Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mothering the Missionaries

We love being here for the young missionaries.  Many are only 18 and are away from home for the first time.  We're glad we are here to help them have a bit of home.  Sometimes challenges can be pretty heavy for them.  Nice to be able to mother them, or rather, grandmother them!  We love all the missionaries.

And on another note, be sure to check out the video at the end.  Some very strong Kenyans are pushing a very heavy handcart up a city hill amidst the cars and trucks.  And check out the previous post about the termites!

Here's Elder Merz and Elder Card.  Elder Merz very recently lost his mother.  Our hearts ache for him and his family.  The comfort the Holy Ghost gives is real, as Elder Merz can attest.  That plus the knowledge that families will be together forever because of temple covenants gives hope and comfort at such a time as this.

Elder Card and Elder Ellis.  Elder Card is a fellow Canadian and actually a fellow Albertan.  He descends from Charles Ora Card who started the town of Cardston, Alberta in the 1800's.  Charles Ora Card has sometimes been called "Canada's Brigham Young" since he led many Latter-day Saints to that area of Canada under the direction of the church president, John Taylor.

Elder Ellis with Elder Merz and Elder Card who are showing off their new scriptures.  They had a little incident in which their scriptures (as well as other things) were stolen.  Glad to get new scriptures.  The Distribution Center here in Nairobi carries lots of things needed by missionaries.

Elder Ellis, Elder Merz, Elder Card, and Elder Hales.  What are they dreaming of?  Someone to teach?  Someone to baptize into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  Or maybe they're dreaming of a home cooked meal!  For sure they're not dreaming of girls because missionaries are not allowed to date for the two years they are on missions.  They focus on the work of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And Elder Thomas is dreaming of the day he can walk again without a crutch.  Maybe if he would quit playing soccer on P-day (Preparation Day), he would stop wrecking his ankle.  Sister Msane sure hopes so.

We were with Elder Thomas on a busy street going up a hill when along came a heavily-loaded handcart.  It was pulled by one Kenyan and pushed by three.  Sweat was pouring down them.  Wish I had a picture of the front man.  His face was etched with pain.  These men are STRONG.  Notice the tire cover on the truck beside them:  Nivea for men.  I never knew Nivea was for men or for women.  Just thought it was a cream for people.  There's a very short video at the end of this post of the men pushing the handcart.

I tried to get a picture from the car of this cute little girl in the white dress.  How they can keep them so white is beyond me.  Posters on the wall are for the upcoming elections.  Posters are everywhere.

We took Elder Thomas for dinner at Tamambos.  It's such a lovely place.  A little dark to take a nice picture though.  It's getting much cooler in the evenings now.  We had to wear jackets and they brought us little charcoal-burning heaters to warm our legs.  In December, January, and February, you didn't need a jacket in the evenings but you do now.

Karibu Tena.  Very welcome.  Come back again Elder Thomas and Sister Torrie.  I brought my light Masai blanket to wrap around my legs so the mosquitoes wouldn't get me.  Kenyans here call them "mos-qweetoes."

Karibu Tena Elder & Sister Torrie.  Come back again and welcome.

Flying Termites!!!

We were enjoying a quiet evening at home when suddenly, a huge insect flew into the room.  Where had it come from?  The open windows had screens.  The doors were closed.  LeRon grabbed the flyswatter (thanks for bringing us one from Chicago, Heather) and swatted it.  Four wings fell off and the bug lay kicking on the floor.  I was on the phone to Michelle and she immediately googled for it.  We wondered if it was a flying ant.  But no, Michelle told us all the differences between flying ants and flying termites . . . and it was a flying termite!  Then another one flew into the room.  And another.  And another.  We were going crazy swatting and cleaning up kicking bugs.

We looked out our kitchen window and hundreds of them were swarming outside.  They were being attracted by the kitchen light.  Thank goodness turning off the light stopped the bugs, which were crawling in under the door.  I could hardly sleep that night.  I had visions of all the wood in our house being eaten by ferocious termites.  I have quite an imagination at night.

The next morning, the bugs were gone but thousands of wings were everywhere.  They were also outside our mission office and on the ground at The Hub.  We learned that flying termites often come out after a rain and we had had quite a heavy downpour.  And they don't cause a lot of damage because their wings fall off and they die.  So much for my sleepless night!

But . . . we learned that Kenyans love to EAT flying termites.  They are a delicacy!!  They eat them raw or fry them.  Apparently they are high in protein and taste kind of nutty.  Do you think I should try them the next time they're around?  I'll have to think about that one.

