Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saying Goodbye

We arrived home from our mission on July 7, 2015.  We were greeted by our wonderful family holding signs, homemade pictures, and flowers.  It was wonderful.  It was a long 22 hour flight but we would have flown 100 hours, knowing at the end of it all we would see those we had missed so much.  We spoke in Sacrament Meeting on the 12th of July and then headed out to a family reunion from the 13th to the 16th. 

We finally have time to finish up the blog with all of our final pictures we took, before leaving our beloved Pointe Noire.  We heard today that President Ndinga, President of the Loandjili Branche was set apart as the new District Leader.  There were over 600 people that attended the meeting Presided over by President Monga.  His counselors will be, President Okili, who was the 2nd Counselor in the Pointe Noire Branche and President Caillet, who was the Branche President in the Aéroport Branche.  

Being a District will be such a blessing to the Saints... we wish we could have been there to celebrate with those we have grown to love. . . . but we know that Elder and Sister Bills are who the Lord needs to be there right now.  It all works out when you are on the Lord's errand.   We send everyone our deepest love and prayers and look forward to seeing the vision and growth that will come to the wonderful Saints in Pointe Noire.

This is part of our wonderful family.  Our Arizona Baileys were still coming and two of our sons could not get off of work.  But the grandkids were thrilled to see us!

The first thing that Livia wanted to do when we got home was to look at the seashells that we found along the Beach at the Ponton Plage.  All of the grandchildren loved their carved elephants made by Ghisgard.  

Does anyone recognize these three!  They had just enough time to hear President and Sister Cook speak in Sacrament, and then hurry to Washington Terrace to hear us.  We loved seeing them and having them meet the family.

Brother and Sister Sperry were so kind and gracious to come and bring us a lei.  We were so grateful to finally meet them and give them a hug!  

Our beautiful leis.  

Our family photo at our "Ohana".  We were at a place up in Garland, Utah from the 13 - 16 of July.  It was such fun getting reacquainted with everyone.

Our last days....

It was very hard to say good bye to all those we had come to love in Congo.  We made a list of everyone that had touched our hearts in 18 months and it filled 4 journal pages.

Debora was one of our piano students from the Pointe Noire Branche.  We started teaching her in January 2015 and she already is  playing in Sacrament Meeting.   We love her and her dear family!

Sister Yvonne made this outfit for me.  She is a very faithful Sister in the Mpaka Branche that we grew to love.

This is President and Sister Ndinga.  He was called to be the new District President on Sunday
July 19, 2015.  President Ndinga is a valiant leader who will be wonderful in moving the Saints forward in Pointe Noire.  We were so grateful to have been able to work alongside both of them!

Sister Sandrine and Brother Gallen Kessa were married on Friday, July 17, 2015.  We were not able to be there but are so grateful for this wonderful blessing that has come to them.  Sister Sandrine serves as the Relief Society President of the Aeroport Branche.  

Sister Bailey saying good-bye to two very special Relief Society Presidents.  Sister Sandrine and Sister Perpetue

We said goodbye to John who we found as we were walking to the Kende Family one Saturday in May.   He and his wife will be baptized next Saturday.  How we grew to love them and are so excited to see them embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He made us this beautiful lamp shade.  

We said good bye to Anicet our night Guardian, who has been with us the whole 18 months.  We love him and his family so much.  He worked so hard to take care of us and get us water each day to fill the cistern.  We will miss him!

We said good-bye to Perley.  She is Leon and Perpetue's daughter.  I just love her.  She is so sweet and beautiful.  She always gave me the biggest hug every time I saw her.  

We received a "good-bye" cake that we shared with everyone.  

This is Brother and Sister Bills who replaced us.  They are who the Lord needs to be in Pointe Noire right now.  How we love them and so enjoyed our 10 days we had with them before we left.

We said good bye to the Gakosso family.  President Max is the Branche President of the Pointe Noire Branche.  This is their beautiful family plus Sister Okiery and her daughter Eden.  

Elder Tchibanda, Elder Kabenga, Elder Bacera, Elder Waite, Elder Kabongo, Elder Legerski, Elder Larson, and 
Elder Kabasele

We said good bye to our wonderful missionaries.  We will miss them so much.  They have worked so hard to "Hasten the Work of Salvation" in Pointe Noire.  We have loved all of the many missionaries we served alongside!

We said good-bye to the Monday morning basketball group.  

On Saturday, July 4, the Mpaka Branche had a good bye fireside for us.  We love seeing all of the Members and sharing our testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

And we said good-bye to our Family Home Evening Group.... Elder Tchibanda, Paco, Jhostavie, Surprise and Desti.   We loved meeting with them on Monday nights and sharing our love of he Gospel.  

And we said good bye to our dear Mission President and Sister Monga.  What a blessing it was for us to be able to serve under the leadership of President Monga.  We will miss his wise leadership, his wonderful laugh, and their beautiful family that we grew to love.  We wish them and the mission our deepest love!

The Gospel is True!

Until next...................

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Miracles.......12 June 2015

Miracles. . . . 

As a Senior Missionary couple we were called by a prophet of God and set apart to represent the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.  We were called to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."  

