December 5, 2015
Dedication of Two Chapels in Likasi - 1 1/2 hours from Lubumbashi
We accompanied President and Sister Thomas to Likasi to dedicate two new branch meeting houses, Kukula 1st Branch and the Shituru Branch. Elder and Sister Mikesell and Sisters Vance and Cook drove in another vehicle. President Thomas gave us a pretty good feel for the unique challenges faced in this mission. We knew the circumstances would be unique but not necessarily to that extent. It became obvious to us why the mission is considered a hardship mission allowing the President to serve a two year term.
The drive to Likasi took about 1 ½ hours. The road was paved and narrow. After leaving the city of Lubumbashi we saw small villages along the way. Homes are in clusters near the road on both sides. The homes are generally made of clay bricks, with a tin corrugated roof that sits flat on the top of the walls. Loose bricks are placed in various places on the tin roof to keep it in place.
Life here is similar to places we have seen in Mexico, South America, and Central America. There is no electricity, sewer, and no running water. People are generally unemployed and seek to make a living by raising small gardens, eating mangoes from their trees, and making charbonne from their trees. Charbonne is similar to charcoal, just not purified. This is then bundled and sold to the people in the city. It is fuel used for cooking and heating.
We met Elder and Sister Bennett who are the Member/Leadership Support missionaries who moved to Likasi on Monday. They arrived in the mission on October 16 and had been staying in the house we now live in.
We attended the dedication of the first chapel, the Kukula 1st Branch. The meeting was conducted in French with a Swahili interpreter. The Congolese people sing with gusto and have beautiful voices. Being able to meet and talk to members was particularly rewarding. They treat us like we're a general authority. They want their picture taken with you. For the kids, you're a novelty.
|The District Center in Likasi where we picked up two missionaries|
|The Kukula 1st Branch Chapel|
|Classrooms in separate buildings|
|Little children outside the back fence|
|They love their picture taken|
|Inside the chapel|
|The cultural hall|
|The Kukula 1st Branch Chapel|
|The parking lot|
Between meetings we ate lunch at the Bennett's spacious home in Likasi. The Sisters purchased groceries for them since they hadn't been able to find some food items. A large generator was also delivered; the small one they had was not adequate when the power fails. After lunch we attended the second dedication for the Shitura Branch. Many of the same members came to this dedication as well.
|After the Shituru Branch Chapel dedication with some members|
|Chairs only in this chapel - no pews|
|The little boy on the right was afraid of Shauna. But he kept sneaking peeks at her.|
|They always want their picture taken. Then they would like to see it on the IPAD immediately after.|
|The Shituru Branch Chapel|
We went to a restaurant tonight to eat, Latte 'Licious . Food was good.