Thursday, July 29, 2010

Monday is Preparation Day.

Monday is preparation day (a day to do laundry, get groceries, rest) so we took some time to see the area. Here we are on our hike up to Charlotte Falls: Standing beside us in red is little Patience, then Elder and Sister Neves, Elder Jones (Sister Jones is taking the picture) Elder Bird, Elder Gunderson, Sister and Elder Patterson.
This bamboo bridge was fun to cross.  
It was really misty and the falls were loud. We stayed there for a while and enjoyed the view.

Hang on, President!  He really loved this little bridge and had to pretend he was hanging on for dear life!

It was really beautiful there.  We had a "guide" who met us as we drove into the hiking area.  The little girl in red, Patience, was with us the whole way.  She held my hand and sang.  She was excited to see herself in the camera after we'd take a picture.

That evening we went to dinner with the Senior Couples at a place called "Roys".  Some of us had barracuda and rice.  We haven't eaten barracuda before.  It was very light and delicious.  
Roy's had our tables outside near the beach. The weather was perfect with a gentle breeze.  It was a beautiful sunset and a wonderful day with our fellow servants.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves all day.

Elders Returning home after serving two years

Elders Wisseh, Gifford, Naeata, Anderson and Roberts.  We made lasagna, coleslaw, french bread and yummy donuts.  Again, the Senior Couples did most of the preparations and we did the lasagna.  Gotta have a little Italian with the Roggia's!!
The hamburger here is very lean.  We found lasagna noodles at the Freetown Supermarket plus tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes and some crushed tomatoes.  The onions and garlic were from one of the fruit stands.  (washed in bleach, of course).  Also at the Freetown Supermarket we found some mozerella and cheddar cheese.  Taste is a little different and it crumbles not shreds.  We didn't find any ricotta but who cares, the lasagna tasted mighty fine and there wasn't any leftovers!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More flora and new missionaries arriving

One of the fantastic flowers around our apartment courtyard.

The landscaping has a variety of wonderful plants.

We thought these purple ones were really pretty too.

Our new missionaries arriving: Elders Mazani, Stott, Lambson, Norton, Chaparadza, Allred, Moss and Emanuelson.  We fed them spaghetti, coleslaw, french bread and homemade donuts. The senior couples did everything but the spaghetti!  We love our missionaries.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Baptisms in pretty birds

Last Saturday, July 17th, there were three baptismal services.  Pictured here is Elder Wood and Elder Visser with several who were gettting baptized.  We had eleven who came unto Christ and were baptized at just one of the baptismal services. 

Outside our kitchen window, these little yellow birds were pecking at some bugs.  We were able to get really close and get this great picture of them.  We don't know what they you?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

More from our road trip...

See the goat on top the pile...?

We stopped for a minute while driving to Liberia and these sweet children ran up to the window of the car.  One read my name tag and told me "Hello, Sister Roggia!"

This is one of the roads we went down to Liberia.  This looks pretty good.  The ocean is on the other side of the trees but we couldn't see it.

Firetone Tires owns acres and acres of rubber trees in Liberia.

The t-shirts of these dear sisters from the Bo District reads "Charity Never Faileth"  They came to greet me with hugs and handshakes and introductions.  We had to get a "snap" together.  What a wonderful welcome!!!

More Sierra Leone and Liberia

These are huge termite hills.  Taller than Rick.

These are the little villages that we saw all the way to Liberia and back.  Actually I thought they were very well built and nice looking.

These beautiful coconut trees are all over the place. 

These are Primary children in a little branch north of Monrovia.  It took us about 30 minutes on bumpy roads to get to the building.  We heard roosters crowing, monkeys whooping and ducks walking through the building. It was all open space with just walls but you can see a black board and the place for the hymn numbers. Yet, these wonderful children were excited, happy and singing.  We loved them so much!

This is the branch president's lovely wife and cute baby.  She was sleeping so soundly during all the singing and people.  So sweet....

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sights to Liberia and back

One of the bridges we crossed over before Liberia

This is a very common sight.  The bags are charcoal that they make from trees in the area. 

Another common sight:  Selling coconuts in a wheelbarrow.  They will hack off the top for you with a machete and you can drink the coconut milk.  The meat inside is just pulled off.

Meet the President Conferences

Bo Zone Meet the President Conference  July 13th

Monrovia Zone Meet the President Conference July 9th
(Missing one district)

Freetown Zone Meet the President Conference in the mission home.  July 6th

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 4th - July 11th, 2010

(Pictures coming soon! They get better internet connection in Sierra Leone.)

