Monday, October 25, 2010

Update 10.25.2010

Evening with Elder Holland – Elder Holland made a brief connecting-flight stop in Kenya on Monday. Only missionaries in the Nairobi area were invited to attend the evening training and what a wonderful privilege it was. He shook hands with each missionary said with sincerity and conviction that he had a “personal interview” with each individual as he looked into our face and eyes. (We guess that everyone passed, because none of us were sent home.) He was accompanied by Elder Snow of the Seventy who spoke with warmth and love and gave good counsel. Elder Holland then spoke for about an hour and asked us to “get a vision” of what was happening in Africa right now. He noted the believing hearts of the people and great success of missionary work in Africa, and reminded us what a blessing it is for us to be involved here at this time and season. He mentioned Africa finally being opened for teaching the gospel and that many more leaders would be African as Africa blossoms.

Leadership – We are working hard to help train branch auxiliary leadership. Tuesday after classes in Kilili we took the branch relief society president with us to Kyambeke where the RS presidents of all four branches met and were able to share ideas and question each other about “how to” matters, for the first time ever. It was a wonderful meeting as those who had been in their calling for several years were able to share with newer presidents in their callings. They all expressed the desire to have a meeting with sisters in the whole Kilungu Hills area to celebrate the birthday of Relief Society in March. That will be a big undertaking because of distance, but it would be a good opportunity for the sisters to meet and celebrate together.

Long Awaited Day! - Wednesday we picked up all four Kilungu Hills young men who were leaving on their missions. We picked up the two brothers, Elder Gerald and Elder Christopher, from the high-on-the-hill branch, Ilima first. The whole family, branch president, and some friends met us at the church. The family members were all wearing signs telling them good-by or giving advice, even the baby! They've waited so long and had so many problems getting ready to go and it was a great farewell celebration for them. We next picked up Elder Kennedy and Elder Dominic with their travel cases, where family and neighbors were there to wish them well. Our next stop was Mitini Branch where we taught one class and then packed all four members of our “precious cargo” into the truck for the trip to Nairobi for them to be set apart for their missions - two going to Uganda Kampala Mission and two to South Africa Cape Town Mission. They had their last “Blake's peanut butter sandwich” on the way as we visited and enjoyed the time together. All of them expressed appreciation for helping them prepare. We've seen so much growth and feel almost like we are sending our “sons” on missions! There was a special spirit as each was set apart by President Broadbent. Sister Broadbent mentioned that they represent “vision” for Africa's future that Elder Holland had elaborated. As return missionaries they will be future church leaders – possible even general authorities – in years to come.

More English Training – Friday we traveled four hours south of Nairobi to Chyulu District and Saturday worked with the District English specialists to prepare for another training of the teachers in all ten branches. Progress is being made but it is always slower then we would wish. The leaders are trying hard but the branches are so spread out that it is impossible for them to visit each branch; or for that matter, to even make telephone contacts with the branch English teachers, because of the travel and telephone expense. There are some lessons we are trying to learn about everything we do: “Be patient and appreciate any successes. This is Africa, and few (if any things here) can be rushed.”

Miracle in Immigration Office – We have learned that the Wambua family passports have arrived in the Immigration Office! What a miracle as they generally take two or three months and they were here in 3 weeks (unheard of), we feel due to the prayers of so many. There is still much to do but now it is possible. The scheduled departure date for the 19 of us (each family has 3-5 children who will be sealed to parents) is November 22nd. Things are coming together for this long awaited blessing.

Thanks again for your love and prayers. Have a good and safe week.

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