Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Having a hard time sleeping here in Kampala.  We have a great apartment, no airconditioning but we just leave the windows open and enjoy the breeze that comes in.  Only problem is the dogs.  I mean really.  The dogs start barking about 10:00 PM and don't stop for anything.  It goes on and on with more dogs joining in as the night rolls on.  Bark bark bark, yap yap, bark bark, on and on and on - what starts as a solo soon turns in to a mighty chorus  - you can hear dogs joining in the howling from far distances .  Finally about 4:00 AM the dogs settle down just in time for the roosters to start crowing.  Now this is a residential area but everyone has a few chickens and of course you have to have a rooster so 4 AM the roosters start competing for airtime.  They crow every minute on the minute and sometimes in between.  Sleep? whats that? haven't had much since we got her.  Ah we're in Africa and this is the real life.  Just something we will have to get use to - meantime my Itouch sure comes in handy when you want to drowned our the night life.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All orphanages in Africa are not hopeless . . .

A visit to the New Hope Orphanage

All orphanages in Africa are not hopeless. The Glenns found a way to help this amazing orphanage called New Hope.
The orphanage has 345 children, 325 orphaned by the war and 120 from parents who have died of AIDS. Just 200 of the children are boarding at the orphanage and the rest spend the night with relatives or caregivers.

The problems:
• Classroom walls of bamboo were in need of support and were collapsing.
• Latrines were overflowing into the yard.
• Old brick pig barn with dirt floor was being used for classroom.
• There was not enough food to feed the children.

The Glenns project was very creative.

Through LDS Charities the Glenns arranged for :

• Cement pillars and footings to be built to support the bamboo walls of the classrooms
Cement posts and footings

• The pig barn got a cement floor and the walls were plastered.

pig barn now classrooms

• !0,000 liter water cachement system to catch the abundant rainfall allowing the monies saved from purchasing city water to be used for small animal farming to supplement the food needs.

• New latrines

• Mosquito nets large enough to cover bunk beds to protect the children from malaria and 225 blankets for the children who were boarding at the school.
• Seeds shovels and hoes for veg and herb garden and training of students in gardening and the establishment of a garden to supplement food needs.

• Wood stain for refinishing the desks in the classrooms

All the contracted work was done by returned missionaries giving them income to pay back their PEF loans.


The Orphanage was transformed and the children and staff landscaped the yard so that it looked like a very prosperous community. Elder Holland visited the orphanage and was able to see all the changes that had taken place.

This little girl followed me all over as we toured the orphanage and then wanted to sit on my lap during the program.  All the children looked healthy and well cared for.
The Glenns took us to see the transformation and we were very impressed with the clean compound and the feeling of Hope that was coming from the staff and children. The children sang to the Glenns as a farewell gesture.
We learned a lot from studying this project. It was a great project meeting many needs.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Article in Salt Lake Tribune

Here is an interesting article from todays Salt Lake Tribune about the church in Uganda.  Just wanted to share it with those of you who wonder how the church is doing here in our mission, Uganda Kampala Mission, that includes Uganda, Rwanda, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia.
Mission in Africa: Mormons find converts, challenges on very foreign

Monday, March 22, 2010

We've arrived!

Travel to Uganda was long (26 hours) but we had good travel companions with Elder and Sister Nevin who were going to Nairobi to work the employment center and Elder and Sister Andrus who are opening Rwanda to missionary work. They will also run the Humanitarian projects for Rwanda.
We had to go through security 3 times once in Salt Lake, again in Chicago and once again in London. We arrived at the Entebbe airport at 9:30 PM. Only thing we knew about Entebbe was the movie, “Siege at Entebbe” so we had no idea what to expect. Happens they just remodeled the airport and it looked clean and seemed to be well organized. We got through the visa check without any problem and got waved through customs when we told them we were missionaries. There were no police and no soldiers and we wondered if we really were in Africa. It turned out that our airplane was loaded with volunteers coming to Uganda to do good works. One group had brought 4 NFL players to help them build schools and run a health clinic all in 12 days.

We were met by the Pres. and Sis. Christiansen and a driver who whisked us off to the mission home to spend the night. We fell into bed and went right to sleep as we had not been able to sleep on the plane so we were exhausted. The next morning we were picked up by the Glenns the current hum missionaries and after dropping off our luggage we started our tour of projects. No time to rest as the Glenns won't be with us long and we will be on our own.

Our mentors, the Glens, are from Salt Lake City.  She is a special education teacher and he is in malpractice insurance.  They have made a name for them selves in Uganda by planning projects which have resulted in clean water for over 400,000 people.  This is amazing and we have to keep up with that kind of an example?
Today we had a meeting with the Minister of State for Relief and Disaster Prepardness and Refugees, ECWERU MUSA FRANCIS (MP).  This is a very gracious and distinguished man.  The Glenns have worked with him on some relief for refugees in the past . This past year the minister was invited to participate in The Sixteenth Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, "Connecting Communities of Discourse: How the Judiciary, Academia, Government and International Institutions Further the Work of Religious Freedom," 4-6 October 2009, at BYU.  He was well received and was so impressed with BYU he is sending his son there to be educated this next year.
While we were in the area we made a quick visit to the African Craft Market and to a nice MALL.  Yes, I said a mall.  Can't believe that we are going to be living where there is a mall.  It was decorated with African sculptures that were very interesting.

