Sunday, April 2, 2017

Busia Weekend

This weekend we did some more traveling.  Saturday morning we left Kampala to travel to Busia to attend a fireside given by President and Sister Collings.  We were to meet at the mission home at 10 am to let the Wittwers travel with President and Sister Collings while Rick and I traveled separately.  The Wittwers have not spent much time with them so the President Collings thought this would be a good time for them to get to know each other better.  We were a few minutes late getting there and then as we were getting ready to leave the mission home The Collings’ keys got locked into their home.  They had an extra set at the office so we drove over and got them and went back to the mission home to let them back in.  We got left about an hour late.  The fireside wasn’t set to start until 5:00 so we thought we would have enough time for our 'supposed' 4 hour drive.  Or so we thought!

As we got started the traffic was really bad getting out of Kampala.  We just seemed to be getting later and later.  Well, long story short after stopping for a brief bite in Jinja the Collingses left a few minutes before us and the Wittwers traveled with us the rest of the way.  We did not even get to Busia until 5:30 pm!  We completely missed Sister Collings’ talk and got there after President had started.  It was crazy!  We felt bad walking in late but President gave a nice talk on not being complacent or casual as members of the church.  We always must continue to grow and stretch and improve ourselves.  He also spoke of how it is always important to serve others, to turn outward instead of inward.  He turned to Alma 7:11-12 and spoke how the Savior will “succor” us.  How the word “succor” means to run to.  He will run to us when we are struggling and we ask for His help. 

Elder Phelps picked up this little boy at the fireside who had fallen asleep and was about to fall off of his chair.  It's a good thing he didn't wake up or he would have been scared of this Mzungu holding him.

It was a nice fireside.  We enjoyed taking pictures of the group after the activity and I enjoyed talking to all of my Busia friends.  When I looked up Elder Phelps was motioning for us to leave.  It was getting dark and The Collingses and The Wittwers had already left.  They were driving to Mbale to overnight, and also to conduct some interviews, and then they were coming back to be with the Busia Branch in the morning for their block.  Good lodging is hard to find so they had to travel the two hours to and from Mbale for the nightL

Rick and I on the other hand crossed the border into Kenya.  Busia, Uganda is a border town and just on the other side of the border is Busia, Kenya.  A couple of weeks ago President Collings asked if we could attend the Branch there in Kenya and find out how it is functioning.  It is officially under the direction of the Nairobi Kenya Mission but Nairobi is very far from Busia.  It is actually closer to our mission…..just across the border!

So we had the opportunity to drive into Kenya!  Elder Phelps and I were excited to actually go into another country while serving our mission.  This makes the fourth country in Africa that we have been in; Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and now Kenya.  It took about an hour to get through immigration and by that time it was dark.  I was a little nervous driving around in the dark and we couldn’t find our hotel.  With a little bit of help we finally did.  We stayed at the Breeze Hotel.  At first glance it was not a very great place but after waking in the morning and getting a different perspective in the daytime it grew on us J.  Besides the hard bed, the cold shower,  no bath mats, the one small bar of soap to share with the shower and sink, the door outside our room that sounded EXACTLY like a trumpet blaring when opened, and the revival going on outside the hotel we actually did ok J  I was just thankful there were no bedbugs and that I could wash my hair even if it was cold water!!  My perspective has changed since living in Uganda.  Not that I don’t appreciate every opportunity to stay in the Marriott, but I have learned that it’s ok to not have “the very best” EVERY time!  I have to admit getting in last night after a day of travel I would have LOVED to stay in a luxurious place but…… I survived and I am not any worse for the wear J  I keep saying “I”.  The only complaint that Elder Phelps voiced was this morning when he rolled out of bed with sore hips from the hard bed.  He is my hero.  I love him so much!  I love his adventurous happy go lucky self!  I (for the most part:) am just happy to be with the love of my life whether it’s in an African Village, a beautiful beach in the South Pacific or an overnighter in Busia, Kenya J  (Just for the record, I didn’t offer one word of complaint either…..but I can write my feelings on my blog telling of how thing really were.)

                                           The Breeze Hotel.  

We were able to attend the Busia Branch this morning.  I was not sure of what to expect because the rumors were that this branch was struggling.  Not. At. All.  The Branch might be small (57 including us), but the people are powerful.  Elder Phelps and I were invited to share our testimony at the beginning of fast and testimony meeting which was an honor for us.  After that, many members bore simple and pure testimony.  The Spirit was strong because the people are strong…… and converted!  

One thing that I noticed about this branch is how they sang the hymns with much fervor.  It was the strongest of any of the other branches I have been in.  They really sang the hymns with joy and it touched my heart!  That is one indication of how they feel about the Gospel.

                        It's a privilege to be asked to accompany the congregation.

The other meetings were no less powerful.  The Elders taught the Gospel Principles class about how to gain a testimony and how the Holy Ghost teaches us.  It was great!

                                                         The Busia Elders.

Relief Society was another one of those experiences where the RS President sits next to me just before the opening hymn and asks me to teach the lesson.  Ugh.  I do not do well with these types of things but she fervently asked and whereas we are seen as “visiting leaders” I agreed and muddled through it.  There were six sisters in the class.  The three sitting close to the front were very attentive and interactive.  The three in the back….not so much.  Two were investigators and the other could not speak English .  They all kind of dozed throughout even though I tried to engage them J.

I ended up talking about the blessings of RS.  We shared our thoughts about how and why RS is such a blessing in our lives.  I also talked about the importance of preparing ourselves for the persecutions that will come.  Quoting Sister Oscarson who was quoting Elder Nelson.  “Attacks in the Church, it’s doctrine, and our way of life are going to increase.  Because of this, we need women who have a bedrock of understanding of the doctrine of Christ and who will use that understanding to teach and help raise a sin-resistant generation.  We need women who can detect deception in all it’s forms.”

                                                      Relief Society Sisters.

 We must be women of substance who are firmly rooted in the foundation of the gospel to pass through the challenges that will come before the second coming.  We talked of ways to prepare ourselves to be strong women of the Church.

After our meetings we were able to take a few pictures and mingle with the Saints.  We are now driving home hoping to maybe catch some of the Sunday Morning session of Conference which we will be watching in its fullness next Saturday and Sunday in Mbale.  Can’t wait!

                                President Imende and his daughter, Sister Mteshi.  
                  She returned from the Uganda Kampala Mission three weeks ago.

Little Jackie didn't want to be left out so we got a picture with her too:)

 Happy Sabbath everyone!

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