Monday, March 19, 2018

Transfer of Miracles

Where to start? I only have to write about a weekend, but WOW!!! What a weekend! Haha!

We have named this transfer (the next 6 weeks) our transfer of miracles. The missionaries are all focused on being exactly obedient, setting their goals high, and having faith that the Lord will help them, not only have a record number of baptisms, but see other miracles in their lives and the lives of their investigators. We have invited all the members in our mission to participate with us in this transfer of miracles, and we are excited to see how the Lord will bless this entire mission!

We have been given permission to create a group just outside of Mbale. It will be called the Kabwangasi Group. There are several groups of members who have been walking 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours to get to church in Mbale. They have been doing this for over a year. Some of them only come once a month, others come weekly, but there are a lot of faithful members who make this sacrifice continually to come to church. Once we received approval to start this group, there was some discussion on where would be the best place for them all to meet. The logical place, which was central to many of their homes on the map was a small village called Kamonkoli. But we heard from several of the members that there was some disagreement that this should be the place to meet. It's more of an industrial area. President Collings decided to go to Mbale, and take a drive all around the area that would encompass the group, and just see which area "felt" right. We asked Francis, who is a branch missionary in the Mbale Branch to come with us, and he would show us where the members live. As we were driving around with him, President Collings received confirmation that the meeting place for the new group should be in a place called Mile 5. There was such a good feeling there, and there are many families who are members of the church in that area. Those who live further out will have to walk about 20 minutes to get to church, which is so much better than 1 1/2 hours! We are so excited to be able to get a place ready for them to meet! Hopefully by the first of April, the Kabwangasi Group will officially be created!

President Collings with Francis and his father, at their home.

With all of the good things happening in Mbale area, President Collings has brought 4 missionaries into Mbale again. They haven't had full time missionaries for about a year. This was their first week back and in just one day, they found two families who are interested in the Gospel, and even want to be baptized. Within those two families there are 20 over the age of 8 who can be baptized. It's just a testimony to us that this is the Lord's will. He is hastening his work in Mbale.

Our Mbale missionaries with President Collings and Francis.

On a side note, Francis was just called on a mission to Johannesburg South Africa. He has been such a great missionary since he was baptized. He has brought at least 100 people into the church (probably closer to 200). He has a goal to baptize 10 people before he goes on his mission in June. The problem is that he has already baptized 7. He decided he needs to increase his goal to 20 people that he finds, teaches, and baptizes before he leaves on his mission. After he increased his goal, he and the missionaries found the two families of 20 people. He is one amazing young man.

Since it's the transfer of miracles, I wanted to share a miracle that was shared with me. This was written by Aaron Opolot, or Elder Opolot. He is serving in the Johannesburg South Africa Mission, and his home is in Mbale. He talked about the way they find people to teach, which is mostly knocking on doors. Last Thursday, he and his companion were preparing to go out, and his companion asked him if he would say a prayer for them. In that prayer, Elder Opolot asked Heavenly Father to "...protect us from the dangers of this day." He says that this is the power of the prayer that he still considers a miracle. They entered a house with a large compound surrounded by a strong wall fence and a metallic gate. It was just locked without a bolt so they simply pushed it and it opened right up. They walked to the back door by the kitchen, because that is what most people use in Johannesburg. They knocked several times, but nobody answered. As they were returning to the gate, out of nowhere, they saw a dog (Pit Bull) running right at them. He could see that this dog was going to "beat" one of them. He said a prayer in his heart again pleading with Heavenly Father to protect them. Then he said the miracle happened. "Something whispered to me to love the dog, and I was able to stand strong, smiled at the dog until it reached us, I got strong to touch the angry dog. Though it was not easy to touch it. Surprisingly the dog accepted and settled down." He played with the dog for about 6 minutes because there was no way it would allow them to leave. Each time they attempted to leave the compound, the dog would get aggressive. He asked his companion to go knock on the door again, harder this time. After about 7 more minutes, the owner showed up. She was surprised that they were in the compound, and wondered how they got in and were playing with the dog. After they introduced themselves, she told the dog to leave. She wasn't interested in hearing the message, but they were so grateful that they were protected.  He shared this scripture. 2 Nephi 32:9 "But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul."

