These next few pictures were taken in a typical city neighborhood. Off of the main streets, the roads are dirt and sand and pretty much rarely if ever maintained.
This sweet little girl is returning from a trip to the candy lady in the previous picture.
This little one appeared to be the 'little sister' of the girl above.
This is the same street, a few minutes later, with more people walking through. This man is wearing typical Congolese men's wear, when not in western clothing.
These two views are from a balcony on one of the missionaries' apartments. This is their neighborhood, and as most neighborhoods, there is a mix of wooden and cement block homes with tin roofs and a few nicer homes and apartments here and there. Zoning is not used here, although there are some areas where there are mostly nicer homes and mostly humble homes. An American who works for an oil company and lives here, said that there are more middle class Congolese now than when he was in the county in the1980s.
This view is looking toward the main, paved road. The pink boutique across the street sells meat, canned food, soap, eggs, rice, soda, etc.
Aug. 11 2013
We are alive and well here in the Congo. We continue to stay very busy and the days are speedily passing. We appreciate knowing that you are all happy and well and have been blessed in so many ways. We are happy that Katie (Sister Johnson) has finally received her visa and is now in Brazil. We enjoy her letters. We also appreciate the updates from Elder and Sister Wheatley in Germany. If only the saints here could go to the temple. These have to be the most patient people in the world. We keep hoping that they will move forward on the temple in Kinshasa but after the announcement in Oct of 2011 no ground breaking has yet taken place.
We just got off the phone with President Cook. He says Sister Wheatley is not replaceable. We still don’t have a replacement and our time is growing short. As we think about this situation we think of the times during the history of the Church when members have heeded the call of the Prophet and stepped forward. We all know that the Church has sent missionaries to the four corners of the Earth. For many it has been a great sacrifice. In the early days of the Church it was especially a sacrifice for the families left behind to care for the farms and the businesses. My Uncle Ross left on his mission to Mexico shortly after his marriage. His wife Shirley worked and supported him. Years later their marriage would end in divorce. We were naturally critical of her, but my heart was softened when only a few years ago I learned of the sacrifice she had made as a newly married women.
When I think of rescue efforts, I think of Zion’s Camp, a march of over 2000 miles by Saints from Kirtland Ohio to restore the Saints to their property in Missouri. Their land had been taken by jealous and suspicious inhabitants of that state. Although the Camp was eventually disbanded, it gave many of the early leaders of the Church an opportunity to be instructed daily by the Prophet Joseph Smith. These men would eventually lead the Church during very trying times as they were forced from Missouri and then from Nauvoo.
The next rescue effort I think of is the Mormon Battalion. While the members of the Mormon Battalion did not physically rescue anyone they provided needed cash for pioneers struggling to purchase materials for their move west. The men were paid in advance but turned all of the money over to the leaders of the Church. Our ancestor, Newman Bulkley, participated in this battalion. At the completion of his deployment it would take him several years to retrieve his wife and children from the plains of Iowa and bring them to Utah. These were men and women of courage who sacrificed much to help the main body of the pioneers to move westward.
I next think of the “Valley Boys.” When Brigham Young stood up during a meeting on a cold October day and said we need able bodied men to go to the plains of Wyoming and rescue members of the Martin and Willy Handcart Companies, it wasn’t easy for them to leave the comforts of their homes in the Salt Lake Valley, but they, too, went willingly (it has never been an easy ride in a car!).
In each of these events in Church History there were those who chose to stay behind. In each of these events it was necessary for some to stay behind and take care of the home front. Being here and anxiously awaiting news of a replacement, has allowed us to think and ponder on these important events in the history of the Church. We now live in a time when missionary work is being emphasized and expanded. President Monson has called more people to the rescue. In this somewhat unknown and remote part of the world, a couple will be blessed and will bless the lives of many by answering the call to serve here. As we contemplate returning home we can only wish that everyone could participate and receive the enjoyment that is found in this great work of harvesting souls. We pray each day for that special couple who will open an envelope that says you have been called to serve in the “Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission.”
Love from Pointe Noire,
Elder & Sœur Wheatley/mom and dad/brother and sister