4 July 2010
It was a Happy Independence Day in Sierra Leone. We had breakfast and then met up with the Assistants. I drove up through some narrow, crowded roads filled with people, motorcycles; beat-up old cars, wagons pulled by people. It is without a doubt some of the worse road conditions I have ever seen. We went to the Kissy Branch and attended sacrament meeting. They had about 120 there. It is another dilapidated building, but in this country that is considered average. The sacrament meeting was great. It was fast and testimony and they had some wonderful testimonies. They asked Cathy and me to speak. I talked about the contrast between last Sunday sacrament meeting when we were in Utah at the MTC with the Prophet, first presidency, and ten of the twelve apostles and then this Sunday here. Yet the spirit is present, lives, and is blessing both places. After the sacrament, I interviewed three brothers to be possible Branch Presidents. This branch is going to split. We left after the interview and went to the Congo Cross branch. There I met a lot of the people and interviewed a sister for baptism. She is repentant and ready for baptism. We then went back to the mission office where I released a return missionary. He faithfully served in Nigeria and is now back home on his way to Kenema. After all this, we went home, had some supper, and I spent the rest of the evening going through files getting up to speed on the four member districts and all the missionaries. I got to bed at 2300.

July 5, 2010
It was our first P-day in the field so we slept in until 0730. That was nice. We had breakfast and then spent the morning cleaning and organizing the house. I talked to two of the senior couples and it seems that someone is stealing diesel fuel from the house. We have security guards, but the corruption is so rampant here that even the guards are in on the stealing. Cathy and I had dinner with the three senior couples. They are the salt of the earth and a great blessing to me. I don’t know what I would do without them. They handle all the temporal things that would occupy my time if I had to do it. Plus, they are spiritual missionaries in their own right that are teaching the gospel to many. I really admire them. It was a great dinner and lasted about three hours. We talked about many things. There isn’t a lot of time in this mission to organize yourself because there is a constant flow of little fires to put out, ankle bitters to deal with and serious support issues for the members and missionaries. I can see that I will need to make sure that I have time with the Lord to receive guidance and recharge my batteries.

July 6, 2010
I was up at 0230 with ideas, revelations and inspiration as to the teaching of the missionaries today and the direction that I need to take the mission. Then I went back to bed and got another couple of hours sleep. We were up and had breakfast and at 0800 the Assistants with about eight outer Elders arrived. They set up for their "meet the president" meeting. In the next hour, the others arrived bringing our total to 22 Elders, three missionary couples, and us making it thirty people. We had prayer and an opening song. Cathy then bore her testimony and told a little about us. I just said that I was happy to be here and my actions would be my testimony. The Assistants took a half-hour and presented the new simplified curriculum and the changes to the mission schedule. We then had a break followed by musical numbers from each of the districts. For the next two hours, I presented the first lesson of the new curriculum: the Doctrine of Christ – The Missionary Purpose. It went great and you could feel the spirit fill the room and everyone received revelation. We had lunch. The sisters prepared a wonderful meal. Then we practiced teaching and the invitation to be baptized some more. After that, we had haircuts, weigh in, and then split-up to go out teaching. Each leader went with a companionship. I went with the Elders from Congo Cross. We taught two times. The first was a single sister who just happened to have four men from the provinces visiting her. The spirit really blessed our teaching because at the end each one in the room was invited and accepted the invitation to pray and ask God about the truth of our message. The sister was invited to prepare for baptism and she accepted. We then went and picked up the Relief Society President and she took us to visit a single sister with a young son and daughter. This place could only be described as a slum or a little hovel in the middle of a shanty town. The spirit was in the lesson and this lady and her son were touched. We also invited her to prepare for baptism. We returned to the mission office where we had a debriefing and evaluation with each of the six groups that went out. It was a marvelous meeting where each reported that their teaching was dramatically changed by following the spirit and focusing on their purpose. I can tell that today I won the hearts and minds of my missionaries by teaching, practicing, doing and following up with them. They also won my heart. It is so amazing to see their dedication and devotion to the work when the conditions they are doing it in are so hostile, sparse and difficult. The entire day there was pouring rain. It is the beginning of the rainy season and when it comes down it is just like pouring a bucket of water on your head. They are a wonderful group of young men. I wish I could let the church leadership and their families know how much I admire them. They are truly an inspiration to me and build my testimony. After that meeting, I went to the District Presidency meeting. There I met the district leadership. From there, I drove back home alone and settled in for the night. What a day this has been! I have been filled, drained and filled again.

July 7, 2010
We spent the morning getting ready for our trip to Bo, Kenema, and Liberia. We packed everything at the house and then went to the mission office. There I meet with all the church employment resource people from the Freetown district. I talked with them about taking perspective missionaries and return missionaries through their carrier placement programs. They would be very helpful to missionaries. We finished up some other unfinished business, went through some emails, and then the assistants, Cathy and I headed out for Bo. We took a short-cut over a very bad road that went over the mountain to hit the main road to Bo. Once we got on the main road, it was paved and very good. We left at one o’clock and got to Bo about four. We stopped and visited one of the missionary apartments and dropped off some goods to them. Then we went to the Imperial hotel. It isn’t much quality compared to the states but compared to anything in Africa it is pretty good. Then we went and I interviewed a branch missionary at the church to serve as a companion for a full-time missionary for a couple of weeks in Freetown. Then it was back to the hotel where Cathy and I had a rice and chicken dinner and went to bed. It was a long day.

