Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello Family,
I can't believe that this week will be Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for. I'm thankful for a wonderful country (sure it's having severe problems right now). I'm really thankful for my family. I love you all so much. I'm thankful for jello, pudding, and whip cream (because they don't have it here). Just so much to be thankful for.
Yesterday we attended a 4 hour meeting to kick off the Zimbabwe Harare EFY activity that will take place in August 2015. It was very informative. But today we attended a 2 3/4 hour meeting on the same thing. This meeting was for youth, parents, and leaders. After an hour and a half, it became so painful. We are praying that the activity will be more upbeat than the meetings were. Down here they call it FSY.... For the Strength of Youth. I'm going to have a lot of work to do for it. Our mission president is grateful he'll be released by August, so he'll not be involved, just the new mission president. Elder Hermansen is so tired of being fed Elephants in Meetings, they just talk so long and they loose the congregations attention. The people are more tolerant than we are... Just need to work on some patience.
Elder Hermansen and I survived the week without the mission president and his wife. Just really glad they are back, because there was some stuff that took place over the week, now we might have a mission cleansing take place.
On Saturday I invited myself to the Lion Cheetah Park, with President and their friends from the states. I really just opened my big mouth and they invited us to tag along. What another fun day at this park. Saturday, we just arrived in the lions area after they had come to feed them. Boy was that interesting to see these huge lions tears apart chickens and then spit out the feathers. Those animals are so large and beautiful. This one friend of the Cooks, opened the van door just a little, right in front of one lion. Oh boy, her head came up and stared us down hard. She had the look of, "Try taking my food, and your a dead man." look. The man immediately closed the door. Then we drove to the animals that were enclosed in a fenced area, like a zoo. We were just in time for feeding there also. I've never heard lions roar before. They were going wild, with the roaring and the fighting for possession of their food. I wish I could have recorded that noise, it was so loud and real Africian.... We learned that the female lions eat last and the males will drive them off until they are done eating. We saw that first hand. They had chickens also. We really enjoyed ourselves that night. Then we went to a chineese restaurant for dinner. Just a fun afternoon in Zimbabwe.
Today for church we had a Africa Area Satellite Broadcast from the Brethren in Salt Lake. Elder Gay, Elder Bednar, President Uktdorf, and Sister Stevens spoke. Their topics were directed to the problems of Africa. They discussed unemployment, Ebola, keeping covenants, lobala (that is like the Johnny Lingo movie, paying for a bride), personal responsibility and the regular topics, prayer, scripture study, and temple attendance. It was really good and helpful to those that I spoke to. We just pray that Ebola stays on the other side of the continent. 
Our little church building was so full with members and  non members. In fact the church has given permission to start another branch with the old apostle and his group. That will be interesting and I do hope it works out. I could see more missionaries out in our area teaching the people the gospel. There is another group that is getting to be made a branch this week also. I've done a ton of baptismal records this month. Monday I get my weekend baptismal records handed in. So exciting to see the church grow here.
Our neighbors, the Steven's, are leaving on the 4th of December. It will be hard to see them go home. They have been so helpful. They tend to "watch" over us and help us out. The other couples will be arriving in the middle of December. 
This past week, we've had a lot of rain and it felt so good to have some cooler weather. But with rain comes the bugs, and this week we've had termites. They are huge. 1 to 2 inches long and fat, with big wings. I did a lot of sweeping and killing last night. Elder Hermansen says that I should just think of this mission as a big camp out. And accept the bugs and critters.  That might be good advice, if I didn't have a roof over my head..... Also we walked into our flat last night and our ceiling was dripping water. A pipe broke in the ceiling, just hope it dries out and no mold.
We are doing well. This week will be 4 months on the mission.  I'm just so glad we are busy every day, time goes by a little faster.
Sure hope you all have a great Thanksgiving with family and good friends. We love you all and have fun in the snow for us. We are very grateful for you all, and we love you.
