Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Uganda

Christmas in Uganda is certainly a different experience with green grass and trees, birds singing and lizards running around the place. We have avocados and papaya hanging on our trees for decorations. No white Christmas for us this year!!
On Christmas Eve day we hosted our eight elders for a big breakfast and then enjoyed a spiritual program of scripture reading, carol singing and topped it off with a viewing of "It's a Wonderful Life", the best Christmas movie of all time.

Elder Bailey, Elder Winters and Elder McChesney finding goodies in their stockings.

Elders Kaseve, Ngqoyiya, Lyman, Maumbe and Ogollah are making sure they have as many treasures as the others!! The chocolate santas didn't last long...
We hope the elders felt a little bit of home with us and that their parents are comforted to know that they are well cared for.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thanksgiving with Good Friends

Instead of a quiet day by ourselves with no incentive to cook creatively, we were blessed to have two of our favorite couples join us in Mbale for a few days over Thanksgiving. What a treat it was for us!!
The Thayns and Frosts are so nice to have around providing us with good conversation, accounts of exciting experiences like almost sliding off the mountain-side in their car and inspiring missionary encounters. These two couples may be the best missionaries in the whole mission!! They will even share the gospel with the police men that pull them over to the side of the road. Their technique is to keep the upper hand on the situation by saying, "Do you like to read? Can you read English?" and then they hand them a church pamphlet on the gospel. Distraction works well especially if the people have a love for their Savior...and most do.

Elder Frost spent the first few hours in Mbale training the Branch clerks on the use of MLS and he impressed them so much they wanted him to come back the next day (Thanksgiving), not that they had any more questions, but they just liked being around him!! The day after Thanksgiving Elder and Sister Thayn taught five of our members a 'Planning for Success' lesson and then taught the leaders their role in the PEF program. So the vacation was really a working one (not just a lot of fun and goofing off...just in case there are any out there that think missions are snap).

Here are the missionaries hard
at work, studying, working on
the computers and generally much engaged in doing good works!! Me, I was goofing off taking the pictures.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Another Wedding

On November 18th, 19th and 20th we were in Jinja for Zone Conference and the Jinja District Conference. Elder Renlund of the Seventy and our Africa Southeast Area President was the visiting authority with his dynamic wife. They both spoke to the missionaries on Friday and then to the members of the church from Jinja, Mbale and Busia. There were more than 500 people in attendance at the Sunday meeting. Elder Renlund was impressed with the faithfulness and quality of the people he met over this weekend and is inclined towards organizing another Stake in Uganda because of his impressions. How exciting that is!!

After the Sunday conference session we had another wedding of an Mbale couple. Mbale is still not registered with the government for us to conduct our weddings there so we have to do it where they are approved!!
Isaac and Josophine are now married and she is progressing towards baptism.

Elder R supervised the signing of the certificates while Pres. Mubbala looked on. The President did such a great job in giving counsel to the couple before he performed the ordinance. He has such a cute way of sayings things.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Couple's Retreat

Last week we were on the road again, only this time we were off to join with all the other couples in the Uganda Kampala Mission. President Jackson asked us, along with three other couples who serve in the outlying areas over branches, to come a day before the others so we could report on our stewardships. We all found that we were facing very similar problems so we felt a real kinship with each other.
It was a treat to stay in such a beautiful, well constructed hotel on the Nile River. Here are some pictures of the Chobe Lodge, the view, our room and dining area in the open air.

Our room with its very firm bed...but we slept well.

The view from our balcony overlooking the many tiered swimming pools and the Victoria Nile.

The happy group of missionaries; next to me are the Jackson's, (our fearless leaders), then the Grundys, Crayks and Woods.

In this picture I'm checking out the giraffe that doubled as a place to post letters while the couples were paying their bills and preparing to leave for the next adventure at Murchison Falls, Paraa Lodge.

We left the lovely Chobe Lodge to eat the President' dust down the long dirt road. He is a speedy man with places to go! We didn't see many animals due to the high grasses and bushes but they were probably seeing us.

It was great fun joining the other couples at the Paraa Lodge, eating lunch with them and then going on our first game drive which turned out to be more of a four-wheeling experience because of the bad roads we encountered.

Sisters Crayk and Grundy knew how to get the most out of the experience. Don't know if their husbands were hanging onto their ankles or not??
Some highlights to share from our boat ride up the Victoria Nile,
crocodiles and a lone bull elephant in the rushes.

On the afternoon after the boat ride we co-rented a game drive vehicle with our very own guide, Ammon. We saw many more animals by standing up with our heads out the top. We probably got more bruises on our ribs and arms but it was really fun!!

And our favorite sight was the giraffe nursery as we were leaving the park on our last day! Nothing cuter than a long necked baby.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mission Transfers

We recently had to say goodbye to four of our special missionaries, something we have to do each six weeks, but it is not easy. These great missionaries have a way of getting into our hearts and so we are happy for them and their new challenges and for the people they will be serving next...but for us, we will miss them!!
Elder Tyler, on the right, has served in Busia since it opened to the missionaries in June. He has been a fantastic organizer, support to the members and someone we relied on greatly. Elder Ndlela, second from the left, has the funniest laugh and he always loved it if we brought them a chicken to cook in their crock pot. They can't buy meat in Busia unless it is still on the run with feathers, etc., you get the picture. Elders Ngqoyiya and Kaseve will continue to work hard with their two new companions.
All of our missionaries become like sons to us.

Elders Ndlela and Kaseve teaching a Book of Mormon class to very attentive members.

The elders in Mbale have been very diligent in their missionary work. They desire to be obedient and bring down the blessings of heaven upon their efforts and it has paid off in many baptisms of converts. Elder Brough and Elder Musonga, the two on the right, have both been reassigned to other areas. Love these guys!!