Friday, February 24, 2012

Parade Route - just like home - team colours abound -

The Chipolopolo's WIN - the Country is VERY EXCITED!!!

It's been an exciting few weeks for the country.  The Chipolopolo's won the Africa Cup for Soccer.  They were the underdogs all the way and that made the excitement rise even more.  The final game was really an exciting one with no scores happening for either team until into overtime and then (about 1:30 in the morning here) the Chipolopolo's won (Chipolopolo means the Bullets).  The City was very excited - lots of fireworks, horn honking and everyone taking the day off work to drive around in the backs of trucks singing, yelling, and just being excited.  They had a parade of sorts when the team arrived at the airport and about 400 - 500,000 people lined the road to the airport (apparently all the way).  The mission president had to go out to pick up our mission psychiatrist and wife who were sent to visit all of us - hmmm -  he lives about 20 minutes away - it took him over 4 hours to get back with them.  It was BUSY!

We have just spend 4 days up in the Copperbelt area - about 4-5 hours north of Lusaka (where we live).  The roads need us to take our camera and a measuring tape (which we will do next week when we go back) to show how deep the potholes are - and how they are all over the road so swerving is not always an option. They have a saying in Zambia - if someone drives straight down the road - he/she is probably drunk.  We had some great visits there last weekend and feel it would be good to keep it going while we are on a roll.  The people are such great spirits - they just emulate Christ in everything they do.  They struggle to survive but would give you anything they have - they are trying to be doers not just hearers.  They are awesome - a great example to us continually.  It's great to feel of their love for their Savior - and hear how deep their understanding is.

We have been the lead taxi driving team for our bosses - Khumbalani and Makasi - they have been here doing interviews for the position here (ours).  We think they have had some good interviews and some prospects are promising so time will tell.  They have been great teachers, examples, and leaders for S & I for many years and we learn much each time we visit with them.  We appreciate that the church is in such good hands and that they are also humble men of God.  It helps us to refocus our work to try to do what is expected in a more uplifting and spiritual way.  What a Great Learning Curve.  We are very blessed to be here.  Some things here seem to take a long time to happen (even our Sunday meetings - think about going to church at 11 a.m. and actually starting (when you feel that there are enough people there) - maybe 11:30 or 11:40 -  depends -  but ending on time - so that talk you prepared - you may never have to give.  We find we are here to learn patience.  Hope we do sometime.

We know the Gospel is True.  We love being here and feeling of the growth and spirit of Zambia.  It is a choice spot to be and we are learning much.  We hope we can also impart some knowledge and be of service to these great people.  We appreciate all of you at home and want you to be the best you can be - we know that we are truly being blessed many times over while we are here - we hope that you also, are being blessed for us being here.

We love you all.  Thanks for your notes and prayers.

Elder and Sister Shields,  Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Burton and Patricia

Friday, February 3, 2012

Since our last entry, we have made a trip to the Copperbelt region, mostly to Luanshya and Ndola.  One of the Elders being transferred there, needed a ride (O'Neill), so he provided company for us.  He was excited to be going there.  We stayed in a house rented by the Mission, with another couple (the Lookharts-Office and renovation people).  It is a little bit too rustic for us, but one can manage.  We spent a lot of time sorting old Seminary and Institute materials and related materials (taking an inventory).  Some is still usable, but a lot is not.

We did not have time nor access to deliver the out dated materials to the Branches, as they some times are happy to get it.  The drive to the Copperbelt, is tedious and take 5 - 6 hours.  Our main contact there spent most of the time doing other things, so we did not get as much done as we would have liked.  One road back, is so full of deep and large potholes, that serious damage can occur if one is not extremely careful.  A new Toyota Hilux 4 door truck went zooming by us and just as he pulled in front of us we noticed that something was dragging on the road from under his truck causing sparks to fly everywhere.  A second later his left rear tire went off into the ditch, there was nothing we could do for him, so we slowly kept on going down the road.  We see many of these car issues every week (it is never just a flat tire), it is usually a whole axle, or more.

We have spent the rest of the month, up to today, continuing to put in place classes, teachers, and materials.  In addition, we had a visit from our supervisor President Makasi.  He came to town and spent parts of two days training and holding meetings (which we arranged for him).  We had him come to a seminary class one afternoon and he spoke at an Inservice meeting, a Branch leaders meeting and a Fireside for the youth.  It was a busy day.  He was a missionary here, 15 years ago and really enjoys coming back to visit people he helped bring into the Church.

Our latest news is that the Church wants to hire a full time Director/Coordinator for Zambia, which probably moves us to the country of Malawi, some time in the next few months (if they are successful in hiring someone).  We can go wherever we are needed, but we have become quite settled here.  The move should be to a new flat with a new truck.

Life never rests as we were contacted a few days ago about taking "Auditor" training.  We had the Howells from South Africa, for parts of three days this week, trying to teach us about that future assignment.  This assignment could continue in Malawi.  Malawi does not have the Perpetual Education Loan program yet, so that might be one less job.  We are getting close to finished with the current round of PEF renewals.  Tomorrow, we start a new "Planning for Success" class though so there could be more students in a couple of months.

All in all, it has been a fast month - when you are busier, it goes quicker - right?  We keep learning as we go so that is a great concept.  It beats just getting older but not any wiser.  We appreciate each of you at home and your efforts in keeping your families organized and on the right track.  We have just read the Children's Friend (February Issue), and the New Era.  What  powerful magazines.  They are not only good for the children but so good for us all.  The messages are profound and TRUE.  Enjoy them and think of the messages they are asking us to consider.  We have planning meetings (with each other) almost every day here.  It helps us focus on what is important over what we may want to do.  I wish you could all be here in a month to help me throw a BIG birthday party for Dad, Burton, Grandpa.  It is a big one - I think we'll have to make other arrangements and celebrate his 70th when he is 71.  He thinks that's better anyway.  Take care of yourselves.  We love each and every one of you.

There are the most beautiful trees here - they all seem to have not just blossoms but big flowers of all colors on them - they are beautiful.  We're going to attach a couple of flowers, and flowering trees.  Also a picture of Aggie's Seminary class with President Makasi sitting near the back.