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.