Saturday, December 26, 2015

December 24 - 26, 2015 - Christmas Holiday Celebration

December 24 - We worked in the office during the day from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  I needed to finish the report for President Thomas.

At 2:30 p.m. with went with President and Sister Thomas to the Lubumbashi Stake Center where all the young Elders and Sisters of the 3 zones here in the city -- 62 in all --  gathered to listen to a previous First Presidency Devotional. Elder Draper found one online that had been translated in French. Sister Thomas had prepared sacks with small Christmas gifts for them, a toothbrush, toothpaste, mentos candy, and a CD of Christmas music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

We then met up with all the Senior Missionaries and went to a fast food court next to the hyper pisaro. Elder Peterson and I had a chicken burger with fries with a Fanta orange soda to drink. It was really good. Elder and Sister Bennett drove two hours from Likasi to spend the holidays with us. They stayed in the extra room at the Senior Sisters' home. They are from Canada also. They live in a small town 2 1/2 hours east of Edmonton. She taught school for 16 years in a one room school, grades 1-8. They have lived there for about 38 years. Originally he taught school there for a few years, and then worked for the provincial government.

We gathered in the Mission home great room for a Christmas Eve program Elder and Sister Draper uses for their family. We sang songs and read parts. We just didn't dress up for Mary, Joseph, the baby, shepherds, wise men, etc.

Sister Thomas had two kinds of homemade ice cream--vanilla and chocolate. There were several toppings such as caramel, chocolate fudge, M&Ms, chocolate chips, nuts, etc. Sister Draper also made fudge and caramels.

December 25 - Christmas Day. Santa found us in the Congo. He even brought Elder Peterson small blocks of  motzeralla, cheddar and Brie cheese, There were holiday crackers, peanuts, and even jello and pudding. The stocking had an orange, apple, lemon, banana, and a snickers bar in the toe.
Christmas Stockings and food gifts

Presents to each other were the wooden carvings we purchased in Mbuji-Mayi and from a man just outside the mission compound.
4 giraffes, 1 elephant, large and small jar

large jar purchased in Mbuji-Mayi; small jar outside the compound

Christmas Dinner was at the Mission Home.  Emmay, a waitress at Latte 'Licious (the restaurant we ate in the first Saturday night we were here) was also invited for dinner. Her family lives way up north. She hasn't seen them for several years. She is engages to a man who had to go back to Belgium.  He cannot come back here and she cannot go there. Visas to come here or to leave the country are hard to get. So, in the meantime she waits. She works every day except Wednesdays and the restaurant is closed on Christmas Day. She is a beautiful polite woman who also speaks English. She enjoyed dinner with us very much.

These are the pictures from dinner.
Beautiful Table Set

Sister Vance holder a Canadian "Cracker"

Some of these pictures are turned the wrong way and I don't know how to fix them on the blog.

Broccoli with a cheese sauce

Fresh fruit salad


Stuffing with apples and raisins

Glazed carrots and green bean cassarole

My plate ready to eat.

All seated for a delicious Christmas Dinner

Canada and England have a tradition of "crackers".  This is a video of how to open them to see what prize is inside. Every one also includes a paper hat.

Sister Cook and Sister Vance with the bags Sister Mikesell made all the women.

Elder and Sister Bennett

President and Sister Thomas


Elder and Sister Draper

Sister and Elder Mikesell

Sister and Elder Peterson

Sister Peterson, Emmay, Elder Peterson

After dinner we watched the video of the Nativity. The Bennetts came over to our home to visit for a while. Then we went to the office to Facetime or Skype with Jared, Erin, Leslie, David, Sarah, and Rachael and their families. We will talk to the rest tomorrow.

December 26 - This is Boxing Day in Canada and England, a day when people would box things up and take to the less fortunate.

At 12:30 p.m. we celebrated at the Mikesell's home with leftovers from yesterday's Christmas Dinner. A wonderful repeat.

About 2:30 p.m. the Bennetts left to go back to Likasi. They needed to go to the big hyper pisaro to get supplies before driving home. They want to get back before dark.

At 3 p.m. the rest of us, except Sister Thomas, went to the Senior Sisters' home for dessert and visiting. Sister Thomas' stomach  has not been well the past few days.

We went to the office at 6:30 to facetime and hangout with Aleece, Rebecca, and Shayna and their families.

It was wonderful to talk to each of the grandchildren over the past two days and to see what each of them received for Christmas.

December 21 - 23, 2015 - Normal Office Days

December 21 - Today is Leslie's birthday. She was our Christmas present 39 years ago. We hope she has a wonderful day. When prospective missionaries hand in their applications, they come here to the office. I was trained in what to look for to make sure the application is complete, with extra pictures, copy of passport, birth certificate, etc. Elder Draper and I went through three of them; one needed a copy of the birth certificate, one needed the extra 6 passport size photos. Elder Peterson had to request those items from their branch president. Only one is complete and ready to send on to the Area in Johannesburg.

