Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We are fast approaching Christmas, as hard as that seems in this climate of heat and rain, today was a cool 30 degrees and very humid.  The stores are doing their best to remind the people of the season.  There are decorations and Christmas music.  Zambia is "Christian" in that there are lots of Churches and many attenders.  The people speak openly of the Savior and religion.  No one is afraid to be pro-active on the subject.

The Branches are having some "Christmas" parties and maybe some "Christmas" based programs, but we have not seen them yet.  The Mission Home has invited all the missionaries who are here (about 34/36) for a visit on Christmas Eve and dinner on Christmas Day for the couples only.  They have invited the young missionaries later on Sunday for a movie and snacks.  Boxing Day apparently is a holiday.

We have been officially trained by our head PEF(Perpetual Education Fund) man from South Africa (Thembinkosi Mhkize), held "In Service" meetings (3 in one day) for Seminary and Institute, and had a YSA/Institute planning meeting for a New Years Eve dance/party. We are now back to waiting for the District President to give us the go ahead to continue with the event.  We have been encouraging the Branches to enroll students in Seminary and Institute and call teachers where needed.  Distributing the manuals and related supplies has been underway as well, but that is a challenge, when you are not sure how many students and classes there will be.  Seminary and Institute are currently on their "summer break, so there are no classes.  We often visit up to 5 Branches on a Sunday to get out materials, meet with people, put up posters.  Communication is very difficult during the week.

We are still helping the lady (Sister Teke) who runs the Distribution Store at one of the Chapels.  I do posters and other printed materials and Sister Shields helps with inventory and supplies.

Be grateful for each and every blessing that you receive.  Be grateful for the season of Christmas, for His birth and the example of His life.  We love you all.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

By way of update, a few things have occurred.  We had our first "In Service" meeting, with the teachers from the Lusaka District.  We had 15 people in total, including a couple of guests, a District Councilman and a couple of new teachers.  Some came very late and from a long distances, probably 3 bus transfers and some walking, so we were very pleased.  We repeated the meeting for the late arrivals, not an uncommon occurrence.

We followed that meeting with the first YSA (Young Single Adult) activity in about a year, with upwards of 45 people coming.  As with young people, they came and went.  We played a couple of get acquainted games and then had a planning session for future events and many voluntered to help.  We served bottled water , chips and cookies at both events.  There is no budget for such events from our department.  The only failure, was making the computer and projector work to show slides of China and Canada.  They wanted a movie, but the DVD machine was broken and the television would not work.  Our movies from home do not play on the local lap top computer.

This is the season to finalize Seminary and Institute grades for the purpose of having a "Graduation" event, but we are now one month late, due to the struggle we have had to assemble the information from deficient reporting, prior to our arrival.  We met with theDistrict Presidency and left it with them to decide if there should be a "Graduation" this year.  How would you like to come to a planning meeting, without paper, tables, a recording person, etc.?

We are well and into the "rainy season" although so far it is mostly a few heavy showers, which have not bothered us, but the temperature has cooled a little.  Some misionaries in the Northern part of the mission on Monday, 7 of them in a pick truck, managed to roll their vehicle 3 times, demolishing the vehicle, but injuring no one.  One of those PD activities gone awry.  The Mission may choose to abandon vehicles entirely.

We are now into our 4th month.  Thinking of you at this Christmas season (a little hard in this warm, wet climate).  Keep smiling.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's a Great Day - another 35 degrees - we could actually use some rain - which  would cool it down to about 30 degrees.  They say in another couple of weeks we'll get more of it than we want - they have been very busy digging these ditches and making sure the ones that were already there are cleaned out ready for the onslaught of water.  We are waiting to see.  We have had a couple of showers and when it rains it seems to be short but very very heavy.  There are a few places that we may not be willing to go once the rain starts - the potholes are deeper than the car.

