Monday, April 25, 2011

A Marvelous Arrival Week for our new companion couple, The Evansons!!

This week Elder and Sister Evanson arrived!  We have been anxiously awaiting them.  We could not be more pleased with these  tender, loving, experienced missionaries.  They have come having served in many callings of the church, including Mission President and Matron in Ivory Coast.  More recently, they were called to serve as Temple President and Matron in the Regina Saskatchewan Canada Temple.

They have been called as Public Affairs Missionaries and Bujumbura will be their home base.  After a few months of preparation, they will begin their travels to many places in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Congo and of course, here in Burundi to acquaint many country and city dignitaries of the church and their missionary and humanitarian efforts.

Sister Evanson is a real organizer and she calls herself a "nester".  She looked at her apartment and knew right away what she needed to make it hers.  Here she is looking for two reading lamps for the poorly lighted bedroom.  She has rearranged the furniture that was there very differently but excellently functional as well.
This week was the first Primary Activity Day organized by our new Primary President.  Sister Anne-Marie (left) who taught in French and Swahili (and Jeanette translated in Kirundi beautifully).  It was an exceptional presentation on the meaning of Easter for the children.  The activity was to begin at 2 pm. At 2:45, there were 4 children. She expressed to me that, "We cannot start without the children."  I couldn't find the Primary President after a few minutes and when I did she was out on the chapel porch praying.  Straight from her prayer, she went down two flights of stairs and came back up 5 minutes later leading 20 more children into their seats. The activity started beautifully at 3 pm.

Sister Anne-Marie took time to orient those who would take part and was now calm and ready.  She had taught them songs and they were prepared.  There were about 40 adults, parents and friends there to watch and be taught as well.

There were musical numbers by the children, a duet by two primary girls and a duet by Sister Anne-Marie and myself.

A parent, Frere Thomas, had been asked to give his testimony and feelings of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Again, Jeanette was an excellent translator.
The young missionary Elders were asked to prepare a hymn on the resurrection.  I had never heard this song before and it was very touching.

After the spiritual part was complete, the games for the children began!  Sister Veronique led the games and all had so much fun.  The parents laughed so hard at the antics of the children.  In this game, the children had to suck up water and run back to the milk jugs and see which team could fill theirs first.

In this game, you can see that a piece of charbon was used to draw a black circle around the group that wished to participate.  It was similar to "Simon Says"  only they had to jump in and out of the circle when quickly told to.  The children loved it...........................

.........................and the parents and adults applauded when the two winners were called!

No activity is complete without some refreshment!  That had been planned and prepared as well. We ended up bringing in another table.  We had planned on 50 and ended up with 64 total.

We had several families..

...priesthood holders and investigators...

....from all generations...

........and of course, the mammas!

Even little Christina was a happy girl.

But little Nicole just completely tuckered out in her grandmother's arms!

We awoke to a beautiful African Easter Morning. The weather was dry and beautiful!
Elder Frogley stopped by this hotel before church to make sure the baptism could be held there at about 1PM. It is convenient for the members after the church meetings to walk to this hotel in about 10 minutes.

All of the Elders had diligently taught the gospel and prepared the candidates for baptism.  These are Elders Mpoyi,  Badibanga and of course, Elder Frogley.

Eight very special people were ready to be baptized on Easter Sunday!
The first two were Sister Domin and her son, Tristan!  When her young son, Excellent, saw them be baptized he began crying and crying!  When we asked what was wrong, he had expressed that he wanted to be baptized, too!  He cried for about 40 minutes.

This fine older gentleman has been waiting for years, studying with the Book of Mormon and awaiting his chance for baptism.

These three individuals where taught by Elders Diazola and Manganda.

This is Frere Moise.  He came up out of the waters of baptism and began to cry with joy!  He had waited for four years knowing the gospel of Jesus Christ was true and on the earth but unreachable for him................until now!

This fine young man has been studying the gospel. Frere Immanuel has 2 brothers who joined  the church months before him.  He told me how much the gospel had changed their lives and he wanted to know what they had learned.

After the beautiful African Easter sunset, we recall the words of our Savior to Simon Peter repeatedly.......

"....Lovest thou me? He said unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, "Feed my sheep."
(St. John 21:15-17 )

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What is MAN., that Thou art mindful of him? Job 7:17

The people of Burundi want what everyone wants:  freedom, safety, work, security and prosperity. Within the city of Bujumbura, the old ways and new western ways are very apparent.The younger generation seeks education.  Outside of the city in the rural areas, living, dress and culture is all done in the traditional ways.

On this litte plot of land within the city, all of the people are spreading out thin silver colored fishes, thousands of them to dry in the sun.  They are very much a food staple and come from Lake Tanganyika.  They are called ngalala. The little table has those fishes all over it.  On the ground in front of the table are fishes and on the paper where the baby is sitting are more fishes.

This is a very common sight.  This young man is taking a chicken home for dinner.

This woman is selling bananas to the person in the car. You can see how handy it is to have her baby securely tied to her back. We often buy our bananas and pineapples from street ladies.

