Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ups and Downs of Missionary Life (Part 1)

This was a really long post so I decided to break it up into two parts.

We have had a busy and eventful week full of emotional ups and downs.  

I'll start with the UPS....

On Tuesday we invited the Butali family over for dinner.  (We invited one of our investigators as well but he called at the last minute and couldn't make it!)

Sarah is the matriarch of this family.  She is a really great person.....witty, kind, fun, faithful, and good.  She is like the girl next door.  She's not afraid to come into the kitchen and start asking where things are:)  She gifted us some cassava root and when I told her I have no idea how to make cassava she invited herself over and said she would show me:)  Thus our fun dinner night!  BTW the cassava was peeled, sliced, breaded, and fried.  It tasted a lot like a french fry!  Sarah is having some serious personal challenges at home but is staying positive.   She has/is raising five children.  Three have served missions. She also owns a school out in Manafwa District which I will highlight later on in this post. 

Jude is the oldest (in orange) and is the first missionary to leave from the Mbale branch. He has been home for about three years now.  We keep encouraging him to find a good woman and get married:) He recently bought some property out in Palisa District and had a home built.  It is small.....probably 10x10 but has two extra rooms that he can eventually rent out.  He is trying to start a new business of lawn care.  We really hope he is successful!

Solomon (in plaid) is 19 and planning for a mission.  I connected with him right away when we first arrived in Mbale because he loves music and has learned to play the piano.  He is quite shy in a group (unlike Jude) but is not afraid to talk one on one:)  

Ben is the youngest of the group.  (Silly smiling boy)  He is just starting Senior 1 and will be staying with Solomon while he attends school in Mbale.

Sarah's second child is Esther and is attending school in Iganga.  Esther served a mission in Zambia.  Sarah's third child is Dina and she is serving her mission right now in Zimbabwe:)

We are teaching some wonderful investigators right now.  Last week I mentioned Richard and Sharifa who are set to be baptized on the 26th of this month.  We have had some great lessons with them.  The lessons are taught in Luganda (by Francis and our convert guard, Geoffrey) because Sharifa speaks little English.  I can pull out English words once in a while and this helps me to know where we are in the lesson:)  Elder Phelps and I generally share our testimonies at the end.  Lessons like this can be long.  I get sleepy just sitting there trying to follow along.  When you're not personally engaged it can be a little difficult but they are a great couple and I love the spirit that is in their home.  
They have two beautiful children Tony and Kedra.

After our lesson Sharifa brought in a snack for us.
These are Soya beans soaked then fried in oil.  They had a nice nutty flavor and were very delicious!  Sharifa packages these and sells them in her neighborhood.

Kinda funny that I got a picture of the food and not the people!  I'll post a picture of them later.....when I take one!

On Wednesday we were invited to have dinner with Jonathon and Rachel.  They were just married in December.  They are new to Mbale and have opened up a small shop near the center of town.  It is doing very well.  These two are progressing very slowly.  They have both been sick for a lot of January.  Jonathon with kidney problems and Rachel with typhoid.  They invited us to their home this week to have dinner.  We were hoping to teach them about the Plan of Salvation but it did not happen.   They like to have the tv on and it is hard to converse let alone teach a lesson.  Elder Phelps did pull out their Book of Mormon and told/read them the story of Ammon....(with the tv muted)  We enjoy spending time with them but not sure how it's all gonna go.  We will keep up with them and hopefully  they will get serious about reading and praying about the Gospel message.

Either way we will stay close to them while we are here:)

        Jonathon and Rachel with Rachel's two sisters....Beth and Linda

Another great investigator we have is Joel.  We met Joel just before Christmas.  We were in Munkaga with Ben Tushabe, one of our branch missionaries, to visit a couple of his nonmember friends.   As we were leaving our appointment Joel walked up to us to say hi.  He started talking to Elder Phelps and showed some interest in the church.  We told him where the church was located and invited him to come.  Well, it was about a month later that he did come.  He showed up three weeks ago at Sacrament Meeting and reminded us of who he was. (Because some time had passed since we saw him.)   He has stayed for all three meetings for all three weeks (and even stayed for the baptism after the block last week).

