This picture more or less sums up how we felt about this past week. It was… well, yes… Fun! We travelled to Bujumbura to meet the Ellis’ for the last leg of our mission tour and were able to squeeze in a boat ride on Lake Tanganika to see the hippos. We returned home via Johannesburg and spent a day there getting some much needed items that we cannot get back in Lubumbashi. Hey!… It’s been our first break in almost three months!
But I have to mention that I am feeling a little guilty about how my blog entries may have been coming across. I want to make something perfectly clear. For those who would like to tell me to stop whining (no one has by the way)… and that it isn’t that bad… I get it! At home here in Lubumbashi I am quite content and feel like I am living in the lap of luxury (and I am by DRC standards). I realize that I am being a bit of a princess and that for some people, they would be in Seventh Heaven doing what we are doing right here in the DRC. I know some of those people and they are the same people who love Trek, camping and anything that tickles their survival instincts. I just happen to not be one of them. I have always said, “I can do hard things. I just don’t like to!” To quote Sheri Dew, “If life were easy, it wouldn’t be hard!”
Everyone has challenges in life, of one sort or another. They bring growth! And as far as lives go, mine has been pretty darn easy. I was about due for something that would “try my soul”, so to speak. And as is often the case, the blessings I have received, have more than compensated for the little bit of discomfort I have experienced. In the words of President Gordon B Hinckley, “All of us have problems. We face them every day. How grateful I am that we have difficult things to wrestle with. They keep us young, if that is possible. They keep us alive. They keep us going. They keep us humble. They pull us down to our knees to ask the God of heaven for help in solving them. Be grateful for your problems, and know that somehow there will come a solution. Just do the best you can, but be sure it is the very best.” This past week however, hasn’t been hard at all.
Speaking of your very best, Terri and Kevin Clawson completed their mission and flew home this past week. What an amazing couple! Between the two of them, there was nothing in the mission they did not know or could not do. We miss you already! This is their farewell dinner at a restaurant just around the corner. You could swear you were in Florida or California! They have the best steaks and milkshakes, if you can believe it?!!
Elder Atkinson is trying to fix the well at the Mission Home complex. There is nothing he cannot fix but he and Sister Atkinson will be going home shortly, themselves. This is their third mission and their second in Africa. They are amazing!
This was such a fun night in Burundi with the Van Wagoners, the Ellis’ and the Neelys. We were fed the most delicious italian dinner by John Franco, an Italian speaking french, with Alan Jackson playing in the background.
The Van Wagoners treated us to a dance show to “Mercury Blues”. They go dancing every Friday night in Burundi!
We did not get as close as this picture looks. Our guides were very cautious. We were hoping to see crocodiles but our guide said that they were eating too many people, so they killed all of them in the area. Still… it would have been fun to see at least one!
This is where the water from the Ruzizi empties into Lake Tanganyika. It was so muddy that the boat got stuck on a sand bar and the guides had to get out and push. Good thing there were no crocs around! The whole trip was done in an hour and a half. We flew to Johannesburg that afternoon, after a couple hours of interviews for Brent.
In closing, I want to refer once again to my previous posts. I just want to say, that one thing I hope I have not done, is to imply that I don’t want to be here, or that I would go home if I could. I will repeat something that I have said before, in reference to the other side of the mission. If this was for some kind of job, you could not pay me enough money to do it (which once again, no one has by the way). But this is not a “job”. I know that Heavenly Father is the one that has asked us to come here. Because of that, I want to do my best, my very best, to do whatever it is He called me here to do, and I am grateful that He trusts me enough to ask me to do it. Two years will pass soon enough and then I will be back home, in the land of plenty. But I hope that I will always offer a prayer of gratitude for the many things that we often take for granted – water, electricity and yes… even toilet seats.