Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blessings in Lubumbashi

This is the new Democratic Republic of the Congo Lubumbashi Mission Home!  It is really a treasure in this city! This is where President and Sister Packer live. They have a mission office that should be finished in the next month or so. The outside wall is shown in the right hand photo. It is built in the tradition of the many Belgian homes that were built in Lubumbashi in th 1940's and 50's.

On the outskirts of the city, most homes are very humble, most without running water and without power. Many have tin roofs that have bricks to hold them into place as you can see. You can see power lines (left), so this village has some power. In another village market, pictured below, they have no power lines over them.  Many of the children do not have the opportunity to attend school. They usually learn survival skills and the ways of their parents in trying to earn livings.  There are many, many single mothers, widows, and orphans eeking out their existence.  There are also many, many aids victims, many born with the disease.  The life expectancy in the Congo is 50-54 yrs.
In this land, where water (especially through the dry seasons when they get no rain for months) is difficult to find, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a blessing. The left photo above, shows a well that the church put in for the people nearby to use. This little family allowed us to take their photo. The church has many, many more wells.  It has been calculated that they have saved over 240,000 live in the past two years just providing water.  The people walk from many distances to this new source of water. They fill their bidons (pronounced bee-doe) and carry them home.  We have a bidon in our place which saved us when the water went off for a week.  It weighs about 50 lbs. when it is full and they carry them on their head with no hands, which is how they seem to carry everything: ON THEIR HEADS. They daily have to fill their bidons. It is just part of the daily routine.
The Congolese people are resourceful, caring and as industrious as they can be.  They love their families very much. They also have deep belief in God.  Many are raising neices, nephews and other orphans.  To quote Elder Glenn Pace, "We must accept some things on faith.  We can be absolutely certain that the bounds of our habitation have been set by a God who knows this was the next step in the Master's plan to give all that He has.  Each of us as a daughter or son of Heavenly Parents have received the genes of godhood.  Irrespective of our place of birth, a plan is in effect to bring those genes into full maturity, even if this earth life never exposes us to the complete truths we learned in our premortal state."

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