Monday, August 24, 2015

Hopping Along, Singing a Song

Our last Sunday in Busia.  We will really miss our little branch but not the one hour and 40 minute drive to get there on Sunday's.  We were both able to speak and bear our testimony in Sacrament Meeting.  Sister Squire gave a great talk about being "not afraid, only believe" (Mark 5:36) and listening to the spirit.  She has some great experiences as the mission nurse and being guided in the actions she was to take.  She talked about having faith to handle the medical needs of 180 missionaries, even when her specialty was in women's services. She talked about listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost who would guide her in medical decisions.  She also expressed the joy of sharing our testimonies of the gospel and watching many people enter into the waters of baptism and some who prepared, saved and went to the Temple in Johannesburg to be sealed for eternity.

I talked about adversity because much like in the USA, people have a hard time with life.  We have to understand it is part of the great plan of happiness for each of us to have trials.  We come to know the Savior as we rely on Him to get us through our tough times.

Apostle Orson F. Whitney (1855–1931) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”

Elder Richard G Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explains that God loves us perfectly and “would not require [us] to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for [our] personal benefit or for that of those [we] love.”  President Harold B. Lee once remarked: “Sometimes when [we] are going through the most severe tests, [we] will be nearer to God than [we] have any idea.”

I believe it is our perspective that determines how we view God as being either merciful or unkind.  He is merciful and loving and will give us what we need as we live worthy and ask in faith even in spite of our trials.  It is difficult during times of trial or loss to view God as merciful but if we remember we asked to come and experience this life along with the trials we begin to have the eternal perspective we need.

We have never felt uncomfortable in Africa and felt safe in both the big city of Kampala and our little town of Jinja.  We love it here.  It will be a busy week preparing for District Conference and a special Priesthood Leadership meeting in Seeta and an auxiliary training meeting for Nancy in Kampala.

The zone had an activity and we were invited.  These two stinkers beat me in a game of HORSE. 

Carmel corn and buttered popcorn.  We all loved it.

The committee assigned to wave goodbye to us.

Chapati John, this is where we buy our chapatis for lots of different things.  John is a member and we hope he will choose to go on a mission.

This is Sister Squire's creation.  Wait until you see the final outcome.

This is how you cook a chicken in Uganda.  We went to visit Joseph and he was in the middle of cooking dinner.  You clean the guts after it is cooked.


So much initiative, this is a suitcase handle with the two wheels (suitcase is gone) they are using to give each other rides.

Ever since we have been married Sister Squire has had this thing about turkeys.  She says there is something about them that reminds her of me.  Still trying to figure that one out...

This is McDonald's in Africa.  When you pull over they rush to see what you want to buy: chicken on a stick, soda, water, maze or other vegetables on a stick.

I thought President Chatfield was all alone with the horns on his vehicle but then we saw this cow horn vehicle at the market in Kampala.  Not a Hartebeest but still cool.

Robert giving one last cut.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am so very tired of being the fairest of them all!

Saying goodbye to Mwesigwa with a couple of pictures.

No carpet in the churches because of all the mud so everything is tile and has to be scrubbed each week.  See the children scrubbing the floor. We had zone in Bugembe Branch and they had a wonderful turnout to clean the building.

Here they are all happy with a belly full of chili dogs.

Need a tank of air, no problem.

Oh my, love this girl!

Another marriage and another cake.

Last Sunday in Busia.  These kids we sitting on three chairs in Sacrament Meeting.  Quiet the entire meeting.

Sister Squire gave Book of Mormon story books to all the primary kids for a goodbye gift.

Even the Primary President got one.  Cathrine is going on a mission and just waiting to see where.  Busia has six missionaries who just turned in their papers.

Usually there are 25 kids to primary.  They missed out by not coming this week.

President Ojambo by the new font.  We had a baptism and this font leaks like the last two.  Crazy!

Guess who came from Nairobi to visit.  This is Squire in the outfit Sister Squire sent.  Cute kid!

They came to say goodbye and to have me give a priesthood blessing to Squire.

The Busia Elders and Cathrine.

I don't even know what to say...

If that drool hits my head...

If I knew how much fun it was having all these parties we would have left every week.  The zone came over for a family home evening last night.  One of the games was that you got to decide what you wanted someone else to do.  Here Sister Squire is touching her tongue to her nose (trying).

She had to smile for 15 seconds.

Telling her conversion story.

Another game, figuring out where everyone is sitting while blindfolded.

Lots of laughter.

I asked for an African hair cut and man-o-man did they deliver!  I have to blindfold myself every time I look in the mirror.

Why anyone would want to see me hop on one leg and sing the "Sunbeam" song I will never know.

The district.

Silly kids!

