Sunday, October 22, 2017

Stake Conference with General Authorities

First, an apology to the missionary moms and dads.  Whenever I'm with the missionaries, I take pictures.  That's just what I do.  But for some reason, this time, I greeted them and shook their hands and didn't take pictures.  I must be slipping.  Must be time for me to go home.  But I will miss all these great missionaries.  Again, apologies to the parents.  I only got a few missionary pictures taken.

This weekend was amazing.  Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, Elder Gong of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Hamilton of the Seventy (and our area president), Bishop Waddell of the Presiding Bishopric, Elder Miranda an Area Authority Seventy, and two other Seventies came to Nairobi.  They were doing an area review and we were privileged to have them come to our area to teach and train the priesthood leaders and their wives and also the Young Single Adults.

Today we attended a special stake conference of the Nairobi West Stake with Elder Gong presiding and Elder Hamilton, and Bishop Waddell and their wives speaking.  Elder Bednar presided at the Nairobi East Stake.  The members were thrilled to be in the presence of so many General Authorities.

Our Stake President, President Munene, gave a masterful talk about the need to be Christ-like and to put aside the natural man.  He encouraged us to do the basics:  personal and family prayers, Family Home Evening, and meaningful personal and family scripture study.  He said that if we want to go to the temple to be sealed to our families, we must learn to live happily at home.

Elder Hamilton talked about how Africans express faith regularly in their lives and how easily they accept gospel principles.  He mentioned seeing a sign "God's Gift Grocers -- and shoes."   He said that the gospel is the answer to all of life's problems.  The gospel doesn't give "hand-outs" but "hand-ups."  We are all "a work in progress."  He told the members to have faith to find alternatives to boarding schools.  (Boarding schools are a big issue here in Kenya.  Just as the children are reaching their teen years and when they need parental guidance the most, they are sent to boarding schools as education there is better than in the government schools.  We are losing a lot of the youth at boarding schools).

I wish I would have gotten a picture of Elder Hamilton and his wife.  We met them over a year ago at the Mission Home when they came to do the Mission Tour.  They are lovely people and I enjoyed meeting them again and hearing them speak.  They are good people.  Elder Hamilton remembered us and shook my hand and said he loved us and thanked us for serving a mission.  It was sweet.

Elder Gong was great too. He encouraged us to see ourselves and others as the Lord sees us.  Then for the children in the congregation who were getting restless as the two hours was drawing to a close, he talked about seeing a herd of Topis and how when danger lurked, the father topis made a circle around the babies and the mothers also protected the children.  The baby topis were protected from two cheetahs that day.  He encouraged children to listen to their parents and those who will protect them.  He said that no matter what our situation, the Lord can make it right.  See Alma 7:11, which is one of my favorite verses of scripture.

It was a great conference and I'm glad LeRon and I had extended our mission by three weeks so we could be here.  That's not why we extended, but we're glad we did.

Cousins Angel and Lexie are ready for stake conference to start.

This is Lexie's grandmother (Lexie from the first picture) and Lexie's sister Amelia.

We see Fredrick (on left) a lot but not usually in a suit.  He's one of the drivers who often drives for the mission and runs other errands.  Lexie is in front with Elder Torrie.

We got to the church about 9:15 for the 10 a.m. meeting.  LeRon noticed a man sitting by himself so went to say hello.  He was Ali from Turkey and he had popped in to the church on the recommendation of a friend.  So this was his first time at church and he enjoyed it even though it was very hot and he was sleepy since he had worked most of the night.  We have been to Turkey several times so had something in common with him.

We introduced Ali to the missionaries and they have set up an appointment to teach him.  Elder Harrott and his companion, Elder Kiio, will do a great job at loving him and teaching him.  It was exciting to be a part of it.

I didn't get a picture of all the missionaries who were here for stake conference, sadly.  But here are Sister Kiio, Sister Bamutesiza, Elder Somniso, and Elder Jameson.

Here I am with Elder Gong (on left) and President Munene, our stake president.  Elder Gong was the stake president for Michael, Craig, Heather, and Michelle when they were at BYU.  He said to say hello to all of them although I'm sure he didn't remember them!  It was quite a few years ago.

This little girl wanted her picture taken so I was happy to oblige.

Elder Knight took this picture of Elder Torrie and me with Elder Miranda, an Area Authority Seventy.  We met him at the Kilaguni Lodge at Tsavo West Park when we were there for training at Chyulu.  He's a great person and we really enjoyed him.  But I could kick myself.  Why didn't I take a picture of Elder Knight????  He's a brand new missionary and I surely should have taken a picture.  I must be slipping!

We love Scriven (on right).  He is the stake organist.  He was taught piano by a senior missionary couple and he's doing great.  He also went to university in Edmonton, Alberta for 5 years and he talks just like an Albertan.  

Scriven and his girlfriend from Uganda.

Sister Kiio, Sister Ziribaggwa, Sister Dhaima, Sister Bamutesiza.  Sweet and lovely sisters!  Sister Kiio and Sister Bamutesiza sang with the Rongai Ward Choir for the conference.  They sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic."  They sang a capella and their harmony was lovely.

This Sunday afternoon I went up on our roof to take a picture of the beautiful bark on the eucalyptus tree by our house.  The bark is constantly peeling and it leaves a very smooth bark.  So lovely.

Love the eucalyptus trees and the smell is heavenly -- reminds me of Vicks VapoRub!

I snapped a few views from the top of our house.

Another view toward the guard house and the gate.

There's a huge acacia tree in the Salvation Army yard next to our place.  I zoomed in on the thorns.  You wouldn't want to run into them in the dark.

This late afternoon we dropped in to visit Chitra and Prem in their new home and then we stopped in to see our Indian daughter, Pooja, and our grandson Vivan.


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