Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Marvelous Work ~ 28 May 2015

These past two weeks have been very special to Elder Bailey and I.  We were able to see two families head to South Africa to be sealed together in the Johannesburg Temple.  We met them at the Airport to take a picture of them before they left.   They were so excited to finally realize their dream come true.  

In the last General Conference, Bishop Gérald Caussé told us we are privileged to live in an exceptional time.  The prophets of old saw the work of the Restoration as "a marvelous work..., yea, a marvelous work and a wonder."  In no previous dispensation have so many missionaries been called, so many nations been opened for the gospel message and so many temples been built throughout the world.

We saw the blessings of this "marvelous work" this past week.  Now, the Malonga and Okili families will go back into their Branches and be a living testimony of the Temple and the beautiful ordinance of sealing families together for eternity.  

We are grateful for the missionary work that is going on in Pointe Noire.  We have been asked by Président Monga to focus on finding families to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to.  We know the Lord has prepared many to hear and accept the "truth" that has been restored in these latter-days. We love being on our mission and love to see the "joy" that the Gospel brings to so many who "don't know where to find it."

We still do not have a couple to replace us!  We are down to a little over a month before we go home. We are praying hard for someone to come to be "instruments in the hand of the Lord" here in Pointe Noire.  

Missionary work is hard, but so worth the sacrifice.  We have loved being a Senior Couple for the 2nd time in Africa, and being a part of "Hastening His Work of Salvation.

Our First Covenant. . . . 

Elder Legerski and Elder Mbikayi taught Presley the Gospel.  Jhostavie is his friend and baptized him.  It is wonderful to see the "purpose" the Gospel brings to our youth.

Temple Covenants. . . . 

This is the Malonga family.  Perpetue is the Relief Society President of the Mpaka Branche.  Leondré is a counselor in the Elder's Quorum.  He served a mission to Ghana and learned English which has been such a wonderful help to us.   Gilbeaux and Perley are their children.  

This is the Okili family.  Brother Okili serves as the 2nd Counselor in the Branche Presidency of the Pointe Noire Branche.  

Priesthood Blessing. . . . 

On Friday, Sylvanie came to receive a blessing of comfort from Elder Bailey.  We love her and her two children Divine and Prosper.  She has also finished the Temple Preparation class and is working towards going to the temple.

How it all begins.... missionary work

This is Sylvie.  She has been our neighbor for the last 17 months and we have never met her.  One day we talked with her out in front of our house and found out she spoke beautiful English, French and Spanish.  She was raised in France, but both of her parents are from Spain.  She decided to come to Pointe Noire 8 years ago for business.  

This is her cat Longo.  We told her how much we loved cats, so she brought him over to visit us last Friday.  When I asked her what her cat looked like, she said, "He looks like you!!.... referring to my freckles and reddish complexion."   

Sylvie came on Tuesday to show us how to make "Paëlla.  This is the signature dish of "Spain".  She showed us where to get all of the ingredients and new areas we had never been in before.

After the water has been added you add the round rice and let it cook for 15 minutes and it is ready.  She is delightful and such a fun person to be around.

She told us that the meal would serve six.  So we invited the missionaries from upstairs, and Paco who had been helping them that day.  They didn't complain.

As you can see, it was devoured.  Even the "shrimp" with the heads still on.  Elder Legerski was a little concerned about eating them, but gave it a try and thought that it was great.  The missionaries asked Sylvie if they could come and teach her the Gospel. She had her first lesson on Thursday!

Wall of Fame. . . .

Elder Beutler came on Friday to have our "Mission Council" meeting that we have every few months.   President connects with all of the Zone Leaders throughout the mission and they are able to talk with each other and gain ideas and teachings.  It is a wonderful concept, except for the fact that we are in Africa and out of the 7 we have been involved in.... none of them have worked very well.  Elder Beutler had been trying for almost an hour to get things to work on Skype.  Finally, they just decided to have a "group" phone meeting.  That seemed to work the best.  All of the Zone Leaders from Gabon, Yaounde, Douala and Brazzaville plus the Assistants, Sister Leader Trainers and President and Sister Monga are involved in this meeting.  They now will take back to each of their Zones the messages that were given.  


Missionary Work is Marvelous!  We are grateful each week for the blessings of being able to serve here in Pointe Noire.  We see the Lord's hand each and every day in this work and pray to always be able to find those that the Lord has prepared to hear the message.  We are also grateful or the special missionaries we serve alongside, and for the wonderful people he brings into our lives.  

                                                                  The Gospel is True!

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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Preparing for Zone Conference ~ 15 May 2015


We have found out that Missionary Work is just that...... work!   And this has been a week of working hard to prepare for President and Sister Monga to come to have a Zone Conference here in Pointe Noire.  Besides the "spiritual" preparation that is necessary, there are so many "other" things that need to be done to make sure the meeting is a success.  

