Monday, August 19, 2013

Week #16 - She Says

Dear Family and Friends,
Sunday, July 28, 2013
I don't know what it is about Sunday's, but I am not very functional. I was up this morning before dawn and by the time we arrived in Waterloo at 9:00 am it was already hot there and Sacrament meeting wasn't even over before I was in the car to sit down (it didn't help that there were not enough chairs for the number of people who attended church) because I was so warm and exhausted. I spent the next 2 ½ hours in the car with the windows down, either asleep or entertaining little kids who needed to be in class but just kept hanging around the truck. One little boy just couldn't keep his hands off stuff inside the truck – up and down with the automatic locks, messing with the steering wheel and then he decided to honk the horn which brought me out of a sleeping stupor! 

We went from Waterloo to Kissy and I attended Relief Society – I sat in the back where windows were open and because they are closer to the ocean, it is at least 10 degrees cooler than Waterloo; I still fell asleep and came to when one of the sisters came around to collect the books that had been handed out at the beginning of class and she retrieved mine from my lap. At that point it was time for the closing prayer, and the RS president singled out another sister who had been sleeping and made her give the prayer. I thought I had escaped her seeing that I was asleep – not so – she just waited until class was over and everyone was filing out to comment on my inability to stay awake. That was a little embarrassing to say the least!

We got back home by 8:00 pm this evening. The long days add to my overwhelming exhaustion.

Monday, July 29, 2013
“Preparation” day! In order to do laundry, I wait for Monday's because of an issue we have with generators at the mission home; the old generator, the work horse, is extremely loud and literally rumbles and shakes the walls of the senior couple across the hall from us. The newer generator which is much quieter, has a shut-off mechanism so when there is a power overload, it automatically shuts down. This issue was discovered late one night as I was using my clothes dryer and the upstairs couple were using their dryer at the same time. All of a sudden, no power, no lights, pitch black. Solution – Monday's when everyone is in the office, unlimited use of the washer/dryer.

Had the couples over for dinner tonight. I think it was enjoyed by all.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
I saw a post on FaceBook today; my dear friends Bill and Rosemary Preece are officially full time missionaries. They were set apart on Sunday evening.  They will serve in the London South Mission, living in Bristol. I am so grateful for their friendship. It has been well over 40 years that I have been friends with Rosemary, and it all started at the Hurley Ward building and a Single Adult volleyball game.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Yesterday while at the mission office, Scott walked me up the little hill just outside our office to the new mission home that is under construction. It was supposed to have been completed this month but now the projected date is the 1st of the new year. is going to be so delightful once it is done; lots of windows (for West Africans to try to get through) for light. 

Our apartment sits on the second floor so it will be up and above any security walls and will offer more of a free feeling, rather than the “imprisonment” we feel where we currently live. There is also going to be a small step-out balcony so we can sit outside in the mornings and early evenings before the mosquitoes arrive. Because it is within the church compound of mission office and Stake Center, I will also be able to start walking again without having to be accompanied by anyone. It is the little things that make such a difference and I don't even realize it until they are unavailable. To be able to walk again and feel safe! In the meantime, I use my jump rope for exercise.
The entrance to our compound
And this is our guard - ready for a trip to Hawaii. In the event of danger we will be protecting him! Notice his shoes.
The steel door that leads to our apartment complex
The steel barred door and wooden door that leads down the hallway to our apartment

The door to our apartment

He is back in the kitchen now that he assures me he uses bleach in the water.
Our future mission home - someday.

We said good-bye to one of our missionaries today - Elder Adah. His home is in Nigeria.

Thursday, August 1, 2013
We were scheduled today to travel to Allentown with the assistants in order to meet with the missionaries there and discuss the area and future realignment of the proselyting area. We waited for Marcus to return with our truck; he was in Bo overnight and was supposed to have left early this morning and return in time for us to leave at 11:30 to be in Allentown by 12:30 pm. We waited and waited and finally borrowed President Ostler's car. As we were leaving the parking lot of the mission office at 12:45, who is pulling in but Marcus with the truck. Too late to switch vehicles. 

The lunch Scott bought for everyone that was to be eaten in Allentown, was eaten in the mission office as we watched a church video. It was while watching the film I discovered another use for missionary ties. I had already observed its versatility in other ways – that of a napkin and the other as a means to wipe sweat from one's brow. Today it was used as a means to wipe tears from eyes that were weeping from a touching scene in the movie. I happened to look over and see Elder Wootton dabbing his eyes and face as the tears ran down his cheeks. Thankfully, I have yet to see the tie used as a kleenex to blow one's nose.

Saturday, August 3, 2013
Today, I conducted training in the Kissy Building for the Primary leadership. When I was asked a week ago, and told 2:00 pm, I wondered if anyone would be on time and if it was for just the district leadership or did it include the branches as well. I arrived to set up at 1:30 pm and the District President, Sister Kalilu showed up. As 2:00 pm approached, she was frantically calling others to make sure they were coming. I suggested we begin even though it was the two of us and so we did. 
District Primary President getting a ride home from her husband.

It was such a sweet experience to train this woman and have her role-play as a child as I taught her ways to teach children and to capture their attention. At one point, I told her about using a bean bag to toss to children in order for them to either come forward in front of the class, or to answer a question. They don't have bean bags here, so I took some dried kidney beans and secured them in a handkerchief with a rubber band. When I tossed it to her, pretending she was a child, there was no pretense, as her beautiful brown eyes lit up like a child's in her attempt to catch the bean bag and then throw it back to me. It was just a wonderful few moments for me. As I concluded and expressed my love to her and gratitude for her faithfulness, she took a few moments and expressed her appreciation for the sacrifice I had made to leave my home and family to come to Sierra Leone to serve a mission. She also talked about the likelihood that at the end of mission, and my return home we would not see each other again, and the realization of that brought many tears to my eyes.

Love, Robin

More snaps:

A beautiful view of Freetown, Sierra Leone

Where sky and clouds meet ocean. The two horizontal objects are ships.

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