“LES PIERRES DE LA PRIMAIRE” - (Primary Rocks)
Part 1 - The Early Stages of the Project
When we went to Salt Lake for training, we were told that with this calling to be the temple couple, there were a few things we were being asked to do. The two most important things we are to do are to:
1. Promote spirituality on the temple job site.
2. Develop enthusiasm among the members and an appreciation for the temple.
When I was little, my father worked on building the Bureau of Information building on temple square in Salt Lake City. In the center of this beautiful building is a huge statue of Christ.
When Dad poured the concrete that the statue would stand on, he wrote down the names of each of us in our immediate family. I have felt a special bond with that stature for over 50 years. This prompted an idea for a sacred project with the primary children of the Congo.
Ed and I are implementing a program for children ages 3-11. We are calling it “Les Pierres de la Primaire” which means “Primary Rocks”. From a seed planted by our job superintendent, Ryan, and from much inspiration, we have created a special program, including a sharing/singing time lesson with songs and a cute story.
The lesson also teaches them about what the “Rock” is that we are supposed to build our lives on. (Jesus Christ, His Teachings and The Restoration.) These kids love the song “The Wise Man Built his House Upon The Rock” so they have a background with the story.
There are 1400 children who live in the Kinshasa area. We are going to give each child a rock, which has been hand chipped from the bottom of the mighty Congo River.
We are in the dry season, the water is low now, so very humble people go down and work at chipping the rocks from areas on the side of the river, that they can sell for various uses. We are collecting the ones that are the right sizes.
Ed is washing them and spraying each of the rocks white. (These are only a small portion.)
After they have dried, we are wrapping each rock in a white tissue, to help the rocks seem special for the temple. We will give the bags of rocks and instruction materials to the Area 70s, who will give them to the 8 stake presidents, who will give them to the bishops and branch presidents, who will give them to the primary presidents.
As the most important part of the 40 minute sharing time activity, the rocks will be distributed to each child. We are providing a Sharpie for them to write their name and their birthday on their rock. After a ward primary finishes the activity, their rocks will be returned to the temple site to be put into the concrete of the floors, the foundations, the beams, or other places in this sacred building. Each child will know that their name and birthday is embedded in “their” temple.
We will also give each child a 4X6 photo of the architect’s rendering of our Kinshasa Temple. Pictures of anything are very rare here. They will write their name on the back of the picture … again to reinforce their personal attachment to “their” temple… and be encouraged to keep that photo until they grown up.
With essential translation requirements and limited resources for materials, we have had many interesting challenges to face. But that is all part of the adventure!
There are actually another 2500 children in the temple area in outlying areas. You must go by boat or plane to get to these places. The area 70’s said we can’t take rocks in and out of these areas, because Custom officials will think we are trying to smuggle diamonds out of the country. (Diamonds are a natural resource of the DRCongo.) We are still deciding what to do for these children. We might use small pieces of metal and have them engrave their name and birthday (like on the Golden or Brass Plates). Any ideas would be appreciated. We all so hope to do something for the Young Men and Young Women.
At our stake conference (a special meeting with about 2000 members of the church from a geographic area) there was a children’s choir of over 200 children. They sang, with gusto, “I Love To See The Temple, I’m Going There Some Day!” Ed and I tearfully realized that these children had never seen a temple… but they were enthusiastically preparing for the day they can go with their families, to this new and beautiful House of the Lord, to be sealed for Time and All Eternity. We are humbled to be able to be a part of this marvelous work.