Elder DeLisle won the crazy face battle.

As you know we will both be looking for jobs when we get back and if our old type of jobs don't work out then we will need some new skills.  Sister Squire could be a herder.

I could be a Pied Piper

Finally, this is so cool.  Listen as Sister Mbonyana sings one of her traditional songs from South Africa, but also includes the "click" as she sings.  I have no idea how they can click while talking and singing at the same time.  I mean, I fall on my face just chewing gum and walking!  So cool.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Too well-fed

As we fly towards the end of this part of our lives I am ever mindful of the great blessings that have accompanied us on this mission.  The Lord loves his children wherever they may be located, this I know.  We have been blessed with so many opportunities over the past 18 months and we have been changed for the better.  The gospel is true and all the hardships that each one of us endure will be for our good.  I came across this quote from President Benson after he had returned after being called to go and serve in war torn Germany in 1947.  It was so appropriate if you just change Europe to Africa, you get a good idea of the struggle from poverty induced either by war or circumstance.

"To one who has spent the major part of the last year amidst the rubble and destruction of war-torn Europe, this conference has been doubly inspirational and appreciated. As I have looked into the faces of this well-fed (almost too well-fed, in many cases) audience, well-clothed, surrounded with all the comforts and blessings of life, I have found that my thoughts have many times drifted across the Atlantic to those of our brethren and sisters with whom I have been closely associated during recent months. I love them, my brethren and sisters, as I am sure you do."  I admit that President Benson may have been talking directly to me about being "too well-fed."  It may be because of war or just being a third world country, the struggles are much the same.  Where there is poverty, it doesn't matter the cause.  My hope is that I never forget how difficult so many in this world have it but still love life and family.  We have that in common.

This week was a random affair of many different things.  I just included some of my favorite photos from the week.  Because there was a District Council meeting we did not travel to Busia but instead went to Iganga so I could get to my meeting.  We have been there quite often and have many friends.

Cute Jamima.  She is the daughter of the Relief Society President, and her brother just left on a mission to South Africa.  She has another sister, Brenda, away is boarding school and another brother, who got one of the top testing scores in Uganda last year, so he is away to school on scholarship.  Her father is a police officer and is not a member.

This is baby Emma.  They call him the "brown" baby because he is light in color.  His mama is Margaret and is the YW President of their branch. He has two sisters, Shanti and Sherry.

We found some more pioneers around.  Nancy had some extra hats and bonnets so another primary got some new duds.

Uganga has huge sugar cane fields and the trucks are a real pain.  They crawl along the highway and create a huge bottleneck.  They load them up heavy and head to the processing plant.

A new creation.  You take a chapati and smear fresh avocado over it and then make your design with chili sauce and enjoy.  At least that is what I did and it was right on target (get it? I know, I know, I crack myself up too).

We took Jessy, returned elder from Iganga, to the dentist to finish some work that was started on his mission.

WAIT!  Hold the presses, this just in...coke zero will make you burp.  That is all.

How you transport lumber.

We were invited by a new member to visit his school, Royal Infants and Primary School. The school is one year old.  They have children attend from ages 3 to 16.  He is just renting the place and was hoping we could help with some of his expenses.  It is difficult for kids to get an education especially out in the villages. These new members, Keneth and Betty, have children attend who can't pay.  They just have big hearts. We will have a list of places that anyone looking to help donate to, when we get home.

Some of the prospective missionaries help earn money for their missions by helping teach at this school.

See the scowl? AH!  Muzungu's!

School had just started a two week break so there were only a few kids around.  They even let me ring the school bell.

The uniforms.

These are the school benches stacked for vacation.  Keneth picked out a tree, when he was ready to get this school started, and cut the lumber for the benches from it.  Nothing is easy here in Africa.

Sister Squire got right into the school teacher giving assignments.

The students gave her a gift as a going away present.  By there feet is some maze drying out to eat or to be ground into posho.

The latrine

The lady in the orange skirt is the vice-chairman of the school and sang us a welcome song, a hello song and then, as we are getting ready to leave, a goodby song.

Just a couple of buddies walking down the road.

One of our sisters had a eye infection so after three days of irrigation not working we took her to the eye doctor.

While waiting, teaching Sister Squire to pose.

Nancy had to teach at Jinja District auxiliary training meeting and got a couple of nice pictures.

This little chub is the one born a few months ago from Lugazi that we helped to transport back home when one day old.

Great news, from an earlier post about Cosmos, I had a reply about a non-profit group will design a 3-D hand that will open and close (e-NABLE).  Thanks Trey for the very helpful information and Elder and Sister Taylor are in the process of getting Cosmos on the list.  Enable designs a 3-D hand that volunteers with printers will manufacture.  This will be life changing for him.