Thursday, May 22, 2014

 We made another trip to Malawi.  We stayed in Lilongwe then went on to Blantyre.  I am totally fascinated with the thatched roofed huts we see along the way.  Makes me think we have gone back in history many years.  We see small cement houses, thatched houses, and small brick houses.  Their furnishings are pretty spartan.

 After leaving Lilongwe, we got into some big mountains.  Almost made us think we were back in Idaho.  The cloud formations are gorgeous too.  We got into a little rain on our travels but the clouds are really interesting to see.

 All of the little towns and villages along the way have their open air markets.  Just about anything can be purchased in these markets.

 This was the "bra" market!  I hadn't seen underwear in many places but when we passed this market, the lines were filled with bras.  Wasn't sure if anyone here even used the things!

 Maize is grown nearly everywhere here.  From small little patches to large fields but all of the fields we saw were worked by hand: plowing, cultivating, and harvesting.

 Maize harvest is in full swing in May.  This is their "corn truck".  It's hauled from the field with oxen or donkey carts.  The maize is put in a wire cage to dry, then shelled by hand to get ready for market.

 Stanley saw this load of maize and he stopped the man and boys to talk to them.  He wanted some cobs of corn to snack on and to get their picture.  They understood almost no English but were happy to stop for him.  They especially liked it when he purchased three cobs of maize and gave them a little extra for allowing him to take their picture.  The wages here are so little that they are very happy when they make a little extra.
 After the maize is harvested, they gather the stocks up in big piles and wait until they are dry enough to burn.

 This farmer just harvested his cabbage crop.  The heads of cabbage here are huge too.  The weather is so nice that it makes for a great growing season.
 In Blantyre we were invited to the home of Edward Matale, Second Counselor to the District President.  We got lost trying to find his house and by the time he found us and got us to his house in a village within the city, it was dark.  It was a small humble home but the feeling was that of a Mansion.  He insisted on preparing us a traditional meal for us.  What a treat.  He and his wife, Clara, treated us so wonderfully.  Clara is a very beautiful woman but a little over a year ago she got very ill and couldn't walk.  She spent two months in the hospital with meningitis while he worked full time, took care of his church responsibilities, is also the Public Affairs Representative for the Church in Malawi, and took care of his little daughter.  When Clara finally got out of the hospital, Elder Russell Nelson of the Twelve Apostles visited Africa.  President Matale asked her if she would be able to attend the conference to see Elder Nelson.  She said she would.  When she met Elder Nelson, he told her she would be okay.  With their faith, she is still recovering.  It was awesome to be in their presence!
 When we arrived at the Matale home, little Florence ran out to greet her daddy.  She jumped into his arms and hugged him tight.  When he put her down, I stooped down to speak to her.  She ran and gave me a huge hug.  I was about in tears as I was so touched.  She doesn't speak any English but she loved to sit on Elder Bingham's lap.  She is a little doll!
While in Blantyre, we were welcomed into the home of Elder and Sister Reynolds.  Sister Reynolds is the mission nurse and he takes care of the missionaries and about everything else he can do.  We loved seeing the chapel in Blantyre as it probably is the nicest one in the entire mission.

 Back in Lusaka, we were invited to visit in the home of President Patrick Chubbamulilo and his wife Verna.  They are both very educated people and such a delight to visit.  They first had to take us out to see their large garden.  He is the second counselor in the District Presidency and also is the chairman of the Self Reliance Committee.  Sister Chubbamulilo works with Public Health care and Disease control and helping to educate the people in Zambia on healthy practices.  It was a wonderful experience to be in their home and meet their family.  They add much strength to the church here in Zambia.
 Chimuka Chubbamulilo, 14, was such a polite gentleman.  He told us his favorite thing was to help around the house and to cook.  He really likes to cook.  I told him that was a good way to prepare to be a good missionary and be able to take care of himself.  He wanted his picture with Elder Bingham and I and as the picture was snapped, his little brother, Lazarus, hopped right into the picture.  He has a little bit of mischief in his eyes!
 On Mother's Day the senior couples were asked to donate their computers and airtime to the elders and sisters so they could call their families.  We were happy to do that.  Elder Hawkins, from London South area, is getting ready to call his family.  We all love Skype!