After our wonderful experience in Mbale, we traveled to Busia,which is 1 1/2 hours drive from Mbale. Busia is a small town on the border of Kenya. There are two branches of the church here.  Busia First Branch is in Kenya, and was created in August of 2009. Busia Second Branch is in Uganda, and was created in June of 2012. The two branches are only about 10 minutes apart, but they were in different missions. In October 2017, our mission boundaries were realigned to take in this branch on the Kenyan side of the border. On Saturday, we traveled to Busia to have a combined Priesthood/ Auxiliary Training meeting. The leaders from both branches met together, probably for the first time, and were taught by the mission presidency  and our senior couple. The meeting was incredible!

The Priesthood Leadership was taught by President Collings, President Okello (counselor in the mission presidency), and Elder Wittwer (senior missionary). They were trained on how to use their priesthood. They were taught how to consecrate oil, and give a priesthood blessing. They were taught the significance of the priesthood of our church, and shown how it can be traced directly to the Savior. They were also taught about priesthood keys. Many of them said they wished that the meeting didn't have to end, because they enjoyed it so much.

Priesthood Leadership of Busia 1st & 2nd Branches

Training of the Auxiliary Leaders for Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary was done by me and Sister Wittwer. We focused on leading the way the Savior would lead. We taught principles of faith, love, obedience, and unity. Then we taught leadership skills like delegating, planning, and, setting goals. We talked about the new curriculum, and just asked how it was working for them in their branches, and offered help as needed. After Sister Wittwer talked with them about faith, she passed out bracelets to each of them that said "Ask in Faith", which they LOVED. We told them to get to know each other, and share ideas of things that are working in their branches. I think it meant a lot to them to know that they can help each other in both branches.

Auxiliary Leaders from both Busia Branches
We took a picture of all the ladies...

...and then decided to join them, and get a little bit silly. 

It has been the rainy season in Uganda, and when it rains, everything stops! We were very worried that it would be raining on Sunday morning. We knew this was an important day, and had been praying all week that the weather would cooperate with us so that everyone who needed to be at the meeting could be there. The weather could not have been more perfect! It was a beautiful, overcast day, which means it was cool but not raining.

Sunday morning we met at the Busia 2nd Branch, and President Collings and President Okello announced the division of the branch. They created Busia 3rd Branch, and sustained a new branch presidency. It was so exciting to see the Lord pouring out blessings on this little area of the world. President Okello announced the new branch presidencies, and the new boundaries. Then we heard from a wonderful Branch Choir.

After the choir sang, President Collings spoke to the branches. He talked about how the members need to show love to those around them. People will see that they are different, and will want to know more about them. As they are examples of Jesus Christ every day, in all they do, the church will continue to grow in Busia. When people come to church, he said the members need to treat them with love and kindness, and not judge them. He focused on unity in the branches, and sustaining the leaders whom the Lord called.

After President Collings, the new branch presidency were asked to bear their testimonies. There was a wonderful spirit in the meeting.

Busia 2 Branch Presidency
President Emmanuel Ojiambo (center)
1st  Counselor: Fredrick Okello (left)
2nd Counselor: Ouma Franco (right)

Busia 3 Branch Presidency
President: Wafula David Maloba
1st Counselor: Mugisha George Onyango
2nd Counselor: Khargnde Stephen Sanye

After the meeting, we gathered both branches together for a picture. It was an amazing group!! A weekend of miracles!

One more picture I want to share. I was walking out of my house today, and saw a "wing" moving. It looked so peculiar that I had to stop and see how it was moving. Then I was so surprised, I had to take a picture.

Can you even see the ant at the tip of the wing? It was literally picking  it up and carrying it! I can't even fathom the weight difference between the two of them! There has got to be an object lesson in here somewhere. I'm a little too tired to think of it. All I know is that THINGS ARE STRONG here in Uganda! Haha! I'm hoping an ant doesn't pick me up and carry me away. Haha. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Welcome our new Missionary Couple

President Collings and I have worked really hard to do our own missionary work. Especially this month, during our transfer of miracles. We have continually opened our mouths and shared this message with everyone we can. I had very good conversations with 4 different people who I invited to church. President Collings contacted three individuals, and invited them to a missionary fireside in Jinja. Two ladies came to the fireside, and we arranged things with the missionaries to start teaching them. Three of the investigators we contacted have baptismal dates. Our goal for this month was four. It's exciting that we are right on track.

