Monday, March 25, 2019

District Conference in Kigali

Can I just say how much we love our senior couple? We have only one in the mission, but they do the work of four couples. We are so blessed to have Elder and Sister Maughan. They were called as an MLS couple, which is member and leadership support. They have fulfilled their mission 110%, and still have over a year to go. 

President Collings has asked them to help the new districts to get up and running smoothly, and help them understand how things are supposed to be done. They stay in Rwanda, but have traveled to Uganda a few times to do training of the new Masaka and Busia Districts. It has been so nice to see them supporting and helping the District Presidencies, and to see the joy that comes to these Presidencies when they really start to understand their roles.

The last time the Maughans were in town, Sister Maughan requested a stop at Pizza Hut. Can you believe we have Pizza Hut in Uganda? And it's really good!! She deserves whatever she asks for, we are just so grateful for all they do!

This weekend we traveled to Rwanda for our final Conference with the Kigali Rwanda District. We are in a unique position because the Area Authority, Elder Chatora, is also the future Mission President of this mission. Well, he was also assigned to be the Presiding Authority in the District Conference.  President Collings has worked with him very closely over the past 3 years. Here's an interesting fact, our first District Conference was in Ethiopia in 2016, and the Presiding Authority was Elder Chatora. We have come full circle as he was at our first and last District Conferences in the Uganda Kampala Mission. It's amazing how the Lord works. We feel so blessed to know him, and we know he and Sister Chatora will lead this mission wonderfully. 

The conference was really nice. We had two days of teaching and training. With meetings for the Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders, and visits to members homes by the Priesthood Leaders, as well as an Adult and General Session. 

The Priesthood and Auxiliary Leadership training took place on Saturday afternoon. The focus was on ministering, and it was mostly an open discussion. Elder Chatora showed a few video clips and then asked the leaders what their thoughts were, how they could implement the things they saw, how they are doing on ministering now, and what they can do better moving forward.

D. Paul, an Elders Quorum President talking to Elder Chatora

There is room for improvement, but I think the point that got across was, don't worry about if you're going to make a mistake, just start doing it and the Lord will lead you in the right direction. 

Next was the Adult Session. It was held in the new K1 Chapel. The chapel is divided into two rooms with a wide walkway between them. There was a camera that sent a feed into the next room where the image was projected on the wall. We filled both rooms with people. The missionaries were told they could come to the adult session if they brought people they were teaching. There was a very good mix of church members, and people investigating the church. 

Both rooms were able to see and hear the speakers. 

During this session we tried to focus on ministering as well. Many of the members have been waiting for a phone call from their Branch President, Elders Quorum President, or Relief Society President, asking them to minister to others. President Collings did a simple role play with D. Paul Hakizimana, who is the Elders Quorum President in the K1 Branch. He simply had a phone conversation with him. President Collings said that he had just returned home from his mission and was anxious to receive his ministering assignment, so he called the Elders Quorum President. D. Paul told him that he would like to pray about it and would call him back in a couple of days. He called back and gave him the assignment. President Collings then called him back again and said that he wanted to have a ministering interview, because he wanted to share how this person was doing. I think it really opened the eyes of the people, that you don't have to wait, you can ask and follow up with your leaders. Then there isn't the excuse that the leader isn't doing his or her job, instead we are "agents unto ourselves" as it says in D&C 58. It was a fun, interactive way to help them understand.

The General Session was held at the Marriott Hotel in their conference room. We had a really great turn out. I'm not sure how many chairs were set up, but during the meeting they had to bring in more because there were not enough for all the people that came to the meeting. 

The District has been working really hard to build the foundation of the church in Rwanda. That starts with having Melchizedek Priesthood holders, and families who receive the blessings of the temple. The Branches have been preparing men to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood for the past few months, and it was thrilling to see 15 men sustained, who will be ordained in the coming days. It is such a boost for the branches!

New Priesthood Holders

The other area that has really been a focus is helping families receive their temple ordinances. There were 16 adults who have been working towards going to the temple. Many of them are married couples who will go through with their children. There was so much excitement as these couples received their temple recommends, and are now one step closer to going to the temple.

