Friday, October 13, 2017

Three Sweet Experiences and a Fun One

This mission has been loaded with special experiences.  I honestly can't imagine being on a mission anywhere else.  Now for you missionary moms and dads:  At the end of this post is a picture of the missionaries at October 2017 MLC that I forgot to put in the post about October MLC.  Don't miss seeing your son or daughter in a lovely group photo!  Then I'll put some pictures of some good friends and other things.

Experience #1
LeRon and I were picking up food (or rather, "picking food" as they say here) for the Nairobi Zone Conference and we had to order some chicken from a well-known franchise.  We were astounded to catch the workers at the beginning of their day having a group prayer.  They said they started each day with prayer and were surprised when we told them that would never happen in the West.  Kenya is definitely a Christian country, although there are many Muslims and also Hindus who live very peacefully here.  Some are our neighbors -- and great friends.  But it was still a sweet experience to see heads bowed in prayer.

It reminded me of my elementary school years when each day was started with a recitation of The Lord's Prayer and then the singing of O Canada and/or God Save the Queen.  There were many Japanese Canadians in our school and even though they were Buddhists, they recited the prayer along with all of us and nobody thought it was a problem.  But I won't get into that thorny issue right now;  I know how important it is to be inclusive but sometimes inclusion actually turns into exclusion.  So important to live the way we know we should.

Experience #2
At the end of zone conference, Sister Msane, our mission president's wife, asked if we could house two missionaries for the night.  One was in a lot of pain from a particular illness.  As we headed out from the Zone Conference, the rain absolutely poured down and the traffic was backed up more than we had ever seen it. We knew that what should take us half an hour was probably going to take up to two hours.  I was worried for the Elder because I knew he just wanted to go to bed.

As we sat in the pouring rain LeRon talked about how we used to sing in the car as a family on our many long travels.  So he and I sang Just Let a Smile be Your Umbrella and they seemed to like that. -- especially since it was raining so hard.  Then we headed into Primary songs and Hymns.  We encouraged the Elders to sing along.  Elder Masamba said he would if he could sing in French.  So he would start a hymn and we would listen to the tune till we knew what it was and then we would sing in English while he sang in French.  Elder Masamba has a lovely tenor voice and Elder Shongwe has a beautiful deep bass voice.  So we sang all the way home -- for almost two hours!  It lifted our spirits and helped take the ill missionary's mind off his pain.  It was a sweet experience.

Experience #3
President Msane asked Elder Torrie and me to take 10 minutes at Zone Conference and talk about the blessings of serving a mission and what we had learned.  We knew it was our last Zone Conference so it was a bittersweet moment.  We went up to the stand together and he put his arm around me and we told the missionaries how great it is to serve a mission with your sweetheart.  We each talked of some things we had learned such as the importance of obedience and the importance of studying the scriptures each day.  Then we bore testimony that this truly is the work of God and that Jesus is the Christ and that the Gospel is true and that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live.  It was a sweet experience and I'm glad for the opportunity to speak to nearly 60 missionaries (out of 97) in the Kenya Nairobi Mission.  We love these young men and young women.

Experience #4
Just a fun thing.  I had to run back to our apartment to get something and there on the stairwell was a very large Sykes monkey.  He stared at me and I stared at him and then he ran off.  And there I was without a camera.  Darn!  We've never had monkeys in our compound before.  So fun to see a monkey up so close.  Sometimes at church, I look out the windows and see Vervet monkeys running through the barbed wire coils on the top of the walls surrounding the church.  But this monkey didn't look like a Vervet monkey.  I'm pretty sure it was a Sykes monkey.  Just love the wildlife here.

October 2017 MLC (Mission Leader Council)  Back row L-R: Elder McGrath, President and Sister Msane, Elder Ellis, Sister Ziqubu, Elder Wambua, Sister Ngwaru, Elder Rasmussen, Sister Shanya, Elder Estheimer with Sister Okila in front, Elder Cotts with Sister Acii in front, Elder Odhiambo, Elder Noel, Elder Ngele
Front row L-R: Elder Le Cheminant, Elder Agesa, Elder Mwashi, Elder Musonda, Elder Mahanzu, Elder Kiio, Elder Egbert, Elder Harrott, Elder Mwanziu

I know this picture is blurry but I wanted to show that Elder Torrie and I were there too!  

We were in the MTC with Elder and Sister Harline (center).  The Harlines serve in Ethiopia but here they are in Nairobi with some of their family right now and will do a safari to the Masai Mara.  So great to see them again.  Actually we didn't see Elder Harline because he was off exchanging Ethiopian money for Kenyan Shillings.  But it was great to see Sister Harline.  After the MTC at Provo, we, along with the Harlines, went to Johannesburg, South Africa for a few days of more training.  We were the first (and almost the last) senior couples to go to South Africa for training.  Sister Harline called us the GPS (Guinea Pig Seniors).  It was great to Sister Harline again, if only just for a few minutes.

This is my Indian daughter, Pooja, and my Indian grandson, Vivon.  I love them dearly.  We have been next-door neighbors for a year and a half and I will miss them when we go home.  Vivon (pronounced vee-vawn) was born the day before our 42nd wedding anniversary.

Shrikant is a doctor (actually a cardio-anesthesiologist) at the nearby Karen Hospital.  Hash is another of our Indian grandsons!  He comes regularly for candy!!

A termite mound is growing beside the road just down the street.  I took this picture with a flash when we went for our evening walk.

Now here's a daytime picture. 
And here I've zoomed in on the little critters.  Cool, eh?

Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella
(See Experience #2.  First, everyone sings verse one.  Then while one person sings verse one, another sings verse two.  It's fun!  Of course you need to know the tune.  Duh!  Our children grew up singing this song.  It was on a Shari Lewis cassette tape we had.  Shari Lewis was a ventriloquist and a kids show host.  Her puppets were Lamb Chop, Hush Puppy, Charlie Horse and Wing Ding.  We loved them even though we only saw them in our imaginations since it was a cassette tape that you only listened to.  Imagine that!)

Just let a smile be your umbrella on a rainy, rainy day,
And if your sweetie cries, just tell her that a smile will always pay,
Whenever skies are grey, don't worry or fret
A smile will bring the sunshine and you'll never get wet.
So let a smile be your umbrella on a rainy, rainy day

Just let a smile be yours and when it pours, you'll always find you'll never mind a kind of foggy, even soggy day,
And when your sweetie's blue, a smile or two will surely hide the darker side and wipe her tears and chase her fears away,
Whenever skies are grey, keep clouds away, don't worry or fret
A smile will bring the sunshine and you'll never get wet.
So let that smile appear from ear to ear and rain won't fall on you at all whenever there's a rainy, rainy day.

Just smile away a rainy day!


  1. At our last stake conference, the Osguthorpes spoke together like that. I thought it was really sweet (although it was hard to hear, since neither was speaking directly into the microphone), but some of my friends said they thought it was because her health was poor and he was holding her up. I'm still not convinced; we talked to them right before and she seemed fine. Their term as temple president and matron is over and we will miss them!!

    1. The microphone for us wasn't turned on. So we spoke very loud and clearly and I could tell that everyone could hear. I don't like to not hear people so I tend to speak up. xxooxx