Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas in Nigeria 2012

Here it is, the day after Christmas, or Boxing Day here.  We had a wonderful Christmas with many events.  Elder and Sister Brown, Elder and Sister Winget and Tim and I, made a Christmas basket for Pres. and Sister Adebayo and gave it to him a couple of days before Christmas.  We went to the Ukorebi's home on Christmas Eve to eat dinner, sing and enjoy the Nativity story, put on by the children.  The donkey was the father, Bro. Ukorebi.  All the missionary couples have adopted the Ukorebi children as our grandchildren here.  They run up to us at church and other events and want us to be near by them.  It is pretty awesome! 
Christmas day Tim and I made some food for the guards who would be on duty all day and then helped make brunch with the Wingets and Browns.  We ate with them, the Adebayo's and 5 of the Elders.  It was a wonderful day. Merry Christmas from Nigeria, Africa!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ward Christmas Party Nigerian Style

 We went to the ward Christmas Party.  It was announced to begin at 2:00.  We went at 2:00 and no one was there.  So we went back to the apartment and came back 45 minutes later and that is when most of the people came.  There was a program first.  The Primary Children Sang, there was a skit or two, a family sang and then came Santa least one of his helpers! 
 We know Santa and his helpers to be a little on the chubby side.  Not this one!

 I just thought this little girl was so cute with these balloons.  I asked if I could take her picture.  She was good to let me.  Here, you don't take a picture, you "snap" the picture.
Looking into the eyes of a child.  Mailyn  looking deep into my eyes.  She is a cutie!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Conference and Training in Ghana

 We have been enjoying our stay in Ghana.  We are to talk over plans on how to make PEF more effective.  Even though we have spent many hours in a room talking and discussing plans we still have a little time to get out and do things, like go to the ocean for a few minutes.  There were tons of junior high aged kids on the beach.  We were the old folks.
 This morning we began our day at the Ghana temple.  The first time I saw this temple I thought of the words to the song, "I Love To See The Temple".  I had to choke down a few tears.  We haven't been near a temple for a very long time!  The inside of the temple is beautiful.  Breathtakingly beautiful!  It was the very best way to begin our day.
 Those who went to the temple are the same ones who we have been working with to get great ideas of the PEF program.  Left to right, Patrick,  Bro. Brown, Rebecca (Funmi), Fred, Ike, Tim, Dianne, Elder Heid, Sister Heid. 
This is my favorite nativity set from Nigeria.  The person who sold it to us is the artist who makes it.  At least that is what he told us. 

First Nigerian Wedding

Saturday, December 8, 2012 we were able to attend the wedding of Godlyn and Richard.  We were invited because everyone is expected to come if you are in the area and want to.  We were encouraged to purchase the material from the bride to make an outfit to match the friends of the family.  We wanted to be friends of the family, and they wanted us to dress like we are friends, and so we did. The wedding cake was made by another one of the catering students we know.  She did a darling job.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Freeway Flat Tire Adventures

To begin a post you really need good news first.  That would be the authentic Nativity scene.  We had a young artist come to our office and sell us the nativity scene.  We weren't sure how to get him to leave without purchasing one set.  Now that I am here and looking closely at the nativity set, I really appreciate the artwork in the details of the faces.  Maybe you just have to be here to appreciate it.
We travelled to Victoria Island to go Black Friday Shopping.  We took a young man with us to drive.  While on the Third Mainland Bridge our tire blew out.  Elder Jennings and Elder Brown directed traffic away from the van while Elder Winget and Ike changed the tire.  When we told the mission president about the flat tire he was very upset that the vehicle had a tire on it that looked this bad. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


 Tim and I, along with President Adebayo, Ike Ibe (pronounced E-Bay) Sister Winget and Elder Winget went to Field of Dreams or called FSD to talk to the owner (woman in black) of ideas to help her educate more people and more skills.  She is very excited to think of the possibilities.  Not to make herself richer.  She is interested in helping her country grow and prosper.  She is a woman of high integrity and intelligence and vision.  It is always an honor to work with her.  Hopefully I will have more to post when we work out the details.  If it works, it will be thrilling!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Catch up time

