Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our Joy Is Full

Alma 26. . . . But behold my joy is full.

These missionaries are not only so full that they could not eat another thing, but also filled with joy at the idea of being part of the Lords team in helping to make Pointe Noire a District..........

Elder Massé, Elder Sperry, Elder Naughton, Elder Bybee and Elder Tripp

This past Sunday we held a Zone Fast.  Elder Bailey had been reading Alma 26 and was touched by the message and direction as it could apply to the Missionary Work here in Pointe Noire.  When President Monga was here, he called and set apart Elder Bailey to be a Counselor in the Mission Presidency.  We are humbled and grateful for this new opportunity and the vision that President Monga has for us.......we need to be made a "District".

So that is our goal and the goal of "The Missionary Team" the Lord has put in place here in Pointe Noire.  Each missionary read Alma 26 and came together last Sunday to talk about what they had felt as they read it.  It was such a special meeting and one where we all felt the Spirit of "Hastening the Work of Salvation".

It is so exciting to see the Branches grab hold of the "vision" of "Hastening the Work" too.  Last Sunday many new "Ward Missionaries" were called to be part of the team.  They are excited to share their testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to bring others to a "knowledge of the truth".
As we read in Alma 26 it says:  Now, my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people no matter what land they might be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and His bowels of mercy are over all the earth.  Now this is my joy and my great thanksgiving; I will give thanks unto my God forever.  Amen
So now we will prepare ourselves to go to work and be "instruments in the hands of God" to bring about this great goal!

Elder Tweneboah and Elder Bybee with Elder and Sister Bailey 

We found out that these Elder's teacher at the MTC in Ghana is a former missionary that served with us in Côte d'Ivoire.   His name was Elder Owusu and he was from Ghana.  We took this picture so that we could send it to him!

Elder Naughton shows off his tie that he made from couch material...

A closer look.

Elder Etherington talks with Elder Tweneboah

Elder Ralison talks with Elder Garland 

Elder Johnston

Elder Ralison and Elder Tripp get all the information they need to fill out the baptism form for their candidates

This is Delauney and Auronie who were baptized on Saturday.  They are brother and sister.  Their parents are not members, but came to support the decision of their children.  Elder Ralison and Elder Tripp were the missionaries who had been teaching them.

Elder Etheringon, Eugenie, Elder Johnston and Elder Naughton 

Elder Bybee baptized this past Saturday a new member in the Pointe Noire Branche

We finally received our May issue of the Ensign in English.  

Elder Ralison, Elder Tripp, Elder Naughton, Elder Garland, Elder Johnston, Elder Massé, Elder Sperry, Elder Tweneboah and Elder Bybee

Our valiant, stalwart, crazy Elders!

These are the youth of Pointe Noire receiving their diploma's at Seminary and Institute Graduation on Saturday.

Wall of Fame

This is how Patrice cleans out our Bidone's.  This is a special kind of plant that he pushes down into it.  Then he takes a stick and swishes it around to make it smell clean and fresh.  We are always so impressed at how they do things here!  This is definitely what you would call a "natural cleaning product".


As we close our blog this week we wish to express the "joy" that has come into our hearts because of being able to serve a mission for the Lord.  It is truly a wonderful adventure....

"Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice for our joy is full"   Alma 26:16

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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Our New Mission President

President Elie Kyungu Monga,

Our blog is late getting updated this week.  We had many things that needed to be done, but finally feel like we have a window to get things up and going!

One of the blessings of being a missionary is having a Mission President who guides and directs the mission.  We are now on our second.  We loved President and Sister Cook and admired their love of the Lord, the missionaries, and the work.  We could not believe how hard they labored for the Lord.  We will surely miss them.

On July 1, 2014, our Mission officially became the "Republic of the Congo, Brazzaville Mission."  On Tuesday we met our new Mission President, President Elie Kyungu Monga.  What a wonderful, delightful man.  His laugh just makes you laugh, his love of the Gospel is powerful, and his leadership is evident as to why the Lord called him to the work.

