Friday, November 22, 2013

Week #31 - Keep Those Apartments Coming!

Sunday, November 10, 2013
Attended Sacrament meetings in Kossoh Town and Kissy today; I was extremely tired and had difficulty staying involved in the meetings; didn't help that the microphones weren't working properly so I caught only snippets of words and sentences.

We got home a little before 3:00 pm and I headed to the couch to read and came back to life 2+ hours later; a much needed nap.

Ostlers got home safe and sound and Rachelle called me with the wonderful news from Makeni. 9:00 am church started and there were 173 in attendance (already more than the building can facilitate) of which 50 were investigators. Junior Primary had 25 +/- children, and Senior Primary had 19. We will likely be going out to Makeni next month to look for another apartment in order for more missionaries to serve in this town.

Julius Rowe - He served his mission in Ghana with Elder Treadway

Hard at it calendaring and reading text messages from District YW President

"Whitney Houston" and me

Monday, November 11, 2013
Rachelle and I walked this morning, and our little dog met us up past the embassy. He walked with us all the way to the top of the hill and we had to shoo away dogs in the process. At the top was a pack of about 4 so we turned around immediately and came back down. We are going to change our route on Thursday; we don't want to see this little dog attacked by others while he tags along with us.

P Day, but we had to make a trip to the dock lady to place an order for 4 more apartments. When we got there, she had a surprise for us – outfits she had made out of African material and designs. Rachelle happened to go along for the ride and benefited from the trip. I love the material and Scott looks like a grown-up in little boys pajamas!
While eating dinner tonight, I couldn't believe my ears! I heard either a plane or a helicopter fly over! That is a first. Now wondering if something happened at the Embassy that is just up the hill from us...hmmm

Our African outfits from my friend the Dock Lady

We got home yesterday and I saw Gary behind the dryer hanging out, but he didn't move from the spot while I was cooking dinner; I thought he might be sleeping or playing dead for the cockroaches. Not so – he must have eaten a rotten cockroach because he didn't survive it. Sad.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
We drove out to Calaba Town this afternoon to check on an apartment. While Scott and our friend Mr. Conteh got out of the car to find keys to the place, I stepped over a little foot bridge to speak with some of the locals hanging out. There were kids all over the place and when I inquired, I discovered one woman had two sets of twins plus one; and another woman had one set of twins plus 2. Took snaps of them and then walked back to the car. Just about ready to go, when I thought I would give them some of the salt water taffy I just got in the mail today from my aunt, so I grabbed a couple of hands full and went back. I counted the group and there were 17; counted my taffy and I had exactly 17 – go figure!

Two sets of twins plus 1

One set of twins plus 2

Scott and I need this book, not a missionary and his companion.

Thursday, November 14, 2013
Freetown Zone Conference today; it was held at the Belliar Park building just down from the Mission Office. Took plenty of pictures for moms and dads to see on the Mission Facebook page.
Freetown Zone Conference Picture

How did Elder Hill do that with his leg!

The gathering in our office after Zone Conference.

Checking out the Google map of his area.
All the packages arrived from home in plenty of time for Christmas.

Good bye to Elder Richards

Friday, November 15, 2013
Long, hot and skin-sticky day. By the time all was said and done, and eaten, we got back home at 9:30 pm.

Rachelle and I walked this morning and took another different route in order to avoid the dog following us. We walked up a very steep road and I huffed and puffed, as we descended; we reached a residence where a number of men were standing outside and as I approached huffing and puffing, Rachelle and I turned to them to offer a good morning; I could hardly get it out I was at such a loss of breath, when one of the men looked at Rachelle and asked if I was her mother. I let out big aaaaay, which the Africans do here, and the guy realized he had “stepped in it” while his buddies around him just laughed.
Today marks the 7th month of our mission; some days it feels like more than 7 months - the fact that it is some and not all is a good sign.