I haven't been posting for a while because I couldn't get any pictures to attach to my blog.  I was able to get a few pictures to attach, so, here is a few notes.  
We have many students and friends who think we need traditional African clothes.  I have a dress made out of the same cloth that Elder Jennings has this outfit from.  It is beautiful.  There is one small problem.  The seamstress made it too small.  I had her take the seams out and it is still too small.  I will try once more to get it the correct size.
We have gone shopping 3 times to Balogun.  Twice we have been rained on.  The first time it rained very hard on us.  It was an adventure for sure.  First you walk very carefully through the water puddles and then you get so wet, it really doesn't matter.
We have had a few water issues in the entire building.  When the building was built the plumbers put in too small and inferior pipes.  This is a 4 year old building with water pipes breaking.  We had issues with water leaking out of a wall.  We were moved out of our apartment for them to fix it.  Our two day project turned into two weeks.  We are back in now.
On one day of adventures we got into a car to leave and noticed we didn't have enough gas.  Our driver found some gas and poured it into the car.  We have been having some serious gas shortages in Nigeria.  It looks like it may be ending.   There for a while most gas stations were closed...out of gas.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rings and Rainstorms

 Every day is something new and interesting.  Some days betterthan others, but, when it involves the students and people who we meet it is always interesting and fun.  Monday we went to Balogun which is a huge wholesale market.  The only problem was, as soon as we got to the market it began to rain...and rain...and rain.  The market is outdoors and stops the shopability.  Sister Karkari (the Mission President's wife) needed to get some items for missionary apartments so we dashed deep into the market and grabbed those items.  Then some women were hired to carry the items out to the car.  The 2 women with things on their heads were carrying all the items.  It is amazing to see women carry things on their heads.
 A week ago I had a ring making class given by Evelyn.  Sister Winget joined in on the class.  Evelyn made a ring and when we are all able to, Evelyn is giving us lesson number 2 where we will be making a ring ourselves.  Esther joined in to give us encouragement.  Esther in the red and Evelyn in the black.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nigerian 2nd Month End

 Every day in Nigeria is an event.  I can't think of any two days that have been the same.  Just when we think things are going to be okay something new is given to challenge us.  That is where real growth seems to come in.  I may have blogged about birthdays before, but, I feel I need to say again that birthdays are celebrated in the Service Center.  If it is your birthday you are responsible to bring enough cake to share with everyone.  The picture above is only a small amount of the people in the service center.  Friday I counted either 60 or 70 people.  I need to recount.  At lunch time we all gather at the birthday persons desk, present the cake and sing happy birthday.  It has many verses here.  I don't have them all figured out.  This week Paul, our finance man, enjoyed his birthday.  The cake that was brought in for his birthday was beautiful!  It had chocolate and fruit on it!  Way pretty.  It tasted quite good, too.
On Wednesday Tim and I, Elder and Sister Winget, and our favorite driver, Rufus, went to Victoria Island for two reasons.  #1 To go shopping at a store called Games.  It is kind of like a Target store.  Just not the selection we are use to there.  We found two cookie sheets which we have been looking for so we could replace the ones already here.  Then we drove to look at a school to see if it was a possibility of being a school to consider for sending students to.  It has to meet several qualifications.  When we drove up to this school my first reaction was, no way!  We went in and talked to the person over the school and asked for credentials, cost, student enrollment, etc. Tim asked most of the questions.  They were good questions.  What we didn't hear, we had to listen to the spirit to see what we felt.  While talking to these men, I felt reminded to take a second look.  This is a third world country we are looking at.  As such, we need to see it for the value it has and not compare it to things I know from home.  I believe we are going to allow a student to attend.
We attended Stake Choir practice tonight.  It is the first one we have attended.  If I had only known what we were getting ourselves in to.  The practice is 3 hours long. It is grueling, hot and way out of my comfort zone.  They use a method of learning the songs using do-re-mi.  Each note is sung by the tone.  We learn the song first using do-re-mi and then we learn the words.  While learning the first song we were divided into our parts.  First off, the basses were sent to the back of the chapel and Brother Jennings you will lead and teach them."  I was so glad it was Tim given the responsibility and not me.  The altos were sent to another section of the chapel and we sat there waiting for someone to direct us.  We were also looking at our music and wrote in the do-re-mi letters.  The choir director eventually came over and told me that I was to direct the altos.  My mouth flew open to sputter out, "but I don't know this song, I have never directed a choir" and sweat poured down my back and armpits.  I was in huge trouble.  But, I did my best.  Thank heavens we had a girl who had a good voice and great pitch.  My troubles weren't over.  After choir practice the pianist asked me if I would learn how to play one of the pieces! Say, what?  Leading the altos was difficult enough.  I have been giving it a lot of thought for the last few hours.  How can I possibly say no?  How can I possibly say yes? I agreed to meet the pianist tomorrow.  I think once he sees my abilities he will agree I shouldn't play for the choir.                                                                                                                                  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pizza night and Elder Ghunney

