Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Week #44 - Happy Valentine's

Sunday, February 9, 2014
Attended services in Makeni and with 9 confirmations, most of the meeting was used for the performances of ordinances along with the Sacrament. After the block we drove over to the sister's apartment because they were having water issues. Scott was able to fix that then they tell us about one bathroom with issues; from there as we are about to leave, another bathroom issue; top it off with the 4th item, they can't get the oven to light. I could tell it had not been used since we delivered it weeks ago because it was so clean. Scott was able to get the pilot light lit, but it wouldn't stay on when turning the temperature dial. Scott realizes after trying everything possible the dial had been put on backwards...we arrived home around 7:30 pm after stopping by the mission office to pick up a filter system for the Seader's. They were upstairs for a get acquainted dessert. They are replacing the Burns who return home this coming Friday.

Makeni Junior Primary

Sunday services in Makeni. When this branch first opened in November maybe 45 members. As of today over 100.

Monday, February 10, 2014
I spent a good portion of the day sitting at the Seader's apartment watching over workers as well as waiting for workers while Scott was at Parliament trying to track down an apartment owner and finalize a deal. I did get a book read while I waited – The Lost City of Z – very good read and kept my interest. One I would like to review in Book Club when I get home unless it has already been reviewed.

Friday, February 14, 2014
Valentines Day in Sierra Leone – at the office by 10:30 am for a pre-transfer meeting. Transfer week next week and there are so many moving parts; add to that 18 new missionaries coming on Tuesday, and the set up of two new apartments.

Water delivery at the mission home.

Water delivery at the mission home.

Water delivery at the mission home.

Water delivery at the mission home.

We had a senior couple luncheon for the Burns. They left today having completed their mission. Such wonderful, devoted people. This is their third mission. When we first arrived 10 months ago, they took us under their wings and were of great help as we settled in to life in this mission. I will miss them, but know where to find them when we complete our mission as they reside in Meadow, UT.
Our dear friends Elder and Sister Burns. They return to America today!

Off to Kissy for a 4:30 YSA Devotional that didn't start until 5:30 pm; we were asked to speak but didn't know it until we got there. I thought the purpose of the meeting was to follow up with the YSA reps and find out how many singles had signed up for the YSA Summit scheduled for April. Instead it was themed around Valentines Day and “love.” There were love stories and one of the couples were newlyweds and they handed out little favors that were key chains with their picture on them and the following words: “Some words of advice to men – 'Treat women d same way u would want your daughter to be treated.'” On the flip side - “Your words are my food, your breath is my wine.” Speaks volumes.
Valentines is alive and well in Freetown, Sierra Leone

We attended a YSA devotional and the theme was Valentines.

We were hearted at the YSA devotional.

We were hearted at the YSA devotional.

My Valentine from Scott on the front of the refrigerator.
We got home just before 8:00 and then went upstairs to play some cards. Valentines Day doesn't get much better than this!Saturday, February 15, 2013
10 months ago today, we entered the MTC in Provo, UT. Today we traveled twice to the Lumley apartment to store some furniture that belongs to the landlord and to ready it for 4 missionaries next week. The Burns lived in this apartment, and it was kind of nostalgic to return and not find them there. It is quite a challenge to drive the roads that lead to this apartment and we drove down a few of the wrong ones before we found it, resulting in the right front fender pulled away from the vehicle; on the way home, we met up with a very large Chinese dump truck and before we were finished, it had crashed into the driver's side view mirror (thankfully it flexes) but the mirror came out. I just love being a passenger......

Attended Elder Wootton's last baptismal service today. He returns home next Friday. He personally baptized 11 Salone's today. It was a beautiful service.

Beautiful scene of a baptismal service!

Had to clean the centipede out of the font before baptizing.

Last baptismal service for Elder Whootton. Taken through the glass of the font. The white veils are those of other baptismal candidates on this side of the font.
Beautiful garden just before the mission office with the polluted stream providing much needed watering.

