Sunday, June 28, 2015

Runaway Bride

Wow, the weeks just keep flying by.  We have had to start thinking about some of the preparations necessary for coming home.  We are going to extend by around 20 days but it is all going by so fast.  We have loved this part of our lives and miss our cute kids and grand-kids but thank heavens for Skype. 

I had the opportunity to speak today at the Iganga Branch Conference and felt unity would be a good subject.  You see all over the scriptures when everything is going well for the church there is a strong spirit of love and unity.  We know that where you have contention the spirit will not dwell.  I came across this experience from in one of the articles I used for information.  "Let me give a personal illustration of how using scriptural insights helped me overcome anger. I was praying to know what to do about someone close to me whose frequent outbursts left me depressed and suffering stomach pains for days at a time. As I prayed for understanding, the words "A soft answer turneth away wrath" (Prov. 15:1) came into my mind. I immediately asked, "Whose wrath?" And the answer was, "Yours!" Then the flood of insight came. My problem had not been caused by the other person's anger but by my own anger that arose because of my answering back in kind, either defensively or in counterattack. Thus the soft answer would prevent my anger from arising. The other person's anger by itself could not cause me any discomfort. The result was a great miracle in my life. When I answered the person's outbursts with neutral or even loving words, my anger did not arise, and I felt no residual resentment. I later found that using soft words alone was not sufficient to control my feelings, but I had to get all bad thoughts out of my mind. I could not even think any resentful or critical thoughts."

How powerful is it when we understand there isn't a person alive that can make us angry.  Now I get angry on occasion, but knowing that I have chosen to be angry has been very insightful for me.  I no longer dwell on "who" is making me angry but rather why am I letting myself be angry because of...doesn't matter what ... means.

Jackie pealing the Ma-toke (they look like green bananas) that will taste like potatoes when cooked.  This was for the second Sister's P-day activity for the other half of the sisters in the mission.

Helping/learning to prepare the meal.

Some type of crisscross pattern in her hair. Very clever!

When the cameras come out the silliness begins.

A not-so-silly picture of the group.

Sister Squire will patrol the playgrounds and if she sees a kid playing will go over and try to push them while singing some type of nursery songs.  It gets a little weird when its a big kid on the swing. (This is Agnes who lives here in Jinja and does sewing for Nancy).

At the elders we had this sugar cane growing in this little piece of dirt on the cement in the drive.

We have been out looking for some future property for a church building.  To make sure the property will work you need a model and a tree.  If the model looks beautiful, the property will be beautiful.  This property is a keeper.

The flower in her hair came off the tree.

This young man came along to see what we were doing and pushing his wheel toy.

As part of the Iganga Branch Conference we went out visiting.  We were able to visit three families that lived about 5 miles from the church.  They usually have to walk because it costs too much to ride a boda-boda.

This is one of the sweet potato gardens.  This is impressive when you think it is all planted and maintained by hand.

If you look close you can see the ears of corn start about head level.  The corn was at least 12 feet high.

This was the second visit.  She was so excited she went and got her neighbors to come and see her visitors.  Man, I love these people.

Our third visit. This is a family of 10 that was baptized 3 months ago. Such great people and all three families came to conference today.

On Saturday we had two weddings scheduled.  Nancy made the wedding cakes and when we drive up to pick up the first couple the bride has been taken away because his mom, where they are staying, did not want them to get married and join the church.  The second wedding we showed up but we had a run-away bride.  We waited and looked around for about three hours but no luck.  Later we found out she had a big fight with her partner the previous night.  She wasn't sure she wanted to still marry him.  They had a good talk and after church today they performed the wedding. 

It is interesting, our last mission fast was for the mission to find and baptize more families.  Often, in Africa, that means they have to be married first.  There is usually a "bride price" that is paid to the brides parents. Usually the couple cannot afford it so they just live together.  To be baptized, they have to be married and it has been a miracle to see how many couples are now in the missionary teaching pool.  The adversary is working hard to make sure these weddings do not happen but we all know the end of the story and He (the Savior) will win.

As we were waiting for the bride one of the local groups uses the basketball court to help teach the game to local kids.  This was a dribbling drill.