Today one of our favorite Elders leaves to go home to Ghana.  We wish him all the best.  He is a young man full of laughter, spiritual, and intelligent.  The Wingets and the Jennings invited the three office Elders to pizza night every Friday night.  Talk about laughter!  You have to love Elder Jennings and Elder Winget wearing the aprons.
Elder Ghunney (the favorite Elder shown here) is planning on attending BYU-I.  He will have to be there before Christmas.  We keep telling him he is going to freeze!
Best wishes to Elder Ghunney.  Hope we see him when we get home.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This and that on the mission

Each day we serve on our mission is different from the last.  Most days we begin in the office.  Some days we process loans all day.  That means we are calling people applying for loans.  We need more information or they need to make a payment or they need to talk to their institute director, etc.  Some days we talk to people who work at the Service Center, or we go shopping for our outing for the week, or some days we prepare for Leadership Training, which means we talk about PEF during the training meetings.  Esther is one of our students.  We have grown to really love and appreciate her.  She tells us a lot about life in Nigeria.  From customs, to foods, to traditions.

Tonight we said good-bye to 17 missionaries.  Elder Ghunney will be especially missed.  We have enjoyed pizza dinners, chats in the office, gospel discussions, and good laughter.
Today I had the opportunity to give out 2 copies of the Book of Mormon.  One to a guard that works here.  He was reading the Book of Mormon which is a copy that is in the guard house.  I asked if he would like his own copy to read, mark and enjoy and the other was a man who came to our office to give us some information for a student.  He asked what PEF is and then asked me about the church.  After giving a brief overview I asked if he would like a Book of Mormon.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Field of Dreams Graduation

We got to attend a graduation of the school that is across the street from the service center.  We had several students graduate in a variety of degrees.   The fun cake was made by one of the students. The picture of the flowers is actually fondant flowers.  The young girl in the picture modeling actually made the wedding dress in three days.  You can't see it very well, but it is a beautiful dress, very finely made.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Travel to Ile-Ife

 Friday morning we loaded up a van with 2 Elders, an auditor, driver and another man, and the President's SUV, loaded with the President, a driver and Tim and I, and headed to Ile-Ife (pronounciation Ee-leaf-ay) for Priesthood training.  We were able to tag along to do some PEF training with the Priesthood Training meetings.  On the way to Ile-Ife we stopped by to see an LDS church, which is really only the second floor in the building shown below, and we saw a new apartment that will be ready for the missionaries to move in to in a few weeks.  Construction here is interesting.  Tim and I both thought it was an old building being remodeled.  We stayed the night in President Karkari's apartment.  This morning we had the Priesthood Training Meeting where Tim and I were given 1/2 an hour to talk about PEF.  After speaking to the large group we took the PEF specialists to the Relief Society room for PEF training.  The first training meeting we did on our own is now under our belts.  We know we can do better, but, we were okay with it.  On the way home Pres. Karkari's car wouldn't work properly so we left it in Ile-Ife and all of us climbed into the van and rode back to Lagos.  On the way home we had great conversations with the Elders and others in the van.  The Elders told of some pretty amazing experiences and then others joined in the conversation.  When we were close to home we began singing hymns together.  It was a very special moment.  I am grateful to have been able to be in the vehicle with these amazing people.  The Nigerian people know how to sing hymns with gusto and much feeling.  They could give the entire church a lesson on singing with feeling, spirit and volume.  The picture above is of Elder Jennings and I with the Elder who really began the singing on our way home.

