Archive for the 'Kenya Mission' Category

John Nielson (1937-2010) May he Rest In Peace

My father died today.  We had known for a while that something was not quite right with his blood, and recently found out that it was leukemia.  Apparently a very acute type.

My father spent his entire career teaching Geography at Ricks College, along with several religious classes.  He served for nine years in the Presidency of the Rexburg Idaho North Stake, along with many other callings.  He served a mission in Australia as a young man, and served another mission in Kenya recently with my mom.  He had six children.

He contributed a few posts to this blog.  He compared Mormonism to Taoism here, wrote about the atonement as a process here, and made a lengthy comparison between the gospel and chess here.  He even had an article published in Dialogue about Christ’s World Government here.

My father was an excellent example of faithfulness and duty to his family and to the church.  The older I get, it seems the more I become like him.  I will miss him very much.  My firm belief in the resurrection and the eternal nature of the family gives me great comfort.

‘Til we meet again, dad.

Easter in Kenya

My parents are having quite a time in Kenya. I got an email from them which contained the following description of what they did for Easter.

Continue reading ‘Easter in Kenya’

In Kenya, The Show Must Go On!

On Saturday, February 17, 2007, the Kitale Elders had a baptism scheduled. Unfortunately, the Kitale town water system had not been working for many days. There was no water in the pipes and the Branch storage tanks were empty. What were we to do?

Continue reading ‘In Kenya, The Show Must Go On!’

Typical Day in Kenya




Dear Eric,

One of our typical activities is driving the young Elders to see their investigators
and to visit branch members. We have the only transportation(a Nissan pickup) and
the people we have to see are so widely scattered that it is the only feasible way.
We may drive 5 to 10 miles on a tarmac road, turn off on a dirt road for a mile, turn
off onto a track with bushes scraping the sides of the pickup, barely making it through mud puddles, finally getting out and walking a hundred yards and there is a mud hut where the Relief Society President lives!

She welcomes us, obviously very pleased with our visit, and invites us inside her home. Inside it is very dark and often quite hot, especially if the hut has a metal roof. She has a low table covered with a cloth she has embroidered, surrounded by a wooden couch and a couple of wooden chairs. She prepares a cup of hot cocoa for us as we watch the chickens come and go through the open door. All the children in the neighborhood gather around to see the visiting “wazungus”(white people) and want to shake our hands. A cow wanders past the door.

We discuss the gospel with her, perhaps giving a lesson to her daughter-in-law who is
visiting and is not a member of the church. She asks one of us to leave a blessing on her home, which we are glad to do. We part with many hand shakes and smiles and with tears in our eyes, stunned by her humble circumstances and her strong testimony and absolute dedication to the gospel. She walks two hours to get to church every week. That is two hours to church and another two hours back home! As we drive away we feel shame at the knowledge that if our circumstances were reversed we would probably not even be active members. Who is actually teaching the gospel here, she or us?

Thought you might appreciate this perspective.

Love, Dad and Mom

Kenya: Getting Started


My parents have arrived safe and sound in Kenya and sent the following email:

Dear Family,
Sorry for the delay in replying. We have not yet gotten our computer
connected to the phone line. The line had been disconnected and we are
having a problem getting it connected again. We are using a friend’s
computer now. We will get back to you again as soon as we are connected.
All is going well and we are meeting some very interesting people and
seeing much that is strange.
Talk to you later.
Love, Mom and Dad

Sounds like a typical mission so far.

I also got this picture from the mission president (who happens to be quite familiar with LDS blogs). In the picture we have:

From left to right, President Gabriel Kandawala (Sikhendu Branch), Elder Nielson, Edward Ndung’u (son of Kitale Branch president), and President Martin Ndung’u. President Ndung’u had just presented your father with the hat he’s wearing, to protect him from the sun.

My dad seems quite happy, which makes sense. He likes hats.

Sending Parents on a Mission

My parents went into the MTC this week in preparation for their mission to Kenya. In a way I feel like I am sending them on their mission. But why should this be? I am not funding their mission. And we have not lived in the same time zone for more than a decade. Sure we talk on the phone every few weeks, and send a few emails, but we can still do that after they leave. So why do I feel the way I do?

It may be that I have a sense of empathy for what they are about to do. My heart goes with them. Oh, how I wish I could observe them in action! Pictures and emails will be great, but not like the real thing. What an exciting time!

The retired geography professor and the local librarian, the long time stake presidency and bishopric member and the multi-term relief society president and young women’s leader, the former peace corps workers returning to the same area after 45 years. A compelling call. The perfect call for the people, the perfect people for the call.

Have a good mission mom and dad.

Africa and Temples

I noticed that the church has announced the completion of a temple in Finland here. The article mentions that there are 5,000 members in Finland. 5,000. Pretty impressive huh? The article also mentions that there are now 10 temples in Europe. Countries like Norway, Belgium, Denmark, and similar countries have memberships about the same as Finland – 5,000 or so.

With my new curiosity regarding Kenya following my parents’ mission call, I couldn’t help but notice that Kenya has 6,000 members, and that the nearest temple is in South Africa. With the number of years we have been sending missionaries to Scandinavian and European countries, one would think that there would be more than about 5,000 members in these countries, and that there would be fewer missionaries and temples given the lack of converts and numbers.

Does it not make just as much sense in terms of numbers and geography to have a temple in Kenya as it does to have a temple in Finland? What am I missing?

I make a similar case for missionaries at Blogger of Jared here.


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