Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014.... Pointe Noire Congo

A Day To Give Thanks....

Thursday, November 27, 2014 will always be remembered as a very special Thanksgiving.  We prepared all day for the Elders to meet at 5:00 for the dinner.  They went out teaching all day and worked hard for the Lord. When they all arrived, we sang, "For the Beauty of the Earth", had a prayer by Elder Andri and ate until we couldn't move.   After the dinner, we all took a turn to express the things we were thankful for.  Besides being crazy and hilarious, they all expressed their heartfelt love of the work they have been called to do and their families.  It was a wonderful night!  

Elder and Sister Bailey wanted to send this note home to their family back in Ogden, Utah.

We started out making the pies.  Because they don't have shortening here, I haven't quite perfected the pie crust being made with butter.  

But the filling was spot on!  Grandma Moyes would have been proud of her recipe.  We put fresh bananas on top and covered it with mounds of whipped creme.   

The next attempt was better.  I figured out I was using too much butter to make my batter better..... sorry, I just had to say that!!  I am still trying to get into the habit of converting grams to cups!

Here is the butternut squash (pumpkin) pie.  It turned out wonderful also.

This is our "million dollar" dressing.  A few weeks ago, we found celery in one of our stores.  We knew that we would need this for the stuffing and even paid the $16.00, so that our Elders would have  it on Thanksgiving Day.

I didn't take a picture of our 4 roasted chickens that we served. But they also turned out great.  We made currant sauce in the place of cranberry sauce, and cut up mangoes, oranges, bananas and pineapples for our fruit cup.  

The Elders dug right in!

Elder Etherington said the potatoes were the best.  This was Elder Andri's first Thanksgiving dinner.  He loved the baked chicken!

Elder Tripp was the first one to get his plate.  He came in second for most weight gained after the meal. Elder Sperry is always happy when there is food to eat!

Elder Bybee finished up his pies and comes in first.  He gained 2.9 kilos in one meal!   

Everyone had to sit down and rest after eating.

Elder Sperry could not believe how much they ate.  Elder Bybee, Elder Ralison, Elder Johnston and Elder Nkulu were very proud of it!

Elder Tripp wanted to send this message home to his family in Utah!

Who is this?

And this?

Ahh!  Elder Andri sends this message home to his family in Madagascar.

Elder Nkulu sends this message home to his family in Limbubashi DRC.

Elder Etherington wanted his family to know he ate lions for Thanksgiving dinner.  JK.... that means "just kidding" he explained to me!!  His family is from Oklahoma!

Elder Sperry....... what can I say!!!  He had so much to say to his family back in Utah that he couldn't write it all down.   So he just expresses his love for all of them, and wanted them to know he is working hard!   (hmmmmm!)

This is the real Elder Ralison!  He sends his love to his family in Madagascar!

And this is the one and only Elder Bybee.........He sends his love home to his family in Enoch, Utah!

And last is our beloved Zone Leader, Elder Johnston.  He has moved from Thanksgiving onto Christmas in no time!   He sends his love home to his family in Oklahoma!

We have so much to be grateful for this year 2014.  Mission life is wonderful and teaches you about the blessings of family, the Gospel, our Heavenly Father, our Savior and eternity.  We love it and love serving here in Pointe Noire with all of these fine Elders.  

The Church is True!

Until Next Week!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Rains Came Down and The Floods came up! November 24, 2014

Water Water Everywhere... Except our Cistern.....

This past week it has rained almost everyday.  We are so grateful it has been mostly during the night and the early hours of the morning, that way the missionaries can still go out and do their work.  It was raining hard on Sunday when we attended our meetings at the Mpaka and Aéroport Branches where we were gone for 6 hours.  What we didn't know was that our toilet had been running all of that time and when we arrived home around 4:30, we had no water in our cistern, which means we had no water in our home! 

For the last 11 months, Elder Bailey has gone every day but Sundays to get water to keep the cistern full. He fills 30, 5 gallon jugs and dumps them into the cistern each morning.    It holds 2000 gallons of water which is enough for us and the Elders upstairs.  We have never seen the bottom until this past Sunday.  

So because this was an "ox in the mire",   Elder Sperry and Elder Nkulu helped Elder Bailey go get water on Sunday.  We are so grateful for the "well" at the church which is where we get our water.  They did one trip on Sunday night, and then two trips on Monday morning to get our water back up to where it should be.   I am so grateful that Elder Bailey has been blessed with the strength to do this.  He loves the challenge and the exercise that has helped him loose almost 20 pounds.

This is our empty cistern.  What you can't tell from the picture is that it goes about 6 feet back from where the top of the picture is.  Elder Bailey took the opportunity to scrub the tiles and clean the sediment that had accumulated on the bottom.

It was raining and dark as he worked hard to clean and prepare the cistern for the new 2000 gallons of water that would go in.

This is a picture of the floods "coming up" around our house on Monday.

I loved the ripples in this picture.  The little yellow pot catches the water from the Elders air-conditioner on normal days.  It has been anything but normal for the past few weeks.

Elder Sperry was trying to get to the "Cyber" to e-mail home.  They made it just to be told that there was no electricity. So they were able to use our computers to write their emails. 

This is just a normal day in the life of the people in Pointe Noire.

Elder Etherington walked to get a sandwich.  He decided that he is not going to do that again.  We cut 5 Elders hair on Monday, so they were all at the house waiting for their turn.

Elder Andri has only been here one week...... He is trying to keep a positive attitude on all of this!

This was my favorite picture of the day.  Children are the same all over the world.  This is just what one of our boys would have done!!  

This is the front of our home after the rains started to recede.  Our poor neighbors on each side were flooded out.