Pretty well every Saturday we can count on their being baptisms at both of the Chapels they have here - the Lusaka chapel is the most centralized so they use it for most district meetings.  The other chapel, out by us, is called Woodlands, and it really struggles to ever have water.  They are on city water and that is most undependable.  Lots of Saturdays, there is no water to fill the baptismal font.  This Saturday we've been invited to a baptism at the Woodlands chapel at 1400 hours (they are hoping to find water) for 4 people.  We are unable to go which makes us sad - we are holding inservice meeting for S & I teachers at 12 noon and then hosting an Institute social from 3 - 6 p.m.  We have no idea how many may come but hopefully some so we don't have to meet with all of them one on one -

This weekend just past we went to the Copperbelt area to meet with some seminary and institute teachers, branch presidencies, and district presidency.  We were partially successful.  We did teach a seminary and institute class, attend a baptism for 4, meet 3 branch presidents, go to 2 churches, and drive quite a bit to 3 different cities to be able to do this.  It was a good weekend - we got some attendance records we've been chasing and some we didn't know existed - so more work to finish off this year.  The Kitwe district has had a good year for S & I - very good attendance.  Lusaka has been struggling.  A Challenge for us to improve in these areas for next year.

We'll try to attach some pictures of the Copperbelt area - what you see as you drive and the Lowden Lodge - which is a great little retreat we stay at when in that area.  It has rooms for 14 guests.  They are SOOO nice.

We need to go to the Copperbelt once a month to hold In service and get the attendance forms from them. They would like us to move up there and stay.   They are so nice - they just love the Gospel and try their hardest to live it fully.  Whenever we've been in a meeting with any of these groups the spirit of the Holy Ghost can be cut in the room - it is so heavy. They are truly emissaries of Jesus Christ.  They can teach us many things.  When we got back we notice that we have a different tubing coming out of our driveway.  They drilled for water while we were gone and found it so Yay, we will not need to worry about that.  Only the electricity it looks like.  That's a blessing.

We miss each one of you and hope that things are going good for you in your lives.  We love you all.  We miss hearing from our grandchildren - maybe they could write???  We pray for you each day and know that you are being blessed with the things you need as you strive to live worthy of his blessings.

Room at the Lodge
Love,  The Parents, Elder and Sister Shields

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Since we last spoke we have been blessed??? to have only 1 day of phone and internet.  We should have been able to get all kinds of work done - however, we need both of those things to do our work here in Zambia.  We found out today that the phone line was cut down the street somewhere.  It is back - but the internet is lacking in stability and certainly in swiftness.  Enough of my frustration about that -  last weekend was District Conference in Lusaka.  Saturday were meetings for new members, leadership for RS and Priesthood, and a Sat. Conference session for all.  They were really informative and uplifting meetings - we enjoyed them very much.  We took a couple of elders with us (they normally ride bikes).  Afterwards we went to dinner with them.  It was the first dinner anyone had done for them since they came out - over a year ago.  The people here do not have so they cannot share.  I think they'd really like to BUT.  Sunday we went back to the Sunday Session of Conference and it was a great meeting.  They had 7 new converts of less than a year bare their testimonies - 6 of them were young adults - one a little older than that - they were awesome.  Then the District President, his counselor and someone else spoke (music by Chainama Branch was really good)  only music we've heard in the branches.  There were about 750 people at the meeting - we were very surprised.  There are really a lot of young adults.  We'll see how active they are as we are hosting an activity on November 19 for that age group.  Some say we'll get 12-20, others say we'll get 120 or so.  Hard to plan food with that wide a gap.  It actually rained last night and the temperature dropped to about 31 degrees - very nice and cool.  It was a great day today.  We are getting quite organized and next week will travel to the north (Copperbelt - 3 cities we visit - Kitwe, Luanshya, and Ndola).  There are branches in each one - some have 2 branches.  After that weekend it will start getting much busier for us and all that is already done will be great.

We found a pencil sharpener - only 50,000 kwacha - lasted for 12 pencils we think then it said that's all folks.    Today we took it back - Elder Shields drove around while I ran in (no parking), I was pleasantly surprised that they actually took it back and gave me another one in its place.  I was so happy that I made them happy too by purchasing a 2nd one.

One of our biggest struggles is trying to figure out people's first and last names and which is which and then of course, with the age thing, remembering!!!!  We have a seminary and institute teacher whose name is Kasonde Ilunga OR Ilunga Kasonde - we think we have it figured out then on the next form it is the opposite way, or Kayula Mpange or Mpange Kayula - we want to print them right on their seminary/institute graduation certificates but Nobody seems to know which way is right.  I know, you could all do this better - but try to find out - they have no addresses, phones, and you Might find them at a meeting but sometimes you don't quite remember which one they are.  A few of our fun challenges - not complaining though, we are loving all of the challenges - well, maybe not a couple.

