Their flight arrived at almost 11:00 PM. We had Elder and Sister Bratsman come with us to the airport, which is not easy when you work in the mission office. We were so grateful to them for their thoughtfulness. When they arrived, we gave hugs all around, so excited to have them here in Uganda. The drive home was about an hour, but seemed to go by much faster than that because we talked the whole time, getting caught up on news from home, and showing them new things on the drive back to the Mission Home. Once we arrived at the mission home, we continued to talk for a long time. It was so nice. They will serve here for 6 months.
On Wednesday, we had another senior couple come. They came on the same late night flight. Two nights in a row was too hard for me, so President Collings went to the airport with Elder Phelps. The new senior couple is Elder and Sister Tower. He is a retired judge, and was called on a service mission to come to help the Justice Department in Uganda. The will also be here for 6 months, and will be such an asset to this great country. We had both senior couples stay at the mission home, and it was so fun to have a full house.
We left Thursday morning for our last two zone conferences. We took Elder and Sister Phelps with us, because we were going to go to church in Mbale, which is where they will be staying for the next 6 months. Our first zone conference was at Mukono. We haven't been to the Mukono chapel yet, and weren't sure if traffic would be a problem, so we left a bit early. We arrived at the Mukono chapel an hour before zone conference, so President Collings took Elder Phelps and they decided to do some street contacting. President said he felt like a young missionary again! I think if he had it his way, we would just go tracting every day. He loves talking to people about the Gospel. They spoke with a man named Mohammad who owned a restaurant, and ended up having a wonderful conversation with him. Then they came back to the chapel for zone conference. While we were in the meeting, Mohammad came over to the church with a case of water to give to all of the missionaries. We were all so touched!! After zone conference we decided to walk down to his restaurant with all of the missionaries and sing "I Am a Child of God" as a thank you for the water.
He wasn't there, but we sang to his employees. They recorded it, and said they would show him. Then one of his employees asked if he could find out more about our church. He asked for a copy of the beautiful hymn we sang. Our missionaries will hook him up.
Zone conference with the Mukono zone was really good!! The zone leaders did a great job with their teaching, and there are such good missionaries there. It's really fun to get to know the missionaries better as we come spend the day with them.
After the zone conference we walked to Mohammad's restaurant and sang, and then we all went to another restaurant for lunch. Apparently, Mohammad makes hamburgers with large buns, and very very tiny meat patties, haha. So the missionaries chose another place. I think we overwhelmed them with the number of missionaries that came because I think we waited for over an hour for our food, haha. But the food was very good!
While waiting we spent time getting to know the missionaries better, and President Collings spent time teaching the restaurant employees about the Gospel. We found out later that they ended up coming to church on Sunday, which was really neat. After a yummy meal, and great conversation with our missionaries, we left for Jinja.
We had an opportunity to meet with John from the radio station in Jinja. We met at a restaurant and he brought his wife and baby girl. He actually has 5 kids. We also met the Stake President with his wife and baby. We all had a nice conversation, but John was disappointed. He kept saying, "I thought you were coming to teach me more about the Gospel." He didn't have much time to spend with us because he had to get to the station for his show. President Collings said that if he really wanted us to teach him, we would be willing to pick him up after the radio show and bring him back to our hotel to teach him. He was very happy with this idea. We missed getting a picture with John and his wife and baby, but after he left, we got a picture with President Mbiro and his wife and baby.
Later that night we had an amazing experience teaching John about the Book of Mormon. We gave him a copy of it, and taught him about it. He has such a fun personality. It was really nice being able to talk with him, and share what we know about Jesus Christ and his gospel. We ended up getting him a fish for dinner, which he had wrapped to take home and share with his wife. He said he will come to Stake Conference in Jinja in November. That was the first Sunday he is available, but we are excited because we will be there!
On a side note, one of the waitresses at the restaurant asked us about our church, and said she would like missionaries to visit her. She was very friendly, and actually pulled out a little notebook and wrote her name and phone number on it and gave it to us. It's amazing how many people just ask you to tell them about the church, and commit to come to church. Uganda is amazing.
Friday was zone conference with the Jinja and Iganga zones. I think this was our biggest group! 32 elders and sisters. They came prepared, and were able to be taught. The zone leaders did a great job teaching, and organizing it. Each time we have a zone conference, we listen to the testimonies of missionaries who will go home on the next transfer. This time it was two sister missionaries. What a blessing to have them in our mission. They have grown so strong while serving here in the UKM!
We had a buffett meal served afterwards, and again really enjoyed spending time with the missionaries. After the meal, we decided it would be nice to sing "I am a Child of God" to the staff that served us. There were close to 10 people who all decided to take pictures and videos of us singing. It was really fun.
Next stop on our journey was Mbale. It was fun going here because we were able to take Elder and Sister Phelps so they could see where they will be staying, and meet people in the branch where they will be serving. We have been trying to meet with community leaders in some of these outlying areas. It was arranged that we would meet a couple of them in Mbale, but they weren't able to make it. It was disappointing, but we are so happy that Elder and Sister Phelps will be here, and will be able to follow up and meet with them at a later date.
Church was fun. There are strong people in the Mbale branch. Many return missionaries, and many young single adults who are working towards going on a mission. We were all asked to speak in church. Sister Phelps, Elder Phelps, me, and President Collings. It was so nice to share our testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and his atonement. I'm definitely getting opportunities to speak in church a LOT! What a blessing.
We saw that there is a volleyball net set up on the church grounds. President Collings asked if they have been playing volleyball. They said that they lost the ball about a year ago, and now they can't have Family Home Evening anymore because there are no balls to play with... volleyball, soccer, or basketball. Well, we brought a basketball from the USA, and it has been in the back of our vehicle so President Collings can play with the elders. He went to the back of the vehicle and pulled out the basketball. "Look what the Lord has sent you!" They were so excited. I think a few of them wanted to start up a game right there in the church parking lot on a Sunday afternoon. Haha. I think Elder and Sister Phelps want to get a volleyball and soccer ball for them very soon so that Family Home Evening can start again.
I bumped into this return missionary who served in Durban South Africa. We knew a few missionaries who served there, so I asked if he knew either of them. He said he knew them both, and actually, one of them was his trainer when he first arrived on his mission. His trainer was in our ward in Grantsville.. Such a small world in the Gospel.
After church we drove to the home where the senior couple will be staying while in Mbale. The home is being painted and cleaned, but it looks like a very nice place. I know the branch is so excited to have them here! I think they will be a nice fit for this area.
We drove home from Mbale, and made it back just after dark. It was a very long trip, but so nice. Uganda is such a beautiful place!