Thursday, November 10, 2011

Let's "Think Outside of the Box"! More DRCongo Uvira Baptisms.

At the first baptism in RDCongo Uvira Branch, because they have no permanent building yet, two rooms at a beachside hotel were rented.  One room for changing was for the men and one room for the women. If we were to continue having baptisms all month, that was just too EXPENSIVE.  Besides that, we will not have a building and a font built for some time and so we had to "think outside of the box". Also when using the beach outside the hotel, there was a bar and a restaurant and curiosity seekers, as well as naked little children swimming in the lake from the hut next door.

After planning and brainstorming, the idea came to use a two tents on the beach.
We began looking for tents in Bujumbura.  When we asked people where they got their tents, they would answer that they were left by the military. So we checked to see if we could purchase one and the only one we found came to a total of just over $1100.  Well, that wouldn't do!  In another year, we will be paying that much to have a actual baptismal font built.

So plans were made and ALTERED as we went to this hardware store. They did not have the usual PVC pipe parts. The PVC was thin walled and unsatisfactory for tent poles. So we finally found some thick walled schedule 40 PT pipe but the fittings had to be heat synched, which wouldn't do because we needed to assemble, then store, then reassemble the two tents. The heat sync is permanent. So we used glue on fittings that ALMOST fit but with filing and shaving and glueing what we could, they were secure. We were able to get surplus heavy gauged tent materials from the refugee camps, sold in certain markets. One of our members thankfully discovered them and secured them for us.
 So after much effort and then more effort, finding the private beach and putting the tents up  in a bunch of bullrushes.  The tents were just what was needed and can be easily taken down and used again in following baptisms.

I will again show you some of the scenery on the way to Uvira.

Grasses being taken to market. These grasses have many, many uses: bedding, roofing, basket weaving, wrapping up other items for transporting and more.

Handmade bamboo mats, special delivery.

Manifestations of one of the hundreds of religions in this area.
This one-legged handicapped man is using his three wheeled, arm powered bike and some boys to also make a delivery. What resourceful people!
Sorry this photo is blurry.  These men are delivering bread.  You can see the tarp for rain protection.  It can downpour very unexpectedly. They ride their bicycles and stop at the small villages which are spread throughout the countryside and sell to individual families. They do a great service!!!
The usual and daily rains during "rainy season" can make the roads into rivers!

It is always an adventure to drive toward the beautiful Congolese mountains.  There are heards of longhorned cattle crossing, many goats scattered through the villages, along with many chickens and.....of course pigs and piglets.
We recently asked what animals live up in those mountains and the answer was "many, many monkeys"!
The tents are  working very well. They stay up beautifully, even in high winds, and provide the needed privacy.
There are fine people always anxiously awaiting their baptisms after the usual Sunday meetings at their temporary chapel. Since we have no font yet nor will we for some time, we all walk out to the beach on the beautiful Lake Tanganyika. Lake Tanganyika (800 meters above sea level), is the longest lake of the world (600 km) and one of the deepest (1400 m).  It holds 1/6th of the fresh water stock on the planet.

Some days are calm and other days, there are heavy winds, but so far the clouds don't explode except before and after the baptisms. Blessings from a loving, caring Father.

There are always expressions of gratitude and joy for the new truth in their lives...... in good weather or stormy weather.

"And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build...being directed continually by the hand of the Lord." (Ether 2:6)