Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Visit from Rose

I saw Rose Wallace at church on Sunday 10 March and she said, "I will come and see you at the office on Tuesday."  True to her word, she came and she had her darling little boy, Jeffrey Moroni Wallace, with her.  This little boy was named after Elder Holland.  Notice how beautiful his mother is, too!  She has such beautiful braids woven into her hair. 

Jeffrey Moroni Wallace 3 months

Rose is the Primary President in the Freetown Ward and her husband, Markus, is the bishop. Rose is also the self-appointed Primary Music Leader because she understands how important Primary music is.  I spoke to her about how things are going and she said it is still challenging because her counselors are not consistent about coming.  She said she and Markus have done a lot of visiting members in their ward to encourage them to come to church and they have had some success.  They have had some "neighborhood Family Home Evening lessons" and those have been well received, too.  Rose and Markus are "kingdom builders."
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Monday, February 4, 2013

Our Blog

For those of you who follow our blog, you may begin to be confused as we start to post items that don't appear to be in order.  That is because we are in the "repentance" phase of our blog.  We are trying to catch up posts from the past in order to have a complete view of our mission.  Unfortunately, our "repentance" will be out there for the world to see, but we hope you will enjoy our mission in review.  Our daughter, Valerie, promised, as a Christmas gift to us before we left on our mission, to get our blog ready to publish.  We are trying to do our part to give her something with which she can work.  Thank you for your patience!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Freetown Sierra Leone Stake Temple Trip

The saints know who they are, what God expects them to do, they are happy to do it and to let others know about it.

When we arrived at the office on Friday, 1 February 2013, all the temple patrons were there who had gathered on Thursday hoping to board the bus to the temple.  They had stayed overnight at the chapel, thinking that the bus would probably come during the night.  Sadly, that didn’t happen.  We could see frustration and disappointment in their faces.  Fortunately by about 2:00 the bus arrived after being delayed in Freetown to change some tires. The bus had traveled all the way from Liberia to pick up the saints and will go to Ghana by traveling through Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and down into Ghana.  The members quickly gathered their suitcases, plus their food for the next eight days and water in small sachets.  The sachets are little bags of water.  They tear the corner off with their teeth and then such the water out of the bag.  It looked like they were taking a lot of water with them—not more than they needed, but still a lot to carry.  They had suitcases and backpacks and bags of rice.  There were mothers, fathers, children, babies and people of all ages.  We were so proud of them.  This is a huge sacrifice for them and will be a very difficult trip.  The bus was older than we had hoped and it’s likely that it has no air conditioning, so they will rely on any little breeze blowing through the bus to cool them.  They will spend five days traveling, three days at the temple and then turn around and make the same long trip home again. .

Many preparations are made including a quick bath for the baby in the foreground.

The water in the jugs will be used for bathing. The water in the sachets on the right will be used for drinking.  So many other preparations have been made including passports for all, yellow fever shots for all, and paperwork to allow the bus and the passengers to cross the borders into many other countries.

The baby on her back is only one month old.  He will grow up in the covenant and knowing only life as a member of the Church. This day will change many lives for eternity.

Pure joy at being able to attend the temple!

There is luggage under the tarps and this is the final step in preparation.
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New Mission Home

On Friday, 11 January 2013, we came to our office to discover a huge trackhoe there to begin the demolition of the building that has housed four sets of missionaries.  We have been anticipating this day for several months.  The missionaries had moved out a couple of months ago.  This is an exciting day because it is the beginning of a new mission home and senior couple apartments. It is ironic that all of this "groundbreaking" occurred just one day before the official groundbreaking.
It's always amazing in demolition how little time it takes to tear down something that must have taken so long to build. 
Nineteen days later all of the big beautiful trees that used to cover the area next to the mission office were down--the price of progress. 

The small front wall is the boundary of the driveway for the mission office.
Getting ready for a foundation.
There will be parking spaces in the area you can see here with senior apartments above them and the mission home above that.  Halfway back on the left is a "hole" where an elevator will be installed to get items and people up to the third floor, the mission home.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Groundbreaking for Mission Home and Freetown Stake Center

On 12 January 2013 two groundbreaking ceremonies were held in the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission and the Freetown Sierra Leone Stake.  Before the actual ceremony a news conference was held, sponsored and organized by Sister Mariatu Browne who is the country director for Public Affairs for the church.  She invited Elder and Sister Burns to come and tell about many of the humanitarian projects they are involved in, which include wells in many places, supplies and furnishings for a polio orphanage, and some springboxes to capture and dispense spring water.  They are also helping with a wheelchair fitting and distribution as well as a neonatal training program.  The media was so attentive and asked some very good questions.  President Patrick Swarray, Jr. fielded questions as well as President Richard Roggia. 

