Monday, July 23, 2012

Early Morning Missionary Visit

A left turn off the main road into the interior.

Breakfast is available here.

Two early risers in their front yard.

Missionary neighbors.

Open the gate!  Here is President Moore with our allowance!

Our happy Missionaries posing for us on prep-day.

The missionaries have a nice enclosed space.  Now we need to do a little shopping.

Ready for a fun day.  The tire and stick off to the side is a favorite toy here.

A shopping possibility.  We do need some tomatoes.

A right hand turn back onto the main road.  Prime location for business.

A heavy load.  This man will sell his fuel.  The charcoal has been prepared in the village outside of town.

We are almost to the bread store. 

This is a nice avenue, though not without chuckholes!

The familiar water tower in the neighborhood.  There is usually a line up of people here.  Now, no water!

This is a taxi stop in front of the bread store.  Even when there is no room for you, they will find the space.

Self explanatory.

Has she been shopping or is she selling?  This is a familiar sight.

This is our home stretch intersection.  Just to the right a ways is  #8 Lusambo Ave.  We are about a half a mile from the airport.  Busy street.

Our exhuberant neighbors, especially with Sunday morning drums.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Humanitarian Project at Gandajika, Congo

Several weeks ago we visited a humanitairian project in Gandajika, Congo, about 80 kilometers and 3 hours south of our Mbuji-Mayi home. 

At the beginning the road was wide and we made good time.

Several times we saw road markers like this roundabout.

The road became progressively narrower and with the rain travel became much slower.  There was no dearth of fellow travelers.  Most carried baskets on their heads or pushed heavily laden bicycles.

The Bridge.  It was built in the 1960's (if I remember right) and was in good repair.  We got out to stretch our legs and take pictures.  This bridge spans the same river we cross on the way to Luputa but here carries a local name. 

The house is smoking.  The fire inside serves to discourge any insects making their nests in the thatched roof.  Neatly kept yard.

We detoured off the main road and snaked through the grass savanna and this little village.  Without our experienced driver Omere, we would never have known where to go.  The village was a sad testimony to the results of anger.  Apparently two small villages share a pond and both harvest fish.  There was a dispute and brothers fought brothers with machetes.  People were killed and houses burned.

Turning south from the burned-out village, we were fortunate to see these oxen plowing a new field.

To avoid a big puddle in the middle of the road, we turned off and happened upon this school during recess.  Boy were the kids excited to see our grey truck approaching and with foreigners inside.  Our driver quickly reversed directions and braved to puddle rather than the hordes.

Sister Moore and Sister Bingham sandwich the Ganjadika Branch President's wife. 

The Ganjadika Branch building, perhaps the best kept in town.  After 3+ bouncy hours, we were desperate for a rest stop.  Impractical to stop and squat along the busy road, we luckily made it to the branch building. 

This chalkboard is a testimony of the worldwide nature of the Church. 
Same Book of Mormon lesson given here as in the DayBreak 8th Ward.

Future Missionaries.  About 20 people were in a classroom studying "Preach My Gospel" with just one set of scriptures.  All were preparing to go on a mission.  The Gandajika Branch has about 300 members, no full-time missionaries, and is attached to the Luputa Stake about 40 kilometers further south. 

This isolated village has good farm land.  We saw vast fields of corn.  Elder Bingham inspects the corn in the project that had been sponsored by the Humanitarian Department.  It has been reported that thieves stripped this field, and harvested then burned the neighboring manioc field. 

The government building.

Little boys race our truck out of town.

The only wild animals we ever see. 

Elder and Sister Bingham, hamanitarian missionaries based in Kinshasa.  They are from Northern California on their second mission.

A miracle.  This tub of flour fell from the shelf and landed like this.  We are indeed watched over by angels.  You are too.

See you in South Jordan in August.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Three-Zone Conference

Monday morning, April 2, 2012, and finally the Missionary Conference for the three zones of Luputa, Kananga, and Mbuji-Mayi was about to take place.  The 8 elders from Kananga had made the 8 hour trip in a Toyota Landcruiser, only stopping three times for elders to throw up due to the difficulty of the road.  The airlines can make the trip in 15 minutes.  The 8 missionaries from Luputa only took 7 hours because the road is better.  The 4 elders from Mwene-Ditu came in a "taxi", usually a battered Toyota sedan (round trip $220 for 4).  The 18 visiting elders stayed with the 8 elders here in Mbuji-Mayi.  Quite a crowd for one apartment.  We hosted President and Sister Packer, Elder and Sister ILUNGA from Luputa.   

We awoke to the usual early morning church service next door.  

This morning the pasteur used a log drum to accompany his singing.

We loaded out truck with supplies: tuna sandwiches, cookies, juice, pineapple pieces,  mini-snickers, and extra water.  We also brought along the battery powered keyboard.  

We met in the Mbuji-Mayi District Office: 26 elders, 2 couples, and the mission president and his wife.  Sister Moore is installed on the sofa in back.

President Packer's message was to tailor-make lessons to fit each investigator.  

His visual aide was our bag of Pakistani rice.  "Do you feed the whole bag of rice to an investigator?  No!  You prepare doses of gospel lessons in amounts each investigator can digest.  Those well prepared might only take 4 weeks.  Others might require months and even years.

Sister ILUNGA and her husband are a couple assigned to isolated Luputa.  We asked her what the first thing she would do upon returning to Luputa after the 7 hour road trip.  We would have answered, "Relax or prepare some food or check the internet."  She replied simply: "Say a prayer thanking Heavenly Father for the safe trip."  

After the conference the President met with the Zone Leaders from the 3 zones.  

On the way home after the conference Sister Moore snapped a few photos.  Here is an internet cafe with a money exchange stand out front.  Notice the money stacked up on the desk.  When I exchange an American $100 bill, I get 92,000 francs.  That's about 200 bills worth 500 francs each.  If I get 200 franc bills, or 100 franc bills or hopefully not 50 franc bills, the pile can get really big.  Both francs and American dollars are in use in the Congo.

A lady (in traditional Congolese dress) selling peanuts followed by a man with a "I Love New York" shirt.  

Across the street is "fast food".  We'll never try it out.

High fashion: pointed shoes, neon socks and bright blue trousers.  

Little girls going for water.  When we run out of water, men pushing bicycles loaded with 6 or 7 yellow "bidons" will sell water for 400 francs per container.  It's extremely hard work, the water sources are not close to where we live.

A lady buys something next door.  This man offered his woven baskets for sale.  Too big for our suitcases.

A recent photo of the missionary couple.  Our beautiful garden is probably the only one in Mbuji-Mayi.   When we leave, the mission will not renew the lease.  If you want to replace us, get your papers in this week and we'll tell the mission president to renew the lease.

We really enjoyed meeting with all the missionaries.  Everything they said in General Conference is true.  These missionaries are wonderful

Elder and Sister Moore