Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Nairobi Temple Groundbreaking

 We are still in Sweden, serving a mission here in the office, like we did in Kenya.  On 2021 September 11, we got to watch the groundbreaking for the Nairobi Temple via the internet.  Thank you pandemic!  Below is a short YouTube video with highlights from the groundbreaking.  Construction started 2021 September 13.  I wonder how long it will take to build.  You can see more information about the groundbreaking on my Sweden blog <sweden.torriefamily.org>.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Fun Fantasy for Fantasy Fans!

Just wanted to point you to a brand-new author -- our cousin's daughter, who is like a niece to us -- Shannon Monson (aka S.C. Monson).  If you like clean fantasy, this young adult novel (ages 10-18) may be just the thing!  I have pre-ordered Badgerblood: Awakening on Kindle and will be getting it on April 23.  I'm excited to read this novel in my limited spare time here on our mission for our church in Sweden!  It's also available in paperback.

You can check out Shannon's website at scmonson.com. She and her husband have made a fun website. I love the picture of Shannon with her cute little dimple that you can see if you click on "About Us."

You can also read about her new book here:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B093149HV8?ref_=dbs_dp_rwt_sb_tkin&binding=kindle_edition

When you get to that page, you can click on Read More. The book is also available at amazon.ca.

Here's a bit from the author: Badgerblood: Awakening is the first book in a new YA fantasy series. It is a tale of adventure, peril, and perseverance with plenty of humor and intrigue and a sprinkle of magic and romance. The world is full of strange creatures and unique vegetation, and brimming with a wide assortment of characters ranging from tyrannical to quietly heroic.

And here's some praise from early readers:

“Badgerblood is full of intrigue, magic, and adventure. I found it difficult to put down and could hardly wait to see what new pursuits befell Kor. If you enjoyed reading books like John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice or Brandon Mull's Fablehaven you'll enjoy Badgerblood. S.C. Monson's writing style captivates the reader from the beginning, leaving the reader wanting more. I look forward to reading future Badgerblood books.”
—Coreen H.

“Badgerblood was a fun read from start to finish. S.C. Monson has done a great job crafting an original fantasy novel with rich descriptions and a gripping plot. With Badgerblood’s plot woven around an original fairytale, S.C. Monson's writing style reminds me of Megan Whalen Turner. Shannon's writing flows well and is full of witty dialogue.”
—Michelle R.

“There are many fantastic ideas in this book, from innovative details in world design to interesting plot twists. Written for young adults but entertaining for all, Badgerblood…created an effortless movie in my head. Filled with intrigue, it kept me engaged all the way to the end—and beyond! I can't wait for the next book!”
—Michelle E.

Happy reading!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

These are a few of my favorite things . . . la la la

Whoops . . . this post should have been on my Sweden blog because now we are serving a mission in Sweden.  You can access that blog at sweden.torriefamily.org (no www at the first).  But I'll just leave this post here for now.  Not Kenya though!

President Nelson, our church president, just posted a video with a short message of hope and healing for our troubled world.  I highly recommend it.  It's for all people, not just those of our faith.  It can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlcILxGmVrI

President Nelson asked us to thank God for our blessings and to share with others the things we are grateful for.  I'm thankful for the beauties of nature.  My dad often quoted the poem that starts with "I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree" and ends with "Poems are made by fools like meBut only God can make a tree."  I love trees too but I like them even better a little further away from me than they are here.  The reason for that is that I absolutely love the sky.  For the most beautiful skies, you need to see the ones in southern Alberta!  We don't see much sky here in Sweden, at least not in Stockholm.  Trees are everywhere here.  But at night, when we walk around the neighborhood, if we look way up, we can see the stars, even here in the city.  Yes, I'm thankful for nature, and for eyes to see the beauties that are all around me.

I'm also thankful for light.  There is so much darkness here at this time of year but there's also lots of light.  Street lights shine light everywhere.  Curtains are open, spreading indoor light to the afternoon darkness.  Christmas lights are already popping up in yards, at intersections and in malls.  I'm thankful for light.  And for eyes to see that light.

When you look at some of the pictures below, you'll think that all we do on this mission is sing.  Yes, we sing a lot!  The mission president asked one of our sister missionaries to compose a mission song.  Syster Nissen composed it in only three hours -- both the words and music, and it is beautiful!  She felt pure inspiration flowing down.  And the song is truly inspiring and the melody memorable.  Another missionary, Elder Safsten, scored the music, and Elder Torrie lent his creativity to the accompaniment.  It's called Gud finns här i Sverige, (loosely translated, God is here in Sweden).  And that is so true.  Even though Sweden is a secular country, we definitely feel the hand of God here.  He loves His children in Sweden as much as He loves His children anywhere.  So I am thankful for God's love, and for music, and for ears to hear that music.

