New Years Day was spent at Kilili for family visits. The Olsens went with us and we visited John Kithange family and Johnfred Muindi family. We shared a message with John’s family sitting under a large Mango tree. Then they shared with us how they joined the church. It was peaceful and beautiful. When we went to Johnfred’s home we sang, had a prayer and then they shared with us what they like about being members of the church. It was moving and sweet. Both of these families have been sealed in the temple and both strong families. We said our good-byes knowing that we would visit the branch on Sunday
Wednesday we said good-bye to our good people in Mitinit Branch. We had a large gathering at the church where we sang, shared our testimonies and received loving gifts. It was hard, sad, and yet sweet all rolled together. Tuesday was another day of good-byes at Kyambeke Branch. After visiting three families we returned to the chapel and had another hard, sweet, and sad good-bye. Again we were given gifts of love. Francis and his wife brought us a live chicken to take with us, a token of his love for us. It pooped on the church floor a couple of times and then put in a plastic bag for us to take home in the back seat of the pick-up (it’s head was out of the bag, it squawked a lot). Lucy made me some leggings and Bruce a monkey-face hat. Bruce made everyone laugh a lot and it helped me not to cry. Friday was our last day at Ilima. We said our goodbyes after the priesthood class and one more family activity. We also received another chicken from Brother January, woven baskets, and scarves.
Friday evening was our good-bye dinner at the Broadbent’s and it went well. We didn’t cry and again Bruce had them laughing.
Wow it’s emotional to say good-bye but I guess because it was the last, Kilili Sunday, was the hardest for us. After giving us each a gifts and a book they had written in, they all stood and sang this sweet song of good-bye and waved to you. We were emotionally drained after this week.
We met with some of the missionaries we have worked with at the mission office today. It has been so fun to see their growth and be able to work with them. We bought them and the office elders’ pizza which really made them happy. The next three days we will get the keyboards ready to turn in to the mission office, pack our bags, clean out all the food in our cupboards and finish up those last minute items. We are filled with mixed emotions but we are so thankful for the mission we have experiences and the opportunity to serve here in Kenya. We wish there was another couple to replace us but there is no word of anyone coming yet.
We wil miss stopping at Peter Mueli's Shop on the way to Kilili for a chapati, best chapati's in Kenya
John Kithange family visit
Johnfred and Annestacia's family from Kilili "Mitini Good-Bye Party"
They put beautiful clips in my hair, a kanga for my waist and a woven basket for the market.
Bruce with the sisters
They knew it was cold in our home land so they gave us scarves.
Mitini farewell party. They love juice and bread
Kyambeke family visits
Lucy made Bruce a monkey face hat and Puis made him a walking stick
Francis and his wife brought us a chicken
Wycliff is our good friend from Ilima
Took video rather than pictures so I didn't get a very good selection
Last day at Ilima Branch
Sunday another hard day saying goodbye to Kilili These sisters didn't know what to think of the hand sanitizer I gave them
Saying good by as we leave Kilungu Hills for the last time
A few Elders we have worked with that just happened to be in the office today. We bought Pizza
The last few weeks have been packed with a lot of anxiety and preparation for the temple.Everyday something would go wrong or news would come that something was lost and needed for the visas.Slowly, slowly things came together.Bruce’s anxiety and nervous energy was hard to deal with for us both, but we found it drove him to do projects that made for a very organized and wonderful trip to South Africa.He had a packet for each family loaded with everythingthey needed right down to a black pen to fill-out the immigration cards.It is hard to write all the feelings, blessings, and joy we experienced as we took 18 wonderful people to the Johannesburg Temple but I will share a brief report so that our family and friends will know a little bit of
The five couples and eight children came into Nairobi on Wednesday morning, where President Broadbent individually interviewed each person.He did not rush but made it a personal visit.They had a simple lunch provided by their good branch president and his wife and then they were taken to a hotel where they were served dinner and stayed the night.They wore their very best clothes and were so excited.One young boy had on a shirt, blue polyester jacket and pajama bottoms.His older brother had on a white thread-bare shirt and a pair of red wind-breaker type pants with white stripes down the side and their youngest brother had on a worn long sleeve shirt and fringed jeans three inches above his little ankle.It was their best and they were so happy.
Thursday morning the group was picked up by Victor and at the airport when we arrived at 5:30.Every time we turned around Angels were in our path-way.A man asked if he could help us with the boarding-pass machine and then stayed to help Bruce and I fill out 20 detailed immigration cards.(Only two of the members knew how to read and write, none of the wives could write their own names.) They were frightened by the escalator but eventually everyone got brave and tried it, then liked it.They loved the moving walk-way.After three hours and banana cake for everyone, we walked to the plane in thin plastic rain-coats furnished by the airline. (They loved them and all wanted their picture taken).The plane trip went well and no one seemed to be frightened but there were some big eyes when we finally took off.
Arriving in South Africa and getting through immigration was long but went quite smoothly.Going to the bathroom at the airport was an adventure.They loved the water that would come on with a wave of your hand and the hand-dry blowers were another item that entertained them way too much.Getting through customs with such a big group was made easier when an employee directed us to different gates which made the task go faster.We were so happy to see our van drivers there waiting for us.They also helped Bruce change Kenya currency to Rands.
