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