Termite wings everywhere outside the next morning.

One wing is 3 cm long.

Each termite has four wings.

Two of the wings are gone on this one.  We swatted it and they fell off.  When they're flying, they look absolutely huge.  I wonder if they pull off the legs before they eat them.  For sure they pull off the wings.  At least I hope so.

Great Black Leaders in the KNM

We have met some great black leaders in the Kenya Nairobi Mission.  They are humble and so eager to learn and be taught.  President Msane brings the five District Presidents and the five Mission Branch Presidents into Nairobi once a quarter.  He trains them in their duties and they discuss common challenges.  Elder Torrie and I also get to be with them.  They are good men trying to advance the Kingdom of God on earth.

Elder Pehrson, a senior missionary serving in Eldoret was here that day so he and his wife joined us at dinner at Spur at The Hub shopping mall.  Here also is President Kogo from the Eldoret District.

President Itongwa from Mwanza, Tanzania Branch and President Kibanda from the Arusha, Tanzania Branch.  They are puzzling over the menu.  I find all menus puzzling.  That's probably why I end up ordering the same thing if I go to the same restaurant more than once.  If it was good, that is.

President Ochieng from the Naivasha Branch and President Okila from the Kisumu Branch.

President Msane having a laugh with President Imende of the Busia Branch.  Sister Msane stayed home to babysit some of her missionaries.

President Okila of Kisumu and President Muia, the Chyulu District President.  Not all of the district presidents were able to stay for dinner that evening.  Missing are President Kaunange of Kilungu Hills, President Msafiri of Mombasa, and President Mwaipopo of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

Sister Pehrson won't like this picture!  My eyes are so bad that I didn't even notice that her eyes were closed.  Sorry, Sister Pehrson.

And here we are . . . Elder and Sister Torrie.  So glad to be serving a mission here in the KNM (Kenya Nairobi Mission).  Hard to believe that we only have 6 months left of our 18 months.  Time has flown by.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fun to Get New Missionaries

It's always fun to get new missionaries.  They come excited and scared, happy and nervous and all emotions in between.  So here are pictures of the new missionaries and their trainers.  And a fun video at the end if I can make it work.

New missionaries, Elder Mayekiso and Elder Somniso, being trained in mission protocol by Sister Msane.  She prepares mission booklets for them and trains them with that and then talks to them about medical issues.  LeRon (Elder Torrie) trains them in financial matters and I make copies of their passports and do other secretarial-type things.

Elder Noel will be a trainer.  His name is No'-el but everyone calls him No-el' (as in The First Noel).  Drives me crazy that people can't say his name right.  But I'm a stickler for names.  For years people called me "Caw-leen" whereas my name is "Co-lleen" with a long "o".  So I'm very particular about people's names.

Elder Harrott is our British missionary.  We think of him as our cousin since Canada was once part of the British Empire; Queen Elizabeth is still our queen.  There again people can't say his name right.  It is "ha-rot" not "hair-ot."

And here is Elder Estheimer, another trainer.  He was with the first group of missionaries that we processed when we were brand-new in the mission.  He came in on the last transfer just before President and Sister Hicken were released.  A group came in two days after our arrival but we had Elder & Sister Maxwell there to help us.  So Elder Estheimer's group was the first one we did by ourselves.  Pretty stressful.

We get to work closely now with Elder Ellis as he is now one of the Assistants to the President.  He and Elder Hales do much of the training at MLC and Zone Conferences.
Hmn. . . not sure what Elder Estheimer and Elder Harrott are up to.

Who is winning at dominoes?  Missionary work is not all work; there is sometimes play!  I think Elder Estheimer and Elder Harrott are going to knock those dominoes down.

Elder Ochieng (on left) just got in from the Ghana MTC so he's a bit tired.  He's serving in our mission while he waits for his visa to Zimbabwe.  He joins Elder Somniso and Elder Mayekiso as our newest missionaries.

Our musicians:  Elder Ellis, Elder Thomas, and Elder Rasmussen.

Sister Msane is glad for Elder Noel's help in the kitchen.  Many of the missionaries help, which is great.

And here's Elder Hales, the other Assistant to the President.  He helps a lot in the kitchen too.

Sister Msane likes to laugh and when you're around her, you can't help but laugh either.  She says it's easier to laugh than to frown and she is right.  We have a lot of fun with her.

New missionaries, Elder Mayekiso, Elder Somniso, and Elder Ochieng with President and Sister Msane.

