Monday, August 24, 2015


Good afternoon,
I thought I would write while I'm still at the mission office. The office matters have slowed way down, so I'm using the internet here instead of at our flat. How are you all doing? I hear that Lorraine has been very busy with family campouts and fun with the kids. Dad I feel sorry that it just keeps raining and the hay is in the fields. Someday it will dry out and you can get back to work. Last weekend we did have a great time going to Masvingo , so we could speak in church. It was a nightmare getting out of Harare. It took us 2 hours, and we just kept going in a big circle trying to find the right road. WE followed everyone's advice to connect to the right road, and they were all wrong. If fact we were driving down one road and the police were out in the middle of the road, so we just stopped and asked for directions. The policeman looked at us, as we asked if we were on the  right road to Masvingo. His comment was, " You're lost!, You are on the road to Marondera". Dang it! So he said that if we turn around and then take a left and take that road for a very long time and maybe you'll connect to the road to Masvingo. We decided to turn around and start all over. We did that 3 times, and then we talked with a man who lives here in Harare and we were able to get on the right road and off we went.
Masvingo has a national park called the " Great Zimbabwe". It was the stone rock fortress built on top of a mountain where the King of Zimbabwe lived. Then down in the valley there was another stone round fortress for the queen. All the walls were six stones deep and they were all smooth. This fortress took over 300 years to build and keep up for their kings to live in. It is settled close to a beautiful lake and there were animals close by. The kings had over 200 children and many wives. So we climbed this mountain, and I can say that sitting in this office chair for a year has done me some damage. It did take my breath away, but I made it to the top and it was so beautiful. The daughters of the kings had a trail down the back side of the mountain , they would walk about 3 klm to the lake to get water and then back up the mountain with the water on their heads in containers. The women still do that today. So we also say a little shona village, where there were older women dancing. I have found out why the round huts are round in Africa. It's because if an evil spirit enters there is no place for it to stay because all the huts are round.
We had a wonderful time at church the next day and the branch is still on track teaching the correct doctrine as the rest of the church. they do have 4 full time missionaries in this city. It is so far to get to, so not to many people go and visit. The Branch president and his family are going to the temple for the first time this coming Sunday. They are so excited and that will boost the members to get motivated to attend the temple. Our drive back was great, we saw many huge, huge baboons and we saw long horned cattle roped together pulling a wagon, actually the back end of a truck. Any mode of transportation will work here.
Our mission president has been in South Africa for mission presidents training. So the office has been quite. We did mention to president  to try to recruit some of the senior couples in South Africa to come and take our place in January. He loved that idea and was going to present it to the Area Presidency. We'll see what happens. So far we have no new missionaries coming in December thru February. Our mission will be shrinking and so will the baptisms.
We are doing fine. I can't believe it's almost the fall season in Utah. It's just turning spring here. WE went to the bank to get money for the office and they were out of 100's. The teller told us that the money she had in her drawer was all she had! We kept wondering what that ment. Just hope they continue to get money at the banks.
The other day we had a panel beater, an auto body repair man , come to the office to talk with us. As he was waiting, and elder just started to talk with him and shared the gospel with him. 35 minutes later and some pamphlets, the man was interested. Sure hope he pursues this interest.
we are glad that Rob and Whitney are in Louisiana. Now we can't wait to here their stories!!! We do hope that everyone is doing well and that you're all happy and healthy.
Our little Domboshawa 1st branch is shrinking in numbers. The branch president is getting quite discouraged. All the growth is coming from the other branch. So we will need to visit with him on Sunday, sounds like a batch of brownies are headed his way. My maid gave me a letter last week telling us that her husband, our gardener, is in a mental hospital. I should have asked what pushed him over the edge, but I didn't. I do know that since he's been gone for 2 weeks, the foliage in the back yard is finally growing. He would cut all the plants back till they just don't grow. I hate to fire them, because we are there only income of 100 a month.  I guess we'll just hang on until the end of the mission, using this couple. They are members, but the man loves his marijuana and beer. They just had a daughter return from a mission to Malawi.
Alan is ready to leave the office, so I better end. We love you and we pray for you always. My 40 year class reunion is on the 5th of September. Maybe some one could crash it and take some pictures. I haven't seen anyone for ages. I read that Jeri Crosby's dad passed last week. he lived in Washington fields area. How is Lex and Uncle Jon doing? I do hope they are doing well. I better stop.