These are the "duties" that the "Senior Couple" get to be involved in. It is such a "joy" to prepare every needful thing to make sure the day is a special one.  President and Sister Monga arrived at 10:10 on Thursday.  We had to laugh at all of the many "other" things that were going on at the same time.  I stayed home, to wait for Brother and Sister Okiery who were coming for an interview, while Elder Bailey went to the Airport.  Leondré was coming with his daughter Perley who was receiving her temple recommend.  Paco was also coming for his missionary interview.

Just to make it a little more of an African adventure, our new day Guardian started that morning, and Marius Von Mullendorff from South Africa would arrive at 1:00 to look at some buildings and property for future church use.  

Elder Bailey and I wear many, many hats on weeks like these, but what makes it all doable is who we are working for and our purpose. . . . 
Elder Holland said this about missionary work.... " this is higher and holier and more sacred and more eternal than anything you’ve ever done. It is by definition the most important thing you can do in the world, in time or eternity. For this reason you are engaged in the saving of the human soul. And that is the highest and holiest work in the universe."
So in perspective, we are working to "save souls" and that is a powerful motivation for doing whatever needs to be done to make sure we are prepared for His "work of salvation".

Our Zone!

Back row:  Elder Waite, Elder Beutler, Elder Legerski, Elder Larson and Elder Etherington
Front Row: Elder Mandefu, Elder Kabeya, Elder Mbikayi, Elder Kabongo, Elder Andriamiasinarivo, 
Président and Soeur Monga.

Elder Beutler is the Zone Leader and he conducted the meeting.

Elder Etherington is the District Leader for the Loandjili and Pointe Noire districts.   He taught us about the "Pattern of Progression".

Elder Mbikayi is the District Leader for the Aéroport and Mpaka district.   He taught out of the "white handbook" about "Sundays and holidays.

Sœur Monga is always interested in the missionaries health.  She went over what is not safe to eat and again reminded them to eat lots of "fruits and vegetables."

President Monga instructed the missionaries on "What is their purpose". He is a wonderful teacher and had all of the missionaries attention for his 3 hours of teaching.  

Because this is Elder Mandefu's last Zone Conference,  he was asked to give his testimony.  He has been a very strong and happy missionary.

Elder Beutler gave his testimony also.  He gave a powerful testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ and all the blessings he has received because of his two years of service.

Elder Kabongo looks very tall next to Elders Larson and Lergeski...

But when they stand up Elder Kabonho's true size s shown.  He a has great big heart though!

Elder Kabeya, Elder Mandefu Elder Mbikayi and Elder Legerski. 

Elder Mandefu and Elder Waite show off their stomachs after a "Taco Salad" dinner.  

Elder Larson is one of our new missionaries who transferred here from Douala. He is doing a wonderful job.

Our African missionaries have loved having a keyboard in their apartments.  Elder Mbikayi and Elder Andriamiasinarivo have learned to play some of the songs in the simplified hymn book.  Elder Andri has also played for the Loandjili Branche for their Sacrament Meetings because they have no one who plays.

Elder Andri was given permission to have a keyboard sent to the mission in his homeland of Madagascar. . . because he has worked so hard to learn how to play, the Harman Foundation will send one to the Madagascar mission when he returns home so he will be able to continue to play for his Branche there.  He will also be able to "play it forward' and teach others how to play. 

Elder Mandefu and Elder Etherington

Elder Waite and Elder Larson

Elder Etherington sang "Glorious" for President and Sister Monga. It was President Monga's birthday on May 9th so we wanted to do something special for him.

Preparing the fruit salad....

One of my favorite parts of serving a mission is preparing the meals for the missionaries.  I have loved learning how to take the food from Africa and put an American twist on it.  Because fruit is so abundant here, we try to have some every single day.   So we always make a fruit salad to serve.  

Just like in America, we have different seasons for the fruits.  Right now the passion fruit, papaya, banana's and mandarin's are in season.   We can get a pineapple, but they are $8.00, so we only buy one for special occasions. . . . like Zone Conferences.   So here is how I make a fruit salad.  I make it the night before so all of the juices can marinate together.

I use about 5 passion fruit.  The skins are wrinkly and look terrible, but it does not affect the taste of the juice, which is what I use the fruit for.

Passion Fruit is just a slimy jelly with hard crunchy seeds.  People eat the seeds, but I prefer to just let them sit in the strainer until all of the juice comes out.

Then I dump the juice into a bowl.

These are what mandarin oranges look like.  

I strain them also and dump the juice into the bowl.

Our $8.00 Pineapple is cut into halves and then into quarters.

I dice each one into little "tidbits" and dump them into the juices.

I saved the papaya on the left to make a smoothy out of because it is a little "mushy", but the one on the right is perfect.

I slice it in half, scrape out all of the seeds and peel it. 

I then dice it into "tidbits" also and they go into the bowl.

