Sunday, November 11, 2012

Recent Experiences - November 2012

 We couldn't resist a photo of this - since Meg and Austin now live in Le Grande!  Little did they know there is a link from there to Congo!  We sometimes actually appreciate taxis - like a recent night when we were trying to find our way out of a cartier when it was dark, full of sharp turns and dead ends and huge areas of mud and water were everywhere.  Suddenly a taxi appeared in front of us at a turn, then we lost sight of it, then it appeared around a corner again and we followed it out to the main road.  We know it was a blessing from Heaven, because we (me especially) didn't know how we were going to find our way out.

We invited two families for dinner.  The family on the left is our interpreter, Frèrer Leon and his wife and daughter (they are church members), and then on the end of the table are Frèrer Mitch and his wife and their 3 children (they are not members).  Both families are loving and talented people.  The children have great educational goals.  Both families sang an African song for us before they left.  We laughed and talked and ate and had a great time!

The father of this family wasn't home, but we were there to do follow up teaching with the Elders because the two little girls were recently baptized.  Their mother was baptized some time ago, when she lived in Brazzaville.  The little girl on the right is very talkative and told us about how she broke her arm one day (the cast has only been off for a short time), when she was running and fell.  The can't straighten her arm all the way now, but didn't complain.  Their mother braided their hair and then added ringlets.  The two little boys were full of energy and mischievousness - trying to get attention and driving their mom crazy......

November 11, 2012
Dear family,
If you go to I think Sister Wheatley posted a note lamenting the fact that time is running out.  She has had trouble lately adding to her blog, hopefully things will correct themselves.  The power seems to have been very weak lately.  There is a direct relationship between weak current and weak internet.  This has been a quick but interesting week.  Yesterday and today we viewed the DVD's from the October Conference.  We have a copy of the talks in English so we would follow along while everyone else listened in French.  I think they get a different interpreter for each talk or at least they keep switching them. On one of President Monson's talks they had a real young voice.  It was a struggle  get the feel for that particular talk.  
On Monday we tried to get a "long stay" visa.  Currently we have to renew our visa's every three months.  We hoped we could renew it for the rest of our mission.  After going to different agency's and hearing what it would cost we gave up.  The mission president is not satisfied with the results so we might be trying again.
On Tuesday afternoon we went with the Elders, to visit some recent converts and a new investigator.  Sister Wheatley doesn't normally go but felt a need to go this day.  (She probably thought that if she went,  Elder Wheatley would be more careful and not get the truck stuck)  The first visit was with a young girl.  She and her sister were baptized about three months ago.  Her Sister was still at school so we just taught her.  She started into a lengthy story about breaking her arm shortly after her baptism. She had been causing problems with her sister and a cousin that was visiting.  After causing problems she took off running and tripped and fractured her arm,
The story seemed to go on and on but the Elders said they thought it was a way of her confessing her sin and feeling sorry for what she had done.  We next moved on to visit a family the Elders had taught once before, the husband was not home but his wife was, and the man’s brother came over.  They have a big unfinished home, very typical to move in as soon as one room is finished and then finish the rest of the home when money becomes available.  We  sat  on chairs on the patio and had a good lesson on the Priesthood, at least that's what we gathered.  At the end of the lesson Sister Wheatley asked if she could bear her testimony. Her French came out very good and we could all feel the spirit.  When it was time to go the lady asked Sister Wheatley to say the closing prayer.  Once again she did very well.  After the prayer we felt a connection between the two ladies.  Probably the reason Sister Wheatley felt a need to accompany the Elders on that afternoon.  We had one more stop.  A family that struggles to make it to Church because of finances.  Husbund, wife and four children live in a small wooden house. When we arrive we have to park some distance from the home and our vehicle can't be seen but the children all seem to know when we have arrived as they always come running and jump up on the Elders.  Once again we sit on benches out in the open and swat mosquitoes.  The children all cuddled up to Sister Wheatley.  This was her first visit to their home.  She was asked to give the opening prayer.  Looking back it was a special day for Sister Wheatley,  two prayers and a testimony in French.  More importantly all felt through the spirit.
Wednesday we went with the Elders on a service project.  We dug up an investigator's yard with shovels so he can plant a garden.  Elder  Wheatley is ashamed of how weak he has become.  A couple of hours in the  hot sun and he was praying the Elders would be done in.  It is interesting how many of the young Elders come from homes where they didn't raise a garden.  They kept asking questions about how on plants seeds.

(We are now switching to Sister Wheatley telling this)Wednesday afternoon we had dinner at the home of a recent convert, and older gentleman (probably about our age!), who is a physician.  He has his office in the front of his home, on a parcel that is quite large and has several buildings on it. We have been to his home several times, but never for a meal.  On our blog, there are a couple of pictures of missionaries bonking heads with him, which is a way of greeting for good friends.  His adult daughter and her son, who is 12, were also baptized (her husband is dead).  His wife doesn't speak French, so the elders haven't been able to teach her.  She speaks a village language, and so it will be up to Frèrer Felix to teach her.  This is often the case – where either the husband or wife joins but the spouse doesn’t.  In that respect they seem to live different lives.  The reason we were invited was to help celebrate his birthday.  I had made cookies for them one time and they didn’t seem to really like them, I think they were too sweet, so I took potato salad this time, which they had for dessert and seemed to really like – anything with eggs and lots of mayo is a sure bet!  He told us that in our honor, we would eat off of his collection of traditional wooden plates, goblets and utensils, and some of the serving dishes were also from his antique collection.  He has spent years and we are sure, a lot of money, buying special items from villagers and from his family, some of which he says are from the 1700s.  I will post some pictures on our blog as soon as the power gets a little better so I can make it work.  We had a wonderful meal of whole fish (the innards removed, but not the bones or heads & tails), saka saka (a dish that is very time consuming to make – leaves, seasonings, usually some fish for flavor, the leaves are crushed in a wooden bowl with a long handled -several feet long-wooden tool, then the mix is cooked for a long time), manioc, a rice dish, French bread, and chicken in a delicious sauce.  I was worried about what to drink – we can’t drink their water- but the bottles of water had not been opened before and they were even chilled, and there was a mint flavoring to add if we wanted to, which was very good.  It was a lovely dinner and Frère Felix’s wife sat by me, which was fun because I had never met her before and we couldn’t talk, but could motion about things.  It was a lovely evening – we had a prayer & song and spiritual thought before the meal.  He wants to know how to have FHE, so we had talked about that the week before.     
Well, that's all for this week.  A thought we talk about in missionary meetings:  People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.  
Love from the Congo,
Elder & Sœur Wheatley


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