Half-way home

Well, tomorrow marks the half-way point in our mission—we will have been serving in the Congo for nine months (of an 18 month mission). Of course, we have mixed emotions.
The time has flown by rapidly, and I’m sure will simply go faster on the ‘down-hill’ side… But we have done a lot, and learned a lot, and look forward to some interesting experiences!

For example, in the next two weeks will begin an interesting transition here in the mission office. Brother and Sister Eastman leave for home, and we have two single sisters coming at the same time (they will be staying where the Eastman’s have been living). This means someone will have to take over Sister Eastman’s job (she acted as an unofficial office manager here, and was the one who coordinated the visit of Elder Bednar and entourage); and I will have to pick-up all of Elder Eastman’s work (he and I worked together with Emanuel with the missionary apartments). I am already busy now…so I have no idea how I will do more—but I’m sure it will all work out, with Emanuel’s help.
Terri is already up to her ears in work, between the medical advisor for the mission and aiding Elder and Sister Wright with phones and other tasks. The President has told her she is NOT to pick-up any more work (easy to do around here!).

Of course Elder and Sister Wright are now less than six months from leaving us—but he will be able to finish the BIG project he has been working on: being able to pay missionaries by transferring money over their phones (rather than in cash). For a time he did not think he would be able to get it done, there was so much bureaucracy and paperwork to do…but he persisted when most others would have given up, and it is finally up and running! By the time he leaves I’m sure all the bugs will be worked out and the new system will be humming right along.

So in April (?) The Wrights leave, and soon after the McMullins finish their mission, which means a new mission president will be coming here—and Terri and I will be here to see and aid in that transition! About six weeks after the new mission president arrives, we will leave for home.

I can already tell how busy we will be and how fast time will go. We have been fortunate: although they consider this a ‘hardship’ mission, we have not had a lot of hardship living in Lubumbashi. The couples living in the outer cities like Kananga or Mbuji Mayi have a much harder time all the way around.

Although…our water has been off for a few days (sponge baths and bidons), and or our power has been out (it is few and far between when BOTH are working right), but in other areas they only get a few hours a day of electricity and have little or no water! It is just part of the Congo experience.

Anyway, it has been a great mission so far, with lots of good things to look forward to. We do get homesick sometimes (which is new for us, having been ‘on the road’ for over ten years), but the work always pulls us back into focus so that we can serve the Lord with strength and commitment.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you (they don’t celebrate that here, remember?). I suppose we will celebrate the holiday by having a Congo turkey: chicken.

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