Thursday, October 20, 2011

The people have begged for 15 years. Uvira RDCongo has a branche!!

Who were the first people to sacrifice so much to come across country boundaries, pay for the transport and be at the first sacrament meeting in Bujumbura????  The devoted, Book of Mormon loving,  sincere people of RDCongo Uvira!
 These people have been requesting the church headquarters in SLC through email for the gospel to come to their area for over 15 years.  They have been teaching each other with a couple of Books of Mormon that they were able to obtain in Swahili. They continued to ask for missionaries and leadership to come and establish the church in Uvira.  A year ago, when we first met them, they were asked to be patient.  They said, " Patient?  We have already been waiting for 14 years!"" When the missionaries traveled to Uvira this month to establish the first branche, these are some of the scenes they saw on the way there.

 Grass is a big seller here in Africa.  It is used for many, many things: roofs, baskets, furniture, charcoal wraps, for sleeping on, etc.
 One of the members said, "Oh, we find many uses for domestic animals, including cows!"
Gatumba is one of the cities we pass on our way to Uvira.
 You can always see a gathering around a village water source.  The yellow containers are called bidons and they are really heavy.  But they carry them on their heads as if they were light.
 There are many businesses like this along the main roads.  Avocados are so plentiful and delicious here.  Some of the best in the world!
The streets are always busy and not just with people!
There are many people with disabilities that use what abilities they have very resourcefully! This is a tricycle wheelchair that is powered with the arms.  He is transporting his water on it.

Just as we get to the border of Burundi and DRCongo, there is a brick making kiln.  It is very picturesque.
Finally, we arrive at the border.  We have a Burundian office to take our passports with visas in to to be approved and stamped and then a DRCongo building.
Life in the villages, contain more domestic animals and many foot paths.

                                                        Dinner is cooking at this home.
                                        What a good boy to bring home the water for his family!
A few minutes past the border, you get a great glimpse of the beautiful Congolese mountains.  This bicyclist is transporting more bidons.
 Most of the ladies in the villages have the colorful and beautiful traditional Congolese clothing.
We passed several rivers on the main road.  The rivers, as you can see, are used by many for many different reasons. Uvira is a city of 375,000 people. This is only a little corner canyon of the city.
When the missionaries finally arrived at the rented home that is being used as a chapel,..........................................................
..................the people had been patiently waiting.........and............
.....waiting...but then they had been for 15 years.
The music that the missionaries heard as they drove up to the building was a rousing version of "How Great Thou Art"!  No one sings a hymn like the African people!  It was heartfelt and powerful!!
Much planning and preparation and prayer was given to the organization of this branche in Uvira. The leaders came prepared to establish and "Do It Right" as Elder Holland had admonished.
The branche callings were established on a firm foundation of good, diligent, God-fearing men.
As the people exited the building they just kept coming.....

.....and coming!!  There were many, many espressions of gratitude for the gospel being brought to their land.
While one sister is embracing a Book of Mormon, smiles were everywhere!
If you really think about it, this small and simple handful of children out of the many children that will be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ in their homes by loving, new member parents will have a huge impact in the next ten years.  What a great blessing the gospel will be in this city!!

"Behold, I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls." Alma 37:6-7


  1. What a thrill to watch the gospel spread in that part of the world. You are doing a great work. I pray for you both each day.


  2. What a great story and a message to all of us. My wife and I live about 40 miles from church and occasionally we gripe about the commute. Your blog really opens our eyes to what others must endure for the gospel.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I am always inspired with the sacrifice of the good people of Africa and am so grateful to have them as part of the gospel family. Tell them of our love from the USA.
    Mark Collier
    Gilbert, SC

  4. Thank you for all the pictures and story. It is wonderful to see the gospel flourish everywhere around the world.
    Valerie Steimle
    Loxley, Alabama
    Mobile, Alabama Stake