Friday, September 26, 2014

First Car Accident

Hi all:
Well, your dad's motto is: Drive to Survive!!!
 Yes he's gone very local with his driving. Last night was our first fender bender, and not our fault. The lights are always out when we drive back to our home. The intersections are just jammed packed with cars. Well, we were approaching this horrible clogged intersection and I could see this man was stuck right in the middle (oh yes, the lights were working last night). This man was trying to get out of the intersection before it turned red, but he was stuck in the middle. We were able to turn left on to the road, the light was yellow, so we did. Just as we got on to the road, this man, who was stuck in the middle of the intersection came speeding by and shaking his finger at us and we could tell he was upset. He pulled right in front of us and then slammed on his brakes and stopped. We could do nothing but run into the back of him. He got out and started using the worst language ever. He came up to Alan's side and just flew into him. Good old mother bear that I am, started back into him and said that we did not go on a red light, it was yellow and we had the right of way. That didn't help the man's temper. So Elder Alan, said that we should call the police, because we were blocking traffic. The man got so upset at the idea of the police coming he yelled some more and got in his truck and drove off. Swerving in and out of traffic. That really ruined the spirit of the day. He really dented and tore off one side of our license plate. We had to tie it on with string when we got back. That man was so upset, the funny thing is that he's a white Zimbabwean, with an attitude!!! Just hope we don't run into him ever again.
     We are doing fine and, I just wanted to tell you LOU, to have a great day at the Doctors office tomorrow. We are praying that you're doing well and Owen is healthy and strong. We might ditch the branch baptism on Saturday, so we can visit the Lions place. Sure hope you all stay in touch and are doing well. Hey when you send us our package, send it UPS. Put Jesus stickers on all the seams. Then they won't cut Jesus's picture open to see what's in the package. Just use the middle size box, or less. Well, conference is just a week away. I can't believe that it's coming so soon. We won't get to view it until the 25 and 26 of October, maybe sooner. We have 8 new transfer's coming on Tuesday, not that many but we're getting all prepared for the day. Transfer's are always busy, missionaries coming to see each other, getting their mail and moving into a new place. These Zimbabweans always ask if they have any mail, they never do. My heart goes out to them. So I give them candy. Not a very good trade off.
 We love you all, and hope you're all doing well. Russ tell us if you get a place to live in Pennsylvania. Robert, another truck????? Almost two months down, and counting..... Love always MOM