Lighted Christmas trees spread warmth to the evening darkness.

The first snow came last Thursday.  Too bad you can't see the flakes falling down in this picture.  But you can see the joy that these two missionaries had as they frolicked in the snow, or rather, in the snowflakes.

It only snowed for about half an hour but Elder Stinson (from New Zealand) and Elder Nordgren (from Texas) are loving the snow!

The Täby Mall is alight with Christmas lights!
Not too many people are here on a weekday.  My daughter says she's glad to see people staying home.  But we went to the mall on Saturday and the parking lots were absolutely full.  We didn't stay, of course, but the mall must have been jam-packed with people getting their fill of shopping before further restrictions, which start this coming week.  Not sure how it applies to shopping malls, but only 8 people can congregate for the next four weeks.  So much for Christmas celebrations!

This must look amazing in the late afternoon and evening.  The mall closes at 6 p.m. on weekdays, except for Friday night when it stays open until 8 p.m.  Not the long shopping hours like in the west.

These six elders live above us and we associate with them everyday so it's like we're one big happy family!  We meet weekly for a mission counsel meeting.  L-R: Elders Nordgren, Stinson, Walker, McGill, Hoyt, and Olson.  The Sister Training Leaders meet with us often too: Sister Locher and Sister Perdue.

Elder Hoyt (in the middle with the grey sweater) is being transferred out of the office.  He's been an Assistant to the President for 7 months and to three presidents: President Youngberg, interim President Mattsson, and current President Davis.  He will for sure be missed.

We're all singing the new mission song.  It's powerful.

Sister and President Davis have joined in the singing too.  Music brings the spirit of the Lord into our meetings and into all that we do on this mission.

Elder McGill and Elder Hoyt in their office on Elder Hoyt's last day.  We love these Elders.  Glad that we still have Elder McGill in the office.  He will be joined by Elder Rantaniemi from Finland.

New missionary from England, Elder Wilkey (2nd from left) and new Assistant to the President, Elder Rantaniemi (2nd from right).  Singing again!!  I'm grateful for music in my life.  I'm not as musical as the rest of my family but I do enjoy it and appreciate it.

Two new missionaries came in this week:  Elder Wilkey (with the halo over his head) and Syster Saarinen (in the greenish sweater) from Finland.  Happy to have them join our mission!  There's Elder Torrie on the far right, taking a break from the piano to join the picture.

It has been great to work with you, Elder Hoyt.  You will be missed in the mission office.  Elder Hoyt will be serving in another area of Stockholm so he's still nearby.

We greeted new missionaries this week and now we are sending missionaries home.  Syster missionaries serve for 18 months.  Syster Horne is going home.  One last time to sing together.

And Syster Hunsaker, Syster Adams, and Syster Andersen are also going home after having served for the past 18 months.  They come knowing a little Swedish, and they go home being fluent in Swedish and with strong testimonies of the gospel.  Syster Andersen translated for us in sacrament meetings when we were here in January and February.

This is where I work all day long.  My desk goes up and down so I can stand up when I get tired of sitting.  I'm very pleased with the way things are set up.  I have file cabinets under that long table so my files are easy to reach.  But most things are kept on computer files.  The work is very interesting and I feel needed and useful.  I'm thankful that I can be of use in my old age!
Here's LeRon's side of the office.  We enjoy working together.

The red dots on the map of Sweden show the location of all our wards and branches.  The furthest north branch is in Luleå (pronounced Loo-lee-oh).
I took this picture this morning.  We haven't had too many sunshiny days lately but today it was bright and cheery.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Last Post: Farewell Part III -- Saying Goodbye to Friends and Neighbors

I put the last of the missionary pictures on my previous post for all you missionary moms and dads.  It has been a privilege, an honor, a blessing and a joy to have served in the Kenya Nairobi Mission.  I have loved getting to know the people of Kenya and of Tanzania, the great missionaries, our wonderful president and his wife, our friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, (including the people on the street, in stores and restaurants, and those constantly on guard).  I love and care about the families of our missionaries that I got to know through email contact.  You will always be in our hearts and memories.  Kenya is a beautiful country with beautiful people and I will be forever grateful to the Lord for sending us there.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  Heavenly Father is literally our father in heaven and He loves us and wants us to be eternally happy.  His Son, Jesus Christ, made it possible, through the gift of his Atonement, for us to return to live with Them and with our families in the eternities.  The scriptures are true and I feel closer to Heavenly Father and to Jesus Christ as I read them.  I appreciate the fact that Jesus is the Jehovah of the Old Testament, and that He is the Messiah of the New Testament, and the Savior of the world in the Book of Mormon.  These books have become "one in thine hand" as they testify of Jesus and His love for us.  (See Ezekiel 37:17).

