Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Update 12/14/2009

This has been a week filled with experiences! Tuesday we taught keyboarding and investigators at Kyambeke in the hills and then stayed the night for the first time at the Precious Blood girls' school. They were so kind to us and everything was simple but very clean. The one single bed was very small, and mushy soft; but we increased the size by placing three kitchen chairs, topped with sofa cushions along-side the bed. The mosquito netting is large enough to put over both. There's a shower but it is cold water only and the toilet doesn't have a seat (but at least it is inside and flushes!) It was so peaceful and quiet there. (The 420 girls are on holiday during December.) We brought an electric pot that plugs in and boils water as there is no stove. We made macaroni and cheese and opened a can of pears for a nice dinner and only had a 20 minute drive the next morning which felt wonderful!

Picture above: bedroom before the mosquito netting in the Home Ec room at Precious Blood

We took a "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" sign to the Mitini Branch. They were so pleased as their building is an old, dilapidated school. The sign helps identify it as a church. I had 20 investigators in my class while Elder Blake taught an English Teachers' class. We then taught missionary prep and music conducting. Again, it's a wonderful experience but challenging because of the language - not just Kikamba, but also understanding their dialect of English and hearing them as they always speak softly. When the sisters teach RS or primary they speak right up; but in a class with men there they all speak in a whisper. It seems to be a cultural thing.

 Saturday we attended a baptism at the branch highest on the mountain, Ilima. Again, the road was difficult, but we made it and the baptism was wonderful. Thirteen were baptized including investigators and children. It was the first baptism in their new font which is outside. They had to remove the font in the building because they needed more room for sacrament meeting. They have people sitting clear down the hall and in classrooms. I don't know how they can hear because there isn't a sound system. They bring all the little primary chairs in to have enough places to sit. They then have to take all the little chairs outside, down a big hill, and into another building where they hold primary (about 120 children with 3 leaders!)

Elder Blake was asked by the Public Affairs missionaries to take pictures at the baptism and write a short article that will be sent to the Liahona (since this was the christening of their new baptismal font.)

Elder Blake had a touching experience: I was so touched by this little girl. After the baptisms were complete and all the people had reassembled int he chapel, I looked around and saw this little girl standing alone near the font. I approached her and saw tears in her eyes. Kneeling down, I asked, "Why are those tears in your eyes, little lady? Are you sad?" In nearly perfect English she replied, "No, I am not sad. My tears are not sad. I am very hapy!" // Evidently, she is a non-member neighbor girl who had witnessed the baptisms from the periphery of the crowd. After people had left the area, she had approached to touch the font, and it was then that I saw her. As she spoke her words about being happy, a Spirit of Love flooded my being like I have seldom felt before! I gave her a big hug which she warmly received. [SeePIX: "Little Girl at Baptism]

We went back and stayed another night in Kikoko. LDS Charities has helped the "hospital" next door with money to purchase an emergency generator. The nun in charge, Sister Mary Agatha, was so appreciative and wanted to give us a tour of what they are doing there. They try to be self sustaining and have some cows and chickens and a shamba (garden), etc. They were making chapatis in the cook house and gave us a sample of those and some of their little bananas.

There was a big electrical storm and hard rain all night and we were worried about going back up the mountain the next morning. We didn't have much choice as we needed to pick up the RS president and a little grandma who was scheduled for surgery, and take them to Nairobi. We made it to the bad part and just parked our truck in the middle of the road in the mud since no other vehicles go there. We had to walk the rest of the way up the hill to the church. Many of the members were on their way also so we walked together (in the mud!) The children all wanted to help carry our books, etc. We made quite a parade and were hot and sweaty when we arrived - muddy shoes and all - just as the opening hymn was being sung.

I was feeling bad about the little grandma having to walk all the way back down the hill to the truck, but she beat us there! Maybe I'm the "slow" little grandma. I made peanut butter sandwiches for us all to share on the way home. The RS president said the little grandma's son was supposed to bring her food the day before and never did show up! I wanted to give her all of the sandwiches. We have no idea how blessed we are. We hope her surgery goes well. (They brought a big gunny sack full of cooking charcoal and some greens from her shamba to eat while they are in town. I'm glad we have a big truck!)

We have a full schedule next week. We will be in touch.

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