Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Week of "Helping Hands"...August 23, 2014

This past week was one of helping hands.  It seems that as part of our missionary service we are needed in many areas, and each day we are on called upon to use our hands as part of serving the Lord.  We love our mission and are so thankful for these young Elders and their faith and trust.   We work hard as a team and "yoke" ourselves to the Lord to be able to accomplish everything that needs to be done.


Elder Tripp, Elder Garland, Elder Sperry, Elder Tweneboah, and Elder Ralison

On Wednesday we picked up Elder Tweneboah to drive him to the Airport.  He needed to be in Brazzaville by noon to receive his new companion "Elder Kouakou"....

Then we went back to the Airport at 4:00 to pick up Elder Massé's new companion "Elder Nkulu". He came to us from Brazzaville and has only 4 months left on his mission.  His home is in  Limbubashi Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Elder Massé and Elder Nkulu

Elder Garland and Elder Sperry asked if they could borrow the "African Bow-flex" from Mpaka so that they could work on keeping physically fit.

The object is to hold the stick out in front of you and the roll it up.  

Elder Sperry is a "natural"...

Elder Ralison is the "resident chef" of Mpaka... he prepared hamburgers with homemade buns last week.....Elder Massé asked for his to be surpersized!

Christelle, Elder Baiey & David

Elder Bailey's hands were used to tighten the bike-seat for Christelle and David.  Christelle is hearing the discussions from the missionaries and hopes to be baptized soon.

The Aéroport Branche planned a "Helping Hands" service project for last Saturday, August 23, 2014. Everyone gathered at the church to walk down to the beach and clean up all of the garbage and debris that is found along the shore.  

Elder Bailey and I were so excited to go for a great walk, when Président Caillet asked if we would transport all of the youth.  So these young men climbed in the back of the truck.  Président put the Sister in so she could keep them from falling out...... in the seat of the truck I had the babies.  I was holding Chrisia who was about 18 months old, had never seen a white person, and had never left her mothers side.  Needless to say she screamed the whole entire ride to the beach.....!?!

We love being "helping hands" for the Lord.  We were able to meet many people that day and talk to them about the church and how we love to give service to the community.

This is Chrisia, that sat on my lap and screamed the whole way.....Also Bijou is helping her pick up the trash and put it in the bag.  I kept wondering where her mother was???

After we had gathered a sizable amount of trash, they started it on fire.  Elder Bailey was in charge of fire #1.

We were supposed to have a garbage truck come, but by the time it arrived we had about 8 fires going along the beach.  Burning is how they take care of the garbage here.  

Elder Sperry, Monica, Elder Massé and Elder Nkulu 

We met these people as they came down to the beach.  The wanted to know what we were doing and talked to us for a long time about the church and what we believed.  

We met this man "Ambou" as he followed us up and down the beach trying to sell us a Nativity Set.  We kept looking at him and thinking he looked very familiar.   We then realized that he was the same man who sold us a Nativity Set in Cote d'Ivoire when we were there 4 years ago.  He just arrived here two weeks ago and I think that some of the Nativity Sets he was trying to sell us were the same ones we saw back in the Ivory Coast.   

Beldi, Herve, Christelle, Cecile, Alain, and Erica...... all working hard to clean up the beach.

This is Chloe.  She is President Caillet's daughter.   She was very mad at me because I would not give her the seashells I had found.  Even though I showed her where to find her own, she wanted mine.  Even though we don't speak the same language, she has somehow managed to know how much I love her.  She always searches me out to give her a hug, or a drink of water.  It is such a testimony to me of how "love" can be expressed even without saying any words.

The Group Photo.....Elder Bailey had to take a phone call from President Monga so he wasn't able to get in the picture.  Also, by this time the television station had come to take pictures and have interviews.  Président Caillet asked if I would like to say a few words.  I respectfully declined!

Elder Garland, Elder Etherington, Elder Sperry, Elder Johnston, Elder Naughton, and Elder Bybee

We attended District Meeting this week with these fine Elders.  Elder Etherington made fudge and topped it with cookie dough.......(without the eggs).  I don't think I have had anything like that.  It tasted pretty good!  The Elders have been "enduring" the hardship of having their apartment painted that beautiful "canary yellow" ...... so a little something sweet was just what they needed.  We had a wonderful lesson taught by Elder Johnston on "Conversion". He is the District Leader and does such a wonderful job.

We will say "Good-bye" to all this week and wish to express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father for being called to be missionaries here in Pointe Noire.  Some days we are so tired we can't sit down, or we would never get up.  But, we love it, and we love those we have been called to serve with all of our Heart, Might, Mind, Strength and.......... Hands!!

Until next week.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Baptisms and Transfers.......August 18

August 16 ..... Baptisms

Elder Bybee and Elder Johnston baptized Emmanuel, and Belchance on Saturday.  Their neighbors and friends came to see them.  

