Monday, April 5, 2010

Update 4/5/2010

Let Music Ring!: This has been a good week filled with continuing training and new beginnings. We started a new keyboard class in our Mitini Branch since the music conducting class finished. We had such a good time we almost hated that class to be over! Even with rainy weather 7 of of the conducting students came to start the keyboard class. All but one were men! Most of the wives have young babies and the weather was wet so they may come next time. Those who were there seemed to enjoy it and were excited to take the keyboards home and work with them. It's very hard to teach that many beginners! Some catch on quite quickly and with others it's almost like teaching a foreign language! One brother in the conducting class had said he didn't think he would try the keyboard. He showed up and said “I didn't want to be left behind!” It's fun.

Upcoming baptisms: There are active investigators in three of the four branches right now. Three men and one young woman in Mitini are coming to lessons each Sunday and Wednesday. They have good questions and seem to be making good progress. The men are leading men in the community (ages 40-50) and it will be a blessing to have their leadership in the branch. // The branch is growing so fast that they really need to be divided. Elder Blake is spending a lot of time developing maps of areas with indications of where members live – particularly Priesthood holders; and locating possible “meeting houses” that the Church could rent. Maps of the Hills Areas are very rough approximations (similar to those you see in old pictures that the Pilgrims had, showing general shapes of the Americas.) What looks close on their maps may be a long walk away, over or around two or three hills!

Primary Music – We love the primary children and there are many in every branch (from 80 to 120). Some of the leaders are very new in the Church and don't really know how primary should go and don't know the songs. The songs the children know they always sing with “gusto” and you can hear them clear out in the bush! It still seems interesting to hear them sing “Once There Was a Snowman” when they have no idea of snow or ice. It's even sung as a prayer song. (We are working on that.) Last week I was giving a training to the Kilili Branch as they are too far away to go to our primary conference tomorrow. We talked about a lot of things and learned the new songs for sharing time this year. We talked about how a prelude helps children sit reverently before primary starts. The primary president (a neat, bright member of several years) asked what a prelude was(!) I had no idea they didn't know or understand. We taught how to use the battery powered CD player and one keyboard student is preparing a couple of primary songs to play for prelude. They are so open to suggestions. Their humility is a good lesson to us.

Rain, Rain, Go Away” – That song we used to sing is very applicable to us right now. While the rain is a great blessing to the newly planted crops there is so much right now that it is hard to get to our branches. We couldn't go to Ilima (our high on the hill branch) Friday for class or Sunday for meetings. We were to pick up three Young Single Adults and take them back to the YSA Conference. They had to ride a matatu and it took them all day to get there because of the mud and slick roads. We have a new truck for now and it doesn't have aggressive mud tires; but it takes the bumps a lot better!

YSA Camp Conference: Sunday we went to the YSA Conference to see the young people we know and love. We had 49 attend from the four branches. We thought we knew how to get there and left home at 8:30 a.m. to be there early – about a 35 minute drive. We took a wrong turn (no signs here) and ended up 10 kilometers into the bush country in the mud. There were trucks off the road all along. We asked people all along the way for directions, but they always answer “yes” to any question – they can't understand us any better than we understand them. Finally we stopped at a little house where there were about 10 men of various ages all sitting on the porch while one of them was reading to the group out of the bible. We wish we had taken a picture. Two of the men offered to come with us and help us find the camp. We saw wildebeests and antelope and three giraffes as we traveled so that part was fun. The men took us clear back to the main road and across the road to another camp. The tall security gate was locked. Elder Blake climbed over(!) and walked 1 ½ Kilometers to the camp itself and it still wasn't the right one! We finally reached someone by phone and arrived 3 ½ hours after leaving home. We missed sacrament meeting but attended a fireside and enjoyed being with our YSA friends. We see great leadership coming in Africa as these young people grow and go on missions. We just hope when they return they can find employment to take care of families so they can stay in their branch areas.

Easter and Conference – We enjoyed our Easter Sunday even though we were lost and missed sacrament meeting. We had arisen early and read of the resurrection in all four gospels. How blessed we are to know our Savior Jesus Christ and be here on a mission teaching of Him and of His restored gospel. We were also able to listen to Saturday and Sunday morning sessions of conference on KSL radio on the computer at 7:00 p.m. We were “hungry” to hear the conference messages and they were wonderful.

Our love to you all and have a good week.

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