Sep 2, 2013

09-02-2013 The Pickings are Slim

Note from Mom:   I'm so excited!  I was wondering if my poor child was shriveling up from starvation, and a thought came to me to see if the Wheatlie's had posted any pics of the Elders recently.  I listened to that little prompting - and Voila!  I found a picture of Julius and the 7 Elders he lives and serves with. It looks like he's lost a little weight, but is healthy and happy!  Julius is the 3rd from the right and his companion Elder Baker is the 4th from the left. 
Sister Wheatlie's Blog:

Zone Conference with New Mission President

Our new Mission President, President Cook and his wonderful wife, Sister Cook, Elder Wheatley, and our 8 great Missionaries, left to right:  Elder Porter, Elder Mukadi, Elder Lavering, Elder Baker, Elder Brockbank, Elder Johnson, Elder Ntambwe, and Elder Christensen.

It’s been a very long week.  Elder Baker and I are running ourselves into the ground every day.  Basically, we have increased, somehow from 25 lessons a week to 30.  But we are joyfully marching along!  We have a baptismal date this Saturday with a young man - Alpha.  He disappeared for a month or so and we had no clue where he was but then two weeks ago he randomly appeared again.  We began teaching him this Monday again and have taught him every night since. That's been a miracle - Being able to teach someone every night, but we are grateful for that.

So, I tried and African dish called Manioc.  It's basically ground up roots and flour that is boiled and wrapped in leaves. We ate it with peanut sauce.  And it was awful! Literally the worse thing I've tried yet. Basically, it's the consistency of a warm sticky gummy bear. But tasted like rotten lemons and flour.  SO if you are ever in the middle of Africa, don't spend your 500 francs on Manioc! 

Elder Cook (a general authority) stopped by this week.  We had a zone conference with him and it was really great!  We were given the task from him and Elder Bednar, who are over Africa, to figure out a solution to the DOT problem.  The rule here is before baptism a couple must be legally married. But to be legally married the husband must pay a lot of money to the wife’s family - the DOT.  If they aren't legally married, no baptism.  All the other African missions have found a solution or ways around it, except ours.  And Elder Cook said the foundation of the church in Africa must be built upon families, not young single adults. In essence, we (8 Elders) are being asked to break down a thousand year old tradition. As Elder Cook said, "The pickings are slim, and you are all we (the church) has got."  haha  But we set off to do just that. After emailing today - Elder Baker and I are going to search for a legal book in the markets called "la code de la famille" which has all the legal rules on marriage. Today we are also going to go to the Mayor’s office and talk with them about this law. I am not sure if this is coming across clear, but when we break through with this legal thing - it will be a massive massive quantifiable step in the church's progression here!   Also I had a personal interview with Elder Cook, for some reason I was randomly chosen for that.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't pretty happy about that!  He came to church with us Sunday and met the new members and investigators.  I love church leaders!  And just so all you know - I do sustain Thomas S Monson as the Prophet of our church.  :)
So - some fun French for you all back home.  Savez (savy) is the French word for "to know".  That’s why Jack Sparrow says that in Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  Parlez (parlay) is the same way, "to speak".   Also a lot of military words are French.  So - who knew having an older brother so in love with military things would pay off later with my second language!  Now I can speak French in any circumstance and can communicate fine, I don’t understand all the words, but enough to where I can figure out what is being said correctly. 

Thanks for all your love and support!  I should be alright with supplies mom, but thanks for the concern.   I am trying to get pictures sent to you from the Wheatlie’s apartment (senior missionary couple over our area) since it’s not working from the internet café.  

Oh ya - to get to Mbota we cram into a small Toyota Camry with 6 other people and drive for 10 minutes out to the area, Then we walk around the area for the day which is about 1 mile between each house :)  That’s how great a mission in Africa is!

Elder Johnson