As part of our missionary assignment, we are in charge of building spirituality and promoting an enthusiasm for the new temple. We decided to have each child in the Kinshasa area, 1500 children, write their name and birthday on a rock, and get them back to us to be added to the concrete in the temple. This would really be their temple, to look forward to being sealed in some day.)
We made several trips to the river to get the rocks. They were hand chipped to our specifications.
I used the cute little lady on the left as my main contact. We both have 25 grandchildren, so we bonded!
Ed continued painting each rock until they were shiny white!
To keep the sacred theme, we played reverent hymn music inside the office, whenever we were working on the stones. As one man said after entering the room... "There is a beautiful, peaceful feeling here." When the were dry, we brought them inside and we wrapped them individually in tissues, like little presents... to make them seem more special to the children.
We made 73 packets for the different wards and branches. Each one included letters to the stake president, bishop and primary president... a flow chart of how the rocks were to be disbursed and returned ... a lesson plan including stories & music ... Sharpie pens .... and of course a rock for every child!
Part of the "perfect" project was that every child would get to take home their own photo of the temple. We had ordered 1400 pictures from the U.S. The photo developers here print washed out colors... and are more expensive. When we ordered the photos from the US, we knew there was no mail delivery to Kinshasa. However, we also knew that we had concrete men that were booked to fly over to Kinshasa and arrive on the 1st of the month. We thought we had plenty of time. However, a special material (shipped from the U.S.) that was needed to be an additive to the concrete was being held in Congo Customs for additional fees (bribes). There was no point in bringing the men over until the additive was released from customs. The concrete men's departure dates were postponed twice. On Saturday, September 3, it looked like they were going to have to postpone the men's arrival again, and the photos wouldn't make it. I called Salt Lake church offices and Temporal Affairs here, to see if anyone was flying over, and could bring the photos with them. Noone was coming. Sunday was Fast Sunday, so I decided that I would fast that the pictures would make it in time to go out to the children of Kinshasa with their Primary Temple Rocks. My prayers were answered. On Monday, we got word from Customs that they were releasing the additive... which meant the concrete men were coming and arriving on the 9th. The pictures arrived!!!