Preparing for Thanksgiving...

This Thursday we will be celebrating Thanksgiving with the Elders.  We will do two blogs this week so that all of the families can have some pictures of their missionaries.  Because we have no pumpkins here, we are going to use squash to make a puree for a pumpkin pie.  I have never done this before, but the Elders are very forgiving in that they will eat most anything!!

It looks like it will work!  We will let you know1


We have said many prayers this week, which have been heard and answered by a loving and kind Heavenly Father.  We are so grateful for Him and for the love and trust He has put in us to be here to watch over the Missionaries and to help the members and leaders of the Branches.

The Church Is True!

Until Thursday............

Friday, November 21, 2014

Changes ~ November 20, 2014

Moving on........ saying goodbye.

Elder Garland's shoes that he wore until they would not stay on his feet....

Outside of our door, we have the Elders from Aéroport shoes.  Because they live upstairs from us they leave them by the door so that they do not bring sand into their apartment.   They have in the middle...... Elder Garlands shoes ..... that he wore until they simply would not stay on his feet.  They are now "retired" to the shoe graveyard...... They served their purpose well while Elder Garland served for almost a year here in Pointe Noire. 

In the past two weeks we have said "good-bye" to three very fine Elders.  President Monga has called them to serve in other areas of the mission because of their faithfulness and experience. Elder Garland is now serving as the first North American missionary in Brazzaville.  He will serve as the Zone Leader in Makelékele until he leaves for home on December 17, 2014.

Elder Naughton and Elder Nsana FINALLY received their invitation letters to go to the country of Gabon.  It has been over 4 months that Elder and Sister Moody have been working tirelessly on this.  We have fasted and said many prayers for this to happen because right now they have only 2 missionaries for the whole country of Gabon.  They left this past Wednesday to begin serving in Libreville, where Sister Moody said..... "Finally, we have our miracle!" 

Elder Naughton and Elder Garland

Elder Naughton and Elder Garland are trying to see who is "physically stronger".  What it doesn't show here is their spiritual strength, which far exceeds their "muscles"....  which will be such a blessing among all those they have been called to serve in Brazzaville and Libreville.

Elder Bybee, Elder Ralison, Elder Tripp, Elder Nkulu, Elder Johnston, Elder Sperry, Elder Garland, Elder Etherington, Jhostavie (Ward Missionary), and Elder Naughton.

We had a "farewell dinner" for the missionaries on Monday night, November 10.  We didn't know all of the details of what the missionaries would be doing, but we knew that some would be going so we wanted to have a farewell dinner and have one last time all together.   

Changes in Companions....

November 10 was transfer day.  This is when we learned about where everyone would be going and who each Elders new companions would be. . . . 

This past Monday, come rain or shine, sleet or hail, the Elders played basketball at the church.  It was raining so hard, but that doesn't stop them from being together and playing some "church-ball".

Président Monga sent Elder Nsana up to Pointe Noire from Brazzaville to be Elder Naughton's companion until they received their invitation letters to Gabon. He was only here for one week.... but we grew to love his wonderful happy spirit, and his great love of Lord and Missionary work.

Elder Johnston will now be the new Zone Leader.  He and Elder Tripp will live in the Mpaka apartment and be responsible for all of the Mpaka area.

Elder Adriamiasinarivo came from Brazzaville and is from Madagascar.   He will now be Elder Etherington's companion.

Elder Ralison moves over to the Pointe Noire Branche with Elder Bybee

Elder Nkulu moves over to the Aéroport Branche with Elder Sperry.  He will just be here until December 17 when he finishes his mission and will go back to Limbubashi DRC, where he is from.

Elder Johnston and Elder Nkulu squeegee the rain off the court.

Elder Etherington looks on as a resident "snail" came to visit the court.  The Elders helped him find his way to greener pastures.

After the game, Elder Tripp, Elder Nsana, and Elder Naughton try to find a taxi.... for the right price.  This taxi asked for too much money.

So they found another one that would drive them to the market for $3.00.  They still felt like that was too much,  but it was raining.......

With everything decided the Mpaka Elders all piled in the taxi and headed for the store to buy their groceries for the week.  Elder Sperry and Elder Nkulu will head to the Cyber.

Changes in peoples lives because of baptism.....

Elder Tripp and Elder Ralison taught "Stenereuse".  One of the Branche missionaries, "Daljus", baptized him.  

They also taught "Ginnise".  She is so happy to finally be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  

                                 They also taught "Cedrick".  His brother "Bonus" baptized him.

This is Aeisha.  She was baptized by Elder Johnston, but taught by Elder Tripp and Elder Ralison.  Aeisha has a very strong testimony of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon.

Gloire was baptized by Sebastian and taught by Elder Bybee and Elder Johnston.  He had to wait until his father gave permission for him to be baptized.  After many prayers, he finally gave his permission.

Elder Naughton, Elder Etherington and Elder Nkulu taught "Mike Spider-Whisper" and Kimounou.  The will now be a part of the Loandjili Branche.

Wall of of the week

Sister Bailey with Helena, Adonia, Ginnise, and (?).  These beautiful Young Women have such wonderful testimonies of the Gospel.  They are the only members in their families.

Elder Bybee admiring his African Tie.

We showed "General Conference" last Sunday in the Pointe Noire and Loandjili Branches.  My job was to hold "Ammon" who is President Ndinga's new son.  My "mother-arms" loved it!


There are always "changes" that go on as you serve the Lord on a mission.  We have found that with each new change comes opportunities to grow, not only for us, but for the wonderful missionaries we serve alongside.  We are so grateful for the chance to serve here in the Congo and to be able to share our testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

The Church is True!

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