At home, we purchased this fruit drink while Ty and Alison were here hoping to get them to drink it.  It looks like fish eyes in the bottle.  Alas, I couldn't waste it so down the hatch.  It wasn't bad and wasn't good.

One of the families we visited before conference.  Big families!

Closer to home we found these triplets all having to wear the same skirts.  Love them all!

Another task we did was to take one of the future married couples out to see the brides mom.  They said it was close to home but that ended up being an hour drive and some on dirt roads.  We found the place and were thinking about buying some random meat products for our dinner.

The papa and son who were finally married today.

What a cute, oh wait, I looked a bit closer and well never mind.

Guarding the front while the grooms mum and mothers mum work out the details of the wedding.

Another random band while we were in downtown Jinja buying some grocery items.

And finally, the sisters singing the closing song at their P-day activity.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Shoestring Vampire

Having a bad day?  I had a young man write to me this week with all the problems a young man who has been abandoned by his family and struggling to find friendship in a troubled world.  Every day here in Africa we are reminded of how blessed we are with our struggles being what kinds of programs to put our children in or how soon we need to change our vehicle or a host of other “problems.”  It reminds us that the temporal blessings that are so real for each of us matter little when it comes to happiness.
I love the quote from President Kimball: “If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith.
“Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and our limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death, and if these were not, there would also be no joy, success, resurrection, nor eternal life and godhood.
“Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery.” (Faith Precedes the Miracle,Deseret Book Co., 1973, pp. 97–98.)

The mission tour continued with Elder Cook and President and Sister Chatfield teaching the sisters and elders of our area.  We fed this group shepherds pie and it was a hit.  It was tough to find enough ovens to cook 7 casserole dishes of the stuff.


Elder and Sister Cook.  They are crazy busy and both are great teachers.  I wish we could have sat through all the teaching but alas, someone has to be Martha.

Getting ready for the show.

The elders get the handshake and the sisters the hug.  Lucky sisters!

OK, the truth now.  How many of you have had your jowls scrubbed along with your haircut. The first time for me but not the last.

Jowl scrubbing takes a lot out of you so it deserves one of my favorite meals (unfortunately I have many favorite meals beginning with whatever is in front of me).  Italian sub with Trevor's fries and Coke Zero.  Love is in the air.

Besides, playing with food is another of my favorite past times...Don't worry, nothing goes to waste.

I had some interviews at Walukuba and we had a basketball game, volleyball and these kids kicking a soccer ball around.  Cute kids are everywhere.

Oops, like so many, they wear what they have until it falls off them.  When we go out and do a jiggers project Sister Hannan takes some extra clothing to pass along.  A never ending need but they don't let it stop them from having fun.  No judgment from other children because most of the kids are in the same predicament.

Just being silly.  It actually looks real comfortable.

Sister Squire has a cake business but she never gets paid so I am not sure how long we can stay in the business.  We had one of our former missionaries get married to one of the High Council members and a returned missionary from the Kampala Stake.  That is some fancy foot wear.  She has grown taller since we last saw her.

This is proof that I do unpleasant things like go to weddings because I am told to.

This is a family of ten children in the Busia Branch.  We helped with the marriage, so they could get baptized, quite a few months ago.  Wonderful family.

On the way back from Busia people were lined up for something.  It turned out to be a bike race and inside all the boda bodas was the lead rider of the race.

We also came across this band in the back of the truck.  He started to play the drums as we got behind him waiting to pass.

Sister Squire has a habit of making the elders and sisters happy on their birthday.

Some odds and ends from our jigger projects.

These two were always clowning around.  For some weird reason we connected.

So many stories this one could tell.

She was walking up the road with her harvest of beans.  She will strip the plants and dry the beans for future use.

This is the same school we went to with Rachelle and Alysia in November last year.  You can see the line and we only had funding for 100 children.  The church humanitarian loves this project because it helps so many children.  I am sure we will be back again to keep the good work moving along.

They rely on fossil burning materials for cooking so you see kids carrying wood around all the time.

Just chillin...

And so we just keep doin' what we are doin' and loving it.