Saturday, October 4, 2014

This one has taken a week and a half to post!! Internet issues.

This is for Jordan.  I bet you've never seen this license plate before.

This is the day the Clawsons leave to go home.
We have the office staff here.
Left to Right Very Back:  Justin (deals with airlines and government issues),
Elder Atkinson (was in construction and then has been our very handy man),
Elder Mikesell (our medical advisor)
Middle Row:  Emmanuel (takes care of apartments, our needs and is another handy man),
Elder and Sister Davis (in red) (they are our Humanitarian couple), Elder Clawson, Sister Atkinson (she does the ordering and takes care of all baptisms and confirmation records),
Elder Draper (Mission President's Executive Secretary), Sister Mikesell ( helps her husband with medical)
Fron Row:  Sister Riendeau (she teaches English and French, translator, lots of office work) Sister Clawson, Sister Anthony (takes care of all the money), Sister Draper (works on Transfer logistics, assists Elder Draper)

E/S Atkinson are leaving this next Tuesday and Sister Riendeau is leaving in November so we are trying to redistribute jobs at the moment so we get everything done.
We need another couple!!  Anyone interested?

Sister Clawson, Emmanuel, Elder Clawson

Justin (also a Stake President, hired by the church to work in the office) S/E Clawson, Emmanuel (also hired by the church and is a Stake Clerk)

Sister Clawson, Justin, Elder Clawson

Sister Clawson, Solange with her baby (Joseph Smith), Elder Clawson

Sister Clawson, Ilanga (one of our guards) Elder Clawson

Ilanga's feet
He quickly went to change his shoes for the picture.

He was wearing these flip flops.
I later learned that flip flops are not considered good shoes here so he was trying to be proper when he changed his shoes.  They are very respectful of others.

Ilanga with the Clawsons

At English class one morning we saw the guard outside the church watering the gardens.
This is how he did the watering.... a bucket and his hand.

If we look out our bedroom window this is what we see.  It is a big field and we can't always see the horses but we heard them one day and I was so happy to finally see where they were!!!  There are lots of them!!

Two darling little boys on the side of the road.  
They were happy to get their picture taken.
It's a hot day and you'll notice this little guy is wearing a hood.

These two little fellows are very inquisitive about us.
They are so adorable!!

These are two of our Elders.  We just dropped them off in their area.

This woman has a wonderful array of foods for sale.
The green looks beautiful.  The black things on the side are fish:  eels!!!

The transport vehicles here are very plentiful!
Anyone can get a ride by just standing on the side of the road.
The thing is - they fill them to capacity and then some.
If we filled a car this full (being white) we would be stopped by the police and harassed but they seem to be able to do just about anything.
There is no air-conditioning however, and these are hot days.
(not much deodorant is used here)
Do you still want a ride?

The furniture is sold just like everything else... outside in the dirt.
If you could see well, they are pretty dusty!!

These little girls are just walking down the street.  
I'm  not sure why they are walking on this side of the cars.
They were being very careful and hugging close together and to the vehicle.

Many people transport things in a wagon like this one and they can pile them HIGH!
This woman has her children helping her get water.
They are going to a water station and then will carry all of theses home again.
It is so much work for just the necessities.

I love the bright colours the women wear.
The women carry many things on their heads.
You can see she has something on her head to help her to balance.
Notice the children playing in the gutters.
Those gutters are full of garbage and water.
This seems to be totally acceptable here.

This young man is stepping to the side so we can get by.  
He has bricks in his wagon.
He was a happy boy with a nice smile.

This picture is to show you how they dry their clothes if they don't have a clothes line.
Sometimes they lay their clothes right on the dirt to dry.

This woman is just balancing her load on her head.

They can carry huge containers of fruits and vegetables.
They must have very strong necks.

This is a road that we drove down to get to a chapel.
It is quite a ride!!!
You have to be so careful and watch for holes and rocks.