Love to all! Robin

Another snap:

See that paved road way up at the top - it drops down to the road leading to the US Embassy. One of my walking routes.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week #43 - Scott's Namesake

Sunday, February 2, 2014
Along with church membership in California, Scott and I fasted today for the much needed rain. It isn't easy to fast for 24 hours in this country due to the heat and humidity and I was weak and spent, but happy to participate in this special day.

What added to the day was a trip to Waterloo and the blessing of President Kamara's son. He named him John Scott; he is the second boy that has been named after Scott. Scott served his mission in New Zealand, and converted and baptized Irie Thomson and her first child, a boy was named John Scott as well. Since we have been on our mission, Irie contacted Deb who contacted Scott and in turn, Scott and Irie have been reunited through FB and email after 40 years.

Richard Carlos with Michael Ron

Scott's namesake - John Scott Kamara

Elder Burns saying goodbye to the Waterloo branch. The Burns return home on the 14th of February!

We arrived home and I immediately plopped on the bed and slept for a solid 2 hours! I then baked a cherry cobbler to take to the dinner invitation we had with the missionaries of the Mends Street apartment. What a wonderful 2 hours we had with them. Elder Maxfield was in charge of the dinner and he fixed ground nut soup over rice; we provided the dessert, ice cream and watermelon. It was just so fun to be with them. Just wish we could interact with all the missionaries – when we do we try to make the most of it and let them know how great they are and how much we love and appreciate them.
It has been a great day!

Elder Maxwell was the head chef along with Elders Strain and Anderson

I love the centerpiece!

Sunday dinner with the Mends street elders. Dining in their bedroom/living room.

They used a sheet for a tablecloth.

We love the missionaries!

Got home from dinner and discovered one filthy toe. I must have stepped in a toe hole!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Celebrated Christmas, Valentines and Easter today because of packages that came from loved ones in the states. A Christmas package that arrived from the Smith's was mailed on the 1st week of December; also received a package from Sherry and Rex Favero for Valentines but when digging through the sweets, at the very bottom were Easter pencils and a note Happy Easter just in case the package doesn't make it in time for Valentines. Top this off with a package from some of the YW and YM of our home Ward, the Mission Oak Ward that included wonderful notes of love and support and some ties for missionaries. I barely got the ties out of the box when they were snatched up by missionaries who had just gotten out of Mission Leadership Council. Really doesn't make any difference how old a missionary is – it is exciting to get mail and packages.
Wonderful Valentine surprises!

Guess what came in the mail today!

Letters from the YW and YM from the Mission Oak Ward

Christmas and Valentines all in one on the refrigerator. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014
Skyped with Wendy and Bob Bagozzi last night and that was fun; they are serving their second mission in Hungary. The more I serve as a senior couple with Scott, the more respect I have for seniors who serve a second time and even more missions.

Today I was in the office and responding to lots of questions from the office elders who are learning a lot and doing a marvelous job with what they currently know since the Lauritzen's left so suddenly. Scott went out East to look at another apartment and possible church building; I worked on the Mission History that I need to submit no later than March. Scott shows up after being gone all day with a tale of driving with a policewoman in the car because she “caught him using his cell phone while driving.” They get in the car with you, and then you must drive to the local police station in order to pay a fine. She takes his driver's license, he takes her badge and off they go to Waterloo. Mind you, she is stationed in Kissy. So when he informs her they are on their way to the police station in Waterloo (an hour away) she exclaims she can't go there and to stop the car! She won't give back his driver's license and he won't relinquish her badge (stand-off). He somehow wins the battle, she gets out of the car and they give each other back their document. My question to Scott after he told the story was: “Would you have done the same, if it had been a male policeman?”

We dined out with the Ostler's at the Country Lodge – it is jazz night on Thursdays and the music is quite good and small-small on loud.

