Sunday, December 12, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Sat Jun 19
Last night there was one kamikaze mosquito that managed to get inside my mosquito netting and kept dive bombing my ears. There could have been more—but they all sound alike. I went to bed late after having written several letters and working on catching up with the earlier days of this diary. The pesky mosquito then kept me awake for a couple of hours more. However, I still woke up quite refreshed and feel great.
We had a very good omelet this morning for breakfast. Tom came about noon and we went to downtown Kisumu to look for a Swahili dictionary and several other things including a few groceries. We went down to the lake (Victoria) where we had a tilapia lunch, since the cooks back at the house were not preparing lunch for us. While there we met Caroline Miruka, a cousin of Paul Makawiti and had a nice visit with her. She is a Seventh Day Adventist, but attends our services frequently. She will be coming over to visit us at the guest house Sunday evening, and I may have a chance to have a cottage meeting with her. She is 27 years old and seems quite intelligent. Picked up some post cards and stamps for my grandson Zachary.
Came back to the guest house and worked on translations until close to 9:00 p.m. Paul continued to work on my laptop on the translation while I went to my room to consider what to present at the church service in the morning, as I've been asked to be the speaker. At about 10:30 p.m. I came back out to check my Email and found a letter from Tom Nunn and Sherrie Wages which had a forwarded letter from Tom's daughter-in-law, Susana Prange. The letter had an attachment of the Portuguese translation of one of my tracts that I'd left with Tom when in New York with Brother Sherrie last month. I took the translation and formatted it into both a tract layout and into a three column comparison and sent it back to her for her inspection and permission to send it on to our men in Brazil for finalization with accents and diacritical marks. I plan to use it in England in August with Bob Moore's new contact who speaks Portuguese.
Sun Jun 20
Preached in the Branch that Brother Austin and Sister Jane attend. Tom Okeyo translated. I spoke about our belief in a God of miracles and related a number of testimonies within the Restored Church and used appropriate scripture references. Had lunch with half a dozen other men at Brother Austin's home, fixed by his wife, Jane.
Later that afternoon, when we finally got home, Caroline (Paul's cousin), came over for a class. We studied about the three different kinds of churches and about Authority. Gave her several tracts.
After going to bed, a mouse in my room kept me awake until about 5:00 a.m. I got up several times and moved my luggage to figure out where he was.
Mon Jun 21
Went to town with Tom to exchange some money, mail post cards to Zachary and buy some groceries. Paul had spent the night with some family members and a young child died, so he had to stay and hold the funeral service and the burial. He was not with us all day.
Worked with Tom the rest of the day.
Tues Jun 22
Brother Austin arrived in the morning and I began teaching him about how to do the translation. Worked with him most of the day. Later Tom and Paul arrived and we worked together.
Today I began working separately on a short Keynote class which could be used to teach the translation process so that I can leave it with the men for review after I'm gone. We have developed a plan about how to finish the project. The Book of Mormon will be divided into equal parts and given to teams of translators that I will train—one in Kisumu (western Kenya), one in Tanzania and one in Nairobi (eastern Kenya)—with at least two men on each team. After each book is finished, it will be printed in English and Swahili, copied and given out to key members who know Swahili very well in addition to being students of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. These documents will be designed with three columns, English, Swahili and a 3rd for comments and corrections. These documents will then be returned to the committees for incorporation into the final text.
Just before supper time, I was looking inside my small projector case for one of my flannel-graph classes, when I found the mouse that had been keeping me awake for three nights! Somehow he had gotten zipped in. He had chewed up one of the plastic bags that contained the flannel-graph pieces for one of the classes, a small nibble on my good leather bound Doctrine and Covenants, and had chewed a little bit near one corner of the case, but thankfully nothing serious. We took the case outside and I carefully opened it with Tom helping, in an attempt to capture it or stomp on it. Tom said that they are quick and that we would not catch it. He was right—it deftly jumped out and zipped away. I'm sure that we looked pretty silly out on the back patio jumping around and banging slippers everywhere, but all to no avail. About an hour later, I saw a mouse enter the kitchen from the living room side during supper. Probably the same critter. He must know the house pretty well and would have had to go around it to the other side to get in that open door. So unfortunately he's back. My door will remain shut, but he can most likely squeeze under it. We have put poison out. I should have carried the case across the road before opening it. You know what they say about hind sight.
During supper, Sandra Osiro, Tom's business partner came to see me. She is the same one that had come earlier in the week that Tom asked me to teach a class to. I was rather surprised that she would come to see me again after the previous visit. I greeted her and she said that she wanted to visit with me when we finished supper. After supper, she asked me to teach her a class about the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church, because she was thinking about investigating it as she had been questioning the Roman Catholic church, and apparently the earlier class had pushed her over the edge. I told her that we could visit briefly about the SDA, but that I would much prefer to teach her about the "Fullness of the Gospel". She agreed.
Since I had just found all the parts to the Come Unto Christ Missionary Flannel-graph (when I found the mouse), I went in my bedroom and got them and we began the class. I explained to her, that since I probably would not see her again on this trip, I would like to give her a brief overview of the six classes without reading a lot of scriptures. She said that she would like that even though it might take longer than a normal class. Tom, Paul and Austin sat in and watched the class, parts of which some of them had never seen. Amazingly, and for the first time, I went over all of the classes in one extended class and Tom said that he was amazed at how smoothly it all integrated together. When we finished I gave her four tracts to study and we took her home, because it was late (11:00 p.m.). She was very pleased and promised to study. I told her that she needed to get with Tom to study the complete classes properly with their corresponding scripture verses. Her response was very positive.
Wed Jun 23
Had a very poor day. Had sinus drainage all day with no relief. Felt feverish. Hot day also. Laid down for about 1 1/2 hours in late afternoon to rest. That helped. Paul and Austin continued to work. I went to bed about 1:00 a.m., but they stayed up until 2:00 a.m. working on the translation.
Thu Jun 24
Took some Ocillococcinium, a remedy that I'd brought from a health food store in Missouri. I took it and had immediate results from the cold this morning. Had a much better day.
Tom was out most of today in other activities. After all, he has his own business and has to make a living while I'm over here. Paul & Austin worked all day. They are learning how to work together quite well. I worked on marking my copy of the LDS Book of Mormon.
Found out today that Eric wants Joab to go with Paul & me to Nairobi and then on to Tanzania to get maximum training. Joab is living in Eric's home in Nairobi and rooms with Patrick Akello. Eric wants Joab to be able to train Patrick after I leave. We will have only two weekends in Nairobi to train the men there, but if Joab learns it well in Tanzania and later in Kisumu, then he will be able to fill in the gaps with Patrick and even others.
Fri Jun 25
We traveled from Kisumu to Nairobi. During the night I monitored the elevation with my small altimeter as we drove back across the highlands and down into the Rift Valley and back up to Nairobi. From Kisumu which was about 3600 ft, we climbed up to 6000 ft, then down into the Rift Valley at about 4000 ft and from there up to over 8000 ft and back down to Nairobi at about 7000 to 7500 ft depending on where you are in the city.
Sat Jun 26
Arrived at the bus station in Nairobi at 4:00 a.m. and waited until 6:00 as arranged when Eric picked us up to take us to his house. It was just dawning when we arrived and Eric showed us our beds where we crashed and I slept for about 5 hours, because we got no sleep on the bus or at the bus station.
When I woke up, they provided a small breakfast and I began teaching Ben, Patrick and several others (who had arrived a little earlier) about the translation process that we would be doing. Taught several classes and then worked on the translation with the men for most of the rest of the day.