We closed on another apartment today – one in Waterloo – Happy Day! Looked at another apartment in Calaba Town which has possibilities, but not for this transfer. While we were in Kissy, the missionaries gave us a contact for an apartment between Kissy 1 and Kissy 2. The landlord's wife was in Makeni for the week visiting relatives and of course I told him we were going to be in Makeni on Monday looking for apartments so Heron will contact his wife and see if her uncle has any contacts there for apartments. We have been extremely blessed with the networking we have developed in finding apartments.

Saturday, November 16, 2013
We are driving to Makeni on Monday to look for an apartment, so decided today would be our preparation day, and lay low by staying home. I did loads of laundry, cleaned our apartment, while Scott finalized a document we need for the members going to the temple on the 25th of this month and took it to the office to print and make copies.

Earlier in the wee hours of the morning, I was awakened by Scott brushing something off his pillow. Of course it was dark so initially he couldn't see what it was, but he felt it near his head; he turns on the light and looks down to find a very large cockroach! We sleep under a net for Pete's sake! Kind of creepy to say the least. I would have awakened the entire neighborhood had it been near my head on the pillow!
Take care everyone!
Love, Robin

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Week #30 - Not a Boring Week!

Sunday, November 3, 2013
Sweet, tender experiences today. We were on the road by 7:45 am to get to the Kossoh Town Branch for their very first meeting in their new building! When we arrived, we were greeted by President Sesay and he was just beaming! They waited for over 2 years for this facility to be constructed, needing a bigger building, but by the looks of what I saw, this new chapel is already too small; it was filled and Scott and I gave up our seats and moved outside. I felt such a sweet feeling of love and joy for this moment today for these wonderful people – they were so happy for this building! On a lighter side – I needed to use the restroom, went upstairs to find the bathroom. Lifted the lid right off the toilet as it and the seat were still taped together and unbolted to the toilet! I will not miss my bathroom experiences in this country.
A father and his son watching conference.

The chapel was filled with saints watching a tape of General Conference.

Elders Gabaidiwe and Barrick in front of the new Kossoh Town Branch.
I turned around and this little saint has my backpack on!
President Sesay of the Kossoh Branch - so happy to be in their new building.

Scott, me and Elder Flament outside the Kossoh Town Chapel

Future Relief Society, YW, Primary Presidency.

About 2 hours into the meeting, I suggested to Scott that we drive another 20 minutes out to Waterloo to deliver a much needed journal to Elder Turner. He has been very faithful writing daily in his journal, but when he finished with the last one and the mail had not arrived with two more journals from his mom, he was frantic trying to find paper to write on; his mom emailed me about the dilemma and I told her at the very least we would get a tablet of paper to him. Scott came up with an unused journal he brought from home, so we decided to take that to him. We pulled up to the chapel and I got out of the car to go find him. When I caught his eye inside the chapel, I motioned him to come outside for just a moment and when he approached the car, I handed him the journal. I have never seen someone so excited over a journal. He so wanted to give me a hug, but he found Scott and they had such a warm embrace. It was a tender moment. But the rest of the story came when we got back in the car and Scott shared with me a dream that Elder Turner's companion had the night before – he dreamed that a missionary couple would be visiting the Waterloo Branch today (he has never met us), and he shared that with Elder Turner who had no indication that anyone would be visiting today because we hadn't called him to tell him of such plans. So, the fleeting thought I had in Kossoh Town hopeful we might make it to Waterloo was the fulfillment of a dream and the answer to prayer of another missionary who desperately needed a journal. And, to top it all off Elder Turner was hoping for a journal from his mom with a picture of the Savior on it and the word “Missionary Journal” printed on it. We were able to answer that request as well.
We visited 4 out of 6 branches today.
Elder Turner was so happy with our surprise visit with the gift of a journal.

Elders Turner and Mukwaira with journal and peanut butter in hand!

On our way back home, we stopped at the mission office and 3 hours later, I had entered the last of the CDE's that had been turned in unexpectedly. We got home, and I had a much needed nap. I then had a PPI with Scott (personal priesthood interview). It was much needed and appreciated. We are so busy on this mission, we rarely take time with each other to just talk and share; 2 hours of undivided, no distracted time was much needed.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Yesterday, being P Day was laundry for most of the day. The washing machine can only handle about 5 pairs of socks and a towel and it is filled to capacity so it takes me a good portion of the day to wash the clothes. Monday is the day of choice because we can then turn on the noisy generator so Rachelle and I can use our dryer's simultaneously; otherwise, when the quiet generator is running and we are both drying, it trips, and shuts down all the power.

