Friday, August 26, 2011

Helping Hands in Bujumbura

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.
Throughout Africa on August 20th of this year, was the Pan African "HELPING HANDS DAY". Many countries in Africa participate and have for the past 5 years. "HELPING HANDS DAY" has become a tradition in the church in many nations on other continents as well, but we were able to experience it first hand. This was the first opportunity that Burundi has had to participate. These yellow vests tell the community who these "yellow vested" laborers are, members and friends of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!
The new members and many friends of the church were eager and excited to serve in their communities.
In this photo the tools are being loaded into the mission trucks by Elder Frogley and Elder Evanson.Elder and Sister Evanson really spearheaded this day for Burundi. They are serving in Public Affairs and helped the branch leaders, who worked with city officials to choose projects they could partner together and complete. The people were eager to serve but really had no tools and so Elder Evanson encouraged them to rent what they could, borrow what they could, and then helped provide more tools so, as branches, they could really work and complete a civic project.
Our dear companions, the Evansons, are being transferred to Lubumbashi. This was a monumental way to leave their mark on Burundi. We will miss them soooooo much!
The rakes, shovels, and hoes were all marked with red and numbered so they could be reused over and over on this day and in future work projects.
Here are the tools as they were drying from the paint markings. We were thrilled because during the projects these tools really held up, well even with hard usage.

The Bujumbura 2 Branch chose a difficult project of cleaning out the grey water sewage canals in their own community of Kamenge. These are deep canals that people (who should not but do) throw their garbage into. These canals are extremely important in the heavy rain season to keep the heavy waters moving along. With all of the garbage and muck, it can overflow and cause health problems for the community.
This branch partnered with the city to work together. Between the two branches and missionaries, there were about 75 representing the church and about 12 from the communities that partnered on the two projects.
The canal was about a half mile long and the brethren even had to remove wooden bridges and walk ways to get to some difficult areas.Men and women alike worked very, very hard. This sister in front is one of our Primary Presidents. I love her!
Here you can see the back of the branch president , President Johnson, with the TV news camera on him. The local radio and TV newscasters came and President Johnson explained in Kirundi, the national language, what church they belonged to and that they were doing this service free of charge and to improve their community.
This is an example of what the canals look like after being cleaned. They were cleaned out clear to the bottoms.

This photo shows just how FULL they are of trash, uck and muck!
The members were not afraid of hard work. They got down inside these canals and got plenty dirty!
President Johnson told us today that there have been many, many questions by people about the project and many more who have expressed interest in the church. The two missionary couples went walking this morning, as usual, and one man stopped us and said that he had seen a good news report that we were on. I guess we were seen in the news clip. Our white skin really "sticks out" here. After visiting with Elder Frogley and Elder Evanson, this man walked to our apartment building and asked for a Book of Mormon, which he was happily provided.
This is the Bujumbura 1 Branche project nearing the end. They were on the other side of town from Bujumbura 2 Branche and had also a smaller but very long ditch that had become extremely over grown with plants and garbage. With all of the rain and the humidity, the plants grow profusely!!! Again in the rainy season, these ditches are very needed to carry alot of water down to Lake Tanganyika.
Here are our some of our valiant young missionaries who came to help as well.
There was much over growth and as you can see way down the ditch, there were many anxious and willing
to help in this branch, too! There were "coup coups" in use which are machetes bent like a golf club. They are used here everyday by thousands of people.
So the project went from this.
These yellow vests were seen by many on that day, and those who were wearing them were very proud to serve their community and fellow neighbors.
"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17)

Saturday, August 20, 2011


We woke up to this!!
U.S. Embassy Bujumbura, Burundi
Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens
August 19, 2011

This Emergency Message is to alert all U.S. citizens living in or visiting Burundi to an outbreak of Cholera in the country. The outbreak originated in Cibitoke province and has now spread to Bujumbura Mairie, including Kanyosha and Musaga. Emergency medical facilities have been erected in Musaga to treat infected persons. Additionally, an ambulance is available to transport sick persons from their homes to a clinic.

It is recommended that individuals take the following precautions to reduce the risk of infection:
· Do not eat fresh fruit or vegetables when dining in restaurants.
· Be aware of the source of the water you drink, and do not consume tap water.
· Only drink water that has been distilled or boiled (rolling boil for 3 minutes).
· Sanitize your fruits and vegetables at home using bleach water:
o Scrub/wash off all dirt
o Soak in a dilute bleach solution (2 tbsp bleach per 4 liters water) for 10 minutes
o Rinse in distilled or boiled water
o Air dry
· Wash your hands often using both soap and warm water.
· Advise your domestic staff to take the same precautions.

