Saturday, February 25, 2017


Elder Phelps and I really LOVE Rwanda.  Flying in we could see beautiful terraced covered hills and more hills are covered in lush green.  There is much farm land here.  Kigali is the Capital of Rwanda and it is a very beautiful city!   It is VERY clean unlike Uganda.  On the last Saturday of the month there is something called Umuganda.  The people shut down their shops and there is no driving for the morning hours.  This gives people a chance to clean around their areas of living and business.  Of course, they do this on a daily basis as well but we were so impressed with the overall cleanliness of this very large city.

Another thing that we loved about Kigali in particular is the driving.  It is all very orderly.  No crowding of cars, no motorcycles or people weaving in and out of traffic, unlike Uganda.  They have beautiful landscaped roadways and I did not see ONE pothole.....again unlike Uganda, especially compared to where we live in Mbale that is filled with holes, holes and more holes.  

It is a very beautiful city and I can see why Elder and sister Gillette love serving here.  They spent 6 months of their mission in Jinja so they know what living in Uganda is like.  They say that while the living conditions are better here.  The people are great in BOTH places.  Many wonderful things are happening in BOTH places.  They have been helping with the three branches here in Kigali and stay busy with that.  They have met MANY wonderful people and have done much good here in Rwanda! Their mission ends just shortly after ours in April.

We were blessed to stay at the newly built Kigali Marriott.  It. Was. So. Nice.  They upgraded us to a beautiful suite and it was so luxurious!  I can't begin to describe it so I won't but I will tell you that it was heaven sleeping in a soft bed with soft pillows:)  And we were there for THREE whole nights!

This was our view of Kigali overlooking the Marriott's beautiful pool.

On Friday morning we met up with the Harlines and the Gillettes for a day of seeing the city.  We were able to go inside the Hotel des Mille Collines.  It is the hotel in which the movie 'Hotel Rwanda' is named after.  The hotel manager was able to harbor around 1,000 people including his family during the genocide in the spring of 1994.  He was a very influential man and was able to keep the Hutu militia at bay during the nearly 100 days of killing.

This is the swimming pool that the people were able to have clean water to drink from during that time.

Next we stopped at the Kigali Genocide Memorial where approximately 250,000 people are interred. In total there were close to one million men, women and children killed in 100 days.  It was a very sobering experience walking through the museum and learning about this country's horrible past.  Very sobering.  Much like my experience walking through a concentration camp in Germany.

At the end I walked in three different rooms that told of some of the children killed.  I can't describe the feelings that I had as I looked into their life size pictures, reading of their likes and dislikes and then learning of how they were brutally killed.  Some hacked with a machete, some shot, and a little infant thrown into a wall.  I could not help but cry for these poor children who's lives ended far to soon at the hands of wicked men.  I cried for so many others who lived to tell the tale of their experiences left as orphans and scarred with images of their loved ones dying.  Truly sickening.  

The memorial is a beautiful place of remembrance.  It gives many of the victims a final resting place and a place for survivors to come mourn their family.  It is also a place to learn of a past that we can never let happen again.

The Rwandan people are learning to forgive and be forgiven.  Those left live together side by side trying to live a life of love and trust.


After our time at the Memorial we had a wonderful experience going to a hill overlooking the city.  In Elder Phelps' words this is what took place.....

 "We had a wonderful experience.  This picture shows us standing on the hill where Elder Holland dedicated the country of Rwanda for the spreading of the gospel (missionary work).  Here, on August 27th, 2009  Elder Holland came with other leaders and a few Rwandans who were already members and gave a very beautiful dedicatory prayer.  It was recorded, and Elder Gillett (the senior missionary living here) read it to us on the hilltop.  Twice in the prayer a blessing was pronounced on the people of Rwanda, that 'their memories would be purged' of the terrible events that occurred here.  The effects of that blessing are seen here.  The people use no class distinction any more. They are not Tutsi or Hutu, they consider themselves 'Rwandans'.  As you can imagine there are still many difficulties, but they are trying their best to forgive each other and live together in peace.  Missionaries began teaching here in 2013."

