Saturday, January 28, 2017

Rubbing Shoulders with Good People Part II

Somehow when I add pictures to a post I've already started on, it messes up the order of the pictures.  So instead of messing things up, I'm putting an addendum on to my previous post.

Needed to get a picture of LeRon and me.  The Msanes hosted all the District and Mission Branch Presidents to a dinner at Hemingways which is a fancy hotel here in the Karen area of Nairobi.  The hotel had set up long tables outside for the 17 of us.  The weather was just perfect.  It was probably the first time I've eaten outside here that I haven't felt chilly in the evening.  When the sun goes down here in Nairobi, it usually gets very cool.  But this night it was just right and no mosquitoes attacked me either.

President and Sister Ballilemwa are a very lovely couple.  They have two young children.  They found Nairobi to be very cold after the heat of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania where they live.

And President Kamau and his wife were so pleasant to visit with.  They are about the ages of my kids.

President Okila from Kisumu and Elder Torrie had great fun laughing together.  Elder Torrie was in rare form as he entertained everyone with his droll humor.  I can't remember what they were talking about when I snapped this photo of President Okila and his two empty bottles of water.

It was hard to get a picture of everyone at once but I tried.  The flash didn't reach to the end of the table.
President Msafiri from Mombasa and President Muia from Chyulu.
President Kibanda from Arusha, Tanzania, and President Ochieng from Naivasha.
President Itongwa from Mwanza, Tanzania, and President Kaunange from Kilungu Hills, Kenya
President Okila from Kisumu and President Kogo from Eldoret.
Sister Msane listening attentively!

Hard to get a good picture of people eating!!  A good time was had by all.  So nice to rub shoulders with these people who have testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and who so badly want to do what is right.

Rubbing Shoulders with Good People Part I

So nice to rub shoulders with good people -- black or white.  And there are all colors of black from chocolate brown all the way to very, very black.  There are some very good looking people here.  LeRon and I absolutely do not see color anymore.  People are just people.

In my youth I knew and was friends with many people of other enthnicities, especially Japanese and other Asians.  The Japanese-Canadians had been moved from the west coast of B.C. into Alberta during World War II.  When the war ended, the people stayed and so we have a large community of Japanese whom we consider to be "just one of us."  But we never had any blacks.  I saw my first black person when I was in high school in about 1967.  Mr. Morrison was from the southern US I think and he was my English teacher.  I was amazed at his black skin and his short, wiry, curly hair and wished I could touch it.  A very few black people crossed my path in the ensuing years.  Then when my children were young, a black missionary was assigned to our stake.  He and his companion came over for dinner and I remember Craig climbing on his lap and tentatively patting the black missionary's hair, something I wished I could have done!

Now the shoe is on the other foot.  We drove through a very poor area by Nairobi and all the little black children came running to the car.  They were amazed to see white people!  I'm sure they wanted to touch our hair too.  And many children and even women do just that!

So many good people here in Kenya!  Today we were at a farmer's market and had a wonderful discussion about Jesus Christ with a young man and his brother who were selling artwork.  They were sincere in their love for the Savior and it was such a joy to talk with them.  Then at the next booth were a white young man and his wife who have moved here from Eilat in Israel.  We had a great visit with them as we have been to the Holy Land 5 times.  We didn't talk about Jesus Christ with them as they are Jewish and our church has an agreement with the government of Israel that we won't proselyte Jewish people (at least within Israel).  But we told them we were missionaries and had a lovely visit with them.

So many good people everywhere.

Elder and Sister Ford are going home next week.  They have been serving as Public Affairs Specialists in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Rwanda.  So nice to rub shoulders with good people who are willing to take 18 months out of their lives to serve missions in far off countries.  We went to dinner with them at Ocean Basket at The Hub this past week.

And so nice to rub shoulders with good missionaries serving in the Kenya Nairobi Mission.  This is a card that Elder Noel and Elder Odhiambo sent us after we took them to the Nakuru National Park.  How nice for them to think of giving us a card!  And as an aside to my kids:  Wouldn't this make a wonderful puzzle?  I'm always on the lookout for a good picture especially now that you can get puzzles made online.

