Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Well, the Mess in Masaka turns out to be a pretty great Branch

Last Feb we blogged about What A Mess We Made in Masaka

When Kaden and Matt, the USU students, left to go home Pres.Jackson sent the full time elders in to work with the new members of the Masaka group.
Elder Doney, Elder Ashman, Elder Chola, Elder Lyman            
New member Monday, Elder Gotora, new member Santos
Elder Lyman was the district leader for the missionaries and was put in charge of the Masaka Group while Elder Barlow was asked to be in Masaka every Sunday and preside.
Elder Lyman went to conduct that first Sunday and turned to Elder Barlow with the look of fear on his face and said, "I don't know how to do this."  Elder Barlow assured him he did know how, he had been going to church all his life and now it was just time to be in charge.  It took a few Sundays and he had it all running smoothly.
About that time some new students from USU came to finish their project and showed up at church .
Kyle, Benjamin, Sam and Katie
They came up their first Sunday and asked what they could do to help.  We got Sam and Katie busy teaching Primary
Kyle and Benjamin, both returned missionaries, jumped right in to assist the missionaries in working with the investigators.
They all came to Tues and Thur evening study group and worked right along side the missionaries.  There seemed to be very little need for tracting as the people just continued to show up at the study group and were added to the missionary teaching pool.
Every week there were baptisms and the missionaries procured a font which eliminated the need to rent the hotel pool to do the baptisms.
On July 31st Pres. Jackson came to Masaka to ordain elders for the Masaka Group.
Historic day when Masaka group got the
Melchizedek Priesthood
Five elders were ordained and it wasn't long before three more were ordained.  The group continued to grow.
Sseeguya Herbert, Akera George, KabyemeraSantos Fanuel, Ssekitto Robert, Kayinamura Monday
First to be ordained Elders in the Masaka group
This was a very important day in the lives of these men as they had spent a lot of time preparing to receive the “Higher Priesthood”.  They were so happy and bore fervent testimonies of the love they had for the Savior and the true church of Jesus Christ.  They bore witness of our Prophet, President Monson and to the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith.  It was a wonderful day in Masaka.
Now some serious work had to be done.  These new elders needed to learn all they could about the Priesthood so they could be prepared to have a Branch in Masaka.  Elder Lyman and Elder Barlow spent a lot of time teaching and training these brethren in the duties of the priesthood.  They were like sponges, absorbing every bit of information that they were given.

Elder Barlow explained to Pres. Jackson that if the group kept growing this fast the new building would not be adequate for their needs. It would be necessary to look for a new building to meet in.

31 July 2011 Masaka group became a branch
I asked George how his week had been and he said it had been a great week for study and meditation.  Akera George is an amazing man, living and working in Masaka while his wife is living in Kampala with his children.  She had been baptized the church the week before and his son, who is going to the university in Gulu, was baptized and  given the priesthood a few weeks earlier.  George was being prepared.
Sacrament meeting was spent organizing the new Masaka Branch.

President Pres. Okera George
1st Counselor Bro. Sseegyua Herbert
2nd Counselor Bro. Sekitto Robert
Executive Secretary Bro. Kabyemera Santos Fanuel
Branch Clerk Bro. Kayinamura Monday
Elders Quorum Pres. Bro Anthony
It was a wonderful, spiritual, fulfilling, long awaited day.  Now the real work was to begin. 
The next Sunday the new Branch Presidency started organizing the branch.

New Relief Society Presidency
Primary Presidency

Now here is a new Primary Presidency having been members of the church for less than 6 months.  They have never attended Primary before, they don't know any of the Primary songs or how primary is suppose to work.  They have a challenge ahead of them.  I set them up as best I could telling them that I would not be back as I would be leaving to go home very soon.  I promised them that Pres. Jackson would not forget them and he would be sending them Elder and Sis Crayk by the end of Sept. They will make do.  They will survive.  Oh Hurry Sis. Crayk and get here they need you to shepherd and lift up the hands.
There is only one member of this new branch that has been in the church more than 7 months and she joined as a child but hasn't attended for several years because of now branch in the area.

We left our little Masaka Branch that day with wonderful memories of Saints who have such great faith as to join the church without expectation, only faith in their Savior, Jesus Christ, and a hope for all things.  The Lord will bless these beautiful people, as they will do what they are asked and the blessings can not be constrained.

