Christmas Celebration in Matua – Wednesday after teaching in Mitini we traveled to Matua in the afternoon to celebrate Christmas with the families there by watching “Finding Faith in Christ” together along with singing carols and sharing testimony of our Savior as we prepare to celebrate his birth. We took the TV, generator, etc. and set it up outside . The children sat on the ground while the adults sat on various chairs and benches. All were reverent and enjoyed watching the birth and life of Jesus Christ. There's no TV in the village so this was a very special occasion. Non-member friends were also invited and joined in. After we gave them each a sucker to celebrate. What a special day!
Camping in Kikoko – Friday evening we met Elder and Sister McBride from Mombasa on the Kenyan coast, and Elder and Sister Bergner from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (which is also in our mission) in Salama, to travel to our Kikoko flat and spend the night. We warned them it would be like camping as we took the mattress off our bed and put it in the spare room and the couch and chair pillows on the floor in the living room for another bed. We slept on the box springs with thin foam on top. There wasn't great comfort but we enjoyed being together. After we arrived, we all hiked our favorite mountain trail through the homes and shambas of the Kamba tribe's people, which attracted a lot of attention with 6 mzungus together; and a host of 30+ children who tagged along in procession after us, chanting “How are you?” (They have learned this in school as an appropriate greeting to foreigners.) Upon return, we fixed spaghetti dinner on our one gas cooker (like camping). We put the beans in a frying pan and used that for a lid to the cooking spaghetti as both were warmed. It worked and added to the adventure. It was enjoyable sharing the beauties of the Hills with these special friends. We talked and played games into the night.
Saturday morning we drove to our high-on-the-hill branch, Ilima where Sister McBride demonstrated how to make paper beads. The thirty-two sisters who attended loved it and were excited as they all sat around the tables creating their own beads for necklaces. The three missionary sisters of us helped with the beads while the three Elders went to the Kyambeke Branch for the baptism of a good friend there.
After a delightful experience, McBrides and Bergners left for Nairobi to go to dinner with the other couples. Elder and Sister Blake stayed to attend and speak at a Young Women in Excellence meeting in the Ilima Branch. Each of the young women told of a special project they had done during the year. They ranged from planting seeds in a “faith” garden or shamba, to canning mangos, to sewing skirts, scripture bags, etc. It's wonderful to see these young women so far from the center of the church working on the same Personal Progress goals and activities as other young women all over the church. It's an inspired program. We arrived back in Kikoko in the late afternoon to spend the night – tired but happy for the experiences of the day.
Another Keyboard and English Christmas Program - It was an excited group who presented the Christmas program after the block of meetings Sunday. They had been practicing and preparing and were nervous but ready for the day! The keyboard students played hymns and Christmas carols, led the congregation in singing, and conducted the good-sized branch choir. They were so proud of themselves and relieved that it went as well as it did! The English students had a good time reciting a short Christmas poem that they have been memorizing in English, along with presenting the nativity with donkey, sheep, and Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, while the others sang the first verse of “Silent Night” in English. There were about 20 of them and they enjoyed being part of the celebration. After pictures and suckers we headed home to Nairobi – another good day.
Enjoy this last week of preparation for Christmas. Stay safe and happy. We love you.