Love always,


Hello all:

I thought I had better write!. Time seems to get away from me and I just get a little lazy. Mom and Dad, thanks for the letter. Just to let every know, we are still here and doing well. The mission is doing well. I've been busy with baptismal records and submitting the medical to the insurance company. The office elders are gone a lot lately, so it's really quite and slow in the office. Not much has happened in the last little while. The Humanitarian couple just invited us to watch a bore hole drilling this coming Thursday. That should be exciting , if they drill into a water pocket. We just want to watch it once while we are here.  Last week we met the Breckstrands from Bountiful. They are on there 3rd mission. Now they are here in Johannesburg at the area office training stakes all over the Africa Southeast Area, on how to audit there stakes. That sounds rather boring thing to do. Tonight we meet another couples from the area office and they are called as Historians and training other members on how to do "History and writing it down". They are from Sandy Utah. I've seen this pattern of senior couples that have been called to Africa once, get called back again for another mission. They seem to be better at  what they do than we are, no worry here!!!!!

Our mission president asked Elder A the other day if we would consider extending our mission. Elder A had no problem with that question , but he did say that Sister H might be the hard one to sell that idea to. So of course, our mission president has not asked me about that question at all. He did want to know if we had any friends that might consider coming to serve here on a mission> So what do you all think, any takers?????

I hope you are all doing well. Just to let you all know, Rob and Whitney are moving this coming Wednesday to Lake Charles, Louisiana. He is being transferred with in his company. If any one wants to see what Louisiana looks like, Rob will be driving from CA. to Lake Charles on Wednesday. Whitney is flying to Denver for a few days and then to their new home. We will miss them and will have to Skype much more to watch Hailey and the new baby. Russ and Christine hopefully will be done with school in December. What a happy day for them. Then we wait to see what the next step is for  them.  Lou and Curtis planning to attend BYU-I next year. Dang all you guys are moving away. WE need to plan a family gathering for next summer, so come up with some great ideas.

A lady that is the house cleaner for the transfer house, told me about her nephews wedding last weekend. She said that they had a tribal wedding and then they had a church wedding. But what happens after the wedding is rather unusual. She said that the bride and 5 other ladies her size all dress I white material , with veils over there heads. They are taken to the grooms parents house and they all stand outside of the gate. Now the groom has to guess which one is his bride. With each guess he pays the brides family money. If he is wrong he has to pay more money!!! For a country with no jobs and money, they can be poor and broke before their life even starts. This lady said that it took her nephew several tries to get his bride, and a lot of money given to her family. What a tradition.

We hope that you're all doing well. Sounds like Utah has been blessed with more rain! That is a good sign for good crops. This lion killing here in Zimbabwe isn't as big a thing as it is in the States. I just read that Magabee just killed a baby elephant, antelopes and other animals for his million dollar birthday party. Then a landowner killed a lion and crocodile and stuffed them to give as a gift. I guess that these killings take place all the time here. He does need to confess to his crime. the dentist from the states.

We are planning a trip to Hwange National park  and then to Victoria Falls in September. It should be quite different, since it will be the dry season and not much water. I just want to see some lions in the wild and not up close so they attack us!

Let me know if there are any takers on subbing for us in the office, so we can go home in January. wE are grateful to be here and see the growth of the church and see how the missionaries struggle and improve in their lives. I sure will miss the office elders come October, who will invite us to play paint ball games with????

Next week we are going to Masvingo, Zimbabwe to speak in church. But we are leaving the day before and go see some ruins at the Great Zimbabwe! It has ruins dating back to the life of Christ. This should be fun, to get a way for 2 days. Just hope we don't get lost and end up in South Africa or Mozambique.  Now I have to decide what to speak about, I need to be inspired with the topic.

There have been some changes to the mission, with the new mission president. They will be good ones. HIs wife is a very nice person, and we seem to help each other in our callings.

