We have been very busy of late getting apartments ready and traveling to Likasi and Kolwezi.
We have a new couples apartment opening in Likasi (about 1 1/2 hours from Lubumbashi) and have been traveling there to take up furniture and household goods to get it ready for the Atkinsons to move into (they move on the 28th, if everything is ready).
We have also been traveling to Kolwezi (about 4 hours from Lubumbashi) to open two apartments there for missionaries. We finally moved into the second apartment last Saturday. Since it is so far away we always stay overnight, or over the weekend.
This weekend Terri and I traveled there with a truck load of goods to get missionaries moved into the second new apartment. We arrived late Friday afternoon, got our hotel room, then ate dinner. The next morning we taught English class to all the local missionaries, and then while Terri stayed to see to medical issues and pass-off some missionaries on their English exams, I began the move into the apartment.
Eventually I took Terri back to the hotel while I continued to make trips back and forth to the new apartment. After I was done, one of the local members wanted some help moving some things into his new apartment.
Christian is a return missionary that has been helping us with finding new apartments and working with the owners, etc. He has been earning money so that he can move his wife to Kolwezi (his work is here). She was going to arrive the next day and he wanted to get everything ready for her. He had found a small two-room place and was moving a bed and some other things. Little did I know the adventure awaiting me!
We only had one trip to make, but it was over some rough roads (all Congo roads are rough, but this one was even better!). In two places we had to cross large wet areas–more like bogs–to get to his house. I put the truck into four-wheel drive and hoped for the best. We came very close to not getting out! While coming back the same way, I was sure I was going to end up in the middle of the soup with no way out, but the wheels kept churning and we slowing inched our way out of the bog. The others in the truck yelled and clapped when we finally made it through (they were probably aware they would have to get out and push if we got stuck!). It was very deep, up to the doors, and we were slanted sideways…but, what is the saying? All’s well that ends well?
We are home for two days, then are off again for a week. We travel to Mbuji Mayi and then to Kananga with the President. I have two apartments opening in Mbuji Mayi, and one in Kananga (we are still looking for another in Kananga). But this should be our last trip for quite a while. The Wrights will be leaving in about a month, and once they leave we will probably need to be in the office to hold down the fort.
We are all trying to prepare for the new mission president, who comes in June? We want to have things in place so that he will not have to do a lot, other than deal with the missionaries. Elder Wright has fixed the money issues, so now all missionaries get their money over their phones (a great way to do it), and I hope to have all the new apartments done so they will not have to find and open any new apartments for some time.
We have several new couples coming: two new couples for the mission, and one humanitarian couple. Not sure where they will be assigned, but I need to find places for them to live. Also, Atkinsons (who are in Likasi and working on church buildings) will be moving to Lubumbashi in June.
The work is going forward very quickly. We hand out between 100 and 200 Book of Mormons a week, not including all the pamphlets given out while teaching discussions. We order Book of Mormons by 900 lots (20 per box), and they go out the door about as fast as we can get them in.
We just got a shipment of water filters (I was really worried for a while as we were getting low on goods since we were opening so many apartments!), so we have enough to last for about a year. We send out a years supply to each apartment, then hold some in the mission home for new apartments, and emergency (things break, etc.). I had gotten to the point of asking for any and all parts and pieces of filters and pumps, and had a little repair bench so I could fix them when they broke. That lasted for a while, until I ran out of parts. But the replacements came just in time.
Our power has been pretty good lately (although we are on generator power today), and water has been good (but it is rainy season!). It is a constant battle with those two necessities here–power and water. We are lucky we have a well and a generator. Most have neither and just have to find a way to live by buying one or the other, or both.