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 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!
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......