Today I finished up the CDE's for the month and am now starting to take inventory of what we will need in 3 weeks for 4 more apartments. So while I am down in the cage looking around, President Swarray shows up on the scene and starts up a conversation with Scott and me. He is such a kind and gentle man. Markus is milling around as well as Ali, loading up a truck to take furniture out to Wellington. It is November and it is hot and I am sweating and wishing I was back upstairs in the air conditioned office, but being around these “brothers” is such a joy; they are genuinely so happy and laugh so easily. We take Markus with us to look at an apartment in Hill Station. It is quite nice and it is two apartments side-by-side and we will likely rent them. Markus comes along because he knows the area so well and can tell if it is safe or not; he also helps negotiate the price. I can't help but wonder what he is thinking when he sees all the apartments we rent for missionaries that are so much nicer than his own home where there is his wife, 5 of his own children and 2 additional children who he is raising; all packed into a very small home. I am always a little uncomfortable when he is with us just for that reason. He is invaluable to us though, in acquiring apartments so he must come with us.

Thursday, November 7, 2013
Very busy and fulfilling day. It started this morning at 7:15 with Rachelle and I walking up to the US Embassy and beyond – further than I had previously walked. We meet so many little school children in the morning and they are so bright and cheery; most always with a hand outstretched wanting to touch our hands. Older folks commenting on our exercise and wishing us a good morning. It is very uplifting and refreshing to be out amongst them as they go about their daily lives. On our way back down, this little male dog approached the back of Rachelle and kind of rubbed up against her legs; she stopped and then the dog came up to me with his tail wagging; I let him sniff my hand and he licked it and then I just couldn't resist the urge to pet him. He sat down close to my feet and I rubbed under his chin for just a few moments. It probably was more beneficial to me than to him. Hopefully the locals around me this morning had a moment of viewing the relationship between “man and canine.”
Rachelle Ostler

We had Zone Conference today in Kissy. 
Kissy Zone hamming it up!

Kissy Zone

Scott and I found a watermelon from our local fruit/vegetable lady so we cut it up and took it with us today. The missionaries loved it. The conference lasted until 3:30 pm and by the time we left around 4:00 it took us over 3 hours to get home! At one point because it was at a standstill, I got out of the car to try and figure out what was going on. Found out some memorial service was being held downtown to honor and commemorate the war veterans. For the most part, I have grown accustomed to the vehicle and pedestrian traffic here, but by far, today was the most exasperating! Scott held it together quite well – not too much Darth Vader.
We found watermelon! I don't even like it but am grateful to have found it.

When we got home, at the front of our door were two packages from the states. One was for us from dear friends in Sacramento, and it was filled with dried fruit, nuts, hand sanitizer and Scott's favorite lotion. We are very happy and grateful not only for all the goodies, but for all the prayers in our behalf from loved ones at home.

3 months but the package finally arrived for Elder Penia from the YW of the Del Norte ward.

Friday, November 8, 2013
Attended the Waterloo Zone Conference today, which consists of Kossoh Town, Grafton and Waterloo districts. It is always such a treat to spend time with the missionaries. At the conclusion, the Ostlers drove on to Makeni to organize the branch, call a branch president, and attend church for the first time in the new building. Scott and I, on the other hand, took the assistant's with us back to Freetown but first drove around the “back roads” of Waterloo randomly looking for any apartment that might be available to rent. We must have an apartment in this town by the next transfer coming up in two weeks. It was pouring and we were just driving around looking with no real agenda because we had no contacts to help us; Richard Carlos had one that he knew of and we met up with him to look at it, but it is just too big so we must kept looking. We came upon a home with a woman sitting in her garage. We looked off to the right and saw what looked like an apartment and we asked her if she knew if it was for rent. She gave us a name and a phone number and we called it later in the day and set up an appointment tomorrow to look at it.
Waterloo Zone Conference
Slothful vs. Profitable Missionary