Before your dad tells you his side of the story, I did fall again on a walk! It's the shoes and the potholes in the road. More road rash on the leg and hands. I'm on a big push to take as many interesting pictures that I can. Today we saw a first!!!! A lady had a new tire on her head. I really wanted that picture , but Elder A wouldn't pull over so I could get the shot...I have never seen that before. Well, I'm rambling.

Take care and know that we love you always and forever.

Love Alan and Joy   

Happy Pioneer Day

 Hello Family,
We'll I've seen some wonderful pictures of picnics and parades and birthday parties. I'm sure you all had a wonderful 24th of July. Dad, again , Happy Birthday. You look like you could run around the farm. Everyone looks so good and happy. We are doing well. Not much has happened this week. WE did receive four great missionaries into the mission, and 7 outgoing missionaries are very happy to be home with their families. It's like heaven people are coming and going all the time and it's always happy and sad moments when that happens.
 Today our mission president instructed the branch D1, to have everyone be instructed in the handbook for their callings. So I've been called to give instruction on Relief Society leadership, next Saturday. Every one needs to know their responsibility in the church. I do have a testimony of  that. Then if someone has a question, we can just say read your handbook, or look it up in the handbook. This should be an exciting meeting. We walked into our little chapel/house, today and they had put up these curtains along one end of the building. It  looks like a funeral home. They love them and that's what counts.
I attended Young Women's today in D2. The Y.W's president has this little girl, who got into the Vaseline jar during the lesion. She was glowing with Vaseline and then she started rubbing it on her mother's knees. She is so cute. She calls me Gramy. I can handle that name.
This week I took the mission president's wife to the Chinese Mall(Wal-mart) to show her what it was like. On the way, I got a 20.00 ticket. I came to a complete stop, but I still got pulled over. The officer, a woman, said that I didn't come to a complete stop. WE both said that I did, but the more we tried to fight against it, the madder the officer became. I just stayed quite, handed her 20. 00 dollars and said that I will be more attentive next time! I just wanted to scream!!!! The police are so dishonest, they should try to get the people who drive down residential streets at 95km. Oh, they can't there are only 3 police cars in the entire city!!! I'll get over it.
Hopefully this week , our mission president will be getting his counselors set apart, then he'll be able to spread out his responsibilities.
Alan and I will be the only missionaries in the office for Wednesday thru Friday. I don't like days like that, they go so slow.
This week we did "house cleaning " at the mission office. Unloaded 2 truck loads of stuff out of the back storage room. The office is getting a new look, infact the entire building will be. I'll send pictures when it's all done.
the mission had another car accident. I just can't believe how the missionaries are just driving these vehicles into the ground. One car just died! on the road and they had to tow it back to the mission office. Sad thing when cars are towed back to the mission office, someone comes and steals the batteries out of the cars.
Last Monday before home evening, I went out to get the clothes out of the dryer, and there was the biggest spider ever!! I had to take a picture of it. Then Elder A tried to kill it with the broom. It just wouldn't die! Finally after 4 whacks, it came a part. It was hairy, and huge!
I'm very cautious when ever I go out side, or even into the next room. I always look for spiders on the walls or ceilings.
My 40th class reunion is on September 5th. I sure wanted to attend this one, but maybe another time. It's been nice writing to the class members on  face book, and getting caught up with them.
I sure hope you're all doing well. I love to hear from you and hear what your families are doing. WE talked with Russ and Christine yesterday. It was great to see you two. Praying that you'll get a job out west!!! Love the pictures of Hailey and Owen. The cutest grandkids I could ever ask for! (just more of them).
Take care and know that we pray for you all and love you always.
Love Elder A and Sister H.