Masaka are special.  We felt that way back last year when we started the water project in this area and it has been verified as we have watched these members study the gospel and accept the teachings and principles without hesitation. 
Back in he beginning of the Masaka group some children came to the meetings faithfully.  I eventually took them aside during study group and started holding Primary.  That was back in the first of January.  They came by themselves dressed neat and clean and ready for church.  The have continued to come, every Sunday without fail.  Their parents have never come.  They are beautiful, precious children who will forever be in our hearts as they are a bright spot in the Masaka Primary.
Who would have thought back in Sept. 2010 that we would be a part of the formation of the first branch of The Church Of Jesus Christ  of Latter-day Saints  in Masaka, Uganda. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Murchison Falls

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all
Member of the so-called "Big Five" (with the elephant, rhino, lion and leopard. )
Dangerous, kill more people in Africa than any other animal.
 Both male and female buffaloes have heavy, ridged horns.
The horns are formidable weapons used against predators and for jostling for space within the herd; males use the horns in fights for dominance.    

Sight and hearing are both rather poor, but scent is well developed.
A calf in danger will bellow mournfully, bringing herd members running at a gallop to defend it.                                       

Males congregate in groups, 4 to 7 years of age and males 12 years and older.
The older bulls often prefer to be on their own. 
Usually calve only once every two years. Although 
the female and her offspring have an unusually intense and prolonged relationship.
Calves are suckled for as long as a year and during this time are completely dependent on their mothers.                                        .
 They have very few enemies on the savanna. They are grass eaters.

Giraffes have the same number of bones in their neck as humans do.
Baby giraffes are about 6 feet tall when they are born.
They are one of the few animals born with horns.
They only sleep for a few minutes at a time.
Their heart weighs approximately 24 pounds.
Giraffes are the tallest animals on earth.
You would have to run in order to keep up with a giraffe walking because every step a giraffe takes is 15 feet long.
A giraffe's neck can be 78 inches long.

The giraffes' biggest enemy is the lion.
Each time a giraffe picks up its neck it picks up 550 pounds!
A giraffe is one of the few animals that uses mostly its front legs when it runs.
Giraffe have 4 stomachs just like cows (their cud needs to travel all the way up their neck!)

Largest living land mammal.
Muscular trunk serves as a nose, hand, extra foot, signaling device and tool for gathering food, siphoning water, dusting, and digging.
Tusks differ in size, shape and angle and researchers can use them to identify individuals.
Distinguished by its high level of intelligence, interesting behavior, methods of communication and complex social structure.
Fascinated with the tusks and bones of dead elephants, fondling and examining them.
African Elephant's ears are the same shape as the continent of Africa.
Very social, frequently touching and caressing one another and entwining their trunks.
Elephants demonstrate concern for members of their families they take care of weak or injured members and appear to grieve over a dead companion.

Love water, the Greeks named them the "river horse." 
Spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in water to keep their massive bodies cool
Graceful in water, good swimmers, and can hold their breath underwater for five minutes. 
Secrete an oily red substance, which gave rise to the myth that they sweat blood - liquid is actually a skin moistener and sunblock
At sunset they leave the water and travel overland to graze.
May graze for 6 miles in a night, to consume some 80 pounds of grass.
They can match a humans speed for short distances.
Hippo calves weigh nearly 100 pounds at birth and can suckle on land or underwater
Each female has only one calf every two years.
Soon after birth, mother and young join schools that provide protection against crocodiles, lions, and hyenas.
Adults weigh 2 to 4 tons

Vegetation eaters but also eat meat when available.
Sleep, travel, feed and socialize as a group

Often socialize with humans
Adults groom each other while the children play


Only males have horns.
Mothers hide their young for the first 3-4 weeks returning frequently to suckle them.

The meat of older water bucks takes on an unpleasant odor from the waterproofing secretions of its sweat glands, prompting predators to choose other prey.


Ugandan type of antelope
Very forgetful - while running from a predator he may forget why he is running and stop.






This whole family was lying in this mud puddle we couldn't believe it when they all crawled out.



 Uganda's National Bird - Silver Crested Crane
 The boat ride got a little wet with a stiff breeze and a pretty big wake

A safari in Africa can be quite the experience even a spiritual experience as you view God's creations.  From the beautiful, graceful giraffes to those ugly little warthogs it is quite the sight.

Safari with the Hunsakers, what a way to end a great trip to Africa.

*   Most of these great pictures were taken by Dr.Hunsaker and he was kind enough to share them with us. 
** Names of animals may not be totally correct