Monday, January 22, 2018

New Mission - Brooklyn, New York!!!! and Week #1 - Jan 15 - Jan 20

Dear Family and Friends,

I am hunkered down in North Platte, NE due to blizzard conditions so have time to get out my first of many emails and pictures of our (Scott and Robin) mission to New York, specifically the Bronx.

For those of you who are not of my faith, some of my journal entries will speak of the Savior and the impact He has had on my life. I am hopeful this does not offend you; it is because of Him I am serving this mission.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Scott and I were set apart as fulltime missionaries tonight by members of the Stake Presidency. They came to our home; it was wonderful to have them in our home. The Petersens, Luckys and us went to dinner prior to this event. I have come to love these 2 women dearly. Serving with them in the temple as coordinators was a sweet blessing for the 3 of us as we became such good friends. In addition to them being with us tonight, we had Scott's mom, sister and brother in law; our Bishop and his sweet daughter, Maddie; Bill and Lisa Busath. All the men were in the circle and it was a tender moment for me. After all left, Scott and Stan gave Mom Kanzler a blessing, and in turn Deb was given one. Mom Kanzler has been ill with a terrible cough (much like the one Scott has) and Deb was struck with Bell's Palsy a little over a week ago. After everyone was gone, Scott gave me a blessing assuring me of the welfare and well being of our home, animals and my sweet mom.
One more day at home to get ready and we are off for whatever is in store for us.

Being Set Apart at our home

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Arrived here in Lehi, Utah without incident, though it was difficult to leave home this morning. It is one thing to announce for the past 3 months that we would be serving a mission commencing January 15th, it is another item to actually go forward with the decision. It is easier said than done as I live in this temporary realm of more consecrated service. Leaving family, friends and home is not easy.

Friday, January 12, 2018
Scott and I attended President Monson's funeral this afternoon; after it was announced that he has consecrated his life to service to the Lord for 67 years commencing when he was called as a bishop at the age of 22, I had a reality check and concluded I could certainly consecrate 6 months of my life to serving the people in the New York New York North Mission. Two quotes of President Monson that were shared today: “I feel we have done some good today,” and “Never let a problem 2 be solved be more important than a person to be loved.”

On the tram to President Monson's funeral

Lunch Time!!!

On a lighter note, I was looking in our packed car for something this morning when I discovered tennis rackets and pickle ball rackets – what??? When I questioned Scott about it and questioned where in the Bronx did he think we would be playing either sport, he exclaimed we aren't in West Africa (third world) we are in the US; really, tennis courts in the Bronx? He also confessed he packed my golf clubs as well. I told him not waste the space in the car with them, but of course he didn't listen to me. Really, pickle ball courts in the Bronx? I don't think so!

Went to church with Loren!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Outside MTC prior to be checked in

The MTC Map!

It has been a whirl wind day getting checked into the MTC and settled in our room; in addition getting assigned to a district, having our first training meeting and then FHE where a rebroadcast of a talk Elder Bednar gave Christmas day 2016 at the MTC. It was powerful. He spoke of the difference of a testimony and conversion. A summary of his remarks follows:

- “There would be no atoning sacrifice except for the character of Jesus Christ.” Neil A. Maxwell
- What is the character of the Savior? He turns outward in love, service and compassion
- In the Garden of Gethsemane after asking his disciples to wait for him and remain awake; 3 times he admonished them to no avail. Having just taken upon Him the sins, sorrows, ills of all mankind, having bled from every pore; and then betrayed by one of His disciples. As He is approached to be arrested, Peter draws his sword and severs the ear of one of the Roman soldiers. What is the character of the Savior? He turns outward and restores the ear to the soldier.
- This mission isn't about me! Get over myself and turn outward towards others. The greatest conversion on my mission can be me if I get over myself and turn outward.
- If I am converted unto the Lord, I will never fall away; one who only has a testimony stands a chance of leaving the church.
- Conversion is being consistently true to what I know to be true.
- Faith, then Testimony and the ultimate of Conversion
- One's lifelong pursuit should be learning of the Savior not about Him.
- With desire and diligence, my discovery of the character of the Savior will bind me to Him and I will not fall away.