While sharing a video about the "Miracle at Entebbe" and the struggle for Modern day Israel's survival, I suddenly realized that I was near where that took place. Idi Amin of Uganda had ruled at that time on the other side of Lake Victoria. The video detailed how several of the rescue planes had circled over Lake Victoria while the advance plane landed with look-alike cars from Idi Amin's entourage to make the first strike. Later Eric told me that Kenya had cooperated with Israel in the rescue of the hostages from Air France flight #139. It was fascinating to be so close to where that historical and miraculous rescue took place nearly 34 years ago on July 4, 1976.
Spent the night at Eric and Pam's home. We had a worship service just before going to bed and instead of a BoM study, they asked me to share some testimonies which I did.
Sun Jun 27
Up at 7:00 a.m. so that we could leave the house by 8:00 to be at the meeting place before 9:00. Eric had asked me to teach the class using the laptop & projector. He had asked me to teach the class on the Eight Pillars of Evidence about the Book of Mormon. It had to be greatly shortened because of the need for an interpreter. We met in a restaurant that was closed on Sundays and rearranged the tables and chairs.
He had also asked me to preach after the class, which I did and had good liberty. Eric said that there were about 50 adults plus children. There were several new people and non-members present. One of them sent Eric a text message after we left saying that she really enjoyed the sermon. I spoke about a God of miracles and tied in the Restoration and the BoM using Isaiah 29, John 10:16, etc. Shared several testimonies including Patti's vision of Christ when she was a teenager, and of a healing in Oaxaca. Ended with Moroni chapter 10:4 and then the last 3 verses of the same chapter.
After church I shot a few group photos of the members outside of the building and then we took Pam and two others back to the house. After that Eric took Paul and me to a supermarket to get a few groceries for lunch.
That evening Eric took me from his house at 8:00 p.m. to go to the bus station where we met Paul and Joab and we left on a bus for Tanzania. When we travel on buses, I've been alternately loaning Paul and Joab my iPod and the headphones that my son David had loaned me for this trip, so that they can listen to testimonies and sermons. The moon was full and Eric had told me that we would be traveling through the Serengeti wildlife area of Kenya. As we rode west and then southward in the darkened bus I could see the beautiful trees that are characteristic of the Serengeti—the ones that go up so far and then spread out and form kind of a flat canopy of branches and leaves. I believe that some of them are Acacia trees. On my left I could see a range of low lying hills or mountains that the road seemed to be following. There was a lot of vegetation, but I couldn't tell what kind it was. In the daylight I've seen eucalyptus trees that apparently the British brought here from Australia several centuries ago. I've seen cactus and agave type plants that are very similar to what grows in Oaxaca, that perhaps were brought from Mexico. I've been monitoring the altitude since leaving Nairobi and we climbed out of the city to 8000 feet and then have gone up to close to 10,000 feet and are back down now to about 9000 feet. The air outside is quite chilly, in fact if I didn't have my jacket on in the bus I would be down right cold. The window seat would be uncomfortable tonight. Thank goodness the bus is not full and I can carry my laptop case in the seat next to the window and can sit in an aisle seat.
Part of the road has been good, but we just turned off onto a really bad bumpy road. Makes for hard typing. I've had little time to work on my journal in the day time since I'm either teaching a class on the laptop or the men are using it to do the work together on the translation. Don't think I'll be able to write much more tonight.
Mon Jun 28
We arrived at the Tanzania border at about 5:30 a.m. We had to get out of the bus and walk to the Kenyan office where I had to fill out a card and get an exit stamp put in my passport. Of course Paul didn't need to do anything because he is from Tanzania and the countries of East Africa have travel agreements for their citizens. The office was not open yet. There was a stiff breeze and the temperature must have been 50° F. or below. If I hadn't had the jacket on ... well it was really cold. When the office did open and I got a form, it was difficult to write because my hands were shaking so much. That made me thankful that it was not a permanent nervous condition! Then we had to walk further and cross into Tanzania so that I could get a visa stamped in my passport for that country. It cost $100.00 USD. They assured me that it would be good for one full year. (Wow—think of all that will save us!) I began to walk back to the bus to get on it, but it was already moving to the border check point. After getting on it, we waited for the other passengers to finish up their paperwork and finally left the border at about 7:00 a.m. The altitude at the border registered at about 6300 feet.
We continued on in the bus in Tanzania through more of the Serengeti. Did see some wildebeest off in the distance once. Arrived in Mwanza at a little after 11:00 a.m. It was about a 14 hour trip through the night. Part of the time, I had to hold my laptop/projector case on my lap because the bus filled up after the border. When it finally became light, I was able to shoot a number of photos out of the dirty window, but think that I did get some interesting shots. We arrived at Paul's home and I finally got to lay down for a short rest. Paul and Joab had slept quite a bit on the bus, but I don't think that I slept more than five minutes a couple of times, so I was pretty tired.
When I woke up after a couple hours of rest, Paul was gone but Joab was here. He fixed me a small basin of water that I could use to bathe with and took it outside to the one hole outhouse near the entrance to the house, but then couldn't find a towel. So I had to wait until Paul returned several hours later before I could get cleaned up and shaved. Soon Paul's family members began to arrive. We visited and then began a class that Paul suggested, but then his sister and two other girls started bringing some food in for us. We stopped for supper and then started the class over again for all to see. At Paul's request, the class was about the Body of Christ—the Church of Jesus Christ. The class went well in the very dim light of his home.
Everyone has gone home now and it is about 11:00 p.m. Tomorrow we plan to start training men here in this area about the translation of the Book of Mormon into Swahili. The government of Tanzania intentionally chose to reject the English language of the former British colonists and for about a generation now has only taught Swahili in the schools. Consequently few people speak English. Paul and I shared the one bed in his home which has a nice mosquito net over it.
Tue Jun 29
Paul and I did some studying together early in the morning, and then he had to go downtown to exchange some Dollars into Tanzania Shillings so that we could buy some food. (He got an exchange rate of 1410 TSh / USD.) I stayed at the house with Joab. The house consists of two rooms, each about 9 x 10 feet—a living room and a bedroom. The living room has two small couches one matching chair, a large coffee table and a television set in the corner. We do have electricity which keeps us running for working on the translation materials. Paul is a tailor by profession, but has taken time off to spend full time working with me and the others that need training. Later I met others of his family and discovered that the whole family consists of tailors.
Gershom Jeremiah ODaks came at about 3:00 p.m. at Paul's invitation to receive some training. Gershom is a teacher in Tanzania. He teaches English & Math, for the Third Grade level. He is a member of the church, but not a priesthood member. Paul says that he has been helping on the Book of Mormon SDA manuscript. We had three classes and a lot of discussion—one on the translation of the Book of Mormon, another on Bible translations (versions) and the third and longest one was the DVD on the Eight Pillars of Evidence of the Book of Mormon. Paul wanted me to show it to him on the laptop. Paul had to translate for it, so I had to stop it after every sentence. It was long, and we paused at about 7:30 p.m. because it was taking so long for the translation (into Luo), but Gershom did not want to stop. He wanted to see all of it. We finally finished at 10:00 p.m. Both Gershom and Paul's brother-in-law Nicolas Ojijo (who is an SDA) were very attentive. Gershom later said that he liked the archaeology part best.
Worked late after Paul went to bed. I finally got to bed at about 2:00 a.m.
Wed Jun 30
This morning I worked on the dictionary for the Book of Mormon. Before leaving Kenya for Tanzania, I had written back to the States asking several people for an electronic copy of a Book of Mormon dictionary thinking that it would expedite the selection of proper nouns for translation, but none had arrived yet, so I am marking them in one of my Books of Mormon. Later, Joab read them off to me as I typed them into the database which I had designed for this purpose. A database is best suited for this kind of task because of its versatility. When finished, it could be exported from the data base and reformatted and printed for distribution among the translators.
