After completing our MTC training, we were able to travel to Blackfoot to visit one last time with LaDawn’s 5 brothers and their spouses. How we loved being with them!
On Sunday evening we enjoyed another treat as we were able to visit for a short time with Steve and Pat Weber. Steve served as a counselor to me while I served as Bishop and then when I was released he was called. How we love this wonderful couple!
On Monday, July 2nd we boarded the first leg of our flight to Sierra Leone. Leaving at 5 pm, we traveled first to Paris and then after a two hour layover, boarded an AirFrance flight to Sierra Leone that then went on to Conakry, Guinea. The flight to Paris was just under 10 hours, and the flight to Freetown was about 6.5 hours. Fortunately, both flights were uneventful. We knew we had good seats flying out of Salt Lake City (exit row – spacious but the seats were hard), but coming out of Paris, our boarding passes showed that we were on Row 41. Fortunately we checked with the gate agent in Paris and she told us we had been upgraded to “plus” seating. This was wonderful! We had a good meal on the flight and plenty of leg room. The picture on the left was leaving Houston. The picture on the right is the terminal in Paris from which we departed.
We finally arrived in Freetown at 6:30 pm local time, which was 12:30 pm Salt Lake City
time and 1:30 pm Houston time. In the picture above on the left you can see in the distance the slight mountain peninsula where Freetown is located. The airport is north of Freetown across the bay. We were met at the airport by an agent of the mission who arranged for us tickets for a boat across the bay. He handed us off to a friendly Sierra Leonean called James. When he saw our name tags, he referred to himself as “Elder James” although he didn’t have a clue what it meant. From there we boarded a bus which took us to where the boat was docked. This particular boat was called Sovereign Seas and is a private transport. There is another boat that is run by the government that also crosses the bay, but we understand that it is much less reliable (and less expensive). Here is a picture of our boat “captain”. There were two other workers on board and a nun whose name was Sister Catherine. Getting on the boat was a bit tricky. The water was pretty choppy and so we had to time the embarkment and disembarkment just right right as we stepped from a wooden dock to the rocking boat and then back again. Once we arrived in Freetown, President and Sister Clawson met us and took us to the mission home. We are staying with them in a room with its own bathroom right in the mission home which they use at times for visitors. We went to bed about 10:30 last night and slept like babies. When we awoke this morning and looked at the window, here is what we saw.
For the next couple of days we will be here in Freetown and then on Friday will make our way to Kenema where we will live and serve.