What a wonderful weekend we had in Busia! This mission branch sits on the border of Kenya and Uganda. There is a branch on each side of the border. We are responsible for the Busia Uganda branch. This branch was struggling when we first came on our mission. We were able to go there and do some training about 6 months ago. At that point there were only about 35 people attending Sacrament meeting. Since that time, the branch is doing amazing. In fact, we call it our first miracle while on our mission. The branch leadership goes out and invites less active members to come back. The branch members welcome people with love. There is a feeling of love and unity in the branch as people do whatever they can to be more Christ-like. The change is truly miraculous.
We decided to spend the weekend in Busia. On Saturday evening we would have a fireside, and then on Sunday, we would attend church with them. What a great experience it was! We did have a few issues with our drive to Busia. The drive usually takes 4 hours. We had a couple of setbacks, like locking our car keys in the house... It took almost an hour to get another set of keys to get in. We sat in the worst traffic jam we have ever been in, between Kampala and Jinja. I think it ate up another 1 1/2 to 2 hours. All in all, we made it to the fireside at 5:10pm. It was scheduled to start at 5:00. We left at 10:00 am...we were just grateful that we made it!
It was so fun to see the many people who came for the fireside. There were 108 people there. Usually on a Sunday they have around 90-100 people come to church. To have 108 at a fireside on Saturday night was amazing! The next day when we came for church, we were surprised that 130 people came. That's the highest number we have seen in Busia since we came on our mission! We were really able to enjoy fast and testimony meeting in the branch, the spirit was very strong. There are quite a few return missionaries, and quite a few who are preparing to go on missions. I think President Collings did about 24 interviews, between prospective missionaries, priesthood advancements, and temple recommends.
After the fireside
During sacrament. These girls were braiding the tassels on this scarf so quietly. All the kids are so reverent here during church meetings. The one on the left looked like she was about 3 or 4 years old.
After sacrament meeting, I was able to spend time in the primary. The primary president has been in for about two years. She is a young woman who is preparing to go on a mission. The primary teacher is new, but was right there supporting the primary president. You could tell that they really love the children. They both did a wonderful job. I was able to meet with them after the block of meetings and do a little bit of training on primary. I guess 20 years in different primary callings really helped me to be prepared for these experiences on my mission. There were probably 35-40 primary children in this branch. They were so sweet, and obedient. I absolutely love the faith of children.
President Collings taught a joint priesthood and relief society lesson. He does such a wonderful job of lifting people, and helping them to see what they truly are capable of. There is a wonderful spirit of unity in this branch, and we can only see even more wonderful things in their future.
Sister Wittwer and some of the ladies in the branch with me.
Our wonderful Busia missionaries! They had 3 confirmations today!
It was quite ironic, as we were driving home from this small branch that sits on the border of Kenya, we heard the news that the Prophet announced a new temple to be built in Nairobi, Kenya. The news of this new temple spread like wildfire. There is so much excitement! People can easily cross the border into Kenya, and it's just an 8 hour bus ride to get there from Kampala. It's easily accessible to Ethiopia and Rwanda as well. There will be so many people who will be blessed to be able to attend this temple. It is something we have tried to prepare the saints for since we arrived, but we had no idea it would be a reality so soon!
In our mission, we are able to watch General Conference online, but most people can't afford to stream it. We had satellite dishes placed in many of our buildings right before conference (maybe all of them, but I saw them in 3 of the outer buildings). If you want to watch conference live, it starts at about 7:00pm. So the stakes and branches will show conference on the weekend after it was first broadcast. I have been able so see a few things here and there (my kids have given me a few spoilers), but I'm looking forward to going to the stake center and watching all of conference this Saturday and Sunday.
Life is good! Uganda Kampala Mission is growing! A temple is coming! So, so exciting!