Sunday, June 24, 2012

There have been convert baptisms twice a month while we have been here, in two of the three branches.  The branche meeting in the newly rented building is overflowing already.  But these two fine young men were the first to be baptized in the branche we attend, since we came.  Our branche has just struggled to get new members, although the elders assigned to this branche work so hard to share the gospel.  We are so happy to welcome these new members!

While I was waiting for the baptism service to start, I took this shot of the area where the baptismal font is.  This room is also used for Relief Society, for Sunday School, English classes, and a host of other meetings.  The members and investigators love to come to gather at the church for services and for activities. 

 This is a wonderful family with 5 sons.  The woman sitting on the left is the maternal grandmother.  The parents are standing in the back in white shirts and the oldest son is standing on the right in a white shirt, next to a young nephew.  The baby that is sitting on Elder Wheatley's lap is the youngest son.  They kept asking when we were going to come and see their new baby - so this is when we did.


  1. I'm loving your blog. How far do these people have to go to get to church? Is there a bus they can take part way or is it walking all the way? Linette Smith

    1. I am not sure of how many miles the city of Pointe Noire covers, but it is about a million people and they are very spread out in neighborhoods, called 'cartiers.' There are a few people who live very far out, on the edges of town, really more 'country' and they have a difficult, expensive time getting to church. One family we have helped move and go to their home to teach gospel lessons, lives probably 7-10 miles from the church. There are some pictures on the blog showing the little house on a hill they are building. To get home they go to the end of a major road, then on a sandy dirt road, around a forested area and past the Baobab tree that is pictured on the blog and off into the country, down and up a big hill, past a stream that many people bathe and wash clothes in, and further still to their home. There are lot of other homes out there, too - but lots of open land. They have to take a 'bus' (Toyota Van that squishes in about 16 people) when one is available, or walk, or sometimes a small 'taxi' (Toyota Tercel)to the main road, where there are taxis and buses. Then it is relatively inexpensive to get into town, but it takes time. I would guess it takes them at least 1 hour when they ride all the way and much longer if they have to walk part way. Other families out of town in other directions have the same challenges. The people who live in town, can usually get taxis or buses, but sometimes they don't live close to the major routes, which makes it more difficult. It is always an expense and many families can't come every week because of that. When they can, people walk as much as possible. There are no sidewalks, except in downtown areas. However, in the rainy season, it is a mass of mud everywhere and even taxis and our truck can't get through some of the cartiers. The taxis and buses also charge more (double) when it is rainy because of the difficulty to drive through the mud. We have driven places I would NEVER have dreamed of going! We actually have to caution the missionaries about teaching people who live so far they can't come to church - because it can be so difficult for them to come. We hope, in those situations, that we can give them enough information so that if they are able to move closer (people here move constantly, to find cheaper rent and better housing), and they want to come, they can join in worship with us and attend the many family and other activities at the churches. There are two church houses now in the city, and that really helps to make church more accessible to people. I hope this answers your question!