This is another road we drove down.  There are many like this.

We finally got to the church which is on the left side where the green fence is.
I guess they just re-graveled the approach to the parking lot!  haha
I'm not sure why they put all those rocks there.

This little guy is off to do some chore for his mother.
He's probably getting water.
He's such a little guy to carry such a load.  The children have to do their part of the work.
Our children think they have it hard when they are asked to unload the dishwasher!!

This is the back yard of that house.  The children are happy to play in the dirt.
It looks like the two boys are off to get water too.

This is Solange.  She is the cleaning woman for the complex, the mission home and office, and she cleans our home too as well as the senior sisters home.
She is a wonderful woman.  She says she loves her work.  She also does a lot of the work with Joseph (Smith) on her back.  It's a wonder that the babies are content to just ride along behind.
She's a good mother.  I think she has 7 children.  Many people here have about 12 children.

These are President Thomas' professional business cards.
You see how uniform they are.
Some things just don't matter.

We had a disaster with our first try at banana bread.  We cooked it for 1 1/2 hours and it still came out raw on the bottom.  So sad.  I was really looking forward to having some.

We stopped for fuel at the gas station.  Those bisons are filled with fuel.  They did have a pump also.

People in business here always carry huge stacks of money in their hands.
Even at the cash register in a store they have a pile of money in their hands.
Each one of those bills is probably worth about 50 cents in American money, 500 Congolese francs.

They were very interested in the church so we gave them pamphlets and President Thomas who was out of the car talking with them invited them to church.

I'm not sure what she is carrying but it looks like clothing.
Everything goes on the head.... and the women do the carrying.

This bus just quit running so they were pushing it.  
I'm not sure how far they were going to push it.

They use anything and everything.  Who would think to do this for a fence?

Here's another one.  These are all over.

A different fence but I guess you can't see through it so it works.

Elder Atkinson is trying to see where the termites are coming from.
The brown squiggly lines on the wall are from the termites.
They climb up to the roof to get into the ceiling to live.
You can see the brown climbing up in the corner.
The box on the outside there was full of termites too.  
They ate right through the box and into the books. 
This box is filled with copies of The Book of Mormon.
When we told the president about the termites in the scriptures he said, "Feasting on the work of God.  Those righteous little entities."
We all had a good laugh over that one.

In the back of the compound there is a bathroom and a shower for the guards.
You put your feet on those two blocks and squat!!
There is water to wash your hands though.

These are beautiful bushes just up the road from our compound.  There are many colours of blossoms all on the same bush.  They are so beautiful!!

This is the gate for the home inside.  Cool, eh?

This is not so cool!!!
Sister Thomas found this in her house and scream for us all to come!!
It was dead but still .... it was horrible!!!

Solange working with Joseph Smith on her back sleeping.
They joined the church and so she called this last baby after the prophet, Joseph.
Isn't that great?  It shows what is important to her.  
This little boy has a lot to live up to carrying that name.

This is our back yard.  The office is on the right.  The senior Sisters live in the house on the other side of the fence.  It's all in the same compound.
When we arrived there were tons of boxes of materials that wouldn't fit into the supply depot so these boxes were just sitting outside.  These boxes are full of copies of the Book of Mormon.
The boxes over against the fence had been chewed into by the termites.
You can see the many different levels on the patio.
I'm not sure if they plan how they are going to build something or just start
 and then adjust as they go.

The depot was very disorganized and dirty.  It's hard to keep things clean here.  We took all the boxes out of the depot, cleaned them up, organized them and then put things back together again.
It took us a full week to do all this work.  I have never been so dirty in my life!!!
There are plenty more boxes than you can see here.
The garden in the middle grows food that they eat. 
 They say this will grow up to be quite a garden in the rainy season.

Here's another view.  The grates are covering the ditches that are for the rain water to go into.  If you miss the grate it is quite a drop.

This picture is taken from our back balcony.  

