Thursday, September 19, 2013

A post from Sister Winget

(A post from a letter from Sister Winget to her family)

MATTHEW O….                                      
Wood Carver

We were first introduced to Matthew at a trade fair on Victory Island.  He is actually from Ibadan, Oyo State  but travels to these fairs to sell his carvings. This is his livelihood.
Elder Brown invited him to come to the mission home for us to look at and possibly purchase his carvings.

After we would make our purchases Elder Brown would spend some time talking with him about the gospel.  Eventually, the Missionaries started to teach him ( being sent by Elder Brown).  He and his 14 year old son (Samson) took the discussions and set a date for Baptism.  His wife, and other children were not quite sure and so they just supported Matthew in his decision.  He has three other children, two too young to be baptized but a 12 year old daughter who wanted to wait. 

Matthew held most of his discussions in his workshop also where his son (Samson) helped him carve – that may be why Samson, feeling the spirit, chose to be baptized
August 24, 2013, the Browns and Us (the Jennings were unable to attend due to other meetings) traveled to Ibadan to participate in his baptism.  Such a spiritual experience to see the love of the gospel in Matthew’s countenance.

Matthew’s wife and brother (who is a preacher in another church) attended.

Matthew asked Elder Brown to baptize him.

These are the times that you hit a spiritual high witnessing the Lord changing lives as they embrace the gospel.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Our days and weeks continue to be very busy; in fact, each day seems to busier than the previous day, our days turn into weeks and we wonder where the time has gone.  We love the work and it is really work.  The two other senior couples that are here with us seem to have time to relax, but we do not.  I believe we have told you that there are only three white senior couples in all of Nigeria.  It can be a bit lonely at times.  Elwood seem to get arrested by the road agents and detained for lack of some sort of certification they claim should be in every vehicle.  Money is paid and a certificate plus fine is imposed and off we go.  It really is a problem.  I have been instructed to ride in the back seat so my white face is not so conspicuous.  Also, we are taking the missionary sign off the hood of the vehicle. Should this be the worst of our problems we will be fine.  Penny is the backbone of the mission.  She keeps everything organized and makes sure everyone keeps working on their action list.  With the increase of missionaries I keep on finding new apartments for them and also, our new mission president insists that we upgrade the existing apartments to a more habitable place to live.  In addition to all these typical duties I have had the wonderful experience of purchasing 14 mountain bikes for some of our more remote missionaries.  This has really been fun.  I teach the missionaries how to ride and ride safely, do basic maintenance and how to keep from getting their bikes stolen.  Penny has been busy with helping to train new missionaries and to do training at our mission leadership council.  She gives such good and needed advice for administrators.  I think the mission leaders listen to her more that anyone.  Our mission leadership council is made up of 8 sister missionaries and 22 elders.  Their task is to help run the mission and to help solve the basic problems that face young people who are doing a difficult work.

The pictures for this blog are of Matthew and his family.  Penny met Matthew at an art fair in Lagos.  She bought a big yellow truck that Matthew had made.  About two weeks later Matthew delivered the truck and our relationship with him took on new life.  He is such a good artist and he specializes in wood work and wood carvings, especially animals or people carved form /Ebony wood.  Matthew would visit every few weeks and the senior couples would purchase some of his work.  After the selling sessions I would sit with Matthew and tell him about the church.  After a while he accepted some literature.  I sent the missionaries to visit him, but they reported he was not interested.  After one of Matthews visits I sat alone with him and told him of the Joseph Smith story.  When I told him that God the Father and Jesus Christ actually did visit Joseph Smith and it was not a dream, his eyes got big and he said, "Really, he actually saw God?" I was able to bear a strong testimony to him.  I had the missionaries go back to teach him, but he still was not ready to receive all they had to teach him.  They stopped going.  One night I received a call from Matthew, he needed some advice.  I sent the missionaries back to explain further the advice I had given to Matthew.  A few nights later Matthew called me to say he knew what the missionaries had told him was true and he and his son would be baptized.  He further asked me if I would baptize him.  I was thrilled to say I would.  Matthew's wife does not speak English, so she was not taught.  However, we now have someone who speaks Yoruba and his wife and daughter are receiving the missionary lessons.  This has turned out to be a marvelous lesson in perseverance, testimony, the power of the spirit and genuine friendship. We really do love and appreciate Matthew and his family.  We wish he lived closer to us, but he is about two hours away.  Enough for this blog.  Our love to you all. We pray for your well-being and happiness. Thank you for your love and support.  We know without a doubt this is the work of the Lord.  We receive so many rich blessings.
Always, Penny and Elwood

Elwood before the baptism

Elwood with Samson and Matthew

The Elders who helped teach Matthew and Samson

The Elders with Matthew's family and Elwood

Waiting for the baptismal service to start

Missionaries, Matthew's family, Penny, Elder and Sister Winget

Elwood with Matthew and Samson's brother; he is a pastor of a small Christian church