Saturday, November 9, 2013
What a day! I woke up at my usual 6:30 am time and immediately started thinking about the need for apartments with a 2-week window and just felt overwhelmed. We needed to get to the mission office by 10:00 am so in my determination to get as much done as I could in the morning, I overlooked the most important task – that of my morning prayer. For as many years as I have been praying in the mornings, if I don't make it the first priority, it doesn't get the attention it needs and is usually forgotten as I get into the day. So upon arrival at the mission office, I took my leave of Scott and went into the president's office, closed the door and prayed. I started, and the tears started to flow as I felt so overwhelmed with the realization, I am nothing without Him – and the location of apartments could be very easy if He just stepped in and said, “This is the one, I have provided it for you.” But it hasn't been the way it has worked as we continue to plead and search and inquire.

So, in my pleadings a hymn came into my mind – Guide Us O Thou Great Jehovah – and wept as I sang the first verse and made it more personal.
"Guide me, O though great Jehovah, Guide me to the promised land (apartment). I am weak, but thou art able; Hold me with thy pow'rful hand. Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit, Feed me till the Savior comes, Feed me till the Savior comes."
I took great comfort and strength as we left to drive out to Waterloo to see the apartment and upon arrival and inspection, made a verbal commitment with the landlord to rent it and hope to finalize the deal next week (a little miracle).
On our way to Waterloo driving the main road, who crosses on foot in front of us, but President Kamara of the Waterloo Branch. We pull over to talk to him and inquire about the birth of his baby, when he informs us he has been born and doing fine; I asked if they had a name for him and he said of course - he would be naming him after Scott because we were so much a part of the branch given we were out there at the beginning of its creation. We were very touched by his declaration and will definitely be attending the branch in December when he gives his son a name and a blessing.

From Waterloo we drove to Calaba Town to look at another apartment; a man we have been dealing with who has an apartment in Bo, has connections in Calaba Town. We met up with him and his associate and Scott went off to check out the apartment while I sat in the car. I received a phone call from Elder Seraphine that they still had not gotten a water delivery as scheduled yesterday, and they were completely out! I was a little chagrined about that and did not know why Markus had not made the arrangements to deliver it so I got on the phone with him and found out there was mis-communication in the office on Friday and the thought was they could get through the week-end without a delivery. I had a package from the states and a couple of letters for Elder Seraphine so we decided to drop by their apartment in Wellington on the way home and check on the water situation.

The miracle of water in Wellington!

And the bucket is slowly being filled!

Elders Pond and Serafine and the blessing of water!

We pulled up in front of the apartment to wait for the missionaries. To our amazement and astonishment, right in front of their apartment is a well tapped with two faucets and local people filling their containers for the evening. I am thinking, why haven't the missionaries used this source when they are out? We see them approaching us with a yellow jug with water in it, so they have brought it from their baptismal service at the Thunder Hill Chapel. I look at them and I point them to the water flow and they quickly get all the buckets they have and get in line to fill them. In the meantime, I go inside their apartment compound and to the side of the apartment there is a spigot; Scott turns it on and out comes muddy water that turns into “clear” water and we now have another source for them on this miracle Saturday of the water. I was so disappointed that our commitment to deliver water to them on Friday had failed and felt so much better to see water sources all around them. It was a tender mercy.

I came upon a little green bird in their compound; it had flown into the outside wall and injured one of its wings and couldn't fly. 

Cutest little thing – I hope it survives to live another day until it can fly. I know death is part of living, and I have had more exposure to it here than at any other time in my life and it has been difficult for me embrace it and accept it. I told Scott, I don't think there has been a day here that I haven't shed a tear over something or someone. He agreed.

We arrived back home around 7:00 pm very tired but feeling so blessed. While fixing dinner, I got a text from Rachelle regarding Makeni, and I quote: “By the way, the Makeni church is in the perfect location. The sign with the church's name was put up this morning and I think the elders got names from about 20 walk-ins in addition to members from other areas that didn't know there was a church in Makeni. Well done.” What a wonderful message to end the day as we had quite a bit of involvement in the securing of that location along with Prince Kallie and are thrilled with excitement of a branch in Makeni.

