Friday, December 24, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE SIERRA LEONE FREETOWN MISSION. These 40 Elders are serving in the Freetown and Bo areas of Sierra Leone. We have another 20 Elders serving in Liberia and another Sr Couple, the Kimballs (to see their "Merry Christmas" picture you can go to All the Elders came into Freetown for two days (Dec 15 & 16)of a Christmas Conference. They prepared a Christmas program for the investigators here in Freetown and also performed at a local hospital. They were able to spend some time together playing "football" (soccer), watching two movies and eating (a lot). We loved being around them. They are all such great missionaries.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The majority of Africans cook with charcoal stoves in their yard or on their front porch. We see vendors like this lady carrying baskets of charcoal stacked upon their heads. She has 7 baskets up there - it is amazing that they can balance so much.

Driving into the Mission Home compound thru the gates with our initials (one on each gate) "M" and "G"!!

ELDER PATTERSON in front of the Africa map outside the Assistant's office

Mt.Aureol Branch Relief Society Sisters singing at the district wide RS picnic. Each branch had to perform a skit or sing a song or some other type of entertainment. We had practiced a really fun song, but then half the people didn't show up, so we just sang a hymn.

This is Elder Grabau before Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, Nov. 28th.

Alfred Kebbie of the Dwarzak Branch opening his mission call to the Ghana Cape Coast Mission. (looking on (left to right) is Elder Bennion, Elder Grabau, Elder Adjei and Elder Njaga)

BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR PRINCE (in the white shirt) AND PRINCESS (who is burying her face in her mother's skirt)TURAY

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sister Agbo, Sister Turay and her sister at the house warming party.

We were recently invited to the Home of Bro and Sis Turay for a joint birthday party for their children, Prince and Princess; and a housewarming party.

The food was sooooo good. Chicken, rice, pasta salad, beef kabob; very good indeed!!!

Even with a new house, the Sierra Leoneans still do their cooking outside.

It is now legal for me to drive the Streets and dirt paths of Freetown and Sierra Leone!!! There was no driver's test, only an exchange of money and a picture. There are no traffic laws here either. no stop lights and the one stop sign is just a suggestion!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This is Joseph Washington Sr who baptized his son Joseph Washington Jr. Because he is 9 Joseph had to have the investigator lessons before he could be baptized and we were priviledged to be able to teach him.

Traditional Thanksgiving dinner with Pres. & Sis. Roggia, Elder and Sister Neves, and the assistants: Elder Hickey and Elder Grabau. Thanks to Sis. Roggia for "smuggeling" a turkey across the Liberian border on their last trip!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Saying goodbye (for a while) to Elder Gunderson. We will miss him alot. He has been a great Elder here in the Mission. Serving as president's assistant the last few months. He and Elder Bird met us at the airport when we arrived in Freetown in June (see post of July 2) and we have relied on him for so many things and information. We have grown to love him and hope to see him in another year from now when we go home. But for now, we are sending him home to his family who is anxiously awaiting his arrival in 36 hours. (he flys from Sierra Leone at 5:30 pm on tues, (which is 11:30 a.m in Utah) and he doesn't get there until the next night (wed) at 11:00 pm. Happy Thanksgiving Gunderson Family!

ELDER GUNDERSON ON THE WATER TAXI. We miss you already, have a safe flight home.

ELDER GUNDERSON with PRESIDENT AND SISTER ROGGIA at the Government Wharf before boarding the "water taxi" to take him to Lungi and the airport.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

SURPRISE. You thought we were in Africa .. BUT we are really in Switzerland!!!! (JK). We recently (a few weeks ago) went to dinner with the Ferguson's and their humanatarian group to a restaurant called the Light House on Lumley Beach for dinner. The food was really good and it was fun to visit with his group. They are a great group of people who are doing a wonderful service for the people of Africa. After a week in Sierra Leone, they traveled by car to Liberia for another round of training.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

THE road

This is THE road of the wild ride fame. We recently decided to take a walk down THE road during the day time to see just how bad it really was. It doesn't look as scarey in the daylight, but I don't think I want to drive it again anyway!
We made dinner for the Assistants and the 6 elders that live next to the mission office. Elder Gunderson loaned us his "In n Out" hats, so we were official cooks!! Seemed a little sacreligious to be making "teri bowls" and wearing burger hats. The African Elders had not had rice with chicken and teriake sauce before, but they loved it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

There are many many many people who walk the streets with merchandise in pans on their head. Almost anything can be purchased this way. The problem is in finding what you want when you want it. You might see something one day and not be able to find it again either. Some things are so random, like phone chargers, or surge protectors, or shower curtains. go figure.

Shopping on the road

As we drive back and forth from the mission apartment to the mission office each day, we see numerous items for sale. Everything from furniture (tables, chairs, sofas, beds), appliances, bricks, bread, fruit, vegetables, are all displayed rain or shine for purchase. Sometimes, when it rains, plastic will be put over the merchandise to keep it from the rain (but not always).
Playing "football" at No. 2 Beach.

