Sunday, January 29, 2012

Random memories of other times and places

Oh, magic picture randomizer, remind me of far off places we have gone before in days gone by...

Golf N Stuff, Ventura, CA.

It was raining that Christmas vacation, but who cares? We pulled out some umbrellas, blamed sodden ground on every missed putt, and had a great time. I'm glad we went miniature golfing with Uncle Doug at Trafalga just before we came out here, and took Prince to the pirate golfing outside of Trumansburg just before we left Ithaca.

A hotel room in Denmark for a work conference that contributed to my textbook. This would be my first time in Copenhagen, situated right next to the royal theater. This was the trip I visited the Christus statue.

I wandered a few main streets as well as many byways in Helsinki, Finland, for UNU/WIDER's 25th birthday. In Finland, they say and I agree, everyone is an architect, and the impressive decorations on the outside of everything bear testimony to it.

Ithaca, NY

A stream ran near our home and I would enjoy walking there on a lovely summer's day to clear my head and get some reading done surrounded by greenery.

Salzburg, Austria
The great organ in the Castle. They refer to it as the Salzburg Bull, if I recall correctly. (Google says I do.)

Visiting the drive-through safari zoo near, I believe it was Trieste, Italy.

For some reason, someone decided *I* should be put in charge of 1.5 to 3 year olds for nearly two hours every week. I was terrified of them.

Sitting from here, that's hard to imagine. I loved those nursery days so very much, not to mention those great kids, who are now 5-7. It was magnificent preparation to LOVE being a Dad of teeny ones. It gave me faith, and Joy some hope (for me).

The Santa Barbara Zoo
Pretty polly.

Okay, I know. It's not a polly. This is a Melvin.

Adventures in Food

We have been adventurous in the last month with trying new foods. This is a natural progression. When we arrived, we panicked. Where is all the food? I grabbed anything and everything (50kilo bag of rice, anyone?), and some of it was pretty nasty. There are these "peas" that are the size of split-open grapes and taste like cardboard mixed with week-old chickpea mush, and then of course the cans of mixed veggies that include those instead of lima beans.  Yeah, we finally threw them out, despite some manly attempts to justify my early excesses. Then we had the food storage phase: we found a minimally acceptable diet, let's make sure we have enough to live. Slowly, we have been finding and rediscovering new foods to add to our diet, moving to a more diversified diet.

For some reason, food has been extremely important to both of us lately. I am responding to food as if I were perpetually starving and Joy says she is often thinking about food. But we are quite well fed, as this post will demonstrate. "It's the lack of so many comfort foods, I think," Joy guesses.

Our latest triumphs, all since the end of last semester:
Joy made pizza. "Winning the title of Date Night Food."

A "garden egg" - a.k.a African eggplant. Still trying to
figure out how to use it right. Theoretically, I should
be able to add it to the African soup... Very cheap.
I made African soup. If you google "African soup recipes," this is the soup that comes up. Sautee the peppers, onions, tomato in garlic, add water and cook the rice in it, add some meat if you're rich, and then the easy American way is to add a cup of peanut butter before you serve it. Presumably if you're using real groundnuts (=peanuts) you cook them a great deal sooner and longer. Next time around, we're adding more peppers.

"I started baking chocolate cupcakes again for Prince for his afternoon snack."

We rediscovered chicken soup and beef stew. I usually make the first soups, then show Joy how I did it and she makes the rest. I have discovered that for some reason I seem drawn to beef stew the way I am to pizza. This week, Joy made a beef stew. When I walked in the door, I smelled pizza. Even sitting with the bowl of soup in front of me, I thought it was a pizza. I tasted it and was enthralled. SO good! Mmmmm.

Joy made tortillas this week, handrolled and everything. "They were good."

I successfully recreated the Colonel's cole slaw. That, the African soup, an the beef stew have all been made a second time, we loved them so much.

Joy dried bananas. "Thank you, Petersons." Again, I was in heaven eating even one slice and filling my mouth with luscious banana flavor.

