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.