daughter Tess (President's family members)

The hygiene kits were the Eagle project.  He had over 100 kits to pass out to the kids.

The youngest of the two brothers is the future Eagle (Hunter) helping a younger boy with his kit.

They also had clothing to pass out to the kids.  You could really see a change when they got a new outfit to wear.

Three generations of very cute girls sharing in this jigger project.

This is the family that had most of the work done.  All but the baby on mom's back had to have jiggers removed (including the mom).  Check out the new footwear necessary so they don't walk on the dirt and get jiggers again.

President Chatfield with the horns on front.  He has almost caused several boda-boda wrecks as they whip around for another look as he drives past.

We had a challenge to the local kids to go up and smell the skeleton.  It still had that smell of something that died a while ago.  Sister Chatfield was in the car and honked the horn when one of the kids was smelling the skeleton and they scattered like cockroaches on a kitchen floor when the lights go on in the middle of the night.

 On the way to Busia we see this two story hut that is awesome!

Finally a couple of videos

After teaching them some of our songs they wanted to sing one of theirs.