Saturday, April 15, 2017

What a Week!!

This week has been very full.  It is our last week in Mbale and we have had EVERY night filled with dinner appointments.  Some at members’ homes but mostly at OUR home.  I have cooked this past week more than I have in a long time.  We have served anywhere between nine to twelve people most nights since we have gotten back.  Tonight I made dinner for our YSA group and they brought friends!!  We served over THIRTY!  I’m exhausted! ..... but I say go big or go home….or more appropriately go big BECAUSE we are going home!

Tuesday after we visited with Betty and Teddy we drove out to spend some time with Dan and the children at the orphanage in Budaka District.  The kids were really cute and did some singing and dancing for us.  We spent a bit of time (actually a lot of time) just letting the time pass because a meal was being prepared for us.  We spent time showing Mormon Messages to the kids and teaching them Primary songs.  After a while we had a simple meal of rice and eggplant. 

After the orphanage we drove to see Sam’s father (Sam is a YM in our branch) who has been sick for about five weeks.  He can barely eat anything.  He has been to the doctor and they have diagnosed him but will not give him the diagnosis until he pays them money.  He is guessing it is ulcers and is trying to treat it with different kinds of medicine.  He is just taking them not knowing what is actually wrong with him.  Elder Phelps and Francis gave him a blessing.  He looked pitiful.  I hope he gets feeling better soon.

That night we got home to prepare dinner for Richard and Sharifah and their two children plus Olivia (an investigator) with her two children.  I made crock pot chicken and rice, pineapple, cauliflower, and ice cream with cookies for dessert.  We had a nice visit with them and were able to show them the Mormon Message #Halleluiah.  We have been showing that video to most everyone we visit and then bearing testimony about the importance of Easter and the gift of the atonement and the resurrection.  I’m glad we have the opportunity to bear testimony of this gift to all.

Every picture that we have has Sharifah breastfeeding Ketra.  So this is what goes on the blog:)

Wednesday was our last day in Busia.  It was a little anticlimactic because we spent so much time doing nothing.  We left by nine that morning because we knew we had to be back to Jonathon and Rachel’s for dinner that evening.   We picked up Sharifah and the kids because she was going back to the village to stay for the month with Richard’s family.  Their kids are so sweet.  They are so quiet and good.  They did not make a peep the whole time we drove to Busia (an hour and a half).  They both fell asleep after a while but woke up when we stopped to feed the baboons some old bananas.  Tony laughed as he watched the baboons eat.

We drove her to Richard’s parents home close to the border of Kenya.  I am amazed at where our little truck gets us.  Not only does it go and go on the terrible roads but it gets us out to little homes in little villages that barely even have a road.  Many times we have had to ask, "Will our truck fit through there??  Is this even a road??  Do vehicles actually drive down this path??"  Our little truck is the gift that keeps on giving:)   Before we came on our mission we thought that we might have an old beater truck to get us around but this Toyota Hilux has been a very nice vehicle to have and we have been so happy to have it!  It treated us well:)

Richard’s mother and grandmother were very generous and had us sit for a few minutes to visit.  It was a little difficult because none of them spoke English…..even Sharifah speaks very little.  Richard’s brother came in and we could communicate with him.  Richard’s grandmother was cute.  She just kept on jabbering in her native tongue like we knew exactly what she was saying!

We eventually got over to President Ojiambo.  We stopped over at Wafula David’s for a few minutes and ended up staying there for TWO HOURS!!  I kept thinking that we could be off doing some good visiting and I’m not sure why we were there.

Most of our waiting was for a young man from Busia who was going to be interviewed for his mission with President Collings.  He needed Rick's phone to have the interview so we waited for the time to pass until the phone call could be made.  After that happened we had time to visit one less active sister and give some encouragement and then we were on our way back to Mbale.  This was not how I pictures our last day of service in Busia would be.  But it is all good.  

We made the drive back to Mbale just in time to sit on our couch for ten minutes and then head over to Jonathon and Rachel’s.  I really did not want to leave the house again after being gone all day but it ended up being a nice night.  Rachel would not receive any help in the kitchen so Rick and I  talked with Jonathan for AN HOUR AND A HALF before dinner was served.  It was super hot in the house and I felt so bad for Rachel.  She would come out of the kitchen every once in a while covered in sweat.  Poor thing.  I know she must have been dying in that hot kitchen!  Aaron from the branch joined us as well and we had some nice conversation while we were waiting.  We got home around 9:30 just glad to be able to get in our jammies and go to bed! ( I did not get any pictures of this night:(

Thursday was another big day.  We picked Francis up around ten and went out to Pallisa District.  We first visited with Bess (a widow in our branch) and her children and some extended family.  We were able to show her the Easter Video and again talk of the resurrection.  What a wonderful truth we have that death is not the end.  When we talked of how she will see her husband James again she got a big smile on her face and started nodding her head.  I’m grateful that she has a testimony of this truth!  She is such a faithful member of our branch.  She lives very far from the church but comes faithfully every week.  She is such a great example to me.

We visited another gentleman who Francis has been teaching.  He is the headmaster of Francis’ Primary school.  We were able to show him the video and have a good talk with him as well.  Francis will continue to teach him and his children.  He will be coming to church tomorrow. 