This one also.

We took the satellite dish down to build a storage/work shop.

This was all tools and parts for repairs,

I couldn't even attack this because I didn't know what was worth saving and what was not.
(Although here they don't throw anything away.  If you do the guards will take it all home.)

This is a picture of the inside of the second half of the storage depot.
We took this all outside to clean up and then to organize so we could see what we had.

More pictures of the depot.

This is a door in the office.  Note how they finished off the wood at the side of the door.
It doesn't have to match!!

This is another shot of our back yard.  Elder Atkinson built a little shed for all those tools and parts to go into.  It has been painted and looks much better.  He put shelves in there and it has a roof now too.
We don't know how we will survive without Elder Atkinson!!

This is the lumber yard.  It's the only one in town (3 million people)

As you drive down the streets there are ditches on either side of the roads for the rain water.
If you need to drive into a drive way they put something like this over the ditch so you can pass over.

Some of them are better than others.

Some of them are very interesting.  This is made from the bumpers off of cars.
Do you like this, Michael?

Some are a little frightening if you ask me.

Some I wouldn't cross at all.  You don't think that this is a road ahead but it is.

School children coming home after school.
They all wear uniforms here and they look so sharp.
I find it interesting that in all the poverty they can dress like this for school.

This is a missionary apartment.
This is where they do their dishes.
You can see they live in very hard conditions.
At least they have running water in their own yard. 
 They don't have to haul it from somewhere else.

As we went down the road we stopped outside of a church building and the kids were playing ball and having lots of fun.  They were just kicking it around but having fun.

Do you like the fence around the church building?
You can tell it is our church by the sign on the building.
Not quite like the signs we have at home but it works.

This is the water tank at the church. 
 It is up so that if the power is off the water runs with gravity.

Driving here is an experience!!!
The road is filled with cars and people all moving in their own directions.

My grandchildren would like to travel like this.
Only black people could get away with this and they do.
This is a very common sight.  
The one guy at the back is just balancing with his foot on the bumper.

We wouldn't be able to drive a car like this either.
You'll notice that the bumper is held on with wire but there are no lights on the back of the vehicle.
We thought this was so funny!

This fellow has his van filled and piled high with charbon. 
(pronounced "shar-bone":  shar sounds like far)
  It is used for cooking outside. It is charcoal.
Most people here do cook outside on little cookers about the size of a hibachi using this fuel.

People here take things to sell all over and this is how they transport their goods.
They will push a load like this for miles and miles.

Laila, this picture is for you.  This man is just balancing in the doorway of the van. 
This is a transport and he is looking for people who are wanting a ride.  
He'll tell the driver when to stop.
They all do this.

I got this picture to show you how crowded it can be inside the transport.  This man just got out.
I don't know where he found room to sit.  They do pile up inside though.

This truck we were following had this huge boulder on top of it.  
We were hoping it didn't fall off on us.

In the smokey air the sun going down is a totally red sun.
It doesn't show in a picture which is too bad.
It is a beautiful sight... one of the few beauties here.

This is the newest church building in Lubumbashi.
They had 2000 people come to the Open House one afternoon.
Of those 2000 people they got 500 referrals.
Not bad for an afternoon's work.

This is Elder and Sister Draper with a missionary.
His name is Elder Kongo Kongo.
A very colourful wardrobe to say the least.
He is a Zone Leader.
We teach him English and he understands very well.

This building is just under construction.  The side will all be made from the tin.
The women put there goods up anywhere they can find on the side of the road to sell as you ca see.

This is someone's home.
I took it so you could see the brickwork on the corner and around the window.
They don't have any codes here!

This is a medical center.
It's kind of scary looking.

Another medical centre

The little boy in the red shirt was playing with us.
I think he was a little worried that he might get hit by the car.

At one point he ran up onto the pile of dirt that was to the side of the road.  Well sort of to the side, it really was in the middle of the road so the road was down to one lane where the dirt was.