I'm adding a few shots I took from Luka's grocery-for-expats
just to prove there is such a thing here.
And I finally got the last of our pork cooked right. Mixed with Joy's tortillas, some lettuce we found for the first time, tomatoes and cheese and we have ourselves some pork tacos! Good stuff and good memories. "They couldn't have tasted better." I did miss the Ranch dressing we used to put on it. "Ooh, that's right." Ranch dressing powder is on our list of things to import when we next visit the States. Maybe next time, we'll also break open the salsa we brought with us.

Joy adds that we just bought a meat grinder, and that though we've been leaning heavily on chicken, we're hoping to add some more ground meats to our diet.

Princess meanwhile is proving she likes food.

Starting a new semester

Prince resumed school on Monday, much to his delight. When we told him he was going back to school, he asked if it was the 9th. Yes, he had remembered from weeks and weeks before that school would start on the 9th of January. Several riots pushed back the start of his school by two weeks. He was eager and happy to return.

When he returned, the report from his school was equally happy. He was such a very good boy - didn't take anyone else's toys, didn't push anyone, didn't have to go to the corner even once.

The best thing we did over the break was finally pull out of the closets - where it has sat for 3 years now, waiting for such a time as this - this magnet board of "My Responsibility Chart." We and he chose 8 goals, and every day he accomplishes his goal he gets a stamp. If he gets 5 stamps in a week for a certain goal, he gets a Terrific Job stamp. His first week was ... difficult. Last week, he got 6 Terrific Jobs. He loves them and is highly motivated.

Then on Thusday, I also got to go back to school. AUN resumed instruction only two days behind schedule. They haven't announced yet if that will affect finals or graduation yet, but my gut tends to doubt it.

I am teaching two sections of principles of macroeconomics (a new class for me) and development economics (which I taught last semester, but this time I'm using my own textbook). Last semester at the beginning, I expected and was not surprised, to see half of the enrolled students actually present. We covered some real ground anyway and I found a couple ways to give them credit for their diligence. This semester, throughout the school, classes opened with 3 ... 4 ... sometimes fewer students! Friday's development class we were up to 9, though and some classes reported in the low teens. I had an entertaining message from a student yesterday, asking if I were back in town yet? Um, yes. Yes, I am.

I had volunteered to help sign students in for orientation and spent two afternoons preparing for my presentation to the freshmen on how to succeed/not-fail-miserably in college. Point number one is to show up.

I also got moved to a new office, upstairs. It's much larger. I get a second desk, my own bookcase, and we have a water cooler in our room. Our apartment complex is also getting a fresh coat of paint (darkish blue-gray and kind of a sage green, I think).

LDS in Nigeria: the first stake 1988

May 15, 1988, the Aba Nigeria Stake became the first stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in western Africa. A stake is a large collection of congregations. In this case, there were 2,300 Latter-day Saints in the stake in 6 wards (large congregations) and 3 branches (smaller congregations).

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, an apostle, presided and was assisted by Elder Sackley, introduced last time. This came just weeks before the 10th anniversary of the revelation directing the Church that all worthy LDS men could be ordained to the priesthood. (See Official Declaration 2).
Elder Maxwell recalled being present in the Salt Lake Temple on that historic day “when all the General Authorities gathered to sustain the revelation and decision from President Spencer W. Kimball.
“I wept with joy that day,” he said. “The handkerchief I wiped my tears with I took home and told my wife not to wash. I put it in my book of remembrance, still bearing the marks of my tears of joy.
“On this Sunday, I have a second handkerchief that has wiped more tears of joy,” Elder Maxwell told the congregation. “I will take it home and place it in my book of remembrance next to the other handkerchief.”
The same News of the Church article includes an intersting discussion in celebration of the 10th anniversary about Africa, African-Americans, and the Latter-day Saints.

May 15 is also the day we commemorate when John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to begin to restore the priesthood authority lost to the earth for centuries. Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, then first counselor to the prophet and later a prophet himself, said:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

LDS in Nigeria Series

I will continue to update this post with links to the other LDS in Nigeria posts I wrote and simply link all future posts to this one. So for more information about the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nigeria, follow one of the links below the fold.

