Monday, March 28, 2011

Visit to Kapushi Branch

LDS Chapel in Kapushi, Congo
(click on images to enlarge)

27 March 2011
Sunday Trip to Kapushi,

President and Sister Packer picked us up at 7:30 a.m.  We had the egg salad sandwiches and cookies; they had the chips, drinks and ice chest.  The Branch of Kapushi was 40 kilometers south towards the Zambian border.  We drove
--past the Presidential Palace: no pictures please, guarded by soldiers and a machine gun nest
--past the Lubumbashi Zoo
--past the smelter processing a mountain of black ore (copper and cobalt)
--and turned right to Kapushi, the left fork goes south to the Zambian border

Houses and small stores along the highway.  I rained hard yesterday.

The road was crowded with cars and pedestrians and bordered by shops amid mud puddles.  Many people were on their way to church.  The road was paved but narrow and pitted with chuckholes filled with muddy brown water.  It rained heavily several times yesterday.  Starting in May everything will turn brown and dust will dominate. 

Village home (bricks made from ant hills but deteriorate unless plastered)

Village home (notice the plastic bucket)  The Congo is the 2nd poorest country in the world but home of friendly, humble people)

Log jam of trucks (out the back window of President Packer's 4-wheel Nissan)

Mud along the side of the narrow road.  This road was/is paved but many big trucks use it.

After passing through a village, we slowed to a crawl: two large dump trucks had slid off the road, resting at precipitous angles up to their axles in mud on opposite sides of the road.   The 18-wheel flatbed directly in front of us edged slowly between them.  20 or so other big trucks (mostly ore trucks) lined the rutted road.  Ann and I were nervous as cats that we would get stuck.  The Packers were un-phased, having driven on much worse.  After negotiating the logjam, we passed large front-end loaders from the mine sent to free the trucks and repair the road. 

Notice the hibachi under this truck.  90% of all cooking is done with charcoal, even the young missionaries use it.

 There are many small Christian churches in the Congo.  Many families were on their way to church, the men in suits carrying their scriptures, the women of the same family dressed in the same bright Congolese fabric.
A roadside market in the center of Kapushi

The city of Kapushi has a small branch and 4 full-time elders.  The church building is a converted Belgian house.  The 9 o’clock meeting started at 9:30 with Priesthood and 10:00 Relief Society.  There were 7 men, 4 elders (in and out because of interviews with President Packer), 2 investigators and me.  The women’s meeting started later because they had dressed and herded all the children.  The priesthood lesson was #13, but after an hour of discussion about why the branch members were inactive, time ran out.  Next the Sunday School lesson was impressively presented by one of the elders in French and Swahili: Christ Giving the Keys to Peter.  I thought the elder’s lesson incredible but President Packer considered it just a good talk: a monologue without any audience participation.  President Packer is adamantly against missionaries taking over local member responsibilities.  The elders also dominated the blessing and passing of the Sacrament.  Interestingly, the bread was broken from one loaf, not slices.  The hymns were all sung with full-voiced enthusiasm. 

An Elder one-finger practicing on the electronic organ (with the rhythm going)

The assigned high counselor led the music in Priesthood, gave the talk in Sacrament meeting and gave the closing prayer.  Part of his well-prepared and delivered talk concerned a hungry fox coercing a crow to throw down her babies one-by-one under the mistaken belief that the fox could cut down the crow’s tree with his tail.  This he likened to Satan being able to trick us. 

Sister Packer and the outdoor baptismal font
A sister and her daughter  There were lots of well-behaved children

Before the meetings started, the elders started filling up the open-air baptismal font.  The brother baptized last week was confirmed and given the Aaronic Priesthood.  Hopefully next week they will ask him to pass the sacrament. 

