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 )

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