Thursday, February 17, 2011


This week has been “blessings with opposition” week. The blessing of the Sabbath day was 97 people attending sacrament meeting! We have been anxiously awaiting the completion of our baptismal font!

As it neared completion, we were all very excited! After talking to the construction manager, we were ready to begin using it.  He told us we could go ahead and use it, filling it slowly and watching it.

The Saturday before, the members cleaned it spotless.

This meant no more traveling to a hotel for the use of their pool.

Then arriving early on Sunday, the water was turned on to fill.  When it was 3/4 ths filled.  The city water shut off.  We decided that we could still manage the baptisms, so we went into the last hour of the block meeting.  The missionaries called Elder Frogley out of the meeting to report that the font was leaking heavily!  He told them to drain it immediately. Here is our new R.S. Presidency mopping up a good inch of water all over this floor. The font was behind the photographer. Needless to say, the baptisms were postponed. :(
Little did we know, that we were not the only ones mopping up water. Many gallons of water flooded the business below the chapel.  Our baptismal font leak had caused damage to the neighboring business just below our little meeting house. We could not have the candidates baptized with the font not holding water. We tried to call the Building Owner and Construction Manager to no avail, so we had to be satisfied to send them texts.
When we returned to our apartment after church, we had no water in our sector at all. For 30 hours, we had no water. Do we realize what a great blessing water is?? Do we take this for granted?? The blessing was that the apartment has a storage tank of water and a pump for emergency water needs. We were excited, but being in an upstairs apartment, the not-so-powerful water pump sent water that just drizzled about 5 tablespoons a minute. The challenging adventure was trying to shower and also wash dishes with that amount of water in that amount of time. We had filtered water storage for drinking so we were just fine.
 I could not feel sorry for myself when the picture of the young, visibly homeless african girl (about 12) flashed back into my mind that I had seen in the streets of Lubumbashi, and will never forget.  She was using an old, empty, crushed water bottle she had found and began filling it from a murky puddle and was pouring it on her head to try and wash. Tears flowed.  She is a daughter of God, too!

We were so thankful for water, when the water began to run freely again. Oh, what we take for granted.

Tuesday morning, I hurriedly refilled all the water storage containers.  Then, I started washing clothes, since we had water!  What a blessing! Craig met with the Zone Leaders while I worked on recommends and Baptism Certificates and Ordination Certificates. At around noon, Beatrice and Egide, our new Burundian native friends, came over to spend time with us on memberships from sixteen years ago.  Their visit to Bujumbura is a blessing to this little branch because they know the history and they know the people.  They went visiting and have found some of the people we have been looking for to inform them that the church is reestablished in Bujumura. 

 After their visit, Craig drove down our favorite road, “Mission Street” to trouble shoot some electronics; a hand held microphone and a computer. They all work now.
 Later that afternoon, Craig met with some men to begin to resolve a past problem from 16 years ago . I was trying to finish laundry, hang some clothes on the line to dry, iron and alter some clothing. I was also preparing a special Valentine dinner for my husband.

.                                              It was Valentine’s Day, even if Africa doesn’t celebrate it.  

After the dinner, we had just a half hour to watch a quick episode of Monk on our computer, that Elder and Sister Jameson had left for us. It was part of the Valentine evening.  I even popped popcorn!

 We didn’t get to finish it because the Elders popped in for supplies and also needed a ride to an appointment that they were late for and it was raining hard.

   We rushed off to an 8pm appointment with three investigators. We took The Restoration DVD to show them. It went very well and appointments were made for them to be taught. The young Elders were going to be late getting home so we drove them, barely making their curfew!

Wednesday at noon, the POWER went off! It remained off for 28 hours. There was no internet, which means the mission recordkeeping stops since we cannot scan or communicate with the mission president in Lubumbashi or Kinshasa or anywhere else for that matter. Phones lose their charge. I-Touches lose their charge. There is no way to keep cool. No fans. Sadly, there was no breeze that day. No washing machine. But we could wash by hand in cold water (Hey, saves color in your clothing, right?)

 However, the bright side was showers (just cold),  and washing dishes (cold water, again). We made “lemonade out of lemons” by going out to an open-air restaurant for dinner at Khana Khazana in a sector of town with power (and mosquitoes).  The food was delicious!  We got home at about 8 pm, flipped on our flashlights and pulled out another DVD left by the Jamesons. We used the one computer with 65% power left.  We even popped popcorn on our gas stove in the dark, but our little computer battery died and we couldn’t finish the movie.  So with our flashlights,  we counted our blessings.  We had water so we could wash up and brush our teeth.  We had a comfortable bed with a mosquito net. We left the windows with screens open for a cross breeze that never showed up.  It was a very long night.  But as we prayed, we truly thought of those who are homeless and who never have power, who sleep in the night air every night, even in pouring rain.
Thursday morning, the power was still out.  It was a bit cooler 76 degrees.  That was a blessing! We took our morning walk, came home sweaty but still had no power.  We were so blessed to be able to take our cold showers that actually felt good! No hair drying, just air drying.  We started worrying about our refrigerator food because after 24 hours it is very “iffy”.  We hoped it didn’t spoil.  So we just didn’t open the frig and ate the fruit on our counter….pineapple, banana, passion fruit all cut up and with granola (from a more European store).