We prayed for a safe return to Lubumbashi and were surprised, amazed and incredulous that the truck logjam had completely disappeared without a trace.  One large rut required that the 20+ passengers of a taxi had to unload to allow the van-sized vehicle to pass safely through.  You should have seen the shoving match as the passengers struggled to regain their cramped quarters. 
We arrived back to our apartment at 1:30 p.m. and with nervous stomachs shared the leftover egg salad sandwich. 

The Congo reminds us of what Utah must have been like in the 1850’s:  mud and dust and crude houses.  Won’t it be wonderful when the Congo (along with its incredible people) also blossoms as a rose! 

Elder and Sister Moore

Thursday, March 17, 2011


16 March 2011

Lubumbashi, Congo

Today was a moving day.  That is President Packer decided to move a few things from the old mission home to the new mission home.  We already live at the new mission home on the second floor above the mission office.  The new mission home is located in a section of Lubumbashi called “Golf” because of the golf course located here.  The principle reason for the move is that the electric power is much more reliable here.  The office couple have been without city power for 4 days, relying on the generator of the owner of their apartment. 

A trademark of the Church is how well it takes care of its missionaries.  Here is a picture of the 3-filter water purifier found in every missionary apartment.  I assume that the missionaries in Hong Kong also had this device.  The missionaries in the famous city of Laputa (where there is no electricity) use these filters attached to a hand pump.  Laputa is famous because the Church installed a fresh water system for this town of 150,000 people located deep in the heart of the Congo.  There are 4 missionaries there and 3000 members. 

Congo Money


Here on my bed you see an example of Congo money.  The highest denomination Congo bill is 500 francs.   The lowest is 50 francs.  US money is used for bigger bills.  There are no coins.    

This large avocado we bought on the street cost 1500 francs.  Move the decimal point 3 spaces to the left for an approximate cost in dollars: $1.50.  We ate half of the avocado with sliced tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs for dinner last night.  It was a little hard at the base but ripe and flavorful at the top.

We also bought bananas on the street.  We stopped a woman carrying a very large basket of 50 to 75 bananas on her head.  Since the basket was so heavy, the avocado vender helped her lower the basket to the ground.  1000 francs bought 4 small bananas.  The bananas looked a little bruised and overripe but were in fact still a little green tasting. 

The electrical outlets are mostly European types, though our toaster needs an adapter from British (like in Hong Kong) to the two round prongs.  We found a Chinese power strip fulfills all our needs.  We found it when we bought our rice cooker in the Indian-owed “Groupe Jambo”.  If you have read any of the “#1 Lady Detective” novels about Botswana, you will remember that many stores in Africa are owned by Indian companies.  The “2nd floor manager” is from a town in central India and will be here until 2012. 


On the 1st floor we bought a few more groceries.  We bought 21 items for 40,854 francs (40854 francs/911 = $44.85).  The checkout lady refused my $100 bill because it was printed in 2001.  Brother Wilson had a bill printed in 2006 that was accepted.  The mission president takes these older bills to South Africa where the banks aren’t so picky. 

In a future blog we’ll explain our new assignment here.  The day we arrived, we were changed from “public affairs” to “whatever the mission president needs”.

We know that all is well with you because the Lord is mindful of your needs.

Elder William and Sister Ann Moore

Friday, March 11, 2011

Safe Arrival


We arrived safely and were met at the airport in Lubumbashi and ushered through customs after about a 30 minute delay.  The mission president (Gary Packer) had already loaded our 3 suitcases which made it without a surcharge from South African Airlines.
This is the countryside from the airport into town.  From the air we observed a countryside dotted with little houses linked by dirt roads.  

Street scenes.  The van pictured here is public transportation.  One man drives and one collects fares from passengers who sit on (3?) wooden benches.   The fare might be just 100 francs (20 cents) or maybe more due to the high price of fuel.  These second-hand vans are called "dubai" after their country of origin.

Notice the clear sky.  It has rained several evenings but not yet during the day.  The rainy season is coming to an end.  

Some vehicles are people powered.  We also saw men struggling with over-loaded bicycles.

