Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bows, Holes, and Arches

    Life here is often changed by the weather. The temperature is only one factor. The humidity and rain combine to affect the COMFORT factor. That middle column says that the next couple of months are high discomfort times. 
    This week we even experienced our first rain in Africa since our arrival. The plush greenery comes with a price and consequence...mosquitoes. The mission office manager just came down with malaria. We asked one of the local stake presidents about living with malaria. He quipped, "Oh, that is normal, I have had it five times." They just take medication and go to bed. Few have air conditioning... we found out what that is like when the power went out for 26 hours. We tried to sleep with the all the windows open with screens (poorly fitted) in place. By morning we had experienced a swarm of biting midges, hungry mosquitoes, and a          
 plethora of sweat. This badge of survival was the result of one one hour session studying when the power was out-it
a larger one in captivity
was an attack of a swarm of miniature flies called midges - the next day they looked worse with white rings around them and a deeep itch that lasted a day longer.

But with the rain comes the beauty... which will be our focus for the next six months of this special rainy season. That will make for a different Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, President's day, Valentines and Easter!!

And with one bow comes arch as our little meeting room develops into a chapel:

From a capacity for 45

To a capacity for 100 and with overflow in the kitchen and halls 130-150.  How long will that take we wonder?

et Voila! New tile and curtains are next week!
Today's sacrament meeting was attended by 35 people which included 19 members and missionaries. The rest were investigators, many repeat. Frere Malabi organized and conducted the meeting. Elder Tshituka spoke on Joshua 24 choose ye this to choose...if ye love me keep my commandments...which commandments?..the greatest=love God and love each other. Frere Malabi followed since Isadore (one of the oldest members) who accepted to speak was out of country. He spoke on the two great commandments. The two talks really meshed well together.
     In attendance was our cab driver, or should I say former cab driver since we now have our white toyota trucks. Also the office manager with the ministry of the interior with whom I spoke for an hour while waiting for Elder Jameson. He was very set in his intellectualizing of religion until he found out we were not paid, nor were there professional clergy.  It took me a while to remember who he was...very sharp. I hope the spirit touched him deeply.

     After the meeting we met with two pastors from Uvira in the east Congo to teach and give perspective for their 800 people just waiting for the gospel. With them was a woman From Baraka-Fizi, who spoke in Swahili telling us about how she and about twenty others were meeting for prayer to know what church to follow. During their prayer she saw a man descend who then wrote for her the name of a church they should follow.
They tried to organize their own church and call it by the name the angel gave them: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But the little organization failed so they prayed again. This time she was told that someone would come to teach them about the church and whites would be involved. Two days later Pastor Methode, with whom I had been corresponding for three months came to their little group and taught them about the Book of Mormon and "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." They were stunned and excited. Then came President Headlee last December then we followed in August.

They are anxious for us to come but with the distance they will have to wait a while.  All in all the Spirit was powerful, those in attendance stayed around for an hour while others with whom we met for two.

The work, like the weather enters a new season that brings growth and beauty...
oh ya, the mosquitoes and midges...As we hung the sign with the name of the Church on it this morning a man stopped and asked what it was. I explained that we weren't Catholic or Protestant but we were Christian. He asked if we were JW. I said no we were Christians with new scripture, The Book of Mormon... he panicked and almost ran saying no, no not me, not me. I think he heard Muslim (they are growing in the city) The missionaries have been harassed a bit too. The bites itch but go away but the rain keeps nourishing.

Isaiah 55:10-12
10 For as the arain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, andbbread to the eater:

  11 So shall my aword be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

  12 For ye shall go out with ajoy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the btrees of the field shall clap their hands.

1 comment:

  1. Burundi has an amazing beauty all it's own!! Just breathtaking...and your chapel is beautiful and spacious now. The arch and tile floor are wonderful enhancements. You both look fabulous and happy in the work. Keep taking those malaria pills! We love you, Susan and John