Monday, June 23, 2014

Kinshasa's Couple Conference

Our Time in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

This past week we spent 6 days visiting the DRC, where our mission home is until July 1st, when it will be moved to Brazzaville and we become the Republic of the Congo, Brazzaville Mission.

 All the couples in our mission came to be together to get to know each other.  It is so important to know that you are not alone in your efforts as Senior Missionaries... even though we are not close in miles, we are close in our shared responsibilities and love of our Savior Jesus Christ.   We grew to love each other and filled our "wells" to the brim with stories of faith and service.
Elder and Sister Coleman, Elder and Sister Gates, and Elder and Sister Bailey

Elder and Sister Coleman came in from Douala, Cameroon.  Elder and Sister Gates came in from Younde, Cameroon.  We arrived from Pointe Noire.

We had to cross the Congo, River to get to Kinshasa.  They don't have a plane because there are "feelings" between the two "Congo's".  We were privileged to ride in a speedboat, while everyone else goes on "ferry-boats", which are not recommended.  

These are the barges along the Coast of Kinshasa.  Each log was marked and ready to be shipped.  

A Kinshasa sunrise ...... Day 1


A fig tree outside our apartment deck.

President Cook greeting all of the couples ....

This is Brother Delisle, his wife, and daughter, Ann-Sofie.  Brother Delisle works for the church and is over the Buildings.  We met his sister Danielle Carter while we were in the MTC.  They are from Quebec, Canada and speak beautiful French and English.  This picture is in the parking lot of the church.

Next to the church is the Kinshasa Temple site.  This is where they will build the Temple, which we are hoping will be very soon.

Humanitarian Project

Marlene is helping Elder Bailey thread his needle, while President Cook looks on.

One of our couples are Elder and Sister Johnson.  They were called to be Humanitarian Missionaries. They look for ways to serve the community and then go to work to make it happen.  One of the needs they found was for the Young Women.  It is a privilege to go to school and become educated, however, when the YW started "menstruating" they would have to drop out, because didn't have any way to take care of this.  So the couple came up with a way to make portable, washable, sanitary kits to provide the YW.  Now, they are able to stay in school.  This has been a very successful project where they have had the Relief Society Sisters make over 250 kits to distribute to those YW in need.

Marlene and Regina were our expert sewing teachers from the Relief Society.

These are the kits which included a purse made by a Sister.

Our trip to Bonobo

In front of a car, not ours, but we thought it was totally African.

Each day was filled to the brim with training and activities.  Each of the couples in Kinshasa were the host couple for the ones that traveled.  Our host couple were Elder and Sister Smith who are over the Perpetual Education Fund.  They were wonderful to give us rides to the Misson Home from our apartment.

This young man kept the parking lot spotless with his homemade broom.

 Sister Smith, Elder Johnson, Sister Johnson, Sister Sneddon, Sister Gates, and Elder Smith

We are waiting for everyone to arrive so that we can head over to the mission home.

On our way to the Bonobos's we saw how beautifully terraced the gardens were.  This is something we had never seen as we have served in Africa.  Notice the bamboo log on the left which is used to irrigate.

Elder Bailey always checks out the Pharmacies.   The little building on the right end is where you would pick up your prescription??

We were met at the opening by a flock of Egrets.

The entrance to the Bonobo's

Water Lilly's filled a natural pond.

Interesting plants were everywhere.

As we waited for our guide, we saw this sign on the wall.  Family History is everywhere!

Bird of Paradise flowers.

They call this monkey "Arnold Swartznegger".

A mother bonobo with her baby.  We found out that the mother Bonobo's have babies about every 6 years.

This monkey was so proud of his white sack.  He didn't want anyone to take it from him, so he played "keep away", the whole morning.

Guarding his precious sack!

Another bonobo monkey with her baby.  She was very worried about us coming near her, so she found the branch and kept "swatting" at us to tell us to keep away.  Mothers are very protective in "any" species.

We couldn't believe how big there hands were!

These are the cats "hired" to keep down the mouse population.  Mice carry a disease that is very harmful to Bonobo's.

