Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24, 2014

This is a letter my mom wrote to me this morning. 

Hi Lou, I'll have to write a letter tomorrow at the mission office. The power just went out again. Three days in a row. So I need to save the power in the computer. I was just ready to download pictures, so hopefully I can do that soon. I love Sundays, but hate them also. I have too much time to just think about my family and I then miss everyone so much. This coming week we have one month down. I'm going to celebrate and go for a walk outside of our compound. Dad is searching for good food to eat. So we stop at every market there is. He is having serious withdrawals from Fox News. I believe that we're getting a satellite dish this week. The boredom is killing him. We have a new generator outside, but it smokes so much and is so loud, the other homeowners will complain. Hopefully tomorrow we'll get a new one. I love the older "Lds Charities" couple that live next door. They go back home in December. I will miss them. They have been so helpful and kind. I might even try to move into their flat. It is much nicer than ours and I just love it. It would take us 30 minutes to move, we've really not moved into this place. It's kind of like camping. Just knowing that I'll be heading back home soon. We had two missionaries leave the field early this week. that brings down the spirit of the work. I know this because I work in the office. We had church today and I'm officially called as the pianist. I play a keyboard. Then we are also called to teach the temple prep class. Our branch president and his family are the only ones sealed in the temple. So there is a lot of work to do.  We  just hope that he isn't sending people away from the branch, he is very forceful when he speaks, and points his finger at others. I found a cake mix, betty crocker, in the store yesterday. It was $7.58 for a box . I could buy one for less than that. We went to the animal park yesterday we have pictures. I was very disappointed, no lions, elephants or the exciting animals. But it was the African feel. This city is so dirty. Another picture we'll send, is of a road crew. They are using picks to take out the old asphalt and shoveling it out to replace with a new road, I'm sure they aren't union workers. We went to a baptism yesterday. A family of four were baptized. That was really something. The parents were confirmed this morning, didn't see the boys in church. Then the mother left after sacrament. Still a lot of work to do. I'm also teaching the R.S. President how to play the piano. Thank you Lorraine for the book. It will be helpful to this branch. Well the mission president and wife are back tomorrow from interviews with the missionaries, so it will be stressful for me. I just don't know what I'm doing yet. I love my smart phone. Just need to permanently get one, and also a truck. Hope and pray that you're all doing well. We figure if anyone wants to Skype on a Sunday night, we'll be home. Sitting in the dark, or on the computer. Love to hear and see everyone. hope Cousin craig's wedding was a success. His new bride is very cute. Russ, you and Christine need to send us a note to tell us you're doing well. We love you all and the pictures will be coming. I love the primary picture. The kids are cute and the babies in our branch are so cute and fat. I just stare at them, crazy white lady. Just to let you know, dad is still dad! You all know what I mean. Love you, and miss you. Love MOM


 Ok, the power is back on and here are a few pictures. Also, Alan put more on drop box. Mom and dad, ask aunt leslie to help you get dropbox on your computer. We'll accept anyone. All this new technology stuff is giving me a headache. I love the rotating plastic seatcover in the restroom in London airport. Every time you flush, it gives you new plastic to sit on. Clever! After we took the pictures of the primary children this afternoon, they rushed up to us to see themselves on the camera, then they giggled and laughed at their picture. I loved this. I think I'll have to take candy next week for them. I marvel at the women here. They are so strong.They strap a baby on their backs and have something on their heads and carry something in their hands. I just can't believe it. Ok another email is in the works. Love Joy

The first picture was of a road crew yesterday. They were using picks and shovels to remove this section of road. The use of manual labor was something, but that is Zimbabwe. Somethings are not modern. Next picture was of a family of four before their baptism at theDomboshava branch, outside of the city of Harare.The elders and other ward members all wanted to get their pictures taken with the family. Just need to keep them active in the church... Next is of large animals at the Mashonaland wildlife preserve in Harare. These animals came up to the fence and ate for a few minutes and then ran off. The zebras we could see, but didn't show up in the camera, also a large giraffe. I couldn't tell you what they are. But they have long straight horns that stick straight up on their heads...Elder Hermansen is with the zone leaders, they are the ones that taught the family that got baptized. The elder on the left , Elder Chegede, just arrived from Sierra Leone mission. They are great missionaries and really care about the people. The Elder in the middle, Elder Maungo, speaks really good English, we can understand him. Then the elder on the end, complains a lot because there isn't fox news to watch and listen to.   Love Joy