Love Sister H.(MOM, JOY)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Hello Family:
Thank you for the notes and letters, I really look forward to reading everyone's little messages. Well today was Sunday at the Domboshave branch. We had a baptism this morning before Sacrament meeting. Then all the songs for church were Christmas songs. Just a little early, but our branch president said, "It's the Christmas season and we'll be singing Christmas songs". So I'm glad I practiced before we came on Mission. Then after the 3 hour block , we had a 2 1/2 hour Self-Reliance meeting. That was so hard to sit and not pass out. It has been so hot and humid here. But the push is to train the Africans that they may be poor, they don't deserve to have hand outs. They need to work for their food and do all they can to earn a living. We'll see how this works out.. No one has employment, so it's hard to have any money. It's put upon the ward council members to help out the other ward members. So during the meeting a sign up sheet was passed around the room. I thought it was just a roll, but next to your name the ward council members wrote down what type of food they liked. So when it came to Alan he wrote "tacos". I had Ieft mine blank.  After the meeting, our branch president came over and told us that he would have to call the United States and order the tacos and left that comment just like that. We got in our truck and headed back to our flat, then it occurred to us, that during the Self-Reliant meeting they had ordered out food to eat after the meeting. We were so hungry!! We didn't get any because I left my line blank and Alan wanted Tacos. Now we understand the comment by the Branch President about Tacos, and ordering them from the States. If someone would have just clued us in on the food list.... In our hunger drive home, I forgot to tell Alan that I had promised this young man a ride home. So we go into his community and immediately turned around and went back to get this young man. He got into the truck and we were headed back to this community. We came around the bend to see in front of us a large group of people and 4 ambulances, a vehicle turned on its side and a big bus. Driving was at a crawl , and we could see that everyone was looking at this accident. I can't help but think that we were inspired at that moment to turn around and go back to get that young man. We pray for safety all the time, but he really does look out for us. This area is a shopping area and people are always jaywalking and cars going fast. I'm just so glad we turned around!
This week should be interesting, our mission President and wife are going to South Africa Johannesburg, for a mission presidents seminar. I just pray that no one gets sick or injured, no car accidents, no one runs away from the mission or any thing like that! I don't even know where the hospital or doctors offices are at. We can handle the calls from the missionaries about no water, no electricity, and no money on their allotment cards, but the other stuff could be rather interesting. I do know where the Advil is and the malaria pills and band-aids.
We received our new curtains. They are too short for the windows. I could fix them, if I had a sewing machine, but I'm not sure what to do about them, open for suggestions!
This afternoon we had rain, hail, lightening, and thunder. So thankful for the rain. Our borehole was getting very low and we've been trying to conserve our water usage. Now we can flush the toilets and do our wash.
Oh, yes, I noticed that this weeks Church News was about Africa. Please someone save that addition. I recognize people in the pictures. Especially the little girl with the beads and braids in her hair. After the meeting she came up to me in the parking lot and grabbed my hand and then she gave me a green vine garland. She is so cute!
Our missionaries are doing well and so are we. Last week was difficult, President had to send home 3 missionaries. Just wish they would be obedient! I do wish Alan would write some time. He sees the mission in a different light than I do. I guess you could say that he's more "Upbeat and Positive". That's just Alan! Sure hope Lowell and Juanita you're doing well. Wish we could be there to help you out.
Lindsay, Ayanda's mother is coming in December to Utah. She is coming for Ayanda's graduation from BYU-I. It's so fun talking with her, she is such a neat lady. She is coming with another lady who works in the same office building as we do.  They'll be in the states for a month!  Maybe you'll get a call from her.  She's just great.
Yesterday we had a baptism at the branch.  A really sharp young man was baptized, he has a strong understanding of the gospel. The 1st counselor in the Branch Presidency gave the closing prayer.  In his prayer he prayed that the Lord would humble the members. I was humbled and ashamed, because they are so humble and they have hardly anything to speak of.  The prayer was probably directed to Elder H and myself.
