Friday, October 26, 2012

Ten Days of Rain

October 16, 2012


It's been raining the past three days and with the rain comes the African umbrella.  A few fortunate Africans have an umbrella, some have a jacket with a hood, but the most innovative and impromptu resource is the black, plastic garbage bag.  Worn like a poncho with holes for the head and arms, walking garbage bags are a common sight in the African rain.  For those who cannot afford an umbrella, a jacket with a hood, or a black garbage bag, getting soaked is the ultimate reward. It's probably a toss up as to which is the most popular: getting soaked, or the plastic garbage bag.  I must say it is a striking and decorative sight to see walking garbage bags in the rain.  It shows people are resourceful and creative.  So, I refer to such ingenuity as the "African umbrella."  When poverty reigns and the destitute have no access to umbrellas and hooded jackets, why not become a walking commercial for plastic garbage bags.  At least one can keep partially dry at minimal cost.

Not much going on at the moment other than Elders Sessemanda, Ingram and I dug and planted a vegetable garden at the "Frail Care Center" this morning.  At least one good deed for the day.  I listened to the BYU vs Washington State game on KSL.  Hope to catch the Notre Dame game this Saturday.  Cheers - as they say over here.

Elder S.   

Sister Stokoe to  Laraine Kent & Corinne Young
October 22, 2012


Today  our e-mail is up and running again.  Thanks for all the B.D. messages.   Laraine sent photos of the baby shower for Corrine and Neil.  Their baby is breach so little Annabell Jane will be delivered on Oct. 30th.  .  .   We enjoyed two taped sessions of  Conference yesterday but had to drive to the stake center through heavy rain.  There were small rivers running over roads and a few trees down.   The soil here is very sandy and the trees very tall.  When there is lots of wind they come down.  This would not happen if there were more clay in the soil.  There have been reports of golf-ball-size hail stone breaking car and house windows and flooding;  poor Blacks in the townships some of their shacks have been washed away.  I even feel bad for animals in the game parks.  

We have been very comfortable in our new flat but our young missionaries on Prospect Road had to spend the weekend bailing water out of the flat below them and placing towels on their window seals.  We took a shower curtain, lamps and other items over to them on Saturday.  Two more elders will join them during Wednesday transfers.  A brick wall went down and covered their drive way while they were at priesthood meeting Saturday night.  Their car would have been damaged had it been parked in the usual spot.   Other cars had to be dug out of the mud and debris.  We have been blessed in that the Bannister’s had two sets of bunk beds and bedding they wanted to sell as we are responsible for four of the young elders’ flats.   Lucky the Bannister’s had most everything we needed as they are emigrating to Canada in December.   Have a great week.  Love, Diane

Laraine Kent to Sister S. 

We had Stake Conference this weekend.  The visiting General Authority was Elder William Russell Walker.  Apparently he lives in the stake west of us.  We really enjoyed his comments on Saturday night as well as today.  President Monson assigned him to go to NYC last June for an interview with Barbra Walters.  She was doing a special on "What is Heaven?"  I remember seeing it and wondered if they would have a representative from the LDS church.  And...half way into the hour's presentation, here was the LDS view point.  Barbra was meeting with Elder Walker in the Manhattan church/temple building.  His explanation was very simple and good.  Elder Walker reported Barbra Walters commented she was an atheist, almost agnostic, but she wanted very much to believe what he had told her.  She went on to say he was very easy to understand, not like others she had interviewed.  He told her she would know it was the truth after she has passed on and could know he was right!

Questions had been turned in for last night's meeting and he took time to answer a few...

"If one visits another ward on the same Sunday, should sacrament again be taken?"  Of course!
"Why wasn't any of the first presidency at the Brigham City Temple dedication?"  President Monsen wanted it to be President Packer's day as it was his hometown.  
"Who signs the general authority's temple recommend?"  President Monsen.  He also signs the recommend of their wives.

Elder Walker noted President Monsen is 85 years old.  Thanks to Jon Huntsman he has use of his personal plane to travel around in.  The temple in Rome is due to be completed the summer of 2014.  President Monsen wants to attend that dedication.  President Monsen's oldest son went on his mission there. 

After the meeting we chatted with Dez and Robin Russell.  I asked if he had connections to Elder Walker?  (As during the meeting Elder Walker mentioned ties to Canada.)  Come to find out, Elder Walker is Robin's first cousin!  At that point Elder Walker came and joined our conversation!  Elder Walker had worked and served in Atlanta when Dale Murphy was playing baseball.  Every month, Dale Murphy would write out his tithing check in the amount of $25,000!  Elder Walker said recently someone had sent a check in a very plain envelope with the message, "To be used for the Tijuana Mexico temple building.  It was in the amount of one million dollars! 

We enjoyed Corrine's shower yesterday.  I'll attach a picture from the event, plus a picture of the  beautiful red tree in front of your house...the all colors are all so pretty right now.   So good talking and hearing from you.
Love, Laraine

To: from Elder Stokoe
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2012 2:28:41 PM
Subject: RE:  computer/internet
Hi Corinne:

You are right, we have had virtually no Internet for a week and a half.  It just comes and goes.  It will be on for 3 minutes then off for half an hour, on for 2 minutes and off for 45 minutes and then not working for hours on end.  It’s been raining cats and dogs with massive flooding,  Finally, today, we had the sun shining all day long for the first time in almost 2 weeks.

Last week I went to the telephone company and requested they fix ou Internet and telephone. We’ve had no land line for almost 2 weeks.  The office ladies said a telephone technician would be sent to our house. Nothing happened.  So today I went to the telephone company again.  The director is a recent convert to the church.  I said to one of the ladies behind the counter, “Is Mr. Mchumu in?  Tell him his pastor is here to see him.”  She looked at my missionary badge, smiled and went back to his office.  I heard her say  “Your pastor is here to see you.”  I was admitted immediately.  Anyway, he got on the phone and made a couple of calls and said a technician would be out today.  Four hours later the technician arrived and now we have complete Internet and a working land line.   So from now on, whenever the phone and Internet go out, I am going straight to the top man.  I’ll say to one of the ladies behind the counter, “Is Mr. Mchumu in?  Tell him his pastor is here to see him.” And I will get immediate action. 

We had a nice party for Sister S. with 20 people total in attendance.  Our neighbors were impressed by the nine young missionaries.  They sang the mission theme song.  One woman said “What fine young men, so clean cut.  Such good looking nice young men.  Very impressive.”  When the young elders sing the mission song before non-members, or members, the light of Christ and the power of the priesthood shines through them.  The spirit of righteousness just beams from them.  We enjoy working with the young elders.  Well, this is it for now.

Elder S.     

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