Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday at Dibindi Branch

Dibindi Branch is located down the long straight (narrow) road with washed out shoulders.  Lots of pedestrians and motocycles.  It is one of the 5 rented buildings in Mbuji-Mayi: 3 branches, one district office, and our mission office/home.
Pictured are classrooms and offices.

Pictured here is the Relief Society room (left) and the chapel (right).  Notice the newly planted flowers and the old engine block.

 Photo from inside the investigator Sunday School class looking out into the street.  Notice the narrow street and washed out shoulders, motorcycle taxi with one passenger, and drive way from the church. 

Inside the Investigator classroom before class started.  During class someone charged his/her cell phone from the wall plug. 

Check out the lesson outline that was covered in both French and Tsiluba.


Saturday found Sister Ann at work on her cross stitch project.  Notice the verrigated floss and the "dotted i".  On her iPod an Education Week talk.

26 June 2011
Dibindi Branch
Since our truck is in Laputa this weekend (for the creation of the new stake), President Jean Pierre Kalonji of the Dibindi Branch picked us up.  Good thing our street has a slight downhill since his battery was weak.  Today we attended the primary.  There were 22 children in attendance (from 2 years to 11 years old).  Many of the boys sported new haircuts: completely bald.  99.9% of Congolese men get haircuts at least every 2 weeks: bald.  For the first hour, a young elder taught the lesson on the 1st Article of Faith and various related topics: family home evening, going to the temple, family prayer.  In between repetitions of these topics, he asked various children to come up and lead the group in a song.  The only problem that surfaced came when a father tried to drop his very young son off in the chair next to us (white faces).  The young boy’s mother (Primary President) came in the 2nd hour so then he was fine.  Ann stayed for the 2nd hour that also had lots of repetition, as much a French lesson as a gospel lesson.  There are many people here in Mbuji-Mayi who don’t speak French. 
The investigator Sunday School class I attended the 2nd hour discussed “Judgment”, primarily in French but also in Tsiluba.  There I met Paul, Emile and Jonathan who were there investigating.  I offered the very tall (with a long beard) Paul my Bible so that he could read the scripture, but he declined saying that he needed glasses.  He tried mine, but they didn’t help.  Good lesson.  All of the lessons we’ve attended in the Congo are good, with discussion from the class members.  In two weeks, Elder Alfred Kilungu, the seventy from Kinshasa, will come with his wife to
in-service the primary.  This 22 member primary is small compared to Muya 1 Branch and Muya 2 Branch.  I’m hoping that the Primary can receive “top priority” here, instead of the Priesthood. 

Muya 2 (which meets from 11:20 – 2:20) has a lower primary attendance now than last year when it was on the “early schedule” since some children are too tired to attend.  It seems that malnutrition makes people tired.  Most people here don’t eat but one meal a day: dinner.  No breakfast, no lunch, just dinner.  It’s the 2nd poorest country in the world.  Transportation is another problem.  How can a family with 8 children all afford to come to church.  The only forms of transportation here are by motorcycle taxi (driver + one or two behind) or by foot.  One sister in Muya 2 walks one hour in each direction to attend. 

There were about 120 people (men, women and children) in attendance for the one hour Sacrament Meeting (60-70% attendance). The choir opened followed by greetings (French and Tsiluba) and all six verses of the opening congregational hymn.  The young man who taught the 1st hour of Primary led the music.  Branch business followed and then the Sacrament hymn and distribution of the Sacrament.  The reverence is very good, even among the small children.  Restless babies and hungry small children are pacified in place by their mothers.  I wonder it that would work in our DayBreak 8th ward? 

Everyone treats us like gold.  They are pleased that Sister Ann is now speaking a little French.  They also enjoy using their little English.  Next week we will begin teaching English to the members.  There is a lot of interest.  We’ll get to really know the members.  Classes will be held in two buildings since we have transportation and the members don’t.  Also soon the preparations for a District temple trip will begin.  We have reservations in Johannesburg for the 3rd week in August 2012 (the last week of our mission) for 20-25 members.    We remember the groups that came to the Hong Kong Temple from foreign countries. 

Hope that this gives you a little idea how the Church works here.  Really very similar to any other unit anywhere else in the world.  The Primary does need more emphasis here. 

Elder William and Sister Ann Moore

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