Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 16-17, 2016 - P Day and Katuba 3 Ward

January 16 - Spent all day at the office working on a Shutterfly book.
Took time out to take pictures of the beautiful roses in the office front yard.

January 17 - Church at the Katuba 3 Ward.

Our shoes were all muddy. This nice young man picked a few leaves off the nearest tree and wiped the mud off our shoes.

Sister Peterson

Sister Vance

Primary Teacher and Chorister

Family ready to all ride home on the bike with Dad.

A counselor to President Thomas in the mission.
President Mwinkue and his family invited us to their home after church

Sarah sent an email and said "This Sunday I'm giving the RS lesson from Pres Howard W Hunters manual lesson 2 on peace. 

The question I had for you and that I'd like to share with them is how you felt about going to Africa and did you ever feel scared or did you feel peace about it when you first got your call? 

The second question is since you've been there and have experienced a few things have you felt peace still when you may have seen either chaos or corruption happening around you when your out among the people?

Anything else you feel OK sharing with them I think would be awesome to add to the lesson. I plan to share about my experience in Uganda but I would love to add yours as well." 

This was Shauna's response to Sarah's email: 

I actually felt a little naive about coming to Africa. When Dad was released from the Stake Presidency, Elder Clayton and Elder Fisher told us 5 new missions had just been announced in Africa, bringing the total number of missions here to 29. They told us to brush up on our French. So Africa was not really a surprise. The exact place was.

I didn't feel scared when we received the call--only excitement. That is where being naive comes in--I guess I really didn't know how much unrest has been on this continent.

Since being here I have only felt peace.  There is trouble in this country way up north. Part of our mission (in the country of Burundi) had trouble several months ago. The young missionaries were taken out. The Senior missionaries were told to leave, but they thought it would be over in a few days so they didn't leave immediately. However, when things escalated, they decided to leave and were able to get on the last plane before the airport was shut down. So we don't have any missionaries up there now. The branches are on their own.

There is a presidential election later this year. The current president has served for two terms and that is the maximum stated by law. However, he wants to stay in and will try to change the law. There could be some unrest over this matter in our country. However, we are not fearful. The Church keeps a good eye on all the countries and their political situations. If there is a hint of trouble, they will get us out of the country.

Every Sunday we have gone to a different ward or branch with someone here from the Office. We still don't have our driver's license here so we can't drive the vehicles yet. Wherever we go we are treated royally by the members. They all come to shake our hand and say "Bonjour". They readily agree to have their picture taken and like to see the photo immediately. They are a very kind and loving people. 

When we go to the grocery store we are usually not the only white people in the store. There are Europeans who work here in the mines so other whites can be common in the large grocery store. However, when we go to another part of the city to shop, we typically are the only white people we see. No one bothers us or is unkind. Usually, we are just being asked if we want to buy something from the street vendor or children. None of the other Senior Missionaries here has ever felt threatened in any way. All have felt very safe in this city.

Traffic is a bit chaotic. The small transports (mini vans crammed with people) think they own the road and can go anywhere they want. The driver's are rather rude and just forge their way ahead or muscle in where there really isn't space. So, we just have to be patient and not display road rage.

There is a great deal of corruption in this country. It is a country very rich in resources, but the government officials and/or business owners grab up the wealth and the vast majority of the people are very very poor. Most people are not employed. I really am not sure how they survive. The government does not provide roads, sewer, or clean water to millions of people. 

You would think that here in the second largest city in the country there would be good roads (or at least roads). The main roads are paved, but there are potholes everywhere--cars weave in and around them. The other roads going off from the main road is a dirt alley with raw sewage running down the sides. It is the rainy season here now and the mud is very slippery. As we drive to church I feel so sorry for the people who have to live in such primitive conditions. I don't know what we can do to help the country except to teach the gospel and hopefully the honest and integrity that are taught will be embraced by the people and eventually things may change. Even among church members there may not be much trust where money is concerned. Most people are anxious to make an extra dollar here and there. It is interesting to note that in Swahili there is no word for "earn"--so they don't "earn money" they "find money". 

The gospel of Jesus Christ will be the way for these people to be able to rise above the present conditions and have peace in their lives, even if they don't have the basic "necessities" of life (or what we consider to be basic).

We know that the Lord has sent us here to serve in the office. President and Sister Thomas said they prayed for a year that a couple such as us could come to this mission. The computer skills that we have are being put to use each day as we are able to make the tasks easier and faster. With the Drapers leaving March 1 and the two sisters the end of June, Dad and I will be on our own in the office. The others will not be replaced. So being able to complete things faster is essential.  

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