Love and Gratitude, Robin

These are not my pants hanging out to dry at the gate of the Kissy Chapel!

Love the rolled cuffs on Elder Barrick's pants. It is getting so hot as we are go into dry season!

Week #29 - Pretty Uneventful!

Sunday, October 27, 2013
Attended meetings in the Kissy 1, Kissy 2, and Thunder Hill branches today. While at the Kissy building, a number of saints came up and commented on the fun dance I taught the evening before and one of the brethren conducting the meeting mentioned it over the pulpit! These people continue to bring me joy amidst frustration and eye rolling, and I love it!

Monday, October 28, 2013
Walked this morning – I am feeling so much better and I love the mornings! Though I have lost weight, I am so out of shape, so the walking is going to help, thanks to Rachelle.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Drove out to Kissy today and spent time with President Kpullum and the Zone Leaders. President Kpullum is in the process of trying to find a different home to rent, so when his wife is released from the hospital, she will be able to be more mobile in and out of their home. He is up high on a hill and must come down in order to accommodate her. Amidst all of his concerns about his wife, he still remains very optimistic and happy now that he is over the initial shock of the whole experience; happy day for him on Friday – his son is returning home after his two-year mission in Nigeria.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
I was able to go downtown today to see my friend, Marian and purchase a few items for our apartment. I had planned to go yesterday, but the US Embassy emailed a bulletin to all US citizens to avoid the downtown area due to some issue of journalists being arrested and the possibility of protesting and the need for increased security.

I was happy to see her and converse for a few minutes while Scott remained in the car double parked. She “jokingly” commented how she thought her daughter, Manal was stealing me away from her (I have been emailing Manal quite a bit trying to track down her sister Basita). I assured Marian that she was 1st, Pops her husband was 2nd and Manal was 3rd.

Rachelle and I had an appointment with the local spa today; owned by Lebanese women who are 2nd generation Sierra Leone. I had my haircut and Rachelle had her nails manicured. What a delightful couple of hours. While I waited for Rachelle, I had a chance to view a People Magazine – a few moments of checking out the the world of “fame and fortune”.

Met the Ostlers at The Hub for dinner tonight; very pleasant evening of conversation and laughter. Scott and I feel so comfortable around them and are so grateful to be serving with them.

Saturday, November 2, 2013
Scott and I went into the office today as I had many CDE's (convert data entry) I had to begin to log into the computer as the majority of the documents were received this week and I need to get them input for the monthly report. While I sat at the computer, he had a meeting with a gentleman who is renting us an apartment in Bo but also had some contacts for apartments in Hill Station. Yes, we are back at it this transfer period finding 3 more apartments before November 25th. Add to this – the responsibility we have had since the beginning of our mission – that of organizing a temple trip for the members out East with a final headcount needed this week in order to make the arrangements for airline tickets! The pressure and stress are on!

We got home at 4:00 pm and I immediately started dinner because the Campbells were coming over to dine at 6:00 pm We were invited to their home for dinner last night and I was to take salad and dessert and when Robert (25+ year veteran of the army) notified me of the time – 1800 hours – I thought this meant 8:00 pm, and asked that it be made earlier; so he texted me 1700 hours and I thought, well that is 7:00 pm and still too late; so when I suggested earlier, he texted back 1600 hours and I thought for sure (and so did Scott) that was 6:00 pm and perfect! We were still at the office at 4:10 pm when I got a text from Robert wondering when we were coming! That's when both Scott and I realized that 1600 hours was 4:00 pm, and not 6:00 pm! We had a lovely dinner with them, minus my Waldorf Salad and Cherry Cobbler. I made up for it by having them for dinner tonight.
Sending love and gratitude for your support and prayers!

More Snaps:

Good enough to eat if you are one of the stray dogs around here.

This is what a package and its contents look like when it arrives 3 months after it was sent.

Time for removal of you know what at the Stake Center. I loved the sign - Toilet Bailer

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Week #28 - Ah, Talent Shows!