During one of our general meetings, we as mission couples were counseled to be mindful of each other, hold hands and generally look like we care about each other. This was because a statistic was given that out of all the missionaries who come through the MTC only 20% of these wonderful young people come from homes where there is a mother and father and they go to church on Sunday; the other 80% come from single parent homes with additional challenges.

Full time missionaries with disabilities

Laundry Time

Missionaries with disabilities serving in the Call Center

Our new friends, the Gunnells, who are the new office couple in the Sacramento, CA Mission 

Senior Couples - New Friends

Friday, January 19, 2018
A lot has transpired since Monday and when I think about it, it makes me tired. We had training every day until 4:30 in the afternoon; it has been exhausting but Scott and I have had a wonderful time learning and discovering we are able to teach together even though we have different styles.

Besides the MTC this week, a list of what else has transpired:
- We bumped into the Plennerts from home; they were to have flown to their field of labor last Saturday, the 13th, but Gerhart became very ill and they could not travel. They were quite discouraged, but he is well enough to fly and they leave in the morning.
- We drove to Santaquin last night and had dinner with Shirley. It was so good to eat at “home” and bypass the MTC food.
Wednesday, we rendezvoused with Robb and Ellen Seader at the BYU Creamery. They were a humanitarian couple serving in Sierra Leone while we were there. It was so fun to see them again.

Creamery date with the Seader's

It is currently snowing, so we don't know what our travel plans will be tomorrow.
I am happy, not pining too much for home.

Saturday, January 20, 2018
We left Provo this morning at 9:00 after having our last meal in the “missionary mess hall.” Most seniors had already left; will miss my association with them. 5 days in the MTC is pretty intense but a very endearing experience as we meet with the same missionaries every day; the Mollers (going to Bismark, ND serving the native Americans), the Schows (going to St. Johns Island, Nova Scotia); the Taylors (serving at home in Highland, UT) and of course, us (serving in New York, NY).

My overall experience in the MTC – wonderful! The food was challenging and other than that, I learned a lot and am anxious to get to New York.

Weather across Wyoming was quite dicey and we ended up staying the night in Laramie, Wyoming; we had hoped to get to Cheyenne, but too stormy and dark.
Highway 80 heading East

Welcome to Little America, Wyoming

Love to all!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Week #54 - Water!

Sunday, April 20, 2014
This has been a very full and busy Easter Sunday. It started with a trip out the back road to the Grafton Branch for Sacrament meeting; from there we drove over to the Polio Camp to visit the church members. A group has been organized for them at the camp to ease the difficulty many have physically trying to get to church in Grafton. About 35 were in attendance on just their second Sunday. It is quite humbling, to say the least, to be among these sweet members, who live in a government designated community for Polio victims so as not to mix/mingle with others.  

We visited the Polio Camp today and the group of members who now meet there. Quiet humbling.

Young girls at the Polio Camp Sunday meeting.

Came home and whipped some food together in preparation to eat dinner with the Ostlers and then view some of April's General Conference. At one point 3 out of the 4 of us were slumbering through Elder L. Tom Perry's talk and of course, Rachelle just had to take a snap of us. We played some cards and had a wonderful Easter Sunday.

Engrossed in General Conference - 3 of us asleep.

Monday, April 21, 2014
The missionary and humanitarian apartments are out of water at Hill Station. I happened to walk into Issa this morning on my walk with Rachelle; he owns the apartments and I told him of the water situation; always some sort of excuse though he never tries to avoid me; he lost one of his phones and because of the holiday today, he will not be able to deliver. We also found out from the missionaries that the pump for getting the water up to the Milla tanks is not working. 

The Seaders (who live in the Hill Station apartment) had called the Ostlers to see if they could do their laundry here today – Rachelle and I get home from our walk and I check the water tanks as per my usual routine every day, and we have approximately 1,500 litres left out of our 12,000 liters supply. Somehow my back up tank of 3,000 liters is completely empty! No laundry at our home today and no delivery until tomorrow because of the holiday and our delivery man's truck is broken down – sheesh! This could be comforting to the Seaders though knowing they are not the only ones without water. The Hill Station apartment has a working well, but it is not on the property, so a very long hose is extended from the well to the apartment and a pump is used to get it up into the water tank that sits on a tower. The pump is broken, so we go buy one and can't get it to work Thank goodness for water stored in 2 liter bottles that will see us through until tomorrow.

