Monday, May 23, 2016

The Sabbath in our New Branch, the Langata Branch

Yesterday we went to our new branch for the first time.  The Langata Branch is very small.  Like one sister said, "We are few."  It reminded me of our little Grassy Lake Ward before we were closed down.  There were about 25 people there.  I was amazed at how reverent the children were.  One family of four children sat quietly by themselves (without any parents there).  I'm not sure who they belonged to.  When we got there (about 10 minutes before start time), everyone was sitting very quietly waiting.  No one was playing the piano for prelude music so LeRon offered to play but was told the piano is broken.  We learned that the church had been broken into a couple of weeks ago and everything of value had been taken or broken.  The sound system with microphone was gone.  The computer for the clerk's office was gone.  So sad.  Now they are posting guards 24 hrs/day.

But could those few people ever sing!  LeRon was asked to lead the singing, so he sang a few bars and then everyone joined in.  And in Relief Society, there were only four of us and no piano but did those African sisters ever sing.  Wow.  Impressive.  We in the West could learn lots about enthusiastic singing.

But during the whole three hours of church time -- an hour for sacrament meeting, then an hour for Sunday School and an hour for Relief Society/ Priesthood meeting/Primary -- the church next door was having a VERY loud revival meeting.  The drums were beating so loudly that I had to really concentrate to hear the speakers in sacrament meeting (especially with no microphone).  African people speak very softly at best.  So for the three hours we were meeting, the revival meeting pounded on and on.  When we were done, so were they!  The members say that it happens every Sunday no matter what time we start our meetings.  Hmn . . .

There was a very good feeling in that little branch.  The spirit was strong as they bore testimony of the love of Jesus Christ and how important it is to follow him.  The Sunday School and Relief Society lessons were masterfully taught by humble Kenyan people.  I was very impressed.

After lunch and a nap, LeRon and I went for a walk in our lovely neighborhood.  So interesting to have NO WIND!  It was cool and lovely out.  Trees are so beautiful.  We stopped to talk with the guards who control the road into the area.  Then we went back to our compound and visited our next-door neighbor family who are a lovely Kenyan family.  The mom and dad, Sammy and Nancy, are the ages of our own kids.  They are born-again Christians with deep commitments to Jesus Christ.  We had an amazing visit with them as we each shared our beliefs and found much common ground.  Then they wanted to know about life in Canada.  They could not believe that we can actually function in the winter.  

Nancy wanted to serve us tea as Kenyan families ALWAYS give something to people who visit.  We explained about the Word of Wisdom.  Although they drink tea, they do not drink alcohol, nor do they smoke or use drugs.  They wanted to serve us something so they gave us very hot chocolate milk, which was very good once it cooled down a bit.

I need to get my kitchen more functional so I can serve something to them when they come over.  So nice to have nice neighbors who want to get to know everyone.  There are many countries represented by the people in this compound.

Here are President & Sister Hicken and cute branch member, Patricia, outside of our Langata Branch meetinghouse.  Not sure how this building was broken into with all the bars everywhere.  Above are branch members, Betty and Daisy.  (Somehow I was unable to separate the two pictures.)
Elcan was so good during the hour-long sacrament meeting.  Isn't he adorable in his little suit?

Here's another cute young branch member.  He was a little shy.  I don't know if he could speak English or not.  But all school children learn both English and Kiswahili in school.  They also speak their own tribal language.  Everyone speaks many languages except us in North America.  We need to get with the times!
Such pretty flowers on the trees.  Have you seen anything like this before?  I can see why they call it a bottle brush tree.

LeRon and I went for a walk in our neighborhood on Sunday afternoon.  Bananas growing everywhere.  They are so delicious.  We buy them from the grocery store or from a stand along the highway or from the sellers walking among the cars on the road.  All fruit must be bleach-washed before we eat it.

Another interesting flowering tree.  Or fruiting tree.

Look at these interesting fan shaped plants.  But walls everywhere.  Sometimes I feel walled in.  Yards are so pretty . . . if only you could see them!

We went down a pretty lane and discovered three houses all surrounded with walls and barbed wire.  The big tank on top is the water tank.  It runs by gravity.  All the homes have these tanks on top.  We don't have pressure tanks.  So if the power goes off, we still have water.  So nice.  Unlike when the power goes off on the farm.

Here I am by a "Secret Garden."  How can I enter it?  Where is the key?  Actually I don't want to get caught by security anyway.

Beautiful bougainvillea.

This is the way into our little area.  These guards won't lift the pole across the road unless they know who you are.  When we first came, we had to tell them where we were living and that we were missionaries.  Our name tags help.  All of the roads in this area of Nairobi have poles across them.  The guards raise them with a rope.  You have to to be able to tell them where you're going and why.  But once you go one time, they remember you and you don't have to tell them again.  Now we just wave at the guards and tell them to have a nice day as they raise the pole for us.

Our guards, Josephat and Robert.  Each guard works for 12 hours so there are guards 24 hrs/day.  Really nice fellows.  They are both married with children.  Both born-again Christians.  We had a lovely visit with them.  Must be awfully hard to do the midnight shift.

Now we're back to the entrance to our compound.  Again, the guards will only open the gate if they know who we are.
Prince and his sister Joy were some of the first children to welcome us to the neighborhood.  Don't you love their names?

And here's Prince's sister, Joy.  


  1. The one with the orange fruit is a date palm, I think. And that red flower is so beautiful!

  2. And I think the red flowers are on a bottle brush tree...