Sunday, January 22, 2017

                          This is the group of Missionaries we received 27 December 2016
 Sister Salamatu Kolokoh leaving on mission. 29 December 2016.  She is from Dwarzak Ward, but came to see me the day she left on her mission.  She is a dear friend that I met about a month after we arrived in Sierra Leone.  I will really miss her, but she will be a wonderful missionary. 
 This group of SL missionaries departed 29 December 2016.  Left to right: Elder Sesay, Elder Alieu, Sister Kundundu, Sister Sesay, Sister Koroma and Elder Vandi. 
 Elder Kondo and Elder Morison are from SL and left for the MTC 9 January 2017.  They are both going to South Africa on their missions. Next picture is Elder Kondo with friends and family the day he was set apart and left.  They had a party.  That bottle is Soda. 

 This is Elder Songo and his family.  He left on 19 January 2017.  He is also going to serve in South Africa. 

Elders who live in the Fort Street apartment.  We inspected their apartment and they are a great group of young men.  My handsome companion is also with them.  L to R. Elder Evans, Elder Waybright, Elder Peterson, Elder Gamil and Elder Amoah-Baafi, Back row is Brent and Elder
Ayabowei,  We do have the best missionaries in the church serving in our mission. 
 This is Sheku Mansaray and his helper.  He does some electrical work for the mission.  This day he was changing out some lights.  I had to  take a picture of the ladder.  It is made with sticks nailed together.  See how it bows?  This is outside of our apartment building. 

 This is how they cut our yard.  We don't really have grass, but they take a machete and cut the plants close to the ground.  This helps keep the critters out, (like snakes)  It looks really nice when they get done.  McKay, want to try cutting Papaw's grass this way?   This is to the side of our apartment. 
 Snowy white Egrets.  They have just started showing up.  (January 2017)  They catch bugs and butterflies and eat them.  They are really fun to watch.  I took this picture by our water tanks in front of our apartment. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

 This is our adopted Granddaughter here in Sierra Leone.  Her parents are Moona and Abduli Conteh. We have become very good friends with them.   They are going to name this sweet little one after me.  She is only about 2 weeks old.  Doesn't Moona look great? 
                                                                   Brent with us. 
 This is a close up of the baby.  She is beautiful.  She has long fingers and lots of black curly soft hair. 
 This is our adopted Grandson here in Sierra Leone, Elder Cornista.  He is from the Philippines and has a Grandfather who is Japanese.  He told us that is why he has slanted eyes. The first time I saw him was when I had him fill out his paper work for the country.  When he started to talk I started to cry and told him he reminded me of our Grandson Dominique.  I had the thought that in 5 or 6 short years McKay and Dominique will be on missions and some senior Sister will be helping them fill out their paper work.  He is a great young man and will be a good missionary.  He has already attended 4 years of medical school in the Philippines. We love you Elder Cornista!

 Some more pictures driving in Freetown.  The top picture is how they carry things here.  They carry all kinds of things.  These men are really strong that push and pull these carts.  One day we saw one carrying a metal frame and there was at least 6 guys  pushing and pulling.  They go right in traffic and we have to go around them. 
 This is on our way to church one day.  These people were running and spread out in the road.  We had no choice but to follow them.  We followed them for a while and then a guy waved us around them.  He had been watching the traffic coming towards us and it was clear so Brent drove in that lane and we were able to pass them.  That kind of thing happens a lot here. 
 This picture is of our Primary at Upgun the week before Christmas.  We usually have about 10 to 15 children attend.  In the beautiful gold dress on the right is Fatmata Conteh, who is the 2nd counselor in the Primary Presidency and has only been a member a few months.  We talked about the birth of Jesus and colored a picture of the Manger scene.  Fatmata is such a beautiful lady, I love her clothes.  The young women at the back on the left is 14 and she is the only YW in the Branch, so she comes to Primary.  Her name is Josephine and she and I have become fast friends.  Fatmata and I are also good friends.  For Christmas she gave me some beautiful fabric and a fish dinner that she had prepared.  She is as beautiful inside as she is outside. 
 These 2 pictures were on Christmas day.  Josephine is on the left in the hat and Fatmata is in the middle with the beautiful ivory dress.   I wanted a picture with Brent and I and members of our Branch.  The bottom picture you can see Brent is on the left and if you look close you can see my face in the middle.  They all just came in close around me.  What a great group of people.  The man on the right front is Brother Emmanuel Kunduor, a counselor in the Branch Presidency. 

