Sunday, June 26, 2016

Music! Music! Music!

Many Kenyan people are very musical.  They sing with gusto!  They certainly put our North American congregations to shame.  Last week we sang the hymn "O My Father" which was familiar to them but the true timing of the hymn was not.  Elder Torrie and I kept a-going anyway (he on the piano/organ and me leading) and by the last verse, they were sort of with us!  I couldn't help but smile.

The neighbor children come over regularly to plunk away on our piano.  They are all learning "Chopsticks" and "Mary had a little lamb" and they know how to make the piano play recorded music.  Tomorrow their parents are going to come over and we'll show off their children's musical abilities.  Will be fun.

I've been asked to help out with the Primary music in our little branch.  It was so fun today.  Took me back to my days doing the music in the Grassy Lake Ward.  My brother-in-law, Wayne Torrie, was the pianist back then.  I learned to lead music and absolutely loved it.  One day, Wayne said, "You know, I can see you and LeRon doing the music in Primary in some far-off country someday."  And now . . . here we are doing the music in a far-off country.  Teaching the children "Once There Was a Snowman" and "Popcorn Popping" and of course the many songs about Jesus.  I intersperse the activity songs with the religious ones.  The children are learning fast and they really sing out.

LeRon and I are planning to start a "leading the singing" course and a piano course.  There are many people, young and old, who would like to learn.  Our goal is to help the people to help themselves so that when we are gone, they can carry on just fine.

LeRon also has the wild idea of having a Saturday branch activity and teaching the people some of our fun dances such as the chicken dance, the Virginia Reel, etc.  We may also get him to do "Father Abraham" if any of you remember that little ditty.  We are thinking of doing it for Pioneer Day in July.  Just a thought at this point and of course it needs the blessing of the branch president.

Following are some photos of life here in the last week.

We love these missionaries that we work with.  We don't see them as often now that our office has moved.  They came to see our new office this week so we had fun taking pictures.  Elder Hales is from the US and Elder Mwaja is from Tanzania.

Elder Mwaja wanted a picture of him and me with the Kenya/Tanzania map and the plaque with the Angel Moroni on it.

Elder Wafula, Elder Arudo, and Elder Hales having fun together.  Missionary work is serious business but it's also fun.  Nice to see the missionaries enjoying each others' company.

Elder Wafula laughed and laughed when he saw this picture of himself.  I finally caught a good candid!

After we finished at the office, Elder Torrie took me to a lovely place nearby with a beautiful garden and a delicious restaurant.

Doesn't this look like California?  But honestly, I don't know how these succulents grow here in the cold!  It reminds me of being in Ireland in December.  I couldn't understand how the flowers could blossom in such cold.  We in Canada are used to cold but when it's cold we wear winter coats and our houses inside are heated.  So this is a very different cold.

We ate outside on the balcony.  They brought us a charcoal-burning brazier to warm us and it really did the job.  Cute little frog!  And yummy chocolate milk, not too sweet.
We ate delicious salmon.  We had had it here with President and Sister Hicken and we loved it so we ordered it again.  Just as delicious the second time!  The brazier warmed us up so we took off our coats.

I succumbed to temptation yesterday and bought a Kenyan Nativity Set!  I wasn't going to buy any more nativity sets since I already have so many but this one really caught my eye.  It's carved out of a gourd.  The little figures are glued inside.  So cute!

And this is the back of the gourd.  Actually I think they painted the gourd red to begin with and then they cut out the scene with a knife.  I've seen other gourd nativity sets but they weren't painted and they were much bigger than this one so I didn't want them.  But this one is small and lovely with its red Christmas color.  What a lot of work to carve it.  Kenyans aren't afraid of hard manual labor and they're not afraid of doing time-consuming, intricate work.  They are true craftsmen.

This is the cover that goes over the Nativity scene for storage.  A Christmas star scratched into it.  Lovely!

President and Sister Hicken's last Sunday at the Langata Branch.  They gave wonderful talks.  I wish I could remember every word but I can't.  They spoke about things they had learned about people and the gospel from being here for three years.  Here they are with branch members, Fredrick and his wife.  Fredrick is a real stalwart in the branch.  He comes early and unlocks and cleans up and takes such very good care of the building.  He sets up the sound system (which is now kept locked away) and when he sees a need he takes care of it.  He is wonderful!  His wife is a lovely lady who speaks very little English so it's hard for her to communicate at church.  So wonderful that she comes even when she can't understand.  Hopefully she can feel some of the good spirit that is there in our meetings.  But I know how hard it is to sit through three hours of meetings without understanding the language.  LeRon and I have done it many times and it's hard to stay alert.


  1. Father Abraham had 7 sons... 7 sons had Father Abraham... :)

  2. So glad you remember, Heidi! Those were fun times!

  3. Mom, I read through the last three or four posts with Alice (Matthew read them on his own a few days ago, but I will show him this one tomorrow) and I wish I could remember all her cute comments. One of them was this (about the picture of you and Elder M holding the statue of Moroni): "Mom, who's that?" "A missionary." "No Mom, there's TWO missionaries--Grandma is a missionary too" :)

    Also, I LOVE that nativity! I love the carving on the back, I think if I was displaying it I would have to turn it around every day, so one day I could look at the nativity and the next day at the carving.

  4. Love to see the elders having fun and happy! You guys are all having way too much fun on the mission!

    And I love the nativity too! Wow! Gorgeous!

  5. I am glad you guys get to do the primary music together! How fun is that! And your activity idea sounds like so much fun. I am sad about the way community dancing is kind of dying in North America. You guys look so good! So happy.