These seven sisters all have individual stories, and to tell them would take inches and inches of column. All of them are wonderfully faithful, hard working, happy daughters of Heavenly Father. And when they teach, they teach with power and authority of the Holy Spirit.
On the back row, from left to right, you have Sister Douane, Sister Nutemba, Sister Shongo, Sister Kayembe (more about her in a minute) and Sister Livingstone. In the front, you have Sister Lengelo, Sister Kakonde and Sister Kakudji.
Sister Douane is from Ivory Coast. She is from a family of five children. Their parents were baptized in 1996, and currently three of their five children are serving full-time missions. An older brother is in the Ivory Coast Abidjian Mission; he started his mission in June 2007 when he and his younger brother, Elder Clay Douane who serves in our mission, entered the MTC together. Sister Douane arrived here in December 2008. She is so mature and great -- she will be a senior companion next month after having served only 5 months of her mission.
Sister Ntumba and Sister Kakonde arrived here together at the end of October 2008. We are now just able to get passports for them to go to the temple in Johannesburg, South Africa so they can receive the blessings of the temple. They have served 6 plus months now, only having gone to our mini-MTC here in Kinshasa instead of being able to go to the three week MTC in Ghana which they could have, if they had had their passports. Even without the full MTC training, they have wonderful testimonies.
Sister Shongo has a 1,000 watt smile, and lights up the room when she enters. She is a great teacher of the Gospel, always smiling, and has such a cute sense of humor. She speaks very, very little English compared to her companion, Sister Lengelo, who received a university degree in Chemistry and was teaching high school before she came on her mission. Last month we were driving all these sisters home in our SUV, singing church hymns for many minutes. Finally Sister Lengelo busted out her companionship cell phone and made about 5 calls to investigators, confirming appointments, etc. After the last of the calls, she gave instructions to Sister Shongo in machine gun fire order to list each appointment in her planner. After the last instruction, "Soeur Shongo, notez que nous avons un rendezvous a 17h00 avec Frere Felix" (Sister Shongo, write down that we have an appointment with Felix at 5 pm), Sister Shongo very innocently and sweetly said, in her limited English, "Yes, my sister." We all burst out laughing -- even Sister Lengelo.
Here in Kinshasa, water is sporadic and electricity worse. It's not common for apartments to be without water for a day or two, and electricity is 50 - 50 at any time. Each apartment has a big 800 litre plastic tank which they fill up whenever the water runs. Each missionary receives two big plastic pails when they arrive -- one to wash their clothes in, and the other to rinse their clothes in. Each morning or second morning, they do a batch of their laundry and hang it out to dry. No washing maches in their apartments, and no laundromats to use -- just good old fashionned scrubbing and rinsing. But no complaints!!