Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Week #12 - She Says

Dear Family and Friends,
I am a little late this week - we are so busy on week-ends that we have chosen to now take our preparation day on Mondays, so will probably be sending out weekly correspondence going forward on Tuesdays when we are in the office. The internet at home is very weak at best and I must travel to the office in order to access the internet. That said, we have had another wonderful week and to think we have just completed 3 months on mission! It has been ever so challenging, but the heart continues to expand with love; I think sometimes, I can't possibly fit more love in that heart of mine but love has no boundaries and it continues to swell with emotion and gratitude...

Sunday, June 30, 2013
Today is my 7th wedding anniversary of marriage to Scott! Who would have even dreamed that I would be spending this day with him in Sierra Leone, West Africa!

I prepared breakfast for the Ostler's this morning and then off we went and attended Sacrament meeting at the Kissy 1st Branch. I feel like it is my home “ward” in West Africa. I so love the people there. A couple of little kids just sat down beside us and the little girl was stuck to me like glue. We didn't stay for the whole block as we needed to get home to start dinner for the Ostler's and the senior couples, and we needed to get to the hovercraft to see the Roggia's off as they left today to return to America.
Our 7th wedding anniversary picture with President and Sister Roggia

When we got home from Kissy, we turned right around and drove to the dock and discovered that the hovercraft was not working and that they were taking sea craft, so we got in the truck and hurried over there to find that they hadn't left yet. When I approached Sister Roggia, we embraced with emotion and I felt love for her and from her. She counseled me to help Sister Ostler in her adjustment to life in Sierra Leone and I promised I would. I gave President Roggia a firm handshake and that was it. They got on the boat and off they went to Lungi to catch a plane to Accra, then a Delta Flight to New York and home to Salt Lake City. They land tomorrow at 10:00 am. Just like that, after 3 years of service, it is a chapter in their lives that has closed and they are gone. I am just glad we made the effort to see them off; President Roggia discouraged it, and I just couldn't let Sister Roggia go without hugging her.
The Burns, Marcus Wallace, and the Roggias.

Off they go after 3 years in Sierra Leone - a very challenging mission.

Monday, July 1, 2013
How do I describe today.....? To spend almost an entire day with a fellow American woman grocery shopping, and then helping her wash and sanitize all of her fruits and vegetables; to be locked out of my apartment, and not be able to get back in until Scott comes home almost 3 hours later so I spend that time talking and listening to her. And then to have dinner with her and her husband tonight, afterward talking and discussing the mission. I haven't experienced something like this for almost 3 months and have so longed for it! This woman? The new mission president's wife who just arrived Saturday night. How do I describe today.....? Wonderful!

I got all this for $10,000 leones! 
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Long day that ended around 8:30 pm, but well worth it. Any day I can spend time with the Saints in the East, I am happy; if the day has had moments of challenge and frustration, it is quickly washed away by their smiles and love.

Scott's Kindle arrived safely, but it isn't working as well as he would like, and he can't get help because his laptop computer screen is now completely black so he can't have any kind of a live chat with Amazon to get the help he wants. I caught him looking at the black screen with a flashlight struggling to view the picture of the family on his screen saver.

Friday, July 5, 2013
We essentially took a P day today and I needed it. Our friends from the Embassy, Robert and Berta Campbell came over around 1:00 pm with a t.v. guy from work to see if he could get us hooked up to cable television. Of course, that didn't happen (nothing seems to go right the first time around in Sierra Leone), but we decided to get together later this evening and play some cards. The Campbell's home is much nicer than ours and bigger too, so we headed off to their place a little after 7:00 pm and had a wonderful evening. It felt so much like being at home, playing cards, eating pretzels, Lay's potato chips, popcorn, and soda pop. I decided this was our 4th of July celebration; I did wear red, white and blue yesterday and thought a lot about what it means to be an American and how blessed I am to live in America. I have never been so grateful and felt so blessed as I did yesterday.

Scott and I feel so blessed to know the Campbell's. To think we met in the refrigerated section of Freetown Market and it was the 1st time shopping there for them....coincidence? I don't think so.

Saturday, July 6, 2013
Up early today and off to the Mission Office to feed the dogs and then to Kissy in time for the Career Workshop that started at 9:00 am. The dogs are Will 2 (will to live) and Tag (tag-along). The dog that I thought would die due to injuries sustained by being hit by a car in front of the Mission Office has lived and is somewhat thriving due to our loving care and offering him and Tag one square meal a day. Because we leave a bowl at a little shop where the motorcyclists' park, we offer food sometimes to a lady who keeps track of the feeding bowl. One day last week as I was watching Scott with Will 2, he, the dog approached Scott with his tail wagging in a circular motion, so happy to see Scott and of course, the food.

We left Kissy in time to be at a baptism in Wellington. Two of the sister missionaries, Sisters Kioko and Owusu had a baptismal candidate and invited us to attend. We also asked if we could go tracting with them after the baptism and they were delighted to have us pair up with them. So, after the baptism off we walked for over a mile until we arrived in their area of proselyting and of course it was pouring down rain! 
These wonderful people were baptized on July 6, 2013. I think the woman is so regal and beautiful!

So we were soaking wet by the time we arrived at the established appointment that was located the other side of a makeshift soccer field where youth were playing in the downpour. The investigator was a young woman with at least one child we knew of and lived in a cinder block home. We met outside for the lesson and sat down in a space no bigger than 7' by 5'. The sister missionaries, the investigator, her daughter in her lap, Scott and me sitting on little benches. Oh, and I can't forget two little chicks running between our feet, and a coal burning stove preparing a meal of rice and potato leaf. 

Our two little missionaries were so wet, yet so earnest in their efforts to teach this young woman about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I thought about how wet and dirty I was and that I would have to go out again into the storm to get back to the chapel and asked myself what motivates two young women to leave their native land of South Africa to deal with the hardships of this mission? It is simply, for Heavenly Father and His Son, and love for His children. It is the same reason why Scott and I are here; life is so much easier and comfortable in America, but we are here because of love and because we are so blessed.
We walked over a mile to get to the teaching appointment and got so wet. Notice the water line...

I also had some time to talk to the other two sister missionaries of the Wellington Branch – Sisters Awuoche and Ndolo, both from Kenya. Such a delight to speak with both of them. Sister Awuoche is going home in just 8 more Sundays (but who is counting she says). She is somewhat nervous about going home as there is a young man who has been writing her and they had discussed marriage before she left for the mission field. She doesn't have a mom she can talk to as she died when Sister Awuoche was only 8 years old. So she asked if I would be her mom and give her some marriage advice; of course I am a wealth of information when it comes to marriage having just celebrated 7 years of marital bliss!? We plan to keep up an email correspondence when she gets home, and to “friend” each other on Facebook as I want to keep track of this wonderful young woman.
Sister Awuoche and I just chatting after the baptism.

From the sisters, we headed back to the Kissy building for Seminary/Institute graduation. There were 143 saints in attendance. The West African saints love to get certificates and paper awards, so to get a “diploma” so-to-speak, was very significant to them. We got home around 7:00 pm very tired. The roads are very rough during the rainy season and the travel is very wearing and tiresome on the body.

Much love from West Africa, Robin

More Snaps:

Baptismal clothes drying out on the razor wire and cut glass. Oh and it's pouring rain.

Dodgeball with the Kissy Branch kids. The ball consisted of a rag around something. It was smaller than a tennis ball.

I had to play a game with them!

Okay anyone can do this!

It weighed at least 25lbs.

I could not even keep it on my head for 30 seconds!

Sierra Leone Freetown East District Primary Presidency

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