Tuesday, April 29, 2014

     The missionaries in the DRC mission are paid a certain amount per month since they come from such poor circumstances.  Bus fare and a telephone are added to that sum, and then they are housed in missionary apartments that are usually, if not always, several levels above what they have lived in all their lives.  In other words, they have a flush toilet, running water, a shower and 3 meals a day instead of one.  A few come and live behind the Cahoon's in a little house for the 3 months before they are to leave on their missions.

     Today I was looking at papers that had been filled out for a group from Uvira to go to the temple in Johannesburg.  On one of the forms where a signature was required was a fingerprint of a woman instead of a signature.  It blew me away that an adult woman in this day and age was illiterate and could not write her name.  It turns out, 60% of the people here are illiterate and cannot read or write.

     We drove to Uvira, Congo last week to visit with the branch president there.  He is a wonderful man, so faithful and dedicated.  he has kept his little branch not only going but growing for the last 2 years with no budget from the church.  They are now about to split his branch into 2 branches.  The bathroom at this branch is an outhouse with stand-up features  and a bucket of water to wash it down.  I can tell you from experience it tests the thigh muscles!

We had a training meeting for the 3 branch presidencies last night and I don't know how we are going to survive here without them.  So much of what goes on is dependent on David and Jill.  We have so much to learn, to master, to understand, to do.  The scope of this call is bigger than what I expected to be doing.  For all intents and purposes, Gary is the Stake President/Mission President in this area.  We have 5 branches we are trying to help and 10 missionaries.  Gary has to do the interviews and the setting apart for missionaries leaving from here.  (That's another 5 coming up.)  We are in charge of the apartments for the missionaries and all repairs and maintenance.  Also for the branch buildings and their projects.  We pick up missionaries at the airport in the middle of the night and get visas and passports for missionaries and temple groups.  We go pay for electricity and rents for the 2 branch buildings and for the missionary apartments.  We are also responsible to pay the 10 missionaries and 3 prospective missionaries each month.  We are expected to go to presidency meetings for the 3 branches and often have to do some teaching. There is always someone calling or knocking at the door.

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