Friday, February 7, 2014
Nothing like a day of feeling completely overwhelmed for no significant reason and then have Edward and Blessing Kanu come into the office unannounced from Kossoh Town to pay us a visit to help me get things back into proper perspective. How they had the funds to get to Freetown is beyond me – Edward has been without a job for over 3 years now, though his wife works occasionally for some organization that she sometimes either gets paid in leones or food. Edward stated when they get 20,000 leones ($5.00) here and there, they pay their tithing of 2,000 leones ($.50). Tithing is tithing and the blessing predicated upon obedience is no different for the Kanu family then the Kanzler family – I believe the Kanu's blessings are even greater because of their great faith amidst great poverty.

Brother and Sister Kanu

Drove downtown to the Dock Lady to purchase more items for apartments. I always leave the shop feeling loved with her kisses on both cheeks and a warm hug. I usually end up eating some strange food item when I am in her shop. Today it was kebbe and a bottle of soda pop. I generally do not eat anything offered me off the street so-to-speak, but she is so insistent and I don't wish to offend her. Most times I can walk out of her shop leaving the food behind as though I forgot it, but not today. Before I left, she went to the back of the shop and came out with a Nigerian bracelet she had purchased for me. I wore it back to the office and Elder Nwosu noticed (he is Nigerian) it and commented, “Sister Kanzler, nice bracelet – it has a lot of bling!”

This week-end we are off to Makeni for training.

Saturday, February 8, 2014
Got up early and drove to Makeni to train the branch leaders; I had the specific assignment of the Relief Society; our task? To train the sisters on how to invite the spirit into their Sunday meetings. All the while the training is going on, the noise from the street is making me crazy, but they don't seemed phased. These people have the uncanny ability to ignore the racket, unlike me. After the training there was a baptismal service at 5:00. Nine souls entered the waters with life going on all around us in the neighborhood and the busy main thoroughfare that runs right by the church.

The new humanitarian senior couple who arrived last night opted to move into their apartment today and it wasn't as complete as it should have been. I completely forgot about a water filtering system, let alone a sleeping net. And let's just top it off with no running water. It is hard enough making the necessary adjustments in order to function in this country, so when I was called today and told they were in the apartment without some basic items, I hung up the phone quite disappointed with myself.

That's all folks!

Love, Robin

Week #42 - More Bats

Sunday, January 26, 2014
Church at Kissy 2 this morning; we will be working very closely with the branch leadership to assist them and train them. There is a remodeling project currently going on at the Kissy building and the crew finally broke through the back wall in order to connect new construction with the old – only problem is, they cut through the electrical system so when we attended church today, there was no microphone nor fans working. Nothing ever quite goes completely as it should here on the Sabbath.

Met the Ostler's at the sea coach this afternoon to see them off and to drive their car back home. They are on their way to Accra for a few days of training and much deserved rest. We later had dinner with Robert and Berta for a much appreciated roast beef dinner. When they came back from their 5 week leave, they brought back the beef – it was wonderful! Home made gravy. I used to always say I only ate to live, but not now while here in Sierra Leone – I live to eat if it is good American food....

Little Sarah and I were twins today in our dress.

Monday, January 27, 2014
I baked 12 dozen cookies for one elder today – his mom sent him package mixes but his apartment has no oven so I volunteered. He will probably have them eaten within a week.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
So what have I done on this, the final day of my 62nd year of birth? Worked in the office, answered a bazillion texts from missionaries, sorted over 200 CDE entries for the month of January, distributed mail; cooked dinner; prepared a gynormous lunch for tomorrow for our trip to Makeni; we are taking office assistants with us and they seem to be hungry all the time and never bring a lunch and eat everything I offer them! Been across the hall to the Jests to help them with their water. I am eating a Bounty Bar as I write this – just like a Mounds Bar with coconut and dark chocolate, yumm!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Could it be 63? Not me! Where did the time flee? Let's see. Got a bad knee, with glasses I can see. Memory? Oh, and gray hairs at least 103. But, am a senior missionary, and getting Social Security.