I had also written to Sharon Warner asking for some specifics about the number of translations of the Book of Mormon that had been published without verses and just when the verses were finally added to the LDS Book of Mormon and our edition also. Sharon passed the request on to Pamela Price who found the information and got it to me in time for me to finish up the training class before my twelve days in Tanzania ended.
Later in the day, we went down town to look for a good Bible. We still haven't found one. They are more expensive in Tanzania than in Kenya. I finally found a small booklet to jot down expenses in at a book store. We then came home and I continued to work on the words and Hebraisms for the Book of Mormon dictionary, while the others worked on the translation with this laptop. Later I worked on my LDS Book of Mormon in remarking it with our chapter and verse numbers. There is no real table to work at here, so it makes this kind of work rather difficult.
When the day ends, the light is very dim inside the house. There is one three foot fluorescent tube that is about an inch in diameter that goes through a hole in the wall between the living room and the bedroom that serves as the only light in the house, so it is difficult to do anything else except work on the laptop after the sun goes down. The three men stopped working on it during supper. After supper, I taught another class about the Apostasy and a little about the Restoration. After the class, Paul and I stayed up and talked for about another hour and we finally got to bed just before 1:00 a.m.
A number of people have asked me to share the diary from my eleven week stay in East Africa with the Saints in a similar manner as Brother Randy Vick has done. I've agreed to do so with the understanding that Randy and I are two very different people and the purpose of my trip was very different than the ones that Randy has written about. It should also be kept in mind that this was my diary and is not intended to even use complete sentences at times. At times, brevity was very important.
We have both had some wonderful experiences with the people of Africa, but my diary may be a bit more hum drum than his because my task was to focus mostly on just one thing—the preparation of the Swahili text of the Book of Mormon for publication. As you will discover while reading about my stay in Kenya and in Tanzania, it was not as simple as we had first thought.
While in East Africa, I was privileged to share in teaching and preaching ministry on many occasions and had many wonderful experiences with both members of the Church and those who came seeking more truth. I hope that you are edified from what has been written. It certainly was a valuable and memorable experience for me and I made many new friends among the Saints there, as well as others outside of the fellowship of the Church. I found the Saints there to be just as dedicated to the "cause of Zion" (the Church), the Lord and the spreading of the Gospel as the best of the Saints in America. They share a vibrant faith in the Lord and the Restored Gospel. Their enthusiasm to build up the Church in all the world is strong. Many of them practice family worship in their homes daily.
I pray that the sacrifices that were made to cover the cost of this trip as well as the sacrifices and efforts that were made by the Saints in Africa will be rewarded by a rich harvest of souls who will have opportunity to read the Book of Mormon and the other materials referred to in their own tongue when this project reaches its completion.
Frank Evan Frye
Sun Jun 6
Our daughter Sariah and my wife Patti took me to the airport in Kansas City where I arrived in plenty of time. We were delayed in our departure, but I had sufficient layover time in Detroit that there was no problem. The flight to Detroit lasted only a couple of hours. Actually we were delayed in our departure from Detroit because they couldn't get one of the doors to close and had to replace it. Better to do that on the ground than have it fall off in the air. We left Detroit and flew for seven hours to Amsterdam. It was night during most of the flight, but I couldn't see anything anyway because my seat was in the middle row of four seats. There were three seats on the outside rows. Probably because of the recent volcanic eruption, we flew south quite a bit on this trip and could not see Greenland which is covered with ice and is a break from staring at the empty ocean. By the time we came to the British Isles it was getting light. We were arriving earlier than Missouri time because we were flying toward the sun and gaining hours. I did get a glimpse of Ireland and England as we flew over them by getting out of my seat and looking out of the windows in other parts of the airplane. We were free to walk around much of the time. They were very green contrasted with what we would see later flying over the great Sahara Desert.
We arrived a little late in Amsterdam because of our delay, but I still had about three hours for a layover. We had gained six hours during the flight. I had no money except US Dollars, so I was at the mercy of the shop keepers in the airport. I was very thirsty by that time and looked for water. A small bottle of water was €1.55 (Euros). One shop keeper, not wanting Dollars, tried to charge me $5.00 USD for 8 ounces of water. I guess that's not highway robbery, but it was airport robbery. Finally I found another shop that sold me a small water for $3.00 USD. I savored it carefully. The plane for Nairobi was a couple of hours late in boarding us. KLM seats are very narrow, so the next seven and one half hours were quite uncomfortable. Sleep was almost out of the question. We flew south, south east over Europe. We flew over French air space and then over part of Italy and near the western coast of Greece. Then over the Mediterranean Sea. After that, we flew over the sands of the Sahara Desert. It was still light enough during the first part of the flight to see the yellowish brown sand dunes 39,000 feet below. We flew through the night gaining more hours as we went eastward and arrived in Nairobi early in the morning.
Mon Jun 7
De-boarding the plane, waiting in line to get a visa at the airport and going through customs took about an hour and a half. I did not know that we had to pay $25.00 USD in cash for the visa. Fortunately I still had a little cash out and could pay it. As I went through the gate leaving customs, the first person that I recognized was Randy Vick and Eric was at his side. Randy saw me and yelled to get my attention, but he was not hard to identify because he was rather tall and was standing in a crowd of Africans. They took me outside to a car where they placed my luggage. Then we went back inside where we waited several hours more for the men coming from Liberia who were flying in that morning. When they finally arrived, they did not have the money to pay for their visas and were detained in some office. They were able to call Eric on his cell phone. Eric was on his way to the airport when he stopped to put diesel in his car, but they put gasoline in it by mistake. When he realized what had happened, they had to drain the tank which took quite some time. Because of that, he was about an hour and a half late getting to the airport. As a result of that, we missed the bus ride that we had planned to go to Kisumu. However, Raymond James from Cameroon had been able to obtain a visa to Kenya at the last minute and flew in later that morning. We had already given up on his obtaining a visa and were planning on going to the retreat without him as we had not heard otherwise from him. He called Eric when he arrived at the airport while Eric was still trying to get the gasoline out of his car. Eric later realized that if he had not had the unfortunate accident with the diesel, we would have gone off and left Raymond stranded at the airport in Nairobi. We all realized that God had intervened by allowing the accident at the service station so that Raymond could travel with us and not miss any of the conference. When Eric finally arrived at the airport, he had to jump through a bunch of diplomatic hoops just to get the men from Liberia out of their detention at the airport. It was late in the day when we finally got to the home where Randy and I were going to stay with Brother Auggrey Anditi and his good wife Sylvia. Randy hooked up his computer and called home using his Skype account. Then he let me make a phone call home. David answered. I just told him that all was well and that I had arrived in Kenya. Our host family fed us supper after which we visited for a while and finally Randy and I went to bed. We shared a double bed with a mosquito net over it. Neither of us slept well, but it was much better than the airplane seat.
On the last leg of the trip into Nairobi, there were about six seats in the middle of the plane and the usual two or three on each side. I had been awarded one of the middle seats in the center seats. A very large Kenyan lady was seated to my right. After we took off, she went to sleep and spilled over into about 1/3 of my seat. That gave me the dubious privilege of sitting at about 20 degrees to my left for most of the trip. As we were arriving I tried to speak with her, but she did not understand much English. I gave her a tract and smiled and said that it was about Jesus. She smiled back. As we deplaned, she had to wait for a wheel chair because of problems with her legs.