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Another Sunday

Hello family:
Well, we've really had a great day today, and it's not even finished. Hope to get to see and talk with you guys tonight. Today our mission branches added two more branches. We drove 1 1/2 hours out of the city, the opposite direction from last Sunday. We went to a small community called Bindura. The drive was really something. We saw farms, grass huts, ladies bathing their kids in a river and then doing their laundry in the same water. We saw 3 ladies carrying the most beautiful plastic containers on their heads. I'm sure they had water in them. They were so colorful in their dress and the containers matched what they were wearing. One was green, blue, and yellow. Just wish I could of taken a picture. This area also had acres of orange groves. They smelled so sweet and reminded me of California. We saw people out gleaning the corn fields and trying to cultivate dirt with only a hoe. We finally arrived into Bindura, and it's a mining community plus farming. They mine for gold! Just wishing for a little.
We got to the Church building and it was awesome. We were greeted by 6 sister missionaries, and then by 5 elder missionaries as we walked into the chapel. It was so reverent. so not like the states. No prelude music just members waiting for church to start. The two branches that meet there were being divided and making 3 branches. I counted around me and there were 240, but I don't know how many members were in back of us.
Everyone was dressed in their best, they were just so glad to be at church. Today the prayers were really neat to hear. They prayed for those who were in the hospitals, in jail and those who were to speak. Since they don't have anyone to play the piano, the chorister just sang 3 measures of the song, and then we all start at the beginning. Love it!
The meeting was filled with strong testimonies of the prophet Joseph Smith, how he was an instrument in the Lord's hand in restoring the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a real sacrifice for these people to get to church. One lady after church told me that she and her husband walk 17 km each way to church and they do it every week. So we took pictures of the new branch presidency and then drove to the other branch meetings. There were two branches that were being divided also. This meeting was held in a school auditorium. I bet there were about 350 members to this meeting. The new branch they formed had the most members stand up. The new branch president has only been a member for 4 months. The church is growing very fast here in Zimbabwe.
We had to compete for sound again with another church. They had loud singing again, and loud music. Just really makes it hard to listen to anyone's testimony let alone the sacrament. The spirit was extremely strong in the meetings this day. Our mission President is a very spiritual man, and he really has a vision for the church in Africa. There are 16 missionaries serving in this little area, they baptize on a regular time frame.
 On our way home we took with us Sister Cook and President Chesa. He is a counselor in the mission presidency. What a sharp young man. He's 34, a counselor in the mission presidency, has served in a stake presidency when he was 26. Works for the church, family and just a bright man. We think he'll be the next mission president. He told us about different things in Africa, while we were driving back to the city. he told us about the government in Zimbabwe, killer snakes in  Zimbabwe, his opinion about why people burn the countryside every year (because it's a tradition). Today was a special treat. I needed this experience, it helped me understand why we are here. We all come from a loving heavenly father and he wants us all to be happy, but it's only through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yesterday we worked many hours in the mission office, yes, on our P-day. We broke away in the late afternoon. Elder Alan wanted all day to go for a walk, so I said yes, lets do it now. So we went for a walk. We walked so far, got lost, had to use our GPS on our smart phones to find our way home. I have to say, I wasn't happy, just tired and just wanted to get back to our flat and relax, but we still needed to buy groceries and get gas for the truck and the generator.
