Monday, January 30, 2017


This is Jackie.  Elder Phelps and I met Jackie the first week of our mission.  She lives and works as a waitress in Jinja.  We met her when we were having dinner with President and Sister Collings at the Java Coffee Shop just a few days after we arrived in Uganda.  Every time we come through Jinja on our way back to Mbale from Kampala we like to stop and say hi to her.   When we passed through last week she mentioned that she was going to be in Mbale on Thursday and invited us to meet her family.  So we did.  We had an enriching experience meeting her wonderful mother and siblings!  She even served us a meal of chicken, matoke, rice and cabbage salad.  It was all very delicious and given to us with much love!  The area that they live in is lush and green because it is in the mountains.  Before leaving we shared a message about the Savior and how we are commanded to be as little children, humble, meek, and teachable:)  Below is Elder Phelps' letter written to our extended family about her.  I wish I could post the video of the man cutting down the matooke for us but since I can't hopefully you can imagine it in your head:)

                                                                   Sweet Jackie

.....and with her family

"To tell a bit of the story behind this; when we travel to Kampala where the Mission home is, there is a town called Jinja along the way about 2 1/2 hours from here.  Janell and I like to stop there at a little restaurant and eat because the food is so good. One of the waitresses there has become our friend. Her name is Jackie; a single 29 yr old gal. She has told us that her family lives here in Mbale, and one day she wants to introduce us to them. She finally found time to come to Mbale and asked if we could drive her up to see her family. She had not been here to see them in about a year. They live about an hour and 20 minute drive up into the mountain.  Her family was very kind, and her mother made a meal for us. As we left her house, she wanted to stop at her grandmother's who lives nearby and have us greet her.  Her grandmother speaks almost no English, but was so gracious and kind, and as we were leaving, Jackie translated for her and said that her grandmother wanted to give us a gift of matooke (mahtohkay) which they grow in a large orchard right next to her house.  Matooke is a type of banana which must be cooked. It is similar to a plantain, yet different still. They mash it much like we do potatoes.  Grandma gave instructions to one of her family to go cut some down for us.  After he cut it down, he took this whole cluster of matooke and put it in our truck. We have since been sharing it with our neighbors and friends 😀. It was quite a sweet gesture from this sweet little woman that we had just barely met.

As a sidenote, we found that Jackie has been working away from home the past five years to pay for the schooling of her younger brothers and sisters. She only gets to come home once or twice a year to visit family. Her father passed away in 2010, and her mother has no way of acquiring income, other than selling a bit of their food from their farm, so Jackie has been making this sacrifice for her family. This is just one of the examples of the sacrifices and goodness we see in so many of the people here in Uganda. The family, or the 'clan', is pretty important to them all."

Okay, me again......On another note we had a special dinner for a couple members of the branch last week.  We invited Francis, Esther Rose (who is a piano student of mine) and Harriet with her 18 year old daughter, Florence. and her young son Enos.  Florence is one of our branch investigators.    Francis and his brother, Gerald, have been teaching her.  She is leaving for school this week so she will not be able to finish taking the discussions but she has a Book of Mormon to read as she goes off.  She has promised to read it!    She is a good person and is very interested in the Gospel.  I feel she will be baptized in the future:)

It was a nice evening and we sure enjoyed growing closer to them.  I made sloppy joes, with corn and pineapple for sides.  Cookies for dessert!

How about this picture of Elder Phelps in his African shirt??  It was lovingly made by Hamilton, a member of our branch.  He made one for me as well but believe me, Elder Phelps wears it much better than I do:)


  1. how nice! The shirt and the cookable bananas, and everything--very nice!! I hope Jackie continues an interest in the gospel. Karen

  2. This makes me so happy! We absolutely love Jackie, she is truly an amazing young woman. Thanks for sharing this!