Don’t Look Back


Brent and the boys at home, last winter.  I just finished saying that I sure don’t miss the snow, but I do miss the stillness and beauty of those crisp morning walks.

Over the past several months, I have had the phrase “Don’t look back.” come into my mind a number of times.  The last time was a few days ago, when we returned from the Mission President’s Seminar in Johannesburg.  Every six months the Mission President couples of the Southeast Africa Area gather in Johannesburg to receive guidance, compare notes and take a quick gulp of air before diving back in, so to speak.  It was great, and by the end of the three days we were not only ready but anxious to get back to our life in Lubumbashi.   I came away wanting to make a fresh start… to do better and be better!  I couldn’t help but think of all the things in the last few months that I should have done, or worse yet, should not have done, or the valuable time I have wasted.  “Don’t look back.”  A reminder that He knows I am trying and that I still have a year and a half to make a difference.

On occasion, I let my thoughts wander to life “at home” and all of the little things I worry about with each child and grandchild.  “Don’t look back.”  A reminder that Heavenly Father is in charge and especially right now while I am doing my best to serve, He is watching over, guiding and caring for my loved ones at home.

People who know me well, know how much I love dogs, especially MY dogs.  I knew when we recieved the call to serve away for two years, that one of them and possibly both would not be there when we returned.  They have each already lived longer than expected, and though most people don’t understand, it was hard on me to leave them to “pass on”, without me there to hold them.  I miss their unconditional love, our morning walks, and the way Lincoln would look at me.  I try not to, but whenever I remember that I have said good-bye to his sweet and gentle little spirit for the last time, I am filled with sadness.  “Don’t look back.”  A reminder that they are content and are being well cared for, and that they will be with me again one day.


Okay!  Time to lighten the mood with some random pictures!

2014-11-11_11.50.39It must be mushroom season!  People stand on the sides of the road with their hands full of these things, offering them for sale.  I love mushrooms and figured I had better try them out.  Nothing special.  But more importantly… we are still alive!  Some of the other items being offered for sale to passersby are – live chickens being held by their feet upside down.  – strings of little dead birds (sparrow size). – strings of mice, rats and something that resembles a cross between gophers and guinea pigs. – Fish. Dead of course but who knows for how long.  – And of course familiar things like avacados, mangoes, onions and potatoes.


I forgot to include this guy on the last post.  I know exactly what he’s thinking!  “Could my legs get any skinnier?!!!”

2014-11-08_10.26.55Dinner at the Hotel Relax in Likasi.  I decided to have fish for a change but Brent played it safe with the chicken.  (There is only so much dry chicken I can eat in one week.)  Actually, the fish was delicious!


A group of young South African kids in Johannesburg getting ready to perform their traditional dance.  I love the fact that no one here seems to notice or care about appearance and that they seem to accept everyone just the way they are.


Some of our wonderful sister missionaries.  Three are from Kinshasa and one is from Madagascar.  Can you guess which one?

2014-11-13_04.15.39Relief Society sisters making fu fu for the Zone Conference luch.


The bathroom at the Hotel Flats.  Looks pretty nice, right?  The thing is, nothing is actually hooked up to water.  See the buckets on the floor?  They have four piece bathrooms, so they can advertise that they do.  But the only running water is from a cup dipped into a bucket.  To flush the toilet, you pour in a bucket of water.  Unfortunately, water in Mbuji Mayi is difficult to come by right now.  They give you one bucket at a time and it is amazing how far that can go with a little mindful conservation.


The good news is – there was a seat!  The bad news is – it bit!


Cats are pretty rare here.  I am guessing that it has something to do with the competition over their food source.


The view from my desk at “home”.  I thank Heavenly Father nightly for the generators (we have three) that allow us to shower, stay relatively cool, and cook our food.

Well, enough of that.  I will concentrate my next post on the growth of the church and the members here in our mission.

It seems I have a pretty good memory for the stupid things I have said or done throughout my life.  I’m not sure why those things pop into my head at times but I have noticed they seem to come when I am already feeling badly and in a weakened state about something else.  I have also noticed that the discouragment that inevitably follows, does not help!  I also have times when I long for all I have left behind, with home and family and the special moments missed.  “Don’t look back.  Look ahead.”  A reminder that there is no place for faith and hope in a state of discouragement or disappointment and that Our Father who knows and loves us best, understands and knows the best is yet to come.





About carethomas1

Mother to six. Grandmother to nine. Dislikes bugs, camping, sitting and waiting. Likes to talk, eat, free agency, peace and order. Loves dogs, dear friends, and family (not necessarily in that order). Grateful for the trust Heavenly Father has in me, to ask me to come here and do this, with the one I love most.
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2 Responses to Don’t Look Back

  1. Rose Anne says:

    I so enjoy your entries with your true feelings and incredible pictures. Every Sunday morning I read your, the Drapers and Bullocks blogs and am regenerated in gratitude, appreciation, and love for my religion, my family, my country, good friends, amazing blessings we take for granted.


  2. loved this post! you express yourself so eloquently. It’s so nice that you are recording a journal of sorts, and that others can read it and see your pictures. I love seeing all the pictures. As for the sisters, is it the one in the white shirt and yellow skirt that’s from Madagascar? speaking of the people, they all seem to have flawless, beautiful skin.
    I love Linky and you can tell how tender and kind-hearted he is just by looking at him. Sweet boy. We miss you, and I have been especially missing you lately with Christmas. I am so grateful for your example. I love you!


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