Saturday, November 30, 2013

Are you aware?

Last Tuesday we got a call from Elder Humpherys telling us the sealant the dentist had put on his chipped tooth two weeks earlier had fallen off.  So back to the dentist we went on Wednesday morning.  We checked in with the receptionist and sat down to wait.  We had been waiting for just a few minutes when in walks Dr. Neal, the dentist.  He recognizes me and asks, "Do you have someone here to see me?"  I tell him, "Yes, a returning patient."  He says, "Wednesday is my day off.  I usually teach at the University, but they are closed today.  I just stopped by the office for a minute, but I will see him."

Really?  Why hadn't the receptionist told me he wasn't in?  That it was his day off?   Dr. Neal has Elder Humpherys come right in and again fixes his tooth.  I'd been nervous to ask the cost, even though I knew we shouldn't be charged again.  So when Dr. Neal tells me, "No charge",  I was relived.

As he walked out of the dentist's office, into the waiting room, Elder Humpherys looks at his companion, Elder Zaugg, and says, "Miracle number 3!"  Come to find out they had been given rides to the dentist's office that morning by two nice people who hadn't charged them a cent.  Now he'd come to the dentist's office just a few minutes before the dentist who shouldn't have been in that morning and gotten his tooth fixed for no additional charge.
The Elders were aware of the miracles that had taken place in their lives that day.  They were already up to 3 and it was just noon!  

It got me thinking.  Do I recognize those 'miracles' - tender mercies - that occur every day in my life?  I think I need to be more aware and grateful.  Thanks for the reminder Elders.  And thanks Dr. Neal!!

Elders Humpherys and Zaugg leaving the dentist's office.

So, what to do for Thanksgiving?

Since a 15 pound, frozen turkey at Harbels costs $100, no one knows how long it's been frozen, and no one has an oven big enough to cook a turkey in anyway, the Senior Missionaries all decided to go to the Royal Hotel for Thursday's buffet - Italian!  Nice way to celebrate a good old American Holiday, don't you think?  Actually, it was very good.  We all enjoyed ourselves and ate till we were stuffed, which is what you do for Thanksgiving, right?
So what are we thankful for this Thanksgiving?
*Family and Friends - We feel of your love and support.
*To be missionary companions in Liberia and the other missionaries we serve with.
*For a good place to live, good food to eat, and good water to drink.
*The gospel in our lives and the peace and happiness it brings us.

Left side of table front to back - Elder and Sister Hezseltine, Elder and Sister Berrett
Right side of table front to back - Sister Miles (you can just see the top of Elder Miles' head behind Sister Miles), President and Sister Kirkham, The other Sister and Elder Miles.

Before our Thanksgiving feast, we made a delivery to the Logan Town apartments.  As we were getting ready to leave, several of the Elders were standing at the curb in front of their apartment building, trying to get a taxi so they could go to their areas to work for the day.  The work goes on, even on Thanksgiving.  Dedicated, hard working missionaries!
L to R - Elders Humpherys, Zaugg, Fairwell, Pearmain, Erickson, Guymon, Backman, Gunnell

With Thanksgiving over, it's time to decorate for Christmas.
In the package we received from home were homemade Christmas cards from our grandchildren.  We decided to open one a day to extend the fun.  All the cards have been opened now, so of course they have to go up on the wall.  

See our cute wreath.  Those are my grandchildren's hands.

Look at the fun snowflakes they also sent.  
(Hey, Berrett grandchildren, see if you can find your snowflake and card.)

Thanks for the decorations, family. 
Our apartment looks quite festive, thanks to you.   

I taught the children in my Logan Town Branch to sing, "Once there was a snowman".  They love the part that says, 'in the sun he melted' and then you pretend to melt.  Only thing is, they have no idea what snow, a snowman, or even what cold is.  I asked them what color they thought snow was and they all shouted, "black!" Well, not at first it isn't!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Monrovia District Conference

This weekend was the Monrovia District's Conference with President LeGrand Curtis Jr., the Africa West Area President, as their visiting authority.  We were very excited to hear he was coming since Elder Berrett and he had served in the Butler West Stake Presidency together.  Someone from home!  So even though it was not 'our' district's conference, we just had to be there.  We were able to enjoy such a nice visit and dinner with him on Saturday night. Then visit some more as we drove him to the airport to fly back to Ghana on Sunday.

