Monday, May 20, 2013

Week #5 - She Says

Another week behind me/us, and the adventures continue.....
Sunday, May 12, 2013 - We stopped off at the Grafton elders apartment and left them with cookies. Elder Edwards, from Grafton, handed me a Happy Mother's Day envelope and inside I found a sweet note from him. These little gestures make it all worth while to be on a mission even though it is so very hard.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - The Grafton elders wanted us to visit a school today; it is in need of desks for the children and chalkboards. The missionaries are hopeful that we can get together with the Humanitarian couple, the Burns and see what they can do to help with this need. It is a Christian school and they have 222 students from four-five years of age up to age 12. They were attending a Muslim school 7 ½ years ago, but had to cross a very busy street in order to get to the school and two of the children were killed attempting to get cross, so this wonderful man, opened up a school on the other side of the street. It was so fun and delightful to be among these wonderful children. They had us sit down and put on a little program for us that concluded with them singing the 1st verse of I Am A Child of God (taught by the missionaries). Afterward, I was asked to introduce myself and tell them a little about our purpose for being in Sierra Leone; I concluded my presentation and surprised them by singing the last verse of this Primary song. We then went outside and took a group picture of all the children and their teachers. 

After the "snaps" (that is what they call photographs in Sierra Leone), I was walking away down the hill, when I was suddenly overtaken and encircled by these little people wanting to touch me, and hold on to me. 

There just wasn't enough of me to go around, but I loved every minute of it - these beautiful children who have nothing, yet seem to have much more than some children in America. It was a wonderful day for me.

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - As of yesterday I have been in the mission field for exactly one month, and I can honestly say, it has been one of the most challenging, difficult months of my life! But today is the 1st day of month 2 and it has been a great day!

We drove out this morning to Kissy, Wellington, Allentown and Grafton to deliver umbrellas to the missionaries. Yes, the rainy season is moving in and when it rains here, it really pours! I love our missionaries in the East. They are my heroes. Scott was remarking to one of them this morning that his living conditions 40 years ago in New Zealand (and NZ was 25 years behind the states at that time) were far better than the missionaries in Sierra Leone. These young people are so dedicated and committed to the work, and not a murmuring word from the lot of them. Truly examples to me of faith and dedication.

I hear of people having “out of body” experiences – I continue to have “out of truck” experiences, as Rambo Scott drives up roads that scare the begeebers out of me. The other day we were driving to meet up with the missionaries in Allentown and he turns up this road I swear is straight up and when I suggest maybe he should put the truck in 4-wheel drive? Nope, and the wheels are spinning and sputtering and he stops long enough for me to bail out of the truck and walk away as I imagine him sliding down the road – one of the local ladies was on her way down the road on foot and when I referred to him as Rambo, she started to chuckle.

"The road Rambo Scott drove up and I got out"

We continue to use our new-found route to our areas of labor and with the rain, it is just beautiful and it really cheers me up to see all the green and to be able to roll down the window and not have a person so close to me I can touch them. I saw some sort of movement and thought it was a little fawn coming out of the forest and got so excited, but upon closer observation, I realized it was just a goat, baah!

Saturday, May 18, 2013 - We attended a baptism of a 22 year old single woman, Marina. She told me that she has been living on her own since she was 18 as her parents died within months of one another. Her father was sick and her mother went to sleep one night and never woke up. 
"Elders Wootton and Stewart with Marina."

"The regular Saturday crowd gathers to watch Marina get baptized."

For a living, she sells men's clothing. And of course, one might think in a department store behind a counter – no, she is on a very busy street in Waterloo and like all other walking vendors, has them on her head and in her arms walking back and forth selling to random people. Hopefully, now that she is a member and will begin to pay tithing, she will witness miracles in her life of more financial security and opportunities for a better life.

Only in West Africa!

More photos from the week:
 "Elder Nwosu from Nigeria. A very handsome young man."

"A very time consuming hairdo."

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