We had a busy week training missionaries and helping to solve some of the problems that occur when trying to house, train and take care of 150 missionaries. Our mission is responsible for the Perpetual Education Fund which is helping young people apply for scholarships allowing them to obtain skills which will lead to jobs available in this area. We also continue to provide Church money to dig bore holes giving access to clean water to many remote villages. Yesterday's excitement was going to grocery stores looking for food that can be used to make meals that are somewhat nutritious and not overwhelmingly expensive. The thrill of the day was finding frozen peas even though they were rather expensive ($10 per bag). Today a driver took us to our mission president's ward to see him bless his new baby. We look forward this week to traveling with the mission president to interview all our missionaries. We will be staying two nights in a place called Abeokuta which is about 3 hours from here. We will also be visiting their apartments to see what their needs may be.
We received training this week on "How to Survive a Kidnapping". Hopefully none of us will ever need this but here are some of the tips:
1. If you are kidnapped, the first few hours are the most dangerous...do what they say. Don't resist deadly force. Fear is natural, but try to remain calm. Be prepared to spend several days or weeks in this situation. Have an attitude of survival. Remember you are not alone.
2. We were instructed to say to the abductors: I am a volunteer missionary and I am here to help people. I do not have money as I am retired. I am poor like many others and my friends are helping to pay for this mission. Local members will do what they can to resolve this situation. Give the name and phone numbers of local leaders. Tell family members not to take or make phone calls to Nigeria. Try to establish a friendship and do not argue. Don't criticize or condemn them. Ask if they have a name you can use; use "elder" and "sister" when speaking to each other. Ask permission to have scriptures and pray. Answer questions about Church teachings and bear your testimony. Do not be loud or aggressive.
3. Do not say: The Church will pay a ransom or that the Church has a lot of money or that your family has money, property and wealth. Do not discuss the Church or leaders in other countries.
4. Eat their food. Exercise. Keep track of time and days. Escape not recommended as you are not familiar with the area. Leave only if you are sure you and all in your group will be successful. Do not touch their weapons and be aware of surroundings. You may be moved several times. Okay to say "thank you".
5. If police attempt a rescue lie flat on the ground, do not lift head, make no sudden movements, follow police instructions and do not pick up a weapon.
6. All kidnapped missionaries have been released and no ransom has been paid. You will survive.
7. Best way to avoid problems is to travel only in daylight hours. Use local drivers, lock doors and keep windows up. If you do not see other vehicles on a road for some period of time, the road may be blocked by robbers. Keep vehicles in good mechanical order.
All mission Christmas Party; volleyball game
Missionaries at play
Chimezie family, a solid family in the ward. They know no end of service.
Ikeja Ward Primary at ward Christmas party
Penny, Sisters Winget and Jennings - making a Christmas basket for delivery.
Delivering gift baskets
Our Christmas tree and gifts