Nigeria for LDS teens, 1985-88

There were a number of new articles in the various magazines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about the growth of the Church in Nigeria and Ghana during the early 1980s when it was still brand new. Things quieted down in the middle of the decade. By 1988, however, the Church was getting ready to announce the formation of the first stake in Nigeria and we saw several new articles and more attention given to Nigeria. Here are a few excerpts from a few articles in the Church's teen magazine, The New Era.

Elder Cuthbert - Member of the Seventy in charge of overseeing the Church's missions in Africa - spoke to a group of young single adults in Feb 1986. His remarks about fulfilling our spiritual needs were reprinted in The New Era in Sept 1987. In it, he shares a few experiences from his time in Nigeria:
I think of the faithful Saints in West Africa who prayed and petitioned five, ten, fifteen years, for the fullness of the restored gospel to be taken to their land. Answers to prayer are not in man’s time, but in God’s time. Patience, faith, humble submission, are finally rewarded. ...
I received the assignment to dedicate four small meetinghouses in Nigeria. I had seen them under construction—simple, functional, but beautiful—gleaming white against the brilliant greens of the tropical rain forest. The local Saints had helped when they could, and the sisters deserve special mention for carrying water on their heads for two or three miles to the building sites.
In each new chapel, as we took our places on the stand, we paused to shake hands with the local chiefs who had been invited to attend and to occupy the front seats. They were dignified in their robes, each carrying a chief’s cane. The head chief at each chapel graciously accepted the invitation to address the congregation. Of course, they used different words, but they expressed the same powerful sentiments: “You are the light of this community. You have brought us the true gospel. Thank you for coming.” Did not the Savior exhort us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16)? Oh, that we might all be a light to our respective communities! ...

7 Months and Crawling

This has been a major weekend for the Princess' growth and development.

The Royals are therefore pleased to announce the first successful crawling of the Princess. The first time was this afternoon while Joy and I sat on the bed and had her crawl to us from the other side of the room. "She was pretty pitiful because she was crawling to us whimpering and crying, and not from excitement." She repeated her performance tonight with both of us on the couch, again whimpering all the way. When we cheer, she stops moving (and whimpering) to look around startled, then she starts again.

Until now, she's been "swimming" across the floor, using her elbows and knees to propel herself but with her tummy dragging on the ground.

Many more updates below the fold.

New Year

I'm not late posting this. It's only just the Chinese New Year, after all....

We celebrated the New Year on Pacific time, about 9am here. Hy and I found some vuvuzelas (vuvuzeli?) at the market for all of us to blow.

We chatted with my parents from 8-9 (11-midnight their time) with a pretty good Skype connection the entire time. Afterwards we chatted with our good friends in Russia. Huzzah for Skype.

We also had the traditional family "toast" in our new toaster. When I was a little boy, I heard my parents saying something about having a toast on New Years. I told my grandmother - who watched me while my parents had a nice dinner out - that meant we were supposed to have toast. So we buttered some browned bread and the family thought it was so adorable, we've all been doing it every year since.

Even though it looks like Princess had a little too much of the other kind of toast, that was Fanta in there.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Sunbeam sings As a Child of God

Prince graduated from Nursery into Primary this January, and we've been having our own little family Primary sessions the last couple weeks. They are great challenges to his abilities to sit still, but he enjoys singing for 15-30 minutes. The Primary is learning a new hymn this month, "As a Child of God." The Youtube video we've been using to help us teach him is here [oh, the advantages of having Primary in your home!]

Prince is quite taken with the song and has been singing it around the house. I caught him singing it while he put away his toys.

For those who can't make out the words, he's singing the first verse:

I came to earth with power to choose.
Good choices bless me and my family too.
(Chorus:) As a child of God I receive special light.
The Holy Ghost helps me to know what is right.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Conversations with Prince: Light, Dark, and Death

Prince and I played a Bible trivia game on Sunday. One of the questions seemed to have made an impact. He was supposed to fill in the blank from John 3:19 - And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were ____ [evil]. We discussed the verse and what it means and why. He seemed rather interested in trying to understand it. Then we moved on.

