Sunday, August 21, 2016

Only took another month for our Visa to come through.  Along with us waiting was our new mission president, Pres. and Soeur Shumard.  They had been at the MTC for two months learning French, then attended their Mission President's conference and still had to wait.  We finally got our visas on July 15 and had travel plans to fly
out on the 18th, being routed through Johannesburg, South Africa.

Leaving Salt Lake City.  Getting pretty excited for our long flight to Africa.

    24 hr plane trip to South Africa then nearly 2 hrs waiting in line for visa check. 16 checking stations but only 3 staff to clear visas. Welcome to Africa.
    we were in the middle of the line of four flights about 800 people.
    We got to know all the people in line with us pretty well by the time we got through.
    When we got out of the airport there was a car waiting for us.  Poor driver had been waiting for us for nearly 3 hours.  He was glad to get us to the hotel so he could go home.
    Next morning we were off to Lubumbshi but we had been through this little airport several times and knew what to expect and nothing had changed except they did put in a cement floor.  Last time we were trying to walk over broken tile that was being removed.
    So good to be n the mission field of Africa again.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Back to the Congo we go!

Here we are again, heading back to Africa.  Since we were headed back to the Congo we decided to just continue our Congo Blog.
Who would have thought we would return to Africa after all grandma Mildred told us we needed to stay home tell she was safely dead.  Well she is very healthy and may out live all of us.
April 8th we recieved a call from Elder Brent Nielson's office.  When wewent to visit him he asked us if we would return to Africa to the Lubumbashi DR Congo mission to support the new mission president Pres. Larry Shumard.  Pres. Shumard had been called to serve but did not know french.  He was on a fast tract to learn french but couold benefit from our cultural experiences in Africa and from Farrell's ability with the french language.
Everything fell into place very quicky and we submitted our papers within two weeks.  We entered the MTC June 6.  Our MTC District was awesome and we learned so much even though it was our third time around.

Elder and Sister Card, The Smiths, __________________, and us.  Cards were going to Hawaii Polynesian Cultural Center and BYU Hawaii, Smiths were going to Redlands, California and we were going to Africa.  Go figure.
After our MTC Week  we headed home to wait for our Visas to come through.  And so we waited and waited . . .

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Adventure for the Barlows

If you enjoyed the Barlows in the DRCongo you will love Barlows in Uganda  This is a new mission and another great adventure.

Friday, April 10, 2009

New Humanitarian Directors in the Congo

Our replacements in the Congo have finally arrived and are in full swing. If you want to follow the Congo Adventure you must hook up to their blog and read about what is happening now.

It is called

Good things are happening and will continue to happen with this great couple in place. It is fun to read their impressions of this wonderful part of the world.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No excuse, can’t even explain it – it has been very difficult to write since leaving Kinshasa. My Journal has no entries except . . .

Nov 5, 2008 Thursday
I am finally awake enough to think about a blog. We left Kinshasa .

So much has happened since coming home and so many mixed feelings have been hanging around us that we have not been able to put into words our thoughts.

We left Kinshasa excited to meet our daughter Christie and granddaughter Jenny in Nice, France and spend a great week. When we walked of the plane in nice there they were waiting for us.
All I could do was cry after not holding them for 19 months. We had a great week traveling around Nice and Paris, laughing, freezing (it rained and it was so cold we had to go buy coats).

Since it was so cold we found many opportunities to have rich, wonderful hot chocolate and pastries. We were on a mission to find the best hot chocolate in Paris... I think we found it many times.

Our homecoming was memorable with all the family at the airport to greet us. I was so excited I had to check my desire to run through the airport to find them.

Some of the grandkids were hard to recognize. I looked everywhere for Adam (middle) and couldn't find him only to find out he was standing right in front of me. He had changed the most.
Our first time to hold our two new grandchildren Samantha and Mari.

Who missed us the most? I think it was Rachel. she kept a calendar the whole time we were gone and knew to the hour how long we had left.

Matt and Shirlene had decorated the house with banners and balloons to welcome us home
Everyone loved their Congolese shirts we brought them and immediately put them on.

Waiting for us were a few things we had missed like FRESH MILK, rootbeer and microwave popcorn.

It didn't take Farrell long to get his glass of milk and toast our welcome home.

Kimberly had spend some time cleaning and spiffing up the homestead making it sparkle and she had decorated with our Congo treasures we had sent home. All the kids had chipped in and got us our favorite picture and hung it over the mantel.
We were now home without a car and our Torres sons came and parked their parents car in our garage for us to use. Their parents had recently left to go to Guatemala as mission president. They are like our own and we appreciated so much their thoughtfulness.