Shopping at No. 2 Beach

a trip to the beach includes looking (and sometimes buying) the various items carved by the local people. While the Elders played football, Sister Patterson had a good time negotiating the prices of some diffferent wood carvings.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Last monday we went to No. 2 Beach for a fun day with the Elders from Freetown Zone and Pres and Sis. Roggia and the Neves (who are in this picture). The elders played football/soccer and had a great day. It didn't rain until we were home later in the day. Elder Laneri & Eshun (the Zone Leaders) arranged for lunch of rice, chicken and fried plantain (which we picked up on the way out). It is always fun to hang out with these wonderful young men. Reminds us of all our young men from home who are now so diligently serving their Father in Heaven around the world as His missionaries.

Group of midwives receiving training from the Churches Humanatarian Group on Neonatal Resuscitation. The training was held over two consecutive days in Freetown and then the Church group taveled to Bo to train others and then on to Liberia. Each of these ladies received the training and they in turn will train women in their areas. Hopefully, all the training will result in better infant deliveries and lower the mortality rate of births in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The Ferguson's take their groups to all of West Africa and provide a huge service to their fellow men.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dinner and a Wild Ride

clockwise from the lower left: Mariam Koroma, Mariam's mother, Vidalyn Thomas, Fatamata and her aunt, Mariama Kamara, sister Charlie's daughter and Mabinty Charlie (RS Pres). Sister Thomas and I are visiting teachers to Mariam Koroma. Sister Kamara is my visiting teacher. We had these sisters over for dinner last Saturday. We were only expecting 4 people and had 7 instead. While I finished with the dinner prepartions with Mariam's help, the others watched a video of last year's RS broadcast. Luckily we had plenty of food - spagetti and garlic bread. We made a pizza for an appetizer. After dinner we were trying to figure out how to get everyone home or to pay for them to take transport (either a taxie or a poda poda - which is a VW combi or similar vehicle crammed to the brim with people. Our little truck really is only big enough for 5 people but somehow we had managed to get me and all the girls in it for the drive up. But to take them home, would be a little trickier since Elder Patterson needed to go with us. Sis. Kamara lives over the hill from us and she suggested we take a "short cut" thru the mountain behind the American Embassy. We could drop her and her niece off first and then continue on down the road to the other ladies homes. At first Elder Patterson suggested I just take them, but I insisted he come since it would be dark soon, so he climbed into the back of the truck bed. OM Goodness!!!! I am so glad he went with us. The "road" was NOT A ROAD at all, but a washed out, boulder strewn, washboard dirt path over some really steep and hilly terrain. At one point I thought the truck was going to tip over. On the ride up the hill to dinner the ladies talked all the way up -- now they were totally silent! I know they were scared. Mike (Bro/Elder ) said that he got "big air" about four times. I asked Sister Kamara when was the last time she was on this "road" in a car and she said "a long time". No kidding!! At one point in the journey, a drunken Muslim named Samoa jumped in the back with Mike and bounced around for a while. After we droped the first sisters off I made Mike drive. That was quite an experience that I hope not to repeat.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This Guy

I want all of you to meet Markus Wallace. Brother Markus is the mission driver and the go-to person for the entire mission. He either knows, or is related, to everyone in Sierra Leone and has contacts in Liberia too! He can fix almost anything and if not, he personally knows someone who can. This mission would be in big trouble without him.
More than that, he is one of the finest men I have ever met. He is a strong, endowed member whose honesty and integrity is well known in all of the areas where the church has members. He is also highly respected in the Freetown community.
If ever a scripture was applicable to one of us: Alma 48:17 would describe Markus (just substitute Markus for Moroni) He is definitely a blessing in our lives. (he has a really cute wife, too - Rose ; there is a picture of her and their girls in an earlier post in June)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Missionary work in Mexico City with Elder Patterson . We are so thankful to be able to serve here in West Africa while he is in Mexico.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

this is Enid and Woma (see chicken story below) they come to the mission office to "greet us" on saturdays. I told them the story about the boy who cried wolf and why they should always tell the truth. They were very attentive to the story and understood why we should not cry wolf unless it is for real. After the story and the moral, they had one question. What is a wolf? so we got on the computer to see a picture of a wolf.

the end of the fish story. see below for the beginning. (sorry about not rotating the picture before it uploaded - but it is so rare that we can get a fast enough connection to actually load a picture; that I don't want to delete it and not be able to get it back again).