We had to leave the fireside early because we had to rush to Entebbe to pick up our new Missionary Couple!! Elder and Sister VanDerzee arrived on Saturday night, and will be our new MLS/ Office couple serving in Ethiopia. We had them come to Uganda and spend a couple of days with us and Elder and Sister Wittwer, just to get to know how things work here, and know who they will be working with over the phone and online. We are so thrilled to have them! We enjoyed the few days we spent with them, and are excited to continue to get to know them and work with them.

On Sunday, we went with the VanDerzees to the Lugazi Branch, which is about 1 1/2 hours drive from the mission home. It was so fun to spend time in this area! It was missionary Sunday, so they had Elder Payne speak, followed by President Collings. Then President Collings taught Sunday School, and was even asked to participate with Elder Thornley as he taught Priesthood.

The Relief Society sisters put Sister VanDerzee right to work. She led the music and did a wonderful job. We were taught by Elder Hyer. I talked with him after the meeting and said, "I bet you never thought you would be assigned as a Relief Society teacher!" We laughed, but he did an excellent job.

It was fun for the VanDerzees to see Elder Millecam. Apparently they are related, somehow... They were hoping they would be able to see him, but thought it wouldn't be possible because they would mostly be in Ethiopia. This was the only Ugandan branch that the VanDerzees would see before they leave for their assignment to Ethiopia. We were all surprised to make the connection, and to see the Lord's hand in the little details of our lives.

We were so happy to see Mabel! She was a young woman that President Collings contacted when he was working with Elder Antolin and Elder Duma almost a year ago. They taught her and baptized her. It is always fun to go back later and see that the people you have shared the gospel with are still active, and happy. It was a very good day.

The VanDerzees spent time in the mission office on Monday, and too soon were off to the airport. We will be seeing them in about a month. I know they will love the people of Ethiopia, and will be such an amazing support to the missionaries and members there. We are so excited to have them serving with us in this amazing place.

On Tuesday and Wednesday it was time to welcome more new missionaries. Before I get into that, just wanted to share a few fun memories of this day. First, I have been here in Uganda for almost two years. Every taxi we see has something written on the back. It's always fun to read the different sayings. But on Wednesday, I found my very own taxi!! Yay!

It might be a little bit banged up, but it's looks like it's pretty tough. It was fun to see!

We also spent some time with the Assistants to the President. Elder Yemoh and Elder Barrington. Elder Yemoh has been an AP for many months. He is a strong, organized, amazing leader. This transfer, he will be going to serve in Rwanda. He will be such a great support to the missionaries there, but we will miss him so much. We took him and his companion to breakfast, which was so nice.
While we were there, there was a monkey who was also eating. The restaurant has a wall of windows that they open every morning, and close every night. The windows had already been opened, and the monkey was climbing up the sides of the window, and eating bugs and spiders along the corners where the walls meet the ceiling, outside.

He wasn't bothering anyone, and was pretty fun to watch. As soon as they brought our juice to the table, I glanced over and saw this...

He was staring right at my juice, and I seriously thought he was going to jump onto our table! He was right next to us. It was pretty funny. President Collings tossed a small piece of a banana muffin to him, and he ate it and went back to eating the bugs. I think he liked them better than the people food. It's such a blast being here in Uganda!!

Back to picking up the missionaries. We received three from Johannesburg MTC, and four from Ghana MTC. We have missionaries that came from United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Samoa, and Ghana. Again... AMAZING! These are strong, smart, great missionaries!

We had a day of orientation, and then most of them went to their new areas. There was one who stayed an extra night with us at the mission home because he will be serving in Rwanda. So he needed to wait for his flight the next day. Orientation went well, and they are off with their new companions serving the Lord!

After we receive the new, we have to send home the veterans. It was pretty incredible this time. Sister Shongwe is the first missionary that we received and also sent home. She has only had President Collings as her mission president. It's pretty weird to be at this point. The Elders who went home did have a couple of transfers with President Chatfield, but we have been out here long enough that these missionaries have mostly only known one mission president. I was talking at one of our zone conferences and was talking about something Elder Hamilton said in our first mission tour. I asked the missionaries to raise their hand if they were here when Elder Hamilton came. Only one missionary in the whole zone raised his hand. That was a real eye opener.

It was neat to look at the departing missionaries and have memories of each of them individually. They have all really grown in their knowledge of the gospel, in their confidence to teach it, and in their strength of testimony. They have a light about them, and a power when they speak. We just felt pure joy as we shared our final thoughts with these missionaries, and listened to their final testimonies. They will surely be missed here in the UKM, but I have a feeling we will see them again, and will have a wonderful reunion with each of them.