This morning, Prince got a chance to do some coloring. He colored some areas of the paper yellow and some areas black. Then he explained to Joy: "Satan is the dark. Jesus is yellow. We should not choose darkness; choose light. ... The darkness has power." Joy was very impressed by his grasping the metaphor.

Along similar lines, I had a very difficult conversation with him last evening. Seated at dinner, he turned to me and said, "Daddy, I hope you die."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Book of Mormon in Africa

In 1985, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reported that the Church's translation efforts were shifting from Central and South American languages to African and Asian languages. Work was underway to translate the Book of Mormon into Efik (Nigeria), Akan (Ghana), and Zulu and Swahili, among others. It had already been translated into Afrikaans (South Africa) in 1972. Translations were finished in:

Arabic 1986
Fante Ghana 1999
Shona Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana 1999
Malagasy Madagasacar 2000
Swahili much of eastern sub-Saharan Africa 2000
Amharic, East     Ethiopia, Eritrea 2000
Igbo Nigeria 2000
Xhosa South Africa 2000
Tswana Botswana 2003
Zulu South Africa, Zimbabwe 2003
Lingala Democratic Republic of the Congo 2004
Twi Ghana 2005
Yoruba Nigeria, Benin, Togo 2007

Selections of the Book of Mormon are available in other languages, including:
  • Efik (Nigeria) in 1983
  • Kisii (Kenya) in 1983
When we were preparing to come here, the Church's catalog listed that they had Joseph Smith's testimony [Shaidar Annabi Yusufu Simit] and the old Gospel Principles manual [Asqui Yatiyawin Yatichawinacapa] available in Hausa (the most often used tongue in this part of Nigeria) but that was it. If we had had 2 more weeks in the States before we came out here, we had planned on ordering 25 of each, but it didn't work out.

LDS in Nigeria 4: 1980-1984

There were a relatively large number of articles in the magazines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about the newly opened missions in Ghana and Nigeria between 1978 and 1981, thought it slows somewhat after that.

This article from the March 1980 Ensign provides an interesting primer for African history and culture. Complimentary throughout, it makes a number of points that development practitioners are still trying to convince people of. There is a lot of good in it, particularly impressive given the change in culture since then.

An interesting line from a News of the Church article, May 1981, from the second missionary couple to return from Ghana and Nigeria:
“The Nigerians are very family oriented,” explain the Olsens, “and when we talked with them about genealogy, temple work, and family history, [District] President Inmpey became very excited. He took some sheets home and brought them back filled out. He took a month’s leave from his work as technician at Enugu’s post and telecommunications department and visited all of the villages where his ancestors had grown up, interviewing his relatives and filling out his sheets.”
Pres. Inmpey's conversion and family story are in the article.

The News of the Church in June 1983 reported on Church welfare assistance being sent to Ghana after Nigeria canceled the visas of some 1.2 million Ghanaians, resulting in "a severe food shortage." At that point there were 1000 members of the Church in Ghana. Half was used primarily for the members in Ghana, with the other half going to the general public regardless of religious background.

That same issue of the Ensign contains a story told by Elder M. Russell Ballard - today one of the Lord's chosen apostles, but then one of their assistants, a President of the Seventy - about his visit to Nigeria in August 1982:

Friday, January 13, 2012

One week later in Jimeta

One week after the "fun" on the 4th day of the fuel subsidy strike, the Yola-Jimeta area is remarkably quiet. We went shopping and saw that there were far fewer vehicles on the road, many shops were closed - in some cases whole streets of shops gated and locked up - and the main market itself was quieter than usual, though there still a decent amount of traffic around the stalls. It was very strange to see so little activity.

There were two big differences. Faro Water, the local bottling plant owned by AUN Founder Atiku Abubakar, has joined the strike, so there were no refill water jugs. One shop did still have cartons of water bottles we could buy.