Tue Jun 8
In the morning our host family served us breakfast and later Eric arrived and took us to his home where I saw his wife Pamela and some others who were to travel with us that day. We waited for several hours while Eric was calling around to find a van that would take us to Kisumu for a reasonable price. We finally left and wound our way through the streets of Nairobi to get out of town. During the five hour trip I took out my iPod and the headphones and passed them around sharing recordings that I had made of different testimonies over the years and that I've used on our tours in Mexico. I was able to share five testimonies with four different men during the trip. We drove down into the great rift valley as we drove across Kenya toward Lake Victoria. Then we drove up the other side of the rift valley. I'm guessing that it is about a thousand feet deep and maybe twenty to thirty miles wide. A couple of the men saw a zebra during the drive, but all that I saw were a few antelope at a great distance. They said that the zebra was right next to the road. By this time it had been three days since I'd had a good night's sleep, so my attention may have drifted.
During the last half of the trip to Kisumu, we drove through vast plantations of tea plants that were trimmed like the bushes in an English park. They went on for miles and miles. The plants were trimmed about two to three feet tall and as flat and perfect as a putting green. There were walk ways every so often where the workers could get around to harvest and care for the plants. In several places we saw huge housing compounds where I presume the workers lived, and also large buildings where the harvested leaves were either stored or processed. By that time in the afternoon, it was almost too dark to get any photos of the area, but I managed to get a couple. Hope to get some photos on another trip on that road. The area where the tea was growing was at a high elevation, probably between 6000 and 8000 feet, because it was quite chilly through that area.
Wed Jun 9
Pan African Elders Conference began.
Randy Vick's report gives the details of these days. Brother Eric Odida asked me to teach classes on nearly each day and on some days more than one. There were men who attended from Kenya, Nigeria, Liberia, Tanzania, the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. We stayed at a camp ground to the east of Kisumu. The accommodations were very adequate for the needs of the conference. Brother Randy taught the men a class on stewardship that had been approved by the Seventy and the Bishopric. That same class was taught several other times during the time that I was there on this trip and copies of it were left with the men in Africa for them to use in the future. I gave each of the men at the Conference about a dozen new tracts that I had written while in Mexico and several DVDs about the Book of Mormon. These had been prepared for this purpose by Brother Harry Williams and were donated by MMSG (Mexican Ministries Support Group).
Thu-Sat Jun 10-12
Pan African Elders Conference
Sun Jun 13
After the Conference ended, Brother Tom Okeyo took me to the village of Lisana where Eric Odida's grandmother lives. There I preached for their Branch in the open air under a tree, and later blessed a baby boy (Emanuel). I was impressed that a number of the people had handwritten copies of hymns in small notebooks from which they sang. They were our Latter Day Saints hymns. Paul Makawiti (from Tanzania) accompanied us. He will be helping with Swahili project. Ate lunch in the home of Joshua Okaylu (teacher). He has seven sons and seven daughters. Met Michael Onyiego (priest). Gave out several tracts about the testimony of the light that came down from heaven in 1875 during a baptismal service at night where J.J. Cornish was performing the baptism in Canada. I had mentioned that in my sermon. Paul asked me to speak with a friend of his by phone and I promised to send her some written materials about the Restoration (Restoration in Prophecy & History) Two adult men were invited by Tom and I gave them some reading materials. Gave out two tracts about the "Wines of the Bible" there also.
Then Tom brought me to the home of Brother Austin and Jane Odicoh where I was to spend the night. I'm afraid that I was a rather bad guest at that point, because I was so totally exhausted that I just kind of passed out on their couch for several hours in spite of the fact that several guests came to greet me. Austin's wife, Jane is a wonderful hostess and has taken very good care of me. She is a very well educated person and has studied and taught a great deal of important information about nutrition in her area of Kenya. Jane and Austin were not members of the Restoration when they were married. Jane was a member of different church than Austin's when they were married and eventually joined his church. When he found the Restoration, she was reluctant to make another change, but after much prayer and study, she joined with her husband in the greater light. Both she and her husband have won my respect as dedicated and faithful members of the Lord's Church. Brother Austin will be helping with the translation of the Book of Mormon into Swahili.
Mon Jun 14
Finally, got some rest last night. Used some Melatonin drops that I had purchased for the trip and they helped me fall asleep promptly and I slept for ten hours and awoke very refreshed. They had a basin of hot water for me in the bathing room where I bathed "jicarazo" style. A jícaro [hee-kah-row] is the Spanish name for a gourd that can be used to either carry water in or if cut in half, as a kind of a natural cup with which to bathe or drink. Then we had breakfast and soon Tom Okeyo arrived to take me to the Kisumu guest house where they keep visitors. We went back to the village of Lisana and picked up Paul Makawiti and then traveled around the south side of Lake Victoria to the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) institute, which had contracted to translate the Book of Mormon into Swahili many years ago, in hopes that we would be able to obtain the first half of the book in digital form.
Just prior to coming to Africa I was given a CD that only had the last half of the BoM on it, but not the first half. No one seemed to be able to locate those documents in electronic form. The SDA director was not there and the only person we could talk to, was new and knew nothing about the project. We finally convinced the new man to look for the files on the computer because the director was out of town and would not be returning until next Monday. After a lot of searching, he found copies of the missing files and I was able to install them on my laptop—thank goodness! The new person began to ask us questions about the Book of Mormon and we had a good discussion with him, so I left him with several tracts to read.
We drove from the SDA institute back around Lake Victoria and to Kisumu where Tom stopped to purchase a couple of items and then we looked for a place to eat. It was already too late to exchange any money as the exchange houses all close at 4:30 p.m. sharp. We had missed lunch because of the trip to the SDA institute, so supper was welcome. From there we went to the guest house arriving after dark.
My room is comfortable with a double bed and a mosquito net over it. The bathroom consists of three parts: an entry (dressing) room that has a small sink, a "water closet" (for the toilet) and a shower room. The shower room has a cement floor and two faucets—one each for cold and hot water. If you want hot water, you must switch on the water heater about an hour before you want to bathe. It works quite efficiently—if you remember to turn on the water heater in time.
Tue Jun 15
I began explaining the translation process to Tom and Paul after breakfast. It is a rather complicated sounding method at first, but we began to learn how to work together and to see what our strengths and weaknesses were. Both Tom and Paul know Swahili fairly well. Tom is from Kenya and Paul is from Tanzania. Paul has done more studying on this manuscript than Tom, but Tom knows English better and can type. Paul's English is limited to some extent and he can only hunt and peck on the keyboard. Both have a fairly decent understanding of the Book of Mormon, but neither understood the importance of preserving the language of scripture.
One of the fundamental problems is that the people who hired the SDA to do the translation work on the Book of Mormon did not understand the need to use some basic protocols on vocabulary, names of people and places. The man who the SDA had hired for the translation work was given information many years ago about how it was to be done, but after working on the project for a while, he disappeared with the money and left the SDA institute holding the bag. They knew nothing of Hebraisms and did not have a good method of translating (in English and Swahili in parallel columns verse by verse). As a result, they couldn't even keep their own work in order.
The SDA institute is apparently not a real translation production outfit and just did what they thought might work, and since no one was here to monitor what was going on, a lot of time and effort has gone into a manuscript that may have very little use for our publication purposes. We will however, be able to use it to show that we paid to have a completely different translation made in case the LDS church or anyone else challenges us for the work that we have done for a new translation.
We worked until about 11:00 p.m. with a short break before lunch and another one before supper (something that they call "tea").
Wed Jun 16
Today while we were working on the translation, Tom blurted out "Now I see! I don't know how the Seventh Day Adventists were able to keep track of anything that they did! Without the method we're using [multiple columns], they got all kinds of things mixed up! No wonder their work was so shoddy!" He realized what had happened and began to understand the process and saw the importance of doing the work in a more orderly fashion than what the SDA institute had done.
A good part of the time during these first couple of days was spent in adjusting the English text into parallel columns with the Swahili text from the SDA institute (which was poorly put together) and in many places there were no verse numbers as well as gaps of text from one or two verses missing to a number of pages missing! These guys did a very unprofessional job, and it is just now becoming apparent. There is however a legal contract for the job, and it may still provide us with some leverage.