Store fronts

The present mission home/office.  At this moment I'm sitting in the office struggling with this blog and a slow internet.  Next month the mission home/office will move to where we live.  To access the driveway the toyota diesel pickup turns off the main road, splashes through a red puddle and honks at the brown gate.  A man opens the door (on call 24/7).  

This is our second floor apartment above the new mission office.  The white Toyota is one like we will have.  It will be a nightmare driving the narrow streets.  This is a newer neighborhood with better water and more reliable power.  The mayor lives in this section of town so we hope all the services will be better.  The street (Diwai Boulevard) is not paved (yet).  Our apartment is not completely ready.  We will use the mission office kitchen until ours is ready.  

Yesterday we went shopping.  We spent $157  in food stuffs from an OK store.  Paid in US dollars and received Congolese francs in change.  Bought bananas on the street with the francs.

The mission president will give us our assignment next Monday.  

Ate dinner with two missionaries going home and one coming.  They come from big families.  The one elder going home is from Ivory Coast and might have a hard time since the airport is closed due to the political dilemma (2 presidents). The one coming is a sister from Cameron.  We accompanied her to one of the sisters' apartments (an old Belgium home at the end of bumpy roads but in a nice area of town).   There are 16 sisters in the mission.  The mission rents the apartments and gives each missionary cash each month for living expenses (about $120 a month).  There are no ATM's here.  

The "green" missionaries,

Bill and Ann Moore

Safe Arrival

We arrived without incident. 

We have tried to add pictures to this blog but without success so far.  What follows is the outline of the blog:
1.     Salt Lake to Atlanta = the two last seats in the back of the plane next to the rest room
2.     Atlanta to Johannesburg = 16 hours/ 8500 miles = the two last seats in the back of the plane next to the rest room
3.     Two hotel reservations in Johannesburg (we chose the one with the nice restaurant)
4.     Johannesburg to Lubumbashi with a flight of businessman = in the middle of the plane.
5.     Met at the airport and ushered through customs = our bags made it all the way without a surcharge and without a bribe.   

We won’t have internet in our apartment until the new mission home moves in on April 1st, but we will be able to use the old mission home’s internet. 

We will be safe here.  The people are all very friendly.  We have a nice place to live: President Packer says ours is the nicest missionary apartment in Africa.  

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Public Affairs Training

We've just completed the 3 days of Public Affairs training at the Joseph Smith Building in Salt Lake.  The first day we sang the first 2 verses of "Called to Serve" with new lyrics.

1. We the couples recently retired
    Heard our prophet's missionary call.
    With the faith and strength that is required
    We respond one and all.

    Couples make a difference
    In the world of here and now
    Couples make a difference
    And we're to show you how
    For decades we have labored
    And we've shed blood sweat and tears
    God our strength shall be
    We'll serve him throughout all our coming years.

2. We are couples who are getting older
    Left our *kids and grandchildren behind
    New responsibilities to shoulder
    Challenges of every kind.

3. We the couples of a royal army
    Called to serve in lands both far and near
    Leaving home and all our friends and family
    And a comfort zone so dear.

4. We the couples of a noble birthright
    Here to represent our Lord and King
    As we labor with our heart and Might
    Precious souls to Him we bring.

The oft repeated theme of our training; We Follow Jesus Christ.  That's why we Saints do everything in the Church.  Reminds me of Moses 5 when the angel told Adam and Eve why they were asked to offer sacrifices.  

Our major calling: the Training of Public Affairs Counsels on the Core Purpose and Process for Building
Relationships with Opinion Leaders.

There is a three step process:
1. Identify local issues relevant to the Church
2. Identify the opinion leaders (influencers) who can help resolve Step 1.
3. Create road maps to reach the opinion leaders

We make friends for the Church in an open, genuine and truthful manner.

If you want to know more about all this, just log on to

We fly out Monday morning.  The next blog will be from Lubumbashi, if we survive the flight.

Bill and Ann Moore