Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 49

So very humbled to report we have over 20,000 pageviews, "Hits", on our blog.  Never in my life did I think there would be such interest.  For sure I thought interest would wain by now.  Not so.  Thank you for your interest and prayers.

(Pam): Our African missionaries affectionately call me Mom, but at times they are probably as irritated with me as they were on occasion at home with their own moms.  Among other things (some more positive), I inspect their living quarters every week, and try to assure they are following cleanliness and health guidelines. The recent zone conference dinner was one of those irritating times for a couple of the elders.  

While missionaries have an ample financial allotment for good healthy food, many fill up on soda, ramen noodles, or a “meal” of 8-10 pieces of bread slathered with half a tub of margarine.  Some of them seldeom  eat vegetables.  So I announced to all the missionaries that they would only get dessert after they had eaten at least one of the vegetable dishes.    Two missionaries thought they could trick me by taking servings of vegetables, sitting at the far end of our room, with their backs to the front, thinking I wouldn’t notice that they hadn't eaten them.  They were right – I didn’t notice, but a "food police" did and reported to me.  I took their dessert away reminding them of “Mom's” rule.  One of them said, "but Mom, I told you I can't eat the cabbage (which he had dished up for himself) because it has onions in it and I do not eat onions"  My reply: “ Did you eat all the Muchomo (pulled pork cooked with sautéed onions, peppers and tomatoes and seasonings)?” “Oh, yes!” he replied.  I said, “Well, It had onions in it.  So you CAN eat them.  You will get dessert after you eat the vegetables you took.  For one missionary it took a very long time to finish his vegetables.  I guess he was never taught about the Snort Snoot regarding the eating of vegetables when he was a child.     

Did I deny them their agency?  Absolutely not!  They chose to eat of the bitter so they might taste of the sweet.  Incidentally, brother-in-law Adam, I’ve learned how to cook really good cabbage – not like the dish I served you a number of years ago.  I’ll prepare just for you when we return stateside.  You may even prefer it over dessert!   

(Brooks) Has been a busy two weeks.  Last week we sent a couple of elders down to Kampala for dental work.  One was complaining of tooth pain.  He had 3 cavities filled.  The other got a new set of glasses to assist his sun-sensitive eyes.  These are African missionaries.  The Americans can get their teeth taken care before they come on their missions as well as when they get home, baring any immediate emergency.  The local African missionaries just don’t have those resources.  

After their return from Kampala our Mission President arrived on Saturday.  We had dinner together along with the Bardege Branch President and his little family on Saturday night.

 On Sunday our Mission President installed a new branch president in Gulu on Sunday after interviewing candidates Saturday afternoon because the current president moved to Kampala for work.  Following Sacrament Meeting in Gulu and interviewing more brethren for various responsibilities, we headed to Bardege Branch for the last half of the 3 hour block of meetings where the President and Sister Chatfield addressed the adults. Following those meetings, he interviewed prospective missionaries who are completing their mission paperwork, William Okeny and Odung Collins.

President Chatfield (Mission President) then went with the missionaries to visit some less active members of the two branches.  He and Sister Chatfield joined us for dinner Sunday night at our place.  Pam put on another feast.

Monday was our missionary zone conference, which is held every six weeks.  Pam did it again preparing for all the missionaries, assistants to President and the Chatfields.  We bought part of a freshly killed pig on Saturday.  Turned out nearly half of the purchase was bone and fat, so she  supplemented the muchomo with beef stroganoff and  a roasted chicken, rice, carrot salad with diced pineapple, cooked cabbage, Pam’s famous homemade rolls, carrot cake and  Serious Chocolate Cake.  Should have fed an army, but with missionaries it was all eaten up.

It's the dry season.  High's this week just below 100 F.  Dry season means brick making season.  Seems like every home is making brick before the rainy season begins anew in March/April.  Dig a pit, pour in water and start stomping to make the mud.  Then pour into brick mold.
 The strait and narrow path not to eternal life but to one of our Gulu Branch members.  We have to fold in the two side mirrors in order to make it through.  Even then, it is slow go on a wing and a prayer. Usually there is a vendor set up on the right who often has a baby playing right there.  We always have to be vigilant in observing dangers.