New missionaries with their trainers:  Elder Mayekiso with trainer Elder Estheimer; Elder Somniso with trainer Elder Noel; Elder Ochieng with trainer Elder Harrott.

Sister Msane always likes a fun photo.  She livens things up.

Now Sister Msane is off to visit Elder Agesa in the hospital.  But before she leaves she gives the new missionaries their pillows and sheets that they are to carry with them whenever they are transferred.

With the Msanes gone, Elder Ellis and all the missionaries gathered around the piano to sing together.

LeRon can never resist a piano and the missionaries love to sing.  Elder Somniso, Elder Mayekiso, Elder Harrott, Elder Rasmussen, Elder Thomas.

And on the other side out of reach of my flash:  Elder Ellis, Elder Hales, Elder Estheimer, Elder Noel, Elder Ochieng, Elder Somniso, Elder Mayekiso, Elder Harrott, Elder Rasmussen.

After they sang all their favorite hymns, they wanted to sing Primary songs.  Elder Ellis, Elder Noel, Elder Hales, Elder Estheimer.

Elder Ochieng, Elder Somniso and Elder Mayekiso weren't as familiar with all the wonderful Primary songs as were the western missionaries but they were happy to learn.

Elder Harrott and Elder Rasmussen love to sing the Primary songs too.

Some of the Primary songs have actions and I managed to capture an action from "Book of Mormon Stories."  Elder Hales and Elder Estheimer were quite dramatic.  So nice to hear the deep males voices singing "Given this land, if they'd live . . . righteously!" The video follows (if it worked).  Sorry that I make you so dizzy at times.  I'm not accomplished at videoing.  If you're on Firefox and it doesn't work, try going on to Chrome.


Starving Cattle and Hungry Missionaries

The Long Rains are long in coming this year.  We should be well into them but it's only showered a couple of times.  Last night it poured rain and tonight it is thundering.  Hopefully the rains will come.  The Short Rains that were to come last fall were too short and too late to do much good.  Cattle are starving and we can no longer find butter in the stores and some missionaries report that there's no milk.  So far, at least here in the Karen area of Nairobi, there's milk in the store.

I mentioned to one Kenyan that when there was a drought in Alberta, the members often fasted and prayed for rain and the rains always came.  The person was so surprised.  I don't think he had ever thought of fasting and praying for rain.  And he had never related rain with food.  So here in Nairobi, as in cities in the west, people don't realize where their food comes from.

I had a sore throat and fever last week and I was in bed for a couple of days.  So I didn't take pictures at the April MLC (Mission Leader Council) at the Mission Home.  LeRon went and took a few pictures so I'll put them in for you moms and dads.  Hungry missionaries enjoyed eating Sister Msane's home cooking.

Click on this picture to zoom in.  Cattle are skin and bones.  They looked like they were going to fall over dead.  There's so many more herds of cattle grazing the sides of the road here in the city than there used to be.  There's always been herds of cattle but there are twice as many now.

Saw these beautiful flowers in the Galleria parking lot.  We've seen flowers like this in Thailand I think.  Lovely!

Sister Were (pronounced wear-ay) is finished her mission and ready to head home to Kisumu.  She's been a great missionary.  Still somewhat shy but that's okay.  Elder Lotulelei and Elder Agesa are here for the MLC.  Later that night, Elder Agesa had an epileptic seizure and scared all the other missionaries to death.  It was a tender mercy that he was at the mission home since Sister Msane knew what to do.  Though we knew Elder Agesa had epilepsy, he had never had a seizure until now.  He's right as rain now.

The night of the MLC, two missionaries arrived from South Africa, Elder Mayekiso and Elder Somniso.  Now there are 6 South Africans in our mission (counting President and Sister Msane) and there are more to come.

Elder Musonda, Elder Wambua, Elder Mwashi having fun after the MLC.

Elder Mahanzu and Elder Njoga who was here to be released from his mission (I think to Ghana).  He's heading home.  Nice tie.  Elder Mahanzu serves in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Elder Thomas has spent the last week at the mission home nursing a bad ankle.  No more soccer for you, Elder Thomas!!  And there's Elder Wafula.  He served as an Assistant to the President for 10 months so we got to know him well.  Loved his sense of humor and his commitment to the gospel.  A great missionary.  He is now serving "out in the bush."
Elder Rasmussen and Elder Le Cheminant keep things lively!  We love them both.  We love all the missionaries.