Sunday, December 28, 2014

November & December Memories

 The Lusaka District finally got the Self Reliance Center up and running and even have some returned missionaries there to staff it to help people who come into the center for help with PEF loans or with the Self Reliance Workshops.  Jackson Phiri is the manager of the center and is doing a great job.

 Elder Bingham gives Jackson encouragement on keeping the center staffed and working.  More work still needs to be done and we still need a printer/scanner to make it more useful to the patrons.  Davies Makondia also helps staff the center.

Our neighbor, from India, took Stanley to show him the Tuesday market where there is an abundance of fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, etc. for purchase each Tuesday.  Pretty cute playpen for this little boy.
The market is amazing and one can find just about anything we would want and the quality is good.  This lady was also selling chickens.  She laughed and laughed when I barely touched the chicken with my fingers.  She kept telling me how soft it was.  I am so afraid of chickens but I did get brave enough to put my hand on it's back and it was soft!

Mothers just bundle up their babies and take them wherever they go.  I bought some onions and the lady helping me was nursing her baby while she was helping me bag the onions.  We see that often.

 President and Sister Erickson giving directions to the missionaries before they were served (or served themselves).  Sisters always go first.  President is trying to teach the elders some manners.
 Hungry elders just waiting for the word to "go!"  When I walked in with pies, one of the American elders said, "Oh, look!  I haven't seen a pumpkin pie since leaving the states a year ago!"
 Finally --- FOOOD!!!

 Senior missionaries - Elder & Sister Bodily; Sister & Elder Skidmore
Senior missionaries -- Elder Bingham, Sister and President Erickson, Elder & Sister Humphreys

  What a feast.  Took the senior sisters and elders two days worth of cooking but it was enjoyed by all!

On our drive to Malawi, Stanley stopped by the roadside to buy Litchi from these children.  
No matter where we go, Elder Bingham just can't pass up a herd of cows.  He has to stop and take pictures.

 We were asked by our leaders to go to Liwonde, which is a group administered by Blantyre 1st Branch, which is 1 1/2 hours away.  There was a newly returned missionary they wanted us to see if we could help.  We went to church there and we were asked to speak but we just bore our testimonies since everything had to be translated into Chechewa.  There was a good spirit there.  I was asked to help with the primary but I didn't do such a good job but it was the Christmas lesson so we sang some songs and I tried to tell the story without pictures.  After church, we went out to the farm of Dyson Mapando and his nephew, Aaron Benjamin, the returned missionary.  It was so very hot but we parked our pickup at Dyson's mother's house and walked to the farm which was on the banks of the Shire River.  I found some weeds to be shaded a little and I soon had a gathering of small children.  They are just precious!
 Aaron Benjamin on the left, Sister Bingham, Dyson's mother, Dyson Mapando and two of Dyson's daughters.
 Elder Bingham with Dyson Mapando and his nephews Aaron and younger brother in their village.
 Dyson (middle) was having difficulties with his farm and asked us to come out to see if we could give any help.  When we  got there, we found the problem was he and the other farmers in the area planted their crops, but then the numerous hippos would come out of the river at night and eat anything green then trample anything else until nothing was left. They also fish for a living but there are so many crocodiles in the river that it is very dangerous.  They use dugout canoes and Dyson's brother was killed while fishing.  The crocodile just crunched that canoe in half.  Never, never in our wildest dreams did we ever think we would have to help solve problems like this.  We have dealt with numerous predators before but never crocodiles and hippos.  We are working with them to find solutions for them.

 Finding a little shade from the relentless sun on a very, very hot humid day along the Shire River.

 Dyson was very watchful of his little children as they neared the edge of the river as we could see the crocodiles in the river.

Blantyre Sisters - Dec 2014

 Senior Sisters -- Sister Bodily, Humphreys, Skidmore, Bingham.
 Sister Bingham dishing up pies.

At the end of our Thanksgiving dinner, Sister George (who left to go home shortly after) and her companion, Sister Rakotonindriana (Madascar) sang a primary song in English and French.  It was so touching. 

 Elder Bingham mowing the grass with a slasher

 On our way back from Malawi, we stopped at the Hippo Lodge for the night.  We thought this was pretty funny but there are really hippos in the river right near by.
Elder Bingham decided swimming in the river wasn't an option!

 Sister Skidmore harvesting bananas at the mission office.

 Watching Brother Besa from the Lilanda get his maize planted.

We got home from Malawi just a few days before Christmas and I didn't have any decorations at all.  Since it was so close to Christmas I wasn't going to decorate but then found out that the Bodily's, who are fairly new, had found a tree that was pretty inexpensive so I decided I also wanted a tree.  It just makes me happy.  People don't decorate here or put up lights except at the malls.  We found a small tree and Sister Skidmore found two boxes of ornaments at the mission office and let me use them.  We were happy to decorate our apartment.  I had brought a few Christmas CD's from home and Melanie had also brought us some as well as some new Christmas movies.  We have been enjoying those.  On Christmas day we had the Bodily's over for dinner then Elder Parker, from Twin Falls, came late in the afternoon to call home.  I also fixed dinner for him and his companion and they were very appreciative.  It was fun to have an elder from Idaho.  The day after Christmas, we had a Christmas party for the entire Zambia missionaries (Malawi had one too).  I made potato salad for 65 and that was two dishpanfuls.  By the time the evening was over, the salad was gone.  Sister Erickson had arranged for chicken, pizza, pasta salad, jello salads, sodas, brownies and ice cream sundaes.  Everyone had a great time.  We had a white elephant gift exchange and that was pretty funny.  After that we watched Dickens, "A Christmas Carol."

As each of was leaving the party, President Erickson gave us copies of two talks from the last conference concerning the sacrament.  He asked each of us to read them and come prepared to be taught and to teach the next day.  The next morning we met for a continental breakfast then all went into the Lusaka Chapel and President and Sister Erickson taught us about the importance of the sacrament.  It was so spiritual and we all felt uplifted from this training.

After this was completed, we had prayer and all left to travel back to their areas and go back to work.  Later we found that eight of the elders were on a bus traveling back to the Copperbelt. Something happened to the bus and the driver didn't have control of it and it was just weaving from one side to the other of the road.  It finally came to a stop on the side of the road but didn't tip over.  We all feel the people on that bus are be beneficiaries of having elders with them and the Armies of the Nephites were controlling that bus, keeping it from tipping over.  When the bus finally got stopped and everyone got off, the elders gathered the people from the bus and offered a prayer of thanks.  What wonderful examples these young men are!