One of the things I noticed in the prayer was that he said that thousands and tens of thousands would come into the church.  It is evident to us that, in time this will happen.  In just our short time in Kigali we had a few opportunities wherein people saw our badges and approached us to learn more.  This is common here in Rwanda.  Just like in Uganda they just show up at the church on Sunday just to see what it's like:)  These are golden opportunities for missionaries!

Here's another experience in R
ick's words.....

"We also visited a member of the Church in her sewing shop.  Here name is Grace.  She lost her mother, father, and 8 siblings in the genocide of 1994.  Her husband was in the military, and in 1998 he was killed while Grace was expecting their 5th child.  She told us, "When my husband died I lost my hope.  I did not know how I could go on.  Then I found the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Now I have hope.  I find myself smiling".   She was taught to sew, and in 2000 she began a sewing business and taught other women, especially young women, to sew and gave them jobs in an attempt to help them move forward in life.  She is very sweet.  We all purchased a few things from her."

That evening we met up with President and Sister Collings to have dinner at Heaven Restaurant.  They are here for the weekend for zone conference and interviews.  They are super busy people!!  I look up to them both so much.  They are giving so much in their service to the Lord as Mission President and wife.  We all had a good time visiting with one another:)  This is the the last time Rick and I will see either the Gillettes or the Harlines before we leave.  It sure has been good getting to know wonderful couples who give of their time to serve the Lord.  They each are serving for 18 months!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rwanda and GORILLA tracking

Early Wednesday morning we left Mbale towards Kampala.  We picked up Andrew (a prospective missionary) to take him to the mission office.  Our prospective missionaries need to travel to Kampala to get their chest X-ray,  their yellow fever shots, and hepatitis shots.  It costs 30K shillings round trip and we were glad to help Andrew save that money by riding with us.  We had hoped to take Francis but his grandmother passed away unexpectedly and he had to travel to her village for the burial:(

I woke up that morning feeling terrible.  My stomach was giving me fits and I was achy all over!  I knew it was NOT going to be easy traveling all day.  Our plan was to travel to Kampala (5 hours) then travel to Entebbe (another 1 1/2 hours) catch our plane (waiting time at the airport 2 hours) and then fly to Kigali (1 hour).  Before leaving,  Elder Phelps and Andrew gave me a blessing and I was truly blessed.  While my stomach really hurt and was very unsettled I was able to make the trip without extra stops.  I didn't eat anything either, which really helped.  We arrived at our hotel in Kigali around 6:30 pm and I was able to eat a little bit and then relax the rest of the evening.

We are staying at the Kigali Marriott and it is soooooo nice!  I love that when we stay at a Marriott they upgrade our room (usually).  We are in a suite with a separate bedroom and two baths.  AND it has a bathtub!  Score!!  We get to stay for THREE whole nights in the lap of luxury:)  

After having a bite in the executive lounge (another Marriott perk) I went right to sleep because our morning was going to be early.  Our shuttle to Volcanoes National Park was coming to pick us up at 4:15 AM and I wanted to be completely over my sickness!  Rick on the other hand got to spend some time talking with Brach and then face timing with Skylar.  He had fun doing that!

I woke up at 3:30 to get ready and thought, "I feel quite a bit better, this is going to work!"  We got ready and met our shuttle (who had already picked up Elder and Sister Harline, who came in from Ethiopia) and started our 2 1/2 hour ride to Volcanoes National Park.  Marriott packed us a continental breakfast box which I picked at....still not sure how my stomach was going to react to eating.  At this point, Rick started feeling sick!  He is such a trooper.....he was getting what I had on THE DAY of our Gorilla hike.  He did OK.  While he was weak and shaky throughout the morning he was still able to make the hike and enjoy the gorillas.  By that evening he was feverish.  We stayed in the room and had a bite for dinner and then it was HIS turn to go to bed early! (like 7:30 early) 

