True to the Faith

True to the Faith

The other night we had three soon-to-depart missionaries in our apartment. They were Elder Lunga Xolisa Mkutswana, Elder Llungisi Felix Thomo and Elder Lungelo Nyoni. We were discussing their future plans upon returning home; schooling, work, career, marriage, family, and remaining true to the Faith. It was one of those rare and very candid discussions about their concerns regarding the future. As we shared our thoughts, it occurred to me that there are two general ways that returning missionaries fall away from the Church. The first is that life is too easy, as is often the case with Muzungus (whites) who return to the states or other first world homes. They can go to school or get a job and get married and, if they are not watchful, easily become relaxed about Gospel living. The second is that life is too hard, where missionaries from third-world nations go home to extreme poverty, unemployment, a depressed economy, unhealthy traditions and other hardships. Then life demands can drag them away from the Gospel they love. Our discussion, therefore, centered on keeping alive the flame of testimony that was ignited in their bones as missionaries. They may find that balancing life challenges like education, employment, courtship and the filth of being back in the world clouds their eternal perspective. We showed these Elders our Declaration of Faith which RaNae and I try our best to live. We developed this years ago and have modified it many times. We suggested that they carefully prepare their own declaration and take a stand.  We agreed to record them making their declaration just before leaving for home (see below). Then they would give follow-up reports in one and five years. If they did...
Super Trooper

Super Trooper

Not many missionaries have the ideal companion, but I am one of the blessed few. This woman who has been constantly at my side for over 40 years has been the greatest blessing of my life. Thanks to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whose Holy Spirit has sealed our love for eternity, I never have to worry about being transferred and receiving a new companion. This one is for keeps and hallelujah for that! She is indeed a Super Trooper. Only those who know her well can understand who RaNae Taylor really is. I think she generally doesn’t even realize it herself. She is the consummate servant, caregiver, and friend to everyone. To watch her interact with missionaries and guests in the mission office is a joy. She radiates the love of God. I want to be just like her. When we were set apart as missionaries just before entering our mission, we were blessed that we would grow closer on our mission than ever before. I told President Sommerfeldt that I could not imagine that happening. And yet it already has. Just last weekend RaNae rode in another truck while Sister Chabra rode in my truck with others to give directions. When we came to a light, RaNae turned and waved from the back window of the truck in front of us. I realized I missed her.  It had been less than 2o minutes. I know, sounds both crazy and sappy. But it’s true. Here’s to eternal marriage and forever, giddy...
Dig It

Dig It

Serving others without expecting thanks or reciprocation is a key to a balanced life and supports happiness. A group of Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) provided such a service to the Mehta Hospital in Lugazi on February 21st. Come join us as we work to improve roadways, re-pave a brick path, and groom the grounds of this noteworthy medical center. We think you’ll dig it....
The Avon Lady

The Avon Lady

This morning our daughter Sarah sent a short editorial I want to share with you. It has to do with the Avon Lady. But first, I’d like you to taste a little of what we see here every day. Rather than editorialize, let’s just take a silent tour of Uganda so you can see and imagine how challenging life can be. See the children and give ’em a hug. See how the workers transport their goods, what an ambulance from a leading hospital looks like, where the children go every day to haul water to their homes (which have none), the food they eat with bare hands, where they shop, what an outhouse (called a long drop) looks like, and their handicrafts. Take your time. Go slow. Then, when you end the photo tour, read Sarah’s insightful comments about our pursuit of stuff. Enjoy. Now, from Sarah: We have this Avon lady who comes into the library every other Wednesday.  I tend to completely ignore her.  As she was there showing some new items to the ladies I work with yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of you out there in the bush and wondered what those Africans would make of an Avon lady.  She’s got this little bunny that plays a rock tune and struts to the music, a large stuffed Anna doll from Frozen who sings a cutesy song, and there’s the new clothes and the jewelry you’ve just got to have and of course there are the serving dishes.  Just felt like all this meaningless clutter she’s trying to sell and it’s all such an illusion, such an utter waste.  I flipped through...
Missionary Life

Missionary Life

Some have asked that we put more photos and stories of our missionary experiences here. I’ve hesitated because this mission is not about us, but about Him (Christ). But we also see that sharing the personal side of this work might help someone as well. This week, we worked in the office during the days, edited video at night, then left Saturday morning for an open house in our branch in Njeru. The photo of us standing on the Equator was taken as we travelled to Masaka to do a branch audit. The trip to the branch took us 3.5 hours and it was a challenge. The traffic was so crazy that we traveled about a mile in one hour. We were almost two hours late to get set up. Then the projection equipment failed. The temperature in our little make-shift theater must have approached 100 degrees. We were so keyed-up by the end of that day that it felt great to collapse into bed. We stayed with another couple in Jinja so we wouldn’t have to drive back to Kampala in the late hours. Since Saturday was our 40th anniversary, we wished one another a happy anniversary as we worked through the day. By late that night, we stopped at a Chinese restaurant where we spent literally our last schilling on dinner (we left plenty at home in the safe). Today Church was much better. RaNae played for sacrament meeting and the lessons were good. Meet George. He is one of the sharpest I have met. You should see him lead music for sacrament meeting. I have never seen a more engaged...