 The most popular game I see here...rolling a tire with or without a stick.
 Children's Primary Church class in Lira Branch about 2 hrs south of us.  The senior couple has left there and there are no replacements.  Mission President asked us to watch over the two branches in Lira.  We went there a few weeks ago so I could do financial audits of the two branches.   Just got word a new senior couple has been assigned in this vicinity!  Great news for the Saints there.
Family Home Evening with our young singles.  Each contestant has two plates, one with a glob of vaseline and a number of cotton balls, plus an empty plate.  The idea is move the cotton balls from one plate to the other with their nose.
Then, and this is the fun part, with hands behind the back, shake your face/nose till the cotton ball falls off.
First one to move, say, 6 cotton balls wins the game.  This guy is trying hard but it just ain't coming off.

 Just some basic hygene rules.  Can't remember where I saw this.  Probably at hospital.
 Young women class of the Bardege Branch
 You've seen this before of wonderful Clifton Lamtoo, a brilliant young man and recent convert.  After keyboard lessons a few months ago, he told Pam of his overwhelming discouragement that due to a lack of funds, he was not able to attend Gulu University to pursue a career in medicine.  However, he remained faithful and was strengthened through Gospel teachings and a priesthood blessing.  A few weeks ago he told us he was accepted to the most  prestigious medical university in Uganda, started by the famous Irish -turned Uganda physician, Ian Clarke. So he has now moved to Kampala and begun his schooling.  We miss him, but we are soooo excited that the windows of heaven were opened at this time for him.  .
They learn to work hard in Uganda as little children.  This little girl fetching water in a jerry-can.
I'm guessing at least 4 gallons as over 8 lbs a gallon....32 plus pounds on her head.
As I recall, a newly called apostle, Boyd K. Packer brought a problem he had taken to the attention of President Harold B. Lee, president of the Church many years ago.  President's Lee's response to Elder Packer's question/inquiry was as follows as told by Elder Packer:
 "President  Lee observed that we often want to see “the end from the beginning,” or the outcome, 
before we will follow the Lord’s direction. He counseled (me):
“You must learn to walk to the edge of the light, and perhaps few steps into the darkness [the 
unknown], and you will find that the light will appear and move ahead of you” (in Lucile C. Tate, Boyd K. Packer:A Watchman on the Tower [1995], 137–38).
(When we exercise faith in God and seek to do what He asks,even when we cannot see theoutcome, He will lead us by the influence of the Holy Ghost...2014 Seminary Manual for youth ages 14-18)

The Moral Force of Women (excerpt from address given by D Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve be continued over the next few blog posts.)

"From age immemorial, societies have relied on the moral force of women. While certainly not the only positive influence at work in society, the moral foundation provided by women has proved uniquely beneficial to the common good. Perhaps, because it is pervasive, this contribution of women is often underappreciated. I wish to express gratitude for the influence of good women, identify some of the philosophies and trends that threaten women’s strength and standing, and voice a plea to women to cultivate the innate moral power within them.

"Women bring with them into the world a certain virtue, a divine gift that makes them adept at instilling such qualities as faith, courage, empathy, and refinement in relationships and in cultures. When praising the “unfeigned faith” he found in Timothy, Paul noted that this faith “dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice.”1

To all my anti-Bama friends who saw our last two losses of the season and figured it was the end of a great run, below is the 2014 recruiting it and weep.  (Makes me want to weep for joy.) Bama, back on top again sooner than later.  Consensus number 1 recruiting class by all four major recruiting firms.

Cameron RobinsonOT5-star
Tony BrownCB5-star
Da'Shawn HandDE5-star
Marlon HumphreyCB5-star
Rashaan EvansOLB5-star
Christian MillerOLB5-star
Bo ScarbroughRB4-star
Ronnie ClarkOLB4-star
Ross PierschbacherOT4-star
Josh FrazierDT4-star
Dominick JacksonOT4-star
Joshua CasherC4-star
Keith HolcombeOLB4-star
Johnny DwightDT4-star
Laurence JonesS4-star
David CornwellQB4-star
Cameron SimsWR4-star
Shaun HamiltonILB4-star
Jarran ReedDT4-star
JC HassenauerC4-star
Derek KiefWR4-star
D.J. PettwayDE4-star
O.J. SmithDT3-star
Montel McBrideOG3-star
Ty Flournoy-SmithTE3-star
JK ScottK2-star

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