Sunday, December 28, 2014

Kent & Melanie visit

 November brought us such a treat when Kent had a three days between meetings in Africa and Europe and he brought Melanie with him to visit Zambia and two lonesome missionaries.  We were all so very excited!  We took them to see our meetinghouse in Lilanda Branch.  It is a renovated home.  The lady who owns it lives in servants quarters behind the main building.  At one time this was her home when her husband was alive but after he died, she rented the main building to the church and went to live in the smaller house behind.

 Kent and Elder Bingham behind the baptismal font at the Lilanda Branch.  Water is always an issue in Africa and more than once a baptism will have to be put on hold because there just isn't water to fill the font.  It is a challenge we continually have to work with.

 We thought Kent and Melanie would want to sleep in since they had been traveling and attending Xango meetings for several days but they were up and we took them to our favorite place to walk.  It is a very quiet street and has such beautiful trees.
 It was Kent's birthday in November so I baked him a Coconut Cream Pie for his birthday.  He was happy we remembered.  We were happy to share his birthday with him.
 We took Kent and Melanie to visit one of our favorite young men.  Musa Sakala, who is working on getting ready to serve a mission.  He has been a member for one year now and is such a strength to the branch and to us.  He knows his scriptures better than we do and his growth is amazing.  He will make a wonderful missionary but right now is serving as the branch Young Men's President and a Branch Missionary.  L-R: Melanie, Sister Bingham, Musa, Elder Bingham 2014.

 Musa in his home in Lilanda.
L-R:  Sister Bingham, Musa, Kent, Elder Bingham

 Whenever we visit Musa and his mother, Rebecca, lots of little children just flock around us.  They did the same when Kent and Melanie visited.  They love their pictures taken.

 We were sad that Musa's mother was gone to the market when we visited and we really wanted her to meet Kent and Melanie.  We stopped nearby to visit the church and Rebecca and her friend, Alice, came walking by.  We were so happy to see them.  Rebecca had a load of greens on her head.  They don't look heavy but she took them down while we visited, then I helped her put them back up on her head to go home and they were really quite heavy.  The women here don't think anything of carrying whatever they need to on their heads.
L-R: Elder Bingham, Melanie, Rebecca, Sister Bingham, Alice

 One day we were out seeing the city and stopped at one of the malls for lunch.  The weather here is always so mild that many of the places are "open air" and we enjoy that.
 We took Kent and Melanie out to the orphanage "Mothers Without Borders".  Our friends work and teach there and it is a very special place.
 Melanie with some of the little girls at the orphanage.  The orphanage is very orderly and clean and the children get an education and are taken care of there until they are 18 years old if needed.  On Sundays all of the children who want to go to church get in a one ton truck and all from the orphanage make the fifteen mile drive into town for church.  Just can't help but love the children here in Africa!

While at the orphanage, we met Sharon, who lives there and takes care of the smallest children.  We "hit" it off right away when we each found out the other's name was Sharon. 

Melanie took some pictures of the children and they just gathered around her so excited to see their pictures.  They love their pictures taken.

Kent and Melanie surrounded by the children at Mother's Without Borders.

The George Mshippi Family.  George and his wife, Faith, are in our branch in Lilanda and they teach and work at the school.  Elder and Sister Bingham are in the back.  We love this family and they are a strength to our branch.

 Davies Makondia is another one of our returned missionary friends.  He sells artwork and came to bring some thing that I had ordered.  I bought some nativity sets and Melanie also bought one.  He gave her a Zambia scarf for Kent as a remembrance of coming to Zambia.  L-R:  Melanie, Davies, Sister Bingham.
 Elder and Sister Bingham and Melanie in front of our apartment complex in Lusaka

 We had to show Melanie the bananas that were picked from the banana trees at the mission office.  They are very, very heavy.
 Sister Bingham, Melanie, and Kent in front of the Zambia Lusak Mission Office, and yes, there is a swimming pool in front of the mission home.  It is a very nice place and we love to visit there.

Sister Teki manages the Distribution Store for Zambia and Malawi.  She is an amazing woman and does a great job with a very small space to work with.  Her granddaughter, Hannah, is currently serving a mission in the Salt Lake Mission and has been so worried about her.  We brought Kent and Melanie to meet Sister Teki and to reassure her that Hannah will be just fine in Utah.  Sister Teki is a good friend of ours and we love her very much.  She has raised her two granddaughters from just tiny little girls after their mother died and Hannah is a missionary and Grace is engaged to be married to a fine returned missionary, Ben Chikopa, who is also the district clerk.
Melanie really wanted to see some African wildlife so he drove out to the Chimanuka Game Preserve not far out of Lusaka.  They were here such a short time we didn't have time to travel to the big game preserves but this one was fun and we enjoyed the day.  The weather had been so very, very hot and we had warned Kent and Melanie, but the day they came in it rained and the weather cooled down so nicely.  On the game drive, we even had to wear out jackets.  Was quite refreshing from the hot weather we have been having. 
L-R: Melanie, Kent, Stan, Sharon

  Cape Buffalo.  We had briefly seen some at the South Liwonde Game Park but couldn't get good pictures of them.  There were quite a few of them here and they didn't mind us taking their picture.  Each game park has something just a little different than the last so we can't just go to one game park and expect to see it all.
 We love the zebras.  They are such a pretty animal and no two are alike.

Nothing pretty about the hyena but they do have a purpose in the scheme of life and keeping a balance in the wild.

 There were two cheetahs but they were kept in a wire cage for their protections.  They are quite majestic animals also.
 We enjoyed this big lizard.
 There were many ostrich in the Chamunuka park. 
 This is the first place we have seen wildebeests and it was fun to watch them.  Of course, we couldn't get very close but we enjoyed them and even got to see the little baby above.

 The giraffes are just majestic.  We love to see those graceful animals.

 Kent and Melanie in their Safari Vehicle
 Stanley and Sharon
 After our drive, we went back to the restaurant at the Game Preserve and had lunch.  We had been told it was very good and our friends were right.  The serving table looked like a work of art and the meal was delicious. 
Kent and Melanie on the well manicured grounds surrounding the Hotel and Restaurant at the Chamunuka Game Preserve.

Kent, Melanie, and Stanley decided to walk a ways out of the game preserve so I drove the pickup to meet them.  We had a lovely day.  It had rained very hard the night before and they air had cooled down very nicely and everything was green and nice.

 All too soon our visit came to an end.  We just wanted it to last much longer but it was time for Melanie to return to her little girls and for Kent to continue his European tour.  We crowded so much into just two and a half days but we were so happy they took the time and expense to come and visit us and to see a little of the Africa we work with every day.
 Goodbyes are always difficult but this one was even more so.  What a joy it was to have them be here with us.  As Kent and Melanie were returning, they found that Shaelie (serving in the UK) got a new companion and she is from Uganda.  By being here in Lusaka, they perhaps will understand a little more about Africa and support Shaelie in her training of a new sister missionary.  We love the people here and they are also God's children and he loves them as we do.