President Roggia wields a shovel in the groundbreaking for the new mission home.  It will be located right next door to the mission office in a nice large compound which also includes a church building which houses four wards.  It should be completed by September, a few months after the new mission president arrives in July.  The mission home will also have two apartments for senior couples located below it.

This is the large lot on which will be built the new Freetown Sierra Leone Stake Center.  It will also house the Congo Cross ward, with the hope that more wards will follow in the future.

President Roggia and President Swarray shared the honor of digging some of the first shovels of dirt for the new stake center for the Church's 3000th stake, the Freetown Sierra Leone Stake. They have been partners in the progress of the church here for the past 2 1/2 years.  President Swarray was called as District President in August of 2011.



After the groundbreaking for the new chapel, many of the media representatives were invited to tour the new Hill Station Chapel which is under construction.  The rock you see in the foreground is a tiny representation of the rock which completely covered and filled the lot where this new chapel is built.  Some of the boulders were taller than a man.  The workers build fires on top of them so they can be broken into pieces and hauled away.  The groundbreaking for this building was held over a year ago.  It has been a painstaking process to clear the ground enough to build the building.


This is a good view of the construction and you can see our two trusty mission vans in the background.  The gray one is old and will soon be retired.  The white one was purchased for Elder Holland's visit in February 2012 and has hauled many missionaries on transfers.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Day Hike

We met this little boy at the first of our hike.  He is carrying his breakfast.  The sticks in the background are used in construction to provide support for cement floors while the cement hardens.  They also build scaffolding with them
We found some beautiful gardens growing in the valley close to a small creek.  The creek will run until March so the people are growing all they can until then.
If you look closely, you will see the bananas growing on this tree.  Many of the banana trees look as "messy" as this one.  The old leaves are allowed to drop around the base to compost and provide nourishment to the tree.
There are many unusual fruits that grow in Africa.
This woman waters all of her gardens with these two watering cans.
This is St. Andrews Church in an area of Freetown called Gloucester. 
The front entrance to St. Andrews church (and a good companion)
Taking a moment to relax and enjoy the scenery.
A home dating back to the colonial period.  This house had wood siding.  The newer African construction is all done with cement blocks.
Children pause for a "snap."  They always want to see what it looks like after you take it.
We found the children playing near this slide, the only piece of playground equipment at St. Andrews School across from the church.
This is newer African construction.  They are quite skilled at building with concrete.  They love their brightly colored homes.
A beautiful cabbage patch growing alongside equally beautiful lettuce.  We are grateful for gardens such as these that provide the produce we enjoy her in Sierra Leone.
A big thank you to our good friends, the Lauritzens, who took us on our New Year's Day hike. 
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Young Single Adult Activity

We were invited by the Young Single Adults from the Lumley Branch to attend the activity they sponsored for the YSA's of the whole stake.  Marian Campbell, who was on the organizing committee, asked us to judge their "quiz competition."  She had written some questions about the Church and its doctrine.  Each branch who attended had an opportunity to answer the questions.  We kept track of whose turn it was and kept score. 
We  awarded the certificate for highest points to a young man from Goderich Ward and the certificate for the “Best Quizzer”  to a young 11-year-old girl, Virginia, from Congo Cross Ward, who answered 3 questions—all of them fairly difficult.  She quoted 1 Nephi 3:17 for one of the answers! The YSA’s had an opportunity to bear their testimonies and then they had a dance, complete with loud music out in the courtyard of the Church.  We left just after the dancing started, but we could tell they were all ready to dance and celebrate.
The Young Single Adults enjoy watching the organizing committee introduce themselves with a little dance exhibition.
The committee and their dance exhibition.  Notice the young men all have matching blue shirts and the young women all have matching pink shirts.
Our young friend, Marian Campbell, who helped organize the activity.  Not long after this activity she received her mission call to the Nigeria Enugu Mission.  She will be the first sister in the Freetown Sierra Leone Stake to serve at age 20.