He served as a counselor to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Limbubashi Mission President for the last three years.  He and Sister Monga were looking forward to getting back to "farming" their 60 acre farm, building a home and being with their 4 children.  However, when they received a call from the Office of the First Presidency in March, their whole world changed. 

Our time with them was very brief as we took them to the Airport on Wednesday at 9:30 A.M., but we are so excited to begin this "new" chapter in our mission to Pointe Noire.    

President and Sister Monga arrived at 10:00 A.M. on July 16, 2014.  We picked them up at the Airport, which is about 5 minutes from our home and took them back to greet 10 excited Elders.  We had a three hour Zone Meeting, and then President interviewed each one of them.   At 5:30, he finished his interviews and headed over to the church where he met the 4 Branche Presidents, and their counselors.  For the next 2 hours he met and taught the Leaders of Pointe Noire.

On Wednesday morning, before President and Sister Monga left for the Airport, President set Elder Bailey apart as a counselor in the Republic of the Congo, Brazzaville Mission.  We laugh hard at the world we live in here.  He found out about this as President was talking to the Branche Presidents the night before.  He wasn't sure if what he heard in French was what he thought he heard.  But sure enough, President said he had prayed and prayed to know how to help the mission grow.  He will set apart each of the Elder Couple Missionaries in Pointe Noire, and Cameroon to be his counselors for as long as we have to serve.

President and Sister Monga teaching the missionaries

Our Zone Leader, Elder Garland with Elder Sperry

Elder Etherington, Elder Tweneboah, Elder Massé, Elder Sperry, Elder Garland, Elder Tripp and Elder Naughton.
In the back are Elder Bybee, Elder Johnston and Elder Ralison

The missionaries prepared "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" to sing for President and Sister Monga.  We received three new missionaries last week who only had 1 practice to get the song ready.  They did a beautiful job.

Elder Etherington, Elder Tripp, Elder Bybee, Elder Tweneboah, Elder Johnston, Elder Ralison and Elder Naughton

Sister Monga talking to the missionaries.

Family Home Evening

On Monday night, we were invited to the Gakossa's for Family Home Evening.  They wanted all 10 missionaries to come plus about 20 of their neighbors.  After the lesson, we had a wonderful African meal.  I ate "Tripe" for the first time.  I kept telling myself that this is interesting "chicken"!  Tripe for those who don't know (like me) is intestine from beef.   

The Gakossa family: Prince, Max, Divin and Lodee.  Nuanti was off playing and Elder Bailey was holding Estes.  Estes is one of the most beautiful African babies I have ever seen!  Max is the 1st Counselor to the Branche President in Pointe Noire Branche.

Elder Bailey and Estes.  In Africa, pink is not associated with girls.  Estes is a boy and most most men and boys here love pink!

All of these missionaries piled out of our Toyota Helix.  The ones who like camping ride in the back.  

Divin, Nuante and Elder Johnston

Front: Elder Tripp, Elder Massé, Elder Ralison
Back: Elder Etherington, Elder Garland, Elder Naughton, Elder Sperry and Elder Bybee

This is the wonderful meal Lodee worked hard to prepare for all of us.

They loved it!

Waiting for seconds!

We are grateful for wonderful members who have a vision of Missionary Work and Hastening the Work of Salvation.

The Young Women from Mpaka

From left to right: Auronnie, Light, Nefertiti, Deity, Dorson, Reine, Abdonia, Thersia, Hanne
Front: Pendore and Grace
On Wednesday we practiced for the Seminary and Institute Graduation which will be this Saturday.  The Young Women of the Mpaka Branche wanted to learn how to dance and they asked me to help them.  My only qualifications are a great love of dancing and lessons I took for 10 years back in the 60's.  They were enough for these beautiful Daughters of God who all have a natural gift of rhythm. How I wish I could have known more to teach them, however, they will do wonderful!

Elder Bailey and I are very excited about our new adventure of him being a counselor to President Monga.  Last night he had a special witness to read Alma 26.  With the help of our wonderful missionaries, and our Branche Presidencies and members, we are going to give our all to help make Pointe Noire a "District.  

