Monday, September 9, 2013

Week #18 - She Says

Dear Family and Friends,
Was this ever an unusual week of events...

Sunday, August 11, 2013
Another day out East for church. Many of the women were particularly beautiful today; dressed in traditional clothing with their heads wrapped in the same material. Just stunning to me, and I need to buy more of the African material and have my “personal” tailor make me some more clothes.
The District RS President and her counselor! I need more color!

The Ostler's are gone for 4 nights to Accra, Ghana. They have been such a blessing to Scott and me; so kind and welcoming. We feel so appreciated.

Rosemary emailed me a poem today – one that was shared on a video interview with Elder Jeffrey Holland. 

It goes as follows:
"Come to the edge. We might fall! Come to the edge. It's too high! COME TO THE EDGE! And they came, and He pushed, and they flew."

Very applicable to senior couples who make the commitment to serve full time missions.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Made a “scientific” discovery this evening. I have been suspicious of the Clorox bleach we have been using in the kitchen the past 2 weeks; it hasn't smelled like bleach, and it hasn't felt like bleach when used in my soapy water. I poured a little full strength on a towel I use in the kitchen and left it for the day. When we got home, there was no sign of the material being lightened in any way. So we go out immediately to the store and purchase another bottle of Clorox bleach only this time, I take off the cap and have a whiff of it to confirm it is the real thing before I buy it. I get home and pour the other down the sink, and it is a milky color (what in the world could it have been?); we have been using it to sanitize our fruits/vegetables, wash our dishes/counter tops and pretty much everything we touch around here. This might explain why I haven't felt well for the past week?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Drove out to Kissy to look at two apartments the missionaries recommended. By the second one, I was done so went out to the front to watch over the car and all that was in it. Across the street was a man hanging his foot through the rail over the second floor, yelling something at me. I thought he wanted me to buy some shoes; that wasn't it. Then I thought he had dropped one of his sandals over the railing, so I was making my way over to find it and toss it up to him. That wasn't it either. He actually notice that I had stepped in something I shouldn't have and he was trying to point it out by dangling his sandal through the railing.

Scott says....”I will do anything for a good journal entry. Well, not this time. We were out in Kissy today looking at more apartments to rent for missionaries; we stopped off at the Kissy apartment to drop off some supplies and I decided to stay in the car as it should not have taken too long to drop off one box. I am sitting in the car watching the world go by while 5 African gentlemen are hanging out beside me around another vehicle. Suddenly, I get a tickle in my throat, so I grab the water bottle to sip some, when I swallow it the wrong way and my throat closes off, and I can't breathe. 

So, I grab the keys (lest I lock them in the car again...) and jump out of the vehicle and immediately hold my arms up above my head (this usually works), to no avail. I then walk over to the guys with my arms overhead, and because I can't breathe I can't talk either. They think I am pointing upstairs to where Scott is and they are agreeing with me that is where he is, but in the meantime I am seriously out of breath and not getting any air. So I grab one of the guys and point to my throat, and I am in a panic with tears in my eyes and sweat pouring off my face. The guy probably knows nothing about the Heimlich, but finally realizes I am in trouble, so he just hugs me and is squeezing the rest of the life out of me from the front. I finally get him to release me and a little breath is returning, while African man #2 is massaging my throat with his fingers. I am holding on to these 2 young men for dear life as air finally returns, thanking them profusely for helping me. One, helps me back to the car, and while I am most grateful to be breathing again and not face down in the dirty parking lot, Scott finally shows up and my rescuers are explaining to him what happened to me. Now that I am calm and back to my “normal”, what a photo shot that would have been to have an African man hugging the daylights out of a white man (male or female, we are called white man here). This is not a journal entry I would want to make on a regular basis.

Thursday, August 15, 2013
This odd week continues....Mission vehicle right front fender vs. rock retainer wall.....rock retainer wall won - that is all I will say (oh, I wasn't driving).

Friday, August 16, 2013
Spent most of the day in the office trying to print monthly reports, but the computer tech guy was in our office trying to network our new printer to two desktops to no avail, so I sat around twiddling my fingers, which I do not like to do.

