Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Greetings to our family and friends

We were feeling a bit guilty since we had not shared anything on this blog since clear back in June. We have never been busier! Sorry that the narrative is a bit sketchy and the sequence is not very sequential but at least these pictures will give you a glimpse at what we are experiencing here in Kenya. Despite our 10-14 hour days 7 days a week, we feel that we are living a dream. No picture or narrative could ever communicate what we are experiencing here. In fact, most of these pictures are merely what we see as we are coming and going to what we we really do all day. We hope you will enjoy. We send our love and hope some of you will have a minute to drop us a line.

October brings weddings

We were invited to attend the wedding of Peter and Pauline the first weekend of October. Then again a week later we witnessed the civil marriage of two couples preparing to go to the Johannesburg Temple to be sealed.

These two couples are from the Kilili Branch. They are doing the final preparations for their trip to the Johannesburg Temple.

This young couple is Peter and Pauline. Peter worked in the Distribution Center for over a year. He is finishing up a degree in accounting at a local university. Recently he was hired by a large company that manufactures bio-fuel on the east coast. He asked us to take pictures of their wedding. Another senior couple-the Byrds were also invited ato help photograph the wedding.

Back at the Church, Karen is greeted by two cute little girls attending the wedding reception.

This is a colorful church that we passed on our way to Chyulu.

This is Faith and her parents at the mission office just after President Broadbent set Faith apart as a missionary.

Two more couples come and Faith leaves on her mission

Later in September two more senior couples join us: the Babcocks, who will serve in Eldoret, and the Schwabs who will serve in Chyulu. President an Sister Broadbent took the Babcocks to Eldoret when they went of a conference and we took the Schwabs to Chyulu. Chyulu has so many humble people that we have come to know and love. We envy the Schwabs. Back in Kilili we say goodbye to our most recent Missionary leaving from the branch. She is well prepared to teach!
Karen shares another kanga with Faith it is a sign of friendship.

Here are the Schwabs as they meet the missionaries they will live next to. We have already recognized how well prepared the Schwabs are for their call. They even purchased bike so that they could join the young missionaries as they visit the people in remote areas.

On the way back to Nairobi we stopped to look at these colorful hand-made baskets. These young girls were very good at selling their wears.

This picture is of all of the couples who attended the conference in Lake Nakuru. All but one couple serving in the Kenya Nairobi Mission attended the conference. Unfortunately the conference was a couple weeks before the Babcocks and Schwabs arrived.

Monday, October 17, 2011

September Couples Conference at Lake Nakuru Park

Twice a year all of the senior couples serving in the mission come together for a conference at a major game park. The first weekend of September was our conference which was held at Lake Nakuru National Park. We have meetings to discuss important issues, but the primary purpose is for the couples, who serve in remote areas throughout Kenya and Tanzania, to enjoy time together. We also went on several game drives within the park over the two days.

This 3 meter Python crossed the road as we were on one of our drives. Unfortunately Karen and I were the only ones who saw it before it disappeared in the grass.

We saw this Leopard in a tree where it had taken its lunch (a pelican).

Did I tell you that Giraffes are Karen's favorite animal?

This baby baboon hopped on top of our truck and tried to eat the radio antenna.

Kilili Branch's Newest Missionary

Catherine's missionary farewell was on Sunday August 21st. A great number of friends and family came to see her off. She reports to the Provo MTC was on August 23rd, where she will be prepared to serve in the Arizona Mesa Mission.

Here Catherine poses with her best friend Faith who is also going on a mission to Uganda.

Catherine with her two grandmothers

Catherine and her family, 3 brothers, 2 sisters, parents and uncle.

On the night before she left we took Catherine and her parents to dinner. Karen gave Catherine a matching kanga.

Us with Catherine after Church on Sunday.

August also brings Mormon Helping Hands Day

African Mormon Helping Hands Day was on Saturday August 20th this year. This is a continent wide service day in which every LDS Church Unit in all of Africa plans a service project which benefits their community. Our branch chose to clean the village center. The turn out was very good.
Here Faith sweeps trash into a pile to be burned.

Purity worked very hard sweeping the front of local businesses.

Village merchants were very appreciative of the cleanup effort. Here are some of the youth who came to help.

Two primary boys reporting for duty.

Even the old man helped out while Sister Nevin took pictures.

Early August Brings Audits

In August we did some traveling to the north Kenya towns of Kisumu and Busia to perform a semiannual audit of their financial books. Although audits are not that exciting, the drive to these communities is exciting. The road passes through some especially scenic areas. The Kericho area has expansive tea fields and beautiful mountainous green family farms.

Here are two young boys selling the produce from their family's farm.

Classic thatched-roofed dwellings along the roadside.

Looking down from a mountain road we were able to witness laundry day for this family.

These boys were just sitting on the fence watching cars go by

Transfer week in July brings hellos and goodbyes

Later in July we had another transfer week. We enjoy the excitement of transfer week , but as I have stated before not only do we greet new missionaries coming into the mission, but sadly we also have to say goodbye to several of the missionaries we have come to love, who are returning home to their families. We took a new senior missionary couple the Halls to visit one of the branches in the Kilungu Hills where they will be serving.