To simplify the process and for security purposes, each book of the Book of Mormon is being placed in its own separate document. That way there is less chance of losing any significant portion of the book if any document is either lost or a computer crashes. All documents are to be backed up each day also on some memory sticks which will be provided for that purpose.
Thu Jun 17
Worked from about 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. with the customary lunch and supper breaks. The learning curve has been high for the two men, but we are beginning to work faster.
Sandra Osiro, a business partner of Tom's came to visit in the evening and Tom asked me to teach her a short class. I had never done this before, but I started with her for some reason on a class about "The Inquisition" which is one of my very graphic classes about the Apostasy. She was very attentive, and after the class was over, she told me that she had been a Catholic since infancy. When I heard that, I felt that I had possibly made a mistake because that class is very strong evidence of the historical problems with the Roman Catholic church. But she seemed to be very interested. We'll have to wait to see what happened with her after she has time to digest the class.
Each time that I turn on the laptop here at the guest house, or even wake it up from its sleeping mode, it checks for an Internet connection. There are several in the neighborhood, but I've not been able to connect with any of them. This time one connected and I could at least check my Email account. I'm afraid to turn it off now because I may lose the connection. (The connection only lasted several days. When it was lost, I was never able to reconnect again. After that, we had to go to an Internet cafe some place down town to check for Email.)
Fri Jun 18
Three days ago we saw a large rat run into the house from the patio, so the day before yesterday we went down town and bought two rat traps for him. I placed them out with bait, but in the morning the bait was gone—no rat. We reset them with different bait with the same results the next morning. Last night I did not sleep well because I was awakened by a tiny mouse twice in the night. It was nibbling on some plastic bags that I left on the headboard of the bed. I turned on my small flashlight and finally saw the little critter. Of course it was outside of my mosquito netting, so I had to get out of that in order to rearrange things. That interrupted my sleep and I did not feel as good today as yesterday. Today I figured out that these tiny mice can eat the bait from the large rat traps without setting the things off. So it looks like I'll have to buy some poison for them because the critter I saw was too small even for a mouse trap. I don't want them gnawing into my suitcases. I have always kept them zipped up at night and nearly all other times. I only open them when I need to get something out.
Tom finally obtained the printed manuscript of the first 400 pages of the Swahili Book of Mormon that was done by the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) institute and brought it to us around noon. Somehow rain water had leaked in around it and the bottom cardboard cover and about an inch of the pages were damp and severely mildewed. Paul Makawiti has reviewed much of the manuscript and has made some corrections on it between the lines in pencil. The manuscript is about five inches thick and is very fragile. [We finally got it dried out and it is in much better shape now.]
Today we passed the 100th verse of the first chapter of First Nephi.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Saints Haven Restoration Branch priesthood organized a meaningful weekend of fellowship and sharing the hope of the Kingdom with missed, but not forgotten, members. Friday evening, November 19th, the branch met in prayer to support the efforts of the priesthood activities that would follow on Saturday, November 20th. There was a rich presence of the Holy Spirit that directed our worship; in particular, the tender prayers of our sisters were rich in spirit.
Saturday morning found seventeen priesthood meeting as we were led in worship and preparation for the day's ministries. After discussion of families to visit and the assigning of teams, we left under the direction of the good spirit and with an eagerness to share our testimonies of the Lord's active hand in the work of His church. Not knowing where seeds will take root and when fruit will be born, each team rejoiced both in
the opportunity to witness as well as being strengthened in our fellowship as brothers, laboring, as the common cause of the kingdom drew us closer to each other.
Our evening was blessed as the branch met and shared a common meal of thanksgiving for the rich repose of our Heavenly Father.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Brother McKay gave a presentation dealing with the revelatory nature of the Book of Mormon and its forecasting of future events. Brother Frye discussed eight pillars of the Book of Mormon such as Modern Testimonies, Internal Evidences, Pre Columbian Manuscripts, Archeology and Bible Prophecy, etc. He also shared insights regarding Quetzalcoatl and how the historical record verifies he was Jesus Christ. The other presentations concerned the Words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, DNA Evidences and the meaning of the Curse placed on the Lamanites.
Seventy Patrick McKay
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
"In God we trust"
Monday, October 18, 2010
From time to time I have written to you as a group as well as individually to inquire about your ministry as Seventy. I want you to know that I hold the Seventy up to God in my daily prayers. Some of you have contacted me, asking me to pray for something special taking place in your life and in your ministry. I encourage you to continue to do so. In the near future I will be calling you to ask about the testimonies that have come your way as the result of your ministry in your Office of Seventy.
To the brethren ordained recently to this office, your ministry in the Office of Seventy is just getting started. Your testimonies will develop over time. It is my earnest desire to assist you spiritually anyway that I can and I want you to freely ask for my help when needed.
My home phone has an answering machine and my cellphone has voicemail, (you have my phone numbers), so if you call and I do not answer, please leave a message and I will get back to you quickly.
Your Brother in Christ,
Milo M. Burnett,
In the Visag area the Seventy performed several administrations and shared the Gospel with many members and non-members.
Joined by Sr. Agnus Rao, the Seventy journeyed to the Kui tribal area in Orrisa state, to participate in the dedication of the church in Jilakuta. Not only was the church dedicated, but a plaque was placed on a monument in the center of the village, witnessing of the dedication of the saints in that area to the Restoration Gospel. In Orissa state, 22 men were ordained to the priesthood and God's mercy was evident as the Holy Spirit was poured out during many services and ordinances. Priesthood training classes were also held with more than 30 brethren in attendance. The brethren said there were so many blessings it was hard to share them all.
Bro. Steve said the saints and priesthood are very eager to promote the Gospel in their area and beyond and they are eagerly awaiting the translation of the Book of Mormon into the Oriya language as well as several tracts and portions of the D&C.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
We've been asked to speak about the Book of Mormon.
"In God we trust"
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
9:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Dewitt Charter Township Community Center
16101 Brook Road
Lansing, MI 48906
Each church of the Restoration shares a common belief in the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. No single group of Latter Day Saints have exclusive or "privileged access" to this record.
The primary testimony of the Book of Mormon is "That Jesus is the Christ, the eternal God, manifesting Himself unto all nations....."
This Book of Mormon Festival is meant to enlarge our belief in and appreciation for this book, as well as those who embrace its teachings.
Through linguistics, theology, anthropology, as well as cultural, historical and prophetic trajectories of the Book of Mormon, the listeners will be offered a new prism through which to view this remarkable record.
You are invited to come and hear speakers from a variety of backgrounds share their understandings and appreciation of the Book of Mormon. Their presentations include the following subjects:
* The Book of Mormon, A dynamic, unfolding model of revelation and a harbinger of things to come.
* The Curse, Quetzalcotl.
* The words of Jesus Christ from the Book of Mormon.
Seventy Ronald L. Johnson, Jr.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
My brother Jonah and I arrived in San Diego early this morning. After a quick lunch we accompanied Seventy George Thomas and his friend Ken and went out fishing for men at a pier near the Navy base. Jonah met a young man named Josh that first day and shared testimonies and the Restored gospel with him for more than an hour. We then moved on to the next pier a little to the north and conversed with many people about the Lord, but our efforts did not seem fruitful here.
The next day we went fishing again, and after being unsuccessful with my first few contacts I met two young men, Andy and Dan. They had been recently introduced to Jesus and had turned their lives around. Andy is an ex-convict. We shared many wonderful testimonies with them and we were surprised when we realized we’d been there for a couple of hours. We then joined George and Seventy Joe Essary, who had just arrived, for lunch. We discussed our successes and failures of the morning and then went fishing again in the afternoon.