President and Sister Kirkham, President Le Grand Curtis Jr., Sister and Elder Berrett

The Conference was wonderful. The building was packed. We had visiting dignitaries - Liberian Government Senators and Representatives. Members even stood outside the opened windows for 2 hours to listen to the meeting. We were so glad we were able to be there.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Doe Community

In Bushrod Island District is an area called Doe Community.  It is a very wet area.  That makes for muddy roads with super deep, water-filled pot holes. They say the taxi bikes charge extra to drive people down these roads because they are so bad.

This is Elder Zaugg, one of our Elders who serves in Doe Community. Because we've just finished the'rainy season' AND because it's so wet there, I've never seen him wear shoes, only his boots.  Well, those boots finally just wore out.  He tried to repair them with lots of glue and duct tape but all he got from his trouble was wet feet. We were happy to be able to take him a new pair.

Here's some pictures of the Doe Community roads.  The pictures don't adequately show how deep the pot holes are.

Look bumpy enough for you?  Elder Berrett says it's like driving on a mogul ski course.  By the time we drive through these pot holes, we feel like we've been shaken, mixed, and stirred!

Notice how deep the water is on the motorcycle.  It doesn't seem to slow them down though.  They just drive right on through.  

Here I am showing you how far up on the truck the water came.  There are times I worry the water might come pouring in through the doors.

The reason we went to Doe Community this day was to attend the dedication of a new well donated by the Church Huminatrian Services.  The community was thrilled to now have water so readily available.

This is Elder and Sister Miles from Hooper, Utah. They are Humanitarian Missionaries.  They have worked so hard to bring good water to many communities all over Liberia.  They have also done a lot work with schools and orphanages.  I don't think we're going to let them go home next March.  We need a couple to replace them.  Any one interested?
(Yes, they have Sprite in Liberia!)

This is President Slamie, who is President of the Doe Community Branch.  The well was built right next to his home.

And, here are some of the cute Doe Community children.  They all love to have their picture taken.  Then you have to them be sure to show them how the picture turned out. 

I don't think we'll ever again take good, safe water for granted!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We're back in business!

We've been without the internet for several days and really felt cut off from the world.  But we're back! 

We finished our apartment inspections with the Caldwell New Georgia apartment last week.  They'd done a great job keeping their apartment clean.  They kept saying, "This is a Celestial apartment."  I think they're right.  I promised their Zone Leader, Elder Zolo that I'd put their picture on my blog.  Here they are - Elders Zolo, Ngobi, Osatohangbon, and Bangura.  

Stopped to make a delivery at the Logan Town Apartments.  Here are two of our brand new missionaries with their Trainers.  Elder Guymon with his new companion Elder Gunnell and Elder Erickson with his newbie, Elder Backman.  Elder Gunnell's already had his first African hair cut.  Lookin' good!

The Mission Office has the most amazing views of the ocean.  For a California girl it's the best!  Several of the Senior Missionaries decided to go for a walk on the beach.  We ended up at Golden Beach where there is a club and restaurant.  Painted on the walls of the restaurant are these beautiful pictures.  I loved all the bright colors.

We've met the sweetest little lady who makes the cutest little dolls. This is Eva Paye and her daughter.

And these are some of her dolls.  Didn't I tell you they are cute!  Well, I've got 9 granddaughters, so...

  What you can't see is that each doll has a baby wrapped on it's back.  I kept the dolls out for several days just to look at them.  I felt like a little girl again.  I had to keep picking them up and moving them around.  I have a feeling I'll be seeing Eva Paye again!

This is Hannah Bowah.  Her father is President of the Logan Town Branch.  I was fascinated by her hair do.  Her mom told me that each little section of hair has string with several knots tied around it.  It must have taken hours to do!  She's a special little friend of mine.  I call her Hannah Banana and now so does her mom.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Guess what came today!!

When we got to the mission office there was our Christmas package from our cute family.  Our first mail from home!!  We were told it's the biggest package that has ever been sent to the mission.  It was mailed on October 23rd and made it all the way to Monrovia, Liberia on November 13.  Not bad!

You can see the big hole in the box and all the red postal tape someone put around it to try and keep everything in.  We're very grateful to who ever tried to 'save our stuff'.

This is what the tape looks like up close.

We didn't open any of the gifts that were wrapped with Christmas paper BUT you can see the condition of this one.  "Hmmmm, I wonder what's in this package?"

Look at the cute Christmas wreath made with the cut-out hand shapes of all our grandchildren.
There was also lots of homemade Christmas cards.  We decided to open and read one a day to spread out the fun.  Then we'll tape them up to use for our decorations.

