Grilling Christmas hamburgers. It took a long time to get the coals going. The charcoal is locally made. They pile up the wood and set it on fire. Then they cover it with palm leaves and some dirt so it will smolder and make charcoal. Most people here cook over charcoal every day.
The Roggias bought this grill at KMart and brought it all the way to Africa. It was used once for hot dogs. This is the second time it has been used. It made great burgers.
Christmas dinner with the Burns' and Randalls. We had hamburgers, potato salad, pasta salad, deviled eggs, lemon bars, cookies and ice cream. It wasn't very traditional but it was good and we enjoyed the company.
We were able to get real hamburger buns ... at a price ... about a dollar apiece. Later in the day we watched "A Christmas Carol" and ate leftovers. It was a good Christmas.
Freetown East Zone Christmas conference gift exchange. The blue bowl is a training toilet. He was obviously very proud of his gift.
Elder McDonald goes for a better gift at the gift exchange.
Marlene leading Christmas carol practice. She also led the caroling for the Freetown Zone Christmas devotional.
Out with the old and in with the new. I am salvaging doors, windows, shelves ... everything from the elders' apartment at the mission office. This whole building is being torn down. A new mission home with senior missionary apartments will be built in its place.
Elder Donkor getting water for the Freetown East Zone Christmas service project.
Having fun mopping the Wellington Health Centre floor.
Marlene leads the elders in carols for the people at the clinic. Marlene loves music and Christmas so she enjoyed being involved with the caroling. The waiting room is packed with people.
Freetown East Zone missionaries at their Christmas service project cleaning the Wellington Health Centre.
The Freetown Police Band came caroling to the mission home. The man with the black plastic bag took contributions. We were ready for bed but Marlene got excited and made me quickly put on my clothes so I could go out and invite them into the compound to play. They were fun to listen to!
Freetown Zone elders having a Christmas service project. Cleaned up at a medical clinic. It was hard, messy work.
Went for a hike today. Found this valley of vegetable gardens between the villages of Leicester and Gloucester. It was like a little Garden of Eden.
You can see the terraced gardens in the distance. The rainy season is too wet for these gardens so this time (start of the dry season) is prime gardening time. March, April and May constitute the "hungry season" when the streams run dry and there isn't enough water for the gardens.
Cornelius asked for "moolah" (Krio for money!) because I was taking a picture of Marlene in front of a neighbor's garden. I told him I wouldn't pay him for taking a picture of my wife. He said "okay". We visited with him and he showed us his garden ... spring onions, sweet potato leaves, kassava, lettuce, parsley and pole beans. He was listening to a British football (soccer) match on his radio. He said I could have his picture, "no charge". We also talked with a young woman named Zanab who was putting real nitrogen fertilizer on her garden along with fire ash. She said she was putting herself through business college with the proceeds from her garden.
Rose and Markus Wallace. Markus was set apart as one of the first bishops in Sierra Leone today. Rose is one week past her due date. Elder Holland had her stand in conference today as he announced that she could have the baby now and, if it's a boy, she can name him Jeffrey since tomorrow is Elder Holland's birthday. UPDATE: Baby boy born Wednesday, December 5th, Jeffrey Moroni Wallace.
Fixing the mission office well pump ... about an inch into the sand by the well was this lizard egg. Sister Lauritzen re-planted it after we photographed it. This is especially for Janson.
President and Sister Roggia, Sister and President Dixon (area presidency) and Elder Mensah standing in front of President Roggia's missionary assignment board that Sister Lauritzen worked so hard on. President Roggia loves his revised board.
Randalls, Kirkhams, Burns' and Lauritzens having lunch in the mission office during Elder Holland's visit.
Soda pop! Wow! Not accustomed to things that are fizzy.
Dinner at Mamba Point with President and Sister Roggia and senior couples. Sister Lauritzen and I had a huge pizza. It was great!
We had a large district/stake choir for conference today. They did a very nice job. The power went off during an obscure hymn, leaving us in the dark and the choir didn't miss a beat. They finished the song without the organ and knew all the words.
Two boys dressed up for conference.
Elder Walker. Hard worker. Lots of fun.
Elder Wuthrich. Freetown East Zone Leader. Always has a smile, but not usually this big.
Elders at the entrance of the building where Elder Holland created the first stake in Sierra Leone today. Stake number 3,000!
Albert, our guard. The Randalls worked with him and he was just baptized a couple of months ago. He said he really liked hearing Elder Holland.
Two Samoans in Sierra Leone, Elders Penia and Purcell. Great elders!
Elders Despain, Wooton, Stanford and Donaldson.
The Schlehubers from Bo with Elder Iheanacho.
Elders McDonald and Hovley with their matching Rokel District ties.
Elders Hales and Richards from Hill Station District.
Elders Hovley, Woodhead, Nwosu and McDonald.
Sister Kirkham and Elder Wolfgramm served in Liberia. Elder Wolfgramm was transferred back to Sierra Leone in the Freetown East Zone.
Elder and Sister Holland departing from the Sea Coach dock. Elder Holland asked us to sit with him for a few minutes before they left. He visited like he was an old friend. He grew up in St. George with Uncle Jacob's son, Jonreed Lauritzen from Short Creek. He also said he knew where Woodland Hills is and when I acted surprised he said, "What do you think, I just fell off of the turnip truck?" He said how much he appreciated the service of the senior missionaries and he kissed Sister Lauritzen on the cheek as he said goodbye.
Elder and Sister Holland entering their chartered Sea Coach boat that takes them across the bay to Lungi Airport. He was hurrying to leave on the Huntsman jet to meet with the King of Morocco.
When Elder Holland and his entourage left, Sister Lauritzen was still snapping pictures. It was a very memorable day and a special blessing for the people of Sierra Leone and the Lauritzens.