Thursday, September 1, 2011

September 1, 2011
Today’s blog will be a series of journal entries using the “3 Word Journal” format.

Field of Dreams in Iowa
Build it/Mbuji-Mayi/Come
President Packer leased this nice house in Mbuji-Mayi and people seem drawn to it.  Patrick and Fabrice, two young men from affluent families, knocked at the gate one Thursday, came back Friday, and are now being taught by the missionaries.  They seem to accept everything Patrick has come to Church.  Third discussion tomorrow to go along with several meetings with me.  Pa and trick said that there was something about us (not our white skin) that attracted them. 
Do you remember the baseball movie “Field of Dreams”?  The famous quote from the movie: “If you build it, they will come.”  Well, we leased a home and moved in.  Now those prepared by the Lord are coming.  Two young men walked into the District office parking after our English class. They had seen the sign on the wall. 
A week ago when I first saw the Monk's Hood

Congo/Monk’s Hood
There is beauty everywhere; we just need to look for it.  Our gardener planted several of these in a place protected from the sun.  We are blessed to live in a flower garden.  The monk’s hood we saw during our garden tour with the Larry and Diane Sagers wasn’t this nice.  Just goes to show that the Congo can be productive and beautiful with a little TLC.


Our two rhinoceros graze across Connie Bertoch's table cloth toward pumpkin mountain and the water hole bottle of filtered water.

Woodcarver/little elephant
A local artisan saw us at the Diulu Branch chapel and showed me his ware.  He had some nicely carved wooden animals at a reasonable price.  He also had items carved from ivory and a leopard skin.  The trade in contraband items continues.  We bought several elephants carved from bois noire (ebony?) ($10 each), 2 crocodiles, 2 rhinoceros (carved from acacia wood imported from Dubai), 2 ducks (for my brother Bruce), a bust of an African maiden, and 2 lions (a male and a female both with long manes) to go along with the elephants and antelope we had previously purchased.  We wanted to buy gorillas but he brought dog-like baboons (he didn’t know what a gorilla looked like.  There are no books here.  There are no pictures for the school children to look at).  We wanted some monkeys and he said he had very good trio of monkeys: see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil.  No we wanted “natural” monkeys.  He brought his trio anyway, desperate for a sale.  He offered to go into the bush and find some “natural” monkeys, meaning live monkeys.  No, we didn’t want that.  He came back one last time last week with the promised baby elephant (with bone tusks) and a woeful story of his house being blown down by the last rainstorm.  He is a small, older man with a young family of soon 5.  He stated several times that he wanted to sell $100 worth of animals so that he could buy notebooks and school uniforms for his two oldest.  Some of his profit he spent on malaria and typhoid treatment for himself.  He’s an honest man.  He brought the promised “little elephant” as part of an earlier sale.  Then he asked for transportation money (500 francs = $0.50) since it was a long walk back to his “new” home.  

A native plant from the savanna in our garden

This flower has a strong "stale chocolate" smell that irritates Sister Ann, but it attracts ants

A wild story about an older sister who lost 2 husbands.  Husband #1 was assassinated in Kinshasa.  Husband #2 killed by his own 10-year old son who was a sorcerer.  The veracity of this rambling story is less important than the beliefs of the African people. 
The Church suffered much persecution and discrimination when it first came to Mbuji-Mayi 20 years ago.  The word was that the Mormon Church used magic.  The Church is better accepted not, but the subject of “sorcery” is still the hot subject of fiery sermons in the local churches. 
Here’s the story:  Husband #2 was sick so he fasted 3 days and prayed at the church.  After this treatment, he came home and found a note written in infantile script with his keys.  “You will die!”  All the children were summoned and it was ascertained that 10-year old Treasure was the culprit.  “Are you a sorcerer?”  Banished from the house with his school backpack filled with a few items of clothing, Treasure left to live with an aunt.  To purge the evil spirit, Treasure was repeated struck on his forehead.  He also spent time with an aunt in Paris where he reportedly killed several people.  Treasure is now a grown man and lives in Kinshasa, but he is no longer possessed. 
A wild story!  But beliefs in magic and sorcery abound.  It’s hard to eradicate the “traditions of the fathers” from a society.  Even enlightened Utah Mormons have debilitating traditions, one being that we’ll never be good enough to merit exaltation so why try.  

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