Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Usually we just ignore holidays while in Africa and try to live in the schedule of life we find here. But yesterday both Farrell and I thought all day about family and friends and all the pleasure and joy of living in the good ol' USA.
I wish everyone could live outside of our great nation for a while and have the opportunity of really missing the basic goodness of the a place that we call home. It is so much better to fill your glass half full instead of half empty, to spend your time building instead of tearing down, to support the positive and let the Lord take care of the negative. Never forget there is a plan. . .

"The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame. But the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, until the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah will say, ‘The work is done." (Joseph Smith)

"Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others...By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves." (GBH)

"Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight." (GBH)

"It isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don't worry. I say that to myself every morning. It all works out in the end. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers." (GBH)

"Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine." (GBH)
Got to love Pres. Hinckley and his to the point attitude.
There is not a day goes by here in Africa that someone doesn't tell us that their life goal is to go live in the US. There is a reason for such a desire. We have just become complacent about the life we are allowed to live in our homeland.

So this Memorial Day I salute all those who love America, all those who are working hard to make it a "promised land", all those who vote, volunteer, serve their country and have gratitude in their hearts for what God has given us.

Shame on you who waste your time finding fault, who fuel the fire, who exaggerate the negatives, who perpetuate the rumors and half truths.

So today on Memorial Day I find I have great love for my country, for all those who are seeking to make it better in a positive way, who spend their time in good works.

So, let's go do some good!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Good things happening this week!

Good things this week

We had two baptisms in our ward this week. Elder MacMillan and Elder Andika had a baptism. Sister Carline Tausi Mbatudde.was one excited girl to get baptized. She is a delightful 20 year old who said she did what the scriptures told her to do and prayed to know if all she was being told was true and she got a tender witness that the church was indeed true and if she were to be baptized her life would change for the better.  Carliine was baptized by the Bishop Ojambo.

She bore a tender testimony of how much she loved the scriptures and how she felt so complete when she was reading them. Carline’s mother came to the baptism and expressed her happiness for her daughter as she had seen a change in her, a change that is helping her focus on her future.

Elder Amott and Elder Glad have gone a while without a baptism so they were pretty excited to get Sister Joanita Nagayi to accept the gospel.

Sister Joan was very excited about her baptismal day. She stated that she felt so good inside now that she was baptized. She said she has always been a good person and tried to do good but now she felt her potential was greater and she could accomplish anything with the blessings of the gospel.  Joan was baptized by the first counselor in the bishopric, Sam Katumba
Elder Amott held Sis. Nagayi baby during her baptism
Sister Joan had her two sisters with her and both attended Young Women’s class. I had given the girls a challenge to read the Book of Mormon with me as part of their Personal Progress. There were three members in the class and 4 investigators so it was a good thing I brought some Book of Mormons. I gave them a book, a red marking pencil and a tracker to keep track of what they read. Can’t wait till Sunday to see if they did some reading.

Now more news!
Monday we were sitting at the computer thinking about going to bed and an envelope comes flying under the front door. (there is quite a gap all the way around our front door) When we opened it up there were keys to a new car and a note from Elder Rothy, the financial officer of the mission.  He lives across the hall from us.

Dear Elder and Sister Barlow
Enclosed are your keys for your new 2010 Frontier Nissan. Enjoy every mile! – I keep a suppy of wax and scratch remover in the event you have a mishap. Dents are another topic for another day. Enjoy your relaxing mission in style!
Elder Rothy

Farrell thought it was a joke until we looked outside and saw a brand new silver truck sitting in our parking space. What a surprise. We were not due for a new truck until it was time for us to leave the mission. We had complained about our little red truck as it had no pep and had a difficult time climbing hills and negotiating potholes. It is small and the back seat (where I often ride) is very cramped. So we were very surprised to get a new truck.
Farewell red truck . . .
Seems the AP’s had rolled their truck about a month ago and totaled it so they ordered a new truck to replace it but didn’t want to give it to the young elders.
Yesterday Elder Demery (from Chicago) came down from Gulu to pick up his new companion, Elder Chabane (from South Africa). He was told to come pick up the little red truck and take it to Gulu. They were pretty excited when they picked it up. It looks kinda like a muscle car with a roll bar, a hard body top rack and a bull nose on the front. They were happy to pick up little red and leave their clunker behind.
We are riding in style!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hanging Memories on the Clothesline

We have great accommodations here in Kampala. We are on the fourth floor of an apartment building of 8 apartments. We have 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. We don’t have air conditioning but we have lots of windows and can open our windows and doors for great cross ventilation. We have a stove that has 2 electric eyes and two gas (propane) burners so we are good even if the power goes out. We have a little washer but no dryer.

Now most people here wash their clothes in a bucket or sink with a great powdered soap called OMO. It is like Oxyclean and works well except on the red mud stains which truly are stains as no matter what you do the mud stains are with you for life.

So, every few days I throw a batch in our little washer and then hang the clothes on a line stretched across our patio. Today when I was hanging out the wash I had a great flashback to my childhood when I use to hang the clothes on the line with my mom. We didn’t have a modern washer or dryer back then but we did have a wringer washer; and I was scared to death I was going to catch my arm in those evil wringers.
But. . back to my nostalgic experience. There I was hanging out the wash and thinking of my mom and all those lessons learned while hanging out the wash.

I remembered having to stand on a wooden box to be able to reach the line, the wooden clothes pins that had to be kept in a bag so they wouldn’t get dirty, the old diaper used to wipe the line off before you hung the clothes, and mom always hoping for a good breeze to snap those sheets and towels in the wind which would assure they were soft and smelled clean and fresh.
(There's a storm rolling into Kampala)
Oh, and then the mad dash out to grab the wash off the line when you saw the storm clouds gathering.
All these ancient memories came to mind as I hung my little one batch wash out this morning. Along with the lessons learned on the proper way to do the wash I started realizing other lessons taught during those times with my mom.

Choose strong anchors for your life:  Hang those clothes by the seams so that they are secure and iit won't stretch the fabric out.
Take pride in your daily work: “I love to have a clean wash with something for everyone to wear – aren’t we blessed Marilyn to have such a beautiful day to do the wash.”

Be prepared: While looking over the white picket fence into the new garden just starting to show the tiny shoots of peas, beans and carrots pushing up through the soil, “Look Marilyn the garden is starting to grow. It won’t be long and we will be canning beans and that will be a good thing because last year’s beans are all gone.”

Patience has its own reward: “Ah, look how pretty the tulips are. Let’s take some in to enjoy in the house. Aren’t we glad we planted those bulbs last fall.

Have joy in being a woman:   Way before woman’s lib mom always looked at her role of mother and wife as a calling, a good place to be, a worthwhile venture.  The wash was a thing to take pride in - a job done well - a service to the family (granted we never appreciated it as we should have).

Just a few of those teaching moments grasped while doing the wash.  Such sweet memories - so many lessons learned when I didn’t even know I was being taught.   Think those day to day chores with your children are just a part of a mother's duties?

Thanks mom for teaching me how to hang clothes on the line.