For more information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, go to <www.mormon.org>.  For news of the church in Kenya see <www.mormonnewsroom.co.ke>.

Below are photos we took during our last two days, trying to get photos of more friends and neighbors.  This is just a handful.  There are many other pictures of those we love scattered throughout our previous posts.

There's a market at Galleria Mall, close to where we live, full of many, many shops selling native handicrafts.  Since I don't like to be hassled about buying, I prefer the shops where they don't do that.  Not too many don't hassle people but this sweet lady, Alice, never bugged me about buying.  She just stood by, waiting to tell me that that particular necklace was made of recycled paper, or of coconut tree bark, or of hand-made beads.  She gave me information without being overbearing and I loved it.  That's why I shopped there.  I told her that if everyone was like her, I would love to shop there.  I shared the gospel with her and even though she has her own religion, she was happy to discuss hers and my beliefs about Jesus Christ.  I told her what I told most people -- that it's always good to learn more about Jesus Christ and she totally agreed.  Such a joy to talk with Kenyans about Jesus Christ!!!

I love our neighbor girl, Faye.  I've always told Faye that she has a really good mother because she has such good manners so her mother has taught her well.  Faye is a kind, very thoughtful, and talented girl.  She sings and dances and acts in plays.  I love her lots and hope to see her again someday.  I love her mother also, my Kenyan/Ugandan daughter.

Crazy to say but we loved the guards who guarded our compound.  I'm sure they can be tough when they need to be (they are policemen -- and not corrupt policemen -- who carry guns) but they were a joy to visit with.  We loved Charles (and also another Charles, Jonathan, David, and Nicodemus).  We shared the gospel with them also and they were thrilled to get more information about Jesus Christ.

Our neighbor, Vera, and her two cute sons are from China.  Nice to get to know them a bit.  Vera's husband was at work this day so is not in the picture.  Interesting that they have two children (because as you remember, China has had a one-child policy, which is changing a bit).

Vera gave us medallions from the Beijing Olympics.  How did she know that I collect coins?  And how did she know that we've been to Beijing and we've walked on the grounds of the Olympics.  So the medallions were a treasure to us.

Of course I love my Indian daughter, Pooja!!  Pooja and her husband, Shrikant, were the first adults we met when we moved into the compound.  They lived in the flat right next to us and then they moved to a different building and then we moved to that building too and were close neighbors again. 

Pooja, Hash, Shrikant with Vivan.  This picture shows you that even though the picture looks good on the camera, you really need to use a flash inside. 

And this picture shows what happens when your camera is on the wrong setting.  Sad.  This is Robert, a guard on the street (yes, even streets have barricades) with whom we regularly talked.  We shared the gospel with him and he was happy to get a Book of Mormon to read.  He has his own religion, and that's great.  He's a very good family man.

Robert posed again but this time without his hat.  I've never seen him without a hat before!

LeRon worked very closely with Peter, our housing employee who is also a chicken farmer.

Peter and his wife Pauline are building more chicken barns to raise more chickens to sell more eggs.  Good for them!

We were astounded at the size of these trees.  Peter and Pauline planted them as sticks five years ago and look at them now.  Trees would never grow that  quickly here in Alberta, Canada.
Peter and Pauline's cute little girls, Lexie and Amelia, love to be out at the farm, digging in the dirt, and having a good time.

So nice to be with Peter and Pauline and their girls.

Josephat was another of our street guards that we enjoyed visiting with.

We slipped back to our compound to try and find more guards to take their pictures.  Here's Charles and Charles.  They are both great men and we will miss our daily contact.

Eric kindly drove us to the airport as we left for home.  He's a good man and we will miss him.