Before we came out here, I've had a scene in my mind. A lady on the side of the road selling fruit. I've thought that I should help this lady in some way. Well, we get here, and there is a lady selling fruit and veggies on every corner street. Am I suppose to help all of them? I just don't know!
We got a treat to see the mission president's home this afternoon.  Like I said, we took sister Cook home from Bindura, so we went in to see their home. Wow, it's so nice and new. 4 bedroom, 3 baths, and just really nice. It's in a gated area, only 2 years old. The church makes their home really nice. Really made me miss our home in Elk Ridge. Their home is air conditioned, huge generator which automatically comes on  when the power goes off, big new kitchen and a dishwasher. We are back in our cave, but would never covet a mission presidents life! A busy and hard life.
We finally have next Saturday free,  we are going to the White Lion and Tiger Reserve. I just can't wait. Lots of pictures for sure.
We hope that you're all doing well. So fall is approaching? Best time of the year. Lindsay and Curtis, keep the trick or treater's off the new grass. Put up yellow caution tape every where, or pray that it snows and is really an ugly day. Maybe they'll stay home. I see that BYU is doing very well in football. Maybe this will be their year to do some unbelievable things. On Friday and Saturday we had the Church Public relations people in our office. They are getting everything ready for our October treat from Elder Cook. What ever happened to "just having an apostle just show up"! There is so much planning and stuff going on. I'll be ready for a vacation after they leave. If they go on a safari, I want to go with them!!!!
I broke down and purchased a $5.75 dollar cake mix, yes it was a Betty Crocker brand. I'm saving it for a very special occasion. Natalie Dahl is very inspirational. I'll have to get involved with her diet workout before I come home.
 On the 30th we have transfers' in the mission. We'll have 7 new missionaries. then in November we get 4 new ones. We are way over 200 missionaries. Our allotment is 147, but after that we won't be having any come in and a lot leaving in February.
We are  hoping that every one is healthy and doing well. We'll be home before you all know it, and some of you will wish we would go away for another stay.
I did not get my hair cut. On Thursday it was a very slow day in the office, so I called the lady and asked her, "Can I move my appointment up?" Thinking that I could get in to see her earlier on Thursday. She moved my appointment up, to MONDAY!!!! There is a different way to communicate and I'm learning their English way.
Russ and Christine, sure hope you can sell your car and the moving plans are working out. Rob and Whit, I just love the pictures of Hailey. Stay away from those California fires. Love the grass at the other Hermansen home (Chris and Kristine).
Parents, hope you're all doing well and staying out of trouble. The jacaranda trees are coming in bloom. They are every where. That is the tree we had in our front yard that dropped purple flowers every where (our flag pole tree). Dad is watching some weird TV show and it's really loud!!  We get all the African news. We hear about the Ebola problems and just pray that they don't come our way. I'm going to try to make cookies one last time tonight. They just don't turn out at all. I'm still making mistakes right and left in the mission office. trying to get the baptismal records up to date. Can't figure out a long distance phone call on our phone system, and the assistance lost their key to the office.(Can't wait to hear all that in the office tomorrow morning, they are already in hot water).
Now I'm rambling, we love you all and pray for you all daily.
Love always, MOM

