Missionaries Preparing: There are several young men in our branches preparing for missions. It's exciting to see how spiritually prepared they are and excited to go serve the Lord. The problem is financial preparedness. In the outlying areas the Church has been helping the missionaries for almost the total cost but they are trying to get the families to start planning early as we have had to in our families. There is so much cost involved just to get ready to go – passports, physicals, dental work, clothing and supplies, etc. Again, we are impressed about the importance of those of us in more developed countries contributing to humanitarian, mission, and PEF. We are trying to teach self reliance here but it is difficult when there is no income for some – just subsistence farming!
Good Week: We have enjoyed teaching this week and love the association with the wonderful people. We are learning many lessons! We are trying to do more training of the branch saints to do their own teaching which is a step beyond doing the teaching ourselves. It doesn't work in all cases, but again, we are trying to teach self reliance. They won't always have couple missionaries to help. I had a special invitation this week as one of the young fathers in our Temple Preparation class spoke to me after class. His wife hasn't been there for the last two weeks. They simply do not talk here about maternity things, such as when a woman is due to have a baby; but he said he had a message from his wife and she would like me to name their baby. In their culture they have a Kikamba name and then a Christian name which the wife chooses. It is an honor to be asked to name a baby and I felt that special honor. (I just don't know what name to choose!)
Wedding Anniversary: Saturday was our wedding anniversary and we celebrated Friday by leaving at 5:30 a.m. and going with another couple to Nairobi National Park for a game drive (self-guided safari in our own vehicle). It was a beautiful day with the weather just right. We saw dozens of giant water buffalo (Vicious! And Elder Blake kept getting out of the truck for pictures!), all different kinds of antelope and gazelles, beautiful birds, giraffes, and the crowning sighting, a cheetah. We had stopped at a memorial for the ivory burning (The government is trying to stop elephant poaching which is done for the ivory, so they have a memorial for the burning of all illegal ivory they had collected.) Elder Blake was taking a picture and I saw a large cat-type animal run between two trees. We jumped in the truck and headed that direction just in time to see it bound across the road. As we approached we could see it hiding under some trees. When it saw us watching, it took off. It was huge and beautiful. A sighting is very rare. Of course we couldn't get a picture except in our minds. It made our day.
Sunday at Kilili: We attended church at our farthest away branch, Kilili. As we were sitting in sacrament meeting I looked out the door at the chickens and goats looking in at us and realized that it didn't even seem unique to me. Until then I hadn't noticed the music from the canteena across the street and hadn't even thought about using the pit toilets. I guess we're becoming “Africanized!” The branch choir sang and we were signaled to come up and join them. When I taught the primary leaders about presidency meetings the president said, “We'll do that. We didn't know about it before, but now we'll do it” - and they do! Don't we wish everyone was so willing? We took pictures of the Young Women who have written their testimonies to share with our home ward, and of the Young Men who sit on the steps and teach each other the priesthood lesson each week. We feel greatly blessed to have these wonderful experiences.
Have a wonderful week. We love you.