We REALLY loved our experience.  I was worried that our hike would be treacherous.  It was not.  We walked about an 1 1/2 hours to reach the gorillas and the climb was pretty slight.  We had four couples in our group and one of them was a young couple from New York.  They had gone tracking the previous day and had a VERY hard hike!  It was straight up the mountain!  They wanted to come back the next day to have a less strenuous hike so they were put with the "older couples".  I'm glad it worked out the way it did:)

Here we are ready for our hike!  On top of this mountain behind us lies the border to 3 countries: Rwanda, Uganda, and Congo

This is us and the Harlines before the hike began.  We rented galoshes because we only had tennis shoes and I did not think that was going to be good enough.  SOOO thankful that we did because we were hiking in muck and mud for much of the time.  At least four times I stepped in a muddy hole that came up to my calf.  Don't you love Rick's green galoshes:)

My hand carved hiking stick.  It sure came in handy!  Plus it helped having a porter (Augustine) to help me over the big rocks and through the slippery muddy slopes!

A selfie with the volcanic mountain boundary of Uganda, Rwanda, and DRC (again).

                                      Our group including porters on our hike.  We got to hike through beautiful bamboo forest and jungle.    We got bitten (pinched) by some pretty strong little ants a few time, as we had to cross their natural habitat.  Our guide would say "Ants! Ants!" to warn us when we were getting into them.  Our guide was Fernando and he taught us how to act around the gorillas.  He taught us that growling means "we're friendly"  Grunting is "not friendly" and if the Silverback approaches you do not make eye contact and kneel to the ground showing submissiveness.

There are ten groups of gorillas residing in Volacanos park.  We got to see the Muhoza group.  This is a relatively small group consisting of one silverback and five females and one baby (four months and as cute as could be.)  They had just had lunch and so they were all lazing around.  This meant that we were able to get very close to them.  Within 6-10 feet.  At one point I was wishing that they would be a little more active to 'liven' things up but this was nice,  I didn't have to worry about being approached by any of them.  Of course, Rick would have LOVED to touch one of those things.  He's a touchy feely kind of guy!  Especially with wild animals!  HAHA

                                           One of the females posing for us.

                                         A close up of the sleepy silverback.

                          After a while he got up and decided it was time to eat again.

                  My porter, Augustine.  Rick called him my "new boyfriend."  :-)

                              Muck and mud.....

The baby.  There was one other baby in the family, but it died just two weeks ago.

What a wonderful day tracking the gorillas.  I love that we can do these fun things while serving in the Uganda Kampala Mission.  While we work very hard in Mbale, we get to take time to experience enjoyable things in Africa, too. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Missionary Work in Mbale

Many things going on here in Mbale!

We are continuing having members and investigators in our home each week for dinner and spiritual enlightenment.  This week we had Faith and Mercy (Faith is Mercy's mother) and Faith's friend Michael who is taking the lessons and wants to be baptized.  (He is scheduled to be baptized on March 5th)

We also invited Pius (one of my favorite people....I love to hear his beautiful voice!) and Paul our former Branch Mission Leader to help fellowship Michael.  Faith has been wanting to learn how to make hamburgers!  When she was young she spent time in the States and learned to love hamburgers there.  She made them for her family at Christmastime and it was a flop:(  Her children would NOT even eat them they were so bad.  I was thinking to myself, "How do you ruin a hamburger, of all things?  You just make a patty, season it and cook it?"  

So we had a fun night making hamburgers and french fries and cole slaw.  The food turned out great (except maybe the cole slaw was a little weird) and we had a good time visiting while we ate.  For dessert I made our favorite....... lemon pudding cake (thanks to the lemon cake sent to us in our Christmas package and the lemon jello I was able to find in Kampala).  We were able to teach the Plan of Salvation (Lesson 2) with Michael and it went well.  Faith got very emotional during the lesson.  I'm not sure what she was thinking but I know that her husband passed away a few years ago so maybe talking about the Plan of Salvation got her thinking of him.