PS. This is Lindsay. My mom got her hair cut and she loves it, in case any one was wondering about that.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Hi family:
Well this week has been one of continual blackouts. Every day we wake up to no power and go to sleep when the power comes on. On Friday we read in the newspaper, that the country of Zimbabwe did not pay the country of Mozambique 7 million dollars for power. So all the people have had to suffer for failure to pay a power bill. When will people wise up around here. But today we woke up to power and it's still on. Yeah!!!! Happy dance day.
Today we went outside the gate, and went for a walk. We just walked up the street. When we go for a walk, we really can't see houses, except it we peek through a fence. The homes are really large and beautiful, but every home is surrounded by a large wall, or fence, with electric wires. Rather a scary thing to look at. There aren't a lot of white people, so black people are trying to keep out black people, not white people. Hope that didn't sound too bad. There are also every type of tree here, tropical to pine trees, to desert yucca plants. It's very dry now, hopefully the rains will come and green every thing up.
This morning we went out to the Domboshava branch and met the missionaries and branch mission leaders. From the branch building we drove to meet an older couple. The sister who is in her 60's wants to get baptized, but her husband who is 91 doesn't want to get married. He doesn't believe in marriage. I just wanted to tell him, "Hey you're going to die soon, so give your wife a really nice gift before you leave this earth". Of course I did not say that, but said  how wonderful married life is and to be  married and sealed to my soul mate.  He said that he would think about it. The elders even offered to give him a ride to church in the morning, but he refused and said that he would walk to church and no one was going to give him a ride. One stubborn old bird!  But he softened up, and told me that if I would come to his wedding he would make some cake! So I just said, tell me and I'll come to your wedding.  Now the funny part of this whole experience was, I had to sit on the ground with his wife, during the missionary discussion. She pulled out a plastic canvas painters tarp and we sat on it under a lowly tree. There were ants all over and I hate ants!!! So I wrapped my long skirt around my legs and held them off the ground, so the ants wouldn't get to me. She told me to put my legs down, that African women put their legs straight out on the ground when they sit. I told her I don't like ants...... She really laughed and then her husband laughed and so forth. She asked her granddaughter to go get a pillow so I could put my legs on it. What a white person I am!!!. The sweetest little lady,  but she wants to get baptized. She comes to church all the time.... Their living conditions are really different than what I saw and wrote about last week. she lived in a little rectangular brick home, with her husband, daughter and two grandchildren. No outside kitchen building. Their home is about the size of our family room in Utah. They did have a building out house with two doors.  No garden, but a well. They lived about two miles off the main road. Good thing we have a truck. I appreciate my home so much. No Lindsay I will not sell it when we get back. I will love it more.
I do have pictures that we'll post. Me and the lady under the tree, sitting on the ground.
When we arrived back at the church, we had a baptism to attend. A single young girl was baptized. She bore her testimony but no one translated for us. This young girl also has a little baby boy. Very cute baby. During the baptism, in the sacrament building there was a young single adult conference. There were about 30 youth that attended. They seemed to be having a lot of fun. So after the baptism, the young single adults were just about ready to have their lunch, so our branch president announced that everyone from the branch was invited to have lunch with the YSA group. Talk about feeding the 5,000 with one chicken! There was plenty of food for everyone! There were 3 ladies that were cooking the food. They built a fire outside and cooked their rice, chicken, and then a sauce to go over the chicken and rice. It looked really good, Elder Hermansen did eat it, but I just couldn't bring myself to food this afternoon. Eating utensils are not for everyone here. Most people eat with their hands. And then they clean utensils and plates with not clean water. Just having a problem with that!   So after the meal was over, about 2:30 this afternoon, then we witnessed a wedding. The second counselor in the branch presidency was married to his child's mother. This couple is so cute, and very active in the church. I don't know why people don't get married first, but they are now. They each had to sign 3 different papers, and put their thumb print on the same papers. Then our branch president read to them the wedding arrangement. This is all government controlled, so it was different. We have pictures also of the wedding.  The branch president did add a few church words to the ceremony, but it is cheaper for them to be married through the church than to go to a government building.  They have a tradition yelping after the ceremony, we just clapped. So it has been an eventful day. Now tomorrow we are driving about 2 hours outside of the city to a small community to see if this little group of people are going to be faithful to make a branch. That should be another story to tell.