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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Missionaries

New Missionaries

We have had a wonderful week filled to the brim with Missionary work.  On Monday we picked up three new missionaries from Cameroon.  On Wednedsay we attended District Meeting at the Foukes Apartment.  On Thursday we taught our 20 piano students at the church.  On Friday, we shopped and cleaned and prepared for Saturday when we had a baptism and a Fireside.  We prepared packets for the Branches for their Young Women who we found out have not had any manuals for 6 months, and knew nothing about "Come Unto Me".    We could go on and on, but I have made myself tired just thinking about everything involved in being on the Lord's errand.  But the bottom line is "we love it".  

Today Elder Bailey and I were talking and we laughed when we thought of ourselves as a "Leatherman Tool".  It just so happens that Elder Bailey brought two of them on our mission.  A big one and a little one.  They have been one of the "best" tools we brought from back home and they have come in so handy for all of the unexpected problems that arise.  On Saturday we were preparing  the meal to eat after the Fireside, and there were no knives in the kitchen.  So, the Leatherman came in handy to cut up all of the baguettes, zucchini's, carrots, and plantains.  

 It seems that every calling and experience that you have been blessed to have throughout your life is used in the service of the Lord, when it comes to being a Senior Missionary.  If our bodies will just hold out and minds will just hang on, we should be good for another year!

We are so grateful for the Missionaries we serve alongside.  On Tuesday of this week we will meet President Elie Kyungu Monga, our new Mission President.  He will be traveling to Pointe Noire for a Zone Conference.  We will have pictures next week on the blog.....

Here are our pictures for the week.

Elder Ralison with his new companion, Elder Tripp from Utah.  Elder Tripp arrived from Cameroon, but his luggage didn't.   Because there are only two flights into Pointe Noire from Cameroon each week, he had to wait until Friday to get his luggage.  We said many prayers that the luggage would be on the plane.   It was!

Elder Massy is the new District Leader and companion of Elder Tweneboah.

Elder Etherington's new companion is Elder Naughton from Mesa, Arizona.

Elder Ralison, Louis Andrew, Elder Tweneboah, and Elder Tripp at the baptism on Saturday.

Louis Andrew and Elder Ralison are ready to go!

Elder Sperry is waiting for everyone to arrive for the baptism...

Président Kende presided over the baptism.  He is the 1st counselor in the Branche President of the Aéroport Branche.  He just returned from South Africa when he was sealed to Eugenie, his wife and Gracia, his son.  

The Sisters helping to make the food for the Fireside.

Darcyne was over the luncheon.  Look how marvelous the sandwiches turned out!

Wall of Fame

This little family was playing with a string made out of plastic strips.  The used it like a "Chinese Jump Rope"

This little boy was hiding on the side of our truck playing with a video game he found.  He was fascinated by it.  The Africans of Pointe Noire are very interested in Technology, but very limited in having it available to them.

This is Fon Tie Tie, where you can buy anything you want....if you can find it.  These are plantains.  The are wonderful when you cut them up and deep fry them.

We love our work here in Pointe Noire.  We have been helped everyday by the hand of the Lord.  We know that we could never do what needs to be done without His help and support..  

Until next week........

Monday, July 7, 2014

America the Beautiful


Sister Bailey, Elder Bailey, Elder Sperry, Elder Rakotondriana, and Elder Garland

This past Thursday we took Elder "Rako" to the Airport to head to Brazzaville to be one of the two newly called Assistants to the President.  He was very humbled to have been called to that position of sacrifice and trust.  As I asked him what he thought about his new calling, he shared his tender thoughts.  He said that he had been feeling "sad" in his heart about not having baptized anyone since he and Elder Tweneboah had been companions.  Elder Tweneboah is from Ghana where they speak English and for the past 6 weeks, Elder Rako has been his "Father" in missionary terms.  He has been training him in every aspect of missionary life, plus helping him learn enough French to be able to teach in discussions.  