Second, a couple key intersections now sport dedicated police searching every car. Each motorcyclist had to stop, dismount, and walk their bike through. Pedestrians passed with their hands in the air. Each car had to show what was in the trunk and sometimes answer questions. I will post some of it later. Most of the travellers, and our driver, laughed at most of it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pew Survey of LDS

Pew did a survey of mostly active, American members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about their beliefs and how they fit into society. Some of the results were quite interesting:

"What is essential to being a good Mormon? According to the survey, 80 percent said "believing Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ" is essential to being a good Mormon, 73 percent said "working to help the poor,""

Other interesting sound bites:

  • The Latter-day Saints surveyed had a more favorable opinion of Pres. Obama than LDS Senate Majority Leader Reid (25 to 22) 
  • 97% of us identify as being Christians, believe in Jesus' resurrection, and use the word "Christian" as the single word that best describes us, while 49% of non-Mormons do not think we're Christian 
  • Most of us rank being a good parent as more important than career or religious activities 
  • 60% of converts cited church beliefs as why they joined. 60% of converts joined between 18 and 35 years old. 
  • 82% say they have a food storage, and almost half have 3 months stored up. When Pres. Ensign came to check on us and assess our needs, we were happy to report that we had 1-2 weeks of food stored up and enough cash to satisfy our needs. Water was another story, but we could boil the tap water to make more as needed and had already refilled a 5 gallon (20 liter) drum with boiled water. 
  • Even though most identified as conservative, we are much more positive about immigrants and immigration than the average conservative.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We do get outside occasionally

Suya: Nigerian BBQ.

The AUN Club is renovating, so the kitchen was closed last time Prince and I went swimming. So we stopped off for some Suya on the way home. It was very good. Spicy, but not as fearfully hot as warned. Some random guys wanted me to take their picture while we were waiting. That is a reaction years of reading development blogs complaining about developmental tourism had never prepared me for.

From the horse race we went to in November to celebrate Abraham's sacrifice.

We had a tailor in today. Soon I will have one of those on the left (the local Hausa variety) in cream and one of those on the right (not sure whose variety) in green. Joy is also finally getting her birthday dress done. Pictures forthcoming.
It would be a bit presumptuous to wear either the headman's
headwear, or the red outfit of the royal guard.

Three little fishies swimmin in the water

In Nevada with family. Prince's firstish time in a pool.

At the AUN Club pool, trying out his new boat

Teaching him to paddle

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas differences

They have "wrapping sheets" in "bookstores" here, but bookstores are where you go to buy books of empty lined paper, not reading books. We found three packets of wrapping sheets, and it's a pretty good term for them: pre-measured sheets of wrapping paper. You get a lot in each package, and it was really high quality, but it cost $8 per package. Coming from starving-grad-student days of buying dollar store wrapping paper, that feels expensive, so we actually saved some sheets to reuse for birthdays.

The price of rice goes up starting in Sept or Oct, I am told, as farmers and traders prepare for the big Christmas rush to buy rice. Rice is apparently the traditional celebratory food for Christmas. For our part, Christmas preparations involved driving the dirt back-roads looking for the one guy in town who butchers a pig (that's right, A pig ... one) each day so we could have our first pork in Nigeria.
Even my brother might appreciate the machete he used
Speaking of livestock, I ought to mention that Joy loves eating the skin ... but only in the US. There's something indefinably different about the taste of the bird skins out here. There is one part that is definable, though. We soak all our meat in a vinegar solution for about 10 minutes and scrub it before we put it in cold storage, and that helps, but there's still sometimes dirt on the skin, and the pork came with some of the hide still attached. There's no attempt to give rib cuts or differentiate between good cuts and bad cuts. I could just specify "not from the leg" and be thankful for what I got.

First World Problems: in the US, people complain about decorations going up so early. They complain about Christmas music blaring everywhere for months. I missed those problems! I miss Christmas decorations everywhere. I could find a few small plastic trees with a strand of singing lights. I was glad we kept the top of our old tree to be our new one.