A little about Faith.  She had Mercy when she was very young.  She married a man who was not Mercy's father when Mercy was very young and he raised her as his own.  This is the father that she knew and loved him greatly.  When we first came to Mbale I met Faith and she seemed very aloof to me.  She has a private personality and is a bit of a know prickly on the outside but soft on the inside:) I knew that it would take some time to get to know her.   In October and November she did not come to church all that often and was bordering on being less active.

In early December I felt strongly that Elder Phelps and I needed to get into her home and build a relationship with her on a personal basis.  Being in her home made all the difference.  We went a few times and we even had Faith sew a pair of swim shorts for Elder Phelps (since he left his at home).   She is a tailor by trade.  This time spent with her brought down the walls and now we are friends:)

A few weeks ago Faith brought Michael to church.  Faith bore her testimony that day and talked of how she is grateful for repentance.  She has lived a hard life and has made wrong choices but is grateful to be able to change.  She knows that Heavenly Father loves her!

Pius, Paul, Michael, Faith and Mercy

Friday was a difficult day for me.  I had gotten word that my cousin's husband passed away unexpectedly.  I don't know if that was the cause of my feelings but I'm sure it was partly.  My attitude was NOT good and I wanted to be done with Uganda!  Everything that I saw that day created negative feelings.  All I could see was rude boda drivers, trash and filth EVERYWHERE, terrible heat and dust, bugs biting me, and people who don't keep time!  Anyway,  I was not in a good place.  

Thankfully, my heart was changed the next day and I could focus on others and be positive again!  I guess I'm entitled to a bad day once in a while:)  Elder Phelps though,  he is ALWAYS positive and I'm amazed at his diligence and stamina.  He does way more than me.....on the phone, conducting audits, driving us everywhere and other things that I don't even have to worry about..... and he does it ALL with a pleasant attitude.  I am married to wonderful man who loves the Lord and always wants to do what is right!  I consider myself truly blessed with a marvelous companion:)

Next I want to introduce you to Sarah Ayinda.  Rarely do I know people's last names but we have three Sarahs in the Branch and I need to know how to distinguish them so I know these girls' last names (or first names if you use true Ugandan identity:)

Sarah has been a member of the church for three years.  She has had a hard upbringing.  A true Cinderella story.  Her father passed away when she was just four years old.  When she was five her uncle took her out of the village to help raise her and send her to school.  He was a doctor and was not around much and left her alone with cousins who abused her terribly.  They made her do ALL of the cooking and cleaning and ALL of THEIR laundry before and after her long school day.  They would often beat her with a wire and treated her terribly.  A few years ago when she was 19 she was able to find work for herself and move out of her terrible circumstances.  She told us that she started earning 60,000 shillings a month in her first job.  That is equivalent to $18.00!    
It is difficult to even imagine trying to live off of that.

Sarah has risen above her difficult childhood and is now taking care of herself and is a faithful member of the church.  She works at Arabica Cafe (a place we often frequent) and is a bright spot in our lives!  She is so loving and kind and we love her so much!  She is waiting for a missionary (Peter pronounce Petah) who helped to teach her the Gospel.  He is serving in Zimbabwe and comes home in April.

A few weeks back Sarah asked if we could go visit with Peter's family and teach them more about the gospel.  She wanted to wait so that she could earn enough money to purchase some food for the family before we went to visit.  This past Saturday was the day we got to go.  Peter has one brother who is a member of the church but that is all.  His name is Paul and we got to meet him.  We traveled about 45 minutes to get to Peter's family's village and and they greeted us very warmly when we arrived.  There were lots of children who stared and stared at the Mzungus.  We are such an anomaly in these villages away from the city.  Many of the children have never even seen white people before!

We were escorted into their brick and concrete home which had a large gathering room.  We were introduced to more extended family members who were interested in learning about the Gospel.

