Thursday, June 30, 2011
Sunday, June 26, more of Father's children willingly covenanted to serve Him and keep his commandments. Here, we have a missionary, Elder Tshituka and a young man who has been team teaching with the missionaries, because of a recooperating Elder Manganda. It is a great opportunity for this young man to have this missionary experience. He is planning on a mission in just a few years. Frere Juvenal and Soeur Verdiane are the parents of Axcel, their 8 year old and guardian of Felix, the other young man in white, that they took into their home as family. Frere Juvenal was able to baptize these two boys. Joy truly filled their hearts this day!
This was another family situation. "Papa Elias" is the grandfather of Frere Thaddie on the far left. Thaddie was so excited that his Grandfather had sought baptism. Have you seen a happier countenance??
Soeur Aniciette is a mother of three. We have seen her at the church meetings for many, many months.....but when the new chapel was announced close to her home, within walking distance, she was the first one there to help clean the building and the chairs....and request baptism!
This young man, Fabrice, has been requesting baptism for months but has been attending school interior of the country. This made it difficult for him to receive the missionary discussions. Since July 1st is the Burundian National Independence Day (celebrated since 1962), he had 10 days for the holiday and was able to be taught. He has latched onto Elder and Sister Frogley as he calls us "Mother" and "Daddy". He speaks four languages and loves English. Of this day, he said, "I am so happy!"In the church history of Burundi, Egide Nzojibwami, is a well known and respected name. He and his wife, Beatrice, were instrumental in establishing legally the beginning of the church here in Burundi. They now live in Canada and recently came back to visit in Bujumbura. While here, they invited us to come to a family gathering of about 60 people. They have really large families. We offered to bring a projection of the first vision and they invited all of their family. The two men pictured here are Egide's brother, Frere Salvator, and Salvator's son, Christophe.
When Elder Frogley emailed this photo to Egide and wrote him, Egide wrote of being overjoyed. He said,"I never thought I would see the day, when someone else in my family would join the church!"
Elder Tshitumbu and Elder Muenyi taught these two young men. I wish you could have seen their smiles as they came up out of the waters of baptism.
In total, there were nine new members. Behind them, is Frere Juma, who has only been a member a few months using his new priesthood authority to act in the name of his Savior and baptize many of these fine people.
"..as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing o bear one another's burdens, that they may be light; yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that he may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life--
Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?" (Mosiah 18:8-10)
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Sunday was the first baptism in our new font. As you may recall, we already had a baptismal font built near our chapel on the second story of the building. If you remember, the font leaked water, lots of it, into the business positioned right below. It really did some damage and then when the workers thought that it was fixed, it leaked again. So our landlord said, "No more. This cannot be repeated. You will have to come up with another alternative." The first font is still there but we cannot use it.Elder Frogley began to brainstorm with the Landlord. She was wonderful and really wanted to help us. There was formerly a little dress shop in this large room and the owner talked the proprieter into moving to another space, so this baptismal font could be built close to the chapel. This was the beginning of our little miracle. This new font is located in the same building complex on the ground level but kitty corner from the chapel. It is a room that will soon have four dressing stalls and a closet for the baptismal clothing and towels, etc. When a baptism occurs, the plan is to hold the service in the chapel, walk to this font room, have the baptisms, and then return for the conclusion of the meeting.
This photo was taken right before the first baptism in this font. This is Frere Philbert who was baptised by Frere Methode. It was a miracle that this even happened here and now on the day it was suppose to. We have been planning and waiting for the completion of this new font for over three months. We were so excited to finally be able to use it.
The night before the baptism, the Evansons and we went to check out the font because the workers had said it would be ready for use on Sunday. When we got there and unlocked the door, the room and font looked wonderful. Because of the height of the font, the ceiling had been raised for functionality and repainted. The tile work was wonderful. The workers had cleaned up the room and also put up nice draperies. As we looked closer at the font, there was no faucet! "NO FAUCET??".... and no other way to put water into it. There was also no drain. "WHAT?" We were all in shock. We just could not believe that it had not been built into it and just laughed so we wouldn't cry. All the hardware stores were closed....so we could not buy a hose. So we prayed for a little miracle. Craig called the missionaries to confirm the baptism and warn them that it might be at the pool again. They asked if it was possible to use the font. He responded that unless there were some kind of miracle, it would be at the hotel pool.
So Sunday morning, Craig and I left very early to see if he could gerimander a hose that we had seen outside in the breezeway that had the ends cut off of it and feed it through a window early enough to get the font filled in time. The other option would be to go to the Source de Nil Hotel again and have the baptism there, which we had been doing for three months. As we arrived, there was a hose already fed through the window and as we entered....the font was full!!!! The workers had kept their word and we would be able to baptize.