Farewell Part II -- Hard to Say Goodbye to the Missionaries

Our last week was extremely busy with missionaries coming and going and the monthly MLC (Missionary Leader Council).  We moved out of our lovely flat and into the mission home so that our replacements, Elder & Sister Sutherland, could get settled in the flat that is now theirs.  Plus we spent the week training the Sutherlands.  Busy, busy time.  And a last farewell to the amazing missionaries we've worked with for so long.  Lots of pictures on this post.  Be sure to click to enlarge.  Enjoy!

Elder Coombs (from Alberta -- yeah!) and Elder Jack popped in to the office for a little visit.  Nice to see them!

Then our new senior missionaries, Elder & Sister Shurtliff, stopped by with Elder & Sister Lillywhite, the Public Affairs missionaries.

Elder & Sister Shurtliff will be serving in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in our satellite office there.

Elder Sutherland is learning the ropes here in the Nairobi office.

I thought Elder Sutherland reminded me an awful lot of our dear President Hinckley.  What do you think?

And here's Sister Sutherland at my desk which is now her desk.  She reminded me a lot of my Aunt Elaine in her younger days.  What do you think?  (Those of you who knew my Aunt Elaine).

Saying farewell to Elder & Sister Shurtliff.  Sad that we won't get to know them.

Elder Torrie says, "If you do it like this . . . "

Last look at our lovely little flat.

"All our bags are packed; we're ready to go . . . la la la"  Not going home yet.  Just moving to the mission home for our last few days.

New missionary, Elder Ntlebi, old (!) missionary Elder Barnard, new missionary Elder Pratt, and Sister Msane fixing to feed the masses.

Elder Mwashi and Elder Ellis

Elder Ntlebi
Elder Chikari
Sister Gakanje

Elder Akpu, Elder Lotulelei, Elder Tshilumba
Elder Chikari, Elder Pratt, Elder Foulk

Ha ha.  Funny Elder Wilson.  Is that sign language?

Sister Msane is always cooking.  No rest for the wicked, as my dad always said.  But Sister Msane is a not wicked!

Elder Ellis, Elder Mwashi, Elder Barnard

Sister Msane having a laugh with Elder Merz

Sister Msane and Elder Merz

Elder Merz tasting the good food.

Elder Sibanda and Elder Mayekiso

Cute sisters:  Sister Kachokamo, Sister Kitombo, Sister Gakanje, and Sister Auma.

Now I've joined the sisters.  The three sisters on the left are new but I know Sister Auma (in white on right) very well.  She served in our little Langata Branch for several months.  Wish I could get to know ALL the lovely sisters.

Elder Sutherland and Elder Barnard talking farming.

Elder Wilson, Elder Tshangu (from DR Congo) and Elder Ellis having a con flab.  Who's on the left?

Elder Tshilumba, Elder Chikari, Elder Ntlebi

Elder Torrie getting to know Elder Pratt

Soups on!  Just waiting to thank the Lord for the food.  Sister Gakanje, President Msane, Elder Ntlebi, Elder Chikari, Elder Wilson, Elder Pratt, Sister Auma (with her face covered by an unknown hand)

Sister Auma, Elder Sibanda, Elder Mayekiso, Elder Mwashi, Elder Akpu, Elder Foulk, Elder Tshilumba

Sister Gakanje front and center.  In back: Elder Mwashi, Elder Akpu, Elder Foulk, Sister Kachokamo, Sister Kitombo, Elder Tshangu, Elder Lotulelei

Dish up!  Ladies before gentlemen

Elder Tshilumba and Elder Foulk

Elder Tshangu, Elder Foulk, Elder Lotulelei

Elder Akpu, Elder Barnard, Elder Merz

After supper, we entertained everyone with LeRon's famous "Father Abraham."

Elder Mwashi was a good sport and joined in.

It got to be quite rigorous!

Can't believe we can do it in our old age!

Getting close to the finale!  Arms, legs, head, hips!  What a contorturous thing!  Is contorturous a word?

Elder Torrie said he would NEVER do it again!!  He used to do Father Abraham quite regularly when he was a young bishop in his 30's.  But at almost 65???

Elder Foulk, Elder Wilson (yeah for Canada!), Elder Merz, Elder Pratt.  Elder Barnard in very back.

Elder & Sister Sutherland

Now it's time for singing.  Elder Tshangu, Elder Foulk, Elder Wilson, Elder Pratt

Elder Pratt, Elder Tshilumba, Elder Barnard, Elder Mwashi, Elder Ntlebi

Elder Mwashi, Elder Ntlebi, Elder Chikari, Elder Ellis.  Who's in the back?

Has been great to get to know Sister Bamutesiza and Sister Auma.

