We attended the Mwimbila Ward Conference on Sunday (we had been personally invited the week before). When we arrived, it was a little confusing: there are three wards that meet in that building. The previous week we ‘thought’ we had heard that the conference would start at 11 am. When we arrived, people were going everywhere. We asked when the meeting would start, and where– we were told that it started at 11 am, and would be in the Chapel…
As we waited, one of the ward leaders saw us, and ushered us into two other, separate rooms, where Priesthood and Relief Society were beginning! Seems as though we/they were confused about which meeting was which…. but we did end up in the right place!
Priesthood was packed, and I assume Relief Society was also. There was a lively discussion, of which I understood some…
Then we went to investigator class with the two missionaries assigned to the ward. It was in a normal classroom, designed for about 20 people. There were close to 40 investigators that came– we had to open the door and place seats out in the hall!
The young man teaching the class did very well (even I understood a lot of the lesson!). At the end of the class, he asked someone to say the closing prayer. It took me a minute to realize he was talking to me! I thought he was looking at someone else… I said a very short prayer and then Terri and I greeted everyone in the class as they left.
At the beginning of Conference in the Chapel, they had a couple of new members that needed to be confirmed. They sat a chair in front of the hall, and one by one they came up to be confirmed. Then, they were asked to stand on the podium to be greeting/voted into membership. They stood as we all raised our hands to welcome them as new members into the ward.
While sacrament was passed, an interesting thing happened: in a very large congregation they only had 4 trays to serve bread… so they piled the bread as high as they could– it was amusing! Then when they passed the water, two extra brothers stepped forward, as they had 6 trays for the water! But they still had to return to fill the trays a second time, as they couldn’t ‘stack’ the water as they had the bread.
They had a number of speakers, and a beautiful youth choir that sang. After the meeting (as well as before the meeting), the Primary choir sang as people filed out. Terri and I stayed to hear the music and to shake hands with people (many go out of their way to come greet us, especially the children).
The ward choir singing as people left.
It is great to be able to visit the different wards and branches here in the Congo. We look forward to seeing all the local churches here in Lubumbashi before we leave.