A Fish Story

Last Monday for P-day, we went with Pres and Sis Roggia and Elder and Sister Neves to Buher beach. It was a great day, and it did not rain until we were on our way home. While there, a fisherman came running up to us. He had just caught a "cuda" (barracuda) and offered to make it into a nice lunch for us with rice and cole slaw. We had each brought a pic nic lunch with us and did not want to have that go to waste; so we declined his offer to cook for us. However, we told him we would buy the whole fish and cook it ourselves later. So, after some negotiations on the price (thanks to Elder Neves) we were able to buy the fish, and he cleaned and fileted it for us right there. Luckily we had ice in the ice chest and a bag to store our catch! That night, the six of us had a wonderful dinner at the mission home all for less than $5 per person.

a Chicken Story

Every Saturday the members in the branches that meet in the building next to the Mission Office come to clean the building. There is one little family, the Massaquoi family, that comes every Saturday. The mother sends her little daughter, Woma (aged 10) and her niece, Enid (8) to the mission office to bring us bananas and oranges and plantain (which when sliced really thin and fried makes great little potatoe-chip like snacks). Last Saturday they brought me something else! A LIVE CHICKEN!!! they had the little hen in an old rice sack and so I asked what was in there and they opened it up and at first I thought it was a dead chicken, but then it lifted it's little head up and stared right at me. Oh my goodness! I could not offend them by not accepting the gift. I tried to tell them that I was not used to getting a live chicken and that I did not know what to do with it. So they proceded to instruct me on how to twist it's head off and pluck it! I walked back with them to their little compound and thanked sister Massaquoi for her generous gift. The next day, I gave them a box of Rice Krispies cereal and a carton of milk. So, this is a picture of Mustafa, to whom I gave the chicken. His family really enjoyed their dinner that night.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We hiked to the peak (not exactly Charleston peak) but the highest spot here in Freetown called Leicester Peak. Nice little hike for some old people. This is where Robert D. Hales dedicated the land for the preaching of the gospel.

little stow away

Anyone, but Katie, know what this little stow away is? We found it in the tread of grandpa's sandels a couple of weeks ago. (can anyone say "Polly Pockets"?)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

a parial view of the hillside in Freetown
just thought I'd wake everyone up and post this of Elder Patterson, the younger, on his first day in Mexico City on his birthday, August 10th. (did you think that you were on the wrong blog cite?) He is doing great, learning the language and loving the mexican people and the food. Don't forget about him. You can write to him for free on "" he is in the Mexico Mexico City East Mission.

the elder's gathered in front of the British Consulat building before the production of "A Mighty Change of Heart", an all African production by the youth of the church in Africa. Each ward or branch in the African Stakes or Districts presented short skits about events in the Book of Mormon. The production was written by sister Linda Petersen from Mesa, Ariz. who is serving with her husband in the Ghana Area Office. The branches worked very hard on their skits, costumes and scenery.

these cute little girls just wanted their picture "snapped"
King Noah's throne; frame made by Elder Jones and Elder Patterson!! great job Elders. canopy and cover provided by the branch

King Lamoni and his wife before she uttered those famous words in Alma 19:5
Wicked king Noah's priests (see Mosiah Chapter 11)

Lehi with his family telling them the Lord has told him they need to leave Jerusalem (sorry these are out of order). Laman stole the show with his defiant attitude (way to go Allie)

this is Moroni telling us about the plates hidden up in the mountain

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

No new pictures to post because we have been having problems with our internet connection. The last 2 + weeks have been very busy with the Area President & Sister Cardon coming; missionaries coming and leaving from the mission as well as those from Sierra Leone coming and going too. Pictures can be found on President and Sister Roggia's blog: It is still raining here; and will continue for another 2 months at least. We get the best fog here where we live in the mornings and in the evenings. Reminds me of the time I went to a baby shower somewhere in Summerlin when it was a new community. It was daylight when I arrived but dark when I left and there was a fog. I was all turned around and didn't know that I was driving in the wrong direction until there was a break in the fog and I could see the Statosphere tower and it was to my left meaning that I was driving south when I should have been going north!! I turned around and went the other way!! Good thing there is only one road here or we would be lost for sure! We are doing well and loving being around the missionaries. They are the best along with those from our ward at home and the missionaries in Connor's mission. Oh well, they are all the best no matter where they are serving! We love them all. I will try to post a pic soon. Wish I had my camera out the other day when we saw a woman with ab0ut 7 baskets of charcoal balanced on her head!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

until we meet again!

Elder & Sister Jones leaving. We were sad to see them go but happy for their family to be reunited with them.

Mariatta Sesay

This has been a very busy week. Our last goodbyes with Elder and Sister Jones (I don't know what we will do without them); and Elder Bird (a great missionary). We had two days of injuries at the mission home: Elder Neves when the plumbing came out of the wall and flooded their apt and he slipped on the tile; and one of the guards, Peter slipped on the wet tile in the front entry. Pres & Sis. Roggia left for Ghana and Liberia. We had a huge shipment come in from distribution. The Roggia's personal property finally arrived from America. Saturday was The All Africa Service Project . We had to haul water for that project in the back of the pickup. Also a baptism. I'm tired all over again thinking about it. But it is all good. Nothing like being tired for doing good. Oh yes, one more thing. It's been raining every day except for Saturday when we had the service project! Wonder who arranged that?

All Africa Service Day

"brushing" the grass. I know there is a scripture in the Book of Mormon about using weapons of war for domestic things; but I can't find it. anyone know where it is?

Elder Bird