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.