Friday, April 25, 2014
So much for water being delivered on Tuesday, or Wednesday or even yesterday! What a week this has been with water shortage. I have been very empathetic suffering right along with them. Additionally, I have had calls from Grafton, Wellington Vida, Kossoh Town, and the Hill Station Elders apartments telling me they need water; my water provider, Adonis Manley has had his truck in the shop all week so he can't deliver; Francis the plumber, who delivers to the mission office and who owes us a credit of 12,000 liters of water was supposed to deliver to the mission home yesterday, but to-date was not returning phone calls. I got a hold of him this morning and he assured me he would deliver by mid-morning, but by 3:00 there is still no water. 

Sierra Leone citizens when asked about water source when we inquire into new apartments - “of course there is, water is life.” But when it doesn't effect the owner personally, it is not important to them and we end up having to provide water to apartments. I sat at my desk at the Mission Office, staring out the window hoping and praying for ideas as to how to resolve this issue and get water to these apartments and ours and quite frankly I had no more ideas; with that I got up and went into my storage closet, closed the door, and proceeded to plead with the Lord to intervene in my behalf and on behalf of the mission. I acknowledged the situation certainly wasn't as bad as the children of Israel in the wilderness, but nonetheless, I didn't know what to do and we needed water and I had expended all my contacts for delivery. 

One simple prayer of pleading later, I walk out of the closet to Scott on the phone. Scott is talking to Elder Evans and Hill Station is getting water as we speak, and I had a message on my phone from Brother Manley that he was sub-contracting another water truck in order to get water to the mission home this evening. Coincidence? I choose to believe it is a tender mercy.

Saturday, April 26, 2014
The drive to Makeni today was a happy one knowing water was not a problem for the Seaders and the mission home as well as the other missionary apartments. It is supposed to rain quite a few days next week – Yay for the rainy season that is on its way!

Our objective for Makeni today was to look at more sites for a chapel and to attend the 2:00 pm baptism and the 4:00 YW's program. The baptism didn't start until well after 3:00 pm because the well was low and the missionaries couldn't draw water out of it sufficient to fill the baptismal font. 

Elder Hill baptized 3 beautiful women and with the water so low, it was sweet to watch him carefully, but with strength, lay them back into the very shallow water. 
Elder Hill in the very shallow baptismal font.

Elder Hill with the first sister to be baptized!

Serious discussion going on down there.

Such kindness helping her out of the font.

Two down and the last sister to go.

With everything thrown off time wise because of the baptismal service starting late, the YW's program didn't start until well after 5:00 pm; once it commenced it was delightful to see the YW talk about the history of the organization, and share the YW values by explaining the color that corresponded with the value; they all had tops on that matched the color they were talking about, and a few managed to find balloons the same color and pinned them on themselves. 

The YW and the value colors

They put a lot of gusto into their singing!

By the time everything was over, we made it to our minus one star motel by 7:30 pm.

Elder and Sister Barney arrived tonight. Another much needed senior couple to serve in Sierra Leone. It is a blessing to have them with us. They came with the statistic from the MTC, that 4 out of 5 senior couples turn down mission calls to Africa.

As usual, it was very hot in Makeni today.

Love to all and Happy May Day this week!

Robin and Scott

Extra Snap: 

April 23, 2014 - The workers told me to back up because the water truck was on its way - not far enough!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Week #53 - Not a Murmuring Word!

Monday, April 14, 2014
A year ago today, Scott and I entered the MTC for what was to be the beginning of 12 months of experiences beyond our wildest dreams. To celebrate the occasion, we had an outing to the Great and Spacious Building, to look, barter, and purchase West African creations. A couple of the office elders who also had their P-day accompanied us and helped immensely with the bargaining; it is expected of us to barter and though I am getting better at it, still something I do not like to do and when a young missionary is so good at it – well.... It was such a fun outing; we then came home to a quick dinner and movie night across the hallway with the Jests, and Margaret had made a yummy coconut cake.
A much needed P-Day outing at the Great and Spacious Building

This is what they call country cloth complete with knit caps that do not fit. 

