Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 13 - 19, 2016 Sister Heather Vance leaves

June 14 - We took Sister Vance to the "take away" that Job's mother owns. We saw the home he was raised in that is behind the take away.

June 15 - Sister Vance came on our walk with us this morning. We had such fun!

Sister Vance and Ilunga the gardener

June 16 morning walk

Elder Peterson B, Elder Peterson A, Sister Peterson A, Sister Peterson B

Elder Peterson A & B, Sister Peterson B, Sister Vance

June 16 - We held a farewell dinner for Sister Vance.

Nell and Solange

Christine and Justin

Emmanuel and Marlynne

Sister Vance

Group Photo - Sister Thomas taking the photo

Sister Thomas, Solange, Nell, President Thomas

June 17, 2016 - A sad day - Sister Vance is going home.
Sister Thomas, Sister Vance, President Thomas

Sister Peterson, Sister Vance, Elder Peterson

Sunday, June 5, 2016

June 6 - 12, 2016 - Departures & Mission Leader Council

June 6
We picked up the two sisters that are returning home this morning, Sister Ipatatele from Kinshasa, DRC and Sister Raharinjaka from Madagascar. The 8 elders were brought to the airport by the two APs.

Elder Bin-Kahozi, Sister Peterson, Sister Ipatutele, Sister Raharinjaka, Elder Peterson

Departing Missionaries - most going to Kinshasa, DRC

We took Elder and Sister Needs to the airport later in the morning. It was hard to say goodbye to such good friends. It is also hard because they have such a tough assignment. Their apartment and office doesn't have running water, electricity is not constant, and they are probably the only white people in the entire city. That makes them a target for people to beg for money, food, etc. But they have willing hearts and knowledge that the Lord will provide a way for the mission to be able to function. Computer technicians are going to Mbuji-Mayi this week to connect their computers and get internet up and running for them. They took 4 suitcases back with them--most of it food. There is no grocery store in Mbuji-Mayi.
Elder Rion and Sister Char Needs from Draper, Utah - on their way back to Mbuji-Mayi

Truck loaded with sand. Notice how rounded the load is. Looks like one fast stop and it will all slide off.

June 7
There was no run/walk for me this morning. My back is still a bit out of whack. Elder Peterson "B" (the doctor) gave me some muscle relaxers and I have been taking that medication since last Thursday. It is helping to keep the pain at a minimum.

Today the men from the shipping company came to count the boxes we have ready to go to Mbuji-Mayi. There are 119 total boxes. They will pick them up tomorrow and hopefully it will be on a plane Saturday to Mbuji-Mayi and Elder and Sister Needs.

Mission Leader Council today at the Mission Home. Last one for President & Sister Thomas.
Mission Leader Council - Zone Leaders & Sister Trainer Leaders

June 10 - Went to dinner at "the Catch" with the Peterson's and Sister Vance. I ordered talapia and it came with the HEAD ON. Totally shocked--forgot to take a picture of it. Tasted OK, but I did not eat the head.

Sister Vance 

Sister Vance with a waitress

Chevron, a manager at the Catch and Sister Vance

June 12 - Church at the Kisanga Stake Center - Missionaries & Sister Vance saying goodbye.

River where people will go to wash their clothes.

May 30 - June 5, 2016 - Elder and Sister Needs Training; Sister Cook departs

May 30 - President and Sister Thomas arrived home from their last trip to the Kasai area. On the same plane from Mbuji-Mayi were Elder Rion and Sister Char Needs. They are the office couple for the new Mbuji-Mayi Mission. They were serving in the Area Office as auditors when the Area Presidency asked them to change their assignment to the first Mbuyi-Mayi Mission Office Couple.

They are truly obedient servants and will go wherever they are called. This is a difficult assignment (and that is stating it mildly). Prior to arriving here they left the Area Office and spent ten days in Kinshas at the mission office and service center. Then on to Mbuji-Mayi to start setting up their office and apartment. On the ground floor of their building is a bank, the office is on the 3rd floor and their apartment is on the 4th floor. The mission home is about 2 miles away.

The Needs are staying in the apartment above our mission office.

May 31 -  6 a.m. Run/walk around the Golf Course

The Golf Course has a pumping station that pumps water from the "lake" to the sprinkler system throughout the golf course.

From the pumping station, looking across the lake to the Karavia Hotel

At the pump station, looking across the lake

At the golf course tee

Running between the fairways

On the green

At the 8th Tee 

The 8th Tee
At the office today we started on-the-job training right away. This is the week transfers take effect, new missionaries arrive, and released missionaries depart for home. Much of the busy work was already completed before today--Arrival and departure packets, supply bags filled etc.

Sister Needs and I sat with copies of the checklists I started when Sister Draper was still here. Each transfer has seen additions and tweaking. As we went through each item on the "Transfer," "Arival," and "Departure" checklists, more adjustments were made to clarify and refine the tasks.