In the meantime, our friend Sahr Doe came into the office and I started to ask him about the civil war and how it affected him. He was 10 years old at the time and not a member of our the church; he was a Muslim. However, through a friend he was converted to the church at the age of 13, as the war really begins to heat up and intensify in Freetown. As a result, he is captured and beaten 3 times, thinking he would probably die at each capture, but since joining the church, and with a desire to serve a mission one day, during each captivity, the thought enters his mind that he will serve one day. This gives him hope to endure the dark days of the war. What started this conversation was the observation of only seeing 4 cemeteries in our travels since we have been here, and asking Sahr where all the bodies were buried during and after the war. He said vultures and dogs....enough said as to why the people here do not like dogs. 

Our friend Sahr!

So Sahr survives the war and serves a two year mission, comes home gets any kind of job he can and begins to prosper (if that is possible in Sierra Leone). He meets his future wife while in the bank one day; marries her but she struggles at times and is very emotional. With a little prodding and a lot of patience she discloses to him the affect the war had on her. At the age of 16 it is just her (Feimata) and mom because the father “disowned” the family and left for America. Feimata is confronted one day by a rebel whose intent is to, as the scriptures say, deprive her of that which is most precious. Her mom steps between Feimata and the rebel, and is shot down and dies in Feimata's arms... 

It is one thing to read about war or watch the latest upheavals throughout the world on television. It is another thing to have friends who have lived through 10 years of civil war. I have lived such a sheltered and blessed life and yet so ungrateful for so many bounteous blessings. Can the mere fact that Scott and I are here be any kind of blessing to these people who have suffered so much? It certainly causes me to want to give more of myself and just love them!

Saturday, August 17, 2013
All Africa Day! It is one day in the year set apart by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve the country of Africa. The East decided to provide service to a government clinic in Waterloo, by cleaning the grounds and inside one of the clinics. It was announced weeks in advance the time to meet at the clinic was 7:00 am. Scott and I talk amongst ourselves and figure there is no way the African members are going to get there at 7:00 am, when they can't get to a 9:00 Sacrament meeting on Sunday. So we leave home at 7:30 and get out there by 8:45 am and I view a sight beyond words. There are over 200 members and missionaries present and scattered all over the grounds cleaning, pruning and digging! Factor in it has been raining for 24 hours and everyone is soaking wet. I was very humbled and personally chastised myself for not believing in these people. It was so gratifying to work along side them, actually an honor to work along side them.

Missionaries waiting for the Poda-Poda after All Africa Day
Taxi arrives and only 4 missionaries fit.

6 missionaries have to wait for next poda-poda!

Scott and I were soaked to the bones, so we opted to drive back home and change into another set of clothes in preparation for driving back out to Waterloo for a baptism at 4:00. In my attempt to take off my socks, I am standing on one leg and trying to take off a very wet sock, when I slip, do the splits, fall onto my bad knee and end up on my back. Came out of it okay though.
Just a beautiful scene but very rainy thus 2 hats and rain slicker.

Scott baptized David Bangura last month, and he was subsequently asked to baptize his bride to be on Saturday, Divine Gloria Fredrika Walker. So back we go to Waterloo for one final baptismal service at the river, as the font at the building is almost complete. So we are walking along in very muddy, slippery conditions and I am just ahead of Scott and Elder Penia, when I hear a splash and an “Oh know” from Elder Penia. I look around in time to see Scott flat on his back with arms and legs up in the air! He walked through a mud puddle, slipped and down he went. Elder Penia's concern soon turned to laughter when he saw that I could not contain myself. Add to Scott's misfortune when he is attempting to exit the river with the help of Elder Nwousu, slips again and they both end up completely in the river.
Happy young boys making their way to the river to witness the baptisms.

4 baptismal candidates and their baptizers

Elder Nwouso helping Scott out of the deep water

Elder Nwouso went down helping Scott out of the water.

Hamming it up as usual is Elder Penia 

I feel after this week and all the unusual occurrences, I could write the 14th volume of Lemony Snicket's, A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Glad this week is over!

Ice cream vendor on the street! What are they thinking? Elders Maxfield and McDonald

1 comment:

Camille said...

I have truly loved reading your blog. My son just arrived in Sierra Leone on August 23 and is current serving in Bo. (Elder Bryan Henrie)

I look forward to your posts and hearing your testimony. Thank you for taking the time to do this.