All the fun and beautiful stuff Scott and I bargained for today. 

A very delightful day!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I made chocolate chip cookies last night after a late dinner that finished around 9:30 pm. I set the cell phone timer for the first batch for the prescribed 15 minutes and as usual, one side of the oven cooks hotter and the cookies on the right side of the pan were a little dark on the bottom; Scott determines that I need to set the timer for 11 minutes, so he picks up my phone and sets it for me. I start fiddling around in the kitchen and notice when I think the 11 minutes have expired and no buzzer; I removed the cookies from the oven. This morning around 11:00 am, my cell phone buzzer goes off – hmmm... he had set the timer at 11 hours the night before instead of 11 minutes!

After washing my hair this morning, I lathered up my hands with hair gel (made in Lebanon) and proceed to apply it all over my face thinking momentarily it was face cream – took awhile to wash off all the goo, but I had some stylin eyebrows!

Busy day at the office finishing up CDE's for the month; only 170 baptismal entries for the month of March!

The Jest's are leaving for Bo/Kenema tomorrow to presumably finish out their mission so Rachelle and I combined our cooking efforts and hosted a dinner for them – the 6 of us. Between food and conversation (mostly about movies to view – Scott and I contributed a total of about 3) we enjoyed a pleasant 3 + hours together. As we are sitting around the table, Scott out of no where asks me the question, “Who is Frank?” I have no idea what he is talking about and when I ask, he says I was talking in my sleep last night and said something to the effect, “No problem, Frank.” I really don't know any one by the name of Frank.....

We had quite a bit of rain this evening with a very strong wind – strong enough to take a very large branch down from the tree outside my kitchen window. Let the rainy season begin! It starts the season mid April and I am so grateful. After dealing with the dry season and no water for apartments, the heavy rains will fill Milla tanks and blue barrels so missionaries will have plenty and not have to ration.

Thursday, April 17, 2014
My intent/purpose today was to spend it in the office and go through all the Makeni baptismal records to compile lists of the members by addresses in preparation for the future division of one branch into 3. Well, on the way to the office, I get a call from Elder Flament, advising me that the sister missionary leaving Sierra Leone to serve in Nigeria was leaving today and not tomorrow! Elder Flament told us when we arrived at the mission office to pick up her paperwork, he was in the bathroom when he had the impression to check her flight schedule. I told him, follow those 1st promptings where ever you find yourself! It is almost 11 o'clock and Scott and I go into “think” mode to figure out how, if possible, we can get in touch with this young woman and have her ready in two hours to get to the Kissy building from Wellington, set apart by the mission president who is already there conducting missionary interviews, and get her paperwork and flight information to her that is at the mission office. We are able to contact the young woman and inform her of the mistake in days and ask if she can be ready in just a couple of hours to leave on her mission. She isn't packed or even thinking about it, but with a wonderful and positive attitude, she tells us she will be at Kissy and ready to go. 

Scott and I pick up the paperwork at the office around 11:30 am and on our way out to Kissy via Kissy Road. We don't even make it to Kissy Road when we come to a screeching halt on Old Mountain Road, and we sat there for an hour and a half – the road isn't even a mile long to Kissy Road, We are texting the office elders and receiving calls from Rachelle wondering if we are going to make it in time to get the young lady to the Kissy ferry by 1:30 pm, and quite frankly, I am not so sure. A silent prayer or two later, the traffic starts to move and by the time we get to Kissy Road, we discover the problem is a waste management truck – the irony of this country managing waste! Anyway, because of the heavy rain and wind last night, the gutters, etc. were all backed up with garbage that has accumulated over the past 6 months and was all over the road, and “waste management” was cleaning it up, literally by hand and dumping it in the truck. 

Waste Management - Oh Yeah!

Manual labor managing the waste!

