It is truly a fascinating and hectic time for Terri and me. We get to be the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’ with this change-over of mission presidents, and we get to travel with the Thomas’ for their first month or so to aid them in getting around and getting to know the area.
Yesterday we went to church in Kasumbalesa. It is a 1 ½ hour drive to get there, but was easy to find. It is a church that we have not been to before. It is one of the typical Congo branches that are in a converted home just off of the main street. We stayed after church to see the baptism of four people.
local neighborhood bird house
This is the front of the Kasumbalesa church, off the main road through the city to the Zambia border
a small annex with extra classrooms and storage in the back
the baptism font
the clerks office
they are blessed to have both water and a large storage tank
they have their baptismal font in the back of the building
the toilets for the branch
a rear annex
Terri and Sister Thomas with two of our local missionaries
the Relief Society and primary building (an annex)
The four people being baptized at kasumbalesa
Terri with members of the Kasumbalesa branch
Sister Thomas bearing her testimony to the congregation, using one of our missionaries as her interpreter.
President Thomas speaking to the congregation
Priesthood class, Kasumbalesa
President and Sister Thomas with the Kisanga Zone, Lubumbashi
Tomorrow we travel to Likasi with the Thomas’ and stay overnight at the ‘Relax’ hotel; then the next day we travel to Kolwezi and stay at the ‘hacienda’ hotel (the one that looks like the Flintstones). On Thursday we travel back to Lubumbashi.
Next week is a small transfer week, with 5 missionaries going home and a few moving around.
Terri and I held a staff meeting and warned everyone that we would begin to delegate to others what we do now, so we can gradually train other people prior to our leaving. We had a three page list of things we do that someone else will need to pick-up when we leave.
Technically we have less than two months left, but we have been asked to stay until some replacements come. Time will tell what exactly that means. Until we actually see someone that is assigned to the mission (not just rumors from friends), we won’t have an exact time-table for going home.
But, we actually expected this and had planned for it. Besides, we are having fun being able to participate in the change-over. We will get at least one more chance to travel to all of the outlying places: Mbuji Mayi, Mwene Ditu, Luputa, Lusuku, Ngandajika, etc., and see people we have come to know and love. The only place we will not be able to see again is Kananga, as that has been officially transferred to the Kinshasa mission. I would have liked to have seen Louis again (the FM rep) but I’m afraid that will not be possible.
We have almost finished finding new apartments, so for at least a year or more all they will need to do is maintain the places we have found. We just have two more to complete: Luputa and Ngandajika. And I will see both of those when we travel there in two weeks.
We are working hard and are enjoying the work. All the new couples are also working hard and picking up the slack on the things Terri and I have to leave undone as we work with and travel with the Thomas.’ Now we are just hoping an adventurous couple will come to take our place!