Dear Family and Friends,
Sunday, August 25, 2013
We attended church in Wellington today so we could bring back two sister missionaries who will be going home on Tuesday – Sisters Owusu and Awuoche. Before traveling out East, we stopped by the sisters' apartment in the Mend Street apartments and picked up Sister Brown as she needed to go out to Wellington to replace the two sisters going home. We picked her up at 8:00 am and couldn't believe how much stuff she had let alone how much it weighed; I thought Scott was going to pop a blood vessel trying to get the luggage in the back of the SUV. We finally get it all in including her, and I can smell the strong odor of bleach; now I like that fragrance but this morning it was taken to a whole different level. Come to find out the lid to the bottle was loose and came off and thus spilled inside one of her zippered bags. Not good, not good at all as she had quite a bit of her clothing in the bag.
We get Sister Brown to the apartment to drop off her luggage and belongings before church and question the two sisters coming with us as to how much luggage they have and they assure us it isn't much. Oh my! Between the rain and the sweat, Scott could have been wrung out he was so wet.
Good-byes are to hard!
Wellington 1&2 missionaries saying their last goodbyes to missionaries going home.
Elders saying good-bye to the Sisters.
We get to church and afterward, some of the elders were there to say good-bye. It was quite touching to watch as missionaries bid each other good-bye. It is very hard for them to part as they have been so focused with a single purpose to bring others to the Savior. We take the departing sisters back to the apartment to pick up their belongings so we can head back to Freetown – we can't get into the apartment because they have the wrong keys with them and we must now wait for the soon to be ex-companions to come back to the apartment so they can get in. A boat-load of luggage later, we finally set off for Freetown and have a delightful time with them in the car.
I love Sister Owusu and Sister Awuoche! Scott and I spent a lot of time with them assisting with the set up of their apartment, going on teaching appointments, comforting them when their apartment was broken into and other issues they encountered. It will be a tearful parting at the dock on Tuesday when they depart.
The longer we are on our mission and the deeper our hearts are embedded in the wonderful missionaries, members and this country, the more difficult the good-byes, particularly with the African missionaries, because the chances of ever seeing them again is pretty remote.
Monday, August 26, 2013
We bid farewell to Elder Liufau today; he was an office missionary so we saw him each time we were in the office and grew to love him! I had no idea how difficult it would be to bid missionaries good-bye as they depart for home. Now until we go home, all missionaries departing we will know...emotional days ahead.
Our last picture with Elder Brant Liufau.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Today we drove Sisters Owusu and Awuoche to the sea coach and bid them farewell. Sister Awuoche and I were very close – just a feeling of soul sisters (no pun intended). She isn't going home to a mom and dad as they have both passed and will likely be married within a year; as we embraced prior to her parting she whispered in my ear how she wished I could be with her for her wedding; not sure how I could swing that one given she lives in Kenya but what a surprise that would be to her if Scott and I could find a way to be with her on such a special day.
Our last picture with Sister Mercy Owusu.
Our last picture with Sister Awuoche.
What do you think sisters?
Just hanging out at the docks.
They are going home to Ghana and Kenya.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
One of the first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Sierra Leone, passed away; Samuel Bangura. The call went out for burial clothes as he had been to the temple maybe once in his lifetime and had none. I was able to gather everything out of the Distribution closet with the exception of a white shirt and white tie. Scott just happened to have some long sleeve white shirts that he planned to give some local members and he brought 2 white ties. I had already ruined one of them, but he willingly gave up the second tie in order to contribute to this good man's burial.
Friday, August 30, 2013
Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He would have been 92. I thought about Mom knowing how much she loves/loved him and how much she misses him. Their love for one another was quite remarkable.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
I am sitting in the hotel room of the Wusum Hotel in Makeni, Sierra Leone. We drove here this morning with the two office elders with the specific assignment to look for missionary apartments and a facility for the members to worship. Our friend and fellow saint, Prince Kailie met us in town and took us around all afternoon and into the evening looking at places. This 33 year old man is quite remarkable. He has been working tirelessly for the past 7 years, locating members of the church, and providing church services for them while meeting at a vocational school, all the while, pleading with the mission president to send missionaries and create a branch.
So, how can I describe our hotel room.....it is maybe a ½ star at best and the only reason there is a hotel in Makeni is because the country's president was born here. Because we have 2 missionaries with us, our plan was to get two rooms, but they only have “suites” so we thought it best to put them in the room with us and save a few leones. It does come with 2 bathrooms, so that is a plus. The first thing I check out is our bathroom – oh boy!
The shower head is something from “I don't know where.” How can I possibly sanitize it! So many heads; none of us took a shower as it was so creepy. No possible way to dodge the contaminated water and keep it off of our faces. Then I look for the amenities of hair shampoo, etc. and find two bottles and they have already been used (not going to touch that). Next, the mattress – hard as a rock and no sheet between us and the blanket. I am getting the heeby jeebies and decide I am going to wear socks to bed so I don't have to feel something crawling around my feet. Scott does the same and wears long legged pajama bottoms. He kept thinking of the movie, The Other Side of Heaven, where the main character leaves his feet outside his bed and rodents nibble on his heels....Scott, who always brushes off my phobias!
Nothing like previously used toiletries to make one feel real welcome in the hotel room!
The shower head at the Wusum Hotel in Makeni. No one took a shower with contaminated water coming at you in all directions.
The mountain in Makeni was majestic to me.
This handsome goat was freely grazing in the back yard of one of the homes we looked at in Makeni.