Last Saturday we went to Victoria Island for a party with the Nigeria Service Center. It took us two hours to get there in bumper to bumper, side to side, squeeze play traffic. Our driver was good at negotiating his way through getting us there and back safely. While there we played a game of "Musical Chairs". I was called up to play. The mission president's wife, Sister Karkari, was also a contestant. Sister Karkari was the winner. She is not in the picture, though. We danced some. Tim and I danced together and with a man in a costume leading dances. It was interesting. We played along. While dancing, we ate (the women and children went first) and then the children played in the pool. Then they honored the Bakers by giving them traditional clothes and served cake. We had a great day.
The building we live in overlooks two private schools. On Friday one of the schools had an end of year party. We were able to watch the children dance for the parents. It was quite cute to see the school perform, watch the teachers prompt the students and to see other children run around.
This is the building that houses the mission offices on the first floor and the second and third floors are apartments. The mission president's apartment is quite a bit larger than ours. Thank heavens! I am sure I have told you the apartment size is 400 square feet. It is cozy. You have to know how to dance sometimes to get around each other.
Brother Baker (who Tim is replacing) with two students who got loans through the PEF. Bill (who we can't pronounce his name correctly) and Emanuel. Both in welding school.
We have met many students while here. They love coming to the office to talk to the Bakers. The students come into the office to sit and tell us what is happening in their lives, how school is going, etc...
There are several men we have met who are past mission presidents, stake presidents, past stake presidents, and bishops. A few work for the church in the offices doing different things for the church. Real Estate, Employment Specialists, etc. All less than 40 years old. Of course life expectancy in Nigeria is only 45 years old.
Tim and I arrived in Nigeria in pretty good shape. We were stopped in the airport in Atlanta by someone who knew Hilary and Bill in one of their wards. Facebook makes the world smaller. We flew all night to Lagos, Nigeria to begin the real work. We have a beautiful apartment above the mission office. We were met at the airport by the Bakers (who we are replacing) and the Wingetts who are the welfare couple. We had a few challenges getting through customs and such, but not bad. Our ride got held up in traffic and we were guarded by 2 men while we waited for our ride. It was very interesting.
So, these pictures aren't in the correct order. but, above we have our living room...decorated by the Bakers. When they leave, our apartment may be a little bare.
Our mission President, President Karkari met us when we drove up with smiles, handshakes, and hugs.
This is our kitchen! The frying pan was on the stovetop. It looked like it wanted to be in the picture. We did arrive in the rainy season. The air is a little humid, but, it has been very nice, so far.
Today, July 25th, we looked out the back window of the Baker's new apartment (since we took over theirs) and watched part of an "end of the year" school ceremony. There was singing and some dancing. This is a verynice private school. Maybe on another day I will take pictures of the actual school. The church's compound is the brightest spot of the city I have seen so far. We walked across a busy street to the market and purchased a few apples, a pineapple and an Asian Pear. We'll go grocery shopping tomorrow.
We did a little office work (watching) today and I hope we learn more tomorrow. We only have the Bakers another week for training. We have tons to learn.
I asked where the call center is. That is where volunteers call students to update their profile page and check on them making sure they are okay and telling them we are here to support them and help them in any way we can. Sister Baker looked at me with a smile and told me we, Tim and I are the call center for now. We may want to get one up and running. When they got here they didn't have enough students to warrent having a call center. There are enough students now and we can see the numbers growing quickly. Wow! Lots to do. My head is swimming a little. Okay, maybe a lot.
Today was a day of interesting ups and downs. As missionaries we are taught how to teach with the spirit. It is so important to be able to do that. Our Heavenly Father knows things we have no idea about...and He will put words in our mouths or in our minds. We did a practice session and without going into much detail...I crashed and burned. I was totally humbled. During the break I will admit I went into a bathroom stall and tried to dry a few tears and look normal upon exiting the stall. I went back to the classroom and on to another challenge. We taught some investigators (role play) the second discussion. We are told...go by the spirit and teach what the need is. It turned out very well. I guess I was humbled earlier in order to feel the right things to say and do. Tim is wonderful and just seems to know the right things to say. So, I went from a low (humbled) to a high in a matter of an hour or so. This afternoon, after our last meeting we went to the mailbox to see if we had any mail. We were instructed to go twice a day to see what is there. Instructions could be there. To our surprise we had two packages! It brought Tim and I to tears. Like I said it has been a day of highs and lows. We didn't know we needed the packages.
Just in case you can't tell, I am trying to tell you, "I Love You". Thanks for the packages, family and friends.