Besides speaking three languages, Elder Rako has a powerful testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He said that last week, he prayed so hard to his Heavenly Father and told him whatever He needed him to do, he would do.  He was ready to give his all to help bring souls to Christ. After his heartfelt prayer, he and Elder Tweneboah committed a young man they had been teaching to baptism this past Saturday, and he was called to be the Assistant to the President.

Elder Rako never got to see the actual baptism of Dorian this past Saturday.  Dorian wanted Elder Rako to baptize him, but when he told him he would not be there, he asked Elder Bailey to do the "honor". 

Our missionaries are such a powerful example of faith.  We love them and enjoy so much our association with them as we all serve alongside each other here in Pointe Noire.  

Elder Rako, Dorian and Elder Tweneboah at his interview for baptism.

                              Elder Tweneboah and Dorian this past Saturday at his baptism.

We said goodbye to four of our missionaries this week, Elder Hatch, Elder Nzema, Elder VanAusdal, and Elder Wright,  have been called to Cameroon.   The work goes on and we are so grateful to be here to help in any way we can to "serve, those that have been called to serve."

Back row: Elder Ralison, Elder VanAusdal, Elder Hatch, Elder Nzema, Elder Bybe and Elder Garland
Front row: Elder Johnston, Elder Sperry, and Elder Tweneboah.  Elder Wright and Elder Etherington were already at the Airport.

We were on our way to the Airport with Elder VanAusdal, Elder Hatch, and Elder Nzema, but we stopped long enough for them to say goodbye to there "fellow" missionaries who play basketball every Monday morning at 7:30 A.M.  We picked up three new Elders......Elder Massey, Elder Naughton, and Elder Tripp, from Cameroon later on yesterday and dropped them off to begin their service here in Pointe Noire.  We will have more pictures next week!

Elder Nzema, Elder Hatch, and Elder VanAusdal saying goodbye to the "Cave" as they call the Mpaka Apartment.

Celebrating the 4th of July

This past Friday, we celebrated the 4th of July with a dinner at the Mpaka Apartment.  Our hearts were truly "tender" as we thought about  the "promised land" that is ours.

Elder Garland, and Elder VanAusdal are our Chefs Extraordinaire!  

Elder Garland is frying the hamburger to make "Sliders", and Elder VanAusdal is making the caramel sauce to pour over his Apple Pie!

The Apple Pie!  I have still not been able to perfect my pie crust here because we can't find "Crisco".  But Elder VanAusdal is a "PRO"!

Elder Tweneboah with "hotdogs" the Elders found.

Elder VanAusdal made homemade hotdog and hamburger buns!  They were delicious!

Our "Fourth of July" meal.  I brought the potato salad.

The Elders were starved!

Elder Wright, Elder Hatch and Elder Tweneboah are on "seconds".

Enjoying the meal.

After the meal we sang every patriotic song in the hymnbook and proudly waved our flag!

Elder Wright.

Elder Bybee

Elder Hatch.....who someday wants to be President of the United States led us as our future "Commander in Chief".

Even though Elder Tweneboah is from Ghana, he wanted to be part of our celebration and joined in the fun.

Elder Etherington "loves" his land America.  He is from Oklahoma!

Elder Ralison is from Madagascar.... He celebrated too!

Elder Johnston as the Statue of Liberty!

Elder Nzema is from Zambia, but sang and celebrated with us!

America, America God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea!

 Baptisms this past Saturday,  July 5, 2014

Gierdano, Elder Garland, Hughes, and Elder Hatch

It has been a wonderful, busy week..... We have welcomed "new" missionaries and look forward to serving with them.......... and said goodbye to "old" missionaries who we will not see again until we return home next year.  We love being Senior missionaries for the Lord and love serving alongside these wonderful Elders in bringing souls to Christ"!

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

Wall of Fame

These are teethmarks from a mouse that has been running through our house for the past three days.  We wondered why he had not taken the cheese in the mousetrap.....  
African mice prefer chocolate!!  Who knew!