There are many LITTLE businesses along the roads.
This one is a pharmacy.

These tarps were used to make the one side of the dwelling.

They sell odds ad ends of all kinds and just put it out however they can.

I took this to show the awning roof and the wall of the building that was above the awning was just falling apart.  This is the repair.

This is not a good picture but it still shows how the businesses are laid out.

The door on this building is a sheet but notice the woman 
sitting on the ground out front selling her wares.
Some of the people have hardly anything to sell.  
It makes you wonder if they sell anything at all and how do they live?

These are some of the better shops.
They have a much better presentation.

This picture shows how the roads can be in different areas.
Cars, motos, people milling everywhere.  How do you get through?

More road pictures. 
I don't think I'll drive here.
I think if we ever hit anyone we would be in real danger.

How would you like to buy these benches?
There was so much smoke in the air that we couldn't even see across the street very well.

This is in the same area.  The smoke is bad.  
There is no way those clothes are clean when you buy them and I think the shoes are used.  
The clothes probably are too.

These women are just up the street selling more shoes and potatoes.  
That goes together doesn't it?
The people are so humble yet they are so friendly and happy.
We should be so grateful for all that we have in the land of plenty!!

I'm not sure if this fellow is cooking dinner or burning garbage.
I'm serious!

Here you have fresh meat for sale along with the fruit.
People buy chickens and carry them home by their feet alive.
That's how you know you meat is fresh.

I'm not sure what happened to cause this truck to have that black coming out of it.
These men are just standing in the back.

The one is lighting up a cigarette.
The sights are so unusual!

This is someone's kiln to make bricks.
The charbon is put in the spaces to ready to light when it is time to cook the bricks.

This is the whole kiln.

Here is the laundry out to dry right beside where they will burn the bricks.
There is no fresh air here.

This mother hen was right beside our car on the side of the road.

Here is another mother hen with her chicks.

Doesn't he have such a darling little face?  I wonder what he is thinking about us.

The little girls have amazing hair-dos.  I love their use of colour.

This is a fence that is very unique.

It goes with this building which is some sort of gym I think.
Notice the figures on the side of the building.

This is just a little shed.  The orange tarp that was the roof is falling apart.

Another shop that has pretty good display for their wares.

You can't imagine all the different little things that are for sale at this store.

This man is taking care of his pigs.  They just wander down the streets.
They have lots of goats here that wander all over too.
It's a wonder that they don't get lost or stolen.

Sorry it took so long to get this blog out.  We haven't had the internet running very well.  We would start to load the pictures and then everything would go out and we'd have to start again.  It's been quite the process.

Life is different but the Gospel makes life everywhere worth living.  We are certainly learning here that things do not make you happy.  You can be happy with nothing.  The children don't have toys.  They use their imaginations and make their own fun.  They are so happy.

The Gospel is greatly needed here to help them become self reliant and not to look for handouts every way they turn.  It is a slow process and it will be a journey for this country but the Gospel is the answer for all problems everywhere.

We are so happy to be serving the Lord in this land.  These people are children of God and they love Him.  The church is growing.  The testimonies here are strong.  The missionaries are working to bring the Gospel to many and the people are anxious to make covenants.
There are many just waiting to join the church.  The church has to be careful to not grow faster in the branches than the roots can handle.  As the church progresses there will be many, many members in the Congo.  It's great to be a part of that!!
We love our family and miss them.  We are so grateful for all your support.
Spreading the Gospel is essential to God's plan.  Thank you for sharing us with these people!!
We love you!!!!


  1. thanks for all the pictures. I check often to see your next adventure. It is certainly true that no matter how little one has, if they have the gospel they have everything. Hope you get to see or hear conference

  2. Wow!! Lots going on there! I'm happy to see more pics. I hope you don't get sick again. The medical centers and that pharmacy look a little sketchy, to say the least!!!