Meanwhile, Elder Needs and Elder Peterson were going through the financial side of the office--MPESA payments, soutien, and apartments were part of their agenda.

Both Elder and Sister Needs have a great attitude toward their monumental assignment. They are easy going, but thorough. Each has a great understanding of the computer along with the documents and spreadsheets programs we use.

We went through the various steps and procedures used to get the transfer completed. It is good that they were able to arrange their schedule to be here this particular week. They can see first hand how the arrival and departure procedures work--the interviews, check in process of new missionaries, training meeting, departure testimony meeting and dinners. This will give them ideas if President Kyungu wants any input when he arrives July 1 to start the Mbuji-Mayi Mission.

Tonight we all went to the Chinese Restaurant for a farewell dinner for Sister Cook. She leaves on Friday, June 3. Her English classes are meeting Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon with Bishop Mbidi from the Church's self reliance office here in Lubumbashi. He will give them ideas on how to find employment. So tonight is her only free night to go to dinner.
Chinese Restaurant - Sister Cook's goodbye dinner
the waiter, President & Sister Thomas, Sister Vance, Sister Cook, Sister & Elder Peterson "B"

Elder Peterson "A", Elder & Sister Needs, the waiter, President & Sister Thomas, Sister Vance

Picture in the Menu - Anyone want Chicken?  "Here's lookin' at you!!"
The food was pretty good--not as good as the last time we were here, however. But the company was great and the entertainment superb!!  Sister Vance wrote a going away song for both the Mikesells and the Drapers to a popular tune. Tonight was no exception. The lyrics were written for Sister Cook.
Sister Vance singing the goodbye song to Sister Cook 

Grand finale
Wednesday, June 1 - We continued to train Elder and Sister Needs today. Surplus supplies from our depot as well as materials ordered specifically for Mbuji-Mayi have been assembled in the other office space adjoining the doctor's office. An inventory was made and recorded of those supplies to be shipped next week. This should give the Mbuji-Mayi Mission a good start before they have to order supplies from the Distribution Center.

We were told that office supplies such as paper, staplers, etc. would be shipped from Kinshasa for their office. However, when they arrived Elder Needs told us they would have to purchase those office supplies. We took them to two different stores downtown where they were able to find the items needed. The stack of boxes needing to be shipped is growing.

This afternoon 6 new missionaries arrived. Four missionaries from Cote d'Ivoire were not able to obtain visas so they have been assigned to a mission in their country awaiting permission to enter the DRC. Elder and Sister Needs helped process these new missionaries. There is no substitute for getting in and doing the work; it saves a lot of typing instructions.

Thursday, June 2 - The training meeting for new missionaries was held this morning. Siting in on the meeting was very helpful for Elder and Sister Needs, both of whom speak fluent French. After the meeting I was reaching down to pick up a pillow to put it back into the supply bag. Partway down my back tweaked out like it does every now and again. What a terrible time to have that happen. I cannot straighten up completely. I walk like I am 160 years old, and the pain is not real fun. When it happens at home the remedy is to go to bed and alternate hot and cold packs on it.  But there is no time for that now. There is work to be done that only I can do and I am supposed to be training Sister Needs on how to do it.

I got the paragraphs from the President that need to be incorporated into the release letters and printed. This afternoon at 4:30 was the testimony meeting and departure dinner. Sister Cook and Sister Vance are part of this departure group of ten other missionaries.

Friday, June 3 - We picked up the two sisters that are returning home this morning, Sister Ipatatele from Kinshasa, DRC and Sister Raharinjaka from Madagascar. The 8 elders were brought to the airport by the two APs.

Elder Bin-Kahozi, Sister Peterson, Sister Ipatutele, Sister Raharinjaka, Elder Peterson

Departing Missionaries - most going to Kinshasa, DRC
Sister Cook left later in the morning. President and Sister Thomas drove her to the airport

 Sister Vance and Elder Peterson took Elder and Sister Needs downtown to purchase supplies for their July and August incoming missionary supply bags. There is no guarantee of finding blankets, pillows, sheets, etc. in Mbuji-Mayi. The IEA store said they could order it in--but Elder and Sister Needs are not taking that chance. They will purchase the supplies here and have it shipped up to Mbuji-Mayi. Then they will order some from the IEA store and see how long it takes to arrive. On August 1, Elder and Sister Needs are flying to the United States. Two of their sons are getting married. They will not return until August 18, so they are making long range plans for supplies now.

While they were shopping I stayed at the office finishing up some paperwork and babying my back. I knew I could not walk around town for several hours. The shopping trip was a success. Supplies were purchased for 20 missionaries.

June 5 - Saw Justin's wife, Christine, and family at church today.
Christine and Joeres