No one would ever know just how much work went into this Stake Conference. Fortunately, I had a front row seat to most of it, so I know what went on behind the scenes. Louis, the church’s FM (facility management, i.e., buildings) guy ran me and Terri around when he had the time (Terri went to see the local doctor, and we both went to each mission apartment–Terri to check their emergency medical kit, and I to look at their living conditions and effect repairs on the Solar systems we have running in two apartments–more on that later). As he was also helping prepare for this massive conference, I went with him to help where I could.
The conference center where the formal Stake Conference would be held on Sunday–the Stake Center was simply too small to seat the entire stake (it barely sat one ward!), so the Stake President wisely rented the only building large enough to seat everyone… the theater owned by the local Catholic Church. It was run down, and needed a lot of work to get it ready for sunday!
A large group of Priesthood and Relief Society, and youth, met at the theater grounds to prepare for the conference. The men and youth went to work clearing the overgrown ground with hand-held grass cutters (just machetes with the end curved to a right-angle).
There were no lights, fans, or power in the building, except for one box up in the film room at the back of the hall. Local electricians came to run wire for lights, fans, and a sound system. Lights were run down both sides, and over the stage, fans were placed in the ceiling, and on the stage, and a large sound system was set=up in the front, just below the stage.
This is how it looked after they were done, and just before the conference began. I am told that 2,800 people attended, which included many hanging off the balcony where the film room was, and people in two large ante-rooms, and people standing/sitting just outside the doors. Yes, it was FULL.
After the conference was over, no one wanted to leave. Most stayed for some time talking and enjoying the atmosphere. It was a marvelous, spiritual, awe-inspiring conference. I am so privileged to be a part of this work!
We are just loving the Congo!