12 June 2011
Weekly Missionary Report
Dear President Packer,
We hope that you are recovering from your strenuous trip to Burundi and your side trip to U____. (It’s not on our map and we don’t remember the full name.) If you are up to it, on your next trip to Mbuji-Mayi we have another village for you to visit about 30 kilometers (round trip?) outside of town on doubtful roads. We met an older brother (who teaches English) and his young daughter in the Muya 1 Branch today. They had left their home at 5 a.m. and walked to church. If I understood correctly, 20 members live there and the district is asking the mission to establish a group.
The Muya 1 Branch was impressive. It started on time: 9 a.m. sharp. We were 2 minutes late and missed the opening song and waited outside for the prayer. The priesthood lesson on obedience was a true discussion, nearly every brother participated. My high priests group in South Jordan couldn’t have done better. Between meetings the Branch President invited me to his office and asked us to bear our testimonies. Ca va. For Gospel Essentials in Sunday School two young elders awaiting their calls gave a lively lesson on Prayer, one leading the lesson and the other translating seamlessly into Tsiluba. The members of the class participated in French and Tsiluba. Two fine missionaries were there with several investigators. Even Sister Moore added an insight about Joseph Smith’s First Prayer.
There were lots of children and the Primary seemed crowded. If I find a way, I will suggest to the Branch President that maybe the Priesthood and Gospel Doctrine classes should use the Primary room and the Primary use the chapel. The Primary should receive top priority so that the children love primary and want to be there on time and stay in class.
There was one uninvited guest: a young chicken with a very loud “PEEP” that had to be repeatedly ushered out of all the meetings. Now I know why the chicken crossed the road: to go to the true Church.
The Saints love to sing and they all sing, but not from books. We saw very few books. Sister Moore suggested that we give a gift of “song books” to the branches. But how do we know that the books would remain at the chapels?
It turned out that Elder Moore was the first speaker (not just testimony) followed by a special musical number (in harmony): 2 missionaries, the chorister (awaiting his call) and 2 sisters (awaiting their calls). Sister Moores bearing her testimony was the concluding speaker. Apparently the assigned speakers didn’t show up.
A comment about the congregation: There were 4 deacons passing and less than 20 cups left. Doing the math, I estimate about 130 people there. Some children sat on the floor due to a lack of chairs and space. Announcements: a youth conference planning meeting and something about the Relief Society.
After the meeting we were ushered out so that Muya 2 could continue their meetings (overlapping schedules). We drove home along the bumpy dirt, crowded roads and returned to our #8 Avenue Lusamba, Quartier Anvers, residence.
Now a brief report on Elder Affi and his appendicitis. We visited the neat and clean hospital (clinic) (located down a “Laputa” type road with water hazards) and met the doctor. Frere Bobo also goes there and said the doctors are members of the same family and were trained in Japan. I was impressed with the professional, kind manner of the doctor. Elder Affi checked in Saturday night (with his companion) and had the 30-minute operation Sunday morning. I talked to Elder Zafi (who sounded tired) and learned that Elder Affi was well but still in some pain. We’ll know more once Frere Bobo visits with me tomorrow. To note: we didn’t return via the “Luputa” type road but drove through one-lane, residential roads back to a main road where we took a “Laputa” short-cut to another main road. Mbuji-Mayi is a big place.
Now several things about the daily improvements in our living conditions. The water tank is now full; we finally had strong enough water pressure. This morning the electricity didn’t turn off at 7 a.m. Last night it returned at 7 p.m. and we were able to cook a hot meal. We bought $50 dollars of electric credit and input the $10 cards into our counter. We are on track to use about $100 dollars of power per month, far less than the $500 they wanted to charge us. By the way, our stove and oven work really well. Sister Moore made some “banana bread” that might rival Elder Wilson’s. Haven’t used the washer yet. The sister who shops for us is named Sylvie, and she speaks passable English. An amazing, intelligent sister who has one infant boy and lives with her husband’s large family. Monday we are finally supposed to get the Internet antenna installed. We’ll see. Frere Bobo texted Vodocom (because they weren’t answering his calls) about getting our money back and going with “Airtel”. That brought them straight to the house. Mireille even stayed and chatted and showed genuine interest in our family photo album. She has three girls.
The Greek lady who runs the big bread store here bought a few things for us in Lubumbashi, and she only charged us actual cost plus transportation. We now have 6 bottles of tomato sauce (really catsup) that will last our whole mission plus a mini food storage of essentials that can’t be found here. We had a knock at the front gate yesterday: a wedding party wanting to use our garden for pictures. It was fun. Turned out that they were Jehovah’s Witness and very nice folks. Beautiful bride and little bridesmaids.
We look forward to your visit. No (dry season) rain for 2 days. Sleeping comfortably during the cool nights and enjoying cool weather. Hopefully we will have power during your visit. If not we’re sure that you will enjoy “camping” with us. The sponge baths here are one-step above Laputa. Early morning Christian songs, prayers and preaching at no extra charge.
Elder William and Sister Ann Moore