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! !