Friday, June 26, 2015

A few photos in June.

I was sitting in my office one day and just looked out the window and this is what I saw.
The world is a beautiful place.

I love the beauty in all the vegetation that is here.
This is in the middle of winter.

These are a group of new missionaries.
The Assistants are in the photo too as well as the Special Assignment Missionaries.
Elders Eboule (AP), Kapanda (SA) Musadi, Kanyandu, Mukadi, and Tona

These are the rest of them in the group except one who didn't get in the picture.
You'll notice the sign that hangs over the Mission Office.
That is about as professional as it gets here.
These missionary names are:
Elders Ntoya, Beya (behind), Sœur Mambembe. 
Elders Guei, Ngeleka, Ntambwe, Lutumba (AP) and Elder Rakotondrabe (SA)
They are a good group.
Aren't they beautiful and handsome?

I had to show you the picture of this tree that has just lost its leaves.  
In two weeks it will look like the tree to the left. 
 Two weeks ago the tree to the left looked like the tree in the middle.
That's what winter is like here.
I took this picture from my balcony on the back of the house. 
 We have horses in that field as well.  I sure love to hear them whinny.
We are lucky to have a balcony on the front and the back of our apartment.
It's nice to have a small view.

This is the backyard of the Sister's House.  Sister Vance lives here.
She likes to sit outside the back door in the sunshine in her nice little backyard.
It's a beautiful little palm tree.  I like it the best of all the trees in the compound.

This is our little garden we planted of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and swiss chard.
It was fun to grow a few vegetables.
Isn't the lettuce pretty?

This cluster of bamboo trees is right behind the Davis' house just outside our compound.
They are beautiful and it's nice to listen to them creek in the breeze.

Here are our Sisters.
Sisters Anthony, Vance and Cook
They love to sing and perform.
They got those shirts made especially for their performance today.

Actions come with all their songs.  They are so cute.
This is a Family Home Evening at their house.

I wish I could remember what was being said here.  Look at Sister Vance's face.  haha
They are all 3 of them very fun!!

They sure got along well and we enjoyed them all.
"Ta Da" - the Grande Finish!!!

Lubumbashi has a Time Square.  I bet you didn't know that before.
Notice how they ran out of room before they got to the final "E" 
so they just painted it small to fit it in. 
 Typical of how things are done here. 
 No planning just work it as you go. 
 There is lots to smile at here.

This is on the same rose bush outside my office window.
I love the blossoms!!

We have quite a few of these beautiful little blue blossoms.

I don't know what this tree is called but I call it the 'Bottle Brush" tree.
Interesting flower, eh?
We had these in Florida too.

This flower grows on bushes and is prolific.
They are beautiful!!

A group of the same flower.

This is how they grow and they are EVERYWHERE!!
It is spectacular!!

These flowers look like white feathers growing in the greenery.  
I love all the green.
This is in the beginning of winter too.

We are losing Sister Anthony.  Her time is up and she is returning to Washington State.
This is all of us Senior Missionaries.
Left to Right:  Elder & Sister Mikesell (he is our doctor and she works on the finances)
Elder and Sister Davis, our humanitarian couple.  They are amazing!!  We have become very good friends.
Sister Vance, Sister Anthony and Sister Cook with Sister Thomas and President Thomas behind them.
Then you have me and Elder Draper on the right end.
Not one of us was trained to work in the office but we manage. ... barely!

Steve is the Davis' translater when they got out to meet with people.  He is a great guy.  
This is good with Sister Anthony looking up. 
 We always tease her about her size.  This really shows it off.

Emmanuel who works in the office and Sister Anthony.
Emanuel takes care of all the apartments in the mission which is a huge job 
especially here in this country.
He is just a very big little boy with an infectious laugh and we all love him dearly!!!

This is one of our guards, Skamon (pronounced Scammo), with Sister Anthony.
He is a wonderful man who helps us so much.  We love him!!

Our crop off the vines.
There were more than this but I didn't think to take a picture until now.
We saved them all in our kitchen and everyone just came in and took what they wanted when they wanted it but they had to be taken off the vines.  They did all turn red. 
Note the two peppers, one green and one purple.

Men cut the grass in large fields with the hand scythe.  Here you can see their work partly done.
It is lots of work and it is hot during the day when they are working.

I hope you enjoyed the few pictures in these last couple of blogs!!
We are healthy and happy and enjoying everything here.
We can hardly believe how fast the time is going.
We only have less than 8 months left.
My goodness, I better go and get to work.  

