We feel so blessed because of the people we have met and get to serve with, as well as the humble people that we all serve. We have heard stories of all of the persecution and struggles they have gone through to keep the church alive in Africa. Not many years ago they were not allowed to worship publicly, they had to meet secretly in homes. But now, due to the many positive things that the church has done for the African people the government now is fully supportive. One of Karen's responsibilities is to enter the baptismal records and she has entered 164 baptisms this past month and has averaged close to 100 each month.
These are the two young men that we have shared the office with for the past 2 1/2 months. They are the Assistants to the Kenya Nairobi Mission President. Although they are not much over 20 years old, they are wise way beyond their years. They are responsible for training & mentoring and safeguarding all of the other 82 missionaries in Kenya and Tanzania. They receive a nightly bed check from each missionary companionship every night and then relay it to the mission President before they are able to go to bed themselves. They travel from the southern coast of Kenya in Mombasa to the northern regions of Eldoret to do this. They purchase and transport all of the phones, appliances, furniture, and other furnishings for each new flat for missionaries. They manage a working fund of 40,000 shillings used to pay for items the missionaries need that are not paid for with their own funds, like bus fare, water bills. They help the President to decide who will be paired together and who will serve as zone leaders and district leaders. One of their most humbling responsibilities is to interview anyone any person desiring to be baptized a member of the church to determine their worthiness and sincerity. On transfer day they house as many as 14 missionaries in their own flat and arrange for them all to be fed while they await their new assignments. If that were not enough they do some proselyting in their spare time. The young man on the left, next to Karen, is Elder Cele who is of Zulu descent from South Africa. He has been serving for 22 1/2 months. On May 26th he was released as one of the Assistants to the President, so that he can serve his last 6 weeks period back in the mission field. The President wants each young man to finish his mission in the trenches doing the work. We will miss seeing him every day! He will serve his last transfer in Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria-what a way to go out. The other Assistant next to me is Elder Thornton from Utah. He is now the senior companion of the Assistants. Elder Harris from Idaho is his new companion.
While we were visiting the Elephant Orphanage an elementary school, on a field trip, were next to us. They were so cute in their little uniforms, I found myself watching them more than the elephants.
A uniquely African tree (I should remember its name but I can't)
Another example of the typical thatched roof, mud walled homes in the Kilungu Hills.