And nice to rub shoulders with Solomon and his brother Moses at the farmer's market today.  They make wooden trays from cedar wood and then paint them.  I love their artwork.  The dots are made with glue to make the 3-dimensional look of these Guineafowls.  We've seen a lot of Guineafowls here and they are interesting birds with a unique beauty.  Heather, the dot-idea could be an interesting one for your art projects.

Solomon and Moses also make these Guineafowls out of paper mache and then they paint them  So cool!  And they aren't as fragile as they look.

So good to rub shoulders with the good men who lead the Kenya Nairobi Mission.  President Msane is in the middle and on his right is 1st Counselor, President Balilemwa from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, and on his left is President Kamau from Eldoret, Kenya.

President Msane calls in all the District Leaders and Mission Branch Presidents every quarter for a meeting at the Mission Home.  They discuss concerns of their various units and President and Sister Msane give training. Back row L-R: President Okila (Kisumu), President Mwaipopo (Dar Es Salaam), President Muia (Chyulu), President Ochieng (Naivasha), President Kogo (El Doret), President Kibanda (Arusha), President Itongwa (Mwanza), President Imende (Busia), President Kaunange (Kilungu Hills), President Msifiri (Mombasa).
Now we've added the wives of the Mission Presidency to the photo.  "Behind every good man is a good woman."  Not sure who said that but I think it's absolutely true.  Also see Proverbs 31.
And now just the Presidency and their good wives.  So nice to get to know these good people.
President Msane doesn't like to get his picture taken so I have taken it upon myself to make him laugh!!
Sister Msane is giving training to the Presidents about the Auxiliaries -- the Primary and the Young Women in particular and she is encouraging them to use the Handbook of Instructions.  So important to follow what our leaders have asked us to do.  Our church is run by Prophets and Apostles with Jesus Christ himself being the Head.  What a blessing!
And now here is Elder Torrie giving financial training.  So important to keep our financial houses in order.  The money that is used to run Church units comes from the tithes of the people and so are "sacred funds."  So important to use them the way the Lord wants them to be used.  And so nice that I get to "rub shoulders" 24 hrs/day 7 days/week with the good man who is my husband.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Challenges and Sweet Experiences

We've had a stressful few weeks with some issues going on that needed to be dealt with.  A mission is not for the fainthearted!  Glad we are here while we still have our health (such as it is!)  We are still enjoying it though, as we look for the good.  Kenyans are warm, friendly people and we love sharing our testimonies of Jesus Christ with them.  We haven't had any baptisms due to our efforts yet but we've perhaps planted seeds.

Our main responsibility is to support our young missionaries.  We get calls at all hours from missionaries who are out of power, out of water, or who have lost their keys.  Glad we can help!  But on the other hand, we're also trying to teach them to take responsibility:  check your power meter, check your water, hang on to your keys!!

I had a sweet experience lately.  I check through all missionaries' documents to make sure things are right.  I noticed that for one missionary, Elder Gimeyi (you can see his picture in my previous post), his name was different on his passport and his mission call than on all his other documents.  On his application, it was Gimeyi, but on his passport it was Gimenyi.  I realized that he goes by Gimeyi not by Gimenyi.  I also realized that according to the church, he would be called Gimenyi.  So I phoned the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Johannesburg, South Africa and suggested that his name tag be Elder Gimeyi, NOT Elder Gimenyi.  The secretary said she would make the change.

When Elder Gimeyi arrived, his name tag was correct and I was pleased.  I talked to him about it and he said that he had been praying that his name tag would be correct and he was so happy to find that it was.  He and I were both happy that I had listened to the inspiration I received to make the change.  We get inspiration from God for even the smallest things.

I'm always astounded at the things the housekeepers in the apartments near us wash around here.  Everything is washed in big tubs of cold water with lots of soap.  (By the way, this is the way most missionaries also do their laundry and they don't have housekeepers to do it for them).  The housekeepers wash backpacks and of course bedding and clothes.  But they also wash shoes.  Obviously they're not made of leather!  The girls scrub the shoes and lay them out to dry.  I'm glad I have an electric washer and dryer!  Maybe I ought to be washing my shoes!
Kids having fun on the Bungee Jump at The Hub.  Not something I enjoy but the little child was happy.  One on the other side was not.  And her mother kept clicking away taking pictures of the very frightened child!