Friday, August 22, 2014

First Day of Church

 Well, since I have power I better write a few lines about our church experience. Last Sunday the 17, we were assigned to a branch called Dombochavas, it is out of the main city about 40 minutes. The way to know your in the community is if you pass over the cattle guard and then it's in a house with the sign out in front. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". Well we found it and what a surprise. I wasn't ready for the complete cultural shock! We were meet by the full time elders serving in the branch. They are all Africans that go to the branch , except for Alan and I. The building was just cleaned the day before, so it looked great. Tile floors, open aired windows, with bars. Everything has bars on it.
We met the branch president, president Musati. He's been a member only about 3 years. Well, he invited us to bear our testimonies along with the elders, and two youth speakers. We started 15 minutes late, but ended on time. Before the end of the meeting almost all the chairs were filled. They speak English for sacrament meeting, but the other meetings it is Shona, with some translated English. It's hard to know when I should participate. The members are so new to the church, but with strong convictions to following the Savior, and all church leaders. After church we had branch council meeting, but Brother Hermansen asked if everyone could tell how long they had been in the Church , and what there calling is. There is one man who has been a member since 2006, but the rest have only been members since 2011 or sooner. The ward clerk just got baptized in March, Ym's pres in April. We just found out that one man walks 1 1/2 hours to church each way. He lives two valleys over. Everyone catches the comvee to ride into town(that is like a taxi just jammed with people. It is a Toyota van).They not only carry people , but all there stuff. Like food, 50 pounds of potatoes, eggs, suitcases, etc. Just crammed with stuff. The people are sweet, and friendly. The little kids would come up and shake our hands, I think just because we're white. One little boy came and sat on Alan's lap, which made him feel special.
   It made me feel spoiled to think that a week ago, we were in our comfortable Elk Ridge building. I so missed my family at that time, and since then. We are called to teach the temple prep class. That will be interesting, because hardly anyone pays tithes and offerings. But miracles do happen. These people have nothing, I don't know how they survive. They eat this cornmeal mush stuff. They roll it in balls and they roll it in vegetables and then dip it in a gravy sauce. No I haven't had any, not excited to try it.
    On our way to Church on Sunday, we were flagged over  by the police. We got a $10.00 ticket because we didn't have the right stickers on the windshield. They have so many stickers on windshields, it's hard to see out. Of course we have been warned not to let the officers see into your wallet, because the money they collect, they keep. So Alan opened his wallet and I could see the officer straining his neck to see how much money he was carrying. Good thing there were a lot of people around. Also on Sunday, in every open field area, there were people dressed in white robes, sitting on the ground and listening to a preacher. I haven't asked if they are some type of musleum or just what. You see church goers on sunday. They just weren't going to our church. Next to the mission office is a ward building. In the back of the chapel are little love seat benches. It was rather nice to sit on those during our new mission testimony. That is the building that Ayonda goes to. Oh yes, we are going to a baptism out to the branch on Saturday, then we'll go with the elders to meet people. Should be another interesting story.
   Yesterday, we had 24 new missionaries come into the mission. 8 sisters and 16 elders. They are all from Zimbabwe. So our numbers are over 200 in the mission, 201 to be exact. They are really good people , you can feel their love for the Savior and they want to do what's right.They are really sharp and smart. I had one sister take a picture of me, and she called me mom. Sorry Lindsay you'll never be replaced. But this sister doesn't have a mother or father. Her only contact is her branch president or the mission president. That is so amazing, these youth are here with no parental support at all. I can't wait to meet them again.
   There is a man named Moses, who is the building janitor, he lives next to the mission home and chapel. He's a member and very nice man. But he has one good looking garden. After he cleans the building, he's out gardening all day long.
    I do hope you're all doing well at home, Lindsay have you talked with Russ and Christine lately? Please keep in touch. Russ we'll have to set up a time to Skype, also our parents and family. We have to buy our power, and the power is kept track on a "zeerer" box. So when we use up our power that's it! It really is awful, but this country has no credit at all. You pay or go with out. Hope the U .S. doesn't get this bad. Remember we have a dictator running things down here. We ran into a member of the church from South Africa this evening. She came up and looked real close at my name tag, then wanted to be sure we were missionaries. She is in the crystal business, and brings clients to Zimbabwe to buy their goods. Wow! What a job. We are doing fine, I can't count the days, it will drive me insane! But almost a month down. I'm glad our days are busy. Now I have to figure out the washing machine.
We love you always and take good care of each other. Kristine I'm so sorry for your loss. I know your family is so close, and with out your sister there will be an empty spot. What a wonderful lady she was. I'll send a list of things that maybe you could send. With love always. Sister joy

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Letter!