We got to the chapel at 1:30 pm, and here is this sweet young woman ready to go and it just so happened that a funeral was in the process of a member of her branch, so she was having a wonderful send-off of members of her branch; I took a couple of pictures, got her and her sister in the car and got them to the Kissy ferry by 1:45 pm. We drove through a line of passengers waiting to purchase tickets, and drove up to the vehicle/passenger window to purchase ours; that was a tender mercy for us to go that direction, even though it was the que for vehicle and people tickets; we told them nix the vehicle and we just needed tickets for the missionary and her sister. I took a couple more pictures of her and wished her a safe journey. Never met the young lady before today, but I never cease to get a little teary as I bid these Sierra Leone missionaries safe journey! I wonder how many American families would have handled such a change in plans! Not a murmuring word was heard today but a declaration to Scott when he told her of the change of plans, “no problem, I will be ready.” There is so much to learn of the simpleness of life from these wonderful people and just plain simple faith!

The hearse pulls up for the funeral and as is the normal here, has mechanical problems. 

Sister Turay with her sister and friends from the branch!

Sister Turay and her sister!

The Kissy Ferry!

Sister Turay was somewhere in this crowd!

One of our guards, Abdulai who lives in a very humble home with a zinc roof told us today that two of the panels blew off the roof of his home and rain was flooding the children's bedroom, so he had to move them to his room, and he and his wife spent the rest of the night in the kids' room. He spent a good portion of this morning looking for the pieces of zinc but could not find them (someone else's new find) so he had to use precious funds to purchase more.

Friday, April 18, 2014
We had dinner with the Campbell's tonight. They are down to just 7 working days before they pack it in and out of Sierra Leone. We will miss them! What a blessing to have met them in Freetown Market (their first time shopping there) just a month into our mission. We call them our embassy friends and they refer to us as their church friends. Add to the friendship, they live just a stone's throw away from us off of Regent Road.

Saturday, April 19, 2014
With the Easter holiday weekend, it has been kind of a “holiday” for us as well. We did make some deliveries today to the sisters' apartment in Lumley, went to the office for a brief moment, and traveled to Basha's Bakery to purchase 3 rotisserie chickens. I am so ever grateful Scott and I still like the taste of chicken because we have eaten pounds of it over the past year – that and cucumbers – oh and let's not forget white rice! Will I be happy to eat a salad again.

We went out to dinner with the Ostler's. The only ones dining at the time and yet it took over an hour to have our food served and it was the usual – cold. We are always having little wagers as to whether the waiter can get our order correct; we weren't disappointed tonight as Rachelle's meal was not what she ordered.

Love to All! The Kanzlers

Week #52 - Can you Believe It???? It's Been A Year!

Sunday, April 6, 2014
I completely forgot it was Conference weekend with our routinely busy Saturdays and Sundays. We attended the block of meetings in Makeni, I conducted more interviews, and we delivered supplies to the missionaries. After the block, we participated in the Branch Council, rendering opinions, suggestions and counsel. We are almost in the dark with only one overhead light bulb working, but there was a/c so I was able to cool down a little bit but by now, having wiped perspiration off my face multiple times, and run my fingers through my “short” hair, I am looking like a female version of Einstein and his crazed hair do!

Round net!

Square net took Scott 45 minutes to hang as I am out on the streets looking for nails to hammer into cement.

We were only 5 minutes away from home tonight when the traffic came to a dead stop. A Catholic school was having a program and all vehicle movement ceased. It took us over an hour to finally get home! Exhausting....

While we waited for stopped traffic for over an hour I took random pictures.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Had a phone call from Elder Nwosu today and he reports, 26 people were in attendance at the first Sunday meeting of the Lungi group. Pretty exciting.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Rachelle's birthday! Dave arranged a dinner at Bliss with all the senior couples. It was a very enjoyable evening.

Beautiful sun setting outside of Bliss Restaurant

Sun setting!

Kanzler's at the birthday celebration!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Young Single Adult Summit came and went this week-end. To be quite honest, it was disappointing and disheartening to observe the venue of events and go away feeling somewhat empty. The local Stake took on the responsibility of this event over 6 months ago and had plenty of time to prepare especially with the written guidelines/program established by Accra. It just wasn't well organized and planned and the “college” campus where it was held, in my eyes, did not help create an atmosphere of warmth and friendship. I could go on and on and must not belabor what I saw.....I am sure there will be followup emails with the Calls and concerns can be voiced with them. The visiting authority who presided over the event was Elder M. Thomas Ben-Davis, a member of the 5th Quorum of Seventy. He just retired from his job last September as a chemist for a chocolate company in Accra, Ghana. Just a delightful man filled with enthusiasm and optimism. Would that the young adults of Sierra Leone could mirror just a bit of this man's outlook on life. He was a breath of West African fresh air (not that the air is fresh here).

