Sunday, March 3, 2013

Couples' Conference in Kinshasa

Our mission, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa Mission, includes 6 countries. The missionaries who come to this mission from more developed countries are only currently allowed to serve in three cities. This may change in the future, as more of the 6 countries open for missionary work and as cities become safer. For now, there are 3 senior couples from the western world serving in this mission, in countries outside of Kinshasa. Two serve in the country of Cameroon (Douala and Younde) and we serve in Pointe Noire. During the time we serve our missions, we never see each other and we never see the mission home. The young missionaries get transferred between the 3 cities, so they usually meet all the couples and all or at least most of the other young missionaries. Our Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Jameson, wanted to get those of us in the outlying countries and the senior missionaries in Kinshasa together for a Senior Couples Conference. In Kinshasa, there are senior couples who do Humanitarian Missions, Public Relations Missions, Perpetual Education Missions (currently not filled), work in the Mission Office, and also the Construction Skills Mission. With President and Sister Jameson, it totaled 16 people. In February, we traveled to Kinshasa for a week together with the other couples and President and Sister Jameson. We had a wonderful time getting to know the other couples and what their mission responsibilities are. Each of the 3 couples from other countries stayed with a couple living in Kinshasa. I was actually afraid of traveling to Kinshasa because of all I have heard about crossing the Congo River and how scarey Kinshasa is. No one is allowed to fly directly into Kinshasa from Republic of Congo. We have to fly to Brazzaville, which is just across the Congo River from Kinshasa, and then get in a little boat or a big, crowded ferry, and do the crossing. But our crossing went very well, with the help of a Church employee, Bishop Gaeton, and an amazing man who works in the Mission Office in Kinshasa, President Thierry (he was just made a Stake President recently when the 7th Kinshasa Stake was organized). These two men, and two additional men who work in the Mission Office, Brother Pascal and Brother Aimee are amazing men. The Church is so blessed by the service of these men and their families. We are in awe of all they do. Below are some pictures of the Congo River and us crossing in a small boat. It takes about 15 minutes for a normal crossing, after an hour or two wait to get through all the red tape to make a crossing. A couple of the pictures are from an apartment building, looking back from Kinshasa across the river to Brazzaville. The picture of the ferry that is empty illustrates the fact that the two countries don't allow the boats and ferries to pick up passengers from the other country - only deliver the ones from their country, then they have to cross back the river empty to transport more people across the river.

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