 We were served a meal of chicken, rice, posho, beans, millet bread and mashed greens.  This was our first time to have mashed greens.  They were very sour.  I thought it was just mashed vegetables but they really were mashed leaves mixed with sour milk.  Very different.  I refrained from having the millet bread because I just can't stomach the stuff.  Especially when there were flies mingling all around it!  We were invited to have some when someone noticed that we didn't have any in our bowl.  Elder Phelps is good.  Even though he doesn't like it he reached right over and got some while I just politely said, "I don't like millet bread." I know it was a sacrifice because Elder Phelps doesn't like it either and he ESPECIALLY hates flies!   Those who were in the room with us just watched us eat.  It is customary for the guests to eat first and then the others eat later.  Kind of awkward eating in front of people you know are hungry.  We asked them to join us but they refused and just told us that is the way it is done here.

After lunch we had a wonderful lesson with a large group of people.  We taught "The Restoration" while Peter Sr. translated for the group.  It is such a tender experience to be teaching a group of people that you know love the Savior and want to follow him.  All of the people were attentive (even the small children....I counted fifteen of them) and they loved the teachings taught.  Peter mentioned that he would love to be a member but the distance is to far and they cannot afford to pay for the transport.  I love this picture where Peter is proudly showing his Book of Mormon and The Proclamation we left him!  We encouraged Paul to try to find a place to live in Mbale and prepare for a mission.  He really would love that!

                                          A picture of part of the group.  They say the man on the left is 100 years old.  He is Peter Sr.'s uncle.

                                      Sarah with Peter's family.  Paul is in white in the back.

This is the latrine that I had to use before leaving.  I will NEVER get used to using these.  Yup, it's just a hole in the ground.  And yes, it smelled terrible and there were flies all over!  The hard part was trying to squat over the hole while holding the sheet being used as the door because the wind was blowing!  HAHA!!  Sometimes you just have to laugh at these situations.  After all, this is just everyday life for these people.  (Sorry if this brings a visual to your mind that you would much rather not have:) LOL

Rick took a random photo the other day of me holding Tony.  He is two and his mom and dad are planning to be baptized in two weeks:)

So yesterday we had an interesting baptism.  A lot of Mbale is without water because it is the dry season.  Some people have not had water for a few weeks.  They have to get it from random sources.  We, luckily,  have been able to have water throughout the whole dry season at our home.  The church has been dry for about a week.  Yesterday we had this baptism scheduled for Derek who lives in Sironko.  (There is a small group of Saints there.)  He was actually supposed to be baptized sometime last year but the church didn't have water then either.  Yesterday there was no water to fill the font.  The Young Men took buckets and walked to the nearest water source to carry back water to fill it.  Elder Phelps and I arrived after the baptism started because we had traveled to Busia that morning to speak in church.  As we walked outside to witness the baptism I looked into the font.  I was shocked!!  There was only 12- 14 inches of water in the font.  I thought, NO WAY can they do this.  He has to be completely immersed.  Well, Derek sat flat on the bottom of the font in the water and the first time it didn't work.  The second time the witnesses said it was good and that was that.

Every morning we pass Aaron on our morning walk.  He is about 15 and he sells samosas and mandazes (scones).  We usually buy a couple from him and give them to our security guards and whoever is with us for the day.  Today (Monday morning) we bought a bundle from him to take to our YSA activity tonight.  I think they will be happy.... I know Aaron was!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Yesterday we had a wonderful experience that I want to write about.  Let me start with a back story of Daniel.  We have known Daniel (standing next to his mother in this photo) for about 4 months now.  He is a security guard at the church.  When we first got to know him, Elder Phelps would always stop to say Hi and have a little conversation with him as we would pull into the church compound.  After a bit of time Elder Phelps invited him to attend church.  

It took some time but then he showed up one day.  We asked Daniel if we could come to his home to teach him more about the Gospel.  Daniel asked if it would be ok if his girlfriend Winny, who lives with him, could join us.  Of course, we said that was fine.  We started teaching him and Winny at the end of November.  We had two good lessons with about the Restoration of the Gospel and the next about the Book of Mormon.  He and Winnie said they would read the Book of Mormon.  The first part of December, Winnie had to move back home (Lira) to get ready to begin school.  She told him she wasn't leaving without the B of M.  We were able to replace Daniel's book:) 

