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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

December 30th 2012

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
our blessing. 

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.
Papa John, Michael and William on the plane.


Fox said...

O wow what a wonderful experience. I'm so glad that it went well and I love all the new things they were able to see and do... including the temple work:)

The White's said...

I'm so exited for the families and what this means for them. I love the pictures in white and the one couple with the husband had his hand on his wives shoulder. I'm glad you got to go too mom and that the patrons were able to help with the children. I'm glad it was so well planned out by Dad. What was a blessing too.

Gloria said...

What a beautiful experience and thanks for sharing it. It touched my heart! Makes we grateful we can donate to the temple patron fund.