Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our last entry was about Zone Conference time and since it is that time again, we thought about our blog.  Actually, we had a minute and were looking at what the Heningers Mission Romania was up to, and the Kelpetesackley2 were up to, and decided it was time for an update from Blantyre, Malawi.

Each week is a unique adventure here.  There are always a few kinks to work out and a few things to learn.  Sometimes we are the learners and sometimes we actually get to be the teachers.  But always, it is definitely an adventure.  The missionaries here have been busy teaching and finding much success in their areas.  The branches love to have the "Missionary Couple" come to visit - they treat us like Royalty and each want us All the Time.  Makes you feel good even if you don't quite believe it.
Maize (corn) growing on a mountain side January 21, 2013

The corn is growing quite well to the north.  We were in Liwonde last Sunday for meetings and took the 2+ hour drive with the District President and the Branch President that is over the group.  They sustained a new Group Leader and gave him 2 counselors.  Two weeks earlier when we were there, there were 26 at church, this week (in their new building), there were about 85 or so.  They were packed with people and had a small group that want to be taught the missionary lessons.  They are very enthusiastic about what they are learning.  We also took some of the men (after church) to the hospital to give a lady a blessing.  President Chinyumba made great use of every minute and we think everyone felt the day was fulfilling. 
Water balloon toss in our front yard

We also had a "lockdown" this week - no one was allowed out on the street as the country was having a protest over the prices all jumping (for Maize and all items) to where they cannot afford it.  No one knew whether it was going to be calm or not.  Instead, we had everyone over and they played football in the front yard, had a water balloon toss, played monopoly, and some watched a movie - How Rare a Possession.  They enjoyed the day.  We made them pancakes for breakfast and they made their own sandwiches for lunch.  It was good to see that they were all fine.

The hippos are almost invisible in the muddy river at Majete Game Park
This a kind of tree that appears in different places, some are bigger.

Monday this week, we had a Zone Activity and went to Majete Game Park.  They claim to have the Big 5, and probably do, but we only saw one of them (water buffalo).  We did see zebras, kudus, impalas, warthogs, and a few other animals whose names escape me.  The Elders and Sisters had a great time - we had lunch there and then came back for the rest of their PDay.  All went well.  They are a great group - get along very well.  We love them all. 
These are pronounced Canadian "Zebra", not Zeebra
They like the mud. (water buffalo)
Hillside or country homes on the way to Majete Game Park
The view towards the Shire River and the valley where Majete Game Park is located
We are involved in helping the young men from the area get ready for their missions (if they want to go).  There is no way that they can afford to get all the things they need on their own and the mission has decided to help them with some of the items.  The Passport is a big item and the mission is going to help them get that.  They still want them to do some of the preparations to make sure they are going for the right reasons.  It is making it so we get to visit a little more with some of these people and get to know them better.  We enjoy that.

Elder Perkins (our District Leader) leads DDM each Tuesday night and does a fantastic job at presenting chapter study out of Preach My Gospel.  Missions really make the leadership potential of each individual come out.  They have so much potential - all of them.  Amazing. We only wish that we could keep up with them.  

Another week and we will be close to 18 months "this side", as the locals would say.  The first of the increased number of missionaries, is about to commence arriving, although our mission is too small to take very many.  Until the next time, take care.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Our travels have not been as far in the last 5 weeks or so.  We have been to a half way point in the direction of the capital city of Lilongwe (Ntcheu -pronounced Nachao) to deliver a new missionary arriving from the MTC in South Africa.  We never did get an answer as to why he came here, when there are flights direct to Lilongwe.  The Mission President and Sister Padovich came to visit in early December, along with the Pretes from Lilongwe.  Their visit lasted over parts of 5 days.
Meeting Elder Wandera at the Airport

While our visitors were here, we took a drive through the tea plantations, just outside of the city and on to Mulanje Mountain, which rises above 10,000 feet and mostly is a vertical shaped rock.  We had a very nice lunch at a lodge a few hundred feet up the mountain.  The tea plantations were being harvested, by individual workers with "shear" like clippers attached to bags.  There are huge fields of the tea plantations.
Malawi Tea Plantation workers near Blantyre.

We also traveled to the area of Liwonde one Sunday to visit the small group that meets there.  Most of the members come from villages and one family walks 2 hours each way to get there.  The Church has rented a house to meet in instead of the school, which has no water, no electricity and is shared by some "rock music" church groups going on at the same time.  It is two hour plus drive each way (riding) for us too.  Many police checks along the way - they like and use a lot of Radar.  We've been o.k. so far.

New Years Eve in Blantyre, Malawi
Christmas Eve at Shields flat with missionaries
Christmas and New Years have come and gone.  Our major function seems to have been providing a place for the missionaries to gather, play games and eat.  There are 2 sister and 8 elders.  Great Missionaries! one and all. (If you are wondering why they are dressed casually - it is PDay).

Happy New Year to all of our family and friends who sometimes follow our blog.  We love you all.  May you be guided and protected in all you do in 2013.  May you know from whence your blessings come and always acknowledge them.