Our next lesson was on the Plan of Salvation.  During this lesson Elder Phelps asked about Daniel's reading and if he had been praying about the things we had been teaching him.  He said he had.  Elder Phelps asked if he could explain how he felt when he prayed.  Daniel was quiet for a moment then said, "After Winny left I was feeling very lonely.   I knelt down at night to pray, and I felt a good feeling in my heart.  It made me know that this Church is the true Church.  This path is the right one to follow."  Of course, this is what we missionaries hope that all of our investigators will say:)  There was a good feeling in the room and at that point Elder Phelps invited Daniel to be baptized.  He said, "Yes, I would like to but it might take some time,"  Elder Phelps agreed and told him that we would keep teaching him the doctrines of the Gospel.  He could take as much time as he needed.

We were gone for a week in December and when we got back we knew that Daniel was going back to his hometown (a village out past Lira) to visit Winny and his family for the holidays.  Rick felt strongly that Daniel should learn about the Law of Chastity before he went back home.  We invited Daniel to our home where I sat quietly as Elder Phelps taught about the Law of Chastity.

I was a little nervous going into the lesson because he and Winny are not married and they had been living together for quite some time before she left back to school.  It is interesting how the Lord prepares people.  As Elder Phelps taught about being morally clean, Daniel nodded his head.  He declared, "I have been thinking about this subject for a while now and I know what you are teaching is right.  I believe this is how God wants us to live."  He continued,  "The problem is that Winny's parents will not pay for her schooling if we are married.  They have told us that we can be married after she is finished with school in two years."

Elder Phelps looked at him and said, "Daniel,  I bet that if you take this pamphlet and share it with Winnie and then go to her parents and explain about being sexually pure and that you want to do what God wants, they will understand?"  Daniel smiled and said, "I will try that."

Well, long story getting longer........

After coming back from the holidays Daniel mentioned that he talked with Winny and that he was hoping things would work out.  He told Rick, "I think we need to be married first, then we both get baptized together."  We had the Branch missionaries finish up teaching the lessons to him.  He kept coming in to our FHE Nights with the Young Adults but wasn't getting to many Sunday meetings.   We encouraged him to be attending every Sunday.  A few weeks ago as he was on duty during the day, he was sitting under the shade of a big tree in the compound.  I hollered hello to him and started walking into the church.  I felt prompted to go speak to him so I made a detour over to where he was sitting.  We exchanged pleasantries and had a little small talk.  He told me that Winny's parents had given him the news that they would allow him to marry Winny before her schooling was over, and they would still pay for her schooling.  I felt that was a miracle right there!  I was late for a meeting in the church so I told him I would see him later.  As I walked into the church I had a strong feeling come over me.  I thought to myself, "We are leaving in two months and we NEED to have Daniel baptized before then.  Married and THEN baptized."

After out meeting I walked up to Daniel outside and said, "Daniel, we've got to get you and Winny married and get you baptized before we leave to go home, and we're leaving in April"  He was shocked!  "In April?  You are not coming back?"  Why so soon?"  We answered, "Well, that's how long we have been planning to stay.  We want to see you baptized before we leave.  How can we make that happen?"  He responded, "We are planning to be married in May, but I will have to think about that and arrange."  I asked if he had enough for the dowry.  He answered in the affirmative.  (Actually his parents pay for the dowry in his particular tribe.  Between FOUR and SIX cows, TEN goats plus 500,000 shillings!  That is really A LOT!)  

He said at that point.  "My parents want to hear about the church before I am baptized.  Will you go to my village and teach them so I can get permission from them."  Daniel is 24 and is of age but he wanted to have his parents' blessing.  He said, "I have told them a little about the church but could you go to my village and teach them?"

To us it felt like the right thing to do.  Daniel's family live 12 Kilometers (or so) past Lira on dirt roads, and Lira is three hours away.  We knew that when we went it would be a full day.  

Yesterday was that day.