We do hope that you are all being looked after by each other and by your Heavenly Father.  He does love us and he does want us to be blessed each and every day.  We will be by our obedience to him.  You are all in our prayers, we love you.  We feel his love and blessings on us each and every day.

Love,  Elder and Sister Shields, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's been a while again.  It seems we are challenged to have the internet, and have it work. Also, the phone seems to work - in the early a.m. our time - and I mean early.

Since our last visit we have been privileged to attend 2 baptisms - Meggie's and Margaret's. The same day,  Sat. the 15th, we also attended and helped with a seminary party for Aggie and Mary's classes.  They had a great time, even though the DVD machine would not work and they couldn't watch their movie.  Another time I guess.  They seem used to that.  The next day we attended our usual Libala branch, Woodlands branch and then to Bauleni to be there for the confirmations.  Elder Shields confirmed Margaret (Sr. Phiri).  Also that day a young man was given the priesthood (Percy).  Sooo nice.

The car we got has very thick dirty oil so we went to the Toyota dealership and asked when they could change the oil.  They booked us in the next day at 7 a.m.  So yes, we were there at 6:45 and we waited until 7:45 for them to check us in - then they say they'll call us when it is ready - never do - at 3:15 or so we call them, they say oh, yes, it is ready for pick up - but then we can't get there before they close at 5 p.m.  We had to wait until the next day to pick up the car which will be after we'd been to immigration to try to get visas to stay in the country.  They apparently don't have any visa books so they just stamp that we're good for another 60 days - then we have to come back again.  Interesting.  We went home and Brother Chansa and Cedric came to see what they could do for us regarding internet.  They were here for the afternoon and we did seem to get it going - that is until they left.  We called Jacquie - 2 minutes were clear and then we were cut off - no electricity for 6 hours.  Next day, Thursday, no electricity for most of the day and Friday, no electricity or water from 10 - 8 p.m.  Such a fun week we can hardly wait for a repeat.

Saturday we went to the Lusaka Building (ended up cleaning it as it was desperate - they were setting up for 5 baptisms at 12:00 and it was dirty everywhere.  A couple of the Sr. missionaries came along and helped.  While we were there we stopped at the Distribution Centre.  They were happy to see us as they had 43 boxes of Seminary and Institute supplies which had been delivered to them by mistake, that they really wanted us to get out of their small space.  Happy to oblige.  Mostly young people between 18 - 30 years of age are being baptized.  They are happy and really seem to absorb everything that they read in the scriptures - they can spiel off scriptures like they have been studying them their whole lives.  It's amazing to watch them.

Sunday October 23, we went to Chainama branch at 9 a.m. and they had an awesome choir - practicing before church started about 20 - 25 of them.  This is the first music we have seen and they really feel their music, and so did we.  It is a great little branch.  The next stop was Matero to visit where we went to Sunday school and Relief Society.  They were happy to have the visit.  Then it was off to Bauleni Group (not enough to call it a branch) where Burton spoke (he gave a great talk).  We always feel welcome (we make 2 more - sometimes this means 10 and sometimes 20).  I got to lead the songs - hmmmm -  you sing the first line then they repeat it with you - wish I could sing it would make things sound a lot better but oh well we try.

The days don't seem busy in the mornings but there is always more to be done and organized so we do keep busy.  Burton is busy trying to think up things to do inside as it has been 36 - 38 degrees all week and he doesn't like it outside in the heat.  We have been blessed over and over and appreciate the prayers and the Lord's hand in our lives.  We are grateful for friends and family who support us.  We love each of you.

We're going to try to add a couple of pictures of the scenery as we drive from our place to the most central church building (Lusaka Chapel).  It's an interesting drive.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's been a few weeks since we've updated - hopefully we can pull some of this information from our minds as to what we've been up to and maybe even accomplished.

