Sunday, January 29, 2017

Welcome, Welcome Sabbath Morning

Another WONDERFUL sabbath day!!  I love the opportunity that I have each week to attend church! It is so rejuvenating to mingle with friends, learn about the Gospel, and most importantly partake of the Sacrament.  I love it!

I am so thankful that I woke up feeling almost 100% better from Saturday's sickness.  While I stayed at home ALL DAY yesterday.  Elder Phelps was out teaching and serving others.  I'm grateful for Aaron, a member of the branch, who picked up the slack and became his companion for the day.  I was grateful to be able to rest and recuperate from whatever it was that got me!

Back to today....  We had 15 investigators at church today!  Can you believe that?? FIFTEEN!!   We have spent time with most of them in their homes teaching them but there were four of them, all women,  that we saw but never got a chance to talk to.  I hope our branch missionaries were able to get their contacts so that we can reach them.  One of them was a beautiful lady that shook my hand as I was playing postlude.  After she walked out of the building I ran out to talk with her but she was sitting on a Boda riding away.  I hope she comes again.

We had a beautiful family join us for the first time today.  Their names are Richard and Shariffa (who have two small children).  We were able to teach them "The Restoration" on Tuesday this past week.  They are amazing!  Richard has such an innocence and goodness about him.  He came up to Elder Phelps after church today and asked, "How long do we have to wait to be baptized?"  Elder Phelps answered, "Are you anxious to be baptized?"  Richard answered, "Yes!"  Shariffa does not speak much English but can understand some.  We are excited to continue to teach this family and prepare them for baptism.

Today I was privileged to speak along with President Etiang in Sacrament Meeting.  He had someone cancel last minute and asked if I would fill in and speak about the blessings of the temple.  It was perfect timing since we had decided to start our temple prep class today.  I was grateful to ponder on and remember and share the feelings and blessings that come from attending the temple.  I miss it.  A lot!  After being able to serve in the SL Temple each week for many years I get a little weepy thinking about not being able to go right now.  I know the time is not far distant when I will be able to attend and take part in the endowment again.  I feel for these Ugandan people that are so faithful and deserve the blessings of the temple yet the temple is thousands of miles away.  (The closest is in Johannesburg)  I'm sure it must seem overwhelming to them to try to save enough money to make the trip.  Yet, Heavenly Father wants all of His children to have this great blessing.

President Etiang took the opportunity in the combined session of Priethood/RS and again spoke of the temple.  He taught the members that the only way to receive exaltation is THROUGH the temple.  We must all receive the ordinances the Lord has to offer.  He invited the members to save what they could and to make a considerable sacrifice and then have faith that all will work out.  It is hard to put food on the table let alone save for a huge trip to South Africa but it is necessary for the members to sacrifice so that it will mean all the more to them.  I am thankful for the foresight of the prophet to organize the General Temple Fund (is that what it's called?) that will allow these people to have a chance of getting to the temple.  What a blessing that so many in the world have the means to contribute to this fund so that those living in poverty have a way to receive ALL of the blessings available to us here on earth.

During Sacrament Meeting President also invited each of us to read the Book of Mormon in three months time.  Elder Phelps and I have an assignment to come up with a chart for the members to keep track of their reading.  We will do that tomorrow:)

After church we had the baptism of Stephen Okurut.  Elder Phelps was privileged to baptize him.  It was a beautiful service with many from the branch staying afterwards to attend.  Elder Phelps told me after his baptismal interview on Friday that Stephen is the most prepared of anyone he has interviewed up to this point.  He was very impressed by him.  We only taught him a couple of times.  Our Branch missionaries did most of the work:)  We are so thankful for dedicated Branch missionaries!

                                                    Stephen forgot to smile:)

After the baptism we were able to start our Temple Preparation Class.  We had fifteen people attend.  There are a few who were not there but hopefully will be coming.  The Branch is hoping to have a temple trip in December for all who take this class and are ready.

                                         getting ready to start the temple class

It has just been a marvelous day!  I'm grateful for the opportunity to be associated with the wonderful Mbale branch!

PS  I know I have written a lot tonight but here is one last experience from today that was special to us.  Our recent convert guard, Geoffery, greeted us at the gate when we returned at the end of the day.  We talked of the happenings at church and he told us how much he liked it.  At the end of our conversation he said, "When you were gone for some time a while back.  I  didn't know the feelings in my heart.  I cried when you were not here.  I was missing you."  Isn't that sweet?  Geoffrey generally does not show much emotion.  This made me feel such tender feelings for him.  There are so many that we have grown to love here in Uganda and it will be sad to leave them....especially knowing the poor conditions in which they will continue to live while we return to our 'Western lifestyle' and affluence.

1 comment:

  1. You spoke of our Western Lifestyle and affluence. Well, speaking of that--this past week Dennis and I got to spend time in the St. George house with Darrell and DeeAnn. We stayed in YOUR room and I marveled continually at the overwhelming feelings you are going to have when you again go and stay at that house. You are going to feel SO LUXURIOUS!!!! Tha hot tub is SO relaxing!
    Also, we did a session in the St. George temple and I thought how you and Rick were married and sealed there. You are going to LOVE being in that temple again!
    It's nice that you are making such wonderful memories and such fond attachments while you are there, and it's good that you are adapting so very well to everything around you.
    Regarding your guard who CRIED cause he missed you--well "I" cried TOO--only it was cause I was so WORRIED about you while you were in the "outer-limits" there in Ethiopia! :) I'm SO thankful you came back from there safely, and I sincerely wish you wouldn't go BACK to some place so dangerous again!! You are both such good, good people!! Love, Karen