It’s no secret that I’ve found our life here somewhat difficult at times… but a couple of weeks ago, as I contentedly sat with some people I love, I heard the voice of Julie Andrews singing in my head, “Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go dowwwn, the medicine go down…” It’s true that our happiness in life depends more on our attitude than anything else, but sometimes… it’s just staring you in the face and you don’t even have to try!
So, in my last post I said there seems to be only one kind of excitement here. Turns out I was wrong! Who knew that Lubumbashi has their own Spruce Meadows?! Okay… it is on a scale of about 1% of Spruce Meadows… but still! When Sister Mikesell found out about it, we were all SO excited! Well, not the Bennetts so much. Yes!… They have arrived! They were good sports and of course came with us. Elder Bennett said, “I can’t believe we travelled 36 hours to the other side of the world, and are sitting in Africa watching horses jump fences.” We assured him that it would be the only thing to go, do or see here, until it comes around this same time next year. (Besides our one hour “safari” that is.) Sister Vance was in heaven!
Well, he said he had a good time but every time I turned around he was doing one of the above. You know what they say… “You can take the President out of the Mission Office but you can’t take the Mission Office out of the President”… or something like that. Awww…
I just don’t take many pictures anymore, so here are some random photos from the past.
Three times a year for every second Zone Conference, in one week we feed the seventy”ish” missionaries from Lubumbashi, at the Mission Home. It’s a snap really. There are very few things they like, so when I found something they did like, I decided to stick with it. For a group of 25, I cook two large rice cookers full of rice, one large slow cooker full of cut up beef with seasonings, the equivalent of five or six cut up chickens, three or four big packs of spaghetti, bottles of water, and a few chocolates each for dessert. Easy peasy!
When we have Zone Conference up in Kasai, we have the Relief Society sisters prepare the meals for us. The missionaries like these meals way better than the ones I prepare… And I’m not offended in the least! After all, it almost doesn’t count as a meal without fu fu. The sisters in Mbuji Mayi do an especially good job. I really like the combination of their rice, banana plaintain and a good old American style salad thrown in for good measure. …And the goat of course!
They pull off a piece of fu fu, work it between their thumb and fingers, scoop up some sombe or sauce, and down it goes with hardly a chew! Some elders and sisters will eat three or four of these along with their meal!
Thought I might as well throw this in under the “food” theme. Here’s a P-Day’s worth of baking. Artisan bread and chocolate chip banana bread. Delicious!… If I do say so myself!
Okay. I take pleasure in little things. This is an old oil painting that I found here in Lubumbashi that goes perfectly with the above bedding. I love it when things come together! My sister Jo would call that “separated at birth”
I think I’ve already mentioned how much I love trees, and here they are especially beautiful. The above is two trees actually! Unfortunately, as the one on the left grows bigger and stronger, it wraps itself around the original tree eventually strangling it. I’m sure there is a positive lesson in there somewhere but that’s going to require more time to think about than I have right now. 🙂
Believe it or not, we were driving down this street in Mwene Ditu in the Land Cruiser. I couldn’t help but cringe a little, as the people had to move all their wares to give us room to pass. I don’t think we would have had the nerve, if one of us were driving but Godefroid didn’t bat an eye!
This is one of the things I actually like about Mwene Ditu. The Carrfour is full of these little guys. This one kept peeking into the open doorway of our hotel room and then looking back at his friends. I know what he was thinking… “Hey Guys! Come take a look at this! This one’s white!
Yes… life here (and anywhere else for that matter) can be difficult but there are always things to make us smile, if we’re so inclined. I love some well known advice from our beloved Gordon B. Hinckley, who always seemed to have a positive outlook on life no matter what the situation.
“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise.
Life is like an old time rail journey… delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.
The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”