We then drove out to Manafwa District to deliver a piece of tarp that belongs to Sarah Butali.  Manafwa is up in the mountains and is very beautiful.  While it has been quite dry in Pallisa District and the crops are starting to dry up,  Manafwa is completely green and the gardens are growing well there!

That evening we had invited Afonda Steven along with our Branch Presidency over for dinner.  Afonda Steven is a higher up in the police department and has been very friendly to us.  He has helped us out in a couple of situations and we have been very grateful.  He was an HOUR AND A HALF late!  Oh my!!……I can never get used to African time!  He brought a coworker with him and we had a wonderful dinner of roast beef and mashed potatoes.  We had a marvelous talk with him about the Gospel.  He has such a good heart and is very personable.  He has many of the same beliefs and understandings of a Latter Day Saint.  At one point Rick looked him straight in the eyes and said, “Steven, you need to be a member of the church!”  I think it might take some doing with him but maybe someday……..

                                         Afonda Steven and us.

The group....
Asera, Nathan, Nelson, Steven, Elder Phelps, Allan, and President Etiang (Isaac)

We ended the evening with the video (my laptop is getting a good workout this week) and the bearing of our testimonies.

Friday we spent the morning getting ready for the coming weekend.  We needed to buy some more groceries to get us throught the last part of the week.  We also got some pictures printed to give out to some of our friends before we leave.

After stopping to pick up Francis in Pallisa we drove over to Kabwangasi (which on the backroads was very close to Pallisa).  We went to meet with Doctor John.  He wanted to “celebrate” with us before we leave Mbale.  We were scheduled to be there around noon but were a little late.  It was ok because this was another one of those times that we sat and waited FOR TWO HOURS before the food was cooked and ready.  I’m a get in and get it done kind of girl and it is hard for me to sit around making small talk (and sometimes no talk at all) for long periods.  Apparently I have not learned to just go with the flow here in Uganda……but truly that’s the way life is here….very laid back.  Finally, we were invited into a small room where we enjoyed eating a lot of traditional foods.  I tried to eat very little (without seeming ungrateful) because I knew that I needed to get home to make yet another dinner for yet another couple. 

After Doctor John we stopped in to visit Michael and Daphne and their family.  Guess what….ANOTHER full meal!!  This was even a bigger spread than Doctor John’s!  I mean seriously….matoke, chicken, boiled eggs, rice, avocados, mangos…….I just decided, “what the heck?”  I’m not refusing fresh avocados and mangos!!!  I tried a piece of chicken……mistake......why can I not just learn already?  I could not even bite into that thing it was so tough!!  Then I have to try to hide it on my plate so that they won't see that I did not eat their precious gift of meat!  The avocados and mangos though……LOVE!

We hurried home because we were really late by this time.  We actually have been late EVERY SINGLE PLACE  that we have gone to this week.  I have no idea why……Why, oh why can we not get to places on time??  Oh wait….of course, I know why.  It’s because EVERYTHING takes so much longer to do here….from showering to doing dishes to driving, to shopping…..EVERYTHING takes us so much longer than at home in the States.  It’s just the way it is.  I hope we can get back into the groove when we get home and be 'on time' people again.  Rick is a VERY prompt person and it drives him CRAZY when we are late.  He has done very well at understanding and adjusting to the “African Way” here in Uganda, though.

We had dinner with Brian, Stella and Trinity Kanalo, and Pius, Benard and Francis this night.  Brian and Stella are a sweet couple that became members about nine months ago.  Brian is a doctor in the main clinic in town.  He has not been to church for a few months because of working on Sunday.  He is hopefully getting a schedule change soon and will be able to come back to church.  Brian and Stella are a great couple and we hope that they can get to the temple soon.  I served penne pasta with vegetables and rolls.  Thank goodness it was a simple meal and with Francis’ help we got it out from start to finish in just 35 minutes while Rick went to go pick up the Kanalos.  Francis loved wearing Elder Phelps’ apron!!  He had to get a picture!

Finally, this brings us to tonight.  It has been a SUPER full day.  It is way past my bedtime but I feel the need to get the weeks activities written down.

Today we began with a short mission correlation meeting, then some shopping for tonight’s party, then Elder’s Quorum training (Elder Phelps) piano lesson and Primary Training (Sister Phelps) and a visit (Elder Phelps with President Etiang).  After the training and visits were over then the real work began!  We then made it home to get food cooked for thirty plus people. 

We had quite the crowd!  We served roast beef, bbq meatballs, baked and fried Irish, corn, pineapple, cake and cookies.  When we got home from the training we had NO POWER.  Luckily the roasts in the crock had time to cook thoroughly.  And luckily our stove and oven is run on propane.  While we had no fans blowing to cool us in our hot kitchen (or chichen as Benard calls it:) we survived making dinner for everyone. 

We had more people than we were expecting and the last few people did not get any meat.  I can not believe how full their plates were.  I was a little peeved thinking that they should have not taken so much food until everyone had gotten through the line,  thus the running out of meat for the last couple of people.  While everyone went out to play a game I did the dishes.  I didn’t mind…..I could hear everyone out in the backyard laughing and having a good time and it made my heart happy!

This is the end of a very long post to a very long week.  Looking forward to Easter Sabbath tomorrow.  Just two more nights left and then we leave our Mbale home forever.  We’ve made some great memories here!!

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