Well,the power has gone out, my talk for Sunday isn't written. Elder Hermansen is going to turn on the generator, so life will be good.
This week has been really good and fast. Still learning a lot. On Wednesday my young Elder trainer came to the office for the day. He really misses his cushy office job. But he is baptizing many people where he's at. When he goes home in 2015, I'll miss him. Cute little guy from Idaho.  I love reading everyone's posts on Facebook. It keeps me updated on life in the states. In fact a cute girl came to the office window and started talking to me on Friday. I noticed right off she didn't have an accent. She was from Idaho, and works at the US Embassy. She asked me if I missed anything yet, from home, I said just about every thing. She said she'd be back with a surprise. I hope she doesn't forget about me.... The weather is getting very warm, very fast. I don't have mosquito netting over my windows. There is a lady here that I need to talk with about that, so I can open our windows at night.
You are all in our prayers. We love you  and pray that the Lord is with you always. Last week I recorded 50 new convert records, in one week. That is only from a few of the zones in the mission. The lord is really Hastening the work, just pray that we are a part of it.  Well, time is flying by and my talk isn't getting done. Love you all. I'll write about our Sunday tomorrow. Love you MOM. No I don't have braids yet, but have found a hair cutter.....

 Here is the link for their pictures

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Humbling Experience

Hello family:
   Well, another very busy Monday at the Zimbabwe Harare Mission. Today was Zone leader interviews and they came from all over Harare. They all wanted to get their mail. I must run the only efficient post office in the country. But busy is very good. Elder Hermansen told me tonight that our mission baptized over 50 people just last weekend. I'm so toast, my stack of records is getting higher and higher.
   On Saturday we had to help out at the mission office, so that was some time to get caught up, only put a small dent in the work pile. We met Elder Chitorie, an area seventy from South Africa. Very nice man. I guess he comes up here a lot. Then after the office we found Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was packed on a Saturday afternoon. This is the only fast food place (American) food in the country. We tried some fried sodza. It is like really thick cream of wheat cereal but really thick. It has no flavor at all. The people here dip it in some thing like gravy sauces, or roll it in vegetables. It tastes like the stuff you put on it. Not a fan! 
Sunday was really special. First off, we were 15 minutes late for church. In the morning our generator ran out of gas, so we filled it up. That was before the power went out. Our neighbors are so kind. They bought some gas for us. They really keep an eye out for us. Hate to see them go home in December. So we are on the road to church, and we had to go through 4 police stops. They just stand out in the middle of the  road and flag people over. Yesterday they were flagging over just the comvees and checking their stickers and tires. We should just wave and speed on through. but we do have to obey the laws here to some degree. We made it to church and they had the key board programed to some really fast beat song. By the time I got to the stand, the key board was playing a wedding march. Quickly turned it off and started playing the hymns. Church as yet hasn't started on time. It was fast and testimony meeting and it was really good. There were only men that bore their testimonies. They all said how grateful they were for joining the church, and they all testified about the book of Mormon and how it testifies of Jesus Christ. Very heart felt and strong members. After sacrament meeting we had our usual Temple prep class. I've noticed that when I teach, the men don't look at me. When Alan teaches they all look at him. I think it's something of a cultural thing. After our branch counsel meeting that lasted an hour and a half, we took a member home. He had invited us to come to his home a couple of weeks ago. Since we have a four door truck now, he could ride in our vehicle and we drove him home. He lived just down the road from the chapel., on a dirt road and we came to a fenced area that was his home. He has a red brick small rectangle building, windows, and a door. That was their sleeping area.  Then he invited us into a round red brick building, That was the kitchen. His kitchen didn't have a thatched roof, but a tin metal roof (just sheets of tin laid on top). We walked in and it was such a humble feeling in their home. His wife brought out two nice chairs from their sleeping area into the kitchen so we could have something to sit on. The brother sat on a woven chair next to us. His wife and two children sat on the floor on a woven bamboo mat. The floor was cement, painted black. But very clean. The entire kitchen was about 20 feet in diameter. Straight across from the door, was an open fireplace. It had a grill to cook on. They had a small fire on it. On either sides of the fireplace were board shelves that held their pots and pans on one side. The other side held their plates, cups and bowls. Then next to the door Elder Hermansen noticed a lot of big bags that were stacked very high. He asked if that would be their food storage, and they said yes it was. Then the brother told us that he has been out of work for15 years. During that time he's done farming and just trying to find work to support his family. His wife does some sewing for people, but they just didn't have anything as we would have. He told us that he has some chickens, and he would like to buy more so he can sell the eggs and chickens. He showed us a dry plot of land that he said he's going to be planting some beans and maze for the upcoming season. Mind you they don't have a tractor to plow the ground , so it's all done by hand, to till the earth and get it ready to plant. We walked outside and saw a young girl who we saw at church. She must have been in her late teens. Very beautiful young woman. She was at his well ready to draw some water from the well. The brother whose home we visited, said that he dug out the well. It was about 8 meters down. We looked into the well and could not see the bottom. Anyway, this girl put this rusty bucket down into the well and cranked the handle and brought it back up. The rusty bucket had holes in it and then she poured it into her own big plastic containers. Out side their home they had a washing area to wash clothes. This home is so much better than the majority of homes. The man was so proud of what he had. He told us that the gospel of Jesus Christ is so important to him and his family. He said that he receives so many blessings, they try to keep the commandments, so the Lord will continue to bless him and his family. They were happy, happy to see us and come in to their home, and just happy to have the gospel in their lives. He did desire to have a borehole someday. That would help not only him, but his neighbors and then he could plant a very big garden and sell his produce and help out other people. These people want to work, but there are no jobs. The government is so backwards. Very rich people, and extremely poor people. I've noticed that every time they offer a prayer, they always thank Heavenly Father for their life and living. So hard to even understand how they just survive each day.
    Just so grateful for the little things in life. I'll be showing you a picture of the mission office soon. Also a garden. It is all hand  tilled, with a hoe. Our building janitor had tilled the entire acre of land. It is incredible and such a productive garden. 
    We just need to have a weekend free, so we can go walk with the lions and see the tigers and all the fun stuff in Africa.
Hope you're all doing well.  We keep you all in our prayers and thoughts daily. Love you all Mom