Stopping to smell the ........Marigolds.  Yes, they have them in the Congo!

One of the many beautiful flowers we saw that day.

These are the  bonobo orphans, whose mothers have been killed by poachers.  They found that even though they give them food and drink, unless they have love, they die.

These volunteer "mothers" come in each day to hold and touch these precious little bonobos

We had a wonderful time in Kinshasa and are grateful to be a part of the Lord's team here in Pointe Noire.  When we returned the Elders had carried on as if we had not even left.  We love them and we love the trust that Heavenly Father has put in us to be here!

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

Monday, June 9, 2014

Our Mission Belongs to the Lord ~ June 9, 2014

A few months back I was reading about missionary work and found this wonderful quote by Elder M. Russell Ballard.  

                        "My mission belongs to the Lord.  With all my heart I give
                         my energy and my time to the Master because I love him.
                         Therefore, I'm going to look at every day not as mine, but
                         as His.  And I will treat each minute of His time with respect
                         and focus and the dedication that it deserves."

As a Senior Missionary Couple, we feel that our mission does belong to the Lord. We never know what each new day is going to bring but we do know that it will "belong to Him", and so we know it will be ok.

"This Day".... 

When we came on our mission in January, we noticed that there was a small apartment hooked to our home.  Mostly it was used to store anything we didn't want in our apartment, supplies for the missionaries, and to cook fish in when we didn't want the smell in our kitchen. All that changed when we received two more missionaries which brings us now to 10.

So, our two Zone Leaders, with President Cooks approval, decided to move into the little apartment next to us because it just happens to be in their "sector" and would leave room in the other two apartments for the other Elders.

We have been trying to get everything ready for them, as no one has lived there for four years.  The one "big" plus for the missionaries is that it has air-conditioning. So Elder Garland and Elder Hatch are thrilled.  

The next few pictures are of the apartment and one of our focus' for this week....

These are just some of the supplies that we took out of the rooms upstairs that we now have to find a place for..

Elder Bailey working on the kitchen sink and the water.

He is installing a new water filter.

...and putting together their new stovetop.

One of my jobs was to scrub this refrigerator that had been sitting for four years......?!?

This will be the missionary's bedroom.  It needed some curtains for the French-doors.

So another one of my jobs was to hem the curtains that we found in one of the little "Lebonese" stores we found in the city.

My "sewing machine".

While we were cleaning things out, the Elders found ping-pong paddles, balls, and a net.  We had this old board laying around that we use to "expand" the seating around our kitchen table, and with the empty water-jugs, Elder Garland and Elder Hatch had a great competitive game going on.  They still have "the touch"...

This Day......

Saturday, June 7, 2014, Elder VanAusdal baptized "Juldas".  When we arrived at the church Juldas was waiting by the gate to come in so he could get baptized.  Elder Ralison, the new Elder from Madagascar, has been here for two weeks and also helped teach.

This is "Surprise" with Elder Tweneboah.  Surprise is a recent convert and comes to each baptism to support the missionaries.  Most of these young people who are being baptized are the only members in their families. 

Elder Rakotonindriana and Elder Etherington, were the co-piano players for the baptism.  

This Day. . . 

Elder Bailey and I started the piano classes this past week.  (Mostly Elder Bailey... he is the one who knows how to play).  The students were so exited, and very serious about their lessons.  We only announced it in one Branche so we could "figure things out", but this next Thursday we will probably have 20 students.

This is Mia.  She is going to be baptized this next Saturday.  She has a piano at her home and was so grateful for the chance to learn how to play.

This is Beri.  He was our most determined and grateful student.

Gloire, was also so happy to be learning the piano.  

This Day. . . 

As we finished a long day at the church, we looked at the beautiful sunset and said a silent prayer to thank our Heavenly Father for not only "this day", but for "each day" that we are here in Pointe Noire serving Him. 

We love our Mission! 


Pictures of the Week

This is the little gecko that lives in our bedroom.  He found a little shelter under our rug and was peeking out trying to figure out his next move.

This picture reminded me of a mother lion and her cub.  Probably the closest thing we will see of a lion, even though we are in Africa!!  

Until next week........