I wish you could see this long train of shopping carts better.  It was SO long and pushed by three young men.  I should have gotten their attention so they would have turned and looked at me.  This was in the underground parking at The Hub, an upscale shopping mall here in Karen.

Hair is a big deal for Kenyan women and girls, and even very young girls.  Their normal, short, wiry hair is hard for them to do anything with so they are constantly changing hair styles by going to the hair dresser and having braids woven in.  Anytime you see color you know it's some kind of fiber woven in.  And any time it is long and smooth, you know it's a wig.  Very interesting.
Here's a close-up of different hair styles. 

Even the overpasses have advertisements for hair styles.  They tell me that they wish they had soft hair like Westerners.  I tell them that we have just as much trouble "doing" our hair as they do.  Today at church, one young girl came up and lightly rubbed my arm.  I asked if she wanted to feel my hair, and yes, that's exactly what she wanted to do.  She was amazed.

We see lots of mosques as there are lots of Muslims here.  But I took this picture because this is the first time we have heard the call to prayer coming from one of the mosques.  We were so excited.  We love the call to prayer here in Nairobi.  Some muezzins have very melodic voices and some definitely do not!

Interesting billboard.  A peaceful night's sleep here in Kenya means one in which you are not attacked by mosquitoes.  Actually here in the Karen area of Nairobi, there are less mosquitoes because it's higher in altitude.  But we keep our doors shut after dark and if we have to open them, we do it quickly so the mosquitoes won't come in.  And we had a carpenter build us screens for our windows so we can keep them open at night for the fresh air.  We also use this plug-in repellent, Mortein, that is advertised on this billboard.  We don't use mosquito nets although most people do here.  No one has told them about screens on windows I guess.  The mosquitoes here are bigger than at home and they fly slower so they're easier to swat with our electric swatter.  But they definitely bite.  For some strange reason, they go after LeRon here more than me.  At home, they attack me with a vengeance (I thought because of my sweeter blood due to diabetes) but they hardly get me here.

Their billboards are huge and so interesting.

Almost caught the logo on this bus:  "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Stuck in traffic again.  We had to go downtown so LeRon could go to the dentist.  We don't have much traffic here in the Karen area where we live and where our mission office is.

Stopped on the street to shake hands with Elder Barnard and Elder Limu.  They were both sweating buckets.  When the sun is not behind a cloud, the rays are very intense even though the temperature is only in the mid-80's (26-30 C).  But the mornings and evenings are still cool which is very nice.  For being on the equator, I can take these temperatures!

So on this same hot day as the picture above, we saw this man in a heavy coat and black gloves!  He even had a hat on.  I don't know how he could stand it in the heat!

Sacred Ibises (smaller birds) and the Maribou Storks.  Those storks are huge.

The Maribou Storks are so ugly they're cute!  These pictures were taken just around the corner from where we live.  You don't want to walk in their droppings!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

January New Missionaries

It's always great to greet the new missionaries.  They come with very mixed emotions of trepidation and excitement.  It's a very different culture for many of them.  This transfer we welcomed 5 Africans from Uganda and Zimbabwe and 4 Americans from the US.  Elder Torrie and I instantly love them all and we do our best to make them feel extremely welcome.  President and Sister Msane are great too.  Very warm and kind.  And the new mission home that former President and Sister Hicken set up just a couple of months before they were released is perfect to house so many rambunctious missionaries and their trainers.  It's a madhouse but a fun madhouse!

All the missionaries enjoy Elder Torrie.  And they like to gather round the piano and sing.  Behind Elder Torrie you can see new missionaries, Elder McIntyre and Elder Elliott.  To the right in glasses is new missionary, Elder Nyanhamo from Zimbabwe.  To his right is Elder Muzwenje and peeking into the picture is Elder Rasmussen, hymnbook in hand.