Home Grown Bananas

 On Friday one of the church grounds keepers came to our office with this bunch of bananas grown on the tree right behind our apartment!  Way cool.  Hope they taste good.
We have a church distrubition center here in Lagos, Nigeria.  It is really quite close.  Not only is it in the city we work in, but, it isn't across town, or even across the street, but, it is across a 4 foot hallway from our office.  It is so convenient!   Felicity is the manager of the distribution center.  Friday two of her children wanted to come to work with her, so they came.  The little  boy is Fabien and the girl is Princess. 

Eye Institute Hospital Dedication

 Sunday we went to church, attended a baptism of 2 young people (young to me) and went to a dedication of an Eye Clinic.  It is actually called an Eye Hospital and is owned by a man in the Ikeja Ward, which is the ward we attend.  He is a man of dedication and intelligence.  He is a man known around the world for his abilities.  It was a priviledge to be invited to go.  First we toured the building.  We went from floor to floor as it was explained what each room would be used for.  Then part of those invited went into a waiting room where we sang hymns (Tim conducting the music) and then Elder Ojideran gave the dedicatory prayer.  During the prayer we stood in a circle and held hands with the people standing next to us.  Top picture is Tim and Elder Winget standing on top of the Hospital.   The next picture is about 1/4 of the people who attended the open house.  The eye doctor and his wife are the ones in the middle.  She is a little taller than her husband and wearing teal and purple.  They are a really incredible couple.

 The picture below is way out of order.  It should either be last, or first.  Not in the middle.  If you look closely you will see a domed roof building and another building with two pointed spires.  That is a mosque.  We hear the Muslim chants often during the day at the mosque by the compound.

Elder Ojideran is on the left and a man in the ward (Brother Chukwurah) is standing on the right, as you face the camera.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It Is a Piano!

I found a piano, kind of.  I have been asking around for a keyboard.  We have found one, but no cord to fit it.  Then Sister Karkari, the mission president's wife, told me they have two in their apartment.  I asked the president and he gave this to me.  It was brand new!  Fresh out of the box.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

African 1st month anniversary

 We have been in Nigeria an entire month.  The people are amazing.  But I have already said that.  Today we went to a place by the ocean that was one of several ports where slaves were sold to go to many places around the world.  It is horrible what humans will do to each other. 
We went with Elder and Sister Winget and Rufus (who drove us).  We like taking Rufus with us.  He is a wonderful young man.  He is getting married in 3 weeks.  Congratulations to him.
 This picture is inside the museum.  We could see the chains and a big drinking bowl for all the slaves to share.  We were afraid to take pictures here.  One moment the guide was telling us we couldn't and after about 15 minutes he said we could.  I was confused!
 Last night we had dinner with the Wingets and then Lyndia came by.  She showed us how to put these hats on our heads.  We laughed and had a great time.  Lyndia put one on her head.  She looks spectacular.  Look on facebook to see.
Monday we went to a Tri-Stake Single Adult Conference.   We enjoyed being there.  The young man in the middle of us has adopted us.  We love it.  He cmes and talks to us at work all the time.  He even calls us Dad and Mom.  I think his own dad works on the compound, too.  We haven't met him yet.  We met his brother, Phillip, though.  He came to our office and asked us many dating questions.  Questions about how you know when you are in love, the kind to last.  He asked us if we are learning more things about each other on our mission. We have had several young single adults ask us for advice.  I am the last person that should be asked.  I can listen really well, though.