How great is our calling!

We are down to 24 days before we go home.  It has been such a wonderful experience to have served a second time in Africa.  We know that our Father In Heaven has watched over us and blessed us abundantly.

As we have served alongside many wonderful missionaries, we find ourselves in awe of how "good" they really are.  Most of them are just 18 years old when they come, and yet they preached with "power and authority" the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They have such great faith that if they are obedient, they can expect blessings, and if they are "exactly obedient" they can expect miracles.

So many "miracles" happen in the mission field.  We see the hand of the Lord in everything, as He hastens His work of salvation!  The Gospel is true and we love it will all of our heart.

We were beginning to get just a little worried about a couple to come and replace us.  We tried to think of how things could work without one, and simply could not see any way.  We prayed and trusted that things would work out.  Last Thursday, President Monga had a conference call with all of his couples in the mission. Elder and Sister Coleman in Douala, Cameroon are scheduled to leave in August.  They also are desperate for a couple to replace them.  So as we talked and discussed and put everything on the table, President made some final decisions as to how things would proceed.

Elder and Sister Bills, who are the travel missionaries in the office in Brazzaville, will come to replace us.  They will arrive on Friday, June 26.   We are so very grateful for an answer to our prayers.   Elder and Sister Dimond who are serving in Yaounde, Cameroon will not only do their job, but will travel the four hours to Douala every two weeks to handle things there, until a couple can be found.

How grateful we are that we have served alongside such wonderful, faithful Senior Missionary Couples who are willing to do whatever the Lord asks them to do.  Many thanks to the Dimonds, Coleman's, Nelsons, Bills and Moody's, for being such a blessing and example to us while we have served here in Pointe Noire.

The Miracle of a Couple!

Elder and Sister Bills, Elder & Sister Moody, Elder and Sister Dimond, President and Soeur Monga, Bailey's, Elder and Sister Nelson, and Elder and Sister Coleman.

The Miracle of families. . . . 

President Monga has asked us to find families to teach the Gospel to.  This is the John Matoko family we found as we walked to visit a member last month.  He came to church last week with Laticia his wife and Precieux and Kenan his sons.  They have been hearing the discussions and love the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are so grateful for them.... 

This is Anicet our night Guardian.  He came to church last Sunday also with his family, Jermaine, Malondo, Simba and Exauce.  The missionaries have been teaching them also.

Last Monday, we had the Matoko family over for dinner.  I made "fajita's" which they really didn't love, but were great sports to try.

The Matoko and Kizimbou families.

Alain, Bijou, Exauce and Princess are the "fellowshipping" family that came to dinner on Monday also.  It is such a miracle to see the Lord's work move forward all over the world. 

The Miracle of Music. . . . 

Back row:  Ketsia, Igor, Desti and Cleve
Front row: Debóra, Paco, Christ and Prince

These are our piano students from the Loandjili and Pointe Noire Branches.  Next week will be our last lesson with them.  We lost every missionary that could play the piano in Sacrament Meeting this past week, so now the music falls to these wonderful young people.  The miracle is that they have only been having lessons since January 2015, and this Sunday in Sacrament Meeting, Debora will play for the Point Noire Branche and Cleve will play for the Loandjili Branche.  The Lord has blessed them because of their desire to learn, with the ability to learn quickly.  

The Miracle of Missionaries. . . 

Elder Beutler left this past week to "Return With Honor" after finishing his mission.  He put in his papers when he was still in High School and reported to the mission field after graduation. What an inspired blessing it is to work alongside these fine missionaries for the Lord.

Elder Andriamiasinarivo, Elder Mbikayi, Elder Etherington, Elder Beutler and Elder Mandefu

This past week was transfer week.   What was Pointe Noire's loss, is now Cameroon's gain.  Our dear leaders that have been so faithful and effective in the missionary work here were called to "move on" and share their talents and testimonies with other Branches.  We will miss them dearly, and wish them great success in the months ahead.  Elder Beutler and Elder Mandefu returned home to Mapelton, Utah and DRC.   When Missionaries leave from Pointe Noire, we always give them a tie.  They each picked out their own material with all of the African's picking the same material.

The ties!!!!

The Elders that stayed were  Elder Larson, Elder Waite, Elder Legerski and Elder Kabongo.  

Elder Kabongo, Elder Bacera, Elder Kabasele, Elder Waite, Elder Kabenga, Elder Larson, Elder Tchibanda and 
Elder Legerski.

On Monday, June 8, we received our new missionaries for the next 6 weeks.  It will take a while to get the names strait, but we will practice until we get it right!

Elder Kabongo and Elder Bacera will take over both of the Mpaka Branches. Elder Bacera will work as a District Leader.

Elder Legerski and Elder Tchibanda will be the missionaries for the Aéroport Branche.

Elder Larson and Elder Kabenga will be in the Pointe Noire Branche. Elder Kabenga is our new 
Zone Leader.

Elder Waite will be a new District Leader and along with Elder Kabasele work in the
 Loandjili Branche,

The Miracle of Baptisms. . . . 