 I will add one cut up banana and let it marinate over night, but will add 6 more banana's the next day right before I serve it.   Here is what it looks like.  It is wonderful and the flavors are so good.  We will miss so much just having all of these wonderful fruits to eat each day.  


Preparing every needful thing is part of the "culture" of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We were bone-weary after our day of feeding 14 people and hosting President and Souer Monga for two days.  But that is part of our "duty" as Senior Missionaries..... and we love it!

The Gospel is True!

Until next week!............ 


Friday, May 8, 2015

Blessings ~ 8 May 2015

Blessings of Mothers. . . . 

With Mother's Day being May 10, 2015, our hearts are drawn to home and all of the Mother's in our lives.  We are drawn to the memories of our dear "Moms". . . .  and our dear daughter-in-laws, who are the "mothers" of our 18 precious grandchildren. . . .  and to our 6 sons who call me "Mom".

Motherhood has always played a very special place in my heart.  I loved being a mother and owe much of who I am today to my teachers, all 6 of them, who patiently and lovingly allowed me to grow and learn along with them. 

So today I would like to pay tribute to all mothers.....Eve was called the "mother of all living" before she ever had children, so mothers to me are all women who treasure their role of "nurturing life".... 

Being missionaries for the Lord has brought us to a country where we can continue to nurture life in everything we do.  We are grateful each day to be around such wonderful "mothers" who are trying to do what our Savior would ask.
We are touched by the efforts of the mothers here in the Congo.  They work so hard to clean and cook and have enough money to buy food for just the bare necessities to get them through the day. 

One dear sister came and taught me how to make yogurt.  She has turned this into a business to bring some added income to her family.   Without the modern conveniences that having electricity brings, everything is done by hand here.  They wash in buckets and cook over fires.... they are amazing!  

The following are some pictures of the work of mothers here in the Congo.

Surprise asked us to come this week to give his mother a blessing.  Denise has not felt well for many months so she is going to Angola to be with her only daughter for a month.  She also had 5 sons and has worked so hard all of her life to take care of them.  This is her compound that she owns and the house behind them she rents for money.  Surprise loves his mother so much and is always worried about her.  It is so touching to see how devoted he is to making sure she is taken care of.  

This is the woman that lives in the house behind Surprise.  She is the one that did all of that wash by hand.  

This is the "manioc" that the women make to sell.  It is a labor of love, but one that is part of their routine.  The manioc has to be grown, dried, pressed, kneaded and shaped into logs, cooked and then wrapped in banana leafs.  They sell the bundles for pennies to passerby's. Manioc is a staple here in the Congo.

These are " bags" that women in Cameroon made for my daughter-in-laws. The African women are amazing seamstresses.  

This is my dear friend Delov.  She looks so much like her mother that I just had to take a picture of them.

Florida is a wonderful seamstress.  She had a class where she showed the Sisters how to make a top and skirt.  They have no patterns, they just use measurements.  They mark the material with chalk and then just cut and sew.

They measure a certain amount from the neck, arms and length to make it fit just perfect.

The sewing machines are always run by hand because of the lack of electricity in most homes.  

This is Doreta and she is one of the most beautiful African woman you would ever meet.  She is getting water from the Church-well to take home.  The women in African carry everything no matter how heavy or hard.  

This is the Ngasakki family.  Sheniyah was baptized this past Saturday by her father.  On Monday they all headed for South Africa to be sealed together in the Johannesburg Temple.  Yvette is the Sister who helped me make yogurt.  She has the reputation of being one of the best in the Congo.  We are so happy for their family. 

These are the pictures of making yogurt.  It takes 5 liters of water.  2 kilos of powdered milk, 3 natural yogurts, 4 cups of sugar and 4 teaspoons vanilla.  You have to let it sit for 8 hours undisturbed.

It is definitely a messy job, but worth it in the end.

Filling the bottles.

We shared some with the missionaries and kept a few for ourselves.  It turned out wonderful.  Yvette does not speak English, so we had a great time trying to figure out what each other was trying to say. . . . . you should have seen us trying to figure out what a "whisk" was...... but we did it!  We resorted to the dictionary for most of the morning.

This is Grandma Jeannette.  She was baptized last year and has embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all of her heart.  We love her beautiful spirit.  She is truly an example of a "mother"  .....  a nurturer of life..... in everything that she does.

This was a dinner that Sister Gakosso fixed for all of the missionaries.  They are amazing cooks and know how to feed a crowd.  The mothers here in the Congo work from sun up to sun down.   We will forever be grateful for their examples to Elder Bailey and I of their devotion to their families and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


And these are the "joys" of my mothering. . . We have one more little grandson "Dax" who wasn't born yet.  He belongs to the "pink" family.  We express our love to our beautiful daughter-in-laws, Raeni, Melissa, Leslie, Alexis, Jacie, and Stephanie for the wonderful mothers they are to our grandchildren.  We love them dearly for all they do and sacrifice for our eternal family...

Happy Mothers Day!

Until next week!