Conference came and went - we haven't seen or heard (other than the African Temple announcements) any of the talks.  We are anxiously awaiting their arrival.  We have been learning the city we live in, getting a bank account (that's taken 5-6 trips to the bank with passports, letters from the church, landlord information, etc.).  They are quite thorough - that's good though.  We have visited seminarys and are busy collecting  their rolls, and graduating students information for South Africa so that they can get the Graduation Certificates for us to print and help with each branches graduation (December).

This week we flew to Victoria Falls for 3 days to hold an S & I Conference with the head people from South Africa and Zimbabwe.   Victoria Falls is one of the 7 wonders of the world and is really very beautiful.  We were at the Elephant Hills Resort - an Elephant Walk is very close - also on the golf course were Sebu, deer, Warthogs, Baboons, and Lots of Monkeys.  We had meetings in a conference room each day interspersed with breaks for walks by the pools, tennis courts, etc.  A beautiful place - we'll try to attach some pictures.  Our supervisors - Tasara Makasi and Kumbalani Mdletshe kept us busy - there was one other couple there with us (Elder and Sister Raymond) from Nampa, Idaho and another S & I supervisor (Sipho Ndlovu) and Luke Moto.  Going to Zimbabwe was quite an adventure for an old couple - we flew (on an 18 seater) to Livingstone, Zambia.  We then took a cab to the border ($35.00 US).  At the Border, they told us it was going to cost us $50.US) to get back into Zambia as we don't have a double entry Visa.  We then walked the 2 km to the Zimbabwian border as the Taxi wanted another $15.00.  Of course, on the way the people were trying to sell us everything from money that is worthless (as keepsakes), copper bracelets, bungi jumping tickets for off the train bridge we had to cross, rhinocerous carvings, etc.  Some very beautiful things that we just did not want to carry at that time.  When we got to the other border (Zimbabwe), we had to pay $75.00 US each to get into that country.  Then Tasara Makasi (our supervisor) met us there in his van and took us to the hotel.  It was really an adventure.  If anyone wants to go, we are now seasoned and yes, would do it again.

We got back from there last night (Thursday October 13).  We have found a temporary internet provider that seems to somewhat work for now.  We are still trying to get the other connected but for now this is it.  Last Sunday we attended 2 branch Sacrament meetings, and 2 branch (different ones) Sunday School.  The people are VERY knowledgeable about their scriptures - they remember what they read.   They have some very good teachers and try very very hard to do what is right.  They really struggle with musicians - and with keeping any sort of time.  Either they'll get better or I guess we'll learn to adjust.  It is kind of frustrating - for them too.

We have 7 branches and 1 group here in Lusaka who hold about 10 or 11 seminaries and 6 institute classes.  We have been asked to teach 2 institute classes per week.  Also, we are over the Copperbelt district which includes 3 cities - Ndola, Luanshya, and Kitwe who hold about 6 seminaries and maybe 5 institute classes.  This Copperbelt district is about 350 km from where we live.  We are to visit and do inservice lessons for the teachers once a month.  It is a most interesting road - we have been there - it is a road with many potholes, and speed bumps as well as every few miles (maybe 50) there are police stop checks just to keep you awake.  We will have to spend 2-3 days up there when we go.  We'll have to find a place to stay over - hopefully one that's o.k.

We have made some friends and tomorrow are hosting and attending a seminary party for Aggie's class.  She is an awesome teacher.  She has been back from her mission about 3 years now and is about 6 months away from graduating as a Social Worker.  She is a great example to the kids.

I'd better see if we can attach any pictures.  We love you all and hope that you are all being a great example to those around you.  We have had the opportunity to talk to a few people about the church and it takes some practice to do it nicely.  Learning Curve again.  Isn't live wonderful.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 4, 2011

Hi All,

It seems like we should be adjusted by now - it's been two weeks.  We can't say that is the case though.  We are trying to chase down a lot of S & I (Seminary and Institute) teachers - for each branch and group that exist in Zambia.  We need to visit and see how things are going for them, as well as get their counts, etc. for August and September.  Graduation is held in December and we may be in charge of organizing each one so we need more info.  How many, how often, what, etc.  