The next day we fished in the morning, until Joe joined us and we went to visit Herman, an Elder who is getting on in years. We had a beautiful visit and Joe volunteered to come and pick up Herman to take him to church on Sunday.
We next visited two of George’s brothers. The first brother loaned us a cooler and the second brother let us pick oranges and avocados from trees in his backyard and they were amazing.
George then took us up the mountain to an observatory. Unfortunately it was closed, but the view and the drive up the mountain were amazing.
Stopping at a restaurant later for dinner, we met a young African-American couple who approached us for financial assistance, but when they learned we were missionaries they got very excited and told us they were Messianic Jews. George sat them down and bought dinner for them and we shared testimonies until the restaurant closed and we had to leave. We shared our contact information and I pray they will come in contact with the Restored gospel again sometime in the future.
On Friday we picked out another pier for fishing for men, but received a call from Lovely, a lady we were going to visit later in the day. She had recently had surgery and was in a lot of pain and was going back to the hospital. We went immediately to see her and George administered to her. We then went to Lovely’s grandaughter’s home and had an incredible meeting with Yolanda and her husband Luis who were very excited that we were there. We shared testimonies and discussed the gospel and then George asked about Seventy Joe Essary not being allowed to bring ministry in their branch since his ordination and Luis said he did not agree with that, and they said how much they missed Joe’s ministry. We were then introduced to Yolanda’s friend Elexis and her baby son Isaac. Elexis was raised Catholic and her mother was pressuring her to have her baby baptized, but Elexis was not comfortable with that, not wanting her son joining a church before he could make his own decision. Jonah and I were able to share scriptures that tell us babies have no need of baptism and we also shared about the ordinance of baby blessing. She asked if we could bless her baby and right there in the living room, George blessed baby Isaac. There was an incredible portion of the Holy Spirit that was poured out upon us in that house. We left there and drove up into the mountains, more than 5,000 feet above sea level to Joe and Pat’s home. It was a beautiful drive and we did not arrive until late evening.
The next day we visited George’s oldest brother and shared testimonies with he and his wife and they loved them. It was a wonderful experience and George’s brother had many exciting stories as he is an accomplished hunter and pilot and has led a very eventful life.
On Sunday we went to church in the early afternoon because the people come from many different places. We met in the home of a young family and it was a wonderful group. We lingered there as long as we could, but finally had to leave due to the time.
Joe and Pat took us out to dinner at a kind of “knight” and “king” type of restaurant and it was really fun.
During the next week we visited many people that have not had contact with the church in many years. One day, Jonah and I went out to fish at a place called Arrowhead Lake. There I met a man from Hawaii and we had a nice visit about the gospel. I learned he was a Mormon and he was there because his wife is there for cancer surgery. There on the waterfront, we prayed together for his wife and family.
We made it back to El Cajon for a visit in the home where we had been before. While there we met Elexis’ sister Angelica and we were able to share the gospel with her from the very beginning and it was absolutely one of the most incredible experiences of my life. We later visited Mary in an assisted living home.
Returning to Joe and Pat’s house we started our journey back across the country, staying in the home of a Nepalese family in Denver where we were able to share the gospel.
We made it home to Missouri safely and the Lord blessed us all along the way.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
We picked up Seventy George Thomas and his wife Jeanette at their home in Missouri for our trip to Indiana on a beautiful Fall day. The sky was very blue and the sun pleasantly warm. We stopped occasionally to stretch our legs, or buy gasoline or food. We rejoiced in God’s blessings that allowed us to complete other responsibilities in our places of work and in our homes in order to make this trip.
We shared testimonies of God’s goodness and made plans for bringing ministry before arriving in Carlisle, Indiana, where we stayed in the home of a young family of seven. We were joined by other members of the family who came to the house. Some of these family members had been baptized in the Mormon and Community of Christ churches. That evening we shared a gracious meal that had been prepared by our hosts and dinner was followed by a pleasant evening of discussion and fellowship.
Eric and George visited with the young men about how they became interested in the church and their desires for the church in their area. Jeanette taught the young women how to make applesauce while Rita taught the children songs.
We were invited to stay in their home and in the home of their parents, next door. and were blessed to share with the children during their pre-bedtime prayers.
We departed the next morning after breakfast, with a standing invitation for other saints to visit in their home and a request for study materials for their children.
We saw some great scenery, including beautiful forests and rock formations, before arriving at our next stop, the home of more wonderful saints, in Depauw, Indiana. In the home where we visited, the mother and 16 year old son are church members, while the father is not. Another family member living near by, also visited with us in their home. We were invited to have dinner and we were hosted for the night.
The next morning was Sunday and we held services in a nearby home. Rita and Jeanette played the piano prior to Sunday School. A DVD, “8 Pillars of Evidence of the Book of Mormon” served as our Sunday School study. A prelude to the morning worship service was provided by Rita playing the piano and singing two solos. Eric and George both preached and shared testimonies and Jeanette accompanied the congregational singing on the piano.
A delicious potluck dinner provided additional opportunity for fellowship and sharing of the gospel. We departed in the afternoon, with invitations to return whenever we could.
Our next stop was in St. Louis where we visited in the home of some saints and had the opprotunity to share testimonies of the gospel. The saints requested a copy of the 8 Pillars DVD for study and for witnessing.
We departed St. Louis that evening, and our drive back to Oak Grove and then on to Independence gave us a wonderful opportunity to share about our experiences on this visit with the saints in Carlisle, Depauw and St. Louis.
Friday, October 1, 2010
In the past, when I go to the reservation, I teach some classes and give away some Books of Mormon. Several months ago, during a class, I talked about having a personal experience with Jesus and the need to study, especially the Book of Mormon.
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call and a young mother had been studying the Book of Mormon with her mother and others and learned about Jesus blessing the children. She has a five month old son and was anxious to learn more about this and asked about having her son blessed. A celebration ceremony was to be planned for this blessing as well as a belated Father’s Day celebration. I was finally able to make the plans for my wife Jeanette and I to travel there in July. We arrived on Saturday to see a large tepee being erected. They had already put up some poles where tree branches were placed on top to provide shade. Jeanette visited with the ladies and helped care for some small children as more and more family and friends gathered for an evening feast. Then a holy man arrived to lead an all night prayer service, to begin at 10 PM and continue all through the night. Everyone prayed individually for family members named and for their special needs, whether it be for employment, physical healing, spiritual healing, marital problems, bad tempers, etc. Jeanette and I did not stay for the all night service due to our own health concerns and the fact we would be driving through the night on Sunday for our return home.
On Sunday morning I gave away two more Books of Mormon and a Bible as we discussed many topics, some in one on one conversations and some in small group discussions.
In the afternoon we were welcomed into the tepee, where I spoke about the purpose of having our children blessed. Jeanette shared her testimony, as a mother, about the joy and comfort we had experienced at having our children blessed and the assurance a mother has, knowing that God will help her care for and teach her children. The women here are usually silent, but on this occasion they openly showed their excitement at Jeanette’s testimony.
There were about 60 people present when I blessed the little one. Then after teaching for more than an hour, Jeanette and I were given a gift and we shared in another feast.
We were excited to learn that one of the women in the group was a former Mormon and she wants to learn more. She asked to be notified the next time ministers from the church come to Pine Ridge.
Before leaving, we shared some donated food, bedding and books that were distributed.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Sun Jul 4
Last night, even though my eyes were closed, there was no sleep for me at all. After
eliminating that pesky mosquito inside the netting, my mind was directed to Revelation 14:6–8 and the many peoples and languages that need to have the Gospel. It continued to roll through my memory for the rest of the night. The Lord has kept me from sleeping before and given me new ideas that He wanted me to consider.
