It's really hard to believe another 6 weeks has come and gone. We are welcoming ten new missionaries! The new missionaries come one day before transfers. So we go to the airport with the Assistants to the President, to meet them. Elder A received transfer news that he would be released as a zone leader in Entebbe Zone, and that he would be a trainer. Entebbe is right where the airport is located, so the day before his assignment changed, he asked President Collings if he could come to the airport to welcome his new companion. President didn't see a problem with it. It was really fun to have the Entebbe Zone leaders with us as we welcomed our new missionaries. It was also very fun to have Elder A and his new companion meet each other the day before transfers. It's not something that we usually do, but it felt right, and the missionaries enjoyed it.
Late Tuesday night, we had three sister missionaries who were from Uganda, return home from their mission. They served in Zimbabwe. They spent the night in Kampala with our sister missionaries, and then came to the mission home on Wednesday morning so that President Collings could release them. Two of the young women were actual sisters from one of our branches. They served together in the same mission, at the same time. When it was time for them to be released, their whole family came to the mission home to see them. It was such a fun reunion to witness.
Along with receiving new missionaries and transferring remaining missionaries, we also had to say goodbye to three amazing missionaries. Three young men from three different backgrounds, who have had three completely different mission experiences all within the same mission.
As usual, we took the missionaries out to dinner after MLC. A buffet dinner at Protea is always a favorite! It's amazing how high they pile their plates! I would be embarrassed, and might even ask them to take less food, but the management always comes up to me and thanks us for bringing them. In fact, they wondered why we stayed away so long. (Last time we had Chinese food instead)
Our zone leaders in Rwanda participated in MLC by way of WebEx. Afterwards, the Wrights took them to dinner as well. I think they all enjoyed it. Sadly, the network in Ethiopia has had issues for a few weeks, and for the first time since we arrived here, Ethiopia was not able to participate in MLC. We will take them a video of the meeting, so they can enjoy it as well.
We traveled to Lira this weekend to make some changes in the branch presidencies of both the Lira and Adyel branches. It was going to be a tight schedule, and we had to adjust meeting times for one of the branches, but we were able to work it out to change out both branch presidencies. The night before, we enjoyed dinner with the new members of both branch presidencies and their wives. It was such a fun experience!
Once we were seated, everyone introduced themselves and told about how they met their spouse, and told about their families. It was a great evening!
President: Tonny Atyang
1st Counselor: Ocen Francis
2nd Counselor: Odongo Innocent
The Lira branch has been very strong, and the new leadership was well received. We are confident that they will continue to grow and progress as a branch.
After Lira branch presidency was called and set apart. We went to the Adyel branch. We had asked them to start their meeting with priesthood/relief society, then have Sunday school, and we would have sacrament meeting last because both congregations start at the same time. By the time we arrived, Sunday school was ending, and we started sacrament meeting. The branch presidency was released, and a new one was put in.
President: Oyet Patrick
1st counselor: Maros Caesar Atine
2nd counselor: Ocircan Derrick
Again, the branch presidency was well received. In fact, President Collings had to remind them that we don't usually clap or cheer when someone receives a new calling in the church. Haha.
One fun story, a couple of months ago, President Collings was interviewing Brother Derrick for priesthood advancement. He told him that he didn't know how, but that the Lord was going to use him in the church. When he was called as the second counselor, he was reminded of that conversation he had with him.
We are very happy with the two new branch presidencies and really believe this area of the church is building a very strong foundation.
We have named this transfer the David Whitmer transfer. There is a story in church history where David Whitmer was asked to pick up the prophet, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry and bring them back to his home so they could continue translating the Book of Mormon. He wanted desperately to take care of this assignment, but he also needed to plow and prepare his fields, and didn't see how he would be able to do both. He decided to just go to work, with faith that he could accomplish all he needed to. As he went out to plow, he saw the most of the work had mysteriously been done for him, and he was able to quickly finish it. The next day he was supposed to spread fertilizer on the soil. As he went to take care of that, he saw that it was done, and he was able to leave and pick up the Prophet. We have asked our missionaries to go to work! Do all they can do this transfer. Set their goals higher, and have faith that the Lord will help them to accomplish all they need to, just like he did for David Whitmer. Each week, President Collings is having a conference call with the Zone Leaders, and they are telling stories of the missionaries in their zones, and the miracles they are seeing during the David Whitmer transfer. I will share a couple that we have heard already.
One of the zone leaders reported that they went to the home of a member and shared the message of the Restoration with them. The Spirit was very strong, and after they shared the message, they asked if the family knew of anyone that they would like the missionaries to share this message with. The family gave them 9 referrals!
(I copied this from one of our sister missionaries) A recent convert, Sister Harriet who has a strong testimony and is going around defending the church and helping an investigator of ours who has heard some rather horrible and false information about the church. Her faith is so strong that even when on Sunday the bishop gave a challenge that everyone invites one person to church the next week, she has committed herself to find more than just one person to invite and she has faith that the Lord will help her find those people! Such strong faith is a precious gem.
We have been in the middle of the rainy season here in Uganda. As we were driving home from Lira the rain started to come down. It was pouring so hard we had to pull the car over. It was actually hailing! I had to take a picture!
Rain and Hail in Uganda