Terri and I were invited to come to Kananga with Pres. McMullin because we have responsibilities that tie-in to his trips. He travels, almost constantly, for the purpose of either holding Zone Conferences with the local missionaries, or to attend District Conferences in areas of the mission, or both (in many missions where the church is not established enough to have full wards and stakes, they have ‘branches’ and ‘districts’ instead–these are similar but often do not have the full church program; in these instances, these branches and districts are under the watchful eye of the Mission President, rather than a Stake President or other church authority… it adds a LOT of work to the Mission President).
While at Zone Conference, during the time elders are interviewing with the Pres., Terri has been giving every missionary a physical, and reviewing any and all health issues they may have with them. This gives her a ‘baseline’ of each elder’s (and sister’s) health going forward, and gives her one-on-one time with each missionary so if/when they call with health issues, she will know who they are and have a better understanding of their situation. The missionaries LOVE this special attention!
For me, I spend time during the trip to visit each missionary apartment to ensure that they have water, working toilets, and their living conditions are adequate. This is a real challenge in the Congo! I have also been inspecting the local Church buildings and conditions. This trip was also unusual because there were special guests arriving later in the week: Three men from Kinshasa: Elder Bonnet, who is the over all church temporal affairs in Africa, Eric (my direct ‘boss’) who is running the new building and training program here in the Congo, and another gentleman from Facilities Management (FM) who lives in Kinshasa. Spending time with these men was a great opportunity for me to get a better feel for what the church expects of me here in Lubumbashi, and how their program works, etc. Elder Bonnet and I hit it off pretty well, and I will be sending him some reports directly as I move around the mission.
We feel very privileged to be apart of this work, in whatever way we can. We are determined to serve in whatever capacity we can, or they would like us to serve. We just hope we can make a difference here–make the lives of the missionaries better so that the work that they do can move forward more rapidly.