Sunday, March 18, 2012

Congo Contrasts

 Sister and Elder Stagg, Perpetual Education Fund Missionaries; Chris, a BYU student serving an internship at the U.S. Embassy; and Russell (who is a Bishop in one of the wards in the stake and also works with the Church Employment Services)

Elder Smith got way ahead of me,but I wanted to get a picture of this lovely chapel in Ngalieama.  It is high up on a bluff with many trees and flowers and a beautiful view. 

He's still ahead of me, but I'm gaining on him! 
 Elder Stagg introduced us to an example of "This is how they do it in the Congo".  Here is the Church Cultural Hall. Congolese are used to those inexpensive solid plastic chairs that stack into each other.  When they got their new chapel and all the furnishings, they just naturally put the chairs up the way they are used to doing it.  Apparently, no one can get them to do it differently.

 I love the way that all the meetinghouse buildings are designed with at least one central courtyard, usually with a beautiful delicate palm in the middle.
 The chapel was the setting for the graduation ceremony.  The program teaches and trains individuals how to strengthen and grow their business.  It also teaches them the importance of strengthening the Family and the Community, as well.  So it is a balanced approach to helping someone have a better life.  It's worked very well in other poor countries and is just beginning here. 
Prior to the graduation, we met Stake President who conducted the ceremony. Here he is explaining how the three-fold training program overlaps...   (family/business/community)       The next day, after the terrible ammo dump explosions, I saw him at our chapel in Kasa Vubu and asked him how the people got local news.  He smiled and pointed to his mouth and then to his ear! 

This beautiful young woman captured my attention with her radiant smile and her lovely Congolese gown. 
There were male graduates, too. But the women outnumbered them.  From what I'm told, the men have a tendency to spend their profits, but the women do better because they re-invest.  The Church is trying to help the men understand that concept.
 This is the view from the parking area overlooking the distant Congo River.  This location is apparently in consideration as a possible site for the new Kinshasa temple.

A pretty typical scene.  One of the points in the program teaches the advantages of having a clean, pleasant environment for your family, business and community.
What this picture doesn't adequately show is what we could see ahead... a log-jam of cars facing every direction irregardless of what lane they were in, as well as motorcycles weaving in and out, and the ever present jay-walking Congolese.

I got this picture (and an even closer, but less clear one, too) despite Elder Bingham's warning that these groups are sometimes rough, gang types who can get very angry at having their picture taken.
 Chris is house-sitting for a U.S. Embassy couple who have been gone for a couple months.  Walking into this back yard was quite a contrast to what we see every day. 

A real living room, with lovely furnishings... sigh!
 I've always been partial to arches and thought the placement of this series of closed and open arches was quite beautiful.

Just another view of our tax dollars at work.
This painting was in the home.  It is so true to what you see along every street and I just LOVED it!


  1. You are doing an excellent job of getting these pictures up. I love the picture of the "folding" chairs! We are pround of the extreme sacrifice you are giving. I'm also impressed that no matter how scarey things seem to be it doesn't seem to deter you from getting out there. We are excitied to see what wonderful blessing we have in store from your mission in the Congo. I expect the greater the sacrifice the bigger the blessings...right!!

  2. The woman in the green dress who graduated looks so happy and beautiful! Like Juli, I love the "folding" chairs as well.