Monday, November 1, 2010

Update 11.1.2010

Regroup - This has been a week of regrouping after the departure of the four missionaries from Kilungu Hills. They had been very involved in leadership and especially missionary work in the various branches, since it is the YSAs who speak and understand English. Many changes are happening as others need to grow into leadership. Wednesday we taught at Mitini and then went to the hospital to visit a Matua sister who had delivered a baby the evening before. Her husband has been temporarily working in Nairobi but had hurried home to welcome this new little baby. They are recent converts, and when asked if it was a boy or girl and they told us, “It's a boy – a missionary!” The mother transported herself to the hospital on a motor bike taxi over about 6 kolometers of very bumpy road. She was picked up at 3:00 and the baby was born at about 4:00! As we took mom, dad and the baby home the next day, they received a warm welcome by all their extended family in the clan. It was a fun trip back to the village and a nice visit in their home.

The Matua group then gathered for scripture lesson where we learned the names of books in the Book of Mormon by Sis. Blake teaching the primary song(while looking at the BofM. Contents Page); and then practiced finding particular scriptures about favorite BofM. Stories, while showing relevant pictures. They are so eager to learn and have strong faith. What a blessing it is to us to be with them. We feel of their love and always leave with eggs or avacados or bananas. There's also always a group planning to ride back to Kalongo with us. They love riding in the truck.

Sisters of the Precious Blood – The Catholic Sisters have been so good to us and we wanted to make sure we had their pictures before we leave. Wednesday we had a photograph appointment just before prayer time but not all were able to be there. They have a small chapel in the convent and allowed us to take the pictures in there. They are dedicated and hard-working people involved in the school and the hospital. It's been a good association for both of us. The students are also very friendly to us. They leave the end of November for their holiday and won't return until early January. We miss them when they are gone. There's a noticeable loneliness about an empty school!

Unplanned Funeral – Thursday we taught in Kyambeke. There are eight keyboard students planning to participate in the Christmas program! They will each play one Christmas piece and a hymn and then take turns leading Christmas carols. They are also preparing a choir number. It gives a good reason to practice and they are excited. When we arrived the branch president was not there but had left word asking us to represent him at the funeral of a non-member husband of one of the English students who was baptized in September. We went after classes were over just planning to pay our respects and, instead arrived during the outside funeral service that was officiated by the Catholic Priest. They had us come up to the front area and asked Elder Blake to speak for a few minutes through an interpreter (one of the branch members who went with us). As he was speaking you could see the people agreeing and appreciating the peace the gospel brings regarding the death of a loved one. We weren't sure how the Catholic priest felt, but Elder Blake did a nice job and we didn't think he was offended. Victoria, (the wife) a favorite English student, was so appreciative and felt the love and support. We never know when we get up in the morning where the day will take us! Attending a funeral certainly wasn't in our plans.

Waiting for Rain – Crops are planted and awaiting the much needed rain so the seeds don't rot in the ground. We keep watching the banks of clouds pass over, but not much moisture has come yet. These aren't just nice “obedience gardens” like saints in America plant; but the total means of existence for most of the the Kilungu Hills people. We tend to worry for them (since they suffered severe droughts in 2007 and 2008), but they keep strong faith: saying “The rains will come.” We keep them in our prayers.

Roads Blocked – Sunday was the annual Kenya National Marathon Race through Nairobi where they close all of the roads out of town where we need to go! We wanted to stay and have Saturday evening out-to-dinner with the Sr. Couples for Sister Blake's birthday; but decided we'd better head for the Hills while we could still get out of town. Thus, we celebrated Carol's birthday alone (together) in Kikoko; and enjoyed Sunday morning conference session in the high-on-the-hill branch, Ilima. The talks and spirit were wonderful. We especially enjoyed President Monson's talk on gratitude. We feel so blessed and hope we express that often enough to friends, family, and our Heavenly Father. Thanks to all of you for your love and encouragement.

Have a good and safe week!

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