In this part of the city, many people are dressed in a more modern syle.  But the tradition of carrying things on your head is a skill everyone (except for us) uses.  This photo shows you how clean Bujumbura city is.  In most African cities, it is not clean, with much trash everywhere.  Bujumbura has won "the cleanest city of Africa" award several times.  There is an interesting story that goes along with this.  For years, the village women made "Palm Beer" for their income. They soon found that the beer was causing severe brain damage in many people.  The city leaders outlawed the palm beer  and the village women cried out asking what they were to do to make income?  The leaders hired them to clean the city.  So as we drive, we see many street sweeping, litter gathering, weeding women who work and are paid doing a great service for the city.  Also, every Saturday, the city streets are closed in the morning and the citizens are encouraged to clean their own homes and properties.  It is delightful to see this city so clean.  So many other cities are not!

Bujumbura is a city of many ethnic  divisions and 233 Christian sects and numerous Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and other religions.

You will see many different types of clothing for as many different reasons.

We many times see clothing, especially t-shirts from America. Sometimes they are family reunion shirts or sports shirts.  I am sure that many of the wearers have no idea what they say but they can get them for almost nothing.

We live just a few blocks from a bedding market. We see these foam rubber mattressses coming down the road often.  I wish you could see how they bounce as they walk along. It is quite fun to see.

I show this photo because it is so African to work without bending your knees.  Many people just bend at the waist as they work and till the ground..

This is the way many people buy their shoes.  Because many people do not have cars, the shoes will be taken from the market downtown by young men who walk way out to the villages to sell the shoes.

These people have walked a long distance to go downtown to the marche (market).  It is not a place we are allowed to shop.  It is extremely busy with wall to wall people and we are told the prices are rock bottom (except for the white people).  They hike the prices when they see a white face!

Here are more men from the bedding market carrying sheets and bedding to outer villages to sell.

These are some of the ladies clearing land (instead of making Palm Beer).

There are many young men who join the Burundian army to make a living.

There is a military presence and for the first time in years people are feeling some safety and security here in Bujumbura.

I snapped this shot of women just enjoying a good chat!  See the old and new mixed again??

Have an umbrella?? Then you can set up shop! The dry season is coming upon us and it is becoming more HOT and HUMID!! Can you tell by the huddling of these young men?

This little business is out in the sector of housing where people are packed in high density housing.  They have a huge variety  of things: corn, sorghum, cassava,  wheat, beans, peanuts, dried peas, rice, garbanzos, white beans, black bean, salt, sugar and much more. You can see that they are up off the ground for when the rain comes.  They just roll up the plastic sacs, cover them with tarps and protect them for the next opportunity to sell,  

These ladies may be going to a wedding.  The fabric they were wearing was very flowing with alot of shine!

This woman was walking along a very long road on a very hot day. Who would have thought to carry  your water bottle on your head?!

I love seeing these men!  They ride their bikes out where there is very long grass and gather it to sell. Who would have thought this would be a way to make money.  The grass is used to thatch roofs, to use as bedding,  to bundle around charbon (like charcoal, but not) so it wouldn't be so dirty to handle. Can you think of other uses for the grasses?

This is a beggar.  Someone just gave her a 50 fbu (franc burundian ) bill. It is equivelant to a nickel.  She has a baby tied on to her back under her penya. She needs to eat and feed her baby, too.

There are many little older women that will also ask for money.  I find them the most grateful! Sometimes they will begin to praise God when you hand them something. 

This man is carrying a mattress with many couch cushions on top.  The actual wooden couches were up ahead of him being carried on others heads.

This is your typical street corner downtown. You can see the shopkeeper in the background, and the bike he road to work.  You can see his handyman with a small wooden horse and the saw on the ground next to it. Then the brightly clothed women.  One with her umbrella because you never know when the next downpour will hit!

These men have carried their goods on their heads into a little more affluent neighborhood that has no market closeby.  They spread out their goods and wait for cars to stop and buy.  You can see mangos, bananas, oranges( which are always green here) and pineapples for sale.

Here is another beggar.  There are hundreds of young single women with babies. This little child looks about 2 years of age.  It is very hard to see this poverty.

Mondays and Fridays are the busiest traffic days. 

Yes,  there are a few streets that the  "Cleaning Ladies" never seem to go to.  They are always very busy.  Can you see the young man carrying a flat of boiled eggs on his head with peanut bags streaming down his back??  Can you see the young man selling large maps of Africa? This is Mission Street.

This is the other end of Mission Street.  If you look on up the street you will see the thousands of people at the marche (Market).  Cars cannot even pass there because it is so full of people.

This is a block or two before the market. Can you see the man with yellow boxes piled up on his head?

This is a single seamstress on Mission Street.  There are at least 50 of them.  They wait for someone to come and ask them to do a sewing project.  They many times leave their sewing machines right outside a fabric store and the owner will sell the fabric and then refer the sewing job to them. Most of them are still tredle sewing machines requiring no power....only foot power.  This is how the curtains for the little chapel were done.  We went in and found and purchased the fabric and then a woman was hired to sew the curtains.  She made them for two very large windows.  She completed them overnight and was thrilled to be paid $8 for sewing them.

When the women have their heads covered in this manner, they are usually Muslim.

These women are walking home through a field where you can bring your carpets to be cleaned.  The young men take them to a large guttered area and with the gutter water and a brush they clean them and lay them in the grass to dry.

This is most common to find people who are out of work just sitting and watching....and waiting.....and waiting.

Each of these people want what we want....freedom, work, safety, prosperity and security.

Our Heavenly Father is mindful of his children.  Our Father knows each of them and loves each of them and wants to give them what they need.  He wants them  to know who they are, where they came from, why they are here on this earth and where they are going after this life.

"For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
Moses 1:39