Sunday, April 27, 2014

Week 60

Exciting news about the Easter video the Church released Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday.  5 million hits through utube and over 100 million hits on Facebook alone.  We hope it touched or helped change the lives of believer and nonbelievers alike, bringing added peace and hope into their lives.

Back from Kampala last night.  We hitched a ride with our missionary zone leaders who went for their monthly training.  Riding in the back of their much smaller hard-body over North Ugandan roads was no picnic, but we appreciate our good Zone leader's driving skills.    

I (Brooks) had not been feeling well lately.  Was actually sittng at the dinner table the week before reading scriptures with Pam when I couldn’t see the words and she said I began to slur my reading.
She said, “Let’s quit, you can’t read”.  I agreed, placed my head in my hands, said “I don’t feel good.” and that is the last I remember.  She caught me as I went to the floor; she laid my head down gently while my legs were still in the chair.  I was out for a good number of minutes while she got the missionaries.  I came to as the missionaries administered to me.  Suffice it to say, there were all sorts of possibilities for what happened.  Our Kampala nurse sent me to the local private hospital the next day for blood work which was pretty whacked out with high white blood cell counts so now we could worry about a viral infection, heart condition, TIA (mini stroke) or even adult onset leukemia.

The church nurse conferred with South Africa medical staff and wanted me in Kampala for more extensive testing.  She said the hospital would be checking up the wazoo and back.  I said I had never had my wazoo checked but if it would be anything like a prostate exam, I would just stay in Gulu. 

I spent nearly a day with the nurse at two clinics…one doing an MRI on my brain, the other more blood work, tests, poking, pulling, BP, heart rate, EKG.  Even had a basil cell spot removed from my forehead.  These were very good hospital/clinics.  Bottom line there is nothing wrong with me that a reduction in my high BP medication and some other minor changes won’t take care of.  While standing my BP would drop to 100/60 from 125/80.  Not too bad but low enough to keep me tired and run down all the time.  My blood work came back positive so they concluded I had an infection of some sort. 

 The five senior missionary couples in Kampala are very busy with their individual assignments which are quite different than that of the Member-Leader-Support missionaries like ourselves.  We know we increase their workload when they host us and the other MLS missionary couples, but we thoroughly enjoy our stay with them.  We just hope they don't start calling us Elder and Sister Moocher because of all the free room and board we've had.  Pam comes home with new recipes after nearly every visit.

Our mission nurse, Sister Squire and and her husband replaced the Johnsons in March.  Like the Johnsons were, they are dedicated and loving to all they work with.  The following activities don't accurately portray the many hours involved in their service but these are just SOME of what they did just this past week:
  • back and forth to the hospital overseeing a missionary's pain management treatment for severe sickle cell anemia
  • innoculating many dozens of African missionaries who had not had Hepatitis A and B shots before leaving on their mission.
  • running over to mission home to treat a sick mission president and his wife, who just aren't "ALLOWED" any sick time
  • spending a day with Brooks, transporting him/us to the various clinics and pharmacy
  • Answering dozens of calls from missionaries across Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda with their specific needs

Yet, they always remain calm, cheerful and serve as if that person they are attending is their only concern!  Like the other couples we have grown to love, we are very grateful for our medical missionaries.  

Pam has a little contest going with some of the members who frequent our house.  Our (not-so) stray cat is expecting again.  Whoever gets the closest date to her delivery will get a milk shake.  We wondered if "Big Momma" would have had them when we came back, but not yet.  We'll keep all the cat lovers posted regarding the big event.  

A bigger event is that our son Wyatt and his wife Jaime are expecting their first child, Anne, in just a few days.  We hope they send us lots of pictures.  Even though so far away, we feel very connected to our children because of frequent calls through Skype and the many pictures and short videos of the grandchildren they send. 

                                        Some pics from this weeks Kampala Trip

Pulled into a petro station and you are approached by all sorts of street vendors.  This one selling pork on a stick.  Looks pretty good but I'm afraid pork on a stick will make me sick.  Have never bought one.
 Close up shot.
 Nathan, the baby of Christina, who cleans the flats where the senior couples stay in Kampala.  They don't come any cuter than this friendly little guy.  Often when we start talking to little children, they start screaming because they aren't used to whites, but not this fellow!

A couple of typical street signs heading out of town back home.
 And up the road, either going to or coming from a wedding.  A Brit all duded out with his tux and Union Jack with a beautiful bride.  They had been riding a bicycle.  There was a chain of aluminum cans tied behind the bike and dragging on the ground.


    Two of our missionaries a couple weeks ago at the Mission President's home at a super in their honor as they leave that night to fly home having receiving an honorable release after the missions have been completed...24 months for the elders, 18 months for the sisters.

    When I was growing up and on summer vacation Mom would take some domestic help to the beach with us to cook/clean so Mom could have more time to relax and be with her kids.  Mary, the help, had free time as well and she liked to fish off the dock.  She would catch what we called Sun Fish…mostly blood and bones…something we wouldn’t eat but she would. (We would throw it back or use it for bait.) She would batter her freshly caught fish and throw them into some hot oil having cleaned nothing...innards, head, scales…nothing.  Before cooking the fish, we would ask her if she was going to clean the fish and she would respond…”Lawd no.  I eat the eyes, ears and everything”.  

    This is a picture of a cows head being smoked on an open fire.  It will smoke for over an hour at which point the skull will be cut open and the brain will be removed and then boiled with onions, pepper and other vegetables and  eaten.  This isn’t something I could stomach but I think it is wonderful when people eat all that is  edible , all that God has provided them, wasting nothing.  I think He is pleased when we are not wasteful.  Something we are very inclined to do in the states. 


    Alma 5:57. “Come Ye Out from the Wicked … and Be Ye Separate”

  • Elder David R. Stone of the Seventy discussed how techniques used in the construction of the Manhattan New York Temple provide an example of how to remove oneself from the influence of the world:
    “Too many of the people of the world have come to resemble the Babylon of old by walking in their own ways and following a god ‘whose image is in the likeness of the world’ [D&C 1:16].
    “One of the greatest challenges we will face is to be able to live in that world but somehow not be of that world. We have to create Zion in the midst of Babylon. …
    “My involvement with the building of the Manhattan Temple gave me the opportunity to be in the temple quite often prior to the dedication. It was wonderful to sit in the celestial room and be there in perfect silence, without a single sound to be heard coming from the busy New York streets outside. How was it possible that the temple could be so reverently silent when the hustle and bustle of the metropolis was just a few yards away?
    “The answer was in the construction of the temple. The temple was built within the walls of an existing building, and the inner walls of the temple were connected to the outer walls at only a very few junction points. That is how the temple (Zion) limited the effects of Babylon, or the world outside.
    “There may be a lesson here for us. We can create the real Zion among us by limiting the extent to which Babylon will influence our lives.  “Wherever we are, whatever city we may live in, we can build our own Zion by the principles of the celestial kingdom and ever seek to become the pure in heart. …
“We do not need to become as puppets in the hands of the culture of the place and time. We can be courageous and can walk in the Lord’s paths and follow His footsteps” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2006, 94–97; or Ensign, May 2006, 90–93).

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