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

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