Our lucky instructors, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Sister Reese, and Brother Hawkes.
Our neighbors, and friends. This couple, The McMillans are from Layton. If you have read any facebook entries or e-mail letters you would also know Tim and Sister McMillan knew each other in college. Cute couple!
We appreciate even more the dedication and sacrifices the young Elder's make to come on a mission. You are constantly hopping from one thing to another. We study day and evening. You crawl into bed at night and crawl out of bed in the morning thinking you can't get enough sleep. Not to complain, the air conditioner in our room is having a hard time keeping up with the heat from outside. We are separated into districts just like the young Elders and Sister's are. Here is our new support group (district). Tim and I (Elder and Sister Jennings), Elder and Sister Bybee, Elder and Sister Burningham, Elder and Sister Madsen, and Elder and Sister Beagley.
And here is one of our trainers. Poor guy, we keep him hopping. Turn about is fair play. He keeps us going, also.
Which bicyclist looks the best? To me that is obvious. I love that Elder Jennings would play along with my ideas. Each time I go by these 2 young men on bicycles I have to pause. It is youthful, with determination, and out to do the Lord's work.
Last evening Tim caught us up on e-mails and checked for documents we needed to take care of.
We found Tai and her cute children just entering their dance classes. We got some pretty awesome hugs and wishes to go with us.
After getting ready and telling Jordan and Nikole goodbye we went to Hilary and Bills to wish Hilary a happy birthday and get hugs.
Today was another big day. Tim and I ended the day by singing in the MTC choir for a devotional with Elder Steuer (sounds like Sawyer with a "t" in it). It is amazing to sing several songs to begin the meeting with over 2000 young men and women. All of us sang 3 prelude songs instead of having the organ play the music. We ended with "Called To Serve". I can only think of one word. POWERFUL.
We have been challenged and grown in just 2 days. We have been put in challenging situations that are out of our comfort zones. We have been very blessed to be able to do this.
We have been able to meet many people who are already great friends. We love them and admire them. They have such strength and wisdom for us to draw from. We have met people who know some of our ward members, relatives and Tim met a girl he knew the first 2 years at BYU. It took a minute to figure it out, but, it has been so fun.
So, we have learned, grown, laughed, sang, shared personal experiences and enjoyed the MTC. We haven't driven everyone off.
Here it is Saturday evening. Just two days until we enter the MTC for training. We will be set apart by the Stake President tomorrow evening. We have been communicating with new friends in Nigeria, Elder and Sister Baker. They have a wonderful sense of humor. I only hope they still have a great sense of humor when they are done training me. A few weeks ago they asked us to give them our travel agenda so they could pick us up at the airport. We told them we fly into Nigeria on July 24th. Pioneer Day! It is so symbolic to me. They told us they would meet us with handcarts.
A couple of days ago they assured us they would meet us at the airport, take us to our new home, for the next 18 months, help us get settled in, feed us dinner and try to keep us awake until 8:30. They threatened us if we fell asleep (I think fall off our chairs in sleep) they would take pictures of us and send the pictures home to our families!
So, our bags are packed, weighed, and I am sure will be changed once again, for our departure. We have separate bags packed for the MTC.
To our family of 20. We love you so much! You are the pride and joy of our lives. We will miss you more than you can imagine. We can't talk about missing you because our bladder is attached to our eyes. I just keep reminding myself, "It's only 18 months!" We are going on a mission for many reasons. #1...because we KNOW our Heavenly Father and Savior want us to go, and go now.
#2...because we want to show obedience and love because we have been given need to repay in a small way. It really is a small sacrifice. #3...We have felt incredible peace while in our preparation. #4 We have always had a goal to serve a mission together. #5...Service always brings us closer to our Heavenly Father and Savior and to each other. #6...It's the right thing to do!
And to all our family and friends...You have supported us so well. We can literally feel your love and support. You have been so excited for us and we have needed this more than you could ever know. We have been hugged, kissed, and told "I love you" from so many. Thank-you!!!!!
What do you say about yourself that would interest anyone else? I am a mother of 5 children and 10 grandchildren with 3 fabulous son-in-laws and, two daughter-in-laws to keep me in line. To top it off I have the best husband any one woman could have. My basic schedule for most days is to get up early have a personal devotion of scriptures and prayer and hit the road jogging, come home, clean up and play with grandkids, clean house, read, make cookies, eat cookies, think about cookies, look for new cookie recipes...and why did I name my blog what I did? Good times!