Friday, April 27, 2012

 Bananas Anyone!  The top picture is how they REALLY grow - the bottom how you think they grow - and a mistake as well - only one picture should have been included but now I don't know how to eliminate one.  Hmmm.  We'll have to work on this.
These are the modern lawn mowers along the side of the road with very strong arms to MOW the short grass.  They use a whipper with a sharp piece of metal on the end.  It does keep lots of people busy.
These grasshoppers have a very strong grip - there are a dozen or so on the car each morning and after a trip of 20 - 30 bumpy kilometers they are still very much attached with their little grippers

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It has been another busy couple of weeks.  We have been to the Copperbelt again and have had many opportunities for teaching, watching, and service of all kinds.  We decided that we'd like to have the Elders in our area over for dinner so we had 6 of them come.  It was so fun - they have such a great desire to do the Lord's will and to be good examples to us all, that it is hard to top the Elders.  They really enjoy a balanced meal - something Nshima (ground maize/corn) doesn't provide and something their budgets don't allow much with the costs of food here being VERY high.
The next day we drove to the Copperbelt.  Sr. Padovich called (from Malawi, where she was) and asked if we could stop at the hospital in Ndola to see Elder Cook as he was having stomach problems.  We checked with the Zone Leaders and went over to Luanshya and got them before we went to see Elder Cook.  He got released the next day on condition that he come in each of the next 5 days and get a shot of antibiotics and take it easy for the week.  A very hard thing for a good missionary to do.
We were up there Fri afternoon, Saturday and Sunday morning and accomplished much.  The Branch that has been having some S & I issues, held an activity Saturday starting at 10 a.m.  We were amazed that is was not what we thought an activity would be - each teacher bore their testimony, talked about how they loved Seminary and Institute, wanted the students to come, etc.  It was great!

It was not over when we had to leave to go to Kitwe to meet with President Kabonso.  The president was a little disappointed that the house he found was not suitable, but said he'd keep looking.  We told the Lady whose lodge we stay in - Lowden Lodge - and her sister is involved in real estate and rentals so she said she'd call her - she did and now the Lookharts should be back tonight having taken care of that need. They rented 2 new flats.  The Lord works continuously according to our faith and our works.

We visited Ndola branch on Sunday morning - partly so we could take Elder Cook back to the hospital for his first shot and make sure he was doing well.  He seemed well when we left - it would be hard to be sick in a foreign country.  Sure hope it doesn't happen to us.  We are grateful for safety in travel on that 15 - 16 hours of driving, over 3 days - through the potholes - it is pretty scary at times.

South Africa have officially said that we need to see Temple Recommends to purchase temple clothing.
Sister Akatekelelua (Teke) needed a little help in what to do with the policy change, how to let people know and who to let know  A couple of people are working on their PEF applications and Elder Shields helped them with that while I worked in the store so it's all good.

We were sorry to hear about Uncle Frank (Anderson) this week but were grateful at the same time that he didn't have to linger in pain.

 Hopefully the rest of you are doing well - We are grateful for your notes, skype, letters, and packages.  We are grateful to Stacey for being the big bookkeeper at home - especially with it being tax season.  THANKS to all of you for your efforts on our behalf.  We were so grateful this conference to be able to see it all twice - to make up for last time when we couldn't get it.  It was awesome - every session - even Priesthood.  We do hope you were all able to listen to, and take heed, of the leaders of the church.

We have been invited again this weekend to do a branch in service meeting/lesson as they are calling new teachers.  It is a challenge sometimes - because the teachers change - but the books, DVDs, etc. never come back - it's always we need more.  It's a bit of a challenge to know how many you need for a year. The other little challenge is that they say class starts at 9:30 and actually if you are lucky it will start by 10 - 10:15, then the next one is to start at 10:40 and it may start by 11:15 - 11:30, and go for an hour to an hour and a half.  What you think will be 2 - 2 1/2 hours ends up taking from 9 - 2 p.m easily - just like church.  It's a cultural thing that needs worked on.  It makes us a little frustrated as we value time (culturally), and it is why we are in Africa - to learn patience.

Keep Positive - Keep Safe.  Know that Heavenly Father blesses those who live worthy and those who ask for his help.  We Love Him and are grateful for the blessings he bestows on us.  We know all we have comes from Him.  Our love to each of you.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

 Mom and Baby near the water - lots of others in area - Great Scenery
 Hard to find a Crocodile that stayed on land long enough to get a picture!
 Impalas and Water Buck travel together
 Water Buffalo and egret travel together - the birds like the bugs the buffalo stir up when feeding.
 Such a lovely 2 tonne beast - the Hippo - really can run quite fast (with grace)
The hippos love the water and most that we saw were in the water - they were very playful - fun to watch.