As part of the Saturday visits, several families were invited to come back to church, who may have been away for a while. They were able to talk through some of the concerns they had with the District and Branch Priesthood leaders, along with President Collings and Elder Chatora. It was so exciting to see several of those families come to the District Conference on Sunday.

During the conference, we heard from members of the District Presidency. At one point, there were people who were asked to bear their testimonies to the congregation. One was Sister Jeanne Ingabire, who just returned from her mission in Liberia.

Another one was Elder Kampleya, who is serving right now in Kigali, but will be returning home this week. There are also two women who have put in their paperwork to serve full time missions. Both are waiting for their mission calls. They are both so strong, and will really bless the missions where they are called. They will represent the Kigali Rwanda District very well.

We heard music from the District Choir, which always does such a great job! They work really hard and the music is beautiful. 
Sister Cecile spoke about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. She just recently received the ordinances of the temple, and is now working with the translation team. 

President Collings talked about the power of the priesthood. It was perfect because of all the men who are receiving the priesthood. He told a story about one of his employees before our mission. This employee was working very hard vacuuming a large office space. He was putting in all this effort, but had forgotten to turn the vacuum on, so there was no power behind it and he didn't see the benefits of the vacuum. He related this to the power of the priesthood. Just because hands are placed on your head and you are ordained to the office of an Elder, does not mean you will be able to exercise power. It has to do with the way you are living, and the choices you are making.  One man approached him after the meeting and said he will never forget that story, and will remember to live righteously so he can bless others with the real power of the priesthood. 

Elder Chatora was the concluding speaker. He talked about being consistent in doing the things we are told to do by our prophet and church leaders. It was good to see him connecting with the members of the District. 

The District Presidency

District Presidency with Branch Presidents

So we have another "Last" to check off of our list. For our final District Conference, it was a memorable one. We are very grateful to have met with all the members of the District. They hold a special place in our hearts! We are sure to see many great blessings in the future for this area of the world.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Blessings in Uganda

This week has been a simple but special one. President Collings left to the Jinja area and outer branches to interview all the missionaries. He left me here so I could focus all of my efforts in finishing the 2018 Mission History. I decided to stay at the mission home and work on the computer there so I could completely focus on it. I was also blessed to have the company of several contractors who were working on the Mission Home. They were here power washing the pavers all around the house, including the driveway and patio areas. It looks so much better! They also worked to clean out the rain gutters. They were pretty full of dirt, and even had things growing in them. When it would rain, the water would pool on the front entryway, and even flooded a small area of the house a couple of times. All this work took two full days, and 6 people. I am so grateful for the hard work they did, and for the results.

A little lunch break

Israel and Simon 

Maureen and Isaac

The crew leader, Ronald

On Thursday Elder and Sister Maughan came into town. They were going to Busia to help with training of the District and Branch leaders in the Busia District. They brought with them a flash drive that I had given them that had a copy of the Mission History on it! The only problem was it had the same virus on this flash drive as I had on my other flash drive, which is how I lost the History in the first place. We were hopeful that this time Elder Hyer would be able to take off the virus without losing the file. To my complete joy and amazement, he was able to save the file! Although I have worked for two weeks straight, rewriting the history, there were some things that I thought were lost for good. Because they thought of this copy I had given to them, I was able to find the things I had lost, and I even feel like the Mission History is better than it was before. Such great news!!!

On Sunday we had another special stake conference. Elder Terrance Vinson, a president of the seventy, came to Uganda as part of a trip throughout Southeast Africa Area. He spent Saturday interviewing potential Stake Presidents because President Lupaka was being released as stake president. Sunday we were able to spend several hours with Elder Vinson and his wife. It was really such a great experience with them. They were accompanied by Elder Chatora, the Area Seventy.

New Stake Presidency with us, the Vinsons, and Elder Chatora

New Stake Presidency
Fredrick Kyambadde
Wayne Cook
Godfrey Lufafa

New Stake Presidency with their wives

New Stake Presidency with Elder Chatora and Elder Vinson

The meeting was very nice. The new leaders were sustained unanimously. We heard testimonies and remarks from President Lupaka, President Lufafa, President Cook, Sister Kyambadde, President Kyambadde, myself, President Collings, Elder Chatora, Sister Vinson, and Elder Vinson. There was a stake choir that sang beautifully. There was a very good spirit in the meeting. I feel like the Kampala Uganda North Stake will continue to grow and see amazing blessings in the future.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

I can do all things through Christ...

