Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week 42

Pam's brother, Dennis is here for Christmas...about 3 weeks total.  Saw a lot of sites in southern Uganda last week.  3 days of safaris this week as well as Senior Couples' Conference with our mission president and his wife.  Then to the Rhino park next week on the way back to Kampala.

Dennis is the greatest guy in the world.  A tireless worker, he has been in many countries building Habitat Homes, creating roads, or financing/assembling solar reflector ovens.  He is doing service work here in his spare time...never a minute wasted.  The worst part of his trip has been having to drive with me in the front seat in the city of Kampala.  It's worse than any scene you could imagine in me.  Keeps him on his toes.  When we finally made it home, we noticed somebody had dinged up the truck and left some blue paint on my grey truck.  Elder Jonson, there were two witnesses in my car at all times; Pam and Dennis, I am innocent of having dinged the truck up again.  I used to ask for a new truck.  Not anymore.  I don't want to be responsible for it.

Today we experienced some of the most inspiring meetings/classes in one of our local branches of anywhere we've been in the world. Progress is slow - as should be expected - with their lack of experiences, but we ARE seeing real progress.  It was heartwarming to see principles they have been taught being put into practice.  
We feel great joy during this wonderful Christmas season, especially being able to share the message of Christ's love with the people of Africa.  Yes, we would love being with our children and their families as well as our friends, but honestly, there's no place we'd rather be right now than serving here in Uganda.  Our love for these good, faithful people, all "babes" in the Gospel, continues to grow daily. We and our family have all been blessed by this experience.

Sorry, no time for individual letters, but we love you and wish for you your best Christmas season ever.
Pam and Brooks

Dennis getting down and funky at Ndere Cultural Center with the local natives.

 And not to be outdone by her brother, Sister Moore jukin and jivin!
I can't take a pic of myself dancing so I boogie up to the show's MC and we sing a duet in Swahili...actually I have no idea what language he was singing but it makes one want to move one's hips around.

 Dennis erecting a food/fruit dryer in the village of one of our prospective missionary's mom's place.
 Dennis digging post holes for a Tippy Tap.
Job well done, Dennis.  I told you he could work tirelessly.  Two verticle poles, one horizontal on which a jerry can of water is tied and a 1 and 1/2 liter of bottle of soapy water to wash one's hands.

This looks like a cucumber but it's not.  It is a sponge plant.   Grows on our compound wall.  Cut it off, try it out and use it to scrub one's back in the shower.
 Newly cut versus pealed and dried plant.

 Dried sponge...finished product.
Some of our senior couple friends in Kampala area.  The Wallaces on the left are bikers or should I say cyclers having recently moved to St George, UT from Canada  Before there mission they biked 5000 miles across Canada!
Pam insists on feeding the baboons and monkeys on the way to and from Kampala.  These are on the side of the road.  This baboon just yanked a banana from Pam's hand.

A little village girl looks like she's dressed in Hawaiian outfit.
We had "tea" at a members home recently.  Was actually coco stired in hot water and sugar.  A very nice place setting of tableware.  I asked a special blessing in my heart over this drink hoping that the water had been boiled long and hard enough to have rid it from impurities.

The first garbage truck I've seen in Gulu area.  Most garbage is burned on the premises of residents.

Family Home Evening for our young singles... playing some new games one evening.  They lined up in a circle, then sat down in each other's lap and attempted to walk 360 degrees around in the circle without falling over.  Played some other similar games.  They had a blast.  Lot's of laughing and camaraderie.

 Pam teaching her 4 piano keyboard students on our front porch.  Some are doing wonderfully.
 The Bardege Branch President's son...Smith.  I call him Brooksie.

Matoki...looks like a green banana which I guess it is but it never ripens to a yellow one.  Pretty tasty when cooked up.
 Francis on the left, one of our compoud guards.  A friend on the right.
The Ugandans just get it done.  Maybe a 5-6 ft set of sleeping mats being carted on a bike.  Bike is too heavy to pedal so it is simply pushed, perhaps for miles to the market.  These mats run about 2500 shillings each.  Less than $1.25.  Dennis and I are considering using these to rebuild our guards' outdoor latrine.  The old one has just about collapsed.  Perhaps stick some bamboo polls in the ground and wrap the poles/latrine with these mats providing adequate privacy.  The latrine is just outside out front door so we do have some vested interest in the project.


    President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988) of the First Presidency gave the following insight regarding the meaning of true conversion:
    “Webster [dictionary] says the verb, ‘convert,’ means ‘to turn from one belief or course to another.’ That ‘conversion’ is ‘a spiritual and moral change. …’ As used in the scriptures, ‘converted’ generally implies not merely mental acceptance of Jesus and his teachings but also a motivating faith in him and in his gospel—a faith which works a transformation, an actual change in one’s understanding of life’s meaning and in his allegiance to God—in interest, in thought, and in conduct. …
    “In one who is wholly converted, desire for things inimical [contrary] to the gospel of Jesus Christ has actually died, and substituted therefor is a love of God with a fixed and controlling determination to keep his commandments. …
    “… From this it would appear that membership in the Church and conversion are not necessarily synonymous. Being converted … and having a testimony are not necessarily the same thing either. A testimony comes when the
    Holy Ghost gives the earnest seeker a witness of the truth. A moving testimony vitalizes faith; that is, it induces repentance and obedience to the commandments. Conversion, on the other hand, is the fruit of, or the reward for, repentance and obedience” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1963, 23–24).

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