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bank Experience

Hello family:
Well, we've been having those darn power outages again. Tonight we've had one and then the generator just stopped on us. I really do love lights and power. Our water pump shuts down, I love water also.
Alan and I had an experience today. Alan had to go to the bank and change some other country money into dollar bills. We got there right at closing time and they let us in. The bank was packed with people so we waited in line. Finally we got to the teller, and Alan told him what we needed. He just said, "Why don't you go to a grocery store and change them in and get your money". He just wanted to go home and not help us, but he did help us. It took us 55 minutes in the bank. Alan had to show his passport and visa. We had to sign documents with all our information on it. Just to exchange one currency to an other.  Then the teller told us that the money from Botswana is useless, just because they have a new president and the money doesn't count anymore.  We walked in with about $900, and walked out with $74.00. What a deal. So we passed the "old money" out to the elders in the office as a souvenir.
This morning I went outside to put some clothes in the washing machine and our gardener was outside. He was begging me to hire his wife to clean our flat. That was a first! He said that she used to clean for the other couple who lived here, so I guess that we have to hire the maid and gardener when we live here. So much for the "Help" comment in  the other letter. I've not met her, that comes next Thursday. I have to clean my own clothes! Believe me, I'm not getting spoiled. Just helping a family out.
 I took pictures with Ayonda and her mother today. They came into the office to say their good-byes. She is so cute. I told her to stop by and visit some weekend in Elk Ridge. Our next door neighbors just returned from a week vacation. They saw Victoria Falls and then went to Botswana for a jungle excursion. That sounds so fun. We just need to hook up with the right people and go on an adventure!  We've down sized in our truck. Actually, it's a four door truck, it looks so the type to be a terrorist!  I just need to take off the back cover and put 30 men in the back. Some Sunday, this man in our ward wants us to come to his home. I can't wait to see what it looks like and how the people live. A busy week this week so far. We had mission zone leaders conference, marriage class tests with a dinner, Friday is another dinner, and Saturday is the Harare Coordinating  Council meeting and dinner. I get to plan all the dinners, and invite all the men to come to the meetings. I don't know what I'm really doing. They get the same chicken dinner at every event. So much for a variety of life!!!!
Happy Birthday Robert! Hope you had a great day. We loved seeing the dancing Hailey video. She sure is cute! Lindsay, we are craving some of the comforts of life, like chocolate, Maybelline powder blush, Loreal mascara, Loreal pencil eyeliner, warm light weight clothes (!), and Mapleline flavoring, so we can make syrup for pancakes.  I'm glad I wasn't one of those Isrealites wandering in the desert for forty days and nights. I would have been shot for complaining.
Dad looks forward to watching the Mentalist every Wednesday night! Something from home. So how are you all doing? How is the Payson Temple coming along. Today this young girl came into the office to pick up her white mission call. It's been sitting in the office for way over a month and today she finally came to get it. I asked her if she was ready to go on a mission. She just softly said yes, sort of!   That girl was in for a shock! She leaves on her mission on the 18th of this month. She is going to serve in her country of Zimbabwe. I hope she is ready for that shocker....   We had 5 months to prepare and that wasn't enough. Next week the mission president is going to organize two new branches. That will make 17 branches in our mission with 10 zones. Just way too much stuff to remember!!! The mission president is over those branches plus all the missionaries.
Every night when we go home from the office, along  the sides of the roads, people are lighting fires and roasting their dinner. There are also neighborhood garden stands that the people go and purchase their food. It's just amazing how it's a neighborhood event. This morning a bishop from one of the wards here stopped and talked with me for a while. He asked how I liked the country so far. Then he asked where we were from, I said Utah in the United States. He told me that he went to Utah and Idaho a couple of summers ago. He said that it was so hot," I remember that summer". He said how he loved temple square and how beautiful the temple was and the mountains. I told him where we live. He mentioned that we have so much in the United States. I said that we really do have a lot. Then he said that if I go out into the rurals I'll see that kids don't have shoes to wear to walk to school, or nice clothes. Then when you come closer to the city, you see people wearing shoes and I asked why they don't have shoes! But he said, that they are so happy with less. I told him that he was right. The people here are so happy, they don't have hardly anything. But they all talk about having money! Our branch president has a job of cleaning the mission vehicles every Monday morning. On Sunday he talks about the rich people and their money. It gets rather annoying, just talk about the gospel and how it can better people and make us all happy. I' m off my soapbox!
Sure hope you're all doing well. Remember we have Skype open every Sunday night. Also on Saturday night. Just  drop us a line and we'll work out a time. We love you all and pray for you all.
Love Mom and Dad
Just wandering around in Africa!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Joy went golfing

