Preparations....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".
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!............