Another view of Elder McIntyre, Elder Elliott, Elder Nyanhamo, Elder Muzwenje and grinning Elder Rasmussen.

Fun together.  Elder Wafula always has a goofy face to make for the camera.  Then there's Elder Ang'ila, Elder Mahanzu, and an Elder peeking behind that I can't entirely see, and Elder Rasmussen.

Elder Wambua, Elder Mugele, new missionary Elder Gimeyi, and Elder Brown.

Elder Lotulelei, Elder Agesa, Elder Ellis, Elder Pavik

Chat time with President Msane and Elder Ang'ila and new Elder Kyomya from Uganda.

We have all African sisters in our mission and they are so warm and friendly.  L-R: new Sister Ngwaru from Zimbabwe, Sister Were from Kenya, new Sister Auma from Uganda, and Sister Omo from Kenya.  Fun to hug these sweet sisters.

Good thing Sister Msane likes to cook because there are a lot of mouths to feed!  Often she fixes chicken or beef curry and rice.  Tonight it's Kentucky Fried Chicken with a baked potato dish and salads.  Yummy!  L-R: Elder Rasmussen, Elder Pavik, Elder Gimeyi, Elder McIntyre, Elder Fuller, Elder Elliott, Elder Nyanhamo, Elder Brown.

Elder Ellis, Elder Merritt, Elder Rasmussen, Elder Pavik, Elder Gimeyi, Elder McIntyre

Elder Muzwenje, Elder Kyuvi, Elder Lotulelei

Elder Agesa and Elder Mahanzu

On Tuesday these missionaries were all here for an MLC (Missionary Leader Council).  These are all the Zone Leaders and the Sister Training Leaders in the Kenya Nairobi Mission.  L-R back: Elder Lotulelei, Sister Were (pronounced "wear-eh"), President & Sister Msane, _____, _____, ______ (hard to see but I'll ask Elder Wafula for help later), Elder Merritt, Elder Rasmussen, Elder Pavik, Elder Hales, Elder Wafula, Elder _____, Elder Mugele.  Front starting with the pink dress: Sister Omo, Elder Mahanzu, Elder Agesa, Elder Pavik.

Now for a picture of the new January missionaries:  Elder Thompson, Elder Kyomya, Elder Gimeyi, Elder McIntyre, Sister Auma (pronounced "ah-oo-mah"), Elder Fuller with Elder Elliott in front, Elder Nyanhamo, Sister Ngwaru with President and Sister Msane in front.

Sister Msane likes to do a crazy picture too.  So here is one of the several I took.  Nice to have fun together.

Now here are the new arrivals with their trainers.  L-R:  Elder Muzwenje, Elder Ang'ila, Elder Thompson, Elder Cotts with Elder Kyomya in front, Elder Mahanzu, Elder Gimeyi, Elder Mlambo, Elder McIntyre with Sister Auma in front, Elder Soita with Elder Ellis in front, Elder Fuller, Elder Nyanhamo, Sister Okila, Elder Egbert, Sister Omo, Sister Ngwaru.

And the funny picture again!

Elder Egbert always has a bright smile!  Here he is with Elder Hales who is one of the Assistants to the President.  LeRon and I also work closely with Elder Hales and his companion, Elder Wafula.  They are all great missionaries.

I believe Elder Cotts' already blond hair is much blonder from his days in the sun in Dar Es Salaam and Mombasa.  It is very hot, hot, hot there.  Now he's being transferred to a less hot place in Kenya so that will be a treat for him.

Sister Msane has purchased pillows and bed sheets for all the missionaries.  The theory is that they are supposed to carry them with them when they are transferred.  Good idea!!  Elder Fuller and Elder Thompson love their pillows!!

Elder McIntyre will be going south to where it is VERY hot.  And he will have to learn Swahili because that is the main language in Tanzania.  Will be a challenge!

Elder Mlambo, Elder Kyomya and Elder Ang'ila.

Elder Egbert and Elder Mahanzu having fun together.  Nice to see missionaries enjoying each other's company.