Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our First Week in Pointe-Noire

What a week! It has been a blur of shopping in the Grand Marche (the huge swap meet, open market where prices are less than the grocery store),
running errands for the mission and elders, (this is the shoe shop in the open market)

getting new elders settled in, French lessons, studying the scriptures, laughing with the Elders about funny experiences during the day, Ed trying to fix the water pump and the 220 electricity (which he quickly learning about), Kriss holding on tight while we drive through these crazy roads (Yes, Ed just drove through these 2 rows of taxis and cars... he has to do it often... and I just close my eyes and hang on...),
and getting to spend almost 24/7 with one another.

We have had major problems with our water pump and our electricity for over 48 hours. Ed finally gave up and called an electrician. The electrician called our plumber. A couple of days ago Ed was in the shower covered with soap, and the pump just stopped. There was no water anywhere in the house for him to use to rinse off the soap. Normally he would be the one to go out and turn on the generator, to hopefully turn on the pump. However, he was naked… and still covered with soap. He finally used his wet wash cloth to wipe off. I was just laughing, and we decided it gave a new meaning to “shower power”.

We have to carry lots of things around with us. Our missionary planners, a pen or pencil, our identification, etc. On Wednesday, Elder Gates looked down at his pocket on his short sleeve white shirt and said, “Look… I’m Steve Collins.” I laughed and laughed.
(Note: Steve Collins is our great Kids Are Music friend. When we go on a trip with Steve and need anything, he can always find it in his shirt pocket. Ed doesn’t normally have pockets in his shirts.)

I want to tell you a bit about the church here. We presently have 2 branches. We don’t have a district yet, so the Mission President serves as the District president. For our non-member friends…. A branch is like a ward, but usually smaller in members. However our branches have over 150 active members, which is enough to make a ward. But we don’t have enough endowed members, (which means they have gone to the temple to make covenants with the Lord and to be sealed to their spouse) to make up bishoprics. We only have a couple of endowed male members in each branch. We are hoping to do a temple trip this year, and have families sealed and more adults endowed. Today (Monday), Dad and I will start looking for new sights for a new branch to meet. Then, they will split into 3 branches, and hopefully be able to form a District by the end of the year. As we train more leaders, they will be able to form a 4th branch. This is a photo of the inside of our chapel.
The reason I have told you all of this at this point, is because Saturday we started our search for new apartments for the elders and today we start the search for a big old house or an old school to rent for a church in an area outside of town. It should be quite and adventure. There is no Craig's list, no want ads and no For Rent Signs.


  1. Love it! Can't wait for the next installment to the story. We will be going about the time you come home I think. In some ways it is not as primitive as I thought and in others it is. Good blend of adventure and the gospel. Keep up the good work. David and Linda Johnson

  2. I used to think that it was nerdy to keep stuff in you breast pocket, UNTIL I went on my mission. I would carry a pen, the little white book (mission rules), my calendar/schedule, Spanish flash cards (at beginning of mission), and a few blank index cards for notes.

    Ever since the mission, I always have at least pen in my pocket, and if I don't have a pocket, it is clipped to my collar.

    Dad hasn't had to wear a dress shirt for work everyday. Unfortunately, I do. I always have my favorite pen and my metal tin of business cards in there. Sometimes, I will also have a couple index cards for note taking.

    Women have purses, contractors have tool belts, businessmen have their breast pocket.

  3. Another foreshadowing for Ed for this mission was his years building chapels. I can't imagine anyone could be more qualified to hunt and take care of chapels than him?