Spent the day in Makeni which turned out to be an 8 hour round trip drive. We took the office assistants with us which is always fun; they did some training and we went for the express purpose of locating a senior couple apartment. At one point we met up with Elder Clawson and his companion and drove them back to their apartment. Scott went into the apartment with them and they were gone for what I thought was a long time; they finally showed up and Elder Clawson had a cereal box in his hand and presented it to me with a happy birthday wish. I opened the box and it contained packaged food from home; I knew it had come from his mom and I know how much the missionaries love to get packages and American food, so when I saw it, I was moved and told him I just couldn't accept it; he was insistent and when Scott saw the Oreo cookies that sealed the deal. I was so touched by his act of kindness and generosity.
Precious food that Elder Clawson gave up to gift me for my birthday.

My birthday box from Elder Clawson

We made the sister missionaries very happy; we replaced a broken fan and drove downtown and finally found a mirror for them. And while I was at it, I found neon vests for our airport contact to wear so our arrivals can spot him.

How many missionaries does it take to put a fan together - more than 3 as they left off the handle.

On the way home as we drove through downtown Freetown, I thought what I saw were hundreds of birds – not so – bats! (See video here - Elder Sumrak managed to stick my camera out the window and capture their unorganized flight patterns and their noise.
Elders Nwosu and Sumrak. Sister Namsamba

Scott managed to find a birthday card for me and a bar of Cadbury dark chocolate and I received a lovely hand/bath towel set from Rachelle – Egyptian cotton in a bright cranberry color! One might think what is the big deal about a bath towel! The color, the softness; there are no luxuries in this country but this gift is one and I love it!

Lots of well wishes from family/friends/missionaries; I had a wonderful day.

All done by hand - found this shop in Makeni

All done by hand - found this shop in Makeni

All done by hand - found this shop in Makeni

Another use for cardboard

Elder Richardson and his home-made scripture bag

Our day in Makeni

Thursday, January 30, 2014
Spent most of the morning at the Chinese hospital with one of our American missionaries. He had an ingrown toenail that needed removal. I stepped away for a moment when he was taken into the operating room and when I returned, I saw his companion with head bowed , praying for his welfare. Total cost of the procedure - 527,000 leones (or $123.00) which included registration, pre-op visit, operation and post op medicines. No English so I needed to be there to ensure they only removed his toenail and not his toe.

Scott found another apartment in Hastings and I saw it for the first time today; I really liked it and thought how wonderful it would be for a couples apartment – quiet, already out east (avoiding Kissy Road) – but now it will be a sweet place for missionaries.

Picked up the Ostler's from Sea Coach and then went to dinner. They had spent 4 days in Accra for training and Elder Bednar was the presiding authority. He reiterated the hastening of the work, particularly in West Africa. He counseled the mission presidents to treat people as agents (individuals who make decisions) and not objects.

Friday, January 31, 2014
Had an intense meeting this morning at the mission office with Ostler's and Jest's regarding the training of branch and district leaders; my little brain was on overload....unfortunately, the older I get the less efficient I am becoming and the challenge I have to process, sort and organize. I don't like it!

Saturday, February 1, 2014
We met the Burns at the Hill Station apartment to review what needs to be done before their replacement couple arrive on the 7th. Returned home and relaxed for an hour before we headed out to Kissy for a 3:30 pm meeting with the single adults as we ramp up and prepare for the SA Summit for all of Sierra Leone scheduled for April 11th – 12th. It is the first of its kind in this country and Scott and I have been asked to participate in the foundational work as well as the conference itself.

On the way to the Kissy Chapel, way we had a chance encounter with missionaries and discovered some unhappiness. Scott spent some precious moments with one of them and then I suggested he give him a blessing. That resulted in tears being shed and a very grateful missionary. He told Scott he had prayed for someone older he could talk to so we were humbled by the chance meeting with him.

Love and Blessing to All!

A simple game of tetherball - West African style - see video here -