Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Waters of Mormon

In our blog of September 24th we first visited the village of Tshitenge and met the Saints living there.  On this our second visit we came for the first baptisms.  

Here is the branch president's home now under renovation.  At his own expense, he is  enlarging his home.  The Church building supervisor will come in January.  Maybe he will OK the building and lease it for the Tshitenge Branch building.
(Double click to enlarge photos) 

Eight-year old son of the Branch President.  He would be one of those baptized today.  
This young man, whose name is Willie like me, almost never left my side. 

Missionaries teaching under the mango tree (where the mother hen brought her chicks on our first visit).  Most of the teaching is done in Tshiluba, not French.  

We all walked to the "Waters of Mormon" along this sandy road (about 30 minutes and 2 kilometers).  Those to be baptized carried their baptismal clothing.

The weather threatened rain but it didn't rain until the evening.  The rain filled up our rain barrels at our home, but it didn't rain hard enough to fill up the font at Muya Branch so the missionaries hauled yellow water jugs from their apartment to the other font at Diulu Branch and those to be baptized came to their baptisms on the back of motorcycles.   .  The young man wearing the "Wendy's" shirt is studying medicine during the week in Mbuji-Mayi and returns weekends to his village, walking the 10 kilometers each way.  

Baptismal clothing needn't hinder the holding of hands.  

We passed the railroad station of Mbuji-Mayi.  Only problem is that the rails were never extended here.  It's the mission president's dream to establish rail service.

Also making use of the "Waters of Mormon" is this brewery.  We will turn left, down the hill, turn right and descend to the lake.

This sister has her hymn book.  We didn't sing any hymns but she was prepared.

Half-way to the lake, Little Willie clasped my hand and we walked together.  After his baptism he was thrilled to ride back to the branch sitting on my lap in the truck.  

Voila the "Waters of Mormon".  It's my name for this natural spring.  There are many trees to hide from the wicked King Noah, but I don't think the Waters of Mormon were any more beautiful than these.  Do you think there were also little nude boys swimming where Alma baptized? 

The water was clear and people were catching fish.

We gathered for the baptism.  About 100 locals curiously looked on.  Other Christian denominations use this spring for baptisms too.  

Little Willie after his baptism.

A ward missionary, a full time missionary, and Frere Beau Beau, a branch president from Mbuji-Mayi.
Notice the water pump in the background with little boys ready to dive into the lake.  No, it is not for the brewery.  This spring and this pump with 8 inch (?) pipes supplies most of the drinking water for Mbuji-Mayi, a city of 2 1/2 million people.  No wonder there is a scarcity of water in the city. 

Women's work.  All the wet baptismal clothes (21 baptisms and 2 baptizers) were loaded back into the bag and a good sister carried it dripping back up the hill to the truck.  I couldn't entice the 20 year old future missionary (male) to take a turn.

The next day in Mbuji-Mayi the branches had 28 baptisms.  One man had ridden his bicycle 150 kilometers for 4 days to be taught and baptized.

Next blog: a look at Congolese cooking in the village.

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