Sunday, May 20, 2012

Once again, days keep seeming to jump ahead.  We are trying to get some things ready for District Conference this weekend to give to all of the branches here so there is work to be done.  We should be ending the first term of Institute at the end of May and starting the new term the first week of June.  Many will want to know their grades as certificates are in high demand.  What a great bunch of young people we get to work with - and with their awesome leaders and teachers.  They really put in 110% effort into their lessons and learning.  They do have a problem with the clock but they are trying to improve in that area.  We appreciate that they are willing to try to come within an hour of the start time.  Some do think that when class starts at 9:00 a.m. that that is when they are to leave home to come - so they do arrive (mostly) before the class is done - but not long before.  It is really a cultural thing that needs some work.

We had to go back to the grocery store today for a few things (ZMK625,000) when last week we spent over ZMK1,000,000.  We must be eating really well, or we should have the missionaries over less.  Hopefully this lasts a while now.  Food here, we think, is higher than at home.  We do appreciate that they have food that we will eat though so no complaints.

We have been working hard on some reports that S&I seem to need done - we aren't sure about doing someone else's budget for next year but they seem to think we should go ahead.  Hopefully we are generous enough that they can live with it.  We did hear through the grapevine that someone was offered and accepted the job (the full time S & I employee person).  What we haven't heard is when and what does that mean for us.  Patience.

Elder Shields has been wanting to email Khumbulani (our head in SA) to see what he knows - but I've been saying "if he knew anything he'd tell us".  Even though it doesn't matter, it does constantly play on our thoughts.  It is always on our minds that we can't plan too far ahead, or plan that meeting, or plan that trip.  Just wait.  Not something that we're really good at.

The missionaries in this mission are wonderful.  I'm sure that they are in Every mission but we know these the best.  They are very good at following the rules, studying, planning, and visiting lots of appointments each day.  Be nice to the missionaries.  They are doing the Lord's Work.  We are fortunate to be able to associate with them daily.

Today we went for lunch with Chiku (Aggie).  She had written her last exam for her bachelors degree in social work (she is also one of our best seminary teachers).  She (with persuading from Elder Shields), is going to take me to find fabric and have a Chitenge made (African Dress).  That should be interesting.

Today is Sunday May 20, 2012.  We attended our District Conference - it was to start at 10:00 a.m. - and almost did.  They did wait a few minutes because at 10 quite a few comvees(buses) with people arrived and it took a few minutes to seat about 80 of them.  Conference was such a great meeting.  We arrived about 8:30 a.m. and visited with many branch leaders, teachers and S & I students.  It was great.  The meeting was so spiritual that we were all in tears - and I mean All.  Whether members or not, everyone felt the spirit there and were touched by it - President Cook of the Area Presidency and his wife were here for the two days and they have such a wonderful countenance and way about them that you can feel that they are truly emissaries of Christ.  It is so strengthening for us to feel of their love and support.  What a Great Day.  We ran the Distribution Store yesterday by ourselves and that was an adventure.  The computer and scanner would not work so everything was done by hand - BUT of course, we were not too sure of the prices of some items so we guessed - tomorrow we will have to pay our shortage and balance up.  It's all in a day in the mission - just working for more blessings.

Enough of this talk, we want to send our love and our testimonies of this work to any and all who read this.  We are so blessed to be able to be here, to know this is where Heavenly Father wants us to serve.  We are grateful for all the blessings we receive and for His hand in our lives everyday.  We love and appreciate each one at home and are grateful for your prayers on our behalf.  Thank you so much.  We pray for you too and know that you are being blessed.  Keep the Faith.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

We have been without internet for most of today.  We have been waiting for PST accessability to do the 40 Yr. reports - Bro. Moyo said he'd send them but apparently we are just trading no internet so no reports.  This type of day seems really long - not much is accomplished and we are reminded again why we are here in Zambia - to develop Patience.
We looked back in our notes and it was January 5th that we got a call asking if we would be willing to go to Malawi to be the S & I representatives over there.  We did say yes, however, here we are, still in Lusaka, Zambia.  We call it Zambian Time.  Again,  just need a little more patience.

On the positive, we think we are making progress here in Zambia with the S & I program.  We are working very hard (especially Elder Shields), to think of ways to make it better.  Communication is one of the big barriers here.  We will be going Saturday a.m. to a baptism in one of our favorite branches - that branch is Lilanda.  They are having 6 baptisms that morning and they don't have access to water for the font at this point so we're looking for divine intervention.  It'll happen.