I've learned that when I think, "I have this figured out..." there's always another lesson to be learned. This mission is teaching me to not take it personally, or let myself be crushed when things don't go exactly right, but instead try to see what it is I am expected to do differently and go to work. I have had a few trials that are reminding me of the beginning of my mission over 2 1/2 years ago. When I went through those trials then, I cried a lot, had a lot of "why me?" moments, and overall didn't handle them very well. I am actually seeing a change in myself, and it's pretty cool. 

I find myself telling the missionaries a story about an amazing man, Chad Hymas,  from the Tooele Valley, where we lived for 20 years. Here is a LINK to this story in his words. Basically he talks about lifting a one ton bale of hay, and how much easier it is if we cut the strings and take small portions of it at a time. This mission for me was like lifting a one ton bale of hay. No matter how hard I try, it's not possible for me to lift 2,000 pounds all at once on my own. But when I look at it differently, I can cut the strings and lift one piece of hay or one small handful of hay at a time, and over three years I absolutely can lift that one ton bale of hay. This story especially helps the new missionaries who just arrive in Uganda. Many times they say, "I can't see myself staying here for two full years." I talk to them about cutting the string, and take it one day at a time, or one hour and even one minute at a time. Then celebrate the little milestones in your mission as you reach them. 

Our sweet Sister Training Leaders

That being said, I had one of those very difficult trials this week. I am responsible for keeping a history of the mission. I start it at the beginning of the year. I take pictures, and try to document all of the special and  historical events we have. By the last day of March I submit the history to Southeast Africa Area and they forward it to Salt Lake. The history for 2018 was 99% finished. I was waiting for a couple of signatures from some of our branch presidents and then it was ready for submission. It was 250 pages long with a few pages written about each of our stakes, districts, and branches along with experiences we had with our missionaries: When the new Prophet, President Russel M Nelson was announced, when we moved to a new mission home, President Collings' experience with the Rotary Club in Kampala, the Branch Presidency Training we did at the mission home, etc.

On Friday, I found out the computer I was using in the mission office had a virus on it. I felt lucky because the Mission History file was stored on a flash drive, so I thought everything was okay. I moved from the computer at the mission office to a laptop computer. Suddenly that laptop started having the same problems, and we realized that the virus had moved from the computer to the flash drive to the laptop. Luckily I have an amazing office missionary, Elder Hyer, who was able to help wipe the virus off of all three devices. I was able to get back in and do some more work. On Monday I opened the file again on the flash drive and it wouldn't do anything. I called Elder Hyer who came over and looked at it again, and it turns out there was a second virus. All the files in the flash drive suffered a slow death over the weekend while I wasn't looking.  I lost everything! Here's a lesson learned, keep a back up somewhere! I didn't have it saved anywhere else. I looked everywhere, but I had only saved it on the flash drive. My file went from 250 pages of history to nothing...

Here's where the 2,000 pound bale of hay comes into play. Instead of completely losing it and crying, "Why me?" I felt completely calm. I cried as I told Steve I had lost everything, but then just felt peace. We cleared my schedule and Steve gave me a blessing that I would be able to recall those things that I needed to, and I went to work. I'm not letting the thought of writing 250 pages in less than 20 days overwhelm me, I'm just taking it a page at a time. Can I just say, we have the most amazing missionaries?!? I had the Assistants to the President, Elder Rawlings and Elder Hall, come to the mission home, they said they had something to drop off. 

