We went early to pick up the missionaries from Kalongo, the village where they live, and the road was horrible! I got plenty of prayer practice while Elder Blake drove. We were very concerned about the group going down the steep hill, but just as the presidents assured us, the rain subsided in that area so that we were able to drive the road; it was very slick but we made it. We are continually amazed at the great faith of the saints here. What a lesson for us. The conference went very well with even one of the keyboard students accompanying all the hymns! It's been fun to see her growth in both skill and confidence.
Plan and Prepare – Much of this week, other than teaching, has been spent in preparation for upcoming events such as special Christmas keyboard and conducting programs in two branches, missionary training, a four-branch primary training for next year's Sharing Time program including music and teaching helps, and planning a training for teaching how to make paper beads to sell at the market places.
The biggest preparation has been for those going to the temple. What an exciting, but stressful, time! There will be 19 of us going on November 22nd. Six members of the Maneno family, six members of the Kithangu family and five members of the Wambua family. One family has a recently returned missionary son who will be able to help his father who is going for the first time. It's a wonderful experience to see a family sealed to each other for eternity, and a triple blessing to witness three families. There is still much to do as we are applying for Visas now and praying they will all arrive on time. We are trying to locate suitcases to borrow etc. as most don't have access to such. The most important part is completing spiritual preparation. This will probably be the only time they get to a temple in their life-times unless they get a temple in Nairobi in coming years. We'll be gone five days – Monday through Friday – and will attend as many sessions as possible while we are there, for their ancestors. The flight is about like going from Utah to New York and will be quite an experience for those who have never been inside an airport, much less an airplane!
As we see the blessing made available to these saints going to the temple and to the young missionaries leaving for missions, we are humbled at the generosity of thousands of members world-wide who donate to the Missionary and Temple Patron Assistance Funds of the church. There is no other way that African missionaries could serve, or that saints could be endowed in the temples. But we also recognize that the people must also learn principles of self reliance to grow in living the gospel.
Attacked by Winged Termites - At the first big rain of each season, winged termites (about the size of small dragonflies) come out of the termite mounds in the ground by the millions, and fly toward any light. Within a couple of hours their wings fall off, leaving the large termite adults to attack whatever wood is around; mate, start new burrows where they lay their eggs... and the cycle continues.
Tuesday night it started to rain while we were staying in our Kikoko flat. We looked up and scores of large winged termites were flooding in under the doors. It reminded us of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds or something like it! We hurried and stuffed a towel and old shirt under the doors to fend off the invasion. By next morning there were just 1000s of wings outside our door, sort of like snowdrifts . . .reminder of the last evening's episode. A cool event to witness. Our native friends tell us that in some places they collect the insects and eat them as a tasty treat!
Thanks for your love and support and for being in touch. It means a lot to us.