Sister Bamutesiza, Sister Auma, Sister Gakanje

Elder Barnard is a great help in the kitchen.
November 2017 new arrivals:  Back row L-R: Elder Foulk, Elder Ntlebi, Elder Tshangu, Elder Chikari, Elder Pratt, Elder Tshilumba, Sister Gakanje.  Front L-R:  Sister Kachokamo, Sister Kitombo, President and Sister Msane.

New arrivals with their trainers.  Back L-R:  Elder Somniso, Elder Ntlebi, Elder Tshangu Nakilu, Elder Merz, Elder Wilson, Elder Chikari, Elder Pratt, Elder Mayekiso, Elder Sibanda, Elder Foulk, Elder Barnard.  Front L-R:  Sister Bamutesiza, Sister Kachokamo, Sister Mbatha, Sister Kitombo, President and Sister Msane, Elder Thsilumba, Sister Auma, Sister Gakanje

Another view of the November 2017 Arrivals and Trainers

And now for a crazy picture.

Elder Mayekiso and Elder Torrie

Elder & Sister Torrie with Elder Merz

Elder & Sister Torrie with Elder Mayekiso

Here I am with Elder Pratt, Elder Merz, Elder Mayekiso, Elder Tshangu Nakilu, Elder Chikari and Elder Foulk

Love this picture!  And love these Elders.  Sad that we won't get to know the new ones but we love them just the same.

Who's on the left?  Is it Elder Ngele?  Elder Covarrubias is on the right.

Elder Odhiambo and Elder Ncube

Elder Musonda, Elder Mahanzu, Elder Limu

Elder Noel and Elder McGrath

Elder Estheimer

Elder Le Cheminant

Elder McGrath and Elder Noel with President and Sister Msane

Elder Mahanzu, Elder Limu, Elder Ellis, Elder Egbert

Elder Kiio and Elder Limu

Elder Le Cheminant and Elder Harrott

Elder Carlson and Elder Cotts

Elder Noel

Elder Estheimer popping down the toast

Elder Carlson and Elder Covarrubias

Elder Cotts and Elder Harrott

Elder Kiio plays the piano well!!  Good job.  Keep on!  You'll be an asset to your branch after your mission.

Sister Kiio and Sister Okila

Elder Mahanzu

Lovely sisters:  Sister Acii, Sister Okila, Sister Kiio, Sister Ngwaru

Elder Ncube and Elder Le Cheminant

Intense discussion:  Elder Limu, Elder Ncube, Elder Le Cheminant, Elder Musonda

Sister Msane and Sister Sutherland -- always in the kitchen, but happily so!

Ready for FOOD!!  In back: Elder Limu, President Msane, Elder McGrath, Elder Estheimer, Elder Egbert, Elder Cotts.  In front: Sister Ngwaru, Sister Okila, Sister Acii

Ladies before gentlemen.  Elder Noel, President Msane, and Elder Limu waiting for the sisters to dish. Sister Ngwaru, Elder McGrath on right.

Kentucky Fried Chicken with Sister Msane's delicious salads.

Elder Carlson, Elder Kiio, Elder Harrott

Elder Carlson, Elder Harrott, Elder Odhiambo

Elder & Sister Torrie with Sister Acii and Sister Okila

Now Sister Kiio has joined us

Elder Egbert (standing) is paying us a tribute.  We were very touched by the sweet things he and Elder Estheimer said.  It was a sad/happy evening.  Happy that we've gotten to know so many wonderful missionaries and sad to think our time here was ending.  L-R: Elder Mwashi, Elder Le Cheminant, Elder Ellis, Elder Estheimer, Elder Egbert, Elder Odhiambo, Sister Ngwaru, Sister Kiio, Elder Ngele

Elder Musonda, Elder Limu, Elder Mahanzu, Elder Mwashi, Elder Le Cheminant, Elder Ellis

The missionaries sang "Love is Spoken Here" as a tribute to us.  It was beautiful and touching.  Elder Mwashi, Elder Le Cheminant, Elder Ellis, Elder Estheimer, Elder Odhiambo, Sister Ngwaru, Sister Kiio.  So grateful to Elder Estheimer and Elder Egbert for planning the evening tribute.  After the singing, President Msane asked missionaries to share favorite scriptures and each who shared related it to what they had learned from Elder Torrie and me.  We were in tears.

Elder Ngele and Elder Ncube

Elder McGrath, Elder Noel, President Msane

Elder Torrie and I took Elder & Sister Sutherland to Tamambo's for a last meal together.