These 4 are siblings and sat in front of us for Sacrament Meeting.  You can see behind them there aren't many people there yet.  This was about 10 minutes before the meeting started.  We had a pretty good group attend by the time the meeting was over.  Some even came with only about 10 minutes left.  I love these people. 
 I wanted to kind of give a flavor of what it is like to drive down the streets in Freetown.  This is on our way to the Kissy District Center to our Christmas Party with the Missionaries.  In the top picture you can see a poda, poda, and the people are climbing out.  It could not get up the street because the back wheel was stuck on a big rock.  It was merging into traffic. After all the people got out it made it up the hill, stopped in the middle of the road and the people all piled back in.   (A poda poda is a van taxi and they take the seats out and put in benches so they can get more people in them).  Greg will probably be able to relate to that.  
 The streets have lots of traffic, cars, taxi's, poda poda's okada's (the motorcylce taxi's) and foot traffic.  The sidewalks on this street was filled with little markets.  You can kind of see them if you look close on the right. Also see the 2 ladies carrying the baskets on their heads, that is their shop.    You can see a stop sign on the right of the picture below.  There are not very many stop signs in this country, and no one ever stops at them.  Brent is a true Sierra Leonean driver now, he ran this stop sign too. 
 Sometimes vehicles just stop on the side of the road and you have to try to go around them.  Both of these big trucks were stopped and we went between them.  We were following a young man pushing a wheelbarrow.  Sometimes people get out and direct traffic.  You can see the guy below in the yellow vest.  He was helping us get through this area.  He stopped the traffic coming towards us so we could get through. 
 These are all pictures taken at the Kissy District Center of our Christmas party with the missionaries in Freetown and the surrounding areas.  Also the missionaries from Makeni came.  We have the most amazing young missionaries. 
 Elder Foote is on the left, Elder Turner at the head of the table, Elder Rawlings on the right.
 On the left front of this picture is Elder Wolters and Elder Hayford. 
 On the left, back to front Elder Weber and Elder Correia, On the right, back to front, Elder Marks, Elder Waybright and Elder Owen in the front. 

 You can see some of our cute Sisters in the middle. 
My handsome companion standing, Elder Peterson is in front of him, and to the left is Elder Jones who was an office Elder at this time, Elder Johnson is on the right 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

20 December 2016  Brent, Elder Oyebambi, Elder Akan and me.  Elder Akan is leaving to return home.  These Elders are the AP's.  Elder Akan has been an AP for a couple of months and we have gotten really close to him.  He and Brent have a really good relationship.  It was a little rocky at first, but they have both learned from each other and he will be greatly missed.  
 Elder Oyebambi, Elder Akan and Elder Smith.  Elder Smith is the new AP taking Elder Akan's place and Elder Oyebambi will still be an AP.  What an amazing group!
 Elder Akan, Me, Brent and Elder Aguirre at Sea Bird.  Elder Aguirre hasn't been here very long, but he is very sick and going home.  We found out later he had a reaction to the doxy. ( He is still healing the first part of January and hopes to be reassigned to another mission very soon.) 

 Stake Conference in December 2016.  Brent was the driver for Elder Stanfill.  He was the visiting Authority.  He is a counselor in the Africa West Area Presidency.  This is the 3rd time he has visited Sierra Leone since we have been here.  Left to Right: Elder Stanfill, President Agbo (Stake President) and Sister Agbo and their son.  (Elder Stanfill is Penny Gardner's brother, small world)
 Brent and I with Patriarch Kamara and his wife.  They are wonderful people and he is the most humble man. 
                                                         Elder Stanfill with the choir. 
We were waiting for Elder Stanfill after conference.  He met with the Priesthood leaders for a few minutes.  This group of young men just gathered around Brent and I and wanted a picture with us.  They do that a lot. 
 1 December 2016.  This is the day Elder Samche went home.  We will really miss him.  He was an apartment/office Elder for a couple of months and we got really close to him.  He was a character and kept us laughing. 
 The beautiful hibiscus out front of our apartment.  There are several bushes, yellow pink and white.  They have been blooming since we arrived last April.