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

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