Tuesday, August 10, 2010

“Real estate agent” missionaries

July 20 (Ongoing Process for Now)

We are bursting out of the seams at our chapel. We need a new building. The mission president asked Ed and I to spearhead the search. We walked all the areas within the parameters. 99% of the buildings were awful! If a place was decent, and nobody was around to ask about the building, we would leave a note we printed up.
The only one that I found that was for rent was an old school building. I tried to convince people that my husband could make any "dump" wonderful. Ed was horrified I would even consider it.

After looking, for days and days, we had the branch presidents make an announcement during their Sacrament Meetings that we were looking for a chapel site within certain parameters. We were praying and looking for a miracle.

That week we got a call from one of the members who had a friend with an apartment house who is leaving for an extended time and said he would like to rent the entire building to one group, so he didn’t need to worry about it while he was gone. Dad & the Zone Leader went right over and called the Branch President to see how he felt about it. It was very exciting. We now are just waiting for the approval from temporal affairs from the area. Hopefully they will get someone here this week, so we won’t lose it.

We also had to find 2 new homes for the elders. President Headlee, the mission president, said that he wanted them to live closer to their sectors. Their sectors are in extremely humble surroundings, which make it somewhat difficult to find a house that is up to my standards. I insisted that we were going to find something, within the budget, nice enough that the elders wouldn’t dread going home too at night. President Headlee also wanted a generator for when the power goes off. Not only would a generator allow electricity to see, but it would also run the pump so they could have water.

There is no Craig’s List or want ads, but they do occasionally write homes for rent on a neighborhood blackboard.
We found one house on the second day of looking. But we spent several more days driving through the sectors and looking for the second one. Each morning we would pray. I kept singing the primary song combined with the scripture “I will go, I will do, the things the Lord commands… For we know the Lord giveth no commandments save he shall prepare a way for them.” We finally found a black board that had several homes listed on it. Most of them were like 50,000 CEFAS ($100 per month). I knew they would be dives. One of them said 200,000 CEFAS ($400 per month). Our budget was 300,000 to 400,000 Cefas.

We finally found a found a brand-new, 3-bedroom home with a big wall around it right in the middle of a very humble area, and the neighborhood dumps. This house didn’t have a generator, but when we went to see it, it was perfect. The owners agreed to put in a generator (an extra 150,000 CEFAS for the first 2 years) and to put screens all around the house, (to keep the mosquitoes out). It won’t be finished for a couple more weeks, but it should be great.

We have moved all the elders out of the apartment behind us and into their own home. The other four moved in with us, until their home is finished. It actually isn’t bad having them here. They bring a special spirit into our home. They faithfully sing songs before their study time, and in the evening when they get home to end their days. We hear them through their closed doors, and it touches us deeply.


  1. I love it! Mom is still doing real estate in the Congo! That is hilarious about offering for dad to make things beautiful w/o tools or even wood! Gotta love the visor and fanny pack. Mom looks like she is on a rick steves trip!

  2. Another testimony-builder of you being called to the right place. Who else is more qualified to (a) spend so much time and energy searching for properties and (b) fixing it up so that it is a suitable House of the Lord?

    The picture where Mom peeking in the window while Dad scratches his head in disbelief is hilarious. Of course, somebody needs to send Mom some better shoes to be climbing ladders and walking through those "clean" alleys!

    The picture with Mom in the alley has the "Eddie, I know it sounds crazy, but what else are we supposed to do?" look.

  3. I love it. Seriously, mom and dad sent to the right place! I just smile every time I read your new posts!

  4. Sorry! I'm not investing $ on this one, but prayers for you I have plenty of.

  5. Just wanted to say thanks for taking such good care of your missionaries. Your post is making me cry. Elder Eric Palmer is my nephew and I love him lots and lots and it's good to see he is in such good hands!

  6. I like caring people watching over and out for my favorite 20 year old grandson -- Elder Eric Palmer. Thanks to his mom for sharing the blog. I hope the Gates family don't mind our looking in.

  7. Keep singing... The Lord is preparing ways every day for you! We love you!

  8. Welcome to LeeAnn and Carlene and all other family of Elder Palmer. We want as many people as possible to read this blog and to know more about what my parents are doing in the Congo!