Sunday, November 27, 2016

Johannesburg with an Apostle

This week has been quite incredible. Every six months all of the mission presidents in the Southeast Africa Area come together for a seminar. There are 15 missions in the Southeast Africa area, and 8 of the mission presidents are as new as we are. It was so fun getting to see the people we spent time with in the MTC, and then to get to know the other missionaries in the area was just so incredible.

We flew in and immediately met President and Sister Msani, from Kenya. We took the same van to the hotel, and were able to swap stories. Their grandson is serving in our mission, so there is added excitement there as we were able to tell them what a good missionary he is. Apparently, the driving in Kenya is worse than Uganda? I'm not sure if I believe them, I may have to take a trip there to see. Haha.

What made this Seminar extra special was that Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife were there along with Elder Ulisses Soares and his wife, he is the General Authority who set me apart for this mission! We were able to be taught by them several times over the 3 days that we were in Johannesburg. What an amazing experience.

We had a very nice dinner the first evening, at the Area Presidency Residence. It was a beautiful evening, and we were outdoors. They served such wonderful food! It gave us a taste of American and African cuisine. We were able to take a group photo that evening of all the Mission Presidents, Area Presidency, and Elder Christofferson, Elder Soares, and their wives.

We also got to go to the Johannesburg Temple for a session. It has been 5 long months since we attended the temple. The feelings there were absolutely amazing. Both President Collings and I found ourselves in tears. You really learn to appreciate the temple when you are not able to attend. What a blessing that we can go at least once a year. There are many who can't.

One of my favorite things that happened at this seminar was that all of the mission presidents were able to share ideas and best practices with each other. We are all going through similar situations, and are developing such a bond with each other. All of these ideas were so helpful. I'm sure we will implement some of them, and will continue to lift this mission to it's highest potential.

The highlight of the seminar was Elder Christofferson's final remarks to us. He left a blessing on us, and it was powerful. He also taught us what it means to be a Special Witness of Jesus Christ. We felt truly edified by his remarks, and want to go back and study the things he told us.

We were able to spend some time shopping in the mall by the hotel. It feels so much like the United States. We were able to find some necessities that we can't seem to find in Uganda. The driving is wonderful as well! It's so nice to see stop lights (they call them robots...) and traffic that goes freeway speed on the freeway.

We were sad to see the seminar come to an end. We have really grown close to these mission presidents and their wives. But we felt revitalized and renewed, and excited to get back to doing the Lord's work.

We flew back on Saturday, and arrived at the mission home at about 9:30 PM on Saturday night. The next morning we left at 6:00 am for Stake Conference. This was the largest gathering of Saints I have seen since I came out on my mission. President Collings and I were asked to speak, so we were sitting on the stand, and one by one, bus loads of people were dropped off at the church. The stake president said that they had set up 900 chairs, and he was hoping to fill them all. From where I was sitting, they all looked full! It was amazing. We have over 30 missionaries serving in the Jinja Stake, and they are staying pretty busy. It was so fun to see them scattered throughout the congregation. At the end of the meeting, several of them introduced us to recent converts, or people investigating the church. All very happy to be a part of such a wonderful event.



We truly are seeing miracles in the Uganda Kampala Mission. We love it here!


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