We went after Sacrament Meeting on Sunday up to the Copperbelt - an area about 5 1/2 hours to the north of us.  It is way more laid back (or backward) depends how you look at it.  The roads are BAD, they are full of potholes and speed bumps - so it is hard to make good time getting there or back.  We stayed overnight in a B & B owned by an Australian woman.  It was very nice - old with a lot of character.  We went with the Taggarts - they take care of the missionaries - and we went to see the S & I teachers where possible.  We only had one good visit with Bro. Thole (pronounces TOLA).  It was good.  We have visited with some others here in Lusaka.  There were also police checks every few miles to slow you down.  Always just wanting to see your drivers licence - oh, yes,  and they found a lazer gun just for us. 

We are adjusting to the weather.  They are wearing high boots, and a few coats - after all it is only spring and in the low 30s.  Amazing how the blood can thin.  I don't think ours hasn't yet.

The people here are great - they try very hard to be honest and upright people.  They have a thick accent that is hard to understand over the phone - easier in person.  There were 3 people elected to parliament from the church and two others to civic responsibilities.  That's not too bad.

We are still trying to get the internet at our apartment and a land line phone so that we can use Vonage, Skype, and just plain internet at our convenience.

We love you all and keep you in our prayers.

Elder and Sister Shields

We Arrived! (September 27, 2011)

Hi All, 

We have arrived in Zambia - after 2 1/2 days of travel - with very little sleep.  Our apartment has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining, living, kitchen and laundry room.  It also has little creatures that like to crawl on the floor.

Our first day here we managed to blow the electricity and it took 1 1/2 days to get fixed.  A little hard on the things in the frig.  Prospects for the internet in the near future are quite uncertain.  Apparently some have been waiting 3 months.  Telephone Service even seems worse.  The mission home has been waiting that long.  (Operates on cell phones only).

It seems that we have been asked to be S & I (Seminary and Institute) coordinators and are to cover the country and perhaps Malawi (they are still deciding) holding monthly in service meetings, training of teachers, getting stats for the Area Presidency, and checking to see if anyone needs help, teacher training, getting to know all of the S & I students, holding some activities with them and for them, etc. 

We did meet with the Stonehockers (they met us at the airport and we had breakfast together and Glenda took lots of pics of the tired shields.  It was great to visit though.  

We did get to two branches on Sunday - one was very active, the other has had it's problems and was very small.  We have been two LDS style chapels we did not know existed so that was good - driving to them on our own would have been a challenge.  Burton is doing great at driving on the left side of the road.  They had an election the 20th - the results came out on the 22nd and everyone went crazy, took the day off work and partied and drove around honking horns, etc.  It ended without bloodshed which all the members were extremely grateful for.  Hopefully that is a good thing for them!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

We are at the Hotel ready to go to the Airport in the morning.  What a Great Week we have had.  We had CES training (or S&I) on Monday, Tuesday and 1/2 of Wednesday.  Then Wednesday afternoon we had security training.  They do want us to be aware, careful, and safe.  They really did a great job.  Thursday and then Friday we were in Salt Lake at the Joseph Smith Building, then at the Church Office Building for PEF (Perpetual Education Fund) training.  Wow! is all I can say.  What an inspired program.  President Hinckley announced the program 10 years ago and all we can say is that we know it is an inspired program, and the good it is doing is fantastic.  Approx. 50,000 people have now been able to upgrade their education and the payback rate is about 93%.  That's quite a record.

The CES training was also Very Well Done.  We were taught by the best and we hope to not disappoint anyone and to be able to study and work to become worthy of their trust.  We have our work cut out for us but since we have done more training in more areas than we thought, we aren't sure what our job descriptions will be when we get there.  They seem to be changing or maybe it is just evolving.  Time will tell.

Tomorrow we fly to Chicago, then to London - arriving there at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.  We don't leave there until 7 p.m. and fly for about 10 hours to Johannesburg, then after another layover - on to Lusaka, Zambia, then arriving the afternoon of September 21.  We think we'll be a bit tired of travel for a while.

We visited Nate and Julie for the last 4 nights - very busy time for them - Soccer every night and Saturday.
We had our own obsession going on - the weighing of the bags time again.  We had to eliminate quite a few things - mostly books from our bags to make room for other things that we'd bought or been given.  We hope we are learning for coming home, but aren't dwelling there.  We were glad to be there and rest a bit before the long haul.  Ellis and Glenda hope to visit us at the airport in Johannesburg.  That should be fun.