Filling the Font for the Baptisms of 6 young people in Lilanda Branch 12 May, 2012

Branch Youth filling the font for Baptism of 6 young people May 12, 2012
The lady who owns the house church is held in decided that the branch priesthood could use her well (really an old fashioned one) - a hole in the ground with a rope and a bucket - to fill all the garbage cans they could find to bring up water to fill the baptismal font for the baptisms.  Saturday a.m. early the Young Men and Elders Quorum were there filling and hauling with an old wheel barrow to fill the font.  They did manage to get enough water into it by noon and the baptism went ahead just a little later than scheduled.  That in itself, though, is not at all unusual so it was all good and the baptismal candidates were very excited.  We have some pictures and Elder Shields got to give a talk and welcome them into the church.

Today being mothers day was similar to being at home.  Talks about mothers were given, and in the 2nd branch we attended (thanks to Elder and Sister Lookhart), Roses were passed out to all mothers.  Two great meetings.  We enjoyed the day.  The elders are coming over shortly to make their calls to their Mothers.  They are very excited to speak to them.  It is fun to watch their enthusiasm.  What a great bunch of YM and YW we are privileged to spend time with.  They teach us as  much as we teach them.  It's great.  Their testimonies are fantastic - and they are very powerful individuals and companionships.  We are blessed to spend time with them.  The Youth of Zambia are well versed in the Bible and they are able to find and quote many passages.  They are a great asset to the church here.

Just an ordinary ride to wherever - could even be church.
We are grateful to each one of you in our lives.  We hope Mothers Day treated all well.  We are grateful to each of the Mothers in our family who exemplify the Savior in their lives.  We appreciate all that you do for your families and for your strength in the gospel.  Thank you for your examples to us and for supporting us in our decision to serve.  We love you.  We are also grateful for all the friends and extended family who are so supportive and encouraging to us.  The Faith of Others does Strengthen Ours.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

 This is quite clear - we thought it was well put.
Just a few friendly Crocodiles - a little crawly

You would not see them until it was too late - they blend so well. Green Mambas.

Just trying to get One Good Shot - of this Big Mama!

All this years babies together (we think)

Elder Shields loves playgrounds! 

The Real Thing - Our First Crocodile Burger!  Good!  We Shared.

The Tires did look fun - takes the word playground back 20 years at home.  Very Rustic!

It's been an odd week or so.  We have nearly all the reports for the Lusaka Area and are going to Kitwe this weekend to try to get all of theirs.  That would be the first time since we got here that we were able to get them all in a fairly timely manner.  Wow.  Only 8 months.  It would really be nice - But we won't hold our breath - this is Zambia.
We decided to take a day and visit the local Kalimba Reptile Farm - filled with poisonous snakes and over one hundred (yes, 100 Crocodiles).  We left about 9:30 a.m. - couldn't find any sensible directions on the internet as to how to get there - so we toured much of the land and got there about 12:30 p.m. - when we finally Asked many people where it was.  It was worth the drive (they advertise about 20 km from Lusaka but no signs).
We even got adventurous and had a Crocodile Burger for lunch - Elder Shields says if you put enough salt, pepper, ketchup, tomatoes, and onions on it - it's just fine.  We split one just in case though.  You would say it just tastes like Chicken.  They have interesting snakes there too.  They are poisonous and are often out in the village areas.  We had a great time and enjoyed the beautiful sunny late fall day with a temperature of 25 degrees.  Yes, it is really hard to take.
We are going into winter soon and are looking at COLD (they tell us and their stores are filled with sweaters, winter coats, long pants, boots, etc.) for the freezing 18-20 degrees celsius that we'll be experiencing for winter.  The problem is, we have been feeling cold too.  It makes us wonder what it will be like when we get back to Canada.  Got lots of time to think about that one.
Today we went to the chapel to meet with one of our special Seminary Teachers - Aggie.  It is her birthday today - she turned 27 -Cake Time - and a song - she is a returned missionary who has taught these same seminary kids for the last 3 years and they love her.  They meet 3 days a week - because They have asked to - she works, is just finishing a degree in social work, teaches seminary 3 days a week, teaches the same kids in Sunday School, teaches Relief Society, leads the music, talks often, etc.
They really work those who are willing.  She loves the Gospel and is more than willing to help wherever she can.  She is awesome.