Mwembla Open House
Saturday was the Open House for Mwembila Ward. After about 18 months of work their new building is finally open and ready for use. I had suggested to the Stake President to have an open house and invite all of the neighbors to come and see the building, and invite them to come to church, and, of course, to take the missionary discussions!
I had given them a brief outline of what an open house consisted of (they had never done one before), and met with them a couple of times to go over plans and make suggestions.
One simply never knows what will happen at one of these events—will it be successful, will no one come, will something go wrong?
A choir was outside to sing in preparation for the dignitaries to arrive
Terri standing in front of the church where the dignitaries sat while waiting for the ribbon cutting ceremony
The table set-up for missionaries to give out pamphlets and take referrals
Terri sitting by the kitchen door where we kept all of our materials, water, food, etc.
The Stake President, Justin, takes the dignitaries on a tour of the building
Several people spoke, then they gave them something to eat and drink
These are some of the rooms set-up to teach people about the church organization
The gift bags given to the dignitaries prior to leaving
They had a guest book they could write in to tell us how they felt about their tour
The Relief Society room, with some of the things they had on display
The missionaries begin taking referrals
A sister missionary teaching a small group of people while on tour of the building
The referral table was mobbed for hours–even after we ‘officially’ closed!
People came into the chapel to watch church videos after going on the tour of the building
The referral table continues to be mobbed
This is how all the rooms looked all afternoon! Mobbed by people listening to the teachers about the specific part they represented–in this case, the Temple and genealogy
The Primary room full of children–all waiting for the opportunity to come and be taught on Sunday!
A ‘mini class’ held next to the baptismal font–teaching about the need for baptism
Scenes of the church and surrounding neighborhood
be Taking my suggestions as a starting point, they expanded the open house to make it two parts: the first part, from 10 to 11, was to invite local dignitaries for a grand opening and ribbon cutting (the mayor or governor, etc., would do the ribbon cutting). Then they wouldgiven a special tour of the building. It worked out well. They had about 20 dignitaries that came and toured the building. After the tour, they had some drinks and cupcakes for them. We also made up gift baskets for them containing a hard cover Book of Mormon, numerous pamphlets about the Church, and a bottle of water.
Then, from noon to 5pm the building was open to the public. Prior to the next opening the Stake President met with about 30 missionaries (from two Zones) and gave them instructions and directions. Then they all took their places and they opened the gates…
As the people came in the gate, a missionary would greet them (usually per family) and take them on a personal tour. Each room had a member or missionary in the room to tell about the organization of the Church. For example, the Primary room would have someone talk about Primary, the Relief Society would have sisters there talking about RS and had some crafts they had done (including Sister Wright’s plastic bags!); etc., for Priesthood, YM, YW, Aaronic Priesthood, and, of course, a room about the Temple and Genealogy.. After the tour they would stop at a table where two missionaries sat to take referrals to teach them the gospel, and hand out pamphlets and Book of Mormons.
They could then go into the Chapel to watch church videos. Terri was running the videos off of her computer. The room was almost full the whole time!
My guesstimate is that there were at least 2,000 that came, and we received about 500 referrals from people who want the missionaries to come and teach them the Gospel.
Even if only 10% get baptized, that would be 50 new members of the church here!
It was fabulous, the missionaries did a wonderful, professional job (even though this was their first time doing this!). And all of this is just prep for the next big open house: a new Stake Center in Kisanga!