The last days of the McMullins service in the Congo were interesting. They were real road warriors—they spend at least half of their entire mission on the road! There are, or were, ten zones in this mission: three in Lubumbashi (Lubumbashi, Katuba, and Kisanga—which includes Kipushi and Kasumbalesa that are both an hour or more outside of Lubumbashi), two just outside of Lubumbashi (Likasi and Kolwezi) Mbuji Mayi, Mwene Ditu, Luputa (which at this time still includes Ngandajika, but in the future, after it becomes a District, will be its own zone), Kananga (which as of July 1 was transferred to Kinshasa mission as part of the change that occurred when Brazzaville became a mission), and Bujumbura (which is actually another country). In order to visit all of these Zones for the required Zone Conferences (I think they are supposed to happen every six weeks—but that becomes prohibitive here due to simple logistics of getting there and back), the President and Sister McMullin traveled constantly.
Add to the travel required for Zone Conferences, as Mission President, McMullin was also charged to oversee any and all Districts (a District is a group of small branches that is not advanced enough to become an official Stake). There are five Districts in the mission right now: Likasi, Kolwezi, Mbuji Mayi, Mwene Ditu, and Bujumbura; with one more coming: Ngadajika.
So, think about it… A Stake President/District President is in charge of a large area covering several Wards/Branches of the Church. Most would think that job alone would be enough! But the Mission President here in the Congo not only has to run the mission (with almost 200 missionaries), but also five Districts! Which means that every time there is a District Conference, or any major change in the District Leadership, the Mission President has to travel and be involved.
Before they left the McMullins traveled once more to every Zone and District in the mission. The last Zone Conference was in Likasi, and they chose to travel to the small branch in Kipushi for their last Sabbath meeting.
This is Kipushi Church
The McMullins with our local Kipushi missionaries
They were truly an impressive couple, and labored without ceasing while here. President McMullin had a picture above his desk—his inspiration/motivation for pushing forward the work. It is a picture of two elders kneeling in prayer before the day’s work begins. As you gaze at the picture you notice one significant feature: the soles of the missionaries shoes are worn through. The holes in the shoes of these kneeling missionaries was a sign of how hard they worked for the Lord. The McMullin’s goal was to work until they wore out the soles of their shoes. There is no question they fulfilled that goal and many more! They laid a foundation of hard work and great success that will last a long time.
I discovered how profound an influence the McMullins had upon the missionaries at the first meeting between President Thomas and the missionaries. The missionaries had come early and were quietly waiting in the Katuba Relief Society Room for President Thomas to arrive. The reason the missionaries were being so quiet and reverent was due to something the McMullins had drilled into them. In fact, it had been written on the chalk board in front of the room: “Reverence vien avant revelation”. Reverence comes before revelation.
Due to the profound effect the McMullins have had on these missionaries, the work continues to move forward without ceasing, and there will be a generation of missionaries ready to move into the leadership positions necessary to continue to move the Church forward long into the future.