Monday, January 16, 2012

George Albert Smith quote

"It is not an easy task... to be called out into the world... but I say to you it will purchase for those who are faithful, for those who discharge that obligation as they may be required, peace and happiness beyond all understanding, and will prepare them that, in due time, when life's labor is complete, they will stand in the presence of their Maker, accepted of Him because of what they have done."

Initial Stay in Freetown

Since we arrived last Thursday we have been staying in a senior couple apartment in Freetown.  We've been busy practicing driving (yes, that's necessary!), shopping for things we need, and most of all being oriented and trained for our activities in Bo.  This Thursday we plan to move to Bo and make our home there.  We've been to a branch meeting Sunday where there were some really wonderful talks.  We've been well taken care of and fed (spiritually and physically), attended a departure tonight for 3 elders going home (all 3 and the Assistants bore sincere heartfelt testimonies), and tomorrow we'll be at a welcome dinner for the new missionaries.  I didn't realize we were new... I thought it was just for the missionaries arriving tomorrow!

A summary of our trip here.  We had great flights from SLC to Atlanta and then to Accra Ghana where we stayed overnight in a very nice hotel (Novotel City Centre).  In Atlanta we had a fun conversation with Sister Judd, wife of the Accra Ghana Mission President.  She was on the same flight back to Accra.  It used to be that we talked with missionaries and senior couples in the airports, but now things are reversed... other people come up to us and talk to us!  Where are we from, Where are we going, and frequently they tell us about their missions... lots of fun!

At the Accra airport we discovered that one bag had ripped open about 10 inches but amazingly nothing was missing.  And then when we got to the hotel we found that the bags had gotten wet in Atlanta (it was raining) and Cameron's red ties had bled onto my white shirt and a few other things.  We left them to deal with later, caught a taxi and went to the temple.  Had a wonderful time there. 

Next day we packed up yet one more time and caught a Kenya Airlines flight to Freetown.  The 2 hour flight flew right over Bo although we couldn't see anything (too much water in the air).  After landing, Elder and Sister Greding (pure water project) whom we had met up with in Accra showed us how to blast thru customs with the help of an airport porter.  Then we took a bus down a very rough and steep dirt road to a palm lined beach with fisherman repairing their nets.  There we caught the Eco Taxi over to Freetown.  Only a 20 minute ride but no airflow inside made it, in President Roggia's words, a terrarium!  It was great to finally arrive after months of preparation and 2 days of travel.

We have so many stories and great experiences... they have to go in our journals... this blog would be way too long!

By the way, my white shirt is white again... after much scrubbing and soaking in bleach!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Our Arrival!

We're on the Eco Taxi from Lungi Airport to Freetown.  

President and Sister Roggia and Elder and Sister Randall were at Government Wharf to meet us.  Sister Roggia took these pictures of our arrival from Ghana.

Elder Schlehuber disembarking onto the floating dock.

 Sister Schlehuber disembarking...just a little wobbly on that dock! 

And up the steep stairs...

... to the top.

We're here!
It was a long but good trip, and we are excited to be here!  A great extra was that we were able to go to the temple in Accra Ghana.

Monday, January 9, 2012

We are checked out!

Last full day stateside

We finished up the MTC on Friday afternoon.  Continued to have a wonderful time and conversations with young and senior missions from everywhere.  Thursday and Friday instruction was a continuation of Tuesday and Wednesday... progressing thru more teaching practice, seeing clips of the good and the bad (!) and hearing several wonderfully inspirational senior couples who have each served 4 missions.  Their experiences were fantastic and were a great way to leave the MTC.

We fly out tomorrow and so we're just doing a few last minute things today.  We're looking forward to getting settled in our new home.  It will likely be a while before we get back on the internet but we'll be updating when we can.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Man's Search for Happiness

Another great day of training!  Our "teaching appointment" (role playing) went well, and another one tomorrow.  We have our lesson planned, although following the precept "Teach people, not lessons", may dictate a change of direction once we meet with the investigator.

At dinner we positioned ourselves at the end of a table midway between the ice cream and the tray return... a very active route!  A young elder came up to us (hadn't seen him before) and asked "Have you read Man's Search for Happiness?"  We didn't know why he was asking, was this a role play we were in and didn't know about, or what... so we said "Yes, a while back though."  He then excitedly pulled out of his pocket a letter from church headquarters and showed it to us.  A week earlier he had written to Elder Ballard saying how much he had enjoyed his book, how good it was for him... and today he had received a handwritten response!  He was so excited to have that letter, he said he just had to tell everyone!   We celebrated the moment with him and then off he went!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

MTC 2nd day

This has been a full day filled with Preach My Gospel training and preparation for our first teaching appointment tomorrow.  This evening we attended the devotional with O. Vincent Haleck of the Seventy.  His son Adam also spoke.  He spoke of consecrating all that we have, time, energy, effort for this period of time, let the Lord guide, let the Spirit fill our lives.  He stressed the importance of total obedience.  He said we will probably have those moments as he did, when looking out East over the Pacific he thought "Too far to swim."  Then he turned around and went to work.  His advice...let those moments be earlier rather than later in your mission.

During breakfast we sat with young sisters going to Brazil... today, in fact they left while we still ate.  Some sisters were left behind.  They've only been here 2 weeks.  The one's leaving seemed so confident and eager.  The newer sisters were confident, talkative, but just a little tentative!  The sisters are so happy, pleasant, polite, just delightful!

At lunch we discovered the "salad" secret!  Go behind the "wall of salad" and get a wrap without the wrap... all the salad ingredients without the tortilla.  The lunch salad guy really fixed us great salads!  We felt a little uncomfortable because they made us go to the front of the line.  Seniors can go to the front of the line but we didn't need to, we were fine where we were.  But they said it was showing respect for the seniors!  Okay, we'll take it!

Supper and the Ice Cream Elders:  Another good salad and then Elder Schlehuber had to get an ice cream.  As we were going to a seat to finish, a bunch of elders detained us with "Where's the ice cream?"  They had just arrived a few hours previous, so we took them to the ice cream source and also let them know that on Wednesdays there will be BYU Creamery ice cream... I don't think they fully understood the significance of that!   They were from Washington state, Australia, Denmark, India,  Korea and I can't remember where the other 2 or 3 were from.  The Danish elder started speaking Deutsch to us when he saw our name... he thought we were from Deutschland.

Another great day at the MTC!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Today we reported to the MTC

 We reported today (2 Jan 2012).  The check-in and initial orientation went very smoothly and quickly.  Young sisters and elders met us to help with our luggage.  I think they were disappointed that we only had 1 bag!

We have had a fair amount of free time today.  Check-in and initial orientation was finished in about 30 minutes so then we had a couple hours free until we had an official "Welcome to the MTC" along with general instructions, overview of the week, and assignments.  We were finished by 3:30pm.

Our group is the largest they've had in the last 2 years.  Couples and sisters going to China, Jordan, SLC, West Indies, California, Croatia, Montenegro, New York, Cambodia, Kenya... really just about everywhere it seems.

Meals are... interesting!  Lots of food and lots of young missionaries.  We sat by several who were very engaging.  It's obvious many of these young elders have been taught well.  They are polite, they are very conversant and respectful, they open doors, they are interested, they are delightful, they are happy!

Everything is super nice, close and convenient.  Everyone is friendly and happy!  We are having a great time!

Click on The MTC link at the top of this page to see some pictures of our room.