Elder Moya was happy to grab a bowl of soup after he called his family in Tanzania.  He called the church from his ward and he was able to talk to his family, bishop, and some friends.  He was one happy missionary.
 We had a multi zone conference and had Elder Hamilton from the Area Presidency here to visit.  It was a wonderful conference and the senior couples in Lusaka provided the food for the missionary conference.  In the evening we also prepared a nice dinner for Elder and Sister Erickson, Elder and Sister Hamilton, and the District Presidencies and their wives.  Elder Lyle was in charge of organizing the dinner and he had Elder Bingham, Elder Humphrey, and himself wear black pants, bow ties, and white shirts and be the waiters for the guests.  They all loved it!

Elder and Sister Lyle, Humanitarian Missionaries

 Elder and Sister Humphrey, Public Affairs Missionaries covering several countries in Africa.

 Elder and Sister Bingham, Self Reliance Missionaries covering the Mission.
 The Joostice Luputa Family.  He is the High Councilman for Lusaka and has the responsibility of the Self Reliance for the District.  He has served as a branch president twice and have much experience and knowledge in the field.  Shister Luputa is a delightful sister with dancing eyes.  She told of going out to work on their farm outside of the city recently and she forgot to take her rubber boots.  As she was walking along, she ran into a nasty cobra.  It spit at her but she had a chitenga on and it caught the venom.  If the venom gets into the eyes, it causes permanent damage.  They are working to get a hog operation going and have sixtten little piglets they hope to raise and breed.  I commented I wanted to go see their farm but when I heard about the cobras and the black mambas, maybe I am not so anxious to go.  We would like to see their farm though so maybe I'll brave it.  They have seven children and they are a fun one to be with.

Friday, May 9, 2014

 This is the end of April and we are in the dry season but it started raining during the night.  I am not used to having so much rain in such a short time.  We had appointments today.  When we got out onto the streets, I wanted to go back to our apartment but we were already in deep water.  What storm drains there might be were plugged and the water was running over the road.  We hit a stretch where the water was all over the road and quite deep.  We were in a little loaner car and I just knew we were going to drown out the motor and just be stranded in the middle of the street in the water.  Traffic was heavy and no one was backing off.  As the big semi trucks would pass us, it would just rock us like a boat.  I was praying pretty hard that we could keep going.  When we finally got through the heavy water and stopped, we could see that the water had come in under the doors in the back.  As we were driving through the deepest water, Elder Bingham told me not to "open the door".  I really didn't even have any desire to do so.  This was like crossing the river.
 We finally got through the deep water and just kept driving.  We were traveling to the orphanage "Mother's Without Borders" to meet one of our branch presidents who is the administrator there.  We kept driving and finally ran out of pavement and were on dirt roads.  It was so slick from the rain and I was afraid that we would slide off the road and be stuck.  Again, more prayers.  That little car wasn't built for these conditions.  Elder Bingham just kept going.  We finally got to the turnoff and started up another dirt road into the farm and school.  At least we knew people were there and could help us if we got stuck.  We made it safely and were treated to a wonderful experience.  Mother's Without Borders was founded by a lady in Utah and they are doing a wonderful work.  Thirty-one orphans are housed and educated there and about another 100 children who have lost a parent but have relatives to live with are schooled there.  We visited their school area, their dormatories, and their eating areas as well as their gardens.  We saw the boy's room and were so impressed that it had a lot of boys in one big room and it was clean and orderly.  The children are very well-behaved and a joy to visit.  In this area they have monkeys that come out of the bush in the mornings and evenings to steal the fruit on the trees and the vegetables in the garden.  They are pesky little creatures.  We hope to go back on of these days and get some pictures of the monkeys.
 President Sunsiwilla is a branch president but is also the Director at the school of Mother's Without Borders.  This is a picture of his wife and family.  His wife works at the school also.  They were a delightful family and we enjoyed visiting with them.  On Sundays President Sunsiwilla loads the 31 kids up in a truck and drives the 20 miles to church with them.  He does much good with these kids.

 Later in the day we also visited President Selwa and his family.  They are building a new house and it is going to be very nice.  Right now they have a metal roof and don't have the ceiling on it so when it rained it was pretty noisy but we enjoyed our visit with them.  After visiting with them we followed them to the church and had a Devotional that evening and the missionaries taught a wonderful lesson on tithing.  That is something all here need to here and to gain a testimony of as they aren't strong in paying tithes.  It takes a great deal of faith to pay tithes when these people have so little but great blessings come when we are faithful to the Lord especially in paying our tithing.

