Saturday, May 16, 2015

Still enjoying the Congo

 Time marches on here in the Congo but are enjoyment continues to rise.
The wet season ended with a 30 second rain storm one night about midnight two weeks ago.
The winds have come.  
We were told that they have terrible winds BUT ...  it really is a welcomed breeze.
The burning of garbage has begun and there is much to burn.

There is always beauty here.  It is fall here and we lost the leaves on our tree next door.  It is a big and beautiful tree.  I was sad to see them go but alas, in about two weeks the tree is full again.  The leaves are clean and beautiful!!!!  I noticed the leaves are now gone on the big tree behind us but already the leaves are beginning to grow.  Don't I wish we had such a short season with no leaves on the trees!!!

Our love for the people continues to grow.  We love their welcoming attitudes. At church everyone shakes everyone's hands.  After Relief Society the women go around and shake each other's hand and then when I go into Sunday School where Priesthood has been held the brethren are all there to shake my hand as well.  No one could go to one of these wards and feel like the people were unfriendly.  There is so much we can learn from each other as we go to different countries in the world.  We can all take a little good from where ever we go.  
Their friendliness is evident as we travel around the city and countryside.  As we pass people who are really looking at us, I like to smile and wave.  They can look very serious as they watch us but when I smile and wave their faces light up like Christmas trees and their smiles are beautiful.  They wave back with a two-handed wave, or put their hands together over their chest.  They are wonderful people.  Even the guards that are stationed around the country's President's home, that are in little barricades that are made out of sand bags with big guns slung over their shoulders, smile and wave as we pass.  We pass by them evertime we go out and I love their show of friendship.
What a wonderful world we live in.

I continue to love the plants, shrubs and trees here with all their flowers.
Different trees flower at different times of the year 
but we have never been without flowers of some kind.

I do not know what this tree is called except for 'beautiful'.  These are beautiful blossoms that are everywhere right now.  They make me thin of 'popcorn popping'.

 This sweet little boy was showing Elder Draper his martial arts abilities one day while he was waiting on the street.  He took some pictures so the boy really gave him a show.
I love children!!

 We had the privilege of having Elder and Sister Evans here. 
 He is of the 1st Quorum of 70 and is the 
Executive Director of Missionary Work throughout the world.  
It was such a pleasure to have them here.  
Sister Thomas wanted us to have the missionaries sing for him so for the last few weeks during English classes we had choir practice.  
They sang in English "We'll Bring the World His Truth".
They love to sing and they sing out like you wouldn't believe!!!
During the tri-Zone Conference the whole congregation was the choir so they just stood in their seats and sang for those sitting on the stand.

 We as couples serving in the office along with the office staff of our two African brothers and their wives were invited to have a dinner with the Evans'.  
He was able to ask Frère Justin and Emmanuel all sorts of questions about this country.

Elder Evans spoke with the missionaries about getting married when they returned home.  
He talked about Mormon Math.
In my case 1+1 = 2 when we got married.  
Then 1+1 (with 6 children) = 8.  
Then 1+1 (with 6 in-laws) = 14.
Now 1+1 (with 23 grand-children) = 37  (soon to be 38)
They thought that was great.
He was teaching them how to be successful in life after their missions.
But for now, the time for looking for a spouse is not yet.
Then he taught them a very important principle that is so needed here.
We are all called to serve in the church.  It matters not where you serve or what position you hold. The only thing that matters is HOW you serve.
In our mission it has been the practise to try to be the District Leader or Zone Leader or AP.  
There were many things they would do to try to get these positions.
It is like that in the church as well. 
 The Bishop is a place of honour and it is not good when you are released.  
They look at it as a step down or that you've done something wrong to be released.
Elder Evans was so good.  He has been a Counsellor in a Bishopric, a Bishop, a Counsellor in a Stake Presidency, a Stake President, an Area President, an Executive Director of Missions for the world and he has just received a new assignment to be a Counsellor in an Area Presidency.  
The position does not matter!!  
 It is not a step down for him to go from his current position to his future assignment.
It is not a step down to go from being the Bishop to being a teacher in Sunday School.
This lesson is so needed here and I have not done justice to his teaching here.
The Spirit was strong and I know the missionaries felt it.  I hope this teaching will stay with them.
Sister Evans was adorable too.  
She spoke and they surely felt of her love for them and especially for our Saviour.
What a great meeting it was and then they closed the meeting with the choir singing
"We'll Bring the World His Truth".

