Thursday, October 27, 2011

Parlez Vous Francais?

French tutoring lessons have begun at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo. This very handsome young tutor is Br. Blake Mason from Orange County, CA who just returned six months ago after serving a two-year mission to France and Switzerland. Lessons every M-W-F for one hour.  He's been very encouraging & helpful (Tres bien!) But then it's about two hours every day trying to do the homework (Je ne sais pas!)

Keeping in Touch

Communication Options...

Pouch Mail:  The BEST WAY to send a card or letter to us in the Congo IF you follow instructions below..
George Ernest Smith Jr
Joan Angela Smith
Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

Important instructions for using pouch mail (quoted from our missionary packet):  
"Items sent by pouch mail use the United States Postal Service (USPS) from your location to Church headquarters, where they are forwarded to the missionary by a private courier along with other Church mail.  Pouch mail leaves Church headquarters each Friday.  Items received after the pouch has been sent will be held for the next week.  Only postcards or one-page correspondences (no envelopes) written on one side of the pate may be sent through the pouch.  Notebook or other light-weight paper will not process through the USPS machines.  Photographs are not acceptable.  Pouch mail may also be used by missionaries to send letters home to the U.S."
"You may invite your family and friends to use pouch mail.  Items not complying with the following instructions will be returned to the sender or discarded, if the complete return address is not included..."
"Letter-folding instructions:  Lay the letter blank side down.  Fold the bottom of the letter about one-third of the way up the page and crease.  Fold the top of the letter to the bottom of the first fold and crease.  Secure the long side with two pieces of tape about one inch in from each end, but do not seal the ends.  In the top left corner write your name and complete return address.  Affix first class postage in the top right corner.  In the middle write the missionary address" (see highlighted address above)

Mailing/Shipping address in Kinshasa.  (There is no mail in the Congo and shipping is terribly expensive.)
Elder George Ernest Smith Jr
Sister Joan Angela Smith
Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa Mission
Immeuble Gulf 6347
Avenue de la Justice Zone de la Gombe 
Democratic Republic of Congo

Phone:  International phone number from the United States... 011-243 (815) 016-769 (very high rate)
Phone (Magic Jack):  801-434-4882 (although it is local rates, we plan to use this very infrequently)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Our Future Neighborhood

Our apartment is on the 4th floor of this building, which is owned by the nearby US Embassy and houses the offices and personnel of  We'll have a view of the Congo River and it is only 3 kilometers (1.8 mi) from the Mission Home/Office, where we will be the "Office Couple" and assist the Mission President.  It is located on Kinshasa Blvd. which is the main thoroughfare of the city. (update:  the above picture was posted BEFORE we arrived in Kinshasa.  I copied the picture from another blog, but misunderstood their description.  This is actually the building for the Mission Office (bottom floor) and the Mission Home for President and Sister Jameson (4th floor).  

The Congo.. Seen from one view

Since we will be living in a place which literally overlooks the Congo River many people may imagine our surroundings to look like this.  The jungle is near, and we will venture out on Saturday "Preparation Days" to help the Humanitarian and Perpetual Education missionaries, but we will mostly be working in the Mission Home in the capital city of Kinshasa, a city of 10 million people.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Our roomy, four-bedroom (and very comfortable) home, largely obscured by the trees and with just a small glimpse of the beautiful nearby Rocky Mountains in the background.  In Africa, we will live in a small, one-bedroom apartment.  We will surely miss our home.