Agyemang, Carter, Shongwe, Shumway, Driggs

Elder Carter, President Collings, Elder Driggs, Elder Shumway

Elder Agyemang, Sister Shongwe

A small update from my last posting. I talked about struggles we were having in Rwanda and Ethiopia. Right now, there's not much to report. We are still waiting on some issues with work permits in Ethiopia, but are confident we will be able to work them out, and have a full force of missionaries.  The issue in Rwanda has been with the church buildings that were closed. All three of our buildings were closed. We were able to rent one large building temporarily while we work on a permanent fix. It's large enough that all of the members can fit, but the difficulty is transport to the building. Sometimes the wait for a bus is too long, and sometimes the price of transport is too high. People mostly walk here, and it is far for many of them to walk. People are still remaining faithful, and patiently waiting for a permanent solution. We feel completely at peace, and know the Lord is watching over this mission and will help it to become even better.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Last Zone Conference and Eastern Branches

We had a final zone conference in Masaka. This was last but not least! Or last the best! Whatever you want to call it, we had a great time with our missionaries in Masaka Zone. Masaka now has two branches, Masaka Branch and Kijjabwemi Branch. We have one other area in Masaka  called Nyendo, that is really growing as well, and we are hoping to create one more branch there very soon. Because of all the growth in this area of our mission, we have a lot more missionaries serving there. We just brought sister missionaries in, and have several companionships in each branch. It's a very strong zone, and the training by the zone leaders was done very well.

It was raining like crazy while we were there, but that never stops our missionaries. I think we have entered the rainy season here in Uganda. When it rains, it comes down in buckets! It's unlike anything I have ever seen.

We went from Southern Uganda, Masaka, to Eastern Uganda and met with all three of our branches there. First we went to the Busia Uganda Branch. We have approval to divide this branch, and both President Collings and President Okello were interviewing brethren for the new branch presidency. We were so thrilled that they were able to find a new branch president for the Busia 3rd Branch! We planned to come back to Busia on Sunday morning to divide the branch and sustain and set apart the new branch presidency.  Of course, while President Collings was busy interviewing, I spent time with some fun returned sister missionaries. They are so sweet! We enjoyed spending time together!

That afternoon, we traveled to Mbale Uganda, where we have received permission to start a new group. This will be called the Kabwangasi Group. It's located just a few miles outside of Mbale. President Collings and President Okello interviewed brethren in the Mbale Branch to be the new group leader. Again, they were so happy to be able to find a new group leader. We arranged with him that we will be back in a few weeks and work out a place for the new group to meet. The members of the new group are so excited to be able to meet closer to their homes. They will now walk about 20 minutes to church instead of the 1- 1 1/2 hours that they have been walking for the last two years. 

Some members of the new Kabwangasi Group

On Sunday morning we traveled back to Busia Uganda for the division of the branch. As I said before, the rainy season is here, and it was really raining that morning! The people here all walk to church, and if it's raining, they come in soaked with muddy shoes, and they are cold and wet for the rest of the day. When it was time for church to start, there were only about 15 members there (usually there are 150). Even the new branch presidency had not come yet. We have scheduled to go back to Busia in two weeks for their branch conference, so the decision was made to wait on the division of the branch until we come back in two weeks. Can you imagine showing up for church and finding out you are in a completely new branch with a new branch president? We feel much better about making this change when most of the people know about it and can be there.

After a beautiful testimony meeting, and a quick Sunday School, we traveled across the border to Kenya and enjoyed a joint Priesthood and Relief Society meeting with the Busia Kenya Branch. They have been part of our mission for several months now, but we have not been able to get over there to see them. President Okello has been several times. We had such an amazing time with this branch!! We have two sister missionaries serving in the Busia Kenya Branch, and the members there absolutely love them.

Our sweet sisters!

We also have a returned sister missionary who lives there! She was known as Sister Mteshe in our mission. Her name is Vivian. It was so fun to see her again. She teaches institute in the branch, but was substituting in the primary on Sunday. I couldn't get enough hugs from her!

Time with Vivian!

President Collings taught the Priesthood/ Relief Society class, and led a discussion on how we can see miracles and tender mercies in our lives. He read in 1 Nephi 1:20, and then expounded on what it means to be chosen of the Lord. He referenced the April 2005 talk by Elder Bednar to help them understand that to be chosen is our own choice. We choose to love God and to keep his commandments and follow him, and that is how we are chosen, and can receive tender mercies from the Lord. It was an amazing meeting, and we really enjoyed our time spent in Kenya.