(some*) People who don't celebrate Christmas in the US complain about its use and over-marketing. Here, most of the Muslims I spoke too also celebrated Christmas and were quite happy to wish each other Merry Christmas. Eventually I got over being timid about wishing people a Merry Christmas around here. This was nice.

Caroling is apparently a Western tradition. Most everyone was surprised that I was wearing a "Father Christmas hat." Prince occasionally sang and mostly hit a can of nuts with a bit of stick to make a drum. We caroled to our guards, and one fellow in their post turned the radio up while we sang. We caroled to our neighbor the chicken farmer and they sang with us. "We only do this in church." We offered to carol to some neighborhood women on their way, but they didn't have time and thought the idea was strange but invited us over another day. We caroled to our next-door neighbor just as they got back from a 7 hour drive and they were happy. They apologized for not having cider to offer us and we apologized for not having brought fudge. (Ah, the exchange of proper seasonal apologies was sweet: the acknowledgement that we both recognize the same Platonic/Rockwellian traditions and know we can't do it "right" here, but are sure trying hard! *sigh*) We caroled to another family in the compound ... and found a fellow Latter-day Saint who said, "You are stealing our songs! Those were from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir." When our mouths dropped (quite literally in my case) he realized he was no longer alone in Yola.

I tried to find out about Nigerian Christmas traditions, but was met only with the bland "We get together with our families and eat food and go to church." Then again, I imagine it is a difficult for someone who has only lived at home to know what they do differently from other countries. What, you mean the Wise Men don't come and leave presents in your shoes and Knecht Ruprecht doesn't make the children recite a poem or song they learned that year or else get a beating in America (Germany)? Why would you celebrate on the 25th when everyone knows Christmas is January 7, and what's up with all the commercialism for a strictly religious holiday (Russia)? Maybe next year we'll figure out what a true Nigerian Christmas means.

Prince discusses his body

Several months ago, Prince found a way for us to talk about his hunger needs. He was unwilling to say, "I am hungry," but he was happy to tell us "My belly is hungry." So for months we've had conversations multiple times a day about his belly. He'll ask to be excused from the table, and we ask if his belly is full.

This morning, he informed us that his belly wanted to wake us up, but he kept it from doing that.

Probing deeper, I learned about this fifth member of our household. Prince's belly cries a lot, but he's not a baby. It is 0 years old, but when it is 1 year old it will be able to run around all by itself. It will turn 1 year old in June. This prompted me to ask if his belly was Princess. No, he said, because his belly is inside him and Princess is outside. ... I think. He then ran to find Princess nursing and show to me that she wasn't inside him.

"My belly is thinking about having, about playing a Wii game. And my belly is thinking about playing a board game."

Joy reports his belly has told him before to not do what his mommy says, to which she responded that she doesn't like his belly. 'But we had the same conversation about his computer - almost like his belly is an imaginary friend, only with stronger sway.'

"When my belly got out of my tummy, it went to sleep. And a couple whiles, his timer went off and it's time to wake up, but it's still night outside. And then Mommy, [Princess], and his parents and his baby sister were going to the store without him! He has parents in my belly. What??"    He said "What??" not me.

Who are his parents?

"His parents was was was um, the mommy was Patty and the daddy was Gaddy Taddy, and the baby sister was Shaddybolla. Shaddybolla is the baby."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Safe and Sound

Today was a quiet day. We got some extra cleaning done, Princess was adorable, we played a lot of board games (including introducing Prince to Solarquest, a galactic version of Monopoly) and made chocolate cake. Prince and I finished reading the Wizard of Oz and he asked to go on to read book #2 in the series. Oh, and I cut my own hair and did more than just shave it all down for the first time. It turned out more layered than tapered, but it works. Everything was quiet outside.