We arrived at the temple patron housing around 1:00 and were shown to our rooms.They were very nice with a tub, shower, and clean beds.Then we went to lunch at the patron cafeteria.That afternoon we did preparatory temple work, because of the language barrier this took a long time. Then we were able to attend a temple session as the matrons cared for the children.Elder Carl Cook, wife and daughter were able to attend the session with us.It was after 8:00 before we returned to patron housing where we had supper and everyone went to bed.We were all so tired.It had been a wonderful and busy day.
Friday morning we ate breakfast and at 8:30 Bruce took the couples to the Family History room.Three good things helped this experience go quickly and smoothly; Elder Scott (MLS Mombasa) had prepared accounts and passwords for each family, Bruce helped each adult complete a pedigree chart, four temple workers came in early just to help our group. As received their copy of work that needed to be done, they once again returned to the temple.I stayed with the children and by 12:30 we all had lunch together.The afternoon was of course the very best as we attended the sealing’s of the families.The children were all dressed so beautifully.The little girls all had bands, bows or flowers.There was so much love in the faces of the family members.I will never forget how spell-bound I felt and so thankful.That evening at the cafeteria, we ate supper and had a special prayer all together to thank Heavenly Father for not only watching over us but also for the wonderful experience. We gave them each a little token to remember by and then gave each one an ice cream cone.This was their first experience eating ice cream.They are not use to eating anything cold so at first they weren’t too sure but then they licked and licked and loved it.It was so fun to share this with them.
Saturday we all met again at the cafeteria at 8:00.We had a simple breakfast, picked up the extra garments for each couple, and loaded the airport vans at 9:00.Sister Margret was experiencing stomach cramps from eating food she was not use to.At the airport I requested a wheel chair for her to assist with transport.She was immediately labeled “unfit to fly” and we spent one and a half hours trying to get medical clearance for her to get on the plane. At this time there were again angels in our pathway who became our advocates and assisted us in getting a medical paper signed without paying the requested $100 consultation fee.We boarded the plane and after a four hour flight landed in Nairobi.The group stayed in a hotel that evening and left for Kilungu Hills Sunday morning by 6:00.We had planned to attend Church at the Mitini Branch and they arrived before we did.Margret was still feeling sick and had to return home.The others stayed and bore their testimonies in sacrament meeting.Their countenance was glowing and their testimonies were powerful. They spoke in native tongue but the spirit was piercing our hearts as they challenged others to prepare earnestly to get prepare for the temple.
We share our testimony that the Lord’s watchful care was with us in many ways, that angels were round about us and it was our blessing to be in the midst of these wonderful brothers and sisters.We thank Heavenly Father for this experience and pray that we will hold it sacred in our hearts.
Anthony Margaret and Family
John Masaku Family
Michael Annastacia and Faith (9)
Papa John and Josephine
Mary and William
All together at the mission office where the President Broadbent gave individual interviews
Look at these happy kids. They were so wound up
Putting on the rain covers so we could walk to the plane. It was raining hard.
Finally off the plane
All in white
Temple View in the evening.
Margaret and little Sara loved walking around the beautiful temple grounds.
Very first time to eat ice cream for all and it was a hit.
Elder Mangenela, a wonderful missionary who served in Kilungu, came in from Botswana to join us on Friday.
So many things have come and gone, this is the longest I have been without writing in our journal.I need to mention our last Sunday meeting with Ilima and Kymbeke branches.We presented them with the “History of the Church in Kilungu Hills” and also their binder of collected personal histories.We bore our testimonies and told them we loved them but they knew we would be coming back for a weekly visit before we left.Ilima branch was filled with sorrow as Jacinta’s five year old daughter who was hit and killed by a car.She was their only child.Her funeral was Monday so the branch delayed the Christmas party until Christmas day.
Christmas Day we spent with the Elders at the Mitini.They requested sloppy joe’s, potato salad, carrot sticks, juice, chips, banana cake, and Rice Krispie treats.We sang, and shared our testimony of the Savior’s Atonement.All the missionaries had been challenged to read the Book of Mormon to learn more about the Sacrifice that was made for us.This was to be our gift to the Savior for Christmas.The missionaries gave powerful testimonies and the spirit was so sweet, not rushed, just peaceful.We will probably never spend a Christmas like that.We also watched the mission video for the year 2012, (everyone sent in 5 pictures) they loved seeing each other and their past companions.
Christmas with the Elders at the Mitini Church
Preparing forYoung Women in Excellence at Kyambeke branch
Grandparents and uncle of the young girl that was hit by a car
Christmas Day in Nairobi huge crowd at the city park
For family night the couples put together 10 beautiful plates of Christmas treats and took them around to different apartments close by. We sang "We wish you a Merry Christmas" and handed them the plates. It was so fun and the response was wonderful. One lady came to the door with a shower cap and a big towel wrapped around her and she said "Oh don't go away I'll be back". She came back quickly all dressed and was so happy with the plate and the visit. Oh it was just fun and we all laughed. I bet it was quite a sight for them to open their door and see 12 white people and singing no less.
Sister Harris is one of three artists serving mission with their spouse. She painted the pictures hanging on the wall and she also made all the cards we took around for Christmas. She is very talented and just as sweet.