 I love to see mother's carrying their little ones.  The babies love it and often don't want to be put down.  This is the mode of travel for the little ones here.  The Chitengas are used to tie the babies onto their mother's backs or sometimes even in front.
 We drove to the Copperbelt to meet with the District Presidency there.  Part way there we found a little restaurant called the Fig Tree Cafe.  They gave us a big plate of food and we could take it outside with picnic tables around the yard.  I was facing some banana trees, and they also have a decent bathroom which is very rare to find here in Africa, not like traveling in the United States where there are rest stops along the way.  This was a welcome stop.
 Just past the Fig Tree Cafe, we drove into the town of Kabwe.  We turned off the main street and down the next street.  There was a huge open air market and beyond that was a huge fig tree.  It had to be very, very old.  It was fenced off so we couldn't get close to it but it was like the "Swiss Family Robinson Tree".  The market right there had such a fishy smell.  We walked over to one of the vendors and she had piles and piles of tiny dried fish, all intact.  We asked how they used them and she told us that they fry them up in some oil then cut up some tomatoes and onions and put it over their nshima.  She said it was very good.  She tried to get me to buy some but I told her I didn't want fish!  Actually, it really smelled bad but this is a treat to these people.
 Elder Bingham, Brother Bwino, Brother Banda, Sister Kapato, President Chisimba, Brother Webster, and President Kapato.  This is the council that is making up the District Council for Self-Reliance.  They were excited for us to come and we were excited to go and teach them some of the first principles of helping their people become self-reliant.  These leaders are some of the Lord's choicest servants and it is very humbling to be working with leaders like these.  Brother Bwino's wife is also the District Relief Society President but she couldn't be there today but is also a part of this council.  Each one of these people have remarkable stories of coming into the church.
 After our meeting with the District Council, Sister Kapato wanted us to go with her to see her property a ways out of Ndola.  She has a small school for handicapped girls and she has a dream of building a school to board more of these precious girls.  She teaches them to cook, take care of themselves, and to make crafts to sell.  There is much work to be done in Zambia to mainstream these people.  They keep their handicapped family members out of sight and don't think they can do anything.  We hope she can realize her dream but it will take much work.  We walked in about 10 foot high grass to get to her property.

 She has planted a garden on her property.  She grows soybeans, potatoes, maize, pumpkins and other vegetables.
 Sister Kapato and Sister Bingham pose in front of a large anthill in the background.  The anthills here can get very large.  Bricks are made from these mounds.
 Elder Bingham in front of another anthill.
 Sister Kapato and Sister Bingham in front of more garden.

 Sister Kapato has a man who lives in a little house on the property to watch over things.  Theft is a huge problem in Zambia.  They also have avocado trees on the property.  He is using a grubbing hoe to dig up some potatoes for us.

 Near Sister Kapato's property we saw these men getting the red dirt from the anthill and making bricks.  They fire them up and let them dry so they can use them to build a house.  Many use this type of bricks but they aren't super durable.  If they aren't fired good enough they can deteriorate in the heavy rains.

 Elder Bingham had to stop along the road where they had a good supply of grubbing hoes and picks.  These are the way trenches are dug, farming is done, etc.  Lots of back-breaking work!
 We have towers with water tanks up in the air.  Bore holes are dug and the water is pumped up into the tanks to supply our apartments.  When we got home from the Copperbelt, a neighbor came and told us "there was a small problem."  We looked up and saw that the boards under the tank had rotted and tipped the tank.  They promised to get it fixed that night, but - true to form - it was two days and two nights before we got it fixed again.  Fortunately, I got some buckets of water to be able to flush the toilet and the mission provides us with drinking water so we just had to be very conservative with our water.  Made us appreciate the water as many, many people in Zambia have to haul their water a long ways.

 Sister Liyalli was pretty nervous the day she had her baptism interview.  She usually wears a turban and a chitenga over her dress but this day she really dressed up.  She wore her favorite hat and bright red skirt.  She was so excited and thought she had to "pass the test", which she did.  She is ready for baptism.
 Rachel was one of the sisters baptized on May 4, 2014.  Her husband is a member but she finally decided she was ready to be baptized.  She bore a very sweet testimony and the spirit was very strong.
 Elder Hanson, Sister Liyalli, President Liyalli, Rachel's husband, Rachel, and Elder Jena just before the baptism.  What a wonderful day!  May 4, 2014
President Liyalli was so happy to finally have Winnety join him in membership in the church.  She was very happy and bore her testimony that she had wasted four years dodging the missionaries.  Their goal now is to go to the Temple in South Africa in one year.
 Elder Jena (from South Africa) Elder Hanson from Utah, Sister Bingham, Sister Liyalli. 

 After sacrament meeting, Sister Liyalli called me out to another room and presented me with a chitenga.  She tied it on and I wore it through church.  The women were so excited and told me I was "African" now and a true "Zambian!"