Music and Our Pet Bird

We had a very fun Musical Program in the Lubumbashi Stake last Saturday.
We thought we should go a little early because we didn't know when the missionary choir was going to sing or where they wanted us to sit.
We arrived about 1/2 hour early and this is what we found.
They are a Primary Choir.
The children were all there sitting in place and were behaving very well with only one leader there with them.  Sister Thomas is standing behind the children on the right and her son, Zac, who is here visiting is standing against the wall, the white guy.  haha
Elder Draper is sitting over to the left.
There was no one there to give us any direction.
The people here don't worry too much about time.  By the time we were 1/2 hour into the program, it was a pretty full audience.  As people kept coming and just filling in the seats these children were sitting about 3 to a seat which is normal for them.  The fun thing is that they set the rows with about 6 - 12 inches between them so you have no leg room.  Thomas' were going to sit back there but decided to come over to the front row by us so Zac had some leg room.
Even our missionaries were all late.  When they would ask for the next choir to sing then they would just come from wherever they were to the front.
It is a very relaxed attitude here.  
The next day we had another Musical Concert in the Katuba Stake.
We participated in that one too.  
At least the missionaries were on time for that one and 
we even had a few minutes to practise before hand.

Aren't they darling children?  They love having their pictures taken and like to shake hands with us.
How can you not love each and every one of them.  They are beautiful!!!  
Notice the one little boy with a question at the left.  They are so well behaved!!!

This is a little family group that sang for the program.  They were so cute.  There is also another boy but the conductor is standing in front of him.  He is a little younger than the girls.  The tiny girl and little boy know all the words.  They were so darling!!!  Such cute little faces!!

This is another Primary group from a ward in the Stake.  The young girl in front is leading this little Primary choir.  Notice her slender legs.  Many Congolese people are so so slim!!
The Stake President is sitting on the side against the stage.  His counsellor is beside him.
Many of the Primary choirs were conducted by a small child!  They do that even when they sing in Sacrament Meeting.  The children lead the children.  I love it!!

We were on our way to church and pulled up behind this transport.  I took the picture of the back door that was shut but not fitting very well.  Oh well, no worries for them.  Fun sights in the Congo.

We have been so lucky to have this little birdie adopt us as her friend.
She built her nest on our balcony up by the roof and she visits with us each day.
Here she is peeking in the window at us.

She comes each morning early to wake us.
She is here even before I open the curtains and is pecking at the window to say 'hello'.
I snuck a quick picture of her.

Here she is with her mate.  I put a little 10 grain cereal out for them to eat.
He never comes over to the window, only she does.

Here she is on the door to the balcony off our bedroom.
She is saying hello.

She's tapping on the window.  She does this on and off all day long.

I love to walk into the room and see just her head peeking over the bottom of the door.

She will twist and turn her head around as she looks and pecks.  I love watching her.

I love animals and she has drawn my attention to her so now I look for her everyday.

She is sitting on the wall of the balcony looking over the back patio.

This is her mate.  I think he is beautiful!!

Here they are together.  They have built a nest just above the door of the balcony in a tiny little spot.  When they fly up to their nest there are lots of little voices chirping.
This is the closest thing I have here to a pet and I enjoy them, especially her!!  
My grandchildren are going to name her.
Every creation is wonderful!!!

These are 2 wonderful missionaries. 
 They have both been in our English class and I love them both.  
They are from Madagascar.  I think serving in Madagascar would be a great mission.  
All of our missionaries we have from there are kind and helpful and willing to work.
He is Elder Rakotondrabe and she is Sœur Niakaniany.
There names in Madagascar are very long.  
He has now been called as a Special Assignment missionary 
to help teach the District leaders about who to have Ward Councils.
We also have an Elder Rakotoalison, Sœur Raharinjaka and Sœur Randrianirina.
This is on the church lawn.  See there is grass here in places.

I went shopping with Elder and Sister Davis to buy towels and umbrellas.
This is the store they go to for those items.
When the missionaries arrive here we have to give them supplies and the Davis' take care of this.  
They will be leaving in October and so I went with them to learn where things are.
We give them sheets, a blanket, a pillow, a mosquito net, a towel, a Seychelle bottle for purifying water anywhere (you are supposed to be able to take water from the ditch and drink it with this bottle), a battery operated light to give them light in the evenings in their homes (most do not have electricity), coloured pencils to mark scriptures, and an umbrella.  I may be missing something.  They are so poor they come with no supplies and the church takes care of this for them.
The towels we bought were on the top shelf here
so he had to stand on the counter and reach way up to get them down.  
It is interesting to shop in the Congo.

This is a display of some of the things they have to sell.

Another display of the buttons they have to sell.
You can see the counters that they work on - just rough wood painted.

Life in the Congo is so different than life in Canada.
As a matter of fact, there isn't much about it that is the same.
It has been such in interesting experience to be here.
We're having the time of our lives!!  We're so grateful for this experience!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Some points of interest.

Hello from the Congo!!  Life is wonderful.  We all feel so blessed to be here serving these people!!  Our spiritual moments are many and they come often.

This is a family coming to church on a moto in Likasi.  
He is a member of the Stake Presidency.
His wife is coming on a different moto with the rest of their children.