I am still working on creating a report in Excel for the President showing all the convert baptisms since he started in July 2014. A monthly report comes from Salt Lake with the information. It is a matter of going in the report copying and then pasting it into Excel. The missionaries can now have a list of all the converts that should be coming to their various wards or branches. With missionaries being transferred throughout the mission it it easy for new converts to get "lost" among the other members and not be recognized as needing extra care and attention.

We also were looking at referrals. The names of people who requested a Book of Mormon or a Bible through the Internet. We now need to send that information to the missionary in the area where the person resides. Most were asking for it in English. We don't have a supply of the scriptures in English, so the missionaries will have to stop by and see if they want more information about the Church or if they just wanted help learning English.

Elder Peterson had plenty of finance work to do, Sister Mikesell handled the finances while we were gone but more work comes in each day. There was the receipts to take care from our trip to Mbuji-Mayi also.

Elder and Sister Draper were in charge of Family Home Evening tonight. Salt Lake had sent the President the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert from last year. We were looking forward to watching the Muppets.  However, when it was put into the DVD player we only heard music. On further examination Elder Draper found it was only an audio CD--not the video we were expecting. So we listened to a BYU devotional instead. Sister Draper made the best sweet rolls with cream cheese frosting for a treat.

December 22 -  Elder Peterson was not feeling the best so Elder Mikesell gave him some medication and I took a walk with Elder Mikesell this morning. After going back to bed for a couple of hours, Elder Peterson was able to come to the office for the rest of the day.

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 20, 2015 - Bel Air Ward and Lubumbashi Stake Center Christmas Music Program

December 20 - Today is Doug and Klint's birthdays. We wish them a great day.

We attended the Bel Air Ward this morning with Elder and Sister Mikesell. Sacrament Meeting was spoken in French. The Sunday School class was a mixture of French and Swahili. If the members made a comment in Swahili, the teacher would respond in Swahili. Then he would switch back to French. Since I couldn't follow it, I opened my scriptures and read in English.

After lunch we went to the Lubumbashi Stake Center where the last of the music programs was held.

 It was the best one attended by the members of the stake. The chapel and chairs way back in the culture hall were filled. In addition to the missionary choir, their stake choir, two ward choirs, and two children's choirs sang. Sister Draper was glad to have it finished. She has been practicing every Wednesday with all the missionaries here in the city.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December 19, 2015 - Kisanga Stake Center Christmas Music Program and FACETIME with the Peterson Family

December 19 - We slept in until 7:45 this morning. After breakfast Elder Peterson needed to go to the office to take care of some financial affairs with Sister Mikesell.

While we were gone our clothes dryer on the back patio was fixed. So it was easier to do the three loads of laundry today. I tackled cleaning the wash room where the washer is located. The outside of the washer is now clean and the room swept clean. The back patio also got some attention with the broom. Next was the two bathrooms. I was trying to get the hard water from around the taps removed. Nothing seemed to work. Then I found a bottle of Vixol under the kitchen sink. It is a purple liquid. It worked so quickly. I could hardly believe it. I had already cleaned the toilet bowl but there was hard water stains around the bowl rim. I used some of the Vixol on it and scrubbed with a green kitchen scrub pad. It worked pretty well. So now the toilets and the sinks are "housecleaned".

I took the broom and swept all the tile floors in the entire house. I am glad we don't have carpet except for a rug under the coffee table in the living room. The red dirt comes in on our shoes. It is so much easier to sweep it up.

At 1:30 p.m. we left to go to the Kisanga Stake Center to get ready for the Music Program.

 The missionaries sang the same songs that they did at the last program. The new music is from this stake choir and a children's choir. Sister Mutumbo was the choir director. She and Steve Mutumbo were married in October. He was the interpreter for Elder and Sister Davis, the Humanitarian couple from Brigham City, when they first arrived in Lubumbashi. He then got a job with Facilities Management. TheDavises were able to attend the wedding of the Mutumbo's before going home. I sang with the missionary choir this time. I had attended one practice the first week we were here. Elder Peterson took video of the program.

We went out to dinner with the Drapers and Mikesells to a restaurant that is at the Zoo. The restaurant actually shares a parking lot with the zoo and is called the Zoo Restaurant. But we are not in the zoo and did not see animals during dinner. We are told the zoo doesn't have many animals and is not any different than seeing them caged as in the U.S. The admission is over priced and not really worth taking the time to see. Elder Peterson ordered a Hawaiian pizza and I had a hamburger with fries. We have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. It is not a place we will be anxious to go back to. The hamburger was good but the pizza very thin and not much on it.

At 9 p.m. we were able to Facetime with our precious children, grandchildren, and my mother. They were all at Rebecca and Joe's home for the annual Peterson Family Christmas Party. It was wonderful to speak with everyone to tell them of our love and Merry Christmas wishes. The hour and a half went quickly. We love them so much.