Joel is a great investigator.  He reads the Book of Mormon faithfully and each time we visit he has lots of questions.  It's cute to me because he will pull out a sticky pad that he has been writing his questions on to remind himself of the questions.  He is learning a lot!  I love it!  He is on schedule to be baptized on the 19th of this month.  He is great!!

The second time we visited him a lady walked in and sat right down on the floor with her bible.  ( I did not know this until our last visit but it is her home that we have been meeting in:)  This lady is named Sharon and she attends the Baptist Church not far from ours.  She listened intently and read scriptures and asked questions as well.

This last visit on Thursday she invited her husband, Abdul, (who is Muslim) to join us.  He came in and intently listened as well.  The Spirit was there and it was a great lesson with feelings shared and questions answered.  After the lesson ended Abdul said, "I like you!  I have a gift for you."  We were surprised at that and I was thinking, "What is this gift?"  He led us out to his shop a little ways away.  He makes clay pots and let us choose from an array of pottery to take home with us.  Wasn't that sweet?  Sharon and Abdul have committed to come to church this week:)

The guy in red is Brian.  He has been to a couple of lessons as well.  He doesn't speak much English but is interested in our message.

We also have an investigator named Tricia.  Tricia is 22 years and is very well educated.  She is a pretty girl and always dresses nice.  She has been coming to church with her friend Kenneth.  She has been to church three times now and is slowly progressing.  At first I thought she had a hard time believing the Restoration but as we met the second time she showed more interest.  I think her heart is softening:)  I really enjoy her lessons because she is another one that asks questions and sincerely wants to know what we believe!

On Thursday we took a trip out to Manafwa District.  We needed to pick something up from Sister Sarah.  While we were there we got a tour of the school that she owns.  It is called Liahona Primary School.  She services around 250 students.  We got to meet a few of the teachers and students.  The school is very rustic.  It is nothing like the schools back home.  The school is a wooden structure with dirt floors and a wooden benches for the students.  To give you an idea of what it's like.  Think of your grandpas old barn.  With a portable chalkboard.  It's like that.  Completely different that what we or our children had.  Sarah was so proud of her school.  She has worked very hard at putting it together these last few years.  The schools latrine system sunk one year when there was a HUGE rainstorm.  It cost much money to fix but now they have a nice latrine for the children to use.  It is a five pit latrine that she says is not enough for all of the children but that is what they have to work with!

This structure is the kitchen.  Inside is a room where the food is kept and then another room that is considered the kitchen.  If you saw inside you would be appalled!  To this day I still cannot get used to the cooking spaces that people use.  A dirt floor, fire pit, old pots and a very small cooking space.  It is something out of the 18th century old west style.    But amidst all this Sarah is very happy about her school and I am happy for her.  The children truly do not know any different and if they can get a good education and even be taught gospel truths,  I say, "Way to go, Sarah!  Keep up the good work!"

Last night we invited Judith and her daughters, Cindy and Rachel over for dinner.  Judith is a new member.  The is a nurse and works in Mbale's main hospital.  She was baptized in September just before we arrived in Uganda.  Her daughter, Daisy, who had been away at school was baptized in December.  Daisy is now living with her father in Kampala going to school.  Judith brought a friend, Jerry with her.  She told me as they were leaving that they are planning to be married.  She said, "My prayers are answered!  I have found a man that loves God and loves my girls!  Please pray for us!"    I hope she is able to realize her dreams!  Judith is a wonderful mother!  Her children are very respectful and very smart!

We enjoyed a spaghetti dinner with them.  Seriously,  I cannot believe how much everyone ate!  The guys loaded up there plate completely full.....twice!  I'm glad I made plenty!

This is Gerald Mutebi!  We invited him as well.  he is a strong member of the Branch and everyone loves him.  He is preparing for a mission.  Hopefully he will be ready in about a year!

After dinner we gathered around the computer and watched Mormon Messages while we ate ice cream.  It was a great night!  

These are some of the good moments of being a missionary!

1 comment:

  1. My Goodness!! In this write-up, it looks like you are staying SO BUSY and doing such GREAT work among these people. I love how they are almost all smiling very happily when their pictures get taken. And YOU look SO PRETTY, Janell! Love, Karen
    (I haven't read the "downs" yet--but all of this sounds really successful!!)