President Collings at the new K2 Building with Elder Rawlings and Elder Barber
Inside the chapel
The General Session of Conference on Sunday morning at the Marriott was very nice. We were able to hear testimonies of some new members of the church, and then President Opar, President Collings, and I all spoke. They even had a special musical number by the District Choir. It was really good!
The missionaries were all so happy. They had invited some of the people they are teaching to come to the conference, and we had many come! After the meeting, they introduced us to some of the people they are teaching. It’s so fun to see the excitement of people when they are learning about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing better!
A family who is preparing to get baptized next month.
While in Jinja, President Collings had a great day with one of our missionaries, Elder Oppong, and Dallin Emmanuelz and his family. Dallin is preparing to go on a mission. He attends church in Jinja, but his family lives quite far and are not able to attend church. President Collings was able to visit with them, and help build their faith. He had a very good experience, and topped it off with a wonderful meal provided by the family.
There are perks to having a complete mission presidency. There are now 3 members of the mission presidency, which works out really well when we have three branches in the same city that all need to have a branch conference! Each member of the branch presidency presided over one of the branch conferences in Busia today, and we were able to really help them feel the love we have for each of them! President Okello and President Ondoga went on Saturday to Busia to help with some interviews that needed to be done. President Collings had a meeting in Kampala, so we left on Sunday morning for our Branch Conference. Busia 2 starts at 9:00am, so President Okello was able to preside over that conference. Busia 1 in Kenya, starts at 10:00am and President Ondoga presided over that Conference. Busia 3 starts at 11:30, so we left at 6:00am from Kampala and President Collings presided over that Conference. All in all it was a wonderful day! We love spending time in the branches! We focused a lot on ministering, and trained on how they can do it in their own branch. There were 7 men given the Melchizedek Priesthood in Busia 3, so President Collings focused some training on Priesthood Power. It was an amazing teaching, and we all benefited from it.
*Saving a spot for Busia 1 Branch Picture.*
Busia 2 Branch
Busia 3 Branch
After the meetings, the sisters of the Busia 3 Relief Society wanted to show me what they had been working on. They are trying to help the sisters in their branch to be self reliant, so they are teaching them skills that the women can use to make crafts to sell or other skills that would be useful in becoming self reliant. They showed me how they have been teaching them how to make a rug out of yarn and a piece of burlap. As they visit the women in their branch, they are sharing these skills and hoping that they can use the skills to earn more money for their families. We talked about how they can save the money they earn from one of the rugs and buy supplies to make more. I love that they are doing what they can to help each other. These women are wonderful examples of love and service!
Busia 3 Relief Society
I just had two of the most contrasting drives I have ever had, in the same day.
President Collings' driving experience...This morning we needed to go to Busia for the Branch Conference. Busia is about 120 miles away which takes 4 to 4 1/2 hours from Kampala. The other two members of the mission presidency went on Saturday, but President Collings had a meeting in Kampala, so we delayed leaving until Sunday morning. We left the mission home at 6:00 for an 11:30 meeting, just to be sure we had plenty of time to get there. We were thrilled that the drive only took 3 1/2 hours! The roads were clear with almost no traffic. It was amazing! We made it early enough that we were able to sit in on one of the Branch Conferences that started earlier than the one we were attending.
Coming home was another story...
My driving experience... It was mostly just the usual crazy traffic that we deal with all the time. There are always a few times that you see drivers making dangerous passes. They seemed to be doing a few more of them than usual today. There are always the usual pockets of traffic that slow us down, and we sit in traffic for 10 or 15 minutes. We are just used to them. But I want to write about one situation that I had. It’s probably going to be difficult to understand, but this blog is like my journal. It’s my memories of this mission, and this is one traffic jam I need to remember. 😁
In one town the traffic was stopped. There was a taxi (15 passenger van) that pulled into the lane in front of me. It was a two lane road with just one lane going my direction, so I let him in. I couldn’t tell if he was going to pull back over to let other passengers into his taxi. He kind of hovered over to the side a bit and I stayed right in the middle of my lane. My left light lined up with his right tail light. And then there was another vehicle in front of him that was in the same position as I was. We were completely stopped and when that happens, cars from behind try to move up in line by creating another lane of traffic. What I should have done is pulled up along side of the taxi, and just pushed my way forward, but I couldn't tell if he wanted to be in the lane, or if he wanted to pull over... All of a sudden there were two cars on my right that pulled up. One pulled in right next to the taxi in front of me cutting my lane right off. There was two other cars behind that one which became a lane of their own. I was a little bit frustrated by this, but just had to sit there because the traffic wasn’t moving. Pretty soon another taxi van pulled up on the left side of me, directly behind the taxi that I was behind, and another row of cars lined up behind him. Again we all sat there (now three lanes going the same direction)and the one lane was merging together in front of me and totally pinning me in to a point where I couldn’t move (Not that the traffic was moving yet). Throughout all this sitting, there are motorcycles with passengers on them (boda boda’s) making their way between the rows of cars. They don’t just go along side of you, they go along side of you and then turn right in front of you and then turn another direction in front of another car, just weaving their way forward slowly. That’s completely normal in Kampala traffic. Then there was a group of young men who had roller blades on. As slowly as the boda boda’s were making their way through the traffic, the men on roller blades were weaving through traffic very fast. I’ve never seen so many of them before in traffic, it was like a game. There seemed to be around 20 or so of them. As they went zipping by, one of them hit my side mirror, which folded forward. Pretty soon the traffic on my right side started to pull forward. But I couldn’t see to pull into that lane because my mirror was folded forward. As the traffic was moving on one side, I could see that it was sitting still on the other side. There was a truck trying to cross the traffic, and had completely blocked the taxi in front of me. Another roller blader zoomed by on the right side and pulled on my mirror as he went, which popped it back into place. As I tried to push my way into the one lane that was moving... that lane stopped. The truck crossing in front of us had pushed his way into traffic enough to now stop the right lane, and now the left lane started to move. I quickly nosed my way back into the left lane and slowly, slowly started to move through this horrible intersection. (It is not sounding as bad as it felt! I can’t believe I don’t have scratches on both sides of my vehicle because they were cramming into me so tightly!) As the traffic opened up and we all started to move forward back into one lane, I noticed the roller bladers in a large group on the side of the road. Four of them grabbed on to the car in front of me and I was horrified to watch them now being pulled very fast by the car in front of me. At one point one of them actually leaned on the trunk of the car and lifted up both of his feet and was just riding on the back of this car. I kept telling Steve how scared I was for these young men because they were being so dumb. He chimed in, “You realize we have one on the back of our car too, right?” I was so shocked. I looked in the rear view mirror, and sure enough, we had one of them holding on to the back of our vehicle! I was so scared I was going to go over a big pot hole, or that I would need to swerve to miss a boda boda. It was dark outside and I was having a hard time seeing because of all the lights coming from the other direction, and of course, boda boda’s coming up the middle of the two lane road. Luckily I had to turn off that road only a couple of kilometers later. He let go as I was turning, and we were free of him! It was just about the most intense drive I have had my entire mission! (and that's saying something...) I was so relieved to finally pull into the mission home! 😬
Well there you have it, another week down! Life is good. We are being stretched and molded and mostly loving it! Hahaha.