We left home by 6:30 to pick up Daniel and our Branch Mission Leader, Benard who is a good friend to Daniel and was coming with us.  On the drive Daniel mentioned that his brother was going to be there as well.  Then he got a call from his sister who was upset that she had not been invited so he invited her.  After hanging up the phone he mentioned that "She is a reverend in her church.  She went to school for three years to study theology."  I thought, to myself  "Oh my!  A reverend!  This might turn a different direction than we were hoping." Then said a silent prayer in my heart that things would go well.

After picking up Daniel's brother, Ambrose, in Lira and a quick visit with Winny we started up the dirt road leading to Daniel's home.  We picked up his Reverend sister, Teddy, and after stopping to say hello to yet another sister we finally made it to the village of Daniel's parents; about an hour drive past Lira.  We were greeted warmly by his mother!  (His father is a teacher and was in school so we were not able to meet him.)

We knew that we only had a couple of hours to be there before we had to get back on the road so the family ushered us all into a mud hut to find our seats.  After we exchanged pleasantries and met a few other family members we began teaching.  Reverend Teddy translated to their mother as the three of us taught "The Restoration".  

It took a full two hours from the time we arrived to finish because of the translation.  Toward the end as we each bore testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration and of the Book of Mormon there was a wonderful spirit in the room.  Elder Phelps asked Daniel to tell his mom (and sister) his feelings about the Restored Gospel.  Even though Daniel was speaking a different language I could feel the spirit in his tone.  A visual softening occurred during this meeting.  When asked by Elder Phelps to Daniel's mother ...."If you knew that Jesus Christ has restored His Gospel to the earth and has a prophet and twelve apostles directing it.  How would that make you feel?  Daniel's Mother answered and said, "I would be grateful if they went teaching throughout the world."  I said, "And they do."  The spirit was very strong at this point.

Then Benard bore a powerful testimony of how God's power was restored by the laying on of hands through the apostles Peter, James, and John.  He looked directly at Teddy and said,  "The power of God does not come through someone knowing the scriptures, it does not come from people going to school to learn,  it comes directly from God by the laying on of hands to His Prophets and Apostles."  He then bore a humble testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ is the only true church on the earth, and that it has been restored on earth, and is the only church with God's priesthood authority.   He then asked Teddy how she would feel if she truly knew that was true.

Teddy had a very humble look on her face and said, "I would have to change because I have not known any better.  I would want to follow Jesus Christ and know His Church."

Wow!  The Spirit was strong!  It was a wonderful experience.  

After the lesson we were served a meal of chicken (a real skinny chicken:) boiled sweet potatoes, and mashed peas.  That was very thoughtful of Colleen (Dan's Mom)  to feed us:)

 Daniel with his extended family.

Daniel has eleven siblings in his family.  Funny story....he told us he had eight siblings but Teddy was quick to correct him and told him there was twelve all together.  He didn't remember because there are so many of them.  The youngest is only four.  The oldest is thirty.   While Daniel's father is a polygamist (his second wife has six children)  Daniel's mother bore all twelve in his immediate family.

This is lady below is one of Daniel's relatives.  When she walked into the room and greeted us I heard Benard whisper something about how we should be teaching the Word of Wisdom.  I smiled and thought,  "Is this lady drunk?"  I couldn't tell until later when as we were leaving she tripped and fell on the ground.  Everyone started laughing and Rick was appalled at them laughing at this poor old woman, and helped her up.  As we were driving away Teddy mentioned that this woman WAS indeed drunk and is sadly 'drunk most of the time'.  She kept wanting her picture taken and making us all laugh with her antics. in the deep village.

As we were leaving Rick bought out a loaf of banana bread that I had baked with the intention of giving it to Daniel's mother.  (I am glad he remembered!)  Since I had given her a gift she wanted to present us with one.  She caught one of her chickens and gave it to us!  This was a first for us!  Never been gifted a chicken before!  We were thrilled with her generosity.  We put it in the back of the truck and hoped it would live the four hours it was going to take us to get home!  And all the way wondering what in the world we were going to do with a LIVE chicken.  We talked of whom we could re-gift it to and decided on our groundskeeper Fazira.  Remember her?  The Muslim?  We called her to tell her we had a chicken for her, and she was so excited she screamed for joy and started laughing.  That felt good!!

