Sunday, June 29, 2014

6/29 - Zone Expansion, Teaching, Plumbing

The Duala Zone has been expanded to 10 missionaries with the addition of Elder Niyonkuru and Elder Bacera!  Elder Bacera is fresh from the MTC and raring to go.  Elder Niyonkuru is from Burundi and has been out 9 months.  The Church has been in Burundi for 3 years and there are already 3 branches.  I keep looking for the key to get Douala growing like that.
Elder Niyonkuru

Elder Bacera

We had one baptism in Bonaberi, Igwe Timothy, a fine man.
An Investigator, Elder Roth, Frère Ebere, Timothy, Elder Waite
Monday I went street teaching with Romeo Dim.  He had visited the cobbler shop that we preached at before and said they had a list of questions.  When we got there we found only 4 cobblers and they didn’t include those with the questions.  We discussed the gospel with them for a few minutes but it felt like something was missing.  Then a stranger named Abel joined us and the spirit changed.  He said he was walking by and the Lord told him to stop and talk to us.  So we started over and taught him all about the restoration and the Book of Mormon.  He said that he loves to read and would read it and pray about it.  The other men seemed more interested by then, so we gave them more brochures.  We left them walking on air.

We had FHE with the Dim family and all 8 missionaries.  As we were just starting a discussion, the doorbell rang and a pastor, Elie, arrived with his wife, Christiane.  They listened to the discussion for a while, taking turns reading, before he asked “Who was Mormon?”  I warned him that there were 10 missionaries there anxious to tell him.  Then I gave him a short answer, but soon a lively debate ensued with scriptural quotes flying.  I managed to bring the discussion back to earth and we ended on a good note.  We then found out that they have a daughter in the USA who joined the Church so they want to know more.  I love the way the Lord sends people our way who are ready to listen.

Frère Mbeppe came to visit and ask for food for his family.  When I found out that he is an unemployed electrician I put him to work replacing two of our light fixtures that weren’t working.  He took 2 hours and got them installed but not wired right.  Then he was tired so we gave him payment and some food and sent him home.  It took me over an hour to fix all of his mistakes and get the lights working.  His most important contribution was that he knew where to buy the new fixtures for a good price.

We bought 6 sets of sheets at Marché Congo at the same boutique we got them before.  Carine, the owner/seamstress, saw us coming and got so excited.  We didn’t have to negotiate because she remembered the price and knew just what to do.  Nobody sells fitted sheets so they have to be specially made.  She sewed elastic in all 6 sheets in an hour.

We had a nice visit with Jean Marie Su, the investigator that I found.  He thinks that we should start a Church-affiliated school or hospital here to really make people aware of our presence.  He offered to donate land to build on.  I explained that if that happened it would be far in the future after much growth, but that we hope to do some small projects now.  He came to piano lessons, as did another investigator, Emerique.

Piano lessons in Bonaberi brought 9 new students, some of whom seem quite gifted!  Fortunately, we had just received 4 more pianos from the Harmon Foundation bringing our total to 10.  But it was still 2 students per piano with Sister Coleman running from student to student for two and a half hours.
Messi, a piano student, checking out our truck

I taught a class on Thursday morning on gospel principles.  About 8 students showed up within the first hour.  There was a bit of debate and it seemed everyone wanted to sound off about something.  We’ll see if it improves next time.

We had a meeting with Frère Olinga, the Temporal Affairs official, about getting the baptismal font and toilets repaired in the Douala building.  He assured me several times that everything in the building had been fixed.  After he left I went to the building for a meeting and found that it wasn't.  One toilet was disassembled and another had a fast leak that had flooded several rooms.  But, the next morning a plumber came and fixed them, so all is well at last.  Work also started on the baptismal font so maybe it will be ready for the next baptism.

One of Frère Olinga’s complaints was that many branch members come from homes without flush toilets, so they don’t know how to work them and they break them.  He recommended toilet training for the branch.

Another interesting thing that came out in that meeting was that President Nkong and Frère Olinga had both served in the Camp Luka area of Kinshasa at the same time.  They told me that when they were there 5 years ago, the 4 missionaries in the district were baptizing 50 new members per week!  President Nkong said that it took an entire day every week to interview everyone.  Now there are 6 stakes in the city and the legendary growth continues.

The zone had zone training at our home.  I announced that I had changed the name of the Bonapriso District to “Douala District” to reduce confusion with the Bonaberi District.  The Douala District is associated with the Douala Branch.  Both the branch and the missionaries have long since moved out of the Bonapriso quarter.

Those are the main interesting things that happened this week.  Every day a new pioneering adventure in this fascinating land.
Dugout Boat on the Wouri River

Banana Boats Unloading

We are Next to Bonobos on the Evolutionary Family Tree

A Big Flower in the Bonobo Preserve

People Washing Clothes in the River (hard to see)

Menu Items Translated Curiously

Ham Sandwich & Chicken Sandwich & a Lazy Translator

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