Hey all,
Another Sunday down, and it's been a very busy one. I was assigned to give a talk in both Branches today, on different topics. Then for Relief Society, they asked me to give the lesson, about the blessings of the temple. My brain is fried!!! It really wasn't that bad. Church doesn't start on time and we have so many who need to be confirmed that there isn't much time for talks, and we make a point to end on time.
How was your Sunday? I have to tell you about our activity yesterday. The office elders invited us to play at the paint ball course with them. It was so much fun! I first was very nervous about trying to shoot someone, but that fear soon left when one of the assistants nailed me on the shoulder. I got him back on the neck. It definitely isn't the most Christ like activity to participate in. We did attend to the branches baptisms yesterday, which is always most inspiring. There was a man that was baptized, who is so clear in his speech, and must really study the gospel. He's smart and has a desire to embrace the gospel with everything he has. We also witnessed a wedding at the chapel yesterday before the baptisms. I wish I could understand Shona, because it would have been an entertaining wedding. Just way to much laughter.
Lorraine I can just envision the potato fields  and wheat fields in Idaho. That state is really beautiful.
My ear is still plugged and it's quite annoying. I can hear somewhat when someone is talking to me if there is no other noise. But as soon as there is any other noise I'm lost. I do hope it will just happen some morning  that I can wake up and hear normally again. Maybe this is a trial that I must endure, joyfully.
I do hope you all have a wonderful 24th of July celebration, where ever you are. Dad I hope you the best birthday in the world. I would love to see the cake with 90 candles on it!!!!
We are having a transfer on Monday and Tuesday. We are going to send home some wonderful missionaries. They have served with all their heart!!! WE have four new missionaries coming into the mission on Tuesday. They are from South, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. It is a happy day when they all get on the plane together and arrive in a group.... Our mission President is doing well. His wife and daughter are adjusting and they will be a great help to the mission and all of Zimbabwe. Things are run differently, so I've had to make some adjustments. With time I might get everything down the way he would like it run.
Things that happened last week: We went to the bank and they had no 20 dollar bills and 10 dollar bills. The money they did give us is so dirty. Infact I laminated a 2 dollar bill and a 1 dollar bill, to show you just how dirty the money is here. May debt card has stopped working, the atm machine says that my car is"unsuitable". I just hope that Elder A's card doesn't stop working, or else we'll be coming home real soon if that happens. Just a few differences here is Zimbabwe.
I just want you all to know that you are all so loved by us! We pray that you're all doing well and your healthy and happy. I've really realized how grateful I am for our family. You bless our lives so much. We love you always,
Love Elder A and Sister J.