Mark took us to look at new cars and on the way we stopped at Temple Square. He had something to show us. There in the bottom floor of the visitors center was a picture of Luputa water project. There we were with all out Luputa friends. What a great memory.

Several times while on our mission Pres. Livingstone would ask me, “What are the ten things you are going to do when you get home?” or “What are the ten things you miss most about home?” My answer was always the same. “I try not to think about that so I won’t get homesick.”

Well now I am home and all the abundance of life in America hits you and you wonder if all of this isn’t just a bit overkill.

What was it that we had missed about home?
1. Standing under the shower and being able to open my mouth and taste the clean water. Actually Farrell said that it’s getting in the shower with an expectation that water will come out of the shower and it may even be hot water.
2. Going to the grocery store and finding anything you want. I cried the first time we went to the store as it seemed so overwhelming to see so much food in one place and that the price was so reasonable that I felt no guilt getting everything I wanted.
3. Driving down the street that had stoplights and stop signs and turning lanes and no pot holes.
4. Rules of the road – there actually are traffic rules and people somewhat obey them. We have encountered a few drivers that rival the Congolese drivers who seem to have no rules.
5. Playing with our two new granddaughters, born since we left on our mission.
6. Being cold – for 19 months we slept in a bed with just a sheet over us and we came home to the beginning of winter where we couldn’t seem to get warm.
7. Clean streets, garbage collection, the great law of no littering.
8. Airports that accommodate your needs, do not require bribes, have safe airplanes to ride in.
9. My mom. It took me two months to watch the video of her funeral. I wish I had some video of her. I miss my mom.
10. Family, family, family – calling them, visiting them, having dinner with them, thanksgiving , Christmas, New Years.

That is just a few things we have missed about home. But what about the Congo? What have we missed about the Congo.
1. Pascal, Eustache, the Moons, the Livingstones – our mission family - number one in our heartache.
2. All our friends – our church friends and our many friends we made doing projects – we receive emails from them and we love hearing anything about them and what they are doing.
3. The weather – I don’t ever remember being cold in the Congo except once when we visited Lubumbashi in the dry season and our hotel had no hot water. I couldn’t get warm for three days.- even the rain, though harsh at times left the world looking rejuvenated and everything grew with abandonment.
4. Wonderful bread – abundance of fresh fruit - $20 boxes of cereal.
5. Wivine, Mimi and Eric, our friends on the corner who sold us fruits, veggies and plants. Eric was my gardener and came regularly up to our balcony to tend to my multi. plants making sure I didn’t kill them.
6. Movie night every Friday night. Dinner and a movie at either the Moon’s or the Livingstone’s ( or the Thomas’ before they left).
7. Rationing of chocolate chips, coconut, rootbeer or any other treasure we were able to get from the US knowing that it was irreplaceable.(note that these are all food items)
8. 4 wheeling – always an adventure – my back will never be the same.
9. 24/7 with my companion. We had no choice but to spend our days together as we were not suppose to leave each other’s side. I miss that dependency and reliance on each other.
10. The presence of my Savior building, directing, inspiring and watching over all we did. I know he is still with me but our need is less today and the mantel of being a missionary is gone and so the feeling of his presence is less intense and I miss that.

So President Livingstone, there it is. I have thought of little else since we returned. Serving a mission really is one of the best times of my life. I am a different person. I have changed --- for the better I hope. I will never be the same.

And it is true what they say. “Once you go to Africa part of you stays in Africa.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Africa, our friends and new family au revoir - Bittersweet

We knew the time would come when we would say goodbye to Africa and all our new family. Such a bittersweet farewell.

Our flower sellers who kept us in fresh flowers (for a wee price) and Eric (far right) who taught me much French and learned some English to communicate with me. He kept my beautiful garden on our balcony alive and well.
Wivine and Mimi who kept us healthy with their fresh vegetables and fruit. Their stand was on the corner of our apartment block. I bought many a pineapple through the fence. Wivine never missed a chance to prod me into buying more than I needed. Many of our francs went to supporting their enterprise. I cried when saying goodbye and they cried as well. A big part of our life in Kinshasa.

The hardest people to leave behind were Eustache and Pascal. They have been our mentors, our protectors, our friends and our sons. We love them like our own and it hurts to think we may never see them again in this life.

Our planning wall. Here we listed all the things we did or needed to do for our whole mission. The board was full and as we looked it over we realized why we were tired and why we were always so busy doing good.

