At breakfast President Thomas did not eat. Apparently last night right after dinner his stomach was not feeling well. Elder Peterson ate an omelette. Sister Thomas and I opted for just rolls and avocado. We drank warm milk with sugar added. We loaded the land cruiser with our luggage and left for the church.
|Sisters cleaning the building in preparation for the Zone Conference|
|The Sisters who cleaned the church with Sister Peterson|
|Mbuji-Mayi Zone Conference|
President Thomas finished interviewing the last four Elders before the Zone Conference started. I tried talking to the missionaries using our family pictures as subject matter for conversation. Dallas came to pick up our passports for processing at the airport. It is so hard to let those passports out of our hands, but that is the system here.
As the Zone Conference started, President Thomas was feeling worse. Elder Peterson and I were discussing the situation and getting the phone out so Elder Mikesell could be contacted. We were also discussing the possibility of a Priesthood blessing for President Thomas. When we looked up we saw President Thomas standing by a chair in the front of the room with consecrated oil in his hands. He instructed all the missionaries in how to give a blessing. He asked the three new missionaries which we had left in Mbuji-Mayi on Tuesday to come and give the blessing. Elder Kipata anointed with Elder Aliasia sealing the anointing. To me this demonstrates the absolute humility of this man who is our President. Most men would want to be strong in front of the missionaries and not admit to any weakness or illness, but wait until later to maybe ask for a blessing from Elder Peterson and President Mukandi privately.
Sister Thomas gave her talk on honesty as she had in the other two zone conferences. Hopefully it will prick the conscience of those who need to confess the dishonesty that has been discovered throughout the mission. Some have been falsifying their expenses and receiving larger reimbursements.
It has been good to come on this tour of the northwestern part of the mission. We now have a small idea of what goes on here--not only for the missionaries but for the members. This is the part of our mission that will join with the Katanga area from the Kinshasa mission to form a third mission the DRC, the Mbuji-Mayi Mission will open July 1. It will be our job as senior missionaries in the Lubumbashi Mission office to order all the supplies for the new mission. We may need to conduct some training for their office couple as well. After March 1, we will have most of the office duties with Sister Vance and Sister Cook assisting us. Thankfully Justin will still be our office manager.
I couldn't follow what the zone leaders, Elder Ngundu and Elder Bosso, were teaching so I caught up on writing the blog.
When it was President Thomas' turn, he still did not feel well, so he sat in a chair in front during his discussion on the Priesthood. Although ill his powerful teaching is very strong. The Spirit is here in abundance. When the President teaches doctrine, the Elders lean forward on their bench. Their attention is riveted on him and what he has to teach them. Many take notes. They are hungry to learn the doctrine.
There was not time after the zone conference for pictures with the missionaries. Dallas had instructed us to leave at 1:30 p.m. to go to the airport. It started raining really hard. There is the worry that the airplane won't land if there is a thunderstorm. At the airport we wait again. Godefroid had previously delivered our luggage to Dallas. President Thomas was allowed to go into the waiting room to sit. We stood for about 45 minutes until we finally were able to go into the waiting room at the gate. The rain stopped and we were anxiously awaiting the plane to land. It is coming from Kinshasa. We are supposed to leave at 3 p.m. Originally it was scheduled for 4:20 p.m., but Dallas called this morning with the time change. At least we were able to finish the Zone Conference.
|Elder Peterson and Sister Thomas at the airport waiting room|
The longer we sat the worse the President felt. He walked outside by the fence that separates the waiting room from the tarmac. A woman who works at the airport noticed him and came out with a plastic chair for him to sit in. He hoped that being outside in the fresh air with a little breeze would help. But he could not get comfortable. Sister Thomas had slipped a $20 bill later to the woman whose motivation was only to help. But someone must have seen. After a while a man went out to President Thomas saying that he was sick and could not get on the plane. The man came to Sister Thomas and I and demanded to see all of our yellow fever cards. What he really wanted was money. But he didn't get any.
The plane finally arrived. We boarded and finally lifted off about 5:15 p.m., arriving at 6:30 p.m. Elder and Sister Mikesell came with the van to pick us up. We were all so glad to be home. Elder Mikesell gave the President some medication that hopefully will help him.