December 6 - Church and Music ProgramWe attended church this morning in the Nyashi 2 Ward. It is off the main roads of Lubumbashi. We went with President and Sister Thomas. After turning off the asphalt road onto a narrow dirt lane, we wound down several other lanes until we arrived at a large tent. Sacrament meeting is held in a large white tent. The floor is cement. There is a podium and a piano and chairs set up. Outside the tent on three sides, there are several cement rooms where we attended Sunday School and Relief Society and Priesthood meeting. There are rooms also for the Primary and the young men and women.
The meeting was held in French with no Swahili translation. The congregation sings out during the hymns. They have beautiful voices. Today was Fast Sunday. Many of those bearing their testimonies spoke in Swahili. Dad bore his testimony in French. I could understand pretty much everything he said. When he was finished the President leaned over to me and whispered, “He speaks French very well.”
All the adults meet together for a opening exercise for Sunday School. Then the investigators and missionaries go to the Gospel Principles class. As Dad and I got up to leave, the Bishop motioned for us to sit back down. Obviously he wanted us to stay in the Gospel Doctrine class. So we stayed. Unfortunately the lesson was a mixture of Swahili and French (mostly Swahili). So even Dad didn't understand what they were saying. I opened my scriptures to 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John and read those chapters that were being discussed.
The Relief Society Lesson was Neill Marriott's talk from the Women's Conference on “Sharing Your Light.” Since most of the discussion was in Swahili I didn't catch any of it. Near the end of the lesson the teacher pointed to me and asked me a question. I looked to Sister Thomas for interpretation. The sister was asking how we can share the gospel. I replied by example –how we treat our children and our husbands. Sister Thomas interpreted in French for me. Then the discussion continued in Swahili. I read through the talk twice during the Relief Society time since I really couldn't figure out what they were saying. There was a lot of hand gestures and very passionate voices during the discussion. It would have been nice to know what they were saying. Sister Thomas didn't understand it either. She was trying to figure out why they were pointing to two of the women at various times and what was being said to them. The lesson went over time by 20 minutes.
At 3 p.m. we went to the Katumba Stake Center with President and Sister Thomas. Sister Draper put together a Christmas Program. She led a choir of all the missionaries in the 3 zones here in Lubumbashi. The Katumba Stake also had a choir which sang several numbers, as well as two children choirs that sang a couple of songs each. The singing was very good. As I have mentioned before, the Congolese love to sing.
There were not many people from the stake who came to listen however. About 90% of the people there were performing. Sister Draper was a bit disappointed. The piano was not working properly so the missionary choir sang a capella. The microphone for the speaking parts between songs was not very good either. The congregation sang songs between some of the choir numbers. It really was a great program that helped to get us all in the Christmas spirit.
After the program a young man approached us. He is Kefa Milambo. We met his brother and sister-in-law in Kellie Allen's ward in New Hampshire when we were visiting her family on our Boston trip. The father of these two men was the first stake president in Lubumbashi. He now lives in Kinshasa. Kefa served a mission here in Lubumbashi and has now returned here to work construction on a housing project.
|Elder Peterson, Kefa Milambo, Sister Peterson|