July 8, 2010
We left Bo early at 0730 and drove to Kenema where we visited the elders there. One of them, a Tongan, is just getting over Malaria. We dropped some supplies off at their place and then headed on to Liberia. It is a dirt road filled with holes and puddles from the rain season. We were blessed in that it didn’t rain all day. On the way, we started hearing a grinding sound on the axle. We stopped in the middle of the jungle and searched all over. We took the tire off to try and find what was the matter. Along came one of the natives who watched us and then got down and started moving the wheel. The break cover had hit something and pressed up against the break drum and was making the noise. He banged it out and all was ok. He was a real angel sent from God. I gave him some money for his help. We were back on the way and after passing through about twenty check points and border stations along the way, we arrived in Monrovia Liberia. We went to the Kimbell’s apartment. They are the senior couple for Liberia. We and a wonderful dinner and spent the night there after twelve hours on the road. I was dead tired.

July 9, 2010
We were up at 0600, showered, had breakfast and then went to the Sinkor chapel. At 0800, I called Elder Golden, the Area President, about some missionary business, then I interviewed a brother for my second counselor in the mission presidency. After that, we held the training meeting with the 20 missionaries from Monrovia. We did the same training we did in Freetown. It went over well. At noon, they went in to eat and I started interviews. I interviewed the twenty elders one at a time and finished at six o’clock. Then we had zone leader council. That lasted two hours. At eight, we followed the Kimbell’s back to their place. We talked to them until nine and at that point I was so tired I couldn’t stay awake. I was just dead beat and exhausted. It was one long day, but filled with spiritual experiences. God is good to me.

July 10, 2010
I had breakfast and then went with Elder Kimbell to the Bushrod Island District presidency meeting. There I met five of the branch presidents. I gave some counsel at the meeting. After that, we went to the Imperial Hotel and met up with our wives and had lunch. I had a cheeseburger. It was great. Then Elder Kimbell and I went to the Monrovia District presidency meeting and I met four more branch presidents and gave some more counsel. Following that, we had the bi-district fireside and Cathy and I spoke. There were a couple hundred there. The choir was great and the spirit really spoke through me. I talked on the story of Enoch and his vision of Zion in the last days. Following that, I had a brief meeting with one of the district presidents and gave a blessing to a missionary who had some of his best friends killed in a car wreck. Then we went back to the Kimball's and had supper and talked for a couple more hours. I was able to get online so I checked email until midnight.

July 11, 2010
We went with the Kimbells out to visit two independent branches. They are both located on rubber plantations. The first branch had 96 present and they were meeting in a rundown old school. However, their spirits were strong. I talked on Nemaha and Zurrubbel and the rebuilding of their countries after war. The spirit was really strong and it was a good time fellowshipping with one another. We left for the second branch and arrived just as they were finishing. We were able to attend about twenty minutes of their Sunday school class on eternal marriage. It was a beautiful lesson. I talked with the branch president. They had 56 out to the branch today. We returned to Monrovia and spent the rest of the Sabbath in rest. We leave tomorrow for Bo in Sierra Leone.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

We're here!

This is the Ghana Airport.  We arrived at 5:00 p.m. Ghana time.  We were greeted by another couple who took us to meet the Area doctor who we will work with when the missionaries are ill. We went to the hotel and discovered that our ankles had disappeared.  15 hours in the air will do that to ya!

Ghana Temple.  It was very beautiful in Ghana and the temple is too.  There was a group from Togo visiting.

This is the waiting area inside the Ghana Airport. We were waiting to get on the flight to Sierra Leone.  Yesterday when we got off the plane, we had to walk through soccer goal posts and there was all sorts of Ghanian flags....very proud of their team.

 This is the road to the water taxi from the airport.  It was all rural and the roads were very very bumpy.  The dirt reminds me of the red Georgia clay and the flora is very much like Okinawa---humidity and heat the same.

We are just leaving the dock in the Water Taxi.  You can see how green it is...I was trying to get a picture of the little children playing in the water as we left.  They were all waving.

Coming into Freetown...

This is the Water Taxi that we rode on.  We had to wear life jackets...It made me think of water skiing at Flathead Lake in Montana.  Bouncy ride with the water spraying....loved it!

These three wonderful missionaries are leaving Sierra Leone to serve missions in Nigeria.  Pres. Roggia set them apart as missionaries the second day we were there....jet lag and all...the work rolls forth.

President and Sister Squires with us as they left.  They were so good to teach us and give us as much information and direction as they could in the time we had together!  Everyone will miss them and their wonderful service to Sierra Leone and Liberia.  We will miss them too and wish we had them in our pocket every time we had another question to ask. They had a long flight ahead of them...they were happy to go home and sad to leave these beautiful people.