We're here today for the Kasavubu Ward (congregation) Christmas party. Note the only two vehicles in the parking lot are the Moon's truck and our Toyota SUV. There are maybe two or three other cars in the whole ward. Everyone else either rides the beat-up combies or walks to church. Their faith is amazing!!
Looking back across the parking lot (probably big enough for 20 cars and it will be years before it gets filled up), you can see a row of the most modern condo's (and the only condo's) in Kinshasa. These are all occupied by expatriates who work for the companies who have operations here in the Congo, or by employees of the various embassies. But the real story of this site is that it is about 4 acres of so being reserved as a "special site" -- most likely the site of a temple when one is approved for Kinshasa. What a great blessing this will be for the members, and for the country. It is situated along a relatively busy street, and is up on a hill so it will be very visible to many people who will drive by and admire its beauty and majesty.
One big difference between a church site here and in North America. The church doesn't sit in the middle of a huge parking lot surrounded by landscaping. The land surrounding the chapel is cultivated into beds so the members can grow crops for the food they will need.
What is all this chaos?? It's the start of the Kasavubu ward's first ever Christmas pageant -- part of the ward (congregation's) Christmas celebration. Sister Moon decided that the Primary should do something really significant for the ward's party, and so it was off to the races with the Nativity pageant. Come along and enjoy!!
Well, this is the cast of the wisemen and the shepherds with a few angels thrown in. I think this was the first time that these youth had ever done a Nativity play. They were a little unsure to begin with, but quickly caught on. No real practising -- about 15 minutes of a trial run and it was time for the program to begin. They did a great job!!
This is a sweet Mary -- who played the role with a quiet confidence and reserve that was perfect.
Here's all the angels and Mary. Fortunately all of Bro. Moon's white shirts were clean and pressed into duty as part of the costuming. Don't you love those smiley faces??
Costumes by -- who else -- Brother and Sister Moon. They are the most amazing couple -- with an imaginative touch and a great willing attitude for everything they do!! Here's some fabric before the hole gets cut in it so it can become a shepherds' shawl. Sister Moon is wearing a typical Congolese woman's Sunday dress. Aren't they colorful and pretty good looking??
Obviously, this angel get one of Bill's long sleeve shirts -- maybe a little too big!!
Here Mary and Joseph are sitting in the stable awaiting the birth of the Christ child. The doll is hidden under the blanket next to Joseph's leg. When it was time for the birth, he reached under the blanket and Voila!! -- there was the blessed baby!!
The angel is announcing the birth of the Savior to the shepherds -- no props, but none needed.
I should have lightened this picture up a little so you can see the expression on the caroling angel's faces -- but note the big smile on the littlest angel on the right in the front row!!
Another part of the program was a duet by the two young sister missionaries who serve in the ward -- Sister Lengelo on the left and Sister Shongo on the right. They are a dynamic duo -- Marsha loves the maturity of Sister Lengelo and her ability to teach and answer questions. Prior to coming on her mission she had received a degree in Chemistry and was teaching this in high school. Sister Shongo -- well, she just lights up a room when she enters with her smile and the radiance of Christ that shows on her face. And I love the accompanist in the background!!
Here's a real live angel -- Sister Shongo. She is a great missionary, a wonderful happy person and just as bubbly as her picture shows. She will be a great leader in the church in the future when her mission is finished.
So, wasn't the Christmas party fun? Not nearly as professionally done as some others, but with pure happiness and joy that they could perform the story of the Savior's birth.
And how grateful we are for His birth, His life, and His great gift to all of us, of overcoming death and undergoing such great pain so He could offer redemption and eternal life to us, as we follow His teachings. Merry Christmas to all!!
Love - Don and Marsha