I have been an active member of the Church since my baptism in 1967. For 47 years I have taught out of various lesson books, taught from the scriptures, listened to Conference talks, worked with at risk kids at ARTEC, and went through brief training at the MTC. Nowhere in this time have I heard the policy espoused that President Ellis talked about. Have I been living under a basket? Have any of you heard about this idea from the D&C?
We arranged for Gian Franco to prepare dinner for the 8 of us after zone conference. He has moved from the hotel to a small house not far away. This house is now his restaurant, and he hosted us in style in his dining room. The food was fantastic! Lasagna, not your traditional kind but one he learned to make in Italy, green salad, potato salad, appetizers, drinks. Dessert he took special care with---he soaked fresh strawberries in an Italian wine for several hours before he served them. Rather awkward. I was the only one to eat the strawberries. I felt bad for him, as his special dessert sat untouched at 7 places at the table.
Gian Franco is standing at the back of the table. Gary is taking the photo, so is missing from this shot.
THE TWO LITTLE GIRLS, ANNA,8, AND ODETTE, 12, HAVE SETTLED IN VERY NICELY WITH PRESIDENT DIEUDONNE AND HIS FAMILY. THEY HAVE STARTED SCHOOL, AND THEY SEEM VERY HAPPY.
GILBERT, 18, WAS STAYING WITH US, AS WAS HIS OLDER BROTHER, MESHACK. GILBERT STARTED SCHOOL IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD CLOSE TO US. TODAY WE TOOK HIM TO LIVE WITH A LOCAL FAMILY WHO VOLUNTEERED TO TAKE HIM IN. THEY NEED TO GET HIM ENROLLED IN A SCHOOL NEAR THEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE SO HE FEELS HE BELONGS AND THAT HE IS ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING. THESE 3 CHILDREN ARE IN GOOD SITUATIONS FOR THE PRESENT.
GILBERT IN WHITE AT THE GATE OF HIS NEW TEMPORARY HOME.
AND THEN THERE IS MESHACK.
ABOUT THE SECOND DAY HE WAS HERE, HE DIDN'T COME HOME ONE NIGHT. WHAT DOES A 20 YR, OLD WHO HAS NEVER BEEN TO BUJUMBURA BEFORE DO OUT ALL NIGHT IN A STRANGE CITY? HE HAD PROMISED WHEN WE TOOK HIM IN THAT HE WOULD ABIDE BY THE SAME RULES AS THE OTHER BOYS WHO LIVE BEHIND US. STAYING OUT ALL NIGHT DOES NOT QUALIFY AS LIVING BY THE MISSIONARY CANDIDATE RULES. HE CAME ACROSS AS SOMEONE WHO STRETCHED THE TRUTH, (ALL RIGHT, LIED) WHO WAS NOT REALLY ENGAGED WITH THE OTHER YOUNG MEN HERE. AFTER ANOTHER WEEK OR TWO, HE ONCE AGAIN STAYED OUT ALL NIGHT. WE TOLD HIM HE WOULD HAVE TO FIND SOMEWHERE ELSE TO LIVE. DAYS PASSED, AND THEN HE CAME TO US LAST FRIDAY SAYING HE WAS GOING TO LEAVE OUR PLACE ON MONDAY, BUT THAT HE WANTED TO ATTEND CHURCH WITH US ONE MORE TIME ON SUNDAY. SUNDAY CAME, AND HE SAID HE WAS NOT GOING TO CHURCH, BUT INSTEAD HE WANTED TO STAY HOME AND WASH HIS CLOTHES. AT THAT POINT I OPTED TO STAY HOME AS WELL, BECAUSE WE DIDN'T TRUST HIM.
A FEW MINUTES LATER, REMY AND GILBERT CAME TO THE DOOR TO TELL US THAT MESHACK WAS ANGRY WITH US FOR REFUSING TO GIVE HIM ONE OF OUR MISSIONARY SUITCASES, AND SO HE WAS THREATENING TO GO TO THE POLICE. FOR WHAT I DO NOT KNOW. THIS MADE GARY MAD, AND HE WENT OUT AND CONFRONTED MESHACK, TELLING HIM THAT HIS THREATS WERE NO WAY TO TREAT PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN HELPING HIM. HE TOLD HIM TO GET OUT IMMEDIATELY.
MESHACK STORMED OUT OF THE GATE, SUPPOSEDLY GOING TO BRING THE POLICE. WE CALLED AIMABLE TO SEE IF HE WOULD COME TO OUR HOUSE IN CASE THERE WAS A CONFRONTATION WITH POLICE. A FEW MINUTES LATER, MESHACK RETURNED WITHOUT THE POLICE AND WE STARTED TALKING TO HIM. TURNS OUT HE IS ACTUALLY 25 YEARS OLD, HAS A WIFE AND BABY IN TANZANIA, AND HAD BEEN TOLD BY HIS OLDER SISTER AND BROTHER THAT IT WOULD ONLY TAKE 2 WEEKS BEFORE HE WOULD BE ON HIS WAY TO AUSTRALIA. WE GAVE HIM THE MISSIONARY SUITCASE, GOT HIM PACKED UP AND PUT HIM ON A BUS TO TANZANIA. WE WERE ALL HAPPY HE WAS HEADED HOME TO HIS FAMILY--INCLUDING MESHACK.