Friday, March 22, 2013

It seems like just yesterday that we posted but AGAIN, it has been a month.  We have been so busy it has gone by very quickly.  Since we last wrote we got word that we were going to be "whitewashed" in the mission.  That means a total turnover in an area, or both companions, so that it is a fresh start. Indeed, that is really what happened.  We started by losing one elder - Elder Majafe who was called into the mission office as he is very skilled in Computers.  We miss his skills here in our office, but life goes forward.

Toyota Malawi finally got in the parts we needed for the trucks to be fixed.  The parts were ordered on December 12 and got here about the 19 of February.  Everything comes from South Africa as far as parts go so you find that even when they say they have everything - they usually don't because they don't set them aside and if anyone shows up with the cash it's sold and you wait again, even though you already paid for it.
Adjusting to their way of doing business is just part of every day life.  We also deal with Isuzu and have found them to be more agreeable but no more efficient.  They are just nicer about it.

We celebrated Elder Shields "71" birthday twice - once with the missionaries on Monday night when they were here for dinner - and again the next night at DDM (Sister Patterson made him another cake).  Lucky Man - they were both chocolate - his favorite.

Starting March 5th we watched the change take place - we sent 4 missionaries to Lilongwe that day - two of them continued on to Lusaka the next day and one of them went on the next day to the Copperbelt.  Going the other direction - 4 left Copperbelt by bus on Tuesday, Lusaka to Lilongwe on Wednesday, Lilongwe to Blantyre on Thursday.  We met and greeted 8 missionaries that day.  Their bus from Lusaka Zambia to Lilongwe Malawi had broken down making it a 17 hour ride.  Very hard on the Baby Sharks (Greenies).
Adjustments all round - no one knows where they live, what area is theirs, or where their area is.  They don't know their companions yet either.  It kept us busy at Immigration work.

We have been attending Blantyre 2nd Branch lately as they are struggling with leadership.  These good people are not used (yust) to what it means to accept callings and follow through.  They really need the RMs to help with the stability of the different callings.

We have had two young men receive their mission calls in the last 2 weeks.  They are both very excited - one is going to Zimbabwe and the other to Kenya.  They are needing help to get the things they need to be ready to go to the MTC.  It's quite rewarding to work with and watch their progress.
Steven Sikumbiri receiving his call to Zimbabwe Mission

Kade Lever, a young man from South Jordan,Utah, has been doing his Eagle Scout project and sent us 3 large boxes of White shirts, ties, some pants, belts, even shoes.  The people here are so grateful for that.  They really appreciate getting a shirt, etc. when they are baptized and feeling like they belong.  It's been great to be involved in this. The sea of white shirts in Sacrament Meetings on Sundays has mostly come from these efforts. We will be forever grateful to Kade for his efforts in behalf of the Great People of Malawi.
Young Men of Blantyre 2nd Branch in their white shirts
Young Adult Sunday School Class of Great People with Great White Shirts

Elder Shields now spends much of his days as Mr. Fix It.  We are grateful for basic knowledge that helps us be able to do these things.  Sr. Shields spends much time doing books.  We both help out the missionaries and sister missionaries all that we can.  Next week we'll have another uplift - Zone Conference.  President and Sister Padovich are coming and bringing President and Sister Lookhart.  They will have the Lilongwe Conference first then continue to Blantyre with President and Sister Prete as well.  We will also have Elder and Sister Green here next week doing audits and President Kaluba.  Should be a busy week.  Great for company, help and uplift.  We're looking forward to it.  Keep the Faith!