More information about Cholera can be found at the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) web page on Cholera at
We have alerted all of the members and also the 8 young missionaries in our charge. We hope you will include the members of the Bujumbura Branches and the missionaries in Bujumbura in your prayers. We send our deepest love to you!!
May God bless us all!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Two successful branch activities and the Peacekeepers

Click on a photo to enlarge it!
The Bujumbura 1st Branche is inside the Galerie Alexender pictured here. You go into through the gate, walk about 30 steps, turn right and walk through a long hallway and then go up two flights of stairs and "Voila!" you are at the great little chapel that they meet in.
This past week there was a Primary Activity Day. These three lovely young women were there early to clean up and mop floors before the activity.
These are the lovely ladies that helped to also cook food over the charbon clay grills for the children. They made deep fried potatoes shown here and small sausages. Sister Evanson cooked banana pancakes and I made ALOT of popcorn!!!
The lady on the right is Anne-Marie, the Primary President. She had planned for a long time for this day. She wanted it to be a DAY LONG activity. It began about 10:30 am and ended about 4 pm. Here they are playing an African version of musical chairs.
Here is the whole group that came. They had a total of 31 children. Many were friends of the church without member parents. It was a great missionary effort.
They had many activities that were very active and fun. I wish you could have heard some of the African songs the children all knew and sang with enthusiasm! The theme was "Keep The Commandments"! They also had spiritual messages throughout the day, including watching the video that Elder Frogley brought and set up of the First Vision. ( as they ate popcorn).
Here the children were playing a concentration game with 20 paper plates with matching pictures of children keeping the commandments.
In this photos, Anne-Marie was telling stories of children who had to make choices and how keeping the commandments brought great joy. The Primary Activity Day was a great hit! In closing, she showed this picture that I shared with her and told the children, there are many people in the world who do not obey the commandments and they are sad. But those very few who remember to keep the commandments and follow Jesus Christ stick out and are bright with joy and happiness! They are like " a light unto the world". She encouraged them to remember to be a light to their families and to their friends and neighbors. She then gave each of them a tennis ball with a smiley face on it to take home!!! The children were thrilled and did NOT want to go home!!
The second activity was in Bujumbura 2nd Branche. This is a photo near the end when the food had been cooked and shared with anyone and everyone that was at the building at the time. Elder Frogley and Frere Thomas were two of the beneficiaries of the R.S. activity!!
I was wondering why the sisters made so many of the flat breads and crepes. It was because they must feed everyone something. As you can see, everyone enjoyed them. The first had onions chopped into them and were delicious.
They cooked while I watched little Sonya. Isn't she cute??
These are what they cooked on. The reddish grills are made with clay and they use charbon which is like charcoal only alot messier. They cooked right on the tile flooring. Note: It cleaned up nicely.
You can see how we all gathered around and watched them mix and cook. They talked alot one to another in Kirundi and Swahili. At one point Sister Verdiane, the R.S. President asked about my family. I told them my youngest was 20 and they gasped and said most people do not live long enough to see their youngest reach the age of 20. They said that they kept their families small because they could not afford to feed them. They asked my age and could not believe I was alive! The average life expectancy there is 37-40 years of age. They told me that the physical challenges and poverty play a huge part it those statistics. Yet, they were really enjoying themselves and loving to one another. Father in Heaven's children are amazing, no matter where they are and under what circumstances they live. They are thrilled to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives.
I wish you could have seen the sisters mix their doughs in the large blue dishpan. They did it all by hand.....meaning their hands were the mixers. They kneeded for a very long time. It was basically and flour and water and egg mixture fried in oil. The R.S. President told me that these were being served in restaurants and since none of them could afford to go to a restaurant, they would teach them how to make them for their families.
Another highlight of our stay in Burundi is seeing the Peacekeepers. We had dinner with four of them the other evening.
Earlier, on Pioneer Day, Sister Evanson organized a wonderful meal and we really enjoyed having the Peacekeepers, Brother Deitzman and Brother Tree, come to our apartments. They have been in and out of our lives many times while we have been here in Bujumbura because they are members of the church. They attend the Bujumbura 1 Branche when they come and it is a joy to feel of their spirits..
I would like to say hello to Brother Deitzman's wife, Janeen, and his two daughters................... And, thank you to Brother Tree's sweet wife, Salli! Thank you fo sharing your fine men with us here!! They express how much they love and cherish each of you!!!
This may be the last time we have the opportunity to rub shoulders with Bro. Deitzman. He is receiving a new assignment.
The Evansons were very surprised to see one of their past missionaries serving here ten years after his mission. Ten years ago, President and Sister Evanson served as mission president and wife in the Ivory Coast Mission. It was a very nice catching up time for each of them.
In keeping with the Primary concluding thought, it is good for us to remember.....................
"Ye are the light of the world! Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14,16)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Font of many blessings"

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But the same proprietor helped us locate a shop in her complex that would be good for a ground floor font. She was very accomodating. Josephine has been a real blessing to the progress of the church. We love her. This pictured font room has 4 dressing rooms and a closet to keep the baptismal clothing in. We hold the actual baptismal meeting in the chapel of the church and then everyone walks down (takes 2 minutes) to this font room for the baptisms.

Last Sunday, we had 11 new members baptized. Here there are eight missionaries around the outside edges (just look for their badges). There was a wonderful spirit of joy amongst them, which you can see on their faces. Several had members in their family baptized earlier. Completing families or even couples as members of the church is the most exciting part of all!!
Three members joined through baptism, the week before. The young girl on the right, Patience, has her Mother, who recently was baptized, on her right with her two siblings, Christian and Ange.
Frere Aimable's baptism made his entire family members. His darling wife, Domin, is the new Relief Society President of Bujumbura 1 branche. You can see the joy on her face. Elders Ngondo and Mpoyi taught Frere Aimable. This was dream come true for Sister Domin.
Two other young men were baptized the same day. Frere Jean Rostand and Frere Thomas.
Three weeks ago, we had nine other individuals who came to the waters of baptism and took the name of Christ upon them.
We feel honored and blessed to know these tender children of our Father in Heaven.
"....yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. "Mosiah 24:15