If there is no rest for the wicked, then Terri and I are in trouble! It seems as though we have been going non-stop since January, and it seems to get ramped-up every time another couple goes home. But this weekend we finally get a reprieve! ALL the senior couples went with President and Sister McMullin on their last trip north: Mbuji Mayi, Mwene Ditu, and Luputa. We get to stay home and vegetate for two whole days… then it is back to work.
We just finished transfer week, with its usual bumps along the road (with the airlines canceling or changing flights). But everyone got to where they were supposed to go.
Next week we open two new apartments and will be moving missionaries around. We finally found a ‘dorm’ apartment for the sisters. We have a ‘dorm’ apartment for the elders called Golf. It can sleep 24 elders and is used all the time during transfers, or conferences, etc. But we really didn’t have one for the sisters, which was a problem when they all came in for conferences. But we finally found a good one and will be moving in next week. It will house four sisters all the time, but will have room for an additional 16 sisters if needed. It has easy access from a good road (many apartments can only be driven to by a truck—the van cannot go over the rough roads), has good water and electric (a real find!), and, of course, has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. It also has a good sized garage for us to store stuff.
The other new apartment is Gecamines 1. It will simply replace one we are closing. It had been in a rough neighborhood that had a gang of thieves and other problems. The new apartment is owned by a member family, the grandfather is the Stake Patriarch. It is smaller but a very nice neighborhood.
We also continue to move missionaries around to their final positions prior to the new mission president’s arrival in about two weeks.
The Davis’ (the new humanitarian senior couple) are settling in well and have already received good input from local leaders about possible projects. As with all new couples to the Congo, it is an adjustment seeing the severe poverty and living conditions. I always tell people: just think 1800’s. Think about how the pioneers used to live, and that will be a close comparison to how many, if not most, live in the Congo. No running water (you go find it and carry it home), no electricity, what few roads you have are poor and hard to travel, etc. In fact, many urban cities in the 1800’s were far better off than the villages in the Congo… So, there is a lot a humanitarian couple can do here. The toughest part is trying to build something that will last when you are gone. Many humanitarian projects last a year or two, but when something breaks, that is the end of that—because they do not have the knowledge or money to fix what is broken…so they just return to the way they did it before, and life goes on as it has for thousands of years. The key is to try to get community involvement (vested interest and knowledge), and training so that the project can continue indefinitely.
Also, the Atkinson’s will be moving down to Lubumbashi next week! Their construction classes in Likasi will be over and they come here to start some new classes. They will stay in the same complex the Davis’ are in and so will have some good company. We also hope they will have time to aid us here in the Mission Home.
We all have mixed emotions: excitement for the new mission president, and sadness that the McMullins will be leaving. They have been simply terrific! I cannot imagine a better mission president for Terri and I. We got along well, have the same philosophy of work, etc., and he was unafraid to let us spread our wings a little in our callings—especially Terri. Terri became a major player in the running of the mission, due to the counsel she was able to share with the President (from her knowledge of the missionaries), and the additional jobs she was given to do—such as the phones, and, of course, the biggest chore of all, the transfers! The fact that he trusted Terri to do those additional jobs, on top of the medical work she was already doing, is both a testament to Terri and to the openness with which President mcMullin was willing to share responsibility for work in the mission.
Anyway. That is life this week. A new group of missionaries begin work, others start anew in new areas, and we get a short break before the whirlwind that comes with the changing of the guard.
This is for all the fathers on father’s day: notice the American Indian tie. According to Terri: some child in the US bought this for his father; the mother hid it in a closet for years and finally gave it to Goodwill; it made its way to Africa, and is worn proudly here!
The Nyashi ward choir practicing before Ward Conference
One of Sister McMullins jobs is to feed the missionaries. Almost every meal she makes at home is for 30-40 people! For someone who really doesn’t like to cook… well, she says she has ‘angels’ helping her with her calling… they must be culinary angels?
The new missionary luggage. The sacs in the back are gifts we give to each new missionary: items for them to use on their mission: blanket, sheets and pillow cases, mosquitoe nets, emergency light, water filter bottle, umbrella, colored pencils
Every missionary meeting ends with picture taking…and President McMullin gets very serious about this!
They are getting serious: the McMullins start packing
I just love these shots. Notice the passenger in the back!