Transport is much more exciting here in Kenya than in the U.S.A, it has never failed to amaze us each and every day! Ask us sometime about the many more that our camera failed to catch such as a live goat in a basket on a bike, a hog, hog-tied, tightly on a picki-picki (motorcycle), plus a tractor tire looped around a driver's waist of a picki-picki.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
To ring in the New Year 2013 we traveled north to spend some time with our Senior Missionary neighbors, Elder/Sister Hunter in Kitale. We spent the day in the Mt. Elgon National Park enjoying a bit of hiking, hunting for animals, and exploring a cave where the elephants and other animals come to lick salt. It is a very large cave with plenty of bats, smoke on the ceiling, and as the story goes this cave was the scene for centuries of gathering before lion hunts or tribal warfare.
We did spot the exotic Colobus Monkey and the Common Waterbuck plus we found elephant tracks in the cave, and tried out some vine swinging of our own.
Elder /Sister Hunter -- we've become great friends with our northern neighbors!
The exotic Colobus Monkey
Good Hiking for New Year's Day
My Elder Tarzan - He's looking good!
Later in the day we 4-wheeled up to Elephant Plateau and enjoyed this view of the beautiful Rift Valley that extends
up north of Kitale. Look close to find little groups of thatched roof homes in the scattered villages. Thanks Elder/Sister Hunter for a lovely New Year’s Day.
The Eldoret seminary students were thrilled with the Seminary Graduation Activity as Elder Babcock, Beffrey Imali (Eldoret CES Superintendant) and I reached our goal to give these wonderful Seminary students four activities this year, combining students from all four of our branches.
Our lasting success will be the wonderful testimony meeting of the students. A year ago we held a testimony meeting as part of our Seminary Graduation experience but the Seminary teachers recognized that the students were not prepared to bear their testimony, did not know what a true testimony was, and were uncomfortable in bearing a testimony. It became the teacher’s goal for the 2012 year to teach the Seminary students what is a testimony, how you share your testimony in a respectful way, and use great composure to reverently express yourself. Our students met each one of the goals and we were so thrilled. The testimony meeting was filled with expressions of love to the Savior, spiritual experiences, and testimony of the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The students shared their testimonies one after another with no long pauses or lag time. Elder Babcock and I were so pleased and can’t wait for our next CES inservice meeting to talk once again with our Seminary teachers about this marvelous change in our students.
Our Seminary teachers along with our CES Supervisor Beffrey Imali planned the entire Seminary graduation activity and we were delighted with their efforts. We know the teachers will be able to continue these activities without Elder/Sister Babcock as we soon will be completing our mission here in Eldoret. May the program continue to grow and build the testimony and strength of the youth in Eldoret and Kenya is our prayer.
Sister Babcock and Beffrey Imali - Eldoret CES Superintendent
Thursday, January 17, 2013
What a treat to have our son and two grandchildren visit us while on our mission in Kenya. Meg and Andy were terrific travelers and never did complain. They thought the all-you-can-eat buffets at the game parks were ‘awesome’, loved the safari vans and animals, became best friends with the 3 chefs at the pasta bar, and thought meeting the kids from Kenya was the greatest part of the trip. Everywhere we went these two ‘little mazungus’ (white person) were as popular as rock stars. I know Meg has suggested to her Dad they return before we leave for home as she could play again with her ‘new friends’ and the fact that it is 1 degree in Utah and 79 degrees in Eldoret makes a return trip sound awfully enticing. Thanks Nicole (who was home with the new baby) for letting us share some of Kenya with your family!
Nairobi Giraffe Center
This Maasai warrior wanted to take Andy home! He was our breakfast tour guide.
We had breakfast with the hippos.
Hard to leave the Mara, an exotic location loaded with memories.
Jet lag, trying to keep those peepers open at the Carnivor in Nairobi. Tried a bit of crocodile, and other crazy meats.
They all asked "Where is Meg?" and were disappointed to hear you were back home.
Native Dancing -- Meg, Andy, and Austin were chosen to assist.
Andy's church buddies want you to come back
Safari on the Mara
The dish drying rack -- Kenya Style!
The last African Adventure before boarding the plane, we each rode an ostrich -- even me!
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Evance and Zandy were married in the Johannesburg Temple however, to have the marriage sanctioned by the Kenyan government needed a marriage performed on Kenyan soil. All the missionaries were invited and it was such a great, entertaining, jubilant but very long day. Kenyans love to dance so there was plenty of dancing to a band of drums, rattles, bells, and other curious instruments. Their feet move, their bodies wiggle and jiggle, their shoulders have actions they have tried very diligently to teach me but I just can’t quite make it happen like a Kenyan but it is great fun. Bright colors, bright sounds, great food, and beautiful clothing are all part of the day!
Great way to decorate the wedding car!
Groom same traditon-always waiting for the bride!
My good friend Alice Kogo, mother of the groom.
Mr. and Mrs. Evance Kogo
Cooking going on behind the church.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
We did return to complete the discussions in the home of Phillip & Julia in Issac's home and in Betwell's home. They have been taught, we have shared the church literature, The Book of Mormon, and have borne testimony of each discussion, the truth of the message, but now the even harder part begins as we shared again the message President Kogo taught to Phillip. He is coming to church in the Langas Branch at great sacrifice.
President Kogo explained it does take sacrifice for membership in this great church. We pray Philip might be strong and a way provided for him to find the funding needed. It costs about 300 Ksh ($3) for a roundtrip ticket to the Langas Branch and back home to Ndalat and this is a challenge for there are many places that 300 Ksh might be spent. He came to church last Sunday and had a great time. He would like to bring his family to church but that will need to wait for the family to raise additional funding for transit into Langas.
In an article on the church web site we learn there are many Africans yearning to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints however in the wise words of Elder Holland, “Our very biggest challenge,” Elder Holland said, “will be to not let that get out of hand. If Church growth outstrips the ability to sustain itself, he said, the result is often lack of retention. We will still have to make sure new members are kept close to the Church,” he said. “They need to have callings and to be integrated into the Church fully and thoroughly."
We are working to build centers of strength in each area and it will take time for those centers to swell and grow. Someday the Eldoret area will swell and grow until there will be a chapel out in the Ndalat area. I wonder if Elder Babcock and I would ever have an opportunity in the future to see that chapel and there greet Julia, Phillip, and their five sweet daughters?
Philip did spend four hours with the ‘Council of Elders’ of the African Inland Church during the first week of September. It was felt by the Reverend, Phillip should not be allowed to meet with the Babcock’s ever, at his home or if we taught a missionary discussion. It was explained by the Reverend that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not a Christian church and does not honor the Savior; I just wish the Reverend would come to our church service on a Sunday to observe how much the gospel of Jesus Christ honors, worships, and sustains Jesus Christ as the Savior of this world, as the organizer of His church, and how the Savior's teachings blesses our meetings.
Philip simply shared with the council the literature we use as a follow-up of the missionary discussions we teach. The council spent time reading the pamplets and declared that the teachings were from a Christian centered church that taught about Christ’s life and teachings with great respect, honor, and truth. It was recognized and confirmed by the ‘Council of Elders’ of the AIC church that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed a Christian church with good values. The Elders explained they had friends from various faiths as guests in their home. Philip was welcome to meet with us and share gospel discussion.
We only wish we had been invited to the 'Council of the AIC Elders' to share our testimonies!