Back to our dinner, Emmanuel and his wife brought their brand new baby boy, Vainquer.
He is so beautiful!!  
His hair feels like cotton balls and he looked so much like his daddy.  
Emmanuel liked hearing that!  
But when he moved and stretched Sister Thomas and I both saw Marlene in him too.

This was taken after church one Sunday.  Here Elder and Sister Davis are speaking with this man (with the help of the missionaries) about getting him a new wheelchair.  
His seat on this chair is made of wood and it is falling apart.  
This chair has pedals like on a bicycle that he pedals with his hands.
This kind of chair is common here.

This is taken from our balcony.  I love the birds in the air that I caught.
"I think the world is beautiful and lovely as can be ..."

These next pictures were taken around town as we were out doing errands.

Everything they buy they must carry.  
There are lots of vehicles here but the vast majority of people are on foot.
This is quite a way to deliver heavy pipes.

The ditches are everywhere so when it rains there is somewhere for the water to go without flooding the roads and their homes and places of business.
Some places have good little bridges but if you can't afford a good bridge you have to make do with something else.  They use car parts in many cases.  They probably got these parts off of abandoned cars left on the side of the road somewhere.

Another bridge to cross.  You have to pick your steps carefully.  
The women here walk this kind of ground in their high, high heels.

It still is amazing to me how they will load up a vehicle for travel.
I don't know how many people are in the back of this truck.  
Not only is it full but some of the people are standing!!!
Health and Safety would have a fit!!!!

There is a little pile of garbage burning here right beside where they have their clean clothes laid out on the ground to dry.  This is a great laundry spot.  The women wash the clothes in the ditch and then lay them on the grass to dry.  It is used everyday.

Here is another picture of the same place on another day.  
There are two women in the ditch washing clothes.
We've seen them watching their hair here too.
I wish you could see the color of the water in the ditch.  (brown, brown, brown)

There are police like this all over the city checking on the vehicles or just stopping them to get money.
One will step outing front of the vehicle and another will go around to the drivers window.
At first when we got here the missionaries were giving them money to let them go but we have decided (the Mission President) to not give them money as bribes.  
We may sit there for awhile talking to them but eventually they will let you go 
especially if the traffic is backed up and people start honking 
or getting out of their cars to see what is going on.  
This makes the police nervous so they let you go.

Street Cleaning
Several times a year the people go out to clean the streets.
Women as well as men sweep the ditches with brooms that are only 2 feet in length at the most 
so they do all their worked bent over from the waist. 
 They use their hands to pick up the debris and put it in bags.
I'm not sure how they are paid but it does give employment to a lot of people.

We pass this store everyday.  It is a neighbourhood toy store... among other things.  
Every evening they pick it all up and put it out again in the morning. 
 I have never actually seen anyone buying anything from here 
and we pass by this street everytime we go out.
You can see they also sell other items that are on the little table.
Of course, these are all used items.
At least they have a concrete floor and not just dirt.

This weekend is General Conference weekend for the saints in our mission.  
The DVD disks finally arrived a few weeks late but they are here now nonetheless.
We can go to the church to watch conference in French OR we can stay home and watch it in English and actually understand what they are talking about.  That is my choice!!!
We've already watched it but I'm happy to watch it again.

The gospel goes forward, baptisms continue each week and the church is growing here.
We feel so blessed to be a part of this great work.
There is nothing that can compare to serving our Saviour full-time!!
The Church is true and our Saviour lives!  
We are so grateful for this great knowledge that continues to bless us each day.  
We love the Lord!  We love to serve him!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for keeping us up on your experiences. It definitely helps one feel the spirit of the work and your excitement in doing it! God bless you!