Another reason for coming to Kanaga at this time was that there was a Stake Conference that would be attended by Elder Cook of the Seventy. He is a member of the Area Presidency based in Jo-burg (Johannesburg for the uninitiated). He has traveled here before (not too long before we came to the mission) and so knew the place and people.
This is a VERY large stake, and will soon be divided. The stake president is inspired, and leads his people here with a strong and steady hand. The first meeting to be held was a Priesthood/Relief Society meeting at the stake center. Prior to these meetings the entire building was cleaned and prepped.
The stake center, which is a large building for Kanaga, only has a few rooms. Besides the main meeting area, there are TWO classrooms, and then a couple of more rooms used as Stake and Bishop offices.
This is a ‘classroom’ and auxiliary seating area just outside the main meeting hall. There is another ‘classroom’ on the other side of the meeting hall as well. Even during normal ward meetings, these areas have to be used to sit people who cannot fit in the main hall.
Like most places in the Congo, water and power is difficult to come by, so they have to use alternative sources to aid them in just their normal activities. During most meetings held in the Stake Center, the generator must be turned on to run the lights, fans, and any audio/visual being used.
The Priesthood held their meeting inside the main hall–filling the hall and spilling out onto the two outside seating areas. The Relief Society held their meeting outside ON THE LAWN! Benches from the outside seating areas were moved onto the lawn, near a tree where they could get some shade. Fortunately it was a nice day (it rained hard that night during the adult session).
About an hour after these meetings ended, they went right into the adult session of stake conference. The place was completely full, including both seating areas outside. Elder Cook of the Seventy spoke at the Priesthood session, and he and his wife spoke at the adult session.
Sister Cook speaking at the adult session, with Elder Bonnet interpreting. (Terri and I were outside on one of the side porches, looking in through the window! Actually not too bad–much cooler out there!)