Sunday, October 20, 2013
Got up early this morning to travel out East for a branch conference in Thunder Hill. The Ostler's went with us and we dropped President Ostler off at 8:00 am and while he conducted temple recommend interviews, we drove to Wellington and then to Kissy to deliver supplies to missionaries. When we arrived in Kissy two elders came down the stairs; the next thing I see is a bucket being lowered by a rope with church magazines in it. They were delivered to the wrong apartment and Elder Maxfield decided to save himself some time and rather than come down the stairs, he just lowered the bucket. Clever guy!
Elder Maxfield rather than come down the stairs to retrieve the tracts, sent down the bucket instead.

After dropping the Ostler's off at sea coach, we drove to the Ghazzawi home and had lunch with them. Marian called me earlier in the week and invited us. It was so fun to be in their home. We met their youngest daughter, Malan, who is a pharmacist. Home made Lebanese food – was quite good. We love this wonderful Muslim family.
3 generations of Ghazzawi women! We had lunch with them today and felt so welcome!

Monday, October 21, 2013
Took a much needed “preparation day” that consisted of laundry, banking, cooking one of Scott's favorite meals – Spaghetti. Invited two couples to dinner but no takers; less cooking for me though this week as we eat spaghetti for 3 straight meals.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Administration to the sick and afflicted today. This morning we visited an apartment to take the temperature of a missionary so I could report to Rachelle his status as she is in Accra, Ghana until Friday. Found him doing much better so drove into the office or awhile before we had to leave at 2:00 pm to get out to Kissy to speak with another missionary. We then had a meeting with President Kpullum to clear up some issues regarding the Temple trip that is scheduled for November 25th. On the way home, we dined at Crown Express. Such are our days that are very long and can be quite exhausting.

We were going to take a little trip to Bo tomorrow to deliver supplies to our senior missionary couple living there, but we are delaying the trip until Thursday.

Utah license plates on a taxi in Sierra Leone!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Fun times today at the Chinese Friendship Hospital in Kossoh Town! Not a soul speaks English, let alone Krio. We were there for a chest x-ray and it took 3 hours. 364,000 Leones later and we were out the door with a prescription we couldn't understand that consisted of licorice to help suppress a cough. Sounds like a lot of money, but it totals about $90.00 for doctor's visit, two x-rays, the doctor reading the x-ray; the prescription being filled and then returning to the doctor to prescribe the dosage of the medication. I would say I got a pretty good deal! Got back to the office around 4:30 pm and loaded up the car with all the supplies we are taking to Bo tomorrow.
Chinese Friendship Hospital in Kossoh Town.

Traveling back from Kossoh  Town we stopped to hand off supplies to the sisters. Sister Nyawe had to stick her head in the window to feel the air conditioning.

We met with the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Exploration earlier today. He has an apartment we want to rent. Very charming fellow. Seemed to take a liking to me; let's just pray it helps secure the apartment. His office was up 7 flights of stairs (elevator not working) and at each floor as I was huffing and puffing, while West Africans commented “good exercise!”

Thursday, October 24, 2013
We drove to Bo today and are spending the night with the Schlehuber's. They are the senior couple living here; they will be going home in December and they have spent their entire mission 4 hours away from the Mission Office. They also service Kenema which is another hour's drive east of Bo. At any given time there have been approximately 40 missionaries serving in these two towns and the Schlehuber's have served them acting as nurse/doctor, church distribution, apartment maintenance – you name it. Additionally they have served and mentored many branches of the church. Good, faithful, optimistic people.

Kanzler's and the Schlehuber's

As I got ready for bed, I picked up a bottle of filtered water and placed it on the top of the toilet tank; turned to get my toothbrush ready just in time to see the bottle slide off the tank, do a 180 and end upright in the toilet bowl! New bottle....

Friday, October 25, 2013
Visited some of the newly acquired apartments this morning before we began our drive home from Bo. At one stop, I just sat outside taking in the sites, when a couple of kids show up and are talking to me in Mende; of course I can't understand them, but they just want to hang out with me with one little girl wanting to touch my hair and pinch the skin on my arm. By the time we were ready to go, it was quite the gathering.

