Friday, November 5, 2010

Couples’ Conference in Kinshasa

We had a rare treat earlier this month. Our great mission president and his very special wife, President and Sister Headlee, decided they wanted to have a 4 day training session for the 6 couples in our mission. There is the mission president, the couple that run the mission office (The Hatches, 1 month in the mission) the humanitarian couple (The Moodys-going home next month), and 2 other couples besides us that work with the Elders in areas of the country of Cameroon. We have about 120 young Elders in the mission (ages 19-27) and about 25 girls (ages 21-27).
Only about 20 of these are from America & Canada. The rest are from Africa. Because of the safety issues and the challenges serving in this mission, the only 3 cities that the North Americans can serve in are Pointe Noire and 2 areas in Cameroon. Each of those areas are so far from the mission home, in the country of DRCongo, that a senior couple is required to act as representatives of the Mission President.

The 2 couples from Cameroon flew into Pointe Noire and spent Friday night, October 2nd with us. We flew from Pointe Noire northeast to the capital city of the Congo, Brazzaville. From there we were picked up by local church leaders and driven to the Congo side of the Congo River.
We were told it is the 2nd biggest river in the world. Our mission president greeted us. The mission home was lovely and we had a great time with these special couples. We were treated like royalty. Sister Headlee is a gourmet cook and we ate like we were on a cruise (but even fancier and better quality) and loved every minute of it.
We slept at the apartment of the humanitarian couple, the Moody’s, who have become our friends.

We had spiritual sessions and lots of informational sessions, to teach us what we should be doing. We got to go to a store one day that had more American products than we can get in Pointe Noire. I got a couple of strange thin hot pads, the one can of Hershey Cocoa powder they had, 6 packages of Jello, cupcake tins, and cake mixes. Everything cost 2 or 3 times as much as we can get it for at home. We were limited by time and space in our suitcases, but I was excited about our purchases. (We each had to take a case of water filters to Pointe Noire, as our extra suitcase.)

We stopped by a craft market and I bought a couple of fun wood carvings with the women with the babies strapped on their backs, like in real life here in Africa. There are no car seats or strollers or bouncers or anything else. The mothers simply wrap the babies up in a big piece of fabric and carry them all day on their backs. I am fascinated with it.

Ed got to go golfing. We knew there was a golf course and on shopping afternoon he asked if anyone wanted to go golfing with him. Noone said yes, and so Ed quietly went downstairs to the mission office and told Elder Moody, who was not up at the prior meeting, that if he wanted Ed to coordinate the well in Pointe Noire, Elder Moody would need to take the afternoon off work, and go golfing. Elder Moody said “It’s a tough job, but I can see it is essential” so the 2 of them went off by themselves and had a good time golfing on a below average course… but the greens were green grass, and not dirt… so they were happy.

It was a wonderful event and we returned home ready to throw our hearts and souls and bodies into the building of the kingdom. We missed our elders and we were glad to get home.

1 comment:

  1. oh man! I bet that food tasted so good compared to the last feast you told us about!

    ha, ha, ha. Funny dad and his strategic way to get golf partners.