Hi family:
   Well, another week in the country of Zimbabwe. Just to let you know, Alan, posted some pictures today on drop box, and also a video. The pictures of  our flat are nice, but you have to remember it's a different world in our gated community. The lawns are kept up and green, we have gardeners that do a wonderful job, and life is good. But, we need to take the real pictures that exist outside the gate! I'll be posting some of those soon. We just had a wonderful time skyping with Russ and Rob. They look great and we love to hear how they are doing. Russ has this "mustache" growing on the upper lip. Russ's wife Christine is so cute. Whitney you and Rob and Baby Hailey are such a cute family. We just love you all. We love Lou and Curtis and little Owen also.
  This week has been filled with a lot. During the week a family by the name of Neild, came into the mission office. They are members and do a lot of good in the country. Well, they have 3 daughters who are pro-women golfers.They travel all over the world, golfing and doing firesides and helping out with humanity projects. We started chatting and they invited Alan and I over for dinner that night. WE found their home, with the help of following them to their home. What a lovely home. It was their parents home, and the kids and some of their kids live in the home.We drove up to the back door, the maids were still in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up. It reminded me of the movie the " The Help". Then we were taken into the sitting room and met their father. What a nice man ,they are all members. They told us of their conversion and how they have lived in Rhodesia, and through the wars that have taken place. We found out that Brother Neild is a stake patriarch of our stake, and his brother-in-law is a bishop  in the building next to the mission office.They cooked the most delicious food. They are friends of all the apostles and their wives. They had a lot of stories they told us. Two weeks ago they took Elder Hales out on the golf course, they described how he carried his oxygen tank and was able to hit a few holes. They have been working with Elder Eyring and his golf swing. They love to talk! That has been our cultural outing. The first time we've driven at night. I can see why we don't drive at night. It is so dark, no street lights( they have all rusted out and missing wiring and bulbs), and  you can't see the people that walk on the side of the road. So, these ladies invited us to come to the country club and they'd give us free golf lessons on Saturday morning. Of course we were there. Now that was a funny site. Me swinging a golf club. Actually I did hit it, a lot. Alan just improved his swing a lot. Now we just have to remember all those tips and try them out in 17 months.
     I saw another animal today, It was a huge bull walking down the road out in front of the church building. It had the biggest horns I have ever seen, and it was a huge animal. We've not had time to venture outside of the city yet. Hopefully in October, we'll get organized so we can do something fun. The office work has been so busy. I wonder why I'm here! I've let Alan do all the computer stuff for the last 34 years, and now It's up to me! What is the mission department thinking. It takes me so long to do anything, and then I have to resubmit things because I did it wrong. It has been stressful. I feel for our mission president. I'm not making his life easier. In fact the other day, he asked me if I'd seen his calendar on the computer, or if I knew what a calendar was! I can answer the phone, copy papers, now I can attach items to an email. But there is so much. I guess I need to take the words of advice of President Hinckley's father, Get to work and just do it!
     We are having an apostle and many general authorities come in the middle of October. We are on high alert until then. Then it's time for transfers and it starts all over again. In fact President put me on the program to play the piano,when the apostle comes to talk with the missionaries. I just told the president I can't play for an apostle. He took my name off and we're just going to sing African style. They pick their own rhythm, pick their note and just go for it. They do sound lovely when they sing, it's from the heart. So my life until the middle of October is going to be stressful. We are the only senior couples, we should have at least 2 more couples in the office.
   Today has been good, we've had power all day, which is a miracle. I do love our generators. We've used them everyday for a week. I love electricity. Our water comes from what they call a borehole. Every flat has a huge water container outside their home, which stores the water. We have a filtering system for our water, only in the kitchen sink, we still rinse all our dishes in a bleach and water solution. And we drink bottled water.
    We eat a lot of vegetables and bread. Yesterday I gave in and bought some beef and made a stew. I couldn't eat the meat, Alan thought it was rather good. He'll eat anything and say it is good.. We tend to spend a lot of time shopping for food. Just for something that tastes normal and is American. Lindsay I'll be sending my Christmas list to you. If you send us a package around the middle of September, we'll get it for Christmas. It takes 3 months to get a package from the states.
    Our branch meeting was really good today. It's the second week playing the keyboard for church. I really slow down the hymns when they sing, but they do like having a piano in church. We are teaching the temple prep class. Our branch president wants 8 couples to get ready to travel to the temple in Johannesburg in October. It will take them 10 hours to get to the border, then another 6/7 hours to the temple from there. The branch members bear the most humble testimonies about Jesus Christ and it's so simple to understand. One ward today had 10 baptisms. The work is going strong and the people are ready to accept the gospel. It changes the lives of people, for the good. I broke down today and made a batch of cookies. They turned out like biscuits. Might have to give it up for some time. Everyone in our complex knows that we are missionaries. Tonight a little English lady came to our door and gave us some huge avocados, and asked if we were here for 1 year,2 or 3. I told her that we were here for 18 months. She said I just had to make the best of it, and walked off. The older people here are very "old fashioned English speaking". Grandpa Lowell you'd really get a kick out of what they say.
    Sure hope Lindsay you're felling better, you'll be a really good mother. Just hang in there. The wedding looked fun and so glad to see some pictures. A young woman at church told me that she would braid my hair. I told here that should be her young women's project. I guess I should do something with it. I did notice that the shampoo in the stores are for only black hair. I just might need a scarf, when the shampoo is out. We love to hear from all of you. Just to let you know, you can Skype any Sunday morning or just afternoon States time. That won't be too late for us.
   Alan is loving his mission, I'm sure I will when I can get the mission details in order. We love you all and can feel the prayers that are in our behalf. Our door is open to any visitors from the states, anytime.
 Yes Alan broke down and purchased a satellite link. He can watch a little tv, just no worth while tv. Well, the knot is back in my stomach, the weekend is almost over, and it's back to the office in the early morning.
 Remember anyone can Skype. We love you again.

For anyone that is interested in looking at their pictures on drop box, here is the link  If this doesn't work, feel free to email me at and I can invite you through there.