They brought this fun note attached to 2 liters of Coke Zero. It was so funny, and thoughtful of them. I have had Elder Burnham, the other office missionary calling me to offer help and sending files of different things he finds for me to add to the History.  I still have a lot to do, but as I said, I'm seeing a difference in the way I have reacted to this. If the Lord thinks I should do it again, I'll do it. I keep having that scripture come to mind: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 

We had mission leadership council on Friday. Missionaries from Rwanda, Ethiopia, Mbale, Gulu, and Masaka came in on Thursday and spent the night at the mission home. I always love it when they come. We really get to know the missionaries better when we spend that one on one time with them. Of course, President Collings loves running in the morning with any of the missionaries that will go with him. It's been such a fun blessing for him to be able to run while we have served here. 

Elders Johnson, Ojakol, and Heath

Training was done by President Collings, myself, the office elders, and the Assistants to the President. We had a few role plays, and I really felt like the mission is in a great place when it comes to leadership. 

It's amazing that we can fit 32 missionaries in one room comfortably. We had a couple of extra missionaries come into Kampala for work permits, doctor appointments, etc. It was nice to have them join our meeting. 

Of course we had an amazing lunch after the meeting. Christine always makes such great food, and there is always plenty for the missionaries. They pile their plates high, and eat until they are full. 

Sure do love these missionaries! 

Here's another crazy trial we have had to deal with the last little while. I had been working in my kitchen one day. I always wear an apron as I cook or do dishes. I went upstairs and was sitting in the meeting room, and felt a "tickle" on my back. I reached back to scratch it, and there was a bug on my back! I quickly killed it and got rid of it when I had that same feeling again. Obviously, I was now just paranoid, right? Wrong! I reached back to scratch my back again, and had another bug! This happened three times! I had no idea where the bugs were coming from, so I ran in and shook out all of my clothes and took a shower. I couldn't see any more, but had no idea where they came from. Later that day, I went back into my kitchen and noticed one of those same bugs crawling on the counter top. They are just tiny round bugs with a hard shell, but they actually fly. As I looked around a little bit more, I saw that in my pantry there were a lot more. In fact, as I was looking, one of them flew straight in my eye. The apron I had been wearing earlier hangs in the pantry, and must have been crawling with bugs. I decided to go get the bug spray and just spray them all. As I really looked, there were tons of them throughout the whole pantry. In fact, they were in the boxes of cold cereal, and there were hundreds of them on the ceiling all around the light fixture. I decided not to worry about the food and just went crazy, spraying EVERYTHING! I even stood on a chair to get close to the bugs on the ceiling and sprayed and sprayed. Then I shut the door to the pantry. 

The next morning, Christine came to the house to clean. I talked to her about the bugs in the pantry, and took her in to show her. I expected to have dead bugs all over the floor because I sprayed them all the night before, but there weren't any! The spray didn't do anything to them! These are SUPER BUGS!!! We had to take everything out of the pantry and of course throw away anything that had previously been opened because I went crazy with spraying them. Then Christine shook out all of the aprons and linens, and used a broom to kill or sweep out any of the bugs that were still in the pantry. They are mostly gone now. This was a lot like what happened to me at the beginning of my mission with a bug infestation in the mission home. I had a bit of a meltdown back then.  I'm happy to say that I handled this incident much better than the one I had 2 1/2 years ago. But WOW! There are some tough bugs here!!

We had Stake Conference with the Kampala South Stake this weekend. I had another learning experience that I wanted to share. Elder Lono, the Area Seventy that was presiding at this conference, is from Congo. We received a phone call on Saturday before the Priesthood and Adult Sessions of conference. Elder Lono speaks French, and they were trying to find someone who could translate for him. We have several missionaries who are from Congo, but many of them are new, and although they understand French, they are still learning to communicate in English. We have one missionary from Congo, Elder Massissa, who has served here for quite a while, and he understands English and French very well. He has a small problem with stuttering, so as President Collings asked him if he would be willing to translate for the three sessions of Stake Conference, he was concerned that he would be too nervous in front of such a large congregation, and it would cause him to stutter too much, so he turned it down. 

The Stake Presidency found two people who understand French and they felt like they would be able to translate for the meetings. It turned out that they understood French well, but didn't understand English very well. The person who translated just translated word for word. For those who know several languages, you know that if you translate word for word, the sentences end up being backward or jumbled up, and don't make sense. It was a struggle. By Sunday, they had decided that Elder Lono would just share his thoughts in his limited English. He kept his message short, but we felt his spirit, and his humility, and it was still a wonderful meeting.