Apparently this was one of those nights. However, he has never given me a scripture
verse like that to keep me awake all night. I finally gave up trying to go to sleep and just began prioritizing languages. I lay there the rest of the night considering the different languages into which we need to translate information about the “everlasting gospel” that was brought to the earth as a result of the Restoration angel message. It was impressed strongly on me that if we as a Church do not begin to do something different and make a real effort to put the Gospel into these other languages, that we are just kidding ourselves and playing church.
Iʼve heard some people say “when the Endowment comes”, the Lord will give these
languages to us as on the day of Pentecost. Yes, the Lord has and will continue to
bless us with the gift of tongues when the occasion requires it, but even in New
Testament times the Scriptures had to be translated into the different languages of the world. It took a lot of work and sweat to get that job done. It has been said that the Bible had been translated into several hundred languages before the year A.D. 500. That was done without the aid of computers or the printing press. Iʼm not sure all the Lord will require of us, but it certainly will be more than what weʼve been doing up until now. We truly have much more responsibility now because of the technological marvels that He has blessed us with, as well as much more of His word.
We got up at 5:00 a.m. and a parade of family members carefully made its way down
the steep, rocky hill in the dark, carrying all of our luggage, to where Paul had called a taxi to meet us about a quarter of a mile down the road. From there we went to the bus station and left Mwanza a little after 6:00 a.m. As the sun finally came up, I took out my small booklet I had found at a bookstore here and wrote down the languages that I had been considering in the night. We rode until about 10:00 a.m. and got off the bus in the middle of nowhere. Paul led us back to a place where we left part of our luggage in some kind of official hut and then we walked down the road perhaps a half mile or more and then turned off on a dirt path and walked about a quarter of a mile to where someone met us. We then walked on further to a small building where there were some people gathered. We waited inside for more people to arrive and then Paul was asked to speak. He spoke in either Luo or Swahili.
This was a small village near the city of Msoma where Paul was born. There had been
seven baptisms a couple of months before and today they were to be confirmed. I was
asked to speak and then six of the newly baptized people were confirmed. After the
service, we traveled back to Msoma by matatu. We walked to a “guest house” that
turned out to be full. Joab and I waited there while Paul and one of his friends looked for another guest house that had space for us. While they were gone I took advantage of the time and caught up on my diary.
Mon Jul 5
Got a good nightʼs sleep last night and woke up at 7:00 a.m. Tried to catch up on a little more writing, but Paul knocked on my door at 7:30 and we had to get ready to leave. We had a short planning session so I would know what his plans were. I did a
recalculation to verify if we had sufficient Tanzanian Shillings to finish the trip back to Mwanza. We then left the guest house and went toward the bus station. Paul told me about an incident in the night. The guard had come around and made him pay some more Shillings because there is a law in Tanzania that only one man may sleep in the same room at a time. I had told them to get separate rooms, because there is only one bed in each room, but they were trying to save money and only got one for themselves and one for me.
After breakfast we found a matatu to go to the town of Tarime. We rode the bus from
about 10:15 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Then we took a small station wagon to the village
Utegi. Then we unloaded everyone else and used the same vehicle to arrive in
Nyanduga, a tiny village a couple of kilometers outside of Utegi. We got
there at about 2:30 p.m. We walked another half kilometer to the home of Brother
Albert Okumu and visited for a while in his home and began teaching a class. We had
just begun the class when there was a knock at our door. Three men dressed in suits
told us that they had been waiting all day for our arrival and that we were to go with them to teach them about the Restored Gospel.
I looked at Paul, and he said, “Weʼve got to go”. We immediately prepared to go and
followed them on foot for about a kilometer where there were about a dozen adults
waiting for us. There were a number of others who had gone home before we got there
because it was getting late. Paul told me that I should teach about the Body of Christ, the Apostasy and the Restoration. The class started at about 4:30 p.m. and I finished as it was getting too dark to be able to read at about 7:30. I had very good liberty and wore out two interpreters, but the Lordʼs Spirit blessed us all. All were very attentive and the Pastor responded very warmly and asked me to return within six months as he gave me a letter. I told him that I could give him no promises as to when I could return, but that I would send him material that they could use to teach with and that Brother Paul lived in this country and that they should rely on his ministry.
We came back to Brother Alfredʼs home in the dark. One of the men from the previous
class accompanied me and held my arm to keep me from falling in the dark on the very
irregular and chuck holed path. I had not thought to bring my small LED flashlight,
which I did regret. After arriving back at the house, we had a supper of rice and beans.
Paul asked me to teach another class. It was about 10:00 p.m. After beginning the
class, two other groups of adults arrived and the class finally consisted of 15 people packed into a tiny one room house. There was a double bed at one side of the room that several sat on. I shot a couple of photos afterward to remember all who were there. I decided to close the class with a short video clip where a choir and a blind man sing the Lordʼs Prayer. Paul ended with a prayer in Swahili. We were led from that house to another house, perhaps 100 yards away, where there were two beds where we are to spend the night. As I am finishing writing (sitting on the only chair in the hut), I just realized that the young children who were intently watching what I was doing, were waiting for me to go to bed so that they could lay out their mat on the floor so that they could go to bed. Paul and Joab had a mat on the floor (with a mosquito net) on the right side of the hut, and my raised bed (with a mosquito net) was on the left side. The boys in the middle did not have a mosquito net.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Bro. Aric has had recent success in bringing cottage meetings to non-members and speaking of a new convert, reports, “I get the feeling that many saints do not testify with energy or excitement about our church and this one person who is not yet a member has made many other people interested with just her enthusiasm.”
In September, Bro. Aric traveled to Independence, Missouri to be one of the presenters at the Book of Mormon Festival that was organized by Seventy Patrick McKay.
They traveled from Depauw, IN to Franklin, TN, and met Seventy Steve DeVera, Seventy Bill Leutzinger, Seventy Greg Thomas and his family and High Priest Sherman Phipps where they brought ministry and teaching to Restoration saints and some COC saints who have made the decision to join the Restoration. Seventy Greg Thomas and his family have been giving ministry in the Franklin area for some time now.
Leaving Franklin, TN, Bro. George and Sr. Annece traveled to Booneville, KY where they met and ministered to several members and non-members for several days. Ministry in Booneville included a sacrament service, preaching and teaching.
Bro. George and Sr. Annece traveled 1,857 miles on this missionary trip. Before departing on this trip, Bro. George preached at Saints Haven Restoration Branch and participated in the ordination of Bro. Vance Kellinger to the office of Elder and after returning home, he preached at Devon Park Restoration Branch.
In May Dalia Castillo and Katrina Baker started discussing ideas for youth activities to help with spreading the gospel and growing the work in Mexico City and decided on organizing a Vacation Church School. Dalia expressed how much her family
has appreciated the camps and reunions that they’ve attended in the States, and her desire for the people in Mexico to experience the same joy and Spirit.
The date was set for July 12-16. Over the next couple months plans were finalized, and
the parents in Mexico City were eager to help in any way they could: one donated an empty house for us to use and the mothers brought snacks for the kids every day and even help with the craft classes. The camp was to include English as well as Spanish and also music, art, games, and Bible classes. Each day had a different theme: Monday - -Crea t ion, Tuesday--Prayer, Wednesday—10 Commandments, Thursday--Armor of God, Friday--Program.
Most of the kids who came to the camp had never even heard of God before or knew
anything about the Bible, though the majority of them were from Catholic backgrounds. We prayed to begin the camp and each day and prayed over our snacks as well. This also was new to many of them; and some even scoffed during prayer time.