Busia Kenya Branch 

It was a rainy day on both sides of the border! But always fun to see the sign for our church.

This is my first glimpse of Kenya. Busia is a much larger city on the Kenya side of the border. In this picture we are driving towards Uganda. 

Kenya and Uganda are very friendly with each other. This was the easiest border I have ever crossed! It will be very easy for the members to cross the border for district conference when a district is formed here. There are many great blessings awaiting the saints in Busia!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

This is the work of the Lord

"The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught."

It's so interesting how things work out when you are serving the Lord. This transfer has been very unique. For zone conferences, President Collings has been talking about the conference talk given in October 2014 by Elder Lynn G Robbins: Which Way Do You Face? (you can follow the link to watch the conference talk). He has talked a lot about how the missionaries need to trust God, and not fear man  more than God. During his teaching, he directs the missionaries in a discussion, focused on D&C 3. This was a revelation given to Joseph Smith relating to the loss of 116 pages of manuscript translated from the first part of the Book of Mormon. Helping the missionaries understand that God is in charge. My favorite verse is verse 8 which says, "Yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble."

What is so unique and interesting to me about this transfer is that I find myself focused on this chapter of scripture over and over as different obstacles seem to arise.

As we were having zone conferences in Ethiopia last week, there were rumblings of some civil unrest going on. None of our missionaries were ever in danger, but it did pose some inconvenience for the missionaries. They all had  to stay in the apartments in Addis Ababa, and were even in lock down one day because we heard there were some street protests going on. Here is a LINK to the situation in Ethiopia. Our biggest concern is that there has been some changes in the documentation that missionaries need in order to get a work permit. Because of the changes, there were 3 missionaries who we just sent to Ethiopia that had to return to Uganda. They just won't qualify for a work permit, and thus will not be able to do missionary work in Ethiopia. We are hoping that hearts will be softened, and we can find a way to send more missionaries. Right now, there is a lot of prayers, and hope that the members will remain strong until we can get a larger force of missionaries in Ethiopia. The missionaries who are serving there now are amazing, and are so positive. It continues to come to my mind, and I'm so grateful to know that He is in charge: The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught. 

The zone conferences have all been so amazing. I really feel like the missionaries are taking it to heart. As they discuss "which way they face", and talk about different situations where they were afraid to do the right thing, or say the right thing, something amazing has happened. Several missionaries have come to President Collings and have made a renewed commitment to be more obedient, to use their time more wisely, and be more diligent as a missionary, and to even repent and make things right between them and God. Many missionaries are raising their hand in the discussion and testifying how their life has changed because they decided to focus on being exactly obedient to the mission rules, and trusted in God. They have seen the blessings come into their missionary work, their personal lives, and even their loved ones back home. The spirit has been so strong in each zone conference, and I am humbled to be a part of it.

When things are going so good, Satan is always there in the background trying to distract us from working hard and doing our best. Not only was there a difficult situation in Ethiopia, but also there were some unique challenges in Rwanda.

We went there this last weekend for zone conferences and interviews, and just as we were traveling there, we received a message that someone from the government had shut down one of our churches. By the time we arrived in Rwanda, two of our 3 churches had been shut down. This was on Friday, and our District Presidency and Senior Couple Missionaries were working tirelessly to figure out how we could hold church service on Sunday. Here is a LINK to an article that talks about how churches in Kigali were shut down.  One of the churches we rent is owned by a lawyer. She was able to prove that our building met all the criteria that a church needed, and so we were able to open that church for Sunday service. But the Kigali Third branch did not meet the criteria, and we were not able to have services there. The members of the Kigali Third branch went to church in either Kigali First or Second Branches on Sunday. We had church in the Second Branch, and it was bursting at the seams because of the members who came from the closed branch, but also because there were so many people who were not members of the church, whose churches had been closed, and they were searching for a place to worship. I've never seen so many people in that branch. It was really an amazing and wonderful Sunday, and everyone who came was able to feel the spirit and enjoy the worship services. We were blessed to have 3 baptisms after church, one from the second branch and two from the third branch.

