Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Fruits" of our Labors ~ April 28, 2014

 The Lord's work is known by its fruits. "All the Savior said and did has stood the test of time and has borne good fruit in the lives of millions of people.    Those who have received the gospel are expected to manifest its fruits in their lives, not only for their own benefit and blessing, but for the purpose of drawing others to the truth." Dean L. Larsen    

Some of that "good fruit" will be on our blog this week figuratively and literally.   We have seen our valiant missionaries working so hard for the Lord... they are happy and willing to serve and are an inspiration to us each day.

Elder Wright and Elder Johnston taught and baptized Mbouki - Denicia this past Saturday.  Her Father was going to baptize her, but at the last minute hurt himself and was not able to.  So Elder Johnston stepped in!

This is Elder Rakotonindriana and Kilondo Chaldrey Princess.  Elder VanAusdal is in the background

These are Elder Hatch, Chaldrey & Elder Garland.  

Elder Etherington, Justovey, ( I did not get his name) and Elder Garland

Elder Ndayizeye celebrated his 25th birthday on Saturday.  We made him a chocolate cake and sang Happy Birthday to him.  He received his "pillowcase" which he loved.

This is the Ndinga family.  Sandrine is the Relief Society President of the Pointe Noire Branche.  Both Brother and Sister Ndinga are return missionaries.  The "fruits" of their labors are seen each Sunday as they serve with all their heart, mind and strength.  Their little boy is named " Jeffrey" after Jeffrey R. Holland.  It has taken them many years but they finally have enough money saved to go the temple in South Africa.  The only problem is that she is pregnant and due in June, and the first appointment for them was in August.  So we have asked President Cook if he could help them move their time up so this new baby could be "born in the covenant".  They are so excited about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and show it in all that they do.

The Sisters of the "Aeroport" Branche had a cook off this past week.  They each received chicken and then each team could do with it what they wanted.  We watched as they chopped and prepped and cooked on their little burners to make the most delicious meals you could have ever tasted.  Sister Sandrine (the one with her arms around the little boy, Daniel) is the brand new Relief Society President of this ward.  The "fruits" of their labors have been shown by the increase of the Sisters activity in their Branche.

These are the people that are waiting each morning as Elder Bailey goes to get water for our home.  When we had "Guards" at the church, they would fill their bedoins.  But now that we do not have guards, they wait for Elder Bailey to come.  The "well" on the churches property is a "fruit" of the missionary work assigned many years ago, and a blessing to the people in Pointe Noire.  

Now for the Fruit ~ Fruit

For the past three weeks I have been fighting a cold, congestion, bronchitis etc. I read where Papaya is great for your immune system, plus has many more health benefits making it a "wonder" fruit.  Because it is about the only fruit in season right now, besides bananas, there is an abundance.  So each morning Patrice stops in the market and picks us up a Papaya to make a "healthy drink" for Soeur Bailey.  I wanted to let you see what goes into making this "Smoothie" to which "Jamba Juice" would be so jealous!

This is a papaya.  Some are longer, greener, and bigger.  I first cut the ends off and slice it in half.

Inside the papaya are hundreds of tiny, black seeds.  They have a "peppery" taste and are a natural "dewormer".   

So I scrape out all of the seeds to get to the "meat" of the Papaya.

The peelings are put into our "compost" bin...which Patrice puts around the plants and flowers.  The peelings are also good for "wrinkle control", acne control, and age spots.  So I always rub them on my skin while I make the "Smoothie"

This is what the inside looks like.  It kind of reminds me of a cross between a pumpkin and a cantaloupe.

Next, I cut up the papaya and put in in our blender.

....and add three bananas.

ok..ready to go!  

Except for the "citron".  The only downfall of Papaya, is that it smells a little like "throw-up"..... sorry, but it does!  So the Africans add "citron" to it and that does the trick.

And here is the final result.  I have had one of these each day for the past week, and I am finally feeling better!  Thank goodness for the natural benefits of "fruits" that Heavenly Father has given to help us.

We appreciate so much the Lord's hand in our lives as we serve our mission.  We are so grateful to serve alongside our wonderful missionaries in helping  them to manifest the "fruits' of the Gospel to those they find, while enjoying the "fruits" of this beautiful country.  

Until next week........

Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Road Trip to Dolisie ~ April 19, 2014

This year, Easter 2014, will go down as one we will never forget.  We missed so much seeing our family and sharing in the annual "Easter Egg Hunt" and the dyeing of Easter Eggs, but we will remember this one as one where we celebrated the Savior Jesus Christ and all that his resurrection means to us. 

We have a dear friend here in Pointe Noire named Leondre.  He has ties to Brazzaville, Pointe Noire, and a little city called "Dolisie".  Last month he visited Dolisie and told us that the Saints up there were in need of someone to come and bring them "hope" to let them know they were not forgotten.  So in mentioning this to President Cook, he told us that he would make a special trip in April just to come and visit the members of the church, and let them know the Lord knows they are there.

Leondre was 12 years old when a man by the name of Jean-Mark introduced him to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the missionaries. He said he was like a Father to him and so he has kept in touch with him for almost 20 years.  Jean-Mark is a Melchizedek Priesthood holder and lives in Dolisie with his family. There are about 6 Priesthood holders in this city and around 30 members who have been baptized. It is not  a Branche, so it is not officially recognized by the church meaning the church has not called anyone to preside there.  The problem is it is 3 1/2 hours away from a church, missionaries, and a Branche President... So they are left to meet as a group and share in their love of the Gospel and the Savior by themselves.  And that is where it is hard.  They have to have permission to have the Sacrament, and they have to keep their tithing money until they make it down to Pointe Noire.

So President Cook, who holds the keys for the mission, decided to take Sacrament Trays some bread and water, and have a Sacrament Meeting to let these wonderful people renew their covenants with the Lord.  It has probably been years since some of them have been able to do this.  It was so very special to Leondre and Ghislain who blessed the Sacrament and passed it to the members.  I couldn't help but shed a few tears as I watched each one be so very grateful for this ordinance to finally come to them.  

After the Sacrament Elder Bailey and I talked, and then Sister Cook talked and finally President ended with some special words of encouragement to these Saints.  He told them to continue to meet and support each other, and to remain faithful to their covenants and things will work out for them.. With the new Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo Mission opening up in July, this might be one of the cities where missionaries will finally be sent.  We hope so!

The members meet in a school where Jean-Mark is a teacher.  They waited patiently for us to come as we were over 1 hour late in arriving.  As we looked out over the people we saw the longing and hope they had in their eyes for themselves and their families.

This is Jean-Mark with his wife and family.

The Dolisie Saints

The Priesthood holders:  Jean-Mark, Christian, Leondre, and Jean-Jacques

This is Alemoua Mpeka Ghislain.  He served a mission to Côte d'Ivoire from 2002-2004.  We told him we would send a photo of him and his family to his mission President, President Steenblick who lives in Utah.  Words just couldn't describe his joy. 

This is Ghislain's family, plus a few more.  They just love to have their pictures taken, even though they don't smile.   They get so excited when we show them their pictures on 
the camera.

The Road Trip

We told Leondre we would meet him at 6:30 A.M. He was our tour guide for 3 1/2 hours.  The road to Dolisie is one of the best roads we have ever driven on since we arrived in Point Noire.  Leon told us that the "Chinese" were building the road and that they had been working on it for 5 years.  We ran into much road construction also many trucks that had crashed going around the sharp turns.  They just leave the broken down trucks on the road, which makes it very hazardous.    

This is a little house along the way.  We went through about 1 hour of "Savannah" terrain, and then we went through "jungle".  President Cook saw two monkeys!

Coming into the jungle.  

These are the "Sparkler Trees".  The little ornaments are "Weaver Bird" nests. 

I'm sure this is where the Gorilla's live!

Pineapple fields

We couldn't believe how tall this tree was

If you look real close you will see "Papaya" growing on the trunk of the middle left tree.

This is the roadside O'reilly parts shop.  Notice the "hubs" on the roof and the spare bathtub on the right.

This is the back of a "huge" truck that transports "logs".

Banana Trees !

Road Signs..... African Style


We will say our prayers for the members in Dolisie. 

 We so enjoyed being with them on Easter Sunday and celebrating with them the "good news" of the Gospel which is.....            "Everyones tomb will one day be empty, that everyones soul could again be pure, that every child of God could again return to the Father who gave them life because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ."  Jeffrey R. Holland

Until next week......

