Monday, July 25, 2011

The Second Branche in Bujumbura

Click on a picture to enlarge it:
Before I actually begin this blog, I thought I would just tell you why there has been no new posting for three weeks or more. The internet is very unreliable in Africa. I have attempted at least eight different times to post. The power goes out, or pictures will not load when the internet is weak. The pictures are all really small in this posting because a weak internet "just won't load" the large ones. I really apologize for the delays, but thank you for understanding. We love you for visiting our blog. Thank you!
The Bujumbura II Branche was divided from the first branch on June 12, 2011. That was almost six months to the day from the organization of the Bujumbura 1 Branche. So signs with the churches name, included in two different languages: (1)a welcome and (2) the time...were commissioned. French says, "Soyez Les Bienvenus Dimanche a 9Hoo" and Kirundi reads, "Murahawe Ikaz" (the welcome), Kuwa Mungu Isaha 3(that is the time).

Missionaries were reassigned to prespective chapel areas to proselyte. Here Elder Muenyi and Elder Diazola helped to assemble new sacrament trays as they waited for those whom they were to teach a missionary lesson to arrive.
After much searching in the area that the chapel was needed, this beautiful building was found. It took much authorization and many emails to finally secure it...but thankfully we can use it now.
The Bujumbura branch leaders are Pres. Hatungimana, 1st c.-Frere Simon, 2nd- Frere Thomas, Branch clerk- Frere Jean Rene and Elder's Quorum President- Frere Salvator. Their leadership is a true blessing as this branche began small and yesterday, on the Sabbath, had 89 in attendance with 33 investigators. Side note: Frere Salvator was riding his bike along on the road when he was side-swiped by a truck trying to miss a taxi. His arm was broken and no public hospital has had room for him for 8 days. His arm has not even been set yet, (after 9 days) but he is now scheduled today to go into a private hospital for surgery.
Soeur Verdiane is our new R. S. President and her husband, Frere Juvenal, is the Branche Mission leader. They are holding a Swahili Book of Mormon that reads, "Kitabu Cha Mormoni".
There is no Kirundi Book of Mormon printed...and since Burundi is the only country in the world that uses this language the likelihood is about 0%.
Even though the building was a big blessing, it had sat empty for about a year so it was REALLY an inch of dust everywhere, many mosquitos and many spiderwebs. So the branche members and missionaries had a BIG cleaning day and pretty much flooded all the tile floors, swept off webs and cobwebs, chased spiders, wiped walls and then squeeged the waters all outside.
This was taken as the water from the upstairs flooding was being squeegied down the stairs to go outside. It was really a muddy mess!!! But on the following day, the chapel was "shining"!!
Temporary chairs were purchased but again were REALLY dirty, so many came to help clean.
The first sacrament meeting was well attended....but in just two weeks, seating became very "squishy". Because of the neighborhood that is near to this building, many could just walk to the church instead of paying transport costs. That made a huge difference in the attendance. Word traveled fast. We had people stopping by excited to know the times and the doctrines. Our missionaries are really busy.
This is the new Young Men's President, Frere Jacques. We are thankful for his leadership and strength for the young men. His dear family lives far away but he makes a good income in Bujumbura. He always asks us to pray for his wife and children that they will be able to come and be taught the gospel.
This is a photo of the first young men's meeting in the new building. These young men speak freely of their desires to be missionaries for their Savior.
This was the first Priesthood meeting in the new chapel. Usually, a man who has a family, takes the missionary lessons, and then, invites his wife and children to come. Other churches here, however, are more a social life, not really learning doctrine. Therefore, many women choose to stay with the church their friends are in. So for now, the men are in the majority.

Not pictured because of our "creepy internet" is our Sunday School President, Frere Thaddee. He, also, is a fine man with strong testimony of this restored gospel.
This is a photo of the Bujumbura 2 Branches first Relief Society meeting. As you can see there are always fewer sisters than brethren. We hope that changes at some point giving a little equality.
Primary has averaged about 20 children each week. One week there were 27 and we had no Primary President, so the missionaries for the first six weeks, including Sisters Frogley and Evanson, tried their best to teach with all of the children speaking only Swahili or Kirundi.
Here we have Elder Tshituka, who was a huge help teaching the children in Swahili but just transferred to Lubumbashi (600 miles away).
Two weeks ago, Soeur Odette was called and accepted to be our Primary President. She is really fabulous with children. She speaks French, Swahili and Kirundi......and a little English!!! ( Sister Anne-Marie who is Prim. Pres in the Buj 1 Branche assisted in her training because she speaks fluent French and Swahili.) Soeur Odette is so very loving and the children adore her. She is also a very good teacher. She and her husband, Dieudonne, have a little 18 month old son. Their testimonies are strong and very influential. She has been called of God and the children are already learning of their Savior.
. "....and they began to establish the church more fully; yea, and many were baptized.....and joined to the church of God:...." Alma 4:4