A look at the college campus grounds.

Dormitories at the Milton Margai College

Great looking piles of chairs behind the curtains where the speakers sat.

Over 350 single adults in attendance. Name tags were a 3x5 card with a safety pin.

Elder Ben Davis of the 5th Quorum of 70.

We barely got started and this young man was checked out.

With Ryan, Megan and the boys in Vancouver for Easter break, it has been a challenge for me to stay focused on mission responsibilities and not long for home and to be on a road trip with them. It hasn't helped that the internet has been virtually down for 3 weeks at the Mission Office and the work I have there has been at a stand-still until it is up and running again.

Yesterday, I put crumbs out as usual on the kitchen window sill for my neighborhood birds and walked away; within moments I heard a lot of squawking and went to the window to see a hawk of some sort tearing at something. I couldn't see well so I picked up a pair of binoculars to observe more closely and realized it had captured and killed one of my birds and the rest were quite upset. I was upset myself; I realize it is the circle of life, but it was still disturbing for me to witness.

Love and Gratitude for all your prayers in our behalf this past year!

Robin and Scott

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Week #51 - Transfer Week!

Monday, March 31, 2014
Scott was gone all day setting up two apartments and transporting missionaries. It was dessert evening upstairs with 5 departing missionaries – all from America. Great group of young men. My friend Carrie Smith sent an email from her missionary son, Chris who is serving in Argentina and he shares his great insight into the various levels service, that I think is very profound and I wish to record it, as follows:

“In the Gospel, many times we see members (or missionaries) who are convinced, those who are converted, and those who are consecrated. Those who are convinced give what they can when it´s convenient for them, those who are converted have a strong testimony and always do what they are asked, but those who are consecrated understand the ways of the Lord sufficient to do many good things of their own free will. They understand what the Lord wants them to do without needing to be told, they give of their time, talents, mind, heart, strength, everything because they love the Lord and His Church. They are those who always are obedient to the small and simple things that help us remain faithful in life, and help those around them to do the same as well.”

I know, I am nuts but it is good for a laugh between Rachelle and me!

Trying my best on our walk to stop the steam roller!

Where is Flat Stanley when I need him?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
15 new missionaries arrived tonight – 14 elders and one sister. While cars caravand to Sea Coach to pick them up, I stayed behind to get set up for their dinner. All went smoothly for which I am always grateful. One never knows in Sierra Leone.

Elders Mills, Despain, Symons, Jones and Turner all going home!

Get those back packs on and they are ready to head to the sea coach.

Kanzler's with 5 departing missionaries!

Once paperwork was completed and dinner served, they were then driven to various apartments to spend the night. We took the one and only newly arriving sister to the apartment in Congo Cross to spend the night and will pick her up tomorrow morning to drive her into the Mission Office for an orientation meeting.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Orientation and other various sundry items completed, and I went with the Ostler's to deliver missionaries to the Congo Cross apartment and the Goderich apartment. Once we dropped the sister off in Congo Cross, we headed out to Goderich by way of Lumley. On our way, we happened upon a beautiful mission scene – two missionaries teaching the gospel to a woman along the busy, Lumley Road. It was a thrill to see.

It was wonderful to happen upon this teaching moment.

We drove through Lumley to deliver new missionaries to Goderich and we came upon this wonderful scene. Elders Zenovieff and Mason.

Issues with transportation to Bo/Kenema and frustration with our Upgun apartment have played a role in this transfer period; it just can't go without a glitch – something we have to deal with. I will be so grateful when we peak our compliment for missionaries and maybe, just maybe, we will have a 6 week period where we do not have to secure an apartment. I can only hope.

