Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dec 25, 2016 - a Santa mime

Christmas Day! But, it doesn't feel like it. People here do not get into the Christmas
Spirit. There is no music, no presents, no saying "merry Christmas", no shopping just
every day living. Today on the way to church many women were washing clothes,
people were sweeping the trash out of their yards and gutters into the street, and there
was a big trash hauler (which we have never seen here) scooping up the piles of trash
and throwing it into the back of the truck. Normal everyday living. Nothing special
about Christmas. A fun thing that happened this morning was in the town square there
was a mime. He had on red sneakers and red tights and a red santa hat. The rest of his
body was painted the same shade of red as his pants, including his head. His face was
painted red but he had a painted on white beard. He stood perfectly still. If you did not
know it was a real person, you would think you were looking at a statue. He only
moved when he needed to change positions. Then he made slow, deliberate
movements. He was elevated and there were many people watching him. It was
A couple of very good things happened in Church today. Two men who were baptized
one week ago talked in Sacrament Meeting. They both gave very good talks. You
would never know they have only been a member for one week. One talked about the
necessity of following the prophet and the other talked about Jesus Christ being a
leader. The other good thing that happened was this: The last two Sundays I attended
Primary and the Primary President nor her counselor came prepared with anything for
the children. I went prepared to help in sharing time/singing time if they needed me.
The Primary President wasn't so happy to see me. When I asked her what her lesson
was on for the day, she huffed, got up and left the room and came back about 3
minutes later with the nursery manual. She then waved her hand across the children
and said, "there are some new and I don't know who they are. Every week we get
someone knew and have to start at the beginning". She then asked the children to sing
I Am a Child of God for an opening song. Done very nicely but at the top of their lungs.
She then spend the next 15 minutes making the children repeat after her every phrase
of I Am a Child of God three times. They were obedient but extremely bored. Then she
asked me if I had anything. I spent the next hour and 45 minutes singing and playing
with the children. I had my Gospel Arts book and we looked at pictures and I told
stories. The children loved it. I asked the children how many of them were baptized.
No one held up their hand. I repeated myself thinking they did not understand me. The
the Primary President said none of them were baptized even though 9 of the 11
children were over the age of 8. This Branch has a severe problem. In other units I
have been in, the children get water and a cracker (they call them biscuits) for a snack.
I asked the president if the children would get a snack. She said "no, the Branch
President says no". I invited her to go with me to see the Branch President. She asked
the Branch President if she could get water and a biscuit for the children for a snack in
Primary. He said, "NO, you give the children water and a biscuit you will have children
coming to church only for the snack. Besides, we have no money for that". The
Primary President told him the children should have a snack. I then confirmed her
statement by adding "every week". There was a large woman sitting next to the
President and she said, "Next week is Christmas. Children should have water, soda, and
a biscuit. He will give you money and you will buy". That was the end of that
discussion. Today, we only had Sacrament Meeting and after Sacrament Meeting the
children all went to the Primary room and the Primary President tapped me on the
shoulder and told me to "come". I went with her into the Primary room and told her
there was no Primary today. She said "yes," she was so excited and pulled me into the
adjoining room. There were about 6 young women all filling plates with the most
wonderful smelling rice and with each plate had a bottle of cold apple cedar. We took
the plates out to the children and they were so surprised and very delighted. I asked
the Primary President if the Branch President gave her money to buy all this. Her
response was, "he gave me money for water and a biscuit, I bought rice, soda, and
water". I hugged her. This was a major step forward. There were 17 children today. I
had brought 25 of the little 3X5 pictures of Christ with the Children (the one with one
black boy in it) and gave them to the Primary President, Sister Jalloh, for her to give the
children. That was the only Christmas these children received.
We had the 6 missionaries over for lunch and then they hung out for the day. I made
the most horrid chicken cacciatore. No one said anything and later that night I said to
Don, "I didn't like that cacciatore". He went "UGH! That was nasty, what did you do?"
We both laughed. But there were enough snack foods to fill everyone up. Then I had
taken 16 pictures from the Gospel Arts book and made small posters. There were 8 of
us and we all chose 2 pictures and talked about the pictures we chose. We shared
experiences and testimonies. It was spiritual. After that, we opened our Christmas
Stockings.The 3 Africans had never heard of such a thing and it was fun watching them
unwrap the little things we put in them. Elder Foote was excited about a set of
measuring spoons. He cooks and only guesses the amount of spices to use. Elder
Turner was excited about a bottle of BBQ sauce. He loves BBQ chicken pizza. Elder
Weber was excited about a block of mozzarella cheese, and the 3 Africans had no idea
what a coupon was and we had to explain those. We gave them each a coupon to have
a hot shower at our place (Missionaries do not have hot water at all. Everything is done
with cold water) and the other coupon was for having their clothes for the week
washed for them. They thought that was pretty cool. Only problem with this, the 3
white Elders all got transferred and leave Tuesday. Oh Well. After this, we had cold
pop/soda and pumpkin bars. A real treat! When Cholena came in August, she brought
a jigsaw puzzle of Christ walking on the water. We set up a card table and 6 of the 8 of
us buried our heads and spent 4 hours working on that puzzle and we talked and
laughed and told stories. It was very relaxing and a lot of fun.
A good Christmas.

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