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.
Elder Jennings, Elder Winget and our very good driver Rufus. Rufus has a very sad tale. He is engaged to a young woman and were planning on marrying very soon. There is a tradition here that the groom pays for everything, dresses, food, etc. Rufus worked very hard and earned all the money he needed to pay for this wedding. He went to the bank and withdrew the money to pay for it all. Just outside of the bank he was robbed. ALL the money was taken. His fiance tells him it will be okay. He is trying to work hard to re-earn all the money all over again. It makes me want to give it to him. But, there is honor in the earning of the money to give to his fiance. Nice, young man.
Several of us were trying to pick up this piece of metal. It took a little digging with a shovel and working, but, with many hands it came out. Just as we were lifting it up, a young man came to me and said, "No, Sister Jennings, this is man's work." I let the men take over.
This morning we woke up a little after 5:00 to get ready for a service project. We met the ward at the church building at 6:30, but most of the members got there a little after 7:00. We drove to a small hospital (I couldn't get you there even if I tried) to clean up weeds, garbage and junk. It was awesome to be involved with a continent wide Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saint service project.
On Wednesday we were invited to be involved in a press conference announcing to the press and public about this service project involving the church's "Helping Hands" program. It felt great to be knowing all over the continent of Africa saints were joining in on doing service. It was an honor to be wearing the yellow vests that are recognized all over.
We came home, showered, ate lunch and went to a nature preserve. It took a couple of hours to get there, because of traffic, and enjoyed walking through a forest. We were suppose to be able to see crocadiles, but, we saw none. But, swinging through the trees were monkeys. That was fun. We went with Elder and Sister Winget and our driver was Rufus. Any time we go very far away from the compound we have to take a native African driver with us, for safety. Which is good, they know their way around much better than we do.
I can't believe a whole month of our mission is finished. It seems like a year ago we entered the MTC and yet I can't believe how quickly time flys by. We have done a lot, seen a lot, felt a lot, and come 1/3 of the way around the world.
Elder Jennings is doing very well in the office. He is so smart. It's a good thing because there is a lot to remember and learn. We have to know how to do each step of the loan process, when to enter it on the computer, what to enter, when to get the money, where to send it to, when to call the student, how to find the students, when to get the students to go get an account at the bank, etc. I understand about 1/4 of what he knows, it will come though. He is the right man for this call. I have seen his strength and his sensitivity to the spirit grow. I love him so much.
We had dinner today with the other missionary couples and 2 Elders. It was a wonderful hour we spent together. The men did the dishes and the women were kind enough to let them.
There are 4 main buildings on the church compound. The first is the Mission Offices that is also apartments for the missionary couples, plus apartments for visiting authorities.
The next building is a 3 storied building that has many offices in it for Church Employees. Elder Jennings and I have an office on the bottom floor by the front door.
The next building has offices in it, Bishop Offices, Stake President Offices, & classrooms. The fourth building is the chapel and cultural hall.
Today we went to SM. During the meeting we were told 3 young men were getting baptised after the block of meetings. After SM we walked to the classroom building and were met with water everywhere. Someone had turned on the water to the font and forgot to turn it off. OOOPS. A little mopping went on, and class went on a scheduled.
Yesterday was a full day. We spent many hours calling PEF students. It was wonderful to start getting to know them. They were all very kind and welcoming in their attitudes towards us. My heart was lifted up in happiness and gratefulness to be able to know them. I hope I get to meet many of them. Some asked when I would be in their area. We are to train the leaders at least once a year. All but one stake are trained for this year. We are going to try to go to that Stake in a month or so. Then the training really begins.
This may be a strange blog posting. But, it is still a posting. The man in the picture above reminds me of an actor. I asked this man, Bishop Madu, if anyone has ever told him he looks like an actor and he said, "yes". Can you guess who he looks like to me? He looks like Cuba Gooding Jr. to me. Can you see it?
I don't know if you can tell, but, there are tons of people in the van. I had to be careful taking this picture. I didn't want to offend anyone. These vans are a major form of transportation. Many people cram into each of these vans to get from one place to another. You have a person sitting on top of another person. If a parent has a child and that child is sitting on the parents lap, the child rides free. Usually someone is hanging out the sliding door telling people on the street how many more can get into the van and where it is going. That person gets to ride a little cheaper.
We have a travel employee in the building we work in. He gets flights, hotels, etc...for those who need to travel. The church also hires a travel agency to send another person to work with our travel employee. Tim (Elder Jennings) and I have become friends with the employee from the out of house travel agent. Her name is Rhoda. She is only 31 years old. Has never married, and is a beautiful young woman. She is not a member, although, someone has given her a Book of Mormon and she has met with the missionaries. Today, at closing time, she came in to talk to us before she began her long journey home. It takes her at least 2 hours to just get home on Friday evenings. We talked to her about God's love. Elder Jennings enouraged her to read Moroni's promise.
Earlier today, a young man came in to talk to the Bakers and check in. We got to talk to him. He is changing his life around for the better. He told us he is "Repackaging my life". We had a nice time talking to him.
This evening we had a couple over for a spaghetti dinner. They are the missionary couple for the President. We sat and visited for quite a while.
This morning when we were exiting the building we could hear a chorus of young Elder's singing "Praise to the Man". It was so beautiful! I wanted to hear them keep singing! Everyone should have the opportunity to hear the Nigerian missionaries sing. You, too, would want them to keep singing.
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!