Monday, July 28, 2008

Returned Missionaries Need Career Training, too

left to right: John, Emmanuel, Ngozi, Augustine, Greg & Elder Krupp

This fun group of recently returned missionaries all reside in the Lagos Stake. They all served in the Port Harcourt Mission, except for Emmanuel, who served in Ivory Coast (French speaking) and have been home less than 9 months. They were a nice, smart bunch of kids. It is such a challenge here to get into a university because only about 20% are accepted from those that apply. Getting into a technical school is more promising.

We condensed our already condensed career & self-employment workshop and spent Wednesday and Thursday with them. John and Augustine are in our ward. John is the Ward Organist, and Augustine is our Ward Mission Leader. It was nice to get to know them better because those two are pretty funny together.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Generator and the Switch Room

This shows me and the Generator that runs the entire complex when the municipal power is off. We run on the generator far more than on municipal power. Behind the generator is the Big Treats place Linda told us about with the picture of our Stake Building, Service Center, New Mission Building and small guard building. She took that picture from one of the windows to the left of the Big Treats sign over my right shoulder. This generator will supply power to the new building in addition to the buildings it currently supplies. It could light far more than that and not

break a sweat. The bottom picture shows the room where we move the black lever in the center of the picture "up" (as now) for municipal power and "down" for the generator power. We are supposed to have a second generator installed to the right of the existing generator in an "L" configuration. With the second generator, we should never be out of power for more than a few minutes. That depends of course on diesel fuel for the generators, the Master Switches being in the proper position and a supply of oil to add when the generators need oil. We can hope, can't we? The large Mission Building may be completed while we are here and the second generator also may become operational. We can be optimistic with 13 months to go for sure!

The View from Across the Street

We went shopping last week at the "Big Treats". There are several shops on the 2nd and 3rd floors, along with a small grocery store. There is a small pharmacy, and they sell toys, housewares, clothing and home decor items. I didn't buy anything there since we had already shopped at our regular stores. But I thought the view of our church complex was pretty nice. The chapel is obvious because of the white steeple. Directly behind that is a two story building that houses the Bishop's and Stake President's offices, plus classrooms, and the Seminary & Institute offices and Employment Resource Office. The three story orange brick building at the end of the parking lot has a small Distribution Center on the first floor, plus other offices. Both the East and West mission offices are on the 2nd floor. The 3rd floor has more offices (real estate, legal, travel, and more). The other three story building that is visible to the right of our brick office building is the new mission office and housing complex. Progress is being made, but it seems pretty "slow going" to me. It was fun to be able to look out over the place from a different perspective. The small building is the guard shack, and all the walled in area is considered part of the church compound. There is another guard shack, gate and parking lot on the other side of the brick office building.

Cute Yellow Flower Opens

It has been nice to have some green plants to watch grow and change. I don't really love the "work" aspect of gardening, but I do enjoy looking at flowers and plants. After 4 1/2 months of summer, this looks more normal to to me. The funny thing is that as I have been watching my little plants progress, I have also been noticing some of the native plants (weeds) that are growing out on the side of the street as I walk back and forth to the mission office. There are some of these cute little yellow flowers out there, too. Brother Bright (our mission driver) confirmed my suspicions - I have been watering and talking to some weeds!

This is how things look now after I finished weeding this pot. I could be depressed, but it reminds me of my first summer of married life. I planted some zinnia seeds and was so thrilled when green sprouts soon appeared. Those turned out to be weeds, also, but in time I think some real flowers did come up. I guess I have still another 12 months of summer to look forward to, so I may try again soon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Almost a Blogger Dropout

Have you guessed that we have been much busier lately? Now that we are working in the office, I don't have quite as much time to lounge about and post blogs. That is part of the reason I haven't had time to blog. But I have a confession. I just thought of another reason why I'm not doing very many posts. We paid to get our Dish TV running a few weeks ago. After a hectic day at the mission office, sitting and watching a little Hallmark channel, CNN, or BBC World seems like a pretty good idea. The real reason I wanted to get back into TV viewing was to watch Wimbledon! I figured since we are about the same time zone as England, I would get to see some matches on ESPN. Boy was I bummed out to only catch a few brief highlights, long after the matches were completed. Instead of giving up on TV viewing, however, I think instead I will pay for the bigger (more channels) package at the end of the month because the Olympics will be on! Anyway, I hope they will broadcast some of the action here if I have ESPN plus 4 sports channels. If all I still get is poker matches, bowling tournaments and fishing, I will be ticked.

The way they run the Dish TV company is totally different from the way things are done in the U.S. Instead of being locked into a 2 year contract, you pay to get hooked up and they give you a satellite TV controller. It has a slot that holds a plastic card that looks very similar to a credit card. Then, you just take the card to the Dish TV office (very close to our apartment), pay out the cash (4,300 naira), wait about 30 or 40 minutes until the card was reactivated, then pick up the card and go home. The big advantage is that I only pay when I want TV. I actually have some pictures that I need to post, so if you don't mind being patient, I'll get some new things posted very soon.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Very Cute Brothers in Their Sunday Clothes

These two brothers caught my eye as soon as I got to church yesterday. They were running around in the parking lot with another boy. I think the bright yellow clothes gave them even more energy. These outfits are traditional, African clothes. The children don't usually dress in these outfits for church. They usually wear more typical "western" clothes. The women often dress in their traditional clothes, though. This is a small, conservative, print compared with some of the fabrics that I see on people. The other type of fabric that we see often is eyelet in many pastel colors. It really looks wonderful on both African men and women.

No Flowers Yet

I haven't been very dedicated to photographing my little flowers. That's because so far they are still just a bunch of green leaves. They are still growing, but until they bloom, I don't know which flower is which. It's still fun to be growing something. I tell them "hi" and give them some verbal encouragement from time to time. I know - I'm a little weird.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Our Mission Office

Elder Ohuegbe has been training me on the responsibilities of the office secretary. There is quite a bit to do to prepare for incoming and departing missionaries every six weeks. Then there is the transfer sheet that also needs to be done every six weeks, and sometimes more often than that when unplanned transfers happen. He also deals with daily email, regular mail and types all the baptismal records to transmit to SLC. He is very thorough, experienced in the workplace, and I have learned a lot from him.

Elder Ma'u is the Finance Secretary and has been educating Elder Krupp on those responsibilities. It takes a lot of patience for these Elders to train us correctly. Everything must be done correctly. Elder Krupp, of course, has loved learning it all and will do a great job to assist the next Finance
Secretary when Elder Ma'u gets transferred. Elder Ma'u is one of three missionaries in our mission from Tonga. There are a few in the West Mission as well. These valiant missionaries from Tonga will be the last ones to come to Nigeria. A decision was made to no longer send them 2\3 of the way around the world to serve. We love this one and are very blessed to be able to serve with him and Elder Ohuegbe.

These two Elders have a little too much fun working on the books. I can't hardly get Elder Krupp to leave the office. He has been making sure that there is written documentation on all finance procedures so that nothing gets messed up when we no longer have Elder Ma'u around.