Thursday, March 2, 2017

Strong Branch, MANY referrals, and GREAT news in Rwanda

We have had some fun experiences in the past week. We spent some time in Jinja, and we were able to take 3 cases of reading glasses to the Jinja Stake President, who gave them to a group that provides free optometry to people who are in need.

This is Sister Ashton, who headed up this service project. She wanted to provide reading glasses to the people of our mission. She asked for help from other sisters serving in the Salt Lake City mission. This is a picture of those who helped donate glasses.

President Mbiro at the Handover

We met with our missionaries in Jinja, Iganga, and Mukono zones for zone conference. This is my favorite time of the transfer because we are able to hear the zone leaders train the missionaries in their zones. The zone conferences are very uplifting. We see such great leadership in our mission.

We took a trip over the weekend to visit the branch in Masaka. Our first evening we went to dinner at a fun cafe.
In front of the cafe was the largest poinsettia plant I have ever seen. It was taller that I am! I had to stop and get a picture. I think people in the cafe thought I was crazy. 

We met the branch president of Masaka Branch, President Akera, at the cafe. We were able to enjoy a wonderful evening with him, and discussed about the branch, and our missionaries. This is an area of our mission that is doing extremely well. There are enough people coming to this branch, that it's getting close to being split. Hopefully sometime this year.

We attended Church in Masaka on Sunday. President Collings and I were able to speak. At the beginning of the meeting they confirmed 6 people, they also had three men advance in the priesthood. It's just wonderful to see the church growing throughout Uganda. 

After Church services, we had a baptism. Most of the branch members stayed after church to watch, and be a support to the newest member of the branch. 

This is a single mother in the branch. Her daughter, sitting in the back with the grey sweater, was confirmed that day. The mother was baptized a year ago, and brings her family to church every week. She is so positive, and is teaching her children well.

That evening, we held a fireside for the young single adults in the branch. There are many preparing to go on missions, and many who have already served and come home from their missions. We were able to have such a wonderful discussion with them. We have asked them to prayerfully consider who they can invite to church, and introduce to the missionaries. This rising generation is wonderful, and will be a great support to others as they join the church. 

We made it back to Kampala, and spent some time on preparation day with the elders and sisters in the Kampala North and South Stakes. 

President Collings played basketball.

I got to hang out with the sister missionaries. They tried to teach me some fun games. I caught on to some, others, I'm too slow to catch on to. But we had a lot of fun. These sister missionaries are truly great ladies. They are not afraid to open their mouths, and share the gospel with  everyone they meet. They are seeing many blessings. 

On Sunday, the Kampala North Stake had a combined Priesthood and Relief Society meeting in all of their wards. They decided to have a presentation on helping with missionary work. In these meetings they invited members to write down names of people that they felt would like to hear about the gospel. Then they noted if they wanted to be involved in teaching these friends and family, or if they just wanted the missionaries to contact them. In that one-hour meeting, in 4 wards, in one stake, our missionaries were given about 500 new contacts! Most of the members want to be involved in helping them teach these new contacts. There is such an excitement for missionary work in Kampala! We now have a new stake, and the new stake president is talking about doing the same type of activity in his stake to boost missionary efforts. It's just been amazing! We feel like we have been called to the greatest mission in the world!

We were able to travel to Kigali, Rwanda to spend some time in the Kigali branches. Our first evening in Kigali, we met with President William and his brother, Frank. We have spent time with them in the past, but we really felt like we were able to build a greater friendship as we spent time together. We are realizing more and more each day, what great leaders we have in the branches. 

Another fun experience we had, was we spent time with our missionaries visiting some of the members, and investigators. This is Grace. She is an amazing woman. She learned to sew, and sells the things that she sews. But she also teaches other women to sew as well, and helps them get started in their own businesses. We were able to visit with her in her shop. She introduced us to three ladies who were sewing in a room in the back. She has been helping other women since 2000. In 2013, she sewed two amazing pieces that hang in the church at the Kigali 1st Branch. They are beautiful! She said that as she was sewing these murals, she had no idea she would be a member of this church one day. She joined the church last year. 

Now she wants to go to the temple and be sealed to her husband, who she lost in 1998, when she was expecting their 5th child.  Her children are about the same age as our  children.  She is an amazing, sweet, and strong woman. What a blessing to have met her. 

Two of the senior couples serving in the Uganda Kampala Mission, took the opportunity to see some of the sights in Rwanda. They went to see the gorillas, and then the next day, went to the Genocide Museum, and some of the other historical sights in Kigali. We met up with them, and the Gilletts, on Friday evening for dinner. 

It was fun to hear about the fun experiences they were able to have. President Collings and I would like to go see some of these sights one day with our missionaries. I think it is so important to learn about the history of this area, because the genocide happened so recently. It's important to understand the people we are serving. 

We went to dinner at a place called Heaven. 

Apparently, this is what Heaven looks like, haha. The food was really good, and the company was great. We really enjoyed the time we could spend with these couples. 

Zone Conference for the Kigali Zone was Saturday. The brethren have taught us a new pattern for learning as mission president and wife, and it's a pattern that they use throughout the church. We have been  using this pattern with our missionaries. 
First: Prepare to Learn. Before a meeting, we give the missionaries a subject to study, a scripture, or a chapter in Preach My Gospel.
Second: Interact to Edify. The teacher will lead a discussion on what has been studied. Everyone takes turns discussing the ideas that came to their mind as they studied. As they share thoughts, ideas, and experiences, the Spirit is very strong, and brings ideas to your mind on how you can do better in certain areas of your life.
Third: Invite to Act. When a person acts on a concept that they are studying, it gives them the opportunity to feel the Spirit in their life, which builds their faith. This is why we ask our investigators to keep commitments, so they can have every opportunity to feel the Spirit, and their faith will grow.

Kigali Zone definitely prepared themselves for this zone conference.

Each time we visit the zone in Rwanda, the Spirit is so strong. We can tell that they have prepared themselves spiritually for the meeting. We found out from some of the missionaries that this zone held a special fast, that they would be spiritually fed as they attended zone conference, and that the work would progress in Kigali. What happened in this zone conference was amazing. Each of the leaders shared their messages with power. The zone is unified, and they lift and help each other.  It was a very special experience for all of us. The work is progressing in Rwanda. It's incredible.

This was a fun picture sent to me by Sister Harline. "Counseling Together" 
Thanks for sharing it with me! 

While we were in Kigali, President Collings received approval from church headquarters  to create a district. On March 26th, we will be creating the Kigali District of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We found out early enough, that we were able to notify the branches on Sunday, and they were able to invite everyone to a special Tri Branch Conference, where a district will be created. There is such excitement among the members of the church in Rwanda. It's truly a blessing!
Primary Children in Kigali. 

We had a fun volleyball game with the zone before we headed back to Kampala. It was a great trip. 

Sister Gillett made cookies and popcorn, and Brother Francis donated 3 pineapples. We had a nice snack after volleyball. 

Need a quick picture with the sister missionaries. 

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