Monday, April 14, 2014

M&M 's ~ Marvelous Missionaries April 14, 2014

About a month ago, we were in one of our stores where we shop for food and saw Peanut M&M's.  They were in the little yellow packs just like the ones we get back home.  We paid way to much for them, but wanted to give them to our missionaries to tell them they stood for MARVELOUS MISSIONARIES. So that is the title of our blog this week, and express how much we enjoy serving with these fine young Elders who are working so hard for the Lord.

We have had a week filled with many great adventures!  On Monday, we decided to head to Ponton Beach again to let our new missionaries see the "beauty" of  Pointe Noire.  Elder Johnston, Elder Rakotonindriana, Elder Etherington, and Elder Ndayizeye had never seen the beautiful Atlantic Ocean from this viewpoint, and our North American Missionaries know that looking out along the horizon is where we head to go "home".  So it is always so refreshing to go.  

When we arrived, there were about 20 Congolese young men diving in the ocean. They were doing backflips and cartwheels all along the beaches edge.  Their swimsuits looked much like "underwear", but we enjoyed their enthusiasm and love for the water.   Elder Garland had brought a soccer ball and they loved the idea of playing soccer along the ocean's edge.  They set up goals made out of sticks, and the game was on.  

We have to play along the ocean's edge because it is free from all of the glass and debris that everyone brings down to the beach.  It is sad that they don't understand the "treasure" that this beach is and take better care of it, but this is their life and what they have known for centuries.

Our   Marvelous Missionaries

Elder Gelinas, Elder Wright, Elder Ndayizeye, Elder Garland, Elder Etherington, Elder Rakotonindriana, 
Elder Johnston, Elder VanAusdal, and Elder Hatch

Our Congolese friends would throw things on the water and see who would be the first one to retrieve it.  

Elder Rakotonindriana & Elder Garland playing soccer. The "stick goals" were set up on each end.

We stopped to have our picture taken in front of the Ponton Plage.  I was wondering if they had strawberry smoothies to order and some nice lawn-chairs to sit and relax in??? 

We were concerned about someone cutting their feet on the glass bottles left on the beach so Elder Bailey & Elder Gelinas went and asked if we could come and use the "Ponton Plage" to play some volley ball.  This is a little "resort" area on the beach that could be wonderful! They were more that happy to let us use anything we needed  as long as we bought a "soda" from them..   So the missionaries were more than happy to order a "soda" and we had a wonderful day playing volleyball together.  

Elder Ndayizeye, Elder Wright, Elder Etherington, Elder Hatch, Elder Johnston, & Elder Rakotonindriana

Elders Johnston, Gelinas, Garland, Etherington & Rakotonindriana were Team 1, and 
Elders Hatch, VanAusdal, Wright, Ndayizeye & E/S Bailey were Team 2.

Elder Garland refreshed everyone on the "rules" and they were ready to go!

Elder Rako serving for Team 1

Our two "big men" Elders Hatch and Etherington, going up for the "spike".

Elder Bailey serving for Team 2

Elder Ndayizeye loved volleyball and was a great player

All the missionaries were concerned when the ball seemed to get "stuck" on Elder Johnston's neck.

Elder VanAusdal is ready, and will Elder Rako "play the net?"

Elder Garland serving for Team 1

Elder Ndayizeye, Elder Bailey, Elder VanAusdal, Elder Wright & Elder Hatch

Team 2 rallying behind each other.....!

Elder Johnston is trying the "sitting down" move while Elder Rako is trying the "kicking move!

Whose feet are these?  

We all had a wonderful day together and renewed our spirits for another week of "Hastening the Work of Salvation" here in Pointe Noire.

Wall of Fame

This is called "manioc".  Everyone eats this for their food.  It is made from the "Cassava Root" and wrapped in a banana leaf.  The missionaries love it served with some Peanut Sauce, or tomatoes and onions.   We haven't acquired a love for it at all!

These beautiful flowers greet us as we come to the Mpaka /Aeroport Church.  

This is the local chapter of the "Boy Scouts" that were walking and singing along the road.

This is the little girl that lives next to the church.  We have never seen the "grown-ups" but she takes care of all the little children, making sure they get across the street and watches that they are kept safe from cars.  She has definitely filled those "flip-flops"!

So we will end another week here in Pointe Noire.  We are grateful for each day and the opportunities that the Lord has blessed us with to do His work. We are also grateful for the Marvelous  Missionaries that have been sent here to serve!

Until Next Week!