This is Karen with Purity a young girl that she has bonded with in the Ilima Branch.

Here the Halls attend their first baptism in Africa. The young man in white with his arms crossed is about to go on a mission and on this day he is baptizing his mother and two other young boys. Also pictured are the two companionships of Elder who serve in the Hills.

One of the traditions in the mission is for departing young missionaries to go on a Safari at the nearby Nairobi Game Park. We were asked to take them on this day since President and Sister Broadbent were traveling out of town. These two Elders pose by the Hippo Pond. Ironically there were no Hippos at the Hippo Pond but there were two large Crocodiles that you can see over Elder Weech's right shoulder on the far bank of the pond. Out of the picture is the armed guard who escorted us to the pond. Elder Weech is from our home in the Gila Valley, Arizona. Elder Mdlalose was returning home to South Africa

This big male lion was napping only about 10 meters from the road. He woke up long enough to check us out and then went back to sleep. Much like dogs, lions spend a major portion of their day sleeping

Get away to Aberdare National Park

Wow it has been too long since I last posted anything here. I will try to catch you up. In July a few of the couples went to Aberdare Park for a weekend get-away. Although we had been to the park previously, this time we stayed overnight inside the park at the Ark Lodge.

This is us at the Park Entrance. This is a Convention Center just outside of the park at which we had lunch before entering the Park.

This is the Ark Lodge inside of Aberdare Park.

Karen's favorite animal is the Giraffe. She got excited when we spotted this family of Reticulated Giraffes

Three siblings posing together

Friday, June 24, 2011

More of baby Mwende, another baptism, and another missionary from Kilili

Karen taking pictures next to the chicken coup.

This is baby Mwende's grandma and little brother Steven. Grandma is shucking cowpeas, Steven is eating ugali and the dog is hoping for leftovers.

Karen holding 4-week old Mwende

Our most recent baptism and the newest member of the Kilili Branch is Purity. Here she is with her beautiful family. Her daughter Ndanu (on her left) was baptized a few weeks ago.

This is the newest member of the Kilili Branch to go on a mission. Here Faith is turning in her missionary application papers to us. She is going to be a good one.

Our visit to see Anna and Joshua's new baby

Sunday June 12th was the Kilili Branch Conference. After the meetings President and Sister Broadbent went with us to visit Anna (she is one of the first people we taught in our investigator class) and Joshua who had had a new baby. Two members of the Relief Society Presidency went with us.

Here we are at their compound.

More of their compound.

Their main house built by Joshua out of hand made bricks.

This is the happy parents with their new little girl Mwende.

Us with Anna and Mwende.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We have extended our mission release date

If you have not already heard, it is official that we have extended the length of our mission from 18 months to 23 months.

Trip to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

On May 12th we flew to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to pick up a vehicle to bring back for Elder and Sister Rydalch, a new missionary couple who will be serving in Arusha, Tanzania. We took advantage of this opportunity to stay with our good friends President and Sister Burgener. To list all of the things that they do as part of their missionary responsibilities would take a page or more. We are glad that many of their responsibilities interface with us in our office, so we are in contact with them almost every week. And because he serves as a councilor to President Broadbent in the Kenya Nairobi Mission Presidency they come to Nairobi for meetings fairly often. On several of these visits they have stayed with us in our flat. But this was the first and probably the last time that we will ever have a reason to be in Dar. So we extended our stay for a couple days and visited with them before starting our long drive back to Nairobi by way of Arusha. They took us to see all of the missionary flats and all but one of the four church buildings in Dar. And they took us to CoCo Beach which is the site in Tanzania where Elder Russell M. Nelson dedicated the country of Tanzania for the preaching of the gospel. And because it is a port city we had to see the ocean and Friday we spent a day in Zanzibar (which is in the previous post).

This is an early morning shot of the port of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, obviously from our boat as we left for Zanzibar.

As we stood on the very point on Coco Beach, where Elder Nelson dedicated Tanzania, this is the view in one direction and the next image is looking in the opposite direction from the same point.

This is looking the other way on Coco Beach. Since this is their "winter" it was only 85ºF with a humidity to match, however the sea breeze made it very pleasant. I am glad our visit was timed during their cool time though.

This is where we attended Church Sunday the 15th. It is the Kinindoni Building. That Sunday they were realigning the two Kinindoni Branches that have been meeting there. Mbezi Beach Branch was created from part of the Kinindoni 1st Branch. The rest of Kinindoni 1st joined with Kinindoni 2nd. This new branch will no longer meet at this building. They have rented a large home in which to meet for the time being. The handsome young men in the foreground wanted to be in the picture. The one without a tie is Leon, the Burgener's neighbor. He rode with us to church. The other young man is his good friend. Unfortunately after the realignment they are now in different branches. In the background you can see Sister Burgener introducing Sister Nevin to one of the pioneer members of the branch. His conversion story is truly inspirational. He currently serves as a member of the District Council.

This is us with the Burgeners in front of the restaurant where we had lunch in Zanzibar.