When the meeting ended, we greeted many of the members of the stake. At one point, Elder Lono excitedly came up to us with Elder Massissa. He said that they were from the same town. He said he wished that this missionary had translated for him. President Collings just told him that we wish he could have done it too. It was a good learning experience for Elder Massissa, he just needed to trust the Lord and he would help him. I know he would have done it just fine. 

Elder Lono, Elder Rasi, and Elder Massissa

Back to the Stake Conference. They had a choir sing, and it was absolutely the most beautiful singing I have heard since I arrived in Uganda. They were incredible! We are able to feel how well a congregation is doing just by the actions of the members in that congregation. In this stake conference, the people were so reverent. You didn't even hear children cry. But then as they sang the songs, they sang with their whole heart and soul. I felt the spirit so strongly as each speaker got up. I felt so blessed during this whole meeting. It was truly an edifying experience. 

My favorite person!

This stake has been without a complete stake presidency for a while now. Both of the previous stake presidency counselors have moved out of the country. When Elder Stevenson was in Uganda a couple of weeks ago, they called a first counselor. During this stake conference, they called a second counselor. Now the stake has a complete stake presidency. Fredrick M Kamya, President, Silvester A Kilama, First Counselor, Christopher Kalebala, Second Counselor.

I love this picture!
President Collings, the new Stake Presidency, Elder Lono, and the Stake Patriarch, Brother Balyejusa

As we spoke with Elder Lono after Stake Conference, he told us he has been called as a mission president. He will begin serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mbuji-Mayi Mission. It was so fun to get to know him a little bit better. I found his picture online. 

Democratic Republic of the Congo Mbuji-Mayi Mission
W. Jean-Pierre Lono, 59, and Angel Lono, nine children, Kingasani 6th Ward, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Kimbanseke Stake: Democratic Republic of the Congo Mbuji-Mayi Mission, succeeding President Alfred Kyungu and Sister Lucie Kyungu. Brother Lono is an Area Seventy and a former stake president, stake presidency counselor, high councilor, branch president, branch presidency counselor, and branch clerk. He was born in Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Sankuru originally), to Longandja Ohonge Pierre and Dikondja Walo Juliènne. Sister Lono is a Relief Society teacher and a former ward Relief Society and Young Women president and branch Relief Society teacher. She was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Mfuni Raphael Muzenga and Ntumba Jeanne Kashala.

Finally, I wanted to share a story of our friend Jackson. We met him several months ago.We had seen his artwork, which is amazing, and when we met him, he shared his story with us. We asked him to make us something to remember our mission. When he asked what we would like, we just told him to surprise us, but on the back we asked if he would please write down his story. With his permission, I'd like to share it with you.
"My name is Mokoto Jackson Jeke I was born on 24 April 1996 to Rex Abdallah and Mariam Killa Manoah originally a South Sudanese but I spent most of my life in Uganda from childhood up to adulthood due to education and also political stability back home in South Sudan.When I was done with my junior high school I was left wondering how life would be after. By then I was a year and some months in the church and I was called to be the young men president. Life wasn't easy that year for me and I was almost off school but miracles happened I was able to finish my junior high school. So during the vacation of my junior high school, Elder Hamilton of the seventy visited us at our ward (Mengo Ward Uganda Kampala South Stake). He emphasized on the importance of paying tithing. I was excited about its blessing. Despite paying tithing from the money that I get from my friends and family, I felt I needed to improve and be better at keeping the commandment of tithe. I felt I had no job but all I wanted was to become independent and be self-reliant. So a week later I was home seated on my bed thinking of what I can do for myself to earn something for sustainability. That very morning I told my sister to send me some money because I was broke. Luckily enough she was able to send me 10,000 Ugandan Shillings (about 3-4 dollars). I was wondering what I could do with the money. I had lots of suggestions.  
  1. If I am to buy a T shirt it would be done and still I will remain broke 
  2. I thought of using it slowly and carefully but still 2 to 3 days it would be done and I will still remain broke.
So immediately something miraculous happened to me, I felt something different, then I heard a still small voice instructing me and said, "Jackson wake up and stand on your feet and go to the carpenter and order four boards (plywood) and go to the market and buy beads and start this work right away." I was like, "what is happening to me?" Again and again the same voice instructed me to do the same thing I had previously heard.