As we remembered how it all started, we felt deep gratitude for the miracle that the first branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Bujumbura had it's first font for personal and meaningful baptisms. We also found out from the workers that the faucet and drain will be put into the font this week after cutting a hole through the outside wall for the plumbing. Did having a font really matter that much???
"Except a man be born of water....he cannot enter into the kingdom of God;"
The greatest gift in the month of June was the division of the first branch in Bujumbura, which in six months to the day of it's establishment had 127 members. There is now a Bujumbura 1 Branch in the South of the city, and a Bujumbura 2 Branch in the northern end.The river is basically the dividing line.
We are still "running" each day to keep up with all that must happen here in Bujumbura. You will see Elder Frogley in the Quincaillerie (hardware store) as well as all over the city. He is a "fix-it" kind of guy and he does ALOT of fixing!!
We are continuing the English classes for the missionaries each week.
We have had another Elder's quorum branch activity, which was another Soccer/Frisbee activity. All of the young men that you see gathered around Elder Frogley came over from their Technical School to come and play. None of them are members.....yet. They always ask who we are and where we meet. Elder Frogley is teaching them about the church, in this photo. We have had several come to the church or meet with the missionaries.
Then there were many members that came out to play, too. Here you see Elder Mpoyi, Frere Methode, and Frere Salvator after a very hot game of soccer. Each great missionaries !!
Many, many preparations have happened in trying to establish "a face of the church" by meeting with the Senators, Cabinet members, Parliamentarians, Commissioners, the Chef de Cabinet and the Chef de Protocal of the President of the Senate. And finaly the President of the Senate himself. Here is one of the government buildings .
This is a waiting room t0 meet with the President of the Senate. Elder and Sister Evanson were with us that day. They are such great individuals with hearts of gold! We love them!
We had a wonderful Relief Society Activity where Sister Veronique taught the ladies how to make Candied Peanuts. Sister Frogley was asked to give a message on Order in the Home.
We also have worked very hard to say "goodbye" to our past Zone Leaders, Elder Kintembila and Elder Mouselle. It was very hard to have them go. We gave them a royal send off because they would not see the Packers before going home. These Elders did have an opportunity to talk with the Packers on Skype. That was a brilliant idea.
We also have two new wonderful missionaries, Elder Tshitumbu and Elder Muenyi.
To honor the two Elders leaving, the Sunday before their departure, the missionaries all wore their suits. They all looked so great. Don't you think so??
These fine Elders have many needs, we have one in the hospital right now. He had to have a double hernia surgery. So we spend alot of time with them trying to help them with temporal, physical and spiritual needs.
They are our friends!
Frere Johnson helped us find a fabulous building. It is very close to the Kamenge and Cibitoke Quartiers. It took alot of jostling but Elder Frogley was finally able to secure it. It used to be a school, so it is very large. It had not been inhabited for over a year, so it was VERY dirty. The Buj 2 branch members came last Saturday to DEEP CLEAN the building and clean 100 adult chairs and 20 primary chairs. They began by flooding the upstairs with many buckets of water, squeeging the upstairs water to the stairs,(which was a muddy waterfall) and then remopping. Bids are being taken now for remodeling to fit the needs of the church.
Here is a photo of the new building from the street. Amazing, huh?
Along with the dividing of the branch are two new Branch Presidencies.
Bujumbura 2: Pres. Hatungimana, 1st C.-Frere Simon 2nd C.- Frere Thomas with Clerk, Frere Jean Rene and Elder's Quorum Pres. -Frere Salvator.
In the Bujumbura 1 Branch, Branche Pres. Malabi, 1st C - Frere Aimable, 2nd C - Frere Minos
Here is another photo of the entrance into the new chapel building.
Presidents Packer and Mutshail were very busy this weekend with callings and sustainings. It was wonderful having them here. There were 15 new ordinations to the Melchizedek priesthood.
During that same week, we had a wonderful Zone Conference, which means our Mission President Packer and his wife, Sister Packer traveled 600 miles to come to Burundi from the mission home to be with us!!!
It is always a blessing to have them share time with us. They met with each missionary and were delightful as usual to share and plan with. It has been six months since we've seen them but we are so grateful for all that they do. They have a huge mission and many difficult places to get to. They have 130 missionaries to attend to as well. Communication is difficult because internet and power, in general, in Africa is just NOT GOOD. (Thus the reason there has been no new post on this blog for a month.)
There IS "opposition in all things", nonetheless the Master has said,
"...establish churches throughout the land and ordain priests and teachers over every church..
...notwithstanding many churches, they are all one church.."Mosiah 25:18-19,22
"...this is my church." Mosiah 26:22