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!