Hi everybody!  This blog is set up for people to follow Joy and Alan Hermansen's adventures through Zimbabwe Africa as they serve an 18 month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I'm going to be posting all the letters I receive from them, on here.  This first letter was a letter my mom wrote to her parents.

Hi mom and dad:
Well, I've finally been able to connect to my email, so here goes. It was such a long flight almost 48 hours before we got out of the airport in Harare. Our mission president waited for 2 1/2 hours watching us go through customs at the airport. It was so painfully slow.  I've learned that Africans do everything in slow motion, without computers. Something to get use to. We've spent the last couple of days working 9 hours each day in the mission office. There is so much to do and learn. Our trainer elders have been wonderful and patient with us. We've had a little jet lag, so our brains are rather slow when it comes to understanding and remembering. They will be transferred on Tuesday, so we'll be working on Saturday so we can all we can. The mission office is nice. It houses the CES office, the garment and distribution center, the lds charities and the church physical people. They are so wonderful and happy. Yesterday the 14th our Lindsay's friend from BYU-Idaho, came by to meet us. She is a beautiful young lady. Her name is Ayanda Godi. She told Lindsay that she would come and visit with us and she did. She is the president of the student association at BYU-I. So bubbly and happy; Then her mother came to meet us. She is just the same as her daughter and then I saw her mother today in the building also. Aparently she visits all the time. That will be wonderful to see them, a connection with Lindsay. On Tuesday we'll be having 25 more missionaries come in to the mission. We are going to be involved with the welcoming of them also. They are all from Zimbabwe, but they have gone to the MTC in South Africa. They are very humble and obedient young men and women. Most have only been in the church for not more than 3 years. Talk about Helaman's army, they are certainly apart of that group.
   WE have a brandnew truck to drive around. It's a diesel, so the price of gas won't be too bad for us. It's $1.36 a liter for gas, double that price for a gallon of gas. Cheaper than in the states. It's just hard getting use to driving on the wrong side of the road, with the steering on the wrong side of the truck. Also we shift with our left hand, and the blinker is on the right side of the steering column, with the wipers on the left side. So we both turn on the wipers instead of the blinkers. It's driving us crazy. I'm so glad that I have a great companion. He's been a wiz with setting up our computer and helping out in the mission office. I went shopping with my President's wife this afternoon. We went to a store that is like a Sam's Club/k-mart. It was so expensive. The appliances were out of site. A blender is $150.00, a frying pan $65.00, a bottle of catsup is $6.00. I think I'll have to live the Zimbabweian way, just starve!!!
My hairdryer fried its self this morning, even with my adapters. I think my curling iron won't make it past tomorrow. This place has severe electrical problems, we've been warned about the power going out. It should happen soon. We live next to the LDS Charities couple, they are from Arizona. Very nice couple. They go get contracts to help people drill wells for water and help plant gardens. We all work in the same building. Coming in to Harare the other day from the airport, we saw a mother giraffe and her baby, and a zebra. They were in an enclosed compound, but it was very African. Also they have a mode of transportation called a compbee. It is a mini van with about 25 people in it and all their bags. It's really something to see. Also I've seen ladies carrying huge bags of food on their head. And the stuff doesn't even fall off. I need to practice it, with a picture. The unemployment here is so high. We have a man who is a member , who is our gardner, we pay him $6.00 a week for him to trim the bushes and fill our water tank. Also his wife will be our laundry person, only sheets and towels. We haven't made a contract with her yet. They are doing all they can to just live and support their family. I just found out that Elder Cook and another apostle are coming to our mission in October. Yeah, I do hope that happens. We have six elders that were in the western part of Africa , that are now in our mission. They are from Zimbabwe. We are keeping up on the latest news about the situations in the other half of the continent. Sure hope this letter finds everyone well and happy. You are all in our thoughts andprayers. Alan is doing well with counting money all day long, and figuring out the bills and transactions. The money is US currency and it is dirty. I have to close. My internet is shutting down. I'll write soon. Love always the Hermansens....