Saturday, June 30, 2012

$25 worth of contraband from Liberia.
 Kissy chapel five miles east of Freetown

 This was a break in the very rainy weather

 This shows the baptism seating and the water catch basins between the main chapel and the side buildings

 The font is behind the doors.  We had to move our chairs because the rain was pouring down and blowing in on us.  We had six convert baptisms today.  The mission gets enough baptisms to create a new branch every month.  They need leaders.

 The main chapel.  The windows are all louvered so they can let the breeze blow through.  There are ceiling fans when there is no breeze.  Sister Lauritzen and I gave training on branch missionary responsibilities.

This is the road from Kissy chapel to Freetown.  It took us two hours to travel five miles.

The road from Kissy to Freetown looks like this the whole way.  Everyone is selling something.  Walking vendors tap on your car window and try to sell ... cookies, bread, phone chargers, car floor mats ... everything.

Friday, June 29, 2012

 Sister Lauritzen's first attempt at baking in a propane oven with no automatic temperature control ... picture perfect.
Duly proud of her accomplishment.  Sister Lauritzen shared cookies with the President and his wife and with our next door neighbors, Elder and Sister Randall.  Elder Lauritzen ate a few too.
 Visiting the elders' apartment in Kissy District today.  Chico is the guardian of the gate and he was checking me out.
 Chico waiting for a handout.
 Elder Norton introduced Chico to the Book of Mormon, but Chico wouldn't commit.
This is the study area in the elders' apartment.  The place looked like something from a bygone era.  They study by candlelight because they seldom have power.  They have no running water so they catch rainwater in buckets and carry it up to their second floor apartment.  Spartan living!  The young men and women serving here don't complain.  They are constantly on a spiritual high from all of the teaching and baptizing.  It's a great experience to be here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

 Sister Lauritzen wanted a picture of me with the sheep that live at the top of the hill but they started walking away from me.  I stepped on the rope tied to one of the sheep and they all stopped.
 These pictures are from our morning walk toward Leicester Peak about a mile up the road from the mission home.
 This morning we walked with Elder and Sister Randall ... very nice people from Fairview.  They were a little concerned for their home because of the wildfire and the evacuation of the town.
 Looking down at the coastline from Leicester Peak road.  That's the usual morning mist you see hovering over Freetown.
 The mountains here are made of red clay and gray boulders.  The locals break up the boulders with sledge hammers and make gravel to sell.
 Much of the area is under construction, but nothing ever seems to be progressing.  This is a small example of the stick scaffolding they use.  The sticks are available everywhere and they use them to build their shacks.
 The wall at the right is on the uphill side of our compound.  We have to go around it to get to the gate.
Sister Lauritzen is knocking at our compound gate.  The guard window is above her head.  On the other side of the valley you can see part of the U.S. Embassy.  Things are a bit nicer in their neighborhood than they are in ours.  When we back our van out of the gate we have to spin our wheels a bit to get up to the corner.  It's steep!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

 Elder and Sister Lauritzen the day after we arrived at the mission office.
 President and Sister Roggia with us at the mission office.
 Week two we went to Lumley beach in Freetown for a Freetown Zone super P-day.  It was overcast but there was a nice breeze and we had a great day.
 President and Sister Roggia, Sister and Elder Randall (office couple), us followed by Sister and Elder Schlehuber (Bo District).
Our gang with the Atlantic in the background.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A bountiful harvest from the St. Mary's fruit market

The pipe above Elder Lauritzen's head connects to the downspout from the rain gutters and drains into the big black tank.  We have five tanks and one is above the top floor.  An electric pump moves the water from the lower tanks to the upper tank to supply the mission home.

A beautiful red flower behind our house.

A beautiful sister behind our house

Mosquito net

Our apartment is a remodeled chapel so the sign on our bathroom door looks very public.

The kitchen.  Propane stove.  Water filters on the counter left of sink.

Sister Lauritzen in her kitchen.  Note:  the refrigerator has a locking door ... like everything else in the compound.

Friday, June 15, 2012

We missed our connecting flight from Accra (pronounced "a craw" with the emphasis on the "craw"), Ghana, to Sierra Leone because Delta switched jets and had to re-cook the meals and store them in the proper configuration for the new jet. They should have just said the jet was broken and spared us the aggravating details. Delta ended up putting us up in the Travel Xpress International hotel by the airport. This is a picture taken out of the window of our room. Concertina wire on brick walls with a gate guard is standard here.
The next flight to Sierra Leone wasn't for two days so we took a day to go to the Accra temple and did some ordinance work. It's a beautiful temple.

Our flight to Freetown was two hours late but we finally arrived on the 14th of June. We hopped the ferry with President and Sister Roggia (pronounced "road ya"). The ferry departed three hours late and we finally pulled in to our part of Freetown about 9:30 PM. This is a picture taken on the ferry with frizzy-haired Marlene (it was windy and very humid) on the left and President and Sister Roggia on the right. When our driver pulled our van off of the ferry it slipped off of the ramp into the water and got stuck. It took a while, but a group of young men bounced the van until it got a little traction and we were finally on our way. We arrived at the mission home late and very tired. We were very grateful to the president and his wife for giving up their day to take care of us. Sister Randall (office missionary) had soup ready for us. She even had a few groceries set out for us in our room.
Nothing in our baggage was damaged or stolen ... actually a bit of a surprise.

Elder and Sister Lauritzen at the mission office. The mission home is a few miles up the hill from the office. The office has some nice landscaping. The home has no landscaping. It's hard to describe so I'll post a picture later.

Can you see the mission office lizards?

Just one of the attactive trees growing at the mission office. We spent the day getting information about the people and the progress in the mission. We took some of the money we brought with us and bought some Leones ... 4,340,000 Leones. We're millionaires! The Randalls took us grocery shopping and we spent a good chunk of our fortune on a few small things. A can of beans cost us 7,950 Leones (about $2). We found just about everything we needed in a couple of stores. We will survive.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Graduating from the MTC June 8th.  Our district left to right:  brother Albertson (instructor), Elder Wiese, Sister Wiese (a Kersley from Victor ... her father was the postmaster in Victor and had a store across the street from Uncle Delos), Sister Murdock, Elder Murdock, Sister Hathaway, Elder Hathaway, Sister Lauritzen, Elder Lauritzen, brother Lystrup (instructor)