I thought this was the best.  
As we arrived at church the choir was already singing the prelude music. 
 The fellow accompanying them played the electronic piano and the keyboard.  
See the keyboard sitting on its side where you would place the music.  
His hymnbook is sitting on top of the piano. 
 He played the keyboard with the right hand and the piano with the left.  
His melody was on the keyboard which was programmed with a soft mellow sound and the piano played the bass with octaves only, very loudly and with a beat to it.  
It was very interesting for a church meeting.  
This kind of thing would not be done at home but here it still can feel reverent, the Spirit is there and it is very acceptable.  The choir was very good.

This is in the evening after dark where one of our sister missionaries is making dinner
This shows how they live on the ground a lot of the time.  
She is cooking her fish on a little stove like a BBQ.
Thankfully we have real stoves to cook on and a sink to wash dishes in with running water!!
These are the luxuries of life here.

She is mashing something in this little can to eat with their meal.
This is all done outside in the dark with little lights that are NOT bright.

We have street cleaners here too.
They clean the streets quite a few times a year.
It is back breaking work but they do it and feel lucky to have a job.
She has swept the dirt into a pile and now is using cardboard to pick it up and take it away.
Her broom is lying in the grass.  She'll put the dirt into the bag on the grass.

We pass this toy store each day when we go out. 
 I wish I could have taken a picture last Christmas when they had lots of dolls for sale with the hair all matted because the toys are all second hand.  You can only imagine.  
She sets them all out on the step each morning and then takes them all in again in the evening.  
If you wanted to buy bowling pins here you would only get 3.

I took a picture of this building previously when it was just red brick.  
They have finished it with a nice coating and the doors look like they are brass.
It sure is a skinny little building though.  Not sure what all three floors are used for.
We have many tiny buildings here.  
If they saw our houses in Canada they would wonder how many families would live in one home.  We have so much and they have so little, but they are such a happy people.
I think we have too much!!

This is our little poubelle man.  (garbage man)    
He comes to the compound to take our garbage away.  
He is very hard-working and his loads can be so heavy!
Here he is taking away the branches cut off while pruning a palm tree.
This is the street that we live on.

It is grass cutting time in this field.  
These men all have their hand scythes and it takes a long time but they will cut large fields like this.
I tried to do this in our compound one day and if it was up to me 
it would have taken forever to finish the job.  
Our gardener, Ilonga, is a very hard worker!!  He never stops.  We love him.

This is a Sunday so I caught a picture of these happy girls on their way to church.  
You can see that when the traffic gets heavy and the number of lanes increases you have to be careful to not get pushed into the ditches.
We did have one missionary who got his back wheel in one of these ditches 
People just came running to help and lifted the truck out of the ditch and set the tire back on the road.
 Everyone here is so willing to help --- for a price.

More people on a Sunday going to church.  
Many times they have to carry their own chairs if they want to sit down.
These blue plastic chairs are everywhere.
Whoever owns this business has it made in the shade.
We use these chairs in some of the chapels in our buildings too 
but we don't have to take them each week.  They are already there.
Some of the chapels here are close to what our buildings are like but many are not.
It's a different look to go into a chapel filled with blue plastic chairs.

A rare photo - a policeman!!  They do not want their pictures to be taken.
They can and do stop you all the time if they can.  It usually is for nothing so they will let you go.
No one carries weapons except the military that I can see.  

We are preparing to received 7 new missionaries here tomorrow.  We love it when we get new missionaries.  They are all Elders this time.  It's sad when missionaries go home but great to receive new ones.  It is too bad that most of our missionaries come from Kinshasa and Kinshasa Mission gets most of their missionaries from Lubumbashi.  It just isn't the same experience for them but they are just so happy to be able to serve anywhere.  We do get some foreign missionaries but still all African. We have a few from Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Brazzaville, Togo, Madagascar but mostly they are Congolese from Kinshasa.  Other countries will not accept Congolese people into their countries so the missionaries cannot get the visas because the other countries are afraid that they will not return home after their missions.
We are in the middle of winter here now.  It is chilly in the morning and the evenings but still hot during the days.  I am wearing a sweater during the colder times and I found a space heater to have in our bedroom and in my office, which is the coldest spot in the compound.  They don't give off much heat but I keep it under my desk close to my legs and that is great!!!  I still haven't had to wear my jacket.  You gotta love this climate.  How will we ever go home to Canada?
This is a different mission than our Florida mission was.  Working in the office is not the same as teaching all the time.  Our biggest job is to keep as much work as we can from the President so he can spend all his time doing things only he can do.  We love our assignments here.  I only wish I was better acquainted with a computer.
Sister Cook has been teaching English to the stakes here in Lubumbashi three times a week (once for each stake).  At her last lesson before the break she got the names of the non-members and their phone numbers so the missionaries can contact them.  They were all happy to give this information.  She was so totally surprised by how many non-members come.  She had between 29 - 39% students that weren't members.  At the end of one class when they were talking about tithing one man raised his hand and asked if he could pay tithing.  He was not a member.  So many great experiences happening all the time.  We love serving the Lord and love to gather saints in this part of the world.  We love these people!!