So…. I think my posts have been heavily weighted on the side of our trials here. Sorry about that! (I readily admit I am a bit of a whiner.) Today, I am dedicating this post to the things I am thankful for on our mission here in the DRC. I will even count them… One by one.
- Every day is a beautiful day.
- I have never seen a snake here.
- We rarely see spiders or insects. (Okay… There are some mosquitoes.)
- We never have meetings after dark. (No electricity for most of the people.)
- We have a very comfortable bed.
- Brent and I eat three meals a day together.
- We are able to eat well here.
- We are able to exercise. (Run, weights, yoga and walking)
- Elder Davis makes great cinnamon buns almost every Sunday afternoon.
- We have a Mission Medical Specialist, who works tirelessly to keep all of the missionaries healthy.
- When the above Dr. Mikesell has a minute of spare time, he’s busy perfecting the art of baking with orange.
- I found some really good Canadian bacon at Hyper Psaro.
- Solange irons Brent’s white shirts. (This is a big one.)
- It may be slow, but we have internet! (most of the time)
- The people here, for the most part, are warm and friendly.
- We have some wonderful young missionaries, who are trying to do what is right.
- Our senior missionaries are amazing! (We are in desperate need of more.)
- We feel Heavenly Father’s patience and love for everyone… including us!
- We feel the love and prayers of family and friends on our behalf.
- And most importantly… I know Heavenly Father wants us here at this time.
Two of our biggest blessings, came to visit us back in July.
He had barely walked in the door before challenging Dad to an arm wrestle. You can see the result. Zach redeemed himself somewhat with his left arm. Dad may no longer be the fastest, but he is still the strongest. 🙂
We warned Zach ahead of time that there is really nothing to see here. Thanks to Elder and Sister Davis and Elder Mikesell, he was at least able to see some of the various hospitals here in Lubumbashi. This was a brand new hospital that we were all impressed with. Of course, you have to have money to come here. Understandably, it was pretty empty.
This is the maternity ward at a pretty good hospital. They didn’t mind a bit that we were all in there walking through and snapping pictures.
This little babe had been “thrown away” as they put it. She was born with three fingers per hand and three toes per foot. She was brought into the hospital and was being well cared for until they could find a family to adopt her.
Here is how they do all of the hospital’s laundry. Can you imagine doing all this bedding by hand?!!! … And they seemed to be happy doing it! I am constantly amazed by the happy, hard working women of the DRC.
This was the most interesting one by far. As I understood it, the doctor (the beautiful woman on the far right) studied modern medicine for six months, followed by some months of traditional medicine. She now practices a mix of both. There was a whole crowd awaiting our arrival, including living testimonials of her amazing success… And I mean amazing! I could use the word “unbelievable” but she had pictures to prove it. (I won’t even try to describe the pictures. Let’s just say that they were a little disturbing to innocent eyes.)
This is the sweet little woman who grinds up all the herbs, so they can be used as poultices or put into water to drink.
A parting shot with the hospital staff. They were hoping for some funding from the Humanitarian side. And though that probably won’t happen, they really seem to do some amazing things to help the people here. I wish we could help everyone but of course, there is just no way.
Brother Mwamba acted as Zach’s interpreter and guide, and with him Zach saw a part of Lubumbashi none of the rest of us will ever see. Brother Mwamba is about Zach’s age, returned missionary, husband, father and entrepreneur. He and Zach shared some fun experiences and though they come from two different worlds, there was a little bond there. I will leave those stories for Zach to tell, but I will say that in true Congolese culture, they even did some hand holding. I think that’s great!
The best we could do as far as animals go, was to take them on a little safari (and I mean little) just outside of Lubumbashi. It is a little plot of land someone has created to be like a zoo or a little reserve. They only have hoofed animals but these guys were pretty cool! We were hoping to catch sight of the giraffes, but our driver was driving so fast, he pretty much scared away anything and everything in our path. I have no idea what he was hurrying back for, but less than an hour later we had finished the circuit and had apparently seen everything there was to see. Oh well. It was short… but it was sweet. (This is as good as it gets here. It is the ONLY thing like it in our mission.)
As well as the rest of us, who got to see a rarely seen side of President Thomas. Sister Vance is one of Brent’s biggest fans, and we are her’s. She brings a lot of fun to the mission as well as a lot of love.
We really do have a lot of things that we’re thankful for here, but it’s just so easy to let the hard things crowd out the good, isn’t it? It really is wise counsel… When you’re discouraged… Count your many blessings and name them one by one… And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
Boy! Do they look alike or what!