Flat Stanley on his way to Elder Flament's parents in Somerset, England

Thursday, April 3, 2014
Another Sierra Leone friend from Kissy left on her mission today; Marian Browne. So cute and just 19 years of age. The family showed up at the office today around 10:30 and I walked out into the lobby to just Marian. When I asked where her mom and sister were, she told me they were down in the car with no intention of coming in. So, I walked down and invited them upstairs and hauled up Marian's one piece of luggage. And to think Scott and I brought two very large suitcases a piece, in addition to each with a carry-on and backpacks. I am constantly having reality checks in this country. 

I had arranged for Marian to receive her Patriarchal Blessing today and so when she was called to go down to the Stake Center, she was about to go alone when I informed her mom and sister that they could be part of this as well. They came back up for orientation and had Marian's one bag weighed. She still had weight room for more stuff (Scott and I had to pay for overage). It was time to go to Sea Coach and her mom had no intention of taking her, because she needed to get to work; so some pictures, some awkward moments of mom and sister expressing their love and saying good-bye, and they left! I am feeling quite sorrowful by now for Sister Browne who goes back into the office as I try to figure out how she is getting to Sea Coach in that Scott had already left for an appointment in Kissy. President Ostler to the rescue along with the assistants. By now I am quite emotional because the likelihood of me ever seeing this sweet young woman is next to none – I express my love to her, kiss her on the forehead with us both in tears and send her on her way. Not quite the same way a missionary is sent off in America – it seemed so distant between a daughter and her mother.....does Mariatu love her daughter any less than American moms? I don't think so.

Our newest missionary from Sierra Leone - Sister Browne in the middle.

Kanzler's with the Browne's

Sister Browne off to receive her patriarchal blessing.

Elder Bogh came in the office today and retrieved a package from home. In my opinion I thought it was too big for his backpack but not so yeah – he stuffed it in with Scott's help and then found red twine and tied his pack shut; I asked him how he was going to keep from being thieved (pronounced teeved), and he proceeded to demonstrate for me.  (See video here) Hilarious!

Saturday, April 5, 2014
Long and very hot day! We are in Makeni for the week-end and it is so hot here! I had 6 interviews with members of the branch and with no air conditioning, oh boy....I think it is at least 10 degrees warmer than in Freetown. 

 After the interviews, we headed over to the hotel to check-in and as we drove up who do we see, but President Charles, a member of the Freetown Stake Presidency. He is in town to observe the Seminary and Institute program of Makeni, and is staying at the same hotel. So we had dinner with him tonight and had a wonderful yet heart wrenching visit. The civil war came up in the conversation and he shared with us personal stories and personal loss of loved ones. The rebels actually entered Freetown two separate times and were driven out in 1997 but came back with a vengeance in 2000. The second return resulted in Brother Charles' brother and 93 year old great grandmother being captured and made to walk 30 miles. It resulted in his grandma dying and the brother being used to carry the spoils of what the rebels took. At this point, with the exception of Brother Charles and another brother, the rest of the family fled to the mountains to escape the war, but had no food; Brother Charles and his brother risked their lives every day in Freetown, to barter for food for the family and then at night would climb the mountains to take it to them. President Charles (first name Abibu) told us as he was foraging for food on the streets, he saw corpses everywhere and almost daily saw someone killed. He lost other family members during this horrific time. And these loving people today live among the boy soldiers (as they were called) because they are most of the akada drivers (motorcycle transportation) in Freetown. He told us of the story of a woman he knows not of the Mormon faith, who was on a motorcycle one Sunday traveling to church; she got off the motorcycle to get the money out of her purse to pay her fare, but had difficulty doing so because her hand was missing; on closer observation, the young man recognized her and realized he was responsible for her hand being chopped off! He fell to the ground to beg her forgiveness....still so hard for me to wrap my brain and heart around what some of our friends suffered during the 11 year civil war.

As we traveled this morning to Makeni we listened to the Tabernacle choir and one of the hymns was, “I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go.” So I took a video of our surroundings and Scott and I sang the chorus at the end of each verse. It was a moment for us as we looked at each other and sang, “I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord, over mountain or plain or see; I'll say what you want me to say dear Lord, I'll be what you want me to be.” (See the video here).

Love to all! Elder and Sister Kanzler

Additional Snaps:

Turned a little too sharp!

When we passed they were in the process of trying to figure out how to lift the vehicle.