The Glenn leave tomorrow and we will be on our own.  They are leaving some large water projects for us to finish and we realize there is no time to acclimatize we just need to jump in and get to work.  We are ready.  We are about over our jet lag and we didn't fall asleep standing up once today.  Let's go do some good works. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Going to the Mission Training Center

MTC has been an interesting experience. We have a wonderful group to study with. They are all first time humanitarian but not their first mission. They are going to Cambodia, Marshall Islands, Fiji, Jamaica, and Brazil. All are very nervous but anxious to go to work. It is that fear of the unknown and a question of what you should fill your bags up with when you have such limited space to travel.

We spend one day touring the church welfare system including Welfare Square, LDS Employment and LDS Charities. We had lunch with the managers of humanitarian services and were given a pep talk by Glenn Rudd the father of the welfare program. He just happens to be a good friend of the Barlow family as Grandpa Barlow served with him when he was mission president in Georgia. He is 92 years old and comes to work every day keeping on with his good works.

We had a wonderful devotional on Tuesday with a talk by Elder Haphen counseling us to not expect our testimony to be sure or totally unwavering but to keep the commandments, be obedient and work hard and our testimony will grow on a daily bases and we will be strengthened with all we do.

The Livingstons, our mission president in the DR Congo invited us to dinner to meet our new mission president, Pres Jackson and his wife (they will start their service in July in the Kampala Uganda Mission).  Also at dinner were the Moons, our dear Congo buddies and the Andrus who are opening up Rwanda and will fly with us to Uganda. 

So we are now ready for our new African adventure. Farrell says it sounds a lot better to be going to the “Emerald of Africa” than to the “Heart of Darkness.”

We fly to Uganda on March 15th.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's time . . .

About last September Farrell started talking about serving another mission.  Oh sure honey, that is a great idea lets start dreaming of Tahiti, Fiji, Geneva or some other exotic place.  He didn't give up he kept talking and telling me he just had a feeling we should go and go now, not wait.  I have always listened when Farrell gets those feelings as he lives very closely to the spirit and always acts on promptings.  You may ask what is a "prompting?"  A prompting is a communication from our heavenly Father urging us to do something that will benefit us greatly if we follow the "prompting?"  

So . . .following that prompting we started the process of applying for a mission.  Since you may not know about this process I want to explain to you how this "Mormon mission process" works.

Our church teaches that we should be actively engaged in good works.  For a couple who finds themselves retired this means we should think about serving a full time mission.  There are many types of missions for our church including prostelyting, humanitarian, employment, public relations, perpetual education fund, temple and others.

The process starts with an interview with your bishop where the bishop assesses your worthiness to go on a mission.  The bishop then gives you access to an online application that starts the process.

You are required to have a full physical exam and a dental exam where it is determined if you have any medical issues that would limit the service you may give. Once these are finished you fill out a questionnaire listing all your experience and interests along with your willingness to learn a foreign language, how long you are willing to serve  (12 mo., 18 mo. or 24 mo.), the amount of money you can afford each month (missionaries pay their own expenses) and your desire to serve in the US or international.  There is a place to also list any concerns or limitations you may have that might affect your service.

Once you have your application finished it is reviewed by the bishop and the stake president and then sent into the missionary department at church headquarters.  After being reviewed the application is sent to a committee that included one or more of the twelve apostles who pray about where this couple should be sent and what type of mission they should serve.
You then receive a formal letter, the mission call, that explains your resposibilities as a missionary for the Church of jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it is signed by the prophet of the Church, Pres. Thomas S. Monson.  In this letter is listed the mission to which you are assigned with the title which you will serve under.

We went through this process and then waited with great anticipation.  The letter arrived and we gathered our family around.  We asked each of them to tell us where they thought we would be going.  Their speculations ran from Alaska to France, from FIji to Hawaii.  I had purchased Rosetta Stone French training in anticipation of going French speaking again.  Farrell and I thought we would go to Paris.  As we sat with our family gathered around us we opened the envelope.  Cell phone and cameras came out and everyone posed to record the announcement.  As Farrell read the letter his eyes grew wide, his shoulders slumped and he proclaimed "we will be serving in Uganda?"  Yes he proclaimed it as a question, asking in disbelief, "Uganada?"
That is right, we are returning to Africa to the Uganda, Kampala Mission with responsibility for humanitarian services to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Southern Sudan.  We are excited to get back into that service mode again and Africa is in our blood.  This will be a mission much like our mission to the DR Congo with the same emphasis but it will be a new adventure and we want you to share the experience with us right here in our new blog.  We will spend a week in the MTC in Provo, Utah doing welfare training and then we will be in the mission field on March 16th.  The adventure begins!