Wednesday, August 13, 2014

     Wednesday started out being that "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day."  The members of the Church in Bukavu had written a 6 page letter requesting physical support, like manuals, hymn books, missionaries, a place to meet, visits from the mission president or his representatives, and this trip with the mission president was in response to their requests.  We brought with us a large box full of supplies for them.  The day of this trip, at the last minute, we had to go to meet with one of the ministers in the government.  We picked up Jean Paul and Domine, then picked up "the general", and then appeared at the minister's office so we could ask for help in getting visas for the missionaries.  He asked us to re-do a letter we brought because he wants to see what the Church has done and is doing for the people in Burundi.  Not in building character and faith but in how much money have we shoveled into Burundi.  A project for another day.  We then hurried to the Rwandan Embassy to pick up our visas for our trip to Bukavu, Congo.  We were, at this point, running about 1/2 hour behind our planned departure.  We were thinking we would hit the road about 10:00am.  HA!  We sat there in the Embassy office waiting to have the Thomas' passports and visas given to us.  They are Canadian, and I guess things aren't so good between Canada and Burundi because they made us sit there for 11/2 hours before they produced said documents.  Now instead of leaving at 10:00am, it was 12:30pm for our departure.  And every border crossing we hit on the way---that being 4 ----was long and drawn out, issues with papers being raised, looking for papers, back-tracking. (I think mostly due to inexperience.)  It was 5:00pm when we finally arrived in Bukavu.  People there had been waiting between 3 and 6 hours to hear from President Thomas, as our meeting was scheduled to start at 2:00pm.    He started speaking at about 5:20pm and had to end at 5:30 because about half of the 60 people there had come to Bukavu from Rwanda and needed to get back across the border before the border closing at 6:00pm.  Actually arriving and being with the people, seeing their faith and love of the gospel made this difficult day all worth it.  After half of the members left, the President opened up the group to questions and answers.  He unexpectedly shared the privilege of answering the questions with the senior missionary couples, giving us a couple of doozies to respond to------1)  Was the process of revelation Joseph Smith experienced the same as what Mohammed experienced?  2)  What is the Church's position on homosexuality and polygamy?

This is the attic room where the meeting in Bukavu was held.

By about 8:00pm we were headed down a narrow dirt road to our hotel, the Orchid Safari Club.  It was a pleasant surprise, the hotel being beautifully situated on Lake Kivu.  So nice!  We had dinner in their dining room and got to our room about 10:00pm.

Masks available for purchase at the hotel.

These next shots are of the auspicious sounding Ruzizi International Bridge.  Otherwise known as the rickety, wooden bridge that you cross to go from Rwanda to  Congo.  They made us get out and walk over the bridge while our driver (Gary) drove over.

Some pictures on the way to Bukavu.

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