Well sure hope you are all doing well. Lorraine have fun with your Ping-Pong table. Sounds like you'll be having a great Thanksgiving in your new home. Rob and Whitney, it was fun talking with you two the other night. Wish we could give Hailey a zillion kisses. Lindsay, tell Todd your father in law, to give us a chance with little Owen when we get home. I'm already worried that he will only love his grandpa Todd.... Russ and Christine, keep us posted about your new experiences back in Philly.  We are sorry to hear about Brother Richard Russell from our Santee Stake. Send our love to his family. We love to hear from you all. Take care and you're in our prayers and thoughts.  

Love always, 
Elder and Sister Hermansen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day 2014

Hello family.
I guess I should write my weekly letter, since the week is half over. I've just been really busy. We've had transfers, new missionaries, and sister's conference in the last 2 days. President Cook also put me in charge of the transfer sheet. That is stressful, It has to be perfect and I struggle with getting it right. so my brain has been mush for the last several nights, pure oatmeal mussh!!!.
Lindsay so glad you've had a fun time at your baby shower. Wish we could have been there to enjoy it with you and everyone else.
We are doing well. Dad is busy meeting with the water department lady in downtown Harare, going to the bank, buying more phones for the missionaries because they are getting stolen and broken. So he's been really busy all day, every day.  I think I've come to the conclusion that I really annoy my mission president. I'm the first to admit, I'm no secretary...Hope he doesn't send me home because of lack of knowledge, or worse, send me to the "Bush" area. That would be death....
Our little branch had a good branch conference. Just need to get people to pay their tithing and come to church and it will be a ward soon. I lost my table that placed the key board for sacrament meeting. They gave me a chair to set the keyboard on. That was a challenge on Sunday, but it all sounded great. The Lord did provide a miracle on Sunday.
How are you all doing? Lorraine how long are you in Kanab? Is this a week that Greg is gone? Jeri how are you doing? Any more drives up Johnson Canyon? Mom still waiting for the package. Maybe by Christmas, or if it was good we'll never see it and some one in customs is liking it now.
Last week there were 3 Elders sent home. That is sad to see, and see the look on their faces. But we did receive 4 new missionaries this week, and that will help the mission and put us at 200 missionaries again. Sister Comp returned home today. We will all miss her. She was a great missionary. We look forward to skyping with rob and whit this weekend. With the time change now it's a 10 hour difference with family in California. We should Skype early in the morning our time, and it's night time on the west coast. Rob, write when you'll be home and tell us. Russ and Christine are doing well. We talked with them on Sunday. Happy and relieved that they made it safe to Philly.
Thank you Dad and Lowell for serving in the military. We appreciate the freedoms that you've fought for. We have certainly missed having those freedoms in our lives. We are truly blessed in America, and I'm so grateful for that tender mercy. Also for my husband who served in the Air Force and National Guard.
We are fine and I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows us and our desires and needs. It's hard to eat some "humble pie", when you're an adult, but it helps us grow and hopefully keep moving forward in life.
Thanks for all of you. We love you and love your letters. My brain has turned to mush again, better end. Take care and we'll write sooner.
Love mom

White Ladies

Hello family:
Well we had a good Skype session with grandma and grandpa Chamberlain, aunt Leslie, and uncle Arlon on Sunday night. This time change is a killer for Skyping. We might have to Skype you guys at night and it will be morning on our end. Yes, Lindsay we can Skype on sunday. Tell us when!
Sounds like you will have a fun time with a lot of company this week. I wish we could be there to see every one. Let Stephanie and Shane know, we're hoping the job interview goes well. Russ, sure hope you guys are doing well. How is Temple University?  Where exactly is the apartment, in comparison to the downtown chapel in Philly. Let us in on how you're doing. Rob and Whitney, Hailey really looked cute in her Halloween outfit. Loved the ponytails and cute little face. Hope you guys are doing well also.
Last week, Sister Cook and I went to a all White Ladies craft fair. It was really something. I've never seen so many white ladies in one place, while here on mission. It was at this persons house, which has about 2 acres of the most beautiful green grass and plants. There were white tents set up, wine tasting, tea tasting, leather couches to lounge on