Thursday, March 5, 2015

Copperbelt & Blantyre Memories

 Sitting on the floor (dirt) in the Banda's humble home.  Brother Banda makes wooden crafts and Sister Banda does the finishing and making paper jewelry.  Together they make some beautiful crafts.  I have bought many Nativity sets from them and each one is just a little different.  He also paints and a favorite with missionaries is his depiction of Lehi's dream of the "Tree of Life."  It is meaningful to have crafts made by someone special to us.  Their family is such a joy to visit and worth the trek to get to their home and they have such a good spirit in their home and lives.
 Brother Banda is sharpening his knife that he uses in his work.
 Elder & Sister Bingham with the Banda family.
 Most of the cooking here in Zambia and Malawi is done outside.  Here the Banda's have constructed a small brick shelter to protect their cooking from rain and wind.
 Sister Bingham hiking up the mountain to get to the Banda's home.  They have had so much rain that people visiting those who live on the mountain have to park their vehicles down the mountain and walk up.  Streams from above are fed by the rain and fresh springs and make the walking a little treacherous.  The day we went was cloudy but when the rain stopped for awhile, we decided it was time to get up there before more storm rolled in.

Sister Banda came down the mountain with her brother for an impromtu "Tailgate" introduction to the New Self Reliance Curriculum.  She is interested in getting into a college for further training now that she has returned from her mission.
Sister Banda is pickup guavas from the tree by their house.

We hurried home from the Copperbelt early to bid farewell to these fine missionaries who were returning home from faithful service.  L-R:  Elder Blanchard,(Pocatello), Elder Barnard (Oakley), Elder Moya (Tanzania).
 Goodson Jackson Kapata and His family

Recently two districts were created from the Kitwe District.  It wasn't that there are so many members there, but the distances are so far for the leaders and the members to travel that the brethren deemed it advisable to make two districts to make transport more manageable.  President Goodson Jackson Kapata was made the Kitwe District President.  He has been serving as a counselor in the Kitwe District Presidency until now.  He began investigating the church in 1980-81 but prior to that he had attended many churches.  He found a pamphlet Joseph Smith.  He wrote to then president, Ezra Taft Benson, requesting missionaries to come to Zambia.  He was sent a Book of Mormon from the South London mission and was advised to wait for the Lord's time.  A missionary couple finally came to the Copperbelt and taught him and his family.  One week after their baptism, he attended the organization of the Luanshya Branch.  Three weeks after baptism, he was interviewed and called as a branch president for Kitwe.  He relates that he didn't even know what a branch president did.  Since that time he has served as branch president, District President, and counselor twice in the District Presidency.  Now he is serving as District President again.  He is a stalwart in the gospel in this area and we are happy to have his leadership skills.
Cretus Kapato Family

President Kapato is a man with a big heart and a big spirit.  When he was three years old he contracted polio and since that time has been confined to a wheelchair but there is no way he can be deemed "handicapped!"  He lives life to the fullest and teaches and counsels at a University.  With the creation of the Ndola District, President Kapato was called to be the new District President.  He has served as branch president and in the District presidencies with President Kapata.  President was raised in another church but just didn't feel it was right for him.  He jokes that they had to sit and stand; sit and stand and he just couldn't do it anymore!  He was working with a Japanese woman who just seemed different.  He found that she was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and he was interested because of the example she was setting to their co-workers.  The friend gave him a Book of Mormon and he began reading.  Soon his wife, Jessy, began reading.  She was attending another church and when her minister found that she had the Book of Mormon in her home, he told her to get it and burn it.  She told him that it was her husband's book and his house and she couldn't burn the book.  The minister then told her that her husband would grow horns if he read it.  When she told President Kapato, he just told her, "Every night you check my head and if you see horns we will burn it right away!"  Well, the horns never appeared and they were baptized and have never looked back.  They both have had many leadership opportunities in the district and they are a source of strength and faith to all who know them.

L-R: Elder & Sister Humphreys (Public Affairs); Elder & Sister Bingham (Self Reliance); Elder & Sister Skidmore (Office & Financial); President & Sister Cook (Area President); President & Sister Erickson (Mission President).

We had a real treat when Carl Cook came to visit us for a mission tour.  He is the Africa Southeast Area President and a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.  He is a spiritual giant and both he and his lovely wife gave us much encouragement and support.  We had a District Open House with our Self Reliance Center and President Cook was very supportive and happy to see what this district has accomplished in the way of helping members become more self-reliant.
Sisters in the Gospel:
Humphreys, Bingham, Skidmore, Cook, Erickson