On Monday, the Kigali First branch was closed down as well. So now there is only one church building in Rwanda that the members are able to worship in. I have a feeling I know what everyone in Kigali will be fasting for this coming fast Sunday. President Collings and I believe that this is a blessing in disguise. There are close to 700 churches that have been closed. We will find appropriate buildings that will meet the government criteria, and invite those who are searching for a place to worship God. I believe there will be many who will come to know the truthfulness of the Gospel in Rwanda. "...he (will be) with you in every time of trouble."

Although we are facing unique challenges in Ethiopia and Rwanda, I feel completely at peace. We are doing God's work, and his work will not be frustrated by man. We need to continue to work, and he will prepare a way for us to accomplish all he asks us to do.

Along with all the fun zone conferences and experiences in Ethiopia and Rwanda, I also had a visit from my SISTERS! They came to stay with my mom and dad, who are the senior couple serving in Rwanda. When we came into town to have zone conference and interviews with the missionaries, I was able to spend a couple of days visiting and having fun with my mom and sisters. It was so nice!

On Saturday, we went to a small village and basically got to live the life of a Rwandan woman for a day. We hiked to the village, and met the women we would spend the day with. They helped us to dress in their traditional clothes. Apparently, I'm not easy to dress. They re-tied the cloth on my head probably 3 times, and kind of laughed each time they finished, I guess it looked pretty funny to them. Haha.

We went outside and peeled sweet potatoes for a lunch that would be prepared later. They also showed us where they were cooking the beans and greens. My sister, Tera, is a very good photographer. I got some of these pictures from her! Here is a LINK to more of her amazing photos!

On the last Saturday of the month, all of the communities in Rwanda get together for Umaganda. The members of the community work together to build unity, friendship, and to make their communities nicer. We were invited to join these women for Umaganda, and of course, said yes! We walked about 10 minutes down a trail to where they were clearing grass from the trail, and widening it to make a road. It was hard work, but with so many people working together, it went really fast.

Walking to the job site with our tools. This is what the trail looked like before the work. 

This is what the trail (road) looked like when we were done. 

We walked back to the house, and it was time for us to haul some water. We kind of laughed when they brought out our water buckets. This is the size the children carry. But we didn't complain. The 45 pound container would be difficult when we've never hauled water before.

We went back to the home, and sat down and talked with the women. They had lots of questions about our life, and we had lots of questions about theirs. We pulled out our phones and showed them pictures of our families, and snow. It was pretty fun.

Then we all went inside to enjoy lunch together. We had the sweet potatoes that we had peeled earlier that morning, along with beans and greens, and fresh avocados. Everything tasted wonderful. We continued our conversation about the differences in our culture. They asked what foods we like to eat, and what the vegetation and climate is like where we live. I have a sister in Georgia, one in Illinois, one in Utah, I live in Kampala, and my mom is in Kigali. We couldn't live in more different places. It was fun to explain to them how we were all able to meet in Rwanda from our homes all over the world.

They took us outside and showed us how they get fibers from the sisal plant and make crafts with it. They let us help, to scrape the meat off the fibers, but it was not as easy as it looked.

We spent the rest of the afternoon making either earrings or bracelets out of the sisal. I had a wonderful helper, which made the work go so much easier. She is a young girl who is deaf, and unable to speak. We saw a sign language book that she is learning from. She was very sweet, and loved helping me to tie the knots for my bracelet.

I think the finished project was nice! But mostly, the friendship we built was the best part of the whole day.

As we ended our day, the women sang and danced for us, and then they had us dance with them while they sang. They sang a few songs, and then requested that we sing for them. It was a fun way to end the day, with hugs all around.

Here is the company who put this experience together for us. It was amazing! Azizi means "precious".

We also got to visit a school that is run by the District President. It was so fun to see them in their rooms eating their breakfast, which was provided for them free of charge. The young children are learning French and  English.  President Opar has done a lot of work, and made this school so nice. for the children. He is able to employ 5 people, and will soon hire a recently returned missionary. It was so fun to see the children, and even their teachers, who seem to be doing an amazing job.

I enjoyed SO MUCH spending time with my sisters, and felt rejuvenated and ready to go back to work!  My husband has been amazing. While I was out enjoying time with my sisters, he was taking care of all the issues going on with the church buildings, interviewing all the missionaries, and dealing with the returning missionaries from Ethiopia. His work never seems to end, but he loves it. He is right where the Lord wants him to be right now. He handles everything so well, and is just calm and confident as others seem to be stressed. I'm so blessed to have his strength, and steadying influence here in the countries where we serve. Life is good, and serving the Lord is a blessing. I can't imagine being anywhere else right now!