Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We gratefully announce the recent call of our son, Andrew Jon Livingstone to serve as a full time missionary to the Chile, Santiago East mission. We are proud of him and the steps he has taken to be able to serve. We know that he will labor diligently under the able leadership of President Sofocles E. Moran. He is praying for a South American trainer so that he can quickly immerse himself in the Spanish language. He enters the Missionary Training Center in Provo on November 19th. All of his siblings are trying to get there to send him off. I am trying to be brave. So many of our missionaries here don't have any support from home, so I know that it can be done. He has MANY people in Provo and Utah, plus his family that are there to help him get off on the right foot! ! If you want to see him open his call, check out the blogsite of his sister, Heidi www.dawgeatdawgworld.blogspot.com.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Weddings are such happy occasions! ! !

Ok, lame blogger that I am, my friend told me that when you load the photos you load what you want last to be first, etc. but it didn't work that way, so this is backwards, but you don't care, do you?? This beautiful bride is our recently released missionary, Sister Nancy Mpemba. She was an incredible missionary (do you remember I posted about her with her release photo?) and this is her handsome husband, Willy. Just weeks after she was released, they were married at the Ngaliema Stake center. This is what I wrote about the wedding in my journal.

We met in the chapel and waited. There was a choir of young people who were singing hymns while we waited. The girls all had red shirts and black skirts on and the boys had white shirts, black pants and ties. They looked really great (a bit better than they sounded, but what they lacked in harmony, they more than made up with enthusiasm and joy! ! !) Then the back curtains opened and on one side Willy came up in a black suit with a lavender shirt—very stylish looking. On the other side was Soeur Mpemba in a beautiful white wedding gown with her face fully veiled. It was rather low in the back, but she had her garments on and so it was great! ! They walked slowly and sedately up the two aisles—there were several “attendants” for both of them—four girls in matching dresses---two were long and the other two shorter skirts—a man with Willy and a lady with Soeur Mpemba—I’m not sure what their relationship was. They came up the aisle, and at the front they met and the attendants took their seats on the front row and Willy and Soeur Mpemba went to the front and turned and sat facing the audience. Oh, yeah---Soeur Mpemba’s veil was very long or the dress had a train, I’m not sure which, that was carried by this darling little sister of Willy. She was also dressed all in white and she also had a veil over her face. I’m not sure when her veil was changed, but after the ceremony her veil was also pushed back over the back of her hair.

This is the photo of the attendants leading them into the cultural hall after the ceremony! ! This is when it got really fun! ! !

This is the quote from my journal about this adorable couple--he is the Patriarch of the Ngaliema Stake:
Several of the priesthood in their wards and stakes spoke about marriage and family—all wonderful talks and very sweet. The final speaker was the patriarch from the Ngaliema stake. Just a side light about him—several months ago Don asked him how he was getting along with giving some of our missionaries their patriarchal blessings. He said that he had given all the blessings, but the stake didn’t have sufficient money for batteries for his recorder, nor paper for him to print the blessings out on. Don immediately got some batteries and paper for him and he was extremely grateful! ! ! So back to his talk. He is this darling man—greying hair with huge glasses! ! He told the story of how he and his wife were first “culturally” married---50 years ago this December. Then he told us how many months, weeks and days that they had been married. Then he told that they had been “civilly” married several years after that—then told us how many years, months, weeks and days they had been married civilly. Then he said that they joined the Catholic church and were married again! ! and repeated how many years, months, weeks and days they had been married. Finally he told of their marriage in the temple! ! ! and repeated the same about length of marriage. Then he called his wife up to stand before everyone and expressed his love and admiration for her. (something very unusual for Africans to do in public! ! ). She has born him 14 children—2 have died, but 12 are living---6 of them are married and they have a goodly number of grandchildren. They were so darling and cute together.
And here is the wonderful photo of the beautiful couple! ! They are saving their money so that they can go to the temple soon. We hope that it is very soon. He is a counselor in the Bishopric in his ward and she will be an asset wherever she serves. This is why the church is growing so magnificently here in Congo--dedicated and wonderful young people like this who love the Lord and want to serve Him all of their days! !

More new missionaries! ! ! and one release! !

Back row: Elder Ilunga, Don, Elder Mulaji, Me, Elder Tshibanda (Andre), Elder Nkashama, Elder Tshibanda (Tito). Middle row: Elder Kisase, Elder Lukusa, Sister Ngindu, Elder Kisala. Front: Elder Mulunda, Elder Kalabela, Elder Sabue.