Monday, July 13, 2015

cold winter

Hello family,
I should write you all a letter. I'm getting lazy and I  think a little tired. It was really sad a week ago saying goodby to the Cooks. I've really enjoyed having a friend who will talk with me and of course go shopping and having lunch with. I've seen pictures and they just seem to be really happy being at home with their family. I just can't wait!
Before we took them to the airport, they had to weigh their luggage. she had two extra large carry ons, and I told her they would probably have to check them in, when boarding. She just ignored me and said they took them as carryons and they would be fine. Well, when they got to Atlanta, they wrote they had to check their carryon bags on the airplane and the airline had lost them. What a way to say, welcome! Those bags had all her little trincketts for her grand kids and family. But they have made it! Also when we were waiting for the Mkhabela's to get thru customs, we heard on the loud speakers at the airport, Cook1, Cook2, the plane is waiting for you to board to South Africa. WE all just couldn't believe what we just heard. For some reason they were late to board. We(the office elders and us) all looked at each other and said, "they've been here for 2 hours waiting to board".
WE got t he Mkhabela's and you are right, they have had to adjust to a lot, even though they are from South Africa. This is how different Zimbabwe is from the other African countries..PResident kept saying, I don't have my credit card yet, and we just said, President this  is a cash only economy! Then he saw some really nasty 5 dollar bills, he asked where did you get them. Elder A said, At the bank, and they look really good, he said, to never give him nasty bills, never.....
Sister M. is very soft spoken and nice. I'm learning a lot about their culture. I have such a hard time hearing anyone, so I feel like I'm always invading their personal space, I just can't hear them!!! She is great, and has taught me some great lessons already. One, the elders and sisters will have to purchase the items they need on their monthly allotments. We are not going to give missionaries, new shirts, pants, or jackets. They'll have to sacrifice for what they have. Yesterday, the mission had all the zone leaders and sister training leaders for a dinner and a meeting today. This happens every month. Sister Mkhabela was very stressed out because the dinner was at the mission home. So I got the food together and helped her set the tables and set up the food. I don't mind helping out, it's kind of like having a family get together once a month. Sister M, is going to take over the nursing position in the mission. As yet, I'm doing a lot of that. So the last week has been stressful getting to know a new job and listening to the missionaries and there aliments. My thought is, if there is no blood and we don't see any bones sticking out, you're fine!!!! Also just don't run to the local clinic because you have a runny tummy!!!!
 Since the Cooks have left, there are secrets coming to the surface in the office. I just found out that one of the elders, spent his allotment money on Labola. That is the African way of trying to secure a bride. The man pays the wifes family all this money, for his life time, and they give up their girl. I just can't believe he did this while on mission. He should get X'd for that. IT's sacred church funds!
Our fourth of July, was a memorable one. Elder A went to a craft fair with me! It killed him and he was so bored, but I have to admire him for going. The other older couples do this every weekend, and I usually go by myself. So it wasn't to bad. Later on that day, we had an indoor picnic with the other couples, which was fun.
I certainly missed the best parade on earth in Kanab. I love the  community spirit and the fireworks at night. WE can buy fireworks here, but I'm sure it would really upset the retirement community we live in, they are  not up for loud noises.
 The office is doing well, Last Sunday we went to both of the Domboshawa branches. The D1 branch had 87 members come and the D2 branch had 97. It was great. The eight hours we spent at church just flew by. I really enjoy them and their testimonies.
Sounds like you all had a fun and memorable 4th of July. I have to say, the United States is the best place to live. Even though it has a lot of problems, it's nothing compared to the rest of the world.
I just read that Zimbabwe is a country that is not requiring missionaries to wear or bring suite coats or jackets on their mission here. That is the craziest statement ever! It gets down right cold and chilly. AS soon as we get home, everyday, we put on our pj's, sweatjackets and cover up in a big blanket! We have one of the better homes to live in. WE do not have warm weather all year long.
 I do hope you're all doing well. You are all in our thoughts and prayers daily. Dad, so you got to ride in the parade again. JUst wish we could have seen you. Tell Mckay good luck as Bishop. I'm sure he'll be great.
This Friday I should get my tooth finally fixed. then I'm off to see a ears, nose and throat specialist. I still can't hear, after 2 rounds of antibiotics. I would love to hear again with out the pressure and ringing and pain. My goal was to never see any doctors here in Zimbabwe, I've not kept that personal goal. The other day at the grocery store and man stopped to talk to me, he asked where I was from and I said the united States, I asked where he was from and he said, I from there also. I couldn't hear his normal language, because I couldn't hear him. he must have thought I was stupid or something. So hopefully real soon I can hear every little whisper again.
Hope your family trips and vacations are all fun this summer. Lindsay has informed us that we have so many neighbors moving in Elk Ridge. We'll move back to a ghost town, in our neighborhood. Maybe we should consider that also.
 HOpe you're all healthy and well. We have a few more animal parks to attend, if we can, before we leave. I just can't get enough of the elephants and giraffes. 
Take care and have a great week. I'll write more next time. Thank you for the letters, skyping and  messages. WE love them and they keep us going.
Love  you always and forever,
Alan and Joy