We held a baptism on July 6 where three people were baptized.  This is Belvina with her mother who is a member.  Elder Mkikayi and Elder Legerski were the missionaries who taught Belvina.

Debora was also baptized that day.  She was taught by Elder Etherington and Elder Mandefu of the Pointe Noire branche.  Debora was baptized by Elder Beutler before he left on Monday June 8.

Wall of Fame. . . 

This is Anicet our night guardian.  We went out to say goodnight to him last night and he was dressed like this. It is the "winter" here in Pointe Noire and the African's freeze.  We laughed so hard at his outfit.  We also found him a fleece blanket to put over him at night.  The funny thing is ....... it is 79 degrees!!!!!

One of my dear friends brought us a gift this past week just to let us know she was thinking about us.  Now in America we might receive something like  
"Harvest Bread" or cookies. . . . but here in Pointe Noire we receive "figs" and "coconuts"..... Isn't missionary work the greatest.  We love it!


We are so grateful for the "miracles" that attend the work of the Lord.  We have had our share of many here on our mission, and thank our Father in Heaven everyday for his love and answers to our prayers.

The Gospel is True!

Until Next Week........

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ponton Plage ~ June 1, 2015

Transfers. . . .

Transfers are next week so we wanted to spend some time with the Elders that will be leaving and the ones that will be going home. Besides that, the Elders love spending time with each other, so it made for a wonderful day.   We know that Elder Beutler and Elder Mandefu will finish their mission, and  more than likely more will be transferred to another city to continue their mission.  So yesterday, we again went to our favorite place here in Pointe Noire, the Ponton Plage.  This was the first time that some have ever seen the ocean.

The waves were "wild" yesterday.  We had close encounters where we almost ruined three camera's as the waves came way up onto the sand and we couldn't get away fast enough.   It made for some wonderful pictures and fun for all.

We are so grateful to have served with such valiant and faithful missionaries here in Pointe Noire.  They work so hard each day to be obedient, knowing that in "exact obedience" they will receive "miracles".

Each Branche is working hard to gather in those that are lost or inactive.  Each will start Sacrament Meeting first starting next week and focus on making "The Sabbath Day" more holy and special.  They are also striving to internalize the importance of renewing our covenants with the Lord each week as they sacrifice to make it on time for church.

So great things are happening here in Pointe Noire.

Elder Kabeya and Elder Larson help carry in the "Coleman Cooler" with all the food for our lunch.

Elder Etherington, Elder Mandefu, Elder Mbikaye and Elder Andrimiasinarivo enjoy the sloppy joes.

Elder Kabongo and Elder Kabeya enjoy their lunch also.

Elder Legerski could not put down his potato salad long enough for a picture..... as Elder Larson, Elder Waite and Elder Beutler look on.

After lunch Elders Kabaya and Elder Mbikayi play a little soccer.

Back row:  Elder Mbikayi, Elder Kabeya
Front row: Elder Andriamiasinarivo, Elder Mandefu and Elder Etherington

The Zone as of June 1, 2015

Left to right: Elder Larson, Elder Legerski, Elder Andriamiasinarivo, Elder Etherington, 
Elder Mbikayi, Elder Kabongo, Elder Kabeya, Elder Mandefu, Elder Beutler and Elder Waite

They just couldn't resist the temptation of feeling the ocean on their legs. . . . they remembered the rules of only up to the knees.

Elder Etherington 

Elder Beutler

Elder Legerski

Elder Andriamiasinarivo takes pictures of the mighty waves.

Elder Bailey loved the day!

There is something so beautiful and serene about a shoreline and rolling waves.

We noticed some people were fishing so the Elders went to talk with them.  I am not sure what they were fishing for.  

This is the "lure" that was on the end of the pole.

Elder Kabongo!

Elder Etherington, Elder Kabongo, Elder Mandefu, and Elder Kabeya

The Elders could not pass up a chance for some great beach soccer.

Elder Mandefu and Elder Mbikayi resort to a "knock-down" over who gets the ball!

Elder Beutler showed us how to play "Place the Stick"... You draw a line then try to see who can put a stick the farthest out using just a pole and your upper body weight.  Elder Andri is the first to try.

Next, Elder Legerski tries, he put the stick in his mouth for some added grip on the pole.

Elder Bailey even tried!

Elder Beutler showed everyone how it was done.

But the winner and best form went to Elder Larson!

Elder Larson looks on as Elder Waite shows us the tiny, little sand crab he caught... or who caught him.  They have a mighty little "pinch" for being so small.

Elder Waite, give him a few more months before he will be ready to eat!

Elder Waite, Elder Beutler, Elder Kabongo, Elder Andri, Elder Legerski and Elder Larson get ready for the "jump shot". . . .


Elder Legerski!

At the end of the day we wrote a note to Sister Monga to wish her "Happy Birthday" and sent it with our love to her in an e-mail.


We loved spending time with the missionaries of Pointe Noire.  We wish Elder Beutler and Elder Mandefu a wonderful journey home to be reunited with their families.  And we wish our Elders who will be departing for a "new adventure" the best, as we all work so hard in "His Work of Salvation."

The Gospel Is True!

Until next week..........