One last lunch in the mission kitchen. Sis. Moon knows how to throw a quick lunch together but it wasn't the food that was so good as it was the company.

Our replacements the Davis from Montana arrived excited to get to work and ready for anything.

Newly appointed Bishop Jean Pierre Nguwa became a dear friend and a great help with our projects as he had a company that could transport goods for us and helped us make the City of Hope project a success. He gave us some special gifts as we left including a beautiful statue of a Congolese woman we are sure was made of alabaster not ivory. We are unable to post a picture of his statue as it is without clothes.

Pres. Livingstone an Pres. Koliker (counselor in the area presidency) presented us with our missionary release certificate.

Pres. and Sis Livingstone held a farewell dinner for us at the mission home with the Davis, Moons, Eustache, Mami, Steven, Staci, and Pascal. We had a lovely dinner and then the Livingstones and the Moons sang us a farewell song, fun and very tender.

We gave memory gifts to each person.
Pres. Livingstone: a French Dominos game so now that we were leaving he could play games. Farrell wasn't much of a game player so game playing had been held to a minimum.
Sis. Livingstone: My prize gardenia bush, a piece of material to match her Congo dress so she would have a pagne to wear with her dress and a Congolese cell phone holder to wear around her neck because she could never find her cell phone.

Sis. Moon: A Congolese outfit from Lubumbashi that matches one I have. We were always going to get matching outfits. Just a little late.
Elder Moon: A water bottle with a fan to keep him cool on his Congo walks

Eustach and Mami: Mormon Tab. cds to remind them that English is their second language
Pascal: Farrell's guitar so that he would start singing again. It had been a long time since we had heard Pascal sing.

Elder and Sis. Davis: We bequeathed our wonderful bug zapper so they could keep the mosquito's under control.

Eustache's family has become part of our own. We were here for Staci's birth and claimed grand parenting rights to his children. He is a wonderful man who keeps the mission going and serves well in the church.

Farrell had to play his guitar one last time so sang one for the road, Long Tall Texan.

It was special to have the Kohlekers there when we left. He paid us a wonderful tribute for all we had done and made us feel very successful.

Temporal Affairs had a farewell party for us and gave us a certificate that everyone signed with their thoughts. We will treasure them as we read these comments and remember them.

Pres. Albert, director of CES for the Congo.

The new finance officers, Bro Jacob and Bro. Zenga.

Good food always when you have a party in the Congo.

Maguy, who manages all the church properties, a beautiful Congolese woman who values her heritage and always wears Congolese fashions and looks wonderful.

Pres. Tierry Mutumbo, travel and purchasing and Didier Mutumbo.

Leaving the Moon's is like leaving your right arm behind. They are the best of friends and worked hard to support us in all that we did.

Eustache came to the party. We are sure it wasn't just the promise of good food. He was the one who helped Farrell with his French when we first came, he arranged for our safe keeping when ever we had to go across the Congo River to Brazzaville, he translated many things for us and gave us sound advise when ever asked. We could not have done our mission without him.

Pres. Lunda is a counselor in the stake presidency and runs the distribution center in Kinshasa. He too became a dear friend.
Bro. Bufunga who is IT for the mission and Temporal
Affairs. We drove him crazy with our IT problems and he drove us crazy as we learned how IT works in the Congo.

Willie was a service missionary in the distribution center. He is a hard worker. We went to his wedding a couple of months before we left. It was our second wedding to attend in the Congo and his wife Nancy was a missionary while we were there. They married as soon as she was released from her mission.

Pres. Thierry Mutumbo is one of the most handsome men I have ever met. He was just hired by Temporal Affairs and is a very hard worker. We love him. He loves our Savior and emulates that in all he does.

Our two Bishops, Bishop Kuteka of the Malueka Ward (second from left) and Bishop Haboko of the Kimbwala Ward (far right). These are two spiritual giants that we had the privilege to work with and observe in their callings. They are dear friends and their families are choice people.

As good as they get Bishop Haboko and Pres. Mutumbo. They both gave us tributes at the program and said many kind things. I think they love us.
Bishop Da Tarr is a Liberian who came to the Congo and is now head of Temporal Affairs. He is a gentle, kind man with an unshakable testimony of the gospel. His personal story of surviving war and finding the church is inspiring.

Our Temporal Affairs family.

After an adventure of a life time it was time to leave our home away from home. This was truely a bittersweet experience and one we would not have missed for anything. We are better because of our experiences here. We will never be the same.
We arrived in the Kinshasa on April 7, 2007 and left Kinshasa Oct 23, 2008.
What a glorious adventure!