So I stood up and walked towards the dining in our house and still the same voice instructed me. I then walked out the gate to the carpenter and told him to cut for me plywood (boards) according to the sizes I told him. I then remembered Nephi's experience in the scriptures, "And I was led by the spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."

After two weeks, one of the sisters in our ward, Sister Nancy Atieno told me, "Jackson, do you mind selling some of your art pieces to me because I am shifting to a new apartment and I want new things there." I was out of words and this reminded me of Nephi's experience, "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded for I know the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

I was glad that the Lord was able to show me the direction and give me a vision about my future. I testify that we have a loving Father in Heaven who cares about each one of us, He wants to hear from us and He wants to hear from us and He wants to provide for us but He expects us to show faith in Him. He is our Father and He is mindful of our righteous desires to follow Him and his son Jesus Christ and keep his commandments. I know the Book of Mormon is written for our day. Nephi's experience related to mine. And this I say in the Name of Jesus Christ, AMEN."

Jackson is preparing to serve a mission, and will be putting in his mission papers very soon. What an amazing example to others! Here is a LINK to his art in Instagram. Enjoy! Maybe he can make something for you too!We have been so blessed to get to know so many wonderful people here in the Uganda Kampala Mission. I love being able to keep these memories and share them with others. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Tororo Branch Creation

The story of Tororo goes back to the beginning of our mission. There are many areas in our mission where there are faithful members of the church who have relocated and there is not an official branch there. At the beginning of our mission, we had several people contact us, requesting that a branch be created in their community. The problem with this is that the church tries to build within the centers of strength. There are stakes in Kampala and Jinja and as those areas grow they create more wards and branches because they have a firm foundation to help the new units. When we just create a branch that is all by itself, there is not the strong foundation to grow on and it becomes difficult to give the support to them that is needed. We knew there were members in Tororo as well as other communities in Uganda, but we were not able to receive approval to start official branches of the church in those areas. 

With the creation of the Busia District, we were aware that there are members worshiping in their homes in Tororo, which is only about 20 minutes away from the new District, so President Collings started looking into getting a branch approved for the members there. As research was done, we found between 15 and 20 members of the church. People move in and out frequently for work and school, so it was hard to get an exact number. We were very excited to receive approval to start the Tororo Branch, which would fall under the Busia District, and therefore have that strong foundation that is so important. 

About two months ago President Collings sent missionaries to Tororo to find the members, and start teaching and inviting people to come to church. They were warmly welcomed by the members in that area, and said the members were very helpful in going with the missionaries, introducing people to them, teaching with them, and just being very supportive of the missionary efforts. The week before the actual branch creation, the missionaries reported 38 people who had come to a church service. 

On 3 March, the Mission Presidency along with members of the Busia District Presidency and Assistants to the President, came to Tororo to be a part of the creation of the Tororo Branch. 

There are 4 missionaries serving in Tororo, at this time, and they were happy to welcome everyone who came to the meeting. There was a tent set up for the meeting right outside of one of the member's homes. They had the front porch of the home set up as a rostrum with a sacrament table and chairs for the presiding authority and others who were participating in the meeting. It was a very quiet, peaceful place with a shade tree right in the front of the home, and a mother hen and her chicks walking around throughout the area, scratching at the grass and catching whatever they could find. The tent was set parallel to the house with the wide, open side facing the porch. There was actually quite a gap between the rostrum and where the congregation was seated. As the meeting progressed, the speakers stepped down off the front porch and stood right near the congregation, which made the meeting feel more intimate.

We started the meeting with the sacrament, which is the most important reason we have church on Sunday. It was very significant, because it's been so long since a sacrament meeting was approved, except within the homes of the members. After the sacrament, President Collings spoke about the importance of Priesthood Keys. As a new branch president would be sustained and set apart that day, he wanted the people to understand that this call was from God, and that although this man was not perfect, he would be given all the tools he needs to lead the Tororo Branch in the Savior's way. He taught about how priesthood keys are passed from one with priesthood authority, and read in Matthew about the experience Peter, James, and John had on the mount of Transfiguration with the Savior. 