Friday, April 13, 2012

 The Pontoon boat across the Kafue River on the way to Kiambi Safari Lodge
 The View off of our Deck -
 Our Rustic Camping Tent - with thatched roof and all - we thought it was great
These birds are called Bee Eaters - check out all the colors on them - beautiful birds - live in the dirt holes
 Kasonde and Esnart Ilunga Wedding Day March 31, 2012
 Traditional Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Dance their way into the Hall
 Guests get to try their hand at dancing at the reception
 Sr. Maureen Lumbuma, Sr. Berhane Kaluba, Sr. Patricia Shields at reception
 April 6, 2012  near Ndola, Copperbelt region - a 61 passenger bus crashed with a gas truck - result!!!
This is the Gas Truck - 3 inside cab died at scene - of the 61 on the bus above - only 2 died out of the 61. A Miracle.
Dear Family and Friends,

Time is flying by.  We have been keeping trying to meet with all our teachers - we have been doing one on one in services (it seems to work quite well), and trying to visit the classes (both seminary and institute).  We have been taking cinnamon rolls and Mazoe (an orange drink mix) to share with the classes we visit.  They are always happy to see food (and sometimes even us).  The teachers seem to always be prepared and happy to have extra voices in their classes - and yes, sometimes we do take over and do the teaching - or some segment of it which the teachers are thrilled about.  We have very good teachers - most branches have done a great job of finding teachers who love the youth and are living worthy of being teachers of these elect youth and young adults.  Example is just as important, or more so, than what you have to say.  We have visited 3 institute and 2 seminary classes recently here in Lusaka and found that we have a problem in Luanshya (Copperbelt).  We're working on it now and will go back up soon to see how it is being resolved.  Everyone tries hard to get things back on track when they are pointed out to them.  We love how they respond to suggestions to make things better.  It makes you feel appreciated.  Easter up there was great.  We did find on this trip, though, that one branch has no Young Womens Manuals -??  None?  We did take the Primary Sharing Time Booklet - we had Sr. Bullock send 5 from Malawi - she had extra - Zambia got None.  Sometimes you do wonder if South Africa and Beyond remember that Zambia was made a mission last July.  It will improve with time, we are sure.
This week on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, Elder and Sister Lookhart picked us up and we took 3 days and drove about 4 hours (advertised as 2 - 2 1/2 hours) by truck to the Kiambi Safari Lodge to the south west near the Zimbabwe border to see what we could see.  We were excited to see what they had in their region and to check out some of the Zambia scenery we hadn't taken time to see.  What a Great Adventure.  We were more than ecstatic when we finally arrived at the lodge - to find they did have running water and toilets in our huts - not outhouses.  Imagine, we thought we were going camping, had accepted that as it would be o.k., to arrive and be shown our tents - yay, with outhouses In the tents.  Very impressive.  Our hut (tent), looked out over the Kafue River a short way downstream from where it meets the Zambezi River.  It was very beautiful.  We took a Sunset Cruise the afternoon we arrived and saw an elephant, lots of hippopotamuses, lots of cool birds (called Bee Eaters), and other kinds too.  It was calm, about 27 degrees, and a beautiful sunset.  On return, they set a formal dinner table, outside, just a little bit away from a fire (which is only lit to keep away a few mosquitos we think), and serve buffet style.  The Food was very good, the service was great and we were more than happy to call it a day - as we had booked to go on a full day safari the next morning leaving at 9 a.m.  We were told this was not the season to see much because the rainy season is not quite over, so we weren't sure what to expect.  We however, were very pleasantly surprised the next a.m. to see many animals, birds, etc.  We have taken a few pictures and will be adding them to this blog site.  We found many herds of elephants - some families, some nursing babes, mostly quiet - not very loud.  One of them acted like he was trying to hide from us by filling his trunk with sand and then blowing it over on his back  as if to hide from us.  It was fun!  We did see them fill their trunks with water too, to drink and to spray themselves.  We enjoyed watching them in Their Habitat instead of in the Zoo.  We also ran into herds of Water Bucks (Deer), some running with the Impalas, some not, Water Buffalo (the locals say Not Water buffalo - just Buffalo, Elder says maybe 1,000 hippopotamuses or more, Eagles, Ospreys, Herons, Crocodiles - as soon as we headed the boat towards the shore that they were on they quickly went into the water to hide.  We also saw many monkeys, baboons, goats, baby goats with their umbelical cords still attached (so new), and a variety of other things.  Thursday was the Lookharts Anniversary (we were just tag alongs).  It was a Great Trip.  We  enjoyed the trip and the opportunity to see more of Zambia (in case) we are actually sent off some time soon.  If not, there are a few other sites we would like to see.  The Mission President feels it is good for the couples to spend a few days (leave) every few months to keep their balance better.  We like his thinking.
We appreciate all your notes and letters.  We appreciate your love and support while we are here.  We are thankful for the opportunity to be here and to serve our Heavenly Father in any capacity.  We know we are being blessed with health and strength while we are here and are grateful for our blessings.  We pray for each of you, we love you, we are thankful to have been blessed to have you in our families, and our lives. May you continue to be blessed as you strive to live as He would have you live.

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