Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Gifts of Missionary Work

The gift of Missionaries...

I was reading this past week and came across one of the purposes of why we are here.  We are to give our best efforts to help people qualify for "eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God" (D&C 14:7)
Today on our blog we will show you some of the gifts that help qualify people for the greatest gift of all, which is eternal life. This past week has been one of the most "intense" of our six months. But when you are on the Lord's errand, he helps you be able to do what needs to be done.  We know that so many wonder if they would be able to handle being a Senior Missionary Couple.  We are here to testify that "when the Lord calls you to it, He will help you through it"!!   We love every part of the missionary life and have learned so much about each other, trusting in our Heavenly Father, and relying on the Spirit everyday to do what needs to be done.  We are grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ and His Atonement and the enabling powers that keep us going.

We are grateful for the Book of Mormon and the truths that we read each day.  We are still learning and growing and that is why we are here on this earth....... to change!  One day we will stand before our Heavenly Father, and we will remember Him.  Our goal is to want to be with him and that will only happen if we learn to love Him here!

We now have 12 missionaries in Pointe Noire.  We received two new missionaries this past week.

The Gift of our Missionaries

This is Elder Garland our Zone Leader with Elder Sperry from Provo, Utah

This is Elder Hatch with Elder Nzema, from Zambia.  

Transfers will be on July 8th, where a few of our Elders will be transferred to Cameroon, and we will receive Elders from there to make up our team of 10 Elders here in Pointe Noire.  The missionaries are our "words" we cannot speak.  We meet many people who are interested in the church, and then we turn them over to the missionaries who live in their city.  They are truly a gift to the Lord and to us.

This past week we went to "Ponton Beach" for our P-Day.  It was a wonderful day filled with so much joy and fun.  These missionaries know that their time with each other is limited and so they make the most of their time together.  They truly love each other and this is crucial to have the "Spirt" be a part of their companionship.

This is our little "resort" that we go to every so often.  The people are so nice to let us share their volleyball court and fooseball tables.  They only ask that we buy a "drink" which we are more than happy to do.   The missionaries love to come.

Elder Tweneboah, Elder Garland, Elder Johnston, Elder Hatch, Elder Etherington, Elder VanAusdal,   Elder Bybee, Elder Ralison, Elder Wright and Elder Rakotonindriana

We celebrated our 43rd Wedding Anniversary on June 23, 2014 at the Ponton Plage in Pointe Noire,   Elder Hatch took this picture that we will always remember.

Elder Wright and Elder Etherington.  These are two fine Elders.

Elder Etherington, Elder Garland, Elder Rako, Elder Tweneboah, and Elder Bybee.  Some of these Elders had never seen an ocean before.

Elder VanAusdal, Elder Johnston, Elder Bailey, Elder Hatch, Elder Rakotonindriana, and Elder Garland

Elder Tweneboah always has his arms up1

Elder Ralison and Elder VanAusdal.... companions for Mpaka A

Elder Rakotonindriana and Elder Hatch 

Elder Bybee loved the ocean breeze

Bump....Set.....Over the net!! Elder Hatch, Elder Bybee and Elder Rako take turns getting it over.

Elder VanAusdal, Elder Garland and Elder Ralison get ready to help Elder Etherington return the volley.

Elder Johnston is ready as Elder Hatch and Elder Wright look on.

It's yours Elder Bybee!

Elder Garland, Elder Tweneboah, Elder Ralison and Elder Etherington watch and wait.

Elders Tweneboah, Garland and Ralison get ready for the spike!

Elder Rakotonindriana knows this is his....... as Elder Wright, Elder Johnston and Elder Bybee look on.

The Gift of Baptism.... Our First Covenant

You don't see many Elders wearing suits in Africa, but Elder Wright was "chilling" this day, so Elder Etherington wore his too, just because they are companions.  This day was a baptism day for the Branche of Pointe Noire, and they just could not miss it, even though Elder Wright was sick.  That is the life of a missionary.

This is their candidate with his mother.

This is the Aéroport Branche with their new members.  Bon Ami is a recent convert who received the Aaronic Priesthood.  So he baptized his sister and cousin.  Elder Hatch and Elder Garland are all smiles.

This is Maya who was baptized on June 21, 2014.  Her mom, sister and brother were baptized last month.  Elder Garland and Hatch were instrumental in teaching them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Elder Bybee, Elder Johnston, Sister Cook, Elder Hatch, and Elder Ralison getting ready for the baptism.

Elder VanAusdal and Elder Ralison

The Gift of Growth....

The Elders have been practicing to sing the song "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing".  They were asked to sing it at the special Conference we were having on Sunday, June 29, 2014 to organize the new Louandjili Branche. 

President Cook is making sure that everything is ready .  We met in the Hotel d'Rousseau.  The Missionaries are getting their chairs set up so that they can sing.  We found out that "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing is President Cook's favorite song.

The youth from the Pointe Noire, Mpaka, and Aéroport Branches formed a choir to sing for the Conference. Brother Juno is their director.

The Africans love to sing.

From left.  President Cook, President Caillet from the Aéroport Branche, President Deckous from the Mpaka Branche, President Sombo from the Pointe Noire Branche, and Président Ndinga with his counselors, who is the new Branche President of the Louandjili Branche.  Elder Sperry and Elder Garland sing on!

Elder Johnston, Elder Ralison, Elder Rakotonindriana, Elder Wright, Elder Nzema, Elder VanAusdal, Elder Sperry, Elder Hatch, Elder Garland Elder Bybee, Elder Etherington, Elder Tweneboahm Elder Bailey, Sister and President Cook.

After the meeting was over, we met at our house to have interviews and a farewell dinner for President and Sister Cook. 

We have loved these past 6 months of being under the leadership of President and Sister Cook.  We are now ready to go forward and serve the remaining year of our mission under the direction of President Monga and the Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo Mission..... Change is always so hard, but in change there comes growth.  And building the Kingdom of God on this earth is why we are here.

Until next week........


  1. I love reading your weekly blog posts. Thanks for including so many pictures of the Elders--this mom sure is grateful to see her boy!

    As you said it's true that the Lord qualifies whom he calls. Best wishes with all the changes going on. Thank you for your service to the missionaries, members, and people of Pointe Noire.

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