Elder Tripp and Elder Ralison baptized "Padma" on Saturday also.  Padma has known the church was true for a long time.  She has had many missionaries teach her the Gospel.  She has had great faith and trust in her Savior Jesus Christ that this day would come.  She is so grateful for finally realizing her dream of becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

August 18.....Transfer Letters and Preparation Day

Every 6 weeks there are transfers between each Zone, which can even move them to a new country.   This is the first transfer for President Monga and all of the missionaries were waiting patiently to see what was going to happen.  As it turned out, we received only one "transfer letter" and that was for Elder Tweneboah.  He has been here since he came out of the MTC and took it very hard.  He knew that this day would come, but the realization of moving to Brazzaville was "overwhelming to him as he knows he is now going to be given to a new companion to help him learn his French, and to bring souls to Christ.  

We all love Elder Tweneboah.  He is from Ghana, and always has a smile.  He is positive and happy, and such a hard worker.  He leaves on Wednesday to go to Brazzaville where he will be companions to a Elder Kouakou.   We wish him the best of luck.

Elder Massé has been Elder Tweneboah's companion for the past 6 weeks.  

This is one of my favorite pictures.....The farewell hug!   The brotherhood that these missionaries feel for each other is powerful.  They are saying goodbye to one of their own. 

Elder Etherington and Elder Tweneboah

Preparation Day....

Every Monday the Missionaries of Pointe Noire come to the church for basketball.... or "sport" as the Africans call it.  They love it because they not only get to see each other, but they get to have some "friendly competition" that comes naturally to most missionaries.  Some of the missionaries have played very little basketball, but they soon learn to "mix it up" with the best of them.  Even Elder Bailey gets out there and plays hard.  

Elder Sperry gets ready to shoot.

Elder Garland takes one from "half-lawn".....

Elder Naughton puts up a great shot....

Elde Tripp ties his shoes so he doesn't "trip" ......

and then goes one on one with Elder Naughton...

We are so grateful to serve alongside of these wonderful Elders.  We love them and know that they were called here by a Heavenly Father who knows their hearts.  This can be a very hard mission mentally, physically and spiritually, but these young Elders are prepared to exercise the "power and authority" that has been given them because of the testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that they have.  They are truly "instruments in the hands of God"....

Until next week.....

Brazzaville ~ August 13-15

Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de Brazza  
                               the namesake of Brazzaville....

This past week we traveled to Brazzaville to be instructed by President Monga.  We were able to see the Mission Home, and where the Mission Offices are.  We had meetings about doing the audits for the Branches and our "collective responsibilities" of watching over our respective parts of the Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo Mission.  

We also were instructed by Elder and Sister Van Gass, who are Missionaries assigned to the Area Mental Health.  Elder Van Gass is a Psychologist and offers help and support for any missionaries who are having a hard time adjusting "mentally" to their missions.   

We also were able to see Elder and Sister Moody from Gabon, Elder and Sister Coleman from Cameroon, and Elder and Sister Dimond from Yaounde who arrived 6 weeks ago.    We had so much fun talking about our different areas.  We also shared our successes and our concerns that are part of being a Senior Missionary couple for the Lord.  We had a wonderful time to "fill our wells".

We had always wondered where Brazzaville got its name, and learned while we were there about this huge statue of Pierre de Brazza.

Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de Brazza was an Italian explorer who was later naturalized as a Frenchman.  He opened up for France, entry along the right bank of the Congo, which eventually led to French colonies in Central Africa.  

 On the 30 September 2006, de Brazza's remains were exhumed from Algiers along with those of his wife and four children.  They were reinterred in Brazzaville in this marble mausoleum which had been prepared for them which cost 10 million dollars.    ( A little history lesson for the day!!)

Sister Monga greeted us as we arrived at the Mission Home.

 The beautiful grounds that surround the Mission Home....

President and Sister Monga's son Aurnald, having an Algebra lesson.

Their daughter "Miriam" helped prepare our meal.  

This is "Dorian"  who helps Sister Monga with her family when President and Sister Monga are traveling.  Dorian just returned from her Mission 5 months ago to the Limbubashi DRC.

It took three cars to transport us around the city.  This is Presidents new car....

They took us to the "Mandarin" restaurant for dinner.  The chawarma's were wonderful.

So was the chocolate ice-cream, with little biscuits on the top.

We also went to Mami Wata's for lunch on Thursday.  It was located on the shores of the Congo River.  

We couldn't believe the many boats that were docked and ready to go.

Or the "wave-runners".....

We loved the beautiful flowers and the statue of a "siren" that surrounded our outside eating area.

The hibiscus flowers that were on each table  were put in sand and tied with some kind of plant-leaf.  

These plants greeted us as we entered.  I am not quite sure what the hollowed-out wood vases are...... 

Right below where we were sitting, some boys with their cup of worms and home-made fishing poles came to catch their lunch.  

Elder & Sister Moody, Sister Monga & Sister Coleman are looking across the Congo River at Kinshasa...... We are grateful for the time we spent there, but are looking forward to the rest of our Mission under the watchful care of President Monga and the Brazzaville Mission.

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