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!


Anastácio Soberbo said...

Hello, I like the blog.
It is beautiful.
Sorry not write more, but my English is bad writing.
A hug from Portugal

Aimee said...

Wow. I can't even imagine all the wonderful experiences you've had serving there. We are so proud of you!