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. 


Crayk's in Africa said...

Elder Crayk and I have enjoyed following your blog and incredible work. We are on our way and can't wait to meet these beautiful people! We enter the MTC on Mon the 5th, so it won't be long now! Thank you for everything that you have done to prepare & organize Masaka, we feel like it is our home already. Have a safe trip home, Love the Crayk's

AllAmericanGrl said...

wow ... seriously you are almost finished with your mission? it seems like just yesterday i was reading along! are you going to continue to blog when you get back home?!