Day 35 – June 17

Today I went to church and everyone was so sweet asking me if I was feeling better, etc. It is amazing how I told one person I wouldn’t be there since I was not feeling well and was supposed to rest and even girls in Young Women’s were asking if I was better haha I definitely felt loved! We started Relief Society with the RS President and myself… that’s it. The Branch President came in to support us and translate for me when I needed it. Eventually the group grew, but I am still so surprised at how few women come to church.

Guess what! We just received our second set of sisters! We are the only ward/branch in Brazzaville with sister missionaries, but we now have 2 sets. This is remarkable and I continue to be surprised at how quickly the Church is changing! When I prepared to come here, there were no sisters, or couple missionaries in the country. When I got here, there was a couple missionary in Pointe Noire, but nothing in Brazzaville, and now there are 2 sets of sisters in Brazzaville. It’s amazing!

During Sunday School, I got to make a couple of comments, which was nice because then you feel like you’re participating. During Sacrament, one of the little girls who adores me, sat with me. Her mom is the Relief Society President and even before church started this morning, she came running into the RS room to give me a hug. I am a fascination to the children here; it’s very entertaining. This little girl sat next to me, holding my hand, and would push on my fingers, noticing my skin got whiter, then release it and notice that it got kind of pink. She did this several times and then she would try her own finger. It was very interesting to watch. Then she’d play with my hair. I normally wear it up here since it is so hot and/or is getting in my way, but since it was still wet from washing it Saturday night, I left it down. Boy was it a hit! Here  almost all the women wear wigs, so these little girls kept asking me, their parents, other random adults, etc if my hair was real and then they would touch it very softly. Finally one of the men, who translates for me, noticed the little girl touching it over and over again and said to me “She is thinking what we are all thinking.” I said “What is that?” and he said “How different it must feel.” I had never considered before that moment that even the adults were curious… Finally after the sacrament and the first talk had been given, she fell asleep right there in my lap. She was out! I even had to move my leg a couple of times because it was falling asleep and she didn’t notice… I snuck a picture since it was so cute. There was also a little boy that was even more curious about the skin. He would come up and play with my fingers, then try to pick up the skin by pinching it. I leaned down to talk to him and immediately he started touching my face. This happened about four separate times and finally I was told by the same man from earlier, who translates for me, that I was probably the first white person he had ever seen. After church, I chatted with the Branch President for a bit about teaching his English students on Saturday and the lesson I am giving the entire stake relief society on Saturday too. The stake president has asked me to teach reproductive health with a focus on preventing pregnancy, but also on how to increase one’s chances on getting pregnant. I talked to the Branch President, who will be serving as my translator, about my concern that the entire lesson would be on a woman’s cycle and sex, but he said not to worry, that’s what they wanted… it definitely will be unlike any other stake relief society activity I have ever been to…

After eating lunch and watching a movie while I did my nails, I got to do the phone calls for Father’s Day. I called Dad first since they were an hour ahead of both of the grandfathers and I’m glad I did. I found out when I called that he was filling in at meetings and was just about to head out the door. Next I called Grandpa as I knew they would most likely be leaving for the day soon and are super hard to catch since there’s no answering machine. He was shocked! It was so much fun! He had no idea I could call, or that I would and honestly he was the most shocked and surprised about it. It was really really fun! He called Grandma into the house, told her who it was, and I’m not sure she believed him right away, but after she heard my voice she did and she was just as shocked and pleased as he was. It made my day! Then I called Poppy, only to find out they were in Ogden, so I called his cell and managed to get him. Although the ward in Ogden wasn’t starting until 1pm, so it may be possible I woke him up… oh well, he didn’t seem to mind and we had a good time chatting. He said since it was Father’s Day, he was going to be selfish and not share the phone with Grammy Pat haha

I spent the rest of the afternoon retreating my clothes and mosquito net (They have to be sprayed every 5-6 weeks.) and downloading pictures, videos, etc that have been taken lately. I then reviewed for my French lesson and he came about 7pm. Just as we were finishing the lesson, Jason text messaged me to let me know he was home from church and we got to have a wonderful long conversation until I had to go to sleep.

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