During our class on prayer, we talked about the nature of God, how he wants a personal
relationship with us, and how he answers our prayers and helps us when we’re in need. We had a prayer request for a boy named Raul, who has severe heart problems. He wanted to come to the camp but was too sick; so we started praying that he would
feel better so he could participate with us. Later we stopped by his house and talked with his mother and shared with her that we had been praying for her son. She then told us that just that morning she had taken Raul to the emergency room because of a high
fever and other problems; but by the time they arrived, the fever was gone and the doctors said the boy was fine. (That was during the same time that we were praying for him.) The next day Raul was able to join the camp and run and play with the kids as if he had no problems at all. And the mother shared her testimony with the kids of how the
Lord had answered their prayers. After that the attitudes of a lot of the children changed; and those who had before been scoffers were the first to raise their hands to pray. Also every morning we gave the kids a short verse to memorize in English and Spanish which pertained to the daily theme. And each one who memorized their verse received a little prize. On Friday we had a program for the parents in the afternoon after the
camp was finished. The whole building was decorated with the crafts that the kids had made during the week; and the kids shared the campfire songs that they had learned during the week mainly: King of Kings, He’s got the whole world in His Hands, I have Peace like a River, Kum-by-Yah (both in English and Spanish) as well as their memory
verses. Dalia also had taught the children a little French, which they shared with their parents as part of the program; and afterwards we had time to visit with the parents and eat together. We were thrilled with the participation and enthusiasm of the kids and especially how the Lord worked in their hearts during the week. We look forward to many such activities in the future.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Seventy Gary Whiting leaves September 25, 2010 for Siguatepeque, Honduras to serve for a couple of weeks with Elder Charles Sperry and his family, who reside there providing full time ministy. Please keep the Saints in Honduras in your prayers.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The saints in and around the Centerplace were blessed this past weekend to be able to sit in comfort and learn more about the special book that is the very keystone of our religion, The Book of Mormon.
I cannot imagine the work that must have gone into putting an event of this kind together. Gods servants from diverse groups, worked together, so those of us who attended might be able to learn more about various aspects of the book. For approximately fourteen hours last weekend we were able to put our differences aside and become one. This was another one of the very important blessings of the weekend.
What a joy it was to sit together once again, with brothers and sisters we no longer worship with on a regular basis, and hear the men who had agreed to be part of this historic weekend. I say historic because we were blessed to hear from a representative of the Remnant Church (Fred Larsen), the Community of Christ (Richard Rupe), the Temple Lot Church (Peter Gould) as well as men from the Restoration Branch Movement. Elder Lyle Smith (Oak Grove), Seventy Neil Simmons( Zarahemla), Seventy Aric Turner( Dallas RB) and Patrick McKay also from Zarahemla. Subjects included, The Book of Mormon, A Dynamic Unfolding Model of Revelation and a Harbinger of Things to Come, The Restoration of The House of Israel, The Curse, An Account of These Ancient Inhabitants, Why I Believe in The Book of Mormon, The Allegory of The Olive Tree and Book of Mormon Geography.
Seventy Jim McKay presided over the weekend gathering, making announcements, acting as the bridge between presenters and keeping things moving along. We were blessed with special music as well as great hymn singing. Lunch was served on the premises, which enabled us to share in special fellowship with our brothers and sisters.
Personally I would not have missed this event for anything. It was enlightening and brought a new appreciation for the Book of Mormon. We are so blessed to be the people who have this second witness to share with the world.
The turnout was smaller then anticipated but folks who came, wanting to be fed, were fed. It was a wonderful weekend. Interestingly, I have had a number of requests for DVD's of the weekend, from folks who really don't support us.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Seventy Doug Patterson along with his wife, Donna, returned Sunday, July 25th, from a four week trip into Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Their primary focus was to follow-up contact with the Lakota at Pine Ridge and Omaha at Macy, Nebraska. They also visited some scattered saints along the way. The trip showed that the Lord is preparing His vineyard for harvest.
Seventy Ron Smith left on July 28, 2010 to minister in eastern Africa for a few weeks. He will join Seventy Frank Frye, who will soon be concluding a six week stay, and they both will be joined next week by Elder Doug Smith. Please keep these saints and missionaries in your prayers.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Seventies Steve DeVera and Bill Leutzinger left today for India and will be providing ministry with Seventy Ananda Rao for the next couple of weeks. There are many, many saints there that are in the process of forming Restoration Branches, leaving the Community of Christ. One key purpose for this trip is to train the priesthood about the differences between the two organizations so that the saints can be better informed to make their decision. Upholding the fullness of the gospel in purity as restored via Joseph Smith, Jr. is a key thrust of the Restoration Seventy in bringing people to Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Seventies Ron Smith & Randy Vick are ministering at the Geneseo Junior Camp July 7-10, 2010. The campers will be learning about the African children church members, their life style, and their love for Jesus. Both of these Seventy have traveled and ministered extensively in Africa and have much to share with the campers.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
On May 15th, 2010 an organizational meeting was held at Mount Pleasant, Iowa to form a Restoration Branch. The vote was unanimous; inital by-laws were accepted; and Priest Dan Brown was elected as the first pastor of this branch. Assiting in this meeting were Seventy Mark Dietrick and Dave Drummond. Keep these new Saints in your prayers as they continue in the work of building up the Church in their area of the Lord's vineyard.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
May 15th to 29th Liberia
May 30th to June 7th Burundi
June 7th to June 15th Kenya
Pan African Elders Conference June 8 - 13, Kisumu, Kenya.
I have visited both branches here in Monrovia, (Soul Clinic and Pipeline), but haven't been able to get to the mission in Virginia. Will depart in the next day or two for Sinoe County where we have 8 branches and two missions. Hope to be there a week. On the return from Sinoe will visit the Buchanan Branch and the orphanage. Zoewulum Branch in River Cess County and Gardours Town Branch in southeast Grand Bassa county are hoped for, but up in the air at this point.
That's the short and sweet of it. Heat is a killer and the living conditions are sparse, but doable. Bucket bath morning and night and one meal a day of rice/beans/fish or chicken. The heat and the meal regimen can only work wonders on this old physique. Sr. Sarah (Gardee) is a good cook as are most Liberian women, so the food is always very tasty. Will get some bush meat in Sinoe County, but thats always been good too.
Please remember my family in your prayers, the Lord is attending us here in Liberia. Your brother and servant, Randy
Will and Katrina Baker spent 5 days in Mexico City visiting church members in May 2010. The Saints were a very enthusiastic group. They were very happy to hear that we will be visiting them on a regular basis. Several children will begin baptismal classes when we return in a few weeks. We have been invited to meet with a number of non-members who desire to hear the gospel. Will was ordained to the office of Seventy during the April 2010 General Conference. The Bakers are living in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
We need your help reaching Saints who live in (or near) the greater Chicago area. This outreach applies to ALL members of the church formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and includes those who may have been disenfranchised by theological differences or other reasons.
Many of you are still in contact with them. They may be worshipping in other denominations, the Community of Christ, or may have ceased worshipping completely.
A special worship service to bring these Saints together will be held on May 2, 2010. This service will extend a hand of friendship with open hearts and arms. By worshiping together we hope to set aside our differences and find unity in the Spirit by focusing on our Savior and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ministry will be provided by members of the Quorum of Seventy. After the sermon, a Q&A session will be held. A reception will follow the service for additional fellowship.
When: May 2nd, 2010 at 2:00PM.
Location: St John's United Church of Christ, 1475 W. Algonquin Rd., Palatine, IL 60067-1210.
For additional information contact: Br Kohn at: firstname.lastname@example.org; (847) 560-0054
Monday, April 5, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
During the month of March 2010 Seventies Steve DeVera & John Dollen are serving in India. There are many saints there and many others hungry to hear the gospel story. Please keep these brothers and sisters in your prayers.