Then, Craig had a great idea!  We will go to the meetinghouse and there, we will have power!  We can charge our phones and computers that by this time were all maxed out. That building has internet, too! We were excited to send our emails to the mission home and get our own! When we arrived, the power was on!!!...................for 5 minutes and then it went off (before we could get all plugged in). L 
The workers that built the baptismal font were there tearing it all apart to find out why it had leaked and caused all that damage.
After a half hour, the power came on and then went off.  Then, it came on and stayed on!!! We were so excited!!  Prayers of thanksgiving went up! Craig got started on the mission business for about an hour, while I was typing up the Branch and Mission inventories we did yesterday to see what needs to be ordered. Then a man came into the chapel.  He was working for an organization than looks for the youth to get involved in activities.  Craig visited with him for about 30 minutes and told him to come back in an hour to see a video about the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He came back and brought a friend.  We had other members and one man that will be baptized this week attend the video. The video, “Legacy” was shown.  They all really enjoyed it and made appointments with the missionaries.  Then a new member, Prospere, came in and brought a new investigator for the missionaries to teach.  As we left them to go to our apartment, we hoped to find POWER ON!

When we arrived at our apartment, there was no power.  When I checked the freezer, the frozen chicken and fish were all thawing. Craig called the Landlord and told him, “If the power is not on by evening, I am moving out!”And he began preparing to do so!  Beatrice and Egide had a place we could stay. Craig arranged for us to sleep there if the power was not on by evening. Then we could hopefully save our refrigerator food and take clothing for a day or two. At 4 pm, the electricity came ON!!!! It felt so good to have a fan blowing on us! I was able to cook dinner and the food miraculously survived the ordeal!

We spent the evening trying to catch up on emails, records, scanning, etc. Power is another thing we take for granted!

At 9pm, we finally stopped and went into the bedroom only to have………………………….you guessed it, the power go OFF! It was another time to count our many blessings …………….and “name them one by one”. I still remember my father playing that hymn on our piano at home. I guess he was preparing me for times like this. I love you, Daddy!

Friday morning there was still no power. Another call was made to the Landlord’s boss! By 9 AM, we had POWER!! It has been wonderful to wash (in a washing machine), wash dishes with hot water,  iron, make handouts for our English Class for the missionaries tomorrow.  What a blessing to merely use a hairdryer, have our computers and phones back, email family back home, be able to email Lubumbashi and Kinshasa and have responses! It felt like Christmas all over again. Gifts from heaven!!

Even with the understanding and sure knowledge of the #1 Rule..........................
..................."Nothing is easy in Africa!”
This scripture rings true, "....and ye cannot bear all

things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer and I

will lead you along." (D&C 78:18)


  1. Thank you for sharing your interesting week in Burundi. Hopefully those who read about the problems will understand that the blessings you receive far out weigh the problems. Unfortunately some senior couples may feel that they could not serve in Africa because they could not handle the sometime trying experiences.

    We found that even with the types of things you write about, service in Africa was probably the most rewarding service we have done in the Kingdom.

    Keep up the great work as you bring the blessings of the gospel to the people of Burundi.

  2. More power to you. I couldn't resist that. I hope they remembered to put a membrane in the font before they laid the bricks and poured the cement. You two are truly pioneers in a strange land.

    Bob and Carol

  3. Wow! We hardly remember those days when nothing worked until you remind us about them. But we do remember the great outpouring of the spirit of the Lord in Africa. It's true that rule #1 is always in effect, but so is rule #2 "You will love the people and live through the rest." Hang in there! We can do hard things, right! Love you guys! Give our love to everybody in Burundi. Oh, did you hear the Kasumbelasa was made a branch today. We're overjoyed!!

  4. It's exciting to read all that is going on and you are going through. I just learned, my friend, Dan Judd (Daniel K Judd, former 1st counselor in the General SS presidency) has just been called to serve as the new mission president in Accra Ghana. My dearest friend, Afiba, was from Accra and her son, John, later served his mission in Africa. She passed away about six years ago, but I know her sweet spirit will be there to help President Judd in his efforts. I'm sure he would really enjoy reading about all the work being done in your area. So exciting to see the Lord's Gospel really spread all over the earth! Keep up the awesome work!! LY!