Look at all the fun stuff they sent.  Even the inside of the box they sent it all in was decorated.  I couldn't help thinking about all the hands that had packed this box for us.  I think I'll hang on to the box for a while!!

These were some of the cute pictures drawn on the inside of the box.

They even made Bratsalies.  We make these Swiss cookies with our grandchildren every Christmas.  This year they made them for us.  They arrived in pieces, but tasted just as good.  Good job you guys!

Thanks to our wonderful family for all the hard work that went into getting this package to us. I tell the missionaries that I'm just as excited to give them their packages as they are to get them.  Know what?  I think it's more fun to get one!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"Our" Bushrod Island Missionaries

Our mission has two districts - Monrovia and Bushrod Island.  Elder Berrett and I are over the Bushrod Island District. There are 10 branches and about 40 missionaries that we keep an eye on.  It's apartment inspection time.  That gives us an chance to visit 'our' missionaries.  The missionaries looked great and so did their apartments.

These are 2 of the missionaries in the Duala apartment in Brewerville - or as the locals say Braville.
Elder Anderson, Elder Egbu

Also in Brewerville - in the Banjor and Brewerville apartments are
Elders Enwukweri, Avornu, Bangura, Fairwell, Bosomtwe, and Marondera

Only 4 sisters in our District - Sisters Addo, Kithangu, Kizza, Nyamekye

There are 3 Elders apartment in Logan Town -
In the Doe Community apartment - Elder Zaugg, Elder Humpherys, Elder Erickson, Elder Obeng-Poku

We love it when we can deliver packages and letters.  We are as excited to bring the mail as they are to get it!!  Wish you could have seen Elders Humpherys and Erickson jumping around when we handed them their packages.  

In the New Kru Town and Point 4 apartment - Elders Pearmain, Estigoy, Price and Manqana

And in the Logan Town 1 and 2 apartment - Elders Bowring, Osayi, Khasiahi, and Guymon

Here are the Elders in the Upper Caldwell apartment.
Elders Witehira, Montgomery, Jemba, and Conners
(Plus Patrick a visiting neighbor boy)

While visiting the Upper Caldwell apartment, we noticed the neighbors pumping water and wanted to give it a try.  This well and pump were donated by the church.  You get water and a work out.

These are the Elders in the Caldwell apartment.
Elders Jensen, Godi, Tolar and Falemai.

These are valiant missionaries.  They all wash their clothes by hand and hang them outside to dry, bathe in cold water, and only have power from 7 to 10 pm when they turn their generators on. They walk or ride on the back of taxi motorcycles.  Yet they continue to smile and work hard.
We love "OUR" missionaries.

This is Elders Tolar and Falemai walking to their apartment.
This gives you an idea what the country side looks like.  The rainy season has just ended and the dry season begun.  Not looking forward to the heat and humidity.  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Taxis with a message

Every where you look there are yellow taxis.  They are able to squeeze at least 4, sometimes 5,  people in the back and 2 plus the driver in the front.  You have to be continually aware of them as you drive for they will pull right  in front of you with no warning.  I don't think any of them have a working turn signal or they just don't use them.  You leave any space at all between you and the car in front and a taxi squeezes in.  The one thing we've noticed as they've cut us off is that most of the taxis have some kind of message painted on the back.  Here are some pictures of a few of them.

'Good' advice!

What do you think this means?

Believe me, we don't!!

Those wanting a ride stand at the side of the road waving their hands.  They signal using their fingers.  Either pointing up or to the side.  The signals indicate where they want to go.  The taxi drivers also make signals by waving their hands out the windows. We haven't figured out what it all means yet.  But then we're not planning on riding in a taxi!

Even the minivan taxis have a message.  
They add an extra row of seats at the back and can fit in18-20 people plus a bag or two of coal or large bunches of banana.  We actually saw the sliding side door fall off one van.  We saw one van break down in the middle of the road.  A couple of men jumped out to try and push it while everyone else just sat inside.  

At lot of their messages include God.

Seeing the messages is like getting your good thought for the day.

When a taxi stops to pick people up, it's a mad dash to get in.  We've seen people shoving others out of the way so they can be first.  

Most of the taxis are pretty beat up.  Every day you see many broken down in the middle of the road.  They don't push them to the side of the road.  No, they just crawl under and try and fix it right there.

Can you see the people smashed against the back window?  I'll bet there were at least 15 people crammed in this little car.  The more people you can get in, the more money you make.