Friday, October 14, 2011
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.