The MTC has grown into an amazing place.  There were 2800 missionaries there with our group.  There were 78 senior missionaries went in with us.  Some as young as 50, 2 of which were going on missions while their youngest children were in the field and hoped to be arriving home about the same time.  That was cool.  Dan and Debbie Heninger were in there with us.  It was good to visit with them - we even got to go to the movie 17 Miracles.  We planned to buy it and take it but forgot.  We broke into districts and the Heningers were in our district so we visited more.  They're going to be Great Missionaries in Romania.  The next week there were 80 seniors coming in and the next week they didn't know what they were going to do with 120 senior missionaries.  They are responding to the call of last October.  More and more seem to be either new at early 50s or older and on their 3, 4 or 5th mission.  It does seem to get in the blood.  The young ones will make the best missionaries (they have experience but also energy).  We know though, that we will be fine and will find the energy to complete the assignments given us.  We know the Lord wants these people helped and taught so that they can take on their own leadership roles and help the church to be self sufficient.  We will try to help in anyway that we can.  It is His Work and He is in charge.

We are trying to attach our MTC picture and I've deleted this once already trying to remember where it is.  I'm going to try again.  If I lose it again, I might end for the night and try again in the morning.  We're going to sign out now and will post again after we have arrived and have the Internet.

Love to all of you, you are the greatest people we know.
Elder and Sister Shields

The Time has Come!  Monday September 19th (tomorrow) is take off!  We have completed our training this week in CES, S & I, Perpetual Education Fund, and Security.  We have started taking our Malaria pills (yesterday) and don't think we've forgotten anything else.  What an amazing week it has been.  We were trying to learn so much we thought we needed to drill holes in our heads to let some out so there was room for more.  The Perpetual Education Fund is such a prophetic program.  When President Hinckley announced it, there is no doubt it came straight from heaven.  With some earthly things to work out over the 10 years since it's inception, it is now running as the inspired program it was meant to be.  Wow!  This program has had us in tears Many times in the 2 days we took the training at the Church Office Buildings in Salt Lake.

We thought we'd be like all missionaries and post our MTC picture.  We stayed at Nate and Julie's on Thurs. and Fri. nights.  They were pretty involved with Soccer - actually Sat. too.  We did up our wash, visited with the kids when they were around and tried to reorganize our bags for weight again.  We did end up leaving some things in a sports bag at the Hedmans.  Added weight from the MTC and shopping and had to delete a few things.  For those thinking about going - they do have the basic books on a pin drive so don't haul that weight like we did.

We love you all and hope you are keeping well.

Elder and Sister Shields

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wow!  We have arrived and completed MTC 101 here in Provo this week.  Tomorrow we start MTC 201 which should all be about CES, Perpetual Education, S and I, etc. 

We have had a very intense, uplifting, testimony building week here in the MTC.  We have been taught, done teaching, practiced with pretend investigators, and even some real ones.  We were not told ahead of time who had who or what the scenario was - it was a Great Experience.  We loved it.  We wish you could all be here and feel of the spirit of the MTC.  There were 78 seniors and 28 hundred young Elders and Sisters in the group.  They are expecting way more in October.  As we indicated earlier in our email, the Senior Missionaries are answering the call Pres. Monson put out in October general conference.  We need you!    There were at least 5 or 6 in our group that are in their early to mid 50s.  Have the kind of work that they can take the time and then go back to work.  It is awesome.  We are anxious to be part of the work and looking forward to leaving next Monday a.m. (the 19th).  Life has been tough - they ran out of rooms and at least 10 couples HAD to go to the Marriott to stay - in very nice suites, we were one of them.  We did however, want to experience the MTC first hand but maybe another time. 

