Most of our work involves the Young Single Adults. Last blog we showed you how we taught the Young Single Adults of the Mgaba (pronounced GABA) ward how to dance.
This Friday, we went back and danced some more with them. Then on Saturday, we attended a three stake Young Single Adult conference. Over 350 YSA in attendance. Suzanne played the piano for a couple of groups who sang. Can you imagine the power of 350 young single adults all living the gospel, happy, and loving life. It was incredible.
The young man in the blue shirt is Joseph, he is Suzanne's music buddy. He is very talented and engaging. He and Suzanne work together on musical numbers. He is also one of our new PEF students.
Our Ngaba Ward YSA kids showed off their dancing skills, much to the delight of the rest of the kids there. I am afraid that every ward will now call us to come and teach them. However, as part of our on-going sustainability program, we will have the kids who know how, teach the others.
The theme was "Eternal Marriage." The Area Institute Coordinator led a discussion on why get married in the Temple, then one of the stake presidents spoke on the subject. After that each stake did songs, poems, and a small play about marrying in the Temple.
It is a long standing tribal custom here that the bride must provide a dowry to the husband's family. It has become outrageous. The family members demand all sorts of monetary items from money to clothing, to televisions. Now, remember this is a poor country. Many are unable to marry until they satisfy the dowry.
The Church leaders are teaching that this is a practice that is not right.
For a young person to go to the Temple to be married is expensive. The nearest Temple is in South Africa. Most struggle to find money to go to South Africa to the Temple, and with the dowry requirement is becomes almost impossible.
The country requires a civil marriage, so most couples do a civil marriage then off to the Temple. At the civil marriage, the justice of the peace asks if the dowry has been satisfactorily paid. If not, no marriage is performed.
At the conference, many young people talked about their feelings and talked about how to overcome this tradition.
One young couple, a picture of them standing, recently married and worked hard with both sides of the family. (he is one of our PEF students) They paid a very very small dowry, got married civilly, and then flew immediately to South Africa for a Temple marriage. They are the example of the new Congo.
One very cute play was about a young couple who wanted to get married but the family demanded $35,000 in cash, new cars, TVs, etc. The bishop counselled them, they struggled, and finally, with the help of the bishop, the got agreement from the family to settle for $40 dollars in dowry. The kids did it with great humor and mocking of tradition. The entire audience was constantly in stitches. The point was made very strongly, by the kids, that there needs to be a new standard and this is the generation to change things.
We are constantly amazed be the understanding, commitment, and power of this young generation.
Also, we had our first completed classes of Planning for Success. The Mont Ngafula (pronounced moan gafoola) stake and the Kimbensake (pronounced Kim -ben-say-key) stake. The pictures are of the Mont Ngafula stake and their teacher - Bishop Haboko.
Also attached are pictures of the 2010 and 2011 classes of PEF Students from the Masina stake. This was taken with Elder Rendlund of the Seventy. Unfortunately, in this picture, he stepped behind a taller student. Also is a picture of Suzanne and me with Pepetho, our start student.
These kids are so much fun. We are so thankful to be here. AFRICA ROCKS!!!