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Evening

Hello All,
I just have to tell you about today. It was a very special sunday. We drove about 2 hours to a town called Kadoma. The zone leaders met us along the road and we followed them to the chapel for church. This branch has grown a lot, so today the branch was split. It was the first time being there, and they have a really nice chapel and it was almost packed. The music was beautiful and everyone was so reverent. Now they have Kadoma 1 and Kadoma 2. I'm sure in about 3 years they'll have another branch.The members are not people that live out in the bush, so it was a different feeling in their meetings. Most everyone speaks English and can read it. But the branch president did translate the division line , in Shona and everyone understood then what was happening. The young man playing the organ, keyboard was really good. He taught himself and has only been playing for 2 years. He is 22 and was called as one of the branch clerks. He did say he was getting ready for a mission.
After church these 2 cute little girls came and latched onto my hand and then ran to grab Elder A's hand. They were so cute and expressive.(A tender mercy). Later they only wanted a picture with them in it. We laughed for a while over that.
The Lord pours out his blessings, and we saw that today.
We've had many tender mercies come our way lately. Like last night, our power was out for most of the day and our generator wouldn't stay on. I thought that I'd have to go to church with another "bad hair dooo". But last night the power came on so we could clean up for our Sunday meetings.
We are doing fine. This week , we get to Skype with our new mission president. It should be good and exciting. I'm rather nervous to get a new mission president. I just don't know what to expect from him and his wife. We'll just do our best in the office. I believe that they are as over whelmed as we are about this change in the mission. I'll just have to give her some cookies and soften them up.
Our missionaries are doing well. No accidents this week. Just some really big medical challenges for some missionaries. they might have to go home early.
How are you all doing? we love to hear from you and hear what you're up to. Our winter is here now, and it's cold. I need to buy some winter tights, so I can wear under my skirts. I know that sounds like a "Colorado City" thing. but it's cold!
I'm back to the doctors tomorrow to try to get my ear unplugged. I think I might have an ear infection. They took the wax out but I still can't hear. Very annoying!!! I'm going to get a hearing aid in the future. Not hearing is awefull. I just have to hear what is going on.....
We hope that you're all healthy and your doing well.
Love always Sister H. and Elder A

Hello Family

Hello family.
I'm getting on my soap box, to say how grateful I am for our country. Just to be able to drive down the road and not be stopped every 5 miles by a police stop, or to have sidewalks and garbage cans. I'm just so missing these things. Our mission office activities are going well. ON Tuesday we have another large transfer with new missionaries coming in and  10 going home. That will be a busy day. Just praying that everyone will get their right flights and then that makes me happy.
Our power here has been really crazy lately. Last week we had 3 days with no power. Then on Monday Sister Cook read me this message on her face book, from a man that knows all in Zimbabwe. It said that now until the end of July the power will be out for 16 hours a day. WEll it has started! Our generator is chugging along. Now we tried to have hot water, and there is something wrong with the geizer, or hot water tank. I think I'll just go to bed!
Our maid came to day, but I had to send her home, because we didn't have power and water, so she couldn't clean or iron. I felt bad all day, because she came a long way to do her job. I haven't had her for two weeks in a row, because of the power outages. She just wanted to hang out at our flat and wait for the power to come on, but I told her no and gave her money for the buses to go back home. She only has us and the Cooks, for income. I'm not sure how they will survive. Some days I just wish that these people could get a truck full of food and money and then they'd be ok.
Last Sunday, for our fifth lesson. Our branch president spoke about food storage. He said that the branch members could hide there food in a cave, or dig a hole outside and  cover it and store it. Also he said that they should save their coins!!!. BEcause times are going to get tough again. My heart aches for how poor they are. Then today at the office, the cleaning lady that cleans the  missionaries transfer house, came and was begging for a propane stove at the transfer house.She said that she had to move out of her house because her husband is abusive and she is on her own now. WE just can't give things like that away. wE have to watch out for the missionaries first. We';ll have to talk with her about seeing her bishop and getting assistance first.
I do hope your all doing well, sorry about my venting. I might just go home with the Cooks, This will be a test of all tests to stay here.
Oh, one more vent. The ATM machine declined my debit card! It wasn't compatible, What does that mean? Does that mean that it could tell that I'm white and someone behind the machine was just laughing at my frustrations. The teller just said that I have to try other machines. Great! Only Elder A has a card that works.
I do have to count my blessings. The missionaries in this mission don't have washing machines, hot water, or water for days on end. they don't have heat in their flats( no one does). and they have no power for weeks at all. But they don't complain like me, and they do their calling. I so admire them, they are good and strong.
I do hope that you're all doing well. We sure miss you and pray for you always. There is another bright light. ON Saturday there will be six baptisms at the branch. That will brighten my day. Oh yes, we went shoe shopping last Saturday. Just running shoes, are 150.00 and up. I do believe that i'll be keeping my uncomfortable shoes for the next little while. Most of the white's here make good money, so they can buy expensive things. I have heard that there is a "black Mall" downtown with cheaper items. I would go, but I'd be a little out of my league.
The gospel is true, so very thankful for it. Love you all and please take care.
Love always