Friday, January 31, 2014

Our President Arrives

    This week has been one very busy week.  We have not had a moment to send too many pictures to let you know how things are going, we apologize for that.  It takes two hours to upload one picture between 7:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M.  here in Pointe Noire.   You are probably saying to yourself, well why don't you just upload after or before that.  Good question!  This week we have had no power for three days.  So we have to run the generator which is about a 6 ft by 4 ft "monster" that sounds like a Catapiller bulldozer.  So we try not to run it after 6:00 or before 7:00 so we can be "nice" neighbors.

     So between President coming on Wednesday, and no power, we have not had a window to get things going.   But, hallelujah, the power is "ON" and it is 7:25 p.m. so we have lightning fast internet.  Things couldn't be better!

     We laugh hard every day about our new "normal" here in the Congo.  Our new normal is that NOTHING is normal, and as long as we remember that everyday that we get out of bed,  everything is great.  We are enjoying our mission so much, and we can hardly believe that we have been out for almost 1 month!!  YEAH!

     On Wednesday we picked up President & Sister Cook at 8:10 a.m.  Everything went great!  We took them back to our apartment where they would be staying for the next day and 1/2.  He had every minute scheduled for the next 10 hours with interviews with baptismal candidates, meeting with the Branch Presidents, teaching with the Elders, looking at property to build a new church, and getting to know us.  What a kind wonderful man he his.  They are from Providence, Utah where he was a Podiatrist.  He served his mission to France 44 years earlier which is where he learned his French.  Sister Cook does not speak French, but she has such a bubbly personality, and everyone loves her.

   We spent much of Monday and Tuesday getting the house ready for our guests.  We also spent time going to the store to get food.  I wish it was like going to Macey's and picking up the items on your list and going home.  But it is not!   I am still trying to figure out what things are in French.  I needed to buy some sugar........plain old regular sugar!!!  How hard can that be.   Well I saw "sucre", which I knew meant sugar and bought it and took it home.  Well it was sugar cubes!  ARGGGGG!    We just blended them in the blender and they worked great.

     We are sending some pictures of the house, so you can see how blessed we are.  We love it and it is so safe and peaceful.

This is our living room                                   

Our front walkway
Our kitchen

     We also have a spare bedroom to house our guests for anyone who might be thinking of coming to visit!!  With everything that was going on this week, we forgot to get a picture with President and Sister Cook.   But they will be coming in 2 weeks again, so we will get one then.  

    And lastly, this picture below is of Prudence and her little son, Nephi.  She was being interviewed by President as a candidate for baptism.  Because of mistakes in her past she had to have a special interview with the President.  She is so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and her understanding of our Savior and His Atonement.  She knows that she can be washed clean and pure because of His great love, and His part in the Plan of Salvation.  We love her so much and she will be baptized on February 15.  This is what it is all about!!!

Prudence and Nephi

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday, January 24 ..... Called to Serve

Mes soeurs dans l'├ęglise ...... My sisters in the Gospel

These are the Sisters of the Mpaka Branch.  They were cleaning the building where we had to meet someone, so I was able to help and talk with them.  The one in the in the middle is Pauline Mabiala..(don't you love her hair).  She was so excited to tell me all about how in 1992 Elder Nelson, and Elder Scott of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles came and dedicated the land for the preaching of the Gospel.  She and her husband were baptized and have served faithfully since then.  Her husband, is the 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency.  Sister Natacha, on the far right is the Primary President.  The other two serve in the Relief Society.  These wonderful Sisters love the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They are so happy to share their testimonies through their service to each other and the Lord.  We love them already and can't wait to be a part of their lives for the next 18 months.

Yes, this is Johnny Depp .....  in the middle of the Congo

Elder Bailey went to our store to get some supplies.  We keep forgetting that we have to bring our own totes to put our groceries in.  So he had to buy one there.  Yes, these are the totes you buy in the Congo.  Who would have thought!  We laughed hard.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Week #2 On Our Own...Ohhhh!

     We began this week taking the Bybee's to the Airport.  We took President Caillet with us, because he knows everyone, and he throws a lot of weight.  We have learned in the short time that we have been here that it pays to have "people".  We are so grateful that President Caillet is one of our "people".  He speaks very little English, but we get along fine. 
     After we dropped off the Bybee's, we needed to get Elder Bailey's International Driver's license stamped. It should have been a simple thing, but in Africa, NOTHING is simple.  We went to 6 different places... We met the chief of police, someone on the beach in a little building(?), someone by the Poste Office, etc. and finally we were directed to a building downtown.  We walked up many steps, through many doors, and finally sat down in front of a very kind lady, who President Caillet introduced as his COUSIN!!  She stamped our license, we payed her, and we were on our way.  Why we just didn't go to her in the first place, we will never know.  That is just how it is done in Africa!  We are learning Patience!
This is the Ice-cream truck African style!

Week #1 in Pointe Noire

     We finally made it to Pointe Noire, Republic of the Congo on Wednesday January 8, 2014 at 8:10 A.M.  The Bybee's were there to meet us at the Airport, and we have been so grateful for their pioneering the way for the last 2 1/2 months in preparation for us to come.
Brother & Sister Bybee from Springville,  Utah

The Airport is only 5 minutes away from our home which will be wonderful when we have to transport missionaries to and from the mission.  We then made our way to our home away from home for the next 18 months and met our guardians, Patrice (who is our day guardian) and Annicet (who is our night guardian. 
Annicet and Patrice

The Bybee's had 5 days to teach us the "ropes" and they left yesterday Jan. 13, to head back to Kinshasa to do what they were called to do as Public Affairs Missionaries in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.  We will miss them dearly.
They helped us learn where to buy fruit, bread, groceries, and household supplies, as well as how to handle all the financial and everyday workings of running a mission here in Pointe Noire.   They also helped us as we attended our first church meetings on Sunday.  
We have 3 Branches in Pointe Noire...
The first Branch is the Pointe Noire Branch.  President Sombo is the Branch President and we have Elders Morin and Johnson who serve there.Then we have the Mpaka Branch with President Dekous as President and Elders Baker and VanAusdal, and Garland and Brockbank serving in that area.  And last we have the Aeorport Branch, with President Caillet as President, with Elders Lundberg and Hatch in that area.  We love our missionaries already, and have had one zone meeting and 2 District meetings.  While attending the District Meetings I told them if they cleaned their apartment I would make them cookies.  Their cleaning has a lot to be desired, but we will work on that.

Back: Elders VanAusdal,Brockbank,Lundberg & Hatch.
Front: Elders Baker, Morin, Garland & Johnson.

This is a picture of the Aeorport and Mpaka Branches.  The land was purchased in 1995 to build a beautiful new church for the Saints to worship in.  We had a wonderful meeting where we bore our testimonies and met many members of the church.

Elder Bailey opening the doors of the church.

We enjoyed getting to meet the members and bearing our testimonies in French.  They were short and sweet, but heartfelt.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our Week at the MTC


     We finished our week at the MTC and had a wonderful time.  This is a photo of our            "District.  From left to right... Elder & Sister Feil, Elder & Sister Taylor, Elder & Sister Husted, and Elder & Sister Bailey.  Dad was called to be the District Leader.