Just 5 days after we arrived last year, we received 12 new missionaries! ! We were thrilled and overwhelmed! ! That brought our numbers up to 66. We had 5 sisters at the time and 5 couples. We have had a little "problem" lately because the country of DRC does not have any passport books--you know those little books with your picture and you get a stamp every time you come or go somewhere. They have been without passport books since last February. We have MANY prospective missionaries who have been waiting and waiting to come, but if they can't get a passport, they can't go to Ghana for their MTC experience and go through the temple. So last week we had 10 of these missionaries who have been waiting patiently for the opportunity to serve come here to Kinshasa and we had our own MTC for them and they have started to serve as full time missionaries. Two in the photo had passports and were able to go to Ghana. When the country finally gets some passport books and begins issueing passports again, we hope to be able to send these missionaries to Ghana for a real MTC and especially for the opportunity to be endowed in the temple! ! They were well taught by our experienced missionaries and had a really wonderful experience. They will be awesome missionaries! !
And by the way, that brings our numbers up to 90 young missionaries--14 are sisters.
We have also received permission from Salt Lake to send senior African couples into some of our areas where we can't yet send American couples, and the first couple have received their call and will begin their service later this month in Likasi. As soon as they are established, we will add young missionaries there to help with the teaching in Liksasi. Likasi has a beautiful new building and we believe that this will help the church to really grow there in that beautiful little city.

This is Elder Kayumba. He was released last Friday. He returns to Lubumbashi where he is a carpenter and cabinetmaker. He will take over the care of his elderly mother so that his younger brother, who has been caring for her, will be able to serve a mission.

We welcome Elder Kashama. He was teaching institute in Munama (in Lubumbashi) before he came. His parents are not members of the church. He was in the Young Men's Presidency of the Stake. And now he is serving as a full time missionary! !


One thing about the Congo. They have GREAT bread!! You can find almost any type of bread here, very well done and at a reasonable price.

We buy a bread called "Pain au Cereal" -- a reasonable translation would be 9 Grain Bread at one market and often take it on extended trips. It stays fresh and moist even for 5 days.

But a favorite, if you want to lather it with butter, (and who doesn't??), is Pain Victoire. It's just a white bagette, baked at a huge bakery, with 8 or 9 bakings a day. It's very reasonable -- about 18 cents a bagette, and since you can always buy it fresh, it's great when loaded with saturated fat (a.k.a. butter). The missionaries can down several of these every meal -- in the morning, they dunk them into hot chocolate.

How is Pain Victoire distributed throughout the vast city? Well, for faroff places, they have a very efficient truck distribution system. But in the main part of Kinshasa, it is distributed by mammas, who come to the bakery with huge baskets on their head that they load up and then walk back to their neighborhood. The picture above is one of the smaller baskets, that a mamma will carry on her head.

You see them gracefully striding along the street, basket on top of their head. Some mammas buy a homemade peanut butter -- fresh ground on the street right outside of the entrance of the bakery, and you can have protein with your carbohydrates. I've tried to estimate how many bagettes they might have in a big basket. With the pieces of cardboard to create a taller sidewall, this mamma has two rows of bagettes around the circumference, with lots more stuffed in the middle.

Bon appetite! And now you know how Kinshasa gets its daily bread.

Love - Don and Marsha

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


So here I was driving down a street next to the train track (there is only one train track leading into Kinshasa) about 10 to 7, and I ran across the daily commute train (there is only one commute train). In an earlier post I had a couple of pictures of the train going home at night, but these possible pictures were too good to pass up. As you can tell, since there is only one train, everybody possible is going to be on that train. And when you say "on it", we really mean that. They are on top, on the engine, in the windows and the doors. Everywhere. The train was stopped here to let more people crowd onto it. I can't imagine that there is ever any accounting for revenue -- how would one possible push through the crowd to collect fares or tickets. You might try to set up a "toll booth" at the station downtown in Kinshasa, but they jump off the train before you get to the station, as it only ever moves about 10 - 15 miles an hour.
No space goes unwasted -- even the engine is a place for riding, or standing. Note the people standing on the front of the engine.
So here's the morning commute -- Kinshasa style!! For years I rode BART in the San Francisco Area -- sitting in a comfortable seat, going 80 mph between stations. And to think that we used to grumble a little about BART. Now in our home in Utah, we have two systems -- TRAX, which is a light rail system in the Salt Lake Valley; and FrontRunner, a heavy rail system that does now, or will cover a distance about 35 miles north and 45 miles south of Salt Lake. The name comes from the Wasatch Front -- as our mountains are called.
FrontRunner takes on a whole new name when you're riding on the front of the locomotive for the morning commute!!
And they combine commuting with their morning exercise. A lot of those surfing on top of the train dance as the train rumbles along the tracks. Makes even the morning subway train that our New Yorkers (Seth and Kendra) ride, seem tame by comparison!!