When we saw Fazida this morning she said, "My kids were SOOOOO happy when I told them you were giving us a chicken!  I am going to keep it for a remembrance!"  We asked her, "You are not going to cook it?"  She said, "No!  I am going to keep it as a remembrance." (of us)  Isn't that sweet?  Maybe she could breed it and make some little chicks to raise.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Another week goes by.....

Our weeks are flying by!  It has been another busy one.  Everyday we leave early and get home late.   We had a lot of great experiences this week out in the village visiting and also teaching lessons.  

On Wednesday we had Michael Ochilla (who was baptized in December) and his family over for dinner.  They live in a village called Kabwangasi.  Michael is married to Daphne and they have six children.  Daphne and all of the children go to the Seventh Day Adventist Church which makes Michael the only member in his family.  They are a good family who love the Lord.  Rachel is the oldest at 23 years and is a nurse in her village.  She said she is interested in learning more about the Gospel so that is a teaching opportunity for us!  Jovia is their second daughter and she is in school so she did not come.  Samuel is 14,  Ruth is 8, Miriam is 5 and John is 2.  We also had two young cousins from the family join us plus Benard Wandera (on the left is our Branch Mission Leader).  I made chicken breasts with fried potatoes and mixed vegetables.   We had ice cream for dessert:)

Michael with his wife Daphne

This week we began teaching Mirembe a little English.  We had no idea what we were doing but we went forward and did our best.  You would think that since we KNOW English we should be able to TEACH English.  It's not quite that simple anyway.....Bernard was there to help in the translating:)

One night we went to teach Jonathon and Rachel.  We were scheduled to meet with them at 6:30 and Elder Phelps had told Jonathon that we would just be there for a short lesson and to NOT prepare food for us.  We stopped at Arabica Cafe before our appointment and ordered some take out to be picked up after our appt.  Well, as it goes.... they DID prepare dinner and I could tell that after we told them that we were not going to stay that it hurt their feelings.  I gave Elder Phelps that look and whispered, "We really should stay."  So we did.  I had been looking forward all day to having some pizza from Arabica but......we saved it for leftovers for the next night:)

It was an enjoyable evening with them.  Poor Rachel has been sick for weeks now.  She got up twice during our lesson to go vomit:(  Elder Phelps said the unthinkable right to her.... "Do you think it's the nine month flu?"  I gave him an elbow to the ribs and said, "You're not supposed to ask that!"  She just laughed and said, "I don't know.  It's too early to tell."  We did not get home until 9:00!  Those late appointments are hard because there is really no down time before bedtime.

We saw this on the road and had a good laugh!
Someone forgot the spell check!

Our exciting news this week was our first Mbale Branch wedding.  Ben Tushabe married his girlfriend Alima (Harry) on Saturday.  We had to travel to Jinja because our Mbale building is not registered with the government to be a place of marriage.  The Mission is working on getting our building approved.  It will be a blessing when it is finally approved.  Many more people would have loved to go but could not afford the transport to Jinja.

We definitely ran on African time.  We were there to pick up the bride and her maids right at 7:30 as planned but they weren't ready.  By 9:30 (yes, two hours later) we picked them up and started our 2 1/2 hour journey to Jinja.  The wedding started at 1:00 and was really nice.  President Etiang did a nice job of conducting and gave some really nice counsel from "The Proclamation" to the bride and groom.

                                Sarah, Jimeema, Harry, and Francis

Pretty Bridesmaids.....Sarah and Francis

                  The bride and groom with the matron and best man.

                                     Exchanging rings after the ceremony.

President Isaac Etiang enjoying lunch.
Lunch was delicious with rice, matoke, peanut sauce, beef, potatoes, greens, peas and chapatis.

                                        The wedding party
                               Namable, Ellie, Ben, Harry, Jimeema, Sarah, and Francis

This was interesting....before the cake cutting the bride and groom changed into traditional African clothing.  I loved Ben's mother's gomezi.  It was so beautiful on her.

An end to another great week in the mission field!!