During our last office meeting President Thomas outlined some changes that will be occurring in the mission. I found them interesting:
1. Perhaps the biggest change is to move Sisters back into the field outside of Lubumbashi and Likasi. When we arrived we had sisters in Mbuji Mayi, but were having problems, so the decision was made to bring them closer to Lubumbashi so that the Sister Training leaders and others could help train them better. It was an experiment to see if we could motivate the Sisters to work harder and complain less. We also placed them in their own districts and English classes, thinking that perhaps they would do better as a ‘sister’ group.
Lets just say that the new President is trying a new tactic: going back to treating all missionaries equally–which means that no sector of the mission is off limits, and the Sisters will be expected to live and perform at the same level as the Elders.
As a result of this decision, several other events will be happening:
– four sisters will be moving to Mwene Ditu
– four sisters will be moving to Bujumbura
– four sisters will be moving out of Likasi (leaving just 4 in Likasi (where we used to have 10)
– there will be sisters in 6 different Zones of the mission
– the sisters will be meeting with the Elders in all of their normal District and Zone meetings, and when they have English classes.
2. The second big change is to increase the number of Sister Training Leaders. We did have two, which lived behind the office. They have been moved to Lubumbashi Apt (the Sisters dorm), and their apartment is being fixed up for use by a senior couple or guests.
There will now be 6 Sister Training Leaders, one for every Zone where the sisters will be working.
There will be ONE STL per area (rather than both companions being STLs)–sort of like District Leaders are now.
So the Zones where the sisters will be: Lubumbashi, Likasi, Katuba, Kisanga, Mwene Ditu, Bujumbura. In each case there will only be about four sisters serving in those areas (I think Kisanga still has 6), rather than each Zone having 10 to 12 sisters each (to the relief of every Zone Leader…)
3. The French classes for the Sister Missionaries will end. They will still take english class with their Zone, but will have no additional French classes (to the disappointment of Sister Riendeau).
4. There will be ‘Standards of Excellence’ created for all missionaries (including the Senior missionaries) to participate in (it will be voluntary). Whether it is learning languages, or scriptures, or work related, is to be determined. The rewards are also to be determined.
5. Pilot programs will begin in chosen Zones or areas to test possible changes in missionary activity. For example: unlike most of the world, the missionaries here are required to be home by dark (for protection). This leaves their evenings free. Perhaps if they left their apartments earlier to work (rather than staying and doing morning study), and left their study to the evening, they would have more time to find and teach.
There are also just some functional changes around the mission home. The Mission Home is no longer open to the Missionaries (unless specifically invited in for some special dinner or meeting).
There is a separate door to the Mission Office that they are to use (this includes the Seniors).
When Terri and I leave (well, this friday when we move to the Mission Home for a few days), the following will take place:
1. We move out of the Taj Mahal over the office and into the Mission Home until we leave.
2. Drapers will move into our apartment (so they are close to the President, as Elder Draper has become the President’s personal secretary).
3. The Atkinsons will move from their lower apartment at Macameno Complex and into the upper apartment (where the Drapers are now).
4. The Mikesells will move into the lower apartment (which has an office where they can work), when they arrive to take Terri’s place as medical advisor.
5. The Davis’ will stay where they are, but they will vacate the office they have been using in the Mission Office and begin using their office at their home (in the Macameno complex); as they are actually Humanitarian and not ‘officially’ part of the mission office. Besides, the Drapers will need the office much more.
6. The two senior sisters (Anthony and Riendeau) stay where they are for now, but that could change when/if we get another couple in the mission.
7. When the Atkinsons leave in December it will leave an open apartment in Macameno for another couple (right now we are full, which is why Terri and I have to move out when the Mikesells come).
We had hoped the church was going to purchase the Mission Home complex (which has another two homes in it), but that seems to be cancelled, or at least on hold for now… so if we get additional couples working in Lubumbashi, we may need space–which is why we are fixing-up the annex where the STLs were staying.
Always a lot going on, and everyone is very busy. We are down a little on the number of missionaries, but I’m sure that won’t last long. We have the apartments set-up so the mission can function for quite some time without needing to find more places for missionaries to live. We recently moved the sisters into the new Gecamines apartment, also opened a new apartment in Ngandajika. The new apartment in Luputa was all set: the president took money and the contract up to be signed, but he owner suddenly changed his mind and refused to sign! So now we are out looking for another apartment for Luputa. But all the other areas are in good condition.
Well that’s a quick update on some of the changes going on here–its always interesting and fun when there is a change of the guard/leadership change in a mission. No one leader is the same, and so changes are inevitable. Just like the transfers, we just have to learn to adapt, adjust, and move forward!