I was just minding my own business when a crowd gathered.

I drove for 3 hours of the trip home through very beautiful bush country. We got home in time to pick up the Ostler's at sea coach as they had spent the week in Accra, Ghana. I was never so happy to see Rachelle as the “burden” of being available for sick and afflicted missionaries was lifted off my shoulders and placed back on hers. I gained a greater appreciation for her and the responsibility she has to care for “missionary sons and daughters.”

We met the Burn's at Crown Express for dinner and had a delightful evening eating and chatting.

Tomorrow is a busy day – the Single Adults are having their talent show. It is scheduled from 3:00 to 7:00 pm. I can only hope they start on time.

Saturday, October 26, 2013
Before driving out to Kissy, we stopped in at the Mission Office to pick up some supplies to deliver out east, and the found the Ostler's taking up new residence in our little corner of the office. President Ostler determined he didn't need such a big space, so while the 4 of us were gone, Lauritzen's and assistants swapped offices. Our room is now quite big and Scott sits at the president's desk – a very big desk.

So, how do I even begin to describe the SA Talent Show! We knew it wouldn't start at 3:00 pm, so we planned to be there at 4:00. We get a call from Moh Moh asking us where are we? They are waiting for us to start - we tell him we are on our way and to start without us. We roll into the parking lot around 4:15 and sure enough, they should have started on time because there are at least 100 people already there. Scott scampers off to get drinks for 200+ people, and I am left behind trying to get Moh Moh to start the program. By the time he gets a microphone kind of working, and re-writes his agenda 6 times, Elder Hovley approaches me and informs me he has a baptism he has scheduled! I just added more changes to Moh Moh's agenda. I finally get him to start and it is 5:00 pm and Scott is no where to be found. Twenty minutes into the show, and we have a moment of spirituality while a single adult convert is baptized. 200 + people take their very noisy chairs and turn them around to the font for a one minute ordinance and then turn those obnoxious chairs around again to face me.

Elder Hovley had a baptism during the talent show. Over 200 people to witness this ordinance.

The talent for the night – a 4 piece ensemble (2 trumpets and 2 drums) playing, I think, a jazzed version of Come to Zion while a young man has a broom stick twirling it and then balancing it on his forehead and then his foot! Then a brother told a story using all the books from the Bible; from there the talent went a bit south as it was impromptu dancing that I thought was somewhat questionable. In the meantime, Scott finally shows up, just in time for me to attempt to bring the night back to some group entertainment by introducing and teaching the Bunny Hop to them. I wasn't able to download the original music, but was able to take one of the African songs that had been blasting for most of the evening and use its' beat to teach the hop. I demonstrated, and then had Scott join me – never know what Scott is going to do once he gets on the dance floor and sure enough – I am hopping backward, he is hopping forward and vice versa. Quite entertaining to the group as they were cheering, laughing and clapping. Some then joined us and it was quite fun, but so aerobic I was out of steam within about 5 minutes and couldn't go on.

Additionally, we had a round of musical chairs – all women participating and are they ever competitive ( I am trying to control the situation to no avail and when it gets down to just two women and one chair, a time out is taken in order to draw a circle with chalk that they must stay outside of in order to keep the game somewhat equitable. The winner is:

Missionaries teaching while the talent show gets underway!

SA Leadership motto

Samuella in the make-shift kitchen preparing refreshments.

The SA talent show growing in numbers.

These trumpeters were definitely loud.

On our very late drive home, Scott tells me of his adventures while getting the drinks, thus the reason why he was late getting back; what was a simple task of buying 150 bottles of water turned into a man from a restaurant where he first stopped to get a price, following him to 3 other stops and then back to the church, claiming Scott ordered 50 sandwiches and that he needed to be paid. So while I am trying to control a crowd of 200+ he is out in the parking lot with Sylvanus, President Thomas, the sandwich guy, the parking lot guard, a policeman and a passerby who are all yelling at each other trying to figure out what to do with 50 sandwiches! Now that is talent!
Love and happiness coming your way!