Our main purpose in being here is to “support the Elders” so they have the time to be full time missionaries. Life in the Congo is full of interesting challenges, small and large. We are here to help them over the hurdles so that they can focus on moving the work forward. We have been blessed with some amazing young men. When I think about what most 19 and 20 year old young men are doing and focused on… I am humbled. I look at these “Elders”, who are anything but “elderly” and we are honored to be here with them.
They wake up at 6:00 am and do “personal” things like exercise, shower, grab an early snack and do laundry until 7:00. Then they have personal study for 1 hour, followed by another hour of companionship study. At 9:00 they break for 30 minutes for a good breakfast. They don’t stop for lunch, so they like to wait for their big breakfast. They usually cook pancakes or eggs or French Toast… or all of the above. They eat a lot of food, when they do eat. At 9:30 they study French (or English for the Africans) and leave the house to go out into the quartiers at 10:30. They spend their day teaching the gospel and keep very focused and busy. Our Elders always are in pairs. They never visually are separated from each other (except in their own home.) They have so many new converts and investigators, that most of their time is spent going from one appointment to another. However, they do occasionally get stood up, and then get to walk through the quartiers (neighborhoods) and visit with new people.
They usually teach until 6:30 or 7:00 and then head home. Elders in the United States take off for lunch and dinner. However, for security reasons, our guys are not to be out after dark walking around. Then they take the buses home and return about 7:30 or 8:00. They always have a meeting together as they close their day by evaluating what they did and who they visited. They have to do paperwork to keep the records accurate. They fix dinner and do a few personal things, like shower, grab an early snack and do laundry and then they fall into bed exhausted, and usually very happy with themselves.
On Thursdays they finish up teaching about 1:00 and then they are off for the rest of the day. It is called Preparation Day. They get to play basketball with Ed at 6:00 in the morning, and then they head home for a couple of hours of studying and then a couple of hours of proselyting. This is also their day to go shopping at the Markets for the next week and to go to the internet cafés for 2 hours to write to their families and friends. Then they come to our house (between 3:30 and 5:00 for a big nice dinner and to relax and play games or watch a movie or go to the beach or whatever we all decide to do that week. Ed and I cook the dinner, and the boys rotate doing the dishes.
It is one of the highlights of the week, and we always enjoy having them!!!