At the Stake Conference session on Saturday I went early so Brent could go to the men's priesthood session and while I waited for the adult afternoon session, I visited in the apartment of one of the missionary couples that are assigned here. It was a great place to wait because it had air conditioning -- and also more comfortable than sitting in a classroom. I visited with Sister Griggs while Sister Carlson finished a meeting with some single adult leaders. Then, after the meeting was over, we had some time to chat. I was so impressed with these women! It would have been so easy for them to stay in their comfortable lives in the U.S., but they indicated their willingness to serve a mission and -- even more remarkably -- accepted the assignment when they heard they would be assigned to Nigeria. They said a large majority of senior couples decline when they receive an assignment to Africa. Brother and Sister Carlson had been down in Port Harcourt and, amazingly enough with what I've heard about that area, they loved it! She was very sad when concerns for their safety necessitated their move to Lagos. There had been robberies and home invasions even with the missionaries there. The Delta area has become a place that is very unsafe for white people, so the church pulled out all the Westerners. Sister Griggs is newer to the mission and is still adjusting, but she has a great attitude and the willingness to stick it out, despite the difficulties. Sister Carlson said she thinks about how if she and her husband had not gone on this mission, she would have missed one of the richest experiences of her adult life. It's clear she's offering so much with leadership training here and loves the people and what she's doing.
On Sunday before the Conference session, we visited with some of the young full-time missionaries as they waited with their pamphlets and church materials under a tent outside the stake center. They are all from different parts of Africa. They have bright smiles, generous spirits and lots of energy. It was fun to talk with them. They radiate their love of God and the gospel.