If you want to know what's going on in the rest of Nigeria, look under the fold. The point of this post is that we are happy and healthy and well provided for. Only look under the fold if you want things to worry about or to make your prayers a bit more specific. We're fine and feel at peace.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Prince talks about fun

[Prince would like to share with you all about his favorite Christmas present: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem, for the DS. I gave him some coupons for Daddy Dates while I'm not at school. Any time during the day he wants, he presents me a coupon and I stop my work and come play with him for half an hour. This is what he wants to play. Today we beat the final level and the final boss and got the credits rolling. I thought it was a very short game if we could beat it 30 minutes at a time already. But then after the credits, Donkey Kong jumped down from the Ferris Wheel and kidnapped Penelope AGAIN! This is where Prince's narrative begins:]

We're going to get Penelope again when we beat Donkey Kong again. Ummmm, uh, um, well, we're on the first level and then we do a second level and a third level and then a 5th level and then a 6th level and then we face off Donkey Kong haha. Haha! And uh um when I when I said, "How many times do I have to beat Donkey Kong?" And then and then six times we had to beat Donkey and when I saw how many time to we have to get Toad and then do Mario again? The next after we get Mario, then Mario comes with Toad and then Luigi! Daddy, when we beat Donkey Kong again after Toad then what happens next?

[Well, presumably we win the game for real this time.]

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We're all good, no worries

As our families learn about fuel protests this week, I just wanted to reassure them that all is quiet in our neck of Yola. If you want more information from my economist side, here is the link at my work blog. We will keep on letting you know all is well here.

Game Reviews: free iPad games

Being rather averse to actually spending money when there are free games around, I've been trying out a lot of free iPad games. The fact, however, is that a lot of free games are nerfed in an attempt to get you to spend unreasonable amounts of money to get just a little further. While I wouldn't write a post just to talk about games that annoyed me, I would write one if I had a really good find to report: However, if you enjoy being nickled and dimed, you might enjoy the other games.

Temple Run is fun.

Your character has stolen the idol from the monkey temple and must flee the monkeys. Your character just runs. That's it. You control when he turns, jumps, or slides to avoid the obstacles in the way. Fairly standard arcade action. There are gems to collect along the way, a few occasional powerups, and a lot of dying. Even Joy reports that the graphics are nice. This is an impossible-to-win game where you can see your gradual progress, which is fun for the obsessive gamer. After playing it 250 times in less than a week, I should know. Each game doesn't last very long and it is actually possible to put it down. You could spend money to speed up your progress, but it isn't necessary.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Church plans

Being a small church unit, we only have two meetings on Sunday - and that only because our families are fairly experienced and so it's not a hardship to add a "gospel instruction meeting" after Sacrament. If we had any investigators (but we're instructed to be a non-proselytizing group for now), we'd do the Gospel Principles manual for the second hour. Since it's us, though, we get to choose what we do.

Last year we switched between the New Testament lessons and the October General Conference sessions since we didn't exactly get to watch them broadcast at the time.

This year, we're going to switch between the Book of Mormon lessons and the new George Albert Smith manual. The plan at the moment is that on the 2nd and 3rd Sundays when the rest of the church is doing a Teaching of the Presidents of the Church lesson, so will we. On the 1st, 4th, and 5th Sundays, whoever is in charge of the lesson will pick one of the Book of Mormon lessons for that month to teach.

We had a very effective spur of the moment Sunday School lesson, Joy and I, just now. We pulled out lesson 2 of the Book of Mormon manual about 1st Nephi 1-7. I looked at the "attention activity" and smirked. I smirk a lot at the attention activities. It's one of my less-charming traits.

Then I thought about it a bit more. What if we actually were told, by AUN or mission Pres. Buah or the State Department, that we needed to evacuate Yola for some strange reason? What would we do? 

When the manual then followed up by asking if it would make any difference if we were told by the prophet to move, Joy had a remarkably practical answer: Yes, because if it were AUN telling us to get out of town, they would also provide a way. If the prophet told us, we'd have to make our own arrangements.

We had a magnificent discussion of our emergency preparedness and our ability to follow whatever counsel the Lord should give whenever He does. Here's to a wonderful year of "gospel instruction meeting"!