He asked one of our missionaries, Elder Trippe, to share the story of the First Vision and Joseph Smith, and then President Collings talked about how Joseph Smith received those keys from John the Baptist, and Peter, James, and John in the Latter Days. He talked about how this new Branch President was given a portion of those keys, and had the authority to lead the church in this part of the Lord's Vineyard.

President Okello stood and announced the calling of the Branch President John Othieno Jadwong. He was unanimously sustained.  He has been a member of the church for close to 30 years. He spent many years in Kampala, and served in leadership positions there. They moved away from Kampala 20 years ago. As he stood and bore his testimony, he talked about patiently waiting on the Lord. He and his family had faithfully studied together, and had sacrament meeting together in their home. They had been in Tororo for at least 10 years, and instead of being frustrated that the church was not there, they stayed faithful. They attended church in Mbale sometimes, and in Busia at other times. They attended the creation of the Busia District, and were so happy to enjoy that day with the other members of the church.

President Okello and President Collings spoke with the members about what it means to sustain our leaders. This is not a vote like an election, but a showing that you will do whatever you can to support and help this branch president.

By the end of the sacrament meeting, 71 people had come to church. The missionaries said there were over 30 people who were investigating the church. There was such a feeling of love and brotherhood. We look forward to great things happening in Tororo.

This picture shows President Jadwong on the left of President Collings, and the Branch Clerk, Jesse Jackson, on the right. President Jadwong's wife is on the far left, with prospective missionaries including their son Emmanuel, along with our full time missionaries. 

Magdalene and John Jadwong, President and Sister Collings

I am sharing this last picture as a reminder of something that happened almost two years ago. This is a story of some of our missionaries and the experience they had on the road between Busia and Tororo. Two of our missionaries were driving after dark, and as they came around a curve in the road, there was a woman standing there. They swerved to miss her, but the car ended up knocking her down, and they ran over her leg. The missionaries stopped and tried to help this woman. They were able to get help taking her to the hospital. They went in to the hospital a few times to check on her, and could see that she wasn't getting very good care. The missionaries brought her in food, bedding, and even clean clothes that she could wear. They could see that her leg was broken, but the hospital had just wrapped her leg in a bandage and hadn't changed it at all. With the help of the Mbale Branch President, we made sure that she had the support she needed. She was moved to an area of the hospital where she was actually being cared for and fed. They said she needed surgery to repair the leg. This would mean having an external fixation device, with pins and rods outside of her leg. The missionaries were told this woman had some mental issues, and nobody knew where her family was. At one point we were told she was homeless. Well, we purchased all the hardware for her leg, and the surgery was done. After the surgery, she didn't understand what was going on with her leg and would grab it and shake it, and try to get up off the bed which caused even more damage. The decision was finally made to amputate her leg. I'm not sure of the whole timeline, but while she was in the hospital, her family was found. As soon as her family came into the room, she was a completely different person. She had been so afraid, and had been through a very traumatic event, and was very alone. With them there, she calmed down, and smiled, and even started talking in her local language. Her leg was eventually amputated. She was given a prosthetic leg, and eventually went home with her family. During this time, there were legal issues that needed to be taken care of. There was a police officer who was trying to see that the missionaries were arrested for the accident, and that they would be put in jail until everything was paid for for this woman. The family came forward and just showed love and gratitude for what the missionaries had done for their daughter. The missionaries could have just driven away when they hit her. They could have just left her in the hospital. But they did everything they could to make sure she was taken care of, even when they couldn't find the family. The family was so gracious and kind. They wouldn't press any charges. 

The woman in the picture above with the crutches is Amuleny. The woman who was hit by the car. She is pictured with her prosthetic leg. She and her family came to the creation of the Tororo Branch. It was so wonderful to see them all. She was just smiling the whole time, and greeted all of us. President Collings said he had an impression when all of this happened that some day she and her family would be taught the Gospel. It was an amazing chapter to add to this story.