Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas and a Safari

As we are finishing up the year here in the Uganda Kampala mission, it's been so exciting. We have enjoyed Christmas devotionals with all of the missionaries in Uganda this week. We divided it up into Kampala and Jinja areas, with five zones coming to Kampala, and three zones coming to Jinja. We had the missionaries perform skits for us. It's so funny to see how they portray President Collings and myself when they do skits. We really enjoyed it. Of course the person who portrayed me was an Elder... not sure how I feel about that, Haha. Several of the groups sang songs, which were really fun.  We posted the videos on Facebook.

Elder Foster, Elder Beck, Elder Goodrich, Elder Shepherd, Elder Mafirashango, Elder Phiri, Elder Mugwagwa, Elder Dibatayi, Elder (I can't tell), Elder Obeng, Elder Haines, Elder Harding, Elder Packer

Elder Yemoh, Elder Khoriyo, Elder Christensen, Elder Hart, Elder Hawk, Elder LeCheminant, and Elder Quateng

Elder Long, Elder Oliverson, Elder Ray, and Elder Dowdle

We made lunch for them. In Kampala, it consisted of Chicken Breasts, loaded baked potatoes, chipatis, coleslaw, green salad and Greek salad. With ice cream for dessert. None of our missionaries went hungry! In Jinja, we had chicken salad sandwiches, with pasta salad, cole slaw, papaya, and pineapple. With fresh baked cookies for dessert. Again, everyone enjoyed the meal, and ate until they were full. I have to say thank you to the Sisters who are always so willing to help out with food. They have so many other things that they are doing to keep them busy, but if they weren't around to help, I would have to come up with food for over 120 missionaries on my own. Sister Phelps, Sister Bratsman, Sister Tower, Suzan, Sarah, and Jackie. Sister Phelps and I fed 50 elders in Jinja, and she had to drive 3 hours to get there with the food. The other ladies fed 70 elders in Kampala. I appreciate them so much!

Jackie, Suzan, Sarah, Sister Bratsman, and Sister Tower

Elder and Sister Phelps

During lunch we were able to watch a DVD of the missionaries in 2016. It was made by Suzan, and had pictures put to music. It was so fun for them to watch while they were eating. The pictures were a combination of funny and spiritual, and there was even a video clip. The missionaries were laughing, and really enjoying it.
Elder Schweitzer, Elder Malaza, and President Collings

Elder Collison, Elder Brogan, and Elder Dean

Elder Hawk, Elder Roylance, Elder Christensen, Elder Khoriyo, Elder Haines

Elder Haines, Elder Harding, and Elder Shepherd

Elder Owens,  Elder Mokena, and Elder Yemoh

Elder Goodrich, Elder Chandler, Elder Mukaro, Elder Neff, Elder Hart, and Elder Malaza

Elder Andriasithernia, Elder Gangire, Elder Khoriyo, Elder Davidson, Elder Beja, Elder Essoun, Elder Foster, Sister Solomampionona, and  Elder Dean

Sister Dimbi, Sister Ramson, Sister Mteshi, Elder Tembo, Elder Aaron, Elder Mugwagwa, Elder Phiri, Elder Mafirashango, and Elder Dibatayi

Elder Seibert, and Elder Oliverson

Elder Long, and  Elder Tesch

Elder Barrett, and Elder Anderson

Elder Smith, Elder Agyemang, Elder Nkosi, Elder Ndamane, Elder Darko, Sister Rakotandaraminana, Sister Kunene, and Elder Osei-Tutu

Elder Ward, Elder Mumba, and Elder Cieslak

Elder Moncur, Elder Bemis, Elder Barrington, and Elder Koopmans

After watching the DVD, we had a testimony meeting. I absolutely love listening to our missionaries bear testimony.  It was wonderful. We gave them their gifts, and President Collings gave some parting remarks. I think everyone really had a good experience.

On Tuesday, we brought in the new missionaries to the Mission Home. They have been out just about three weeks now, and we had them come back in for a follow up training day. Their trainers come to this meeting as well, and we just try to help them all understand what is expected while they are here on their missions. We tell the new missionaries things so their trainers will hear it, and tell the trainers what we expect so that their companions will hear it. We had some pretty amazing things happen after our training this time.

One missionary called President Collings and said something clicked during that meeting, he finally gets it! He said that he was being held back by his own doubts, and had decided that from that day he would have a little more faith, and trust that the Lord would help him to reach his goals. His whole attitude changed. That night, after the meeting, this elder called President Collings, he was excited to tell him that he had this experience, and that he finally understood what President has tried to teach the elders for the past few months. Then he said that as he and his companion were traveling home, they had people approaching them right and left, and in just one and a half hours, they had 14 new investigators! The very next day they taught seven lessons to those investigators.

That same day, another missionary called President Collings after the meeting. He and his companion found a man that said he had been looking for a church that would give his family peace in their lives.  They started to talk to him and he asked if he could bring his whole family to be taught. They felt like this church had the answers they were seeking. Then the father said that every Sunday he has a bible study group that meets in his home. He committed to have him and his entire family come to church on Sunday, and said he would invite the 16 people from his bible study group to come as well. These elders had both decided to have a little more faith to find, and were shocked with how they were blessed.

Every year the senior couples get together for a Couple's conference. This year we went to Murchisan National Park, and we were able to enjoy some time getting to know each other better, and enjoying our Heavenly Father's creations. We went on a boat up the Victoria Nile to the base of Murchisan Falls, then hiked up to the top of the falls. It was AMAZING!

While on the boat ride, we saw so many animals! We saw crocodiles, hippos, many types of antelope, and beautiful birds, but my favorite were the elephants. We decided to count all of the elephants we saw, and ended up seeing 39!! So fun.

 That alone was enough for me, but then we rode in a big safari jeep. One evening we were out after dark, and saw a hyena, and a jackal. We saw many giraffes and elephants as well. At one point we came across an elephant nursery. There were at least six mothers with their babies all together. We were looking for lions, and at one point we heard one roar. We drove towards the sound, but never saw it. That same evening, one of the other couples did see a lion and her cub. If you're ever in Uganda, I would highly recommend going on a Safari in Murchisan National Park. It was so worth it! We were able to be there on our 28th wedding anniversary, which made it really special. I never imagined that I would be spending an anniversary on safari, with my husband serving as a mission president. You never know where life will take you. We are truly blessed.

A couple of more fun stories. These are just so I can remember them. While Suzan, Sarah, and Jackie were making chipatis at the mission home, Suzan asked me for a "mingling stick". I wasn't sure what she was asking me for, but then she pointed to the pot of meat, and I realized she needed a big spoon to mix it with. I do have a very LARGE mingling stick at the mission home! I told her I would be writing this down, I love that!

While Steve and I were sitting at the lodge one evening, a waiter asked us if we wanted anything to drink. We asked for a cold Coke  Zero with ice. He came back a few minutes later and apologized that the Coke Zero was not cold. We asked if he had ice and he said yes. So we asked him to bring out the warm Coke Zero with the ice. He was very confused, "You want WARM Coke Zero with ICE?" We said yes, we will just put the Coke Zero in the ice. His eyes brightened and he said, "OH! So it BALANCES!" Yes. Warm Coke Zero with ice balances it.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!


  1. Oh how I love your blog, your mission and especially you!!

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  3. Ahhh Happy Anniversary you two!! We spent our 40th anniversary there in Uganda. Had dinner at the Sailing Club in Jinja then drove to Mbale for the night. Next day drove up to Sepi Falls. Fun hiking to all 3 water falls. A MUST-do maybe for your 29th next year?! Hugs my special friends~