Our trip to Kananga: Part IV: Stake Conference Sunday

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.

Catholic theater (17) 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!

Catholic theater (19) 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).

Catholic theater (22) After their work was done, the lawn looked like it had been professionally mowed.

Catholic theater (6) Inside, the women were cleaning the theater from top to bottom, by hand, using buckets of water and rags. The entire floor was poured concrete, except the stage area, which was wood.

Catholic theater (15) Now, this was a large theater (see the screen in the back?), and the entire stage had to be reworked so it looked presentable.

Catholic theater (7) I thought the sign was quaint: Lulua Film (it is a theater…), with Christ on the cross in the center!

Catholic theater (2) 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.

Catholic theater (20) 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.

stake conf general session (60) Elder and Sister Cook with in a group photo after the conference.

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!

stake conf general session (9) The organist and musical leader (in all white)

stake conf general session (16) He was quite professional and dynamic!

stake conf general session (12) The stage was set for a great conference

stake conf general session (31) Sister McMullin speaking (French)

stake conf general session (35) Pres. McMullin speaking (French)

stake conf general session (47) Elder Cook with Bonnet interpreting

stake conf general session (70) Terri with just a few new friends…

stake conf general session (77) And a few more friends…

stake conf general session (101) And more…

stake conf general session (108) And more… here she is leaning Chiluba, the local language, and teaching them some English.

stake conf general session (102) Yeah, yeah, I was there too!

stake conf general session (92) lots and lots of kids came

stake conf general session (94) they love having their picture taken, and talking to us–about anything…although they tended to laugh at my French…

stake conf general session (118) some were a little shy…

stake conf general session (122) some were so excited to come, they forgot their pants!

stake conf general session (128) many left deep in thought over what they heard…

stake conf general session (137) And after all was said, done, felt, and recorded, a few stayed behind to clean up!

We are just loving the Congo!

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