We feel our time here is being very well spent - they are very organized and efficient.  There are about 2800 missionaries here and about 2800 volunteers make this happen.  Amazing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today is August 31 - tomorrow we leave home and stay at a hotel near the airport so we can be there by 4:30 a.m.  What a nice time of day to start on a Great Adventure -  September 2 at 6:30 we leave for Salt Lake City via Seattle and into the mission home on Monday September 5, 2011.
We appreciate all the  family that came to hear us speak last Sunday and for lunch and a visit. It was great to see most everyone there - missing Julie and family and Janice.  Our packing today was the weighing and reweighing, packing and repacking.  We think we have things balanced out and are semi under control.  It seems when you are getting ready to do the Lord's work that Satan really puts on the pressure and that has been the case this last while.  We do wish we could control that but know that blessings will come if we go and do that which we are supposed to do.  So... kids,  be your best and the blessings will flow we promise. 

We will miss everyone, friends and family, and appreciate your help in our being ready to go.  Thanks and we love you lots.  We have signed up for Vonage and hope that works over there - not sure.  It may take some time to get the internet and phone up and running.

We heard from President Padovich via email on Sunday and he answered some questions we had.  Yay!
We are really good at asking questions - sometimes even more than once.  Our memories aren't what they used to be.  Maybe they'll improve for 2 years.

We're pretty excited overall about the "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go Dear Lord" aspect of this call.  This continent is one that had not even entered our minds.  The Lord works in mysterious ways - we want to be on his team. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's already August 24th and we have been sidetracked for a few weeks for a Great Missionary Experience.  We have been able to have Li Jing (our new Chinese friend) in our home with the Mandarin Missionaries.  She was baptized on Saturday August 20,  by her husband (Fred Sun).  We were blessed to be able to get to know them and are grateful for them in our lives.  Li Jing left this a.m. for Shanghai then Suzhou where she will continue to teach Mandarin to high school students until the new year.  She hopes to come over to stay at that time.  We will miss her but hope to hear from her often.

We are now refocusing, have sold the cars back to the dealership, about finished the major shopping,  emptied the cupboards, taken the boxes downstairs, etc.  After we speak on Sunday, we will be able to finish the house off and be ready??? to go.  We are staying at the airport Sept. 1 as we leave early on Sept. 2, 2011.  Then off to Seattle, Salt Lake, stay 2 weeks, then to Chicago, London (9+ hrs), then to Johannesburg, and up to Lusaka, Zambia - our new home for the next 23 months.  Whew.  We should arrive very refreshed, right?  More Later.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Time is flying!  We are very busy getting ready to go, helping others, and teaching a beautiful young spirit, Li Jing, from China.  She has committed to baptism on August 21, 2011.  She returns to Souzhou, China on August 24th.  She teaches Mandarin in a high school there.  She is so bubbly, kind, honest, and open to the gospel teachings and principles, it is our privilege to have gotten to know her.  We took time this weekend to go to Waterton to Church - we love to do that at least once a year so this was the weekend.  It was Great!  President Rosenval is a fantastic Sunday school teacher.  Hopefully we can improve and be better teachers ourselves as time progresses.  Hopefully, we can remember how to post this. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Are We Done Yet??

Wow!  Another few days of organizing, packing, reading, studying, and all in all trying to stay focused on the Adventure ahead.  We are looking forward to the focus, the challenge, and the blessing of being able to have the health and the mind to be able to help in the Lord's work.  We think that we are finished (?) appointments barring anything else like this week - an unforseen event - a broken tooth or two - still here though so easily fixed.  We got a letter yesterday from Salt Lake dated July 1 - it seems to not have been mailed or lost in the mail for several weeks.  By the time we leave, we hope to be very ready to concentrate on the experiences that we will have.  Looking forward to it.

July 25, 2011 - Monday

Preparation (and worry) continues.  This is practice adding to our blog.  The weather is sunny and warm today in Calgary.  We had talks on Pioneers, new and old in Church.  We need to continually study our materials and review the materials and supplies that are to be ready to go.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Paper Work

We have had to do a lot of paper work to get ready, including new passports and Police Criminal Record checks.  We are getting short of time to get all the necessary documents back to Salt Lake in time for the application to apply for visas to enter Zambia to be processed by September.

Welcome to our mission blog!

Greetings from Canada. Packing is underway for our mission to Zambia. We enter the MTC September 5, 2011 for a two-week training course to be followed by 23 months in Africa (but who's counting? :)

We will be living in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia.
20 Mutende Road, Woodlands, Lusaka, Zambia

If you'd like to stay in touch, email us at