Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! 2016 was definitely a year to remember in the Collings family. So many wonderful changes.

On Friday I took a big step. I had my hair cut and colored. I haven't dared go anywhere, but it was really fun. I went to Max, who has been cutting President Collings' hair. He has asked me a couple of times to let him cut mine. I finally let him. When I went in, I think it made him nervous at first, because I asked him to take of 5 inches. Once he got started though, he was like a kid in a candy store. He was telling me all about my hair, most things I knew, but he was excited to tell me, like how curly it is, and how layering it will help it to lay better, etc. After my hair was cut I said I would just go home and style it, and he said, "Please Sister, I have tools and products. You can see all I have to make your hair nice." I couldn't say no. Haha. I finally feel like my old self again.

We needed to change out the Branch Presidency in Mbale, and our schedule is so packed, the only day we had available to make the change was January 1st! We traveled to Mbale, and President Collings interviewed some of the brethren in the Branch. He was able to call a Branch President, his two counselors, an executive secretary, and clerk. The branch presidency are all young, but they are strong in the gospel, and we believe, "whom the Lord calls, he qualifies." The first counselor is older, but he is very young in the gospel, and has been a member for less than a year. He is the only one who is married. The branch president and his second counselor are both return missionaries, and have learned a lot about the church through their missionary service.

While President Collings and Elder Phelps were busy at the church with interviews, Sister Phelps and  I went shopping to get some things for dessert. She had made brownies, and wanted some ice cream to go with it. She also made an amazing hot fudge topping. Seems like every time I go to Mbale lately, I  come across a group walking down the road for a circumcision. This time, I asked Sister Phelps to take some pictures for me. Pretty crazy. We had a nice day.

After the brethren were interviewed and called, President Collings invited them to bring a date and we would all go out for a New Year's Eve dinner. The first counselor was not able to come. I was looking forward to meeting his wife, but will have to do that later.

At the restaurant

After dinner, we went over to Elder and Sister Phelp's home for dessert and some games. It was a very enjoyable evening. They are such a great group of young men and young women. The church has a bright future in Mbale.

Saturday night was New Years Eve. It was pretty crazy at the hotel where we stayed. There was a church meeting in a room right below us, and they were really SINGING PRAISES! Then across the parking lot, there is a park-like area where there was a DJ with really loud music BLASTING. Right before midnight, the music changed to something very AFRICAN. Drums were playing, and women were trilling. At midnight fireworks went off, and the DJ shouted over and over again, "HAPPY NEW YEAR! ...........HAPPY NEW YEAR" It was so loud! I think things settled down around 2 or 3 in the morning.

My suggestion, don't go to a hotel on New Year's Eve if you actually want to sleep.

On Sunday, President released the previous branch president and the branch members sustained the new one. The previous one had been in for 6 years. He was asked to stand and bear his testimony to the congregation. He was so happy. He said, "The Lord must really love me, because I thought I would be released in 2015. But he didn't want to release me until 2017." He was very positive, and said that he was willing to take whatever calling was given to him. We also heard from his counselor who was released, and the incoming branch presidency. There was a real excitement in the air. The branch members were given an opportunity to bear their testimonies as well, and everyone was very positive. Grateful for the service of the previous branch president, and excited for the new one.  It was a wonderful day.

President Isaac Etiang (center), with Nelson and Alan, his counselors 

New Branch Presidency including executive secretary and clerk

Previous Branch Presidency with their families and us.

We went out to an appointment with our Sister missionaries on Tuesday. We met a very sweet woman named Monica and her family. She is very interested in our church. The sisters taught her, and we were able to testify of the things they were teaching. We also met with her grandfather. He had a stroke about 4 months ago, and stays in bed, but we went in and said a prayer with him.  Our Sister missionaries are amazing, they do such a great job.

Sister Shabalala and Sister Randrianandrasana

Two happy things I want to share at the end of this posting. Several of our zones and districts did Christmas caroling during this Christmas season. It's not something that people in this area of the world do, so our missionaries were quite a spectacle. But had much success in sharing the good news of the Gospel. These are the only pictures I have, but I'm so impressed with all of our missionaries for helping people feel the Spirit during this Christmas season.

I was SO EXCITED to come across this today!!! I haven't seen solid antiperspirant in 6 MONTHS!! Lots of roll on, like I used in Jr. High. I think it ended up costing me $10, or close to it, but TOTALLY  worth it! You'd be surprised what I can and can't find here. Hahaha... This was a very good shopping day!

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