Monday, January 31, 2011

A Few of Kriss’s Extra Assignments

The first month we were here, it seemed like Ed was going to be kept busy taking care of the Elders’ needs, training the priesthood in the two branches, and repairing and maintaining our three apartments and the chapel. But, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Both the mission president’s wife, and Sister Baxter (my predecessor) said I would figure it out when I got here. I brought along some Kids Are Music CDs and word sheets, and figured I might be able to help in a school, or something. BIG NO! Nobody speaks, or sings, in English. But I have found many things that I can do... Some of these activities will be blogged in detail soon. I am a good “mom” and “grandma” to the Elders. I cook for them...

sew for them, take them to the doctors if they are sick, and help with anything else they need. I spent much of December making each of them beautiful slide shows to send home with one of our Elders, for him to mail off to their families for Christmas. They were a big hit with their families on Christmas Day.

I am in charge of the Distribution Orders for our Branches. Things were really in a mess here as far as orders went. For over a year people kept ordering things on tithing slips, and they never showed up. We figured out that the clerks just thought the orders would be placed from the tithing slips, and didn’t realize that an order had to actually be placed through Distribution in South Africa… where they speak English… not French.

With the help of the two clerks, we compiled the overdue lists, and I took new orders for three weeks… then, six weeks later - Christmas week - we received 28 boxes of books and supplies. I now collect the money, order the products and disperse them.

The members here get a huge discount. They get a hymn book for 40 cents, a Bible for $1.00, garments for 40 cents per piece, and the Liahona (French church magazine) for 15 cents a year. They would never be able to afford any of these items without the discount. When they get their orders, they are thrilled! I have also taken on six piano (keyboard) students. (With another 6 wanting to learn.) The Harman Foundation (As in Harman's Kentucky Fried Chicken) has a program where they will send out six keyboards for teaching interested members how to play, but they have to have a teacher. My own children are probably laughing, because I can’t play well enough to play at church… but my students all think I am musically brilliant, and that is what matters. Right now, we only have one keyboard, but there are six more on the way. Our English classes are going great. Last Saturday, we had over 70 people there. I am the “principal” and the Elders teach the classes. I am in charge of the coordinating and getting all of the copies of the workbook printed up for each lesson. But my most rewarding thing that I have accomplished, is helping to teach the members how the church can best be run, to have it follow the direction that has been established by the leaders of the LDS Church. I quickly realized that the Relief Societies and Primaries are very dysfunctional. The new handbooks that the church have distributed worldwide, with instructions and answers to every question you could have about running a branch or a ward, gave us the perfect excuse to “train” without offending anyone. I have worked with two primary presidents and one of the Relief Societies. More details to come about my experiences in a future blog post. I am now keeping very, very busy and loving the people and the adventure of serving in the Congo!


  1. LOL! That is hilarious!! Mom is teaching piano! I am so proud of you!

  2. Ummmmm, yes! I definitely said out loud, "Ummm mom, you don't play the keyboard, or the piano!" How hilarious and wonderful!

    I definitely do not play either, however, on my mission, I did accompany a number of times. I guess it is the musical version of the "gift of tongues".

    And PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE learn how to do the darling braids like the little girl in the last picture with the big flower in her hair. I am VERY SERIOUS!!! Yahooo!