Friday, October 29, 2010



When Sister Hatch and I had been in the Congo for just a few weeks, we were fasting for a purpose that we could fulfill above and beyond our Office calling. As we were sitting in fast and testimony meeting watching the young men administer and pass the sacrament, the spirit whispered in my mind, “Is there a scouting program here for these young men who live in the Congo.” To follow that question the next day I called one of the Stake President’s in the area, and he said there was no scouting program and not much of a Duty to God program going on in this Country. The next day I emailed the World Scout Program in Switzerland, I never received an answer. The next week I emailed the African Headquarters for Scouting, and again I received no answer. I sent one of the office workers to the Minister of Youth Affairs every other day for 2 weeks, he too got no answers. Sister Hatch and I continued to pray for a breakthrough, some kind of a contact somewhere. Last Sunday after church we usually drive to the office to email our children, this Sunday we decided to drive home first and grab a bite to eat and then go to the office. Right outside the wall of our compound is a large bus/transport/street market/big time people place STOP. Do you get the picture? There are a lot of people that congregate. Okay, after eating our sandwiches we headed to the office. As we were leaving the compound Sister Hatch looked over at the “transport stop” and what do you think was there? A very large scout troop! Sister Hatch exclaimed, “Look there is a Boy Scout Troop!” I was concentrating on driving (another story to tell) and I took a second to look and there they were…..the answer to my prayers!!! It was like in the movies it was as if they were setup there waiting for us, there was no one else at the transport stop! We quickly turned around and pulled over, we rolled down our window all the way, (if you are ever in the Congo never unroll your window when being pulled over by a policeman, [ another story]), we asked if they were a Boy Scout Troop and they smiled from ear to ear and said, “Oui, Oui”. I was so excited, I told them I was a Boy Scout from America, and that my 3 sons are Eagle Scouts. They all smiled and gave us the Boy Scout Sign and Salute. We were on cloud 9. I jumped out of the truck and asked for their leader. Their leader told me that they were sponsored by a Catholic Church in Kinshasa and he gave me his number and the number to the Chief Executive of the Boy Scouts in the Congo. We waved goodbye with many thanks. There is no question in our mind that those boys were there in answer to our prayer. Now to continue with the biggest miracle of all, I called the Chief Executive to set up an appointment to meet with him. I took two of the office workers, Aime and Paschal to interpret (and to drive!), they are both members of different Stakes in leadership positions. We arrived and shook hands with smiles on our faces, excited for the opportunity to talk. He was a professor at a college here in Kinshasa. We met at an old Catholic Church half way between the Mission Office and his school that he taught at. I must describe to you now what this looked like. In the back corner of the church yard was a boxing training center with one arena on cement and one filled with sawdust. The one with sawdust had a shelter overhead, we asked if they had a table and chairs and they said no table, but we do have four chairs. We put the four chairs in the middle of the saw dust arena and began our meeting. Professor Makolo Nuswaswa was one of the kindest men I have met. He started by saying that a year ago he was in Japan for the World Scout Jamboree. He stated that he met an American Scout. He told the American Scout that he knew that there were Mormon boys in the Congo who needed scouting. He asked the American to send a Mormon over. When I called Professor Makolo he thought it was because that American had contacted me and sent me to meet him. But you and I know that it was the spirit of the Holy Ghost that directed me to this place. He said that the scouts here are very poor, and that each boy pays $1 a year for his dues, and his scout handbook is photocopied because they cannot afford books. He said that we could get uniforms from America and use them here. He gave us permission to design our own Scout handkerchief for the Mormon Scout boys. He also said that they have a camping area outside of the city where we could hold summer camps and camp outs! He told me with a gentle smile on his face that I was his brother in scouting and that the Mormon Scouts would greatly improve the Congo. One of the Stake President’s called to see how the meeting went and he is very excited for the young men in his stake. After I hung up the phone from him another Stake President walked into the office and we told him the whole story. He also is very excited. All the Stake Presidents are now very excited to introduce scouting into the wards here. It is going to be a very busy time getting the scout program up and operating hand in hand with the Duty to God program. There is no question in our minds that this was all put together by a loving Heavenly Father. It was the right time with the right people, in the right place. We do believe in miracles. Heavenly Father answers prayers when they are asked for a specific reason with sincerity and faith. Now, we must move forward and put this program together. We will be asking many of you who read this for help in different ways. Whether it is collecting old scout shirts (at least 600) or other things. We know that the next generation of Congolese missionaries will be better because of their Duty to God and Boy Scout training. How powerful they will be in proclaiming the gospel throughout Africa because of their increased knowledge. It will also improve their lives in every other way. We continue to ask you to pray for this program and to give us the strength to get it up and going.

Thanks to you all for your prayers for these wonderful people! Prayer is how things will change here in the Congo
Elder and Sister Hatch


Henke Family said...

Wow! That story is amazing! We would LOVE to help collect scout shirts for you! Tell us what to do!

Matthew Hatch said...

I love it! That professor reminds me of some of the priests form Italy...they really are great people. It makes me glad for other organizations. The catholic church can help in ways that we still cannot. Working together is ideal. I love it!

Anonymous said...

This is to wierd Raul just got released from Elders Quarum President and was made young mens president...I will keep on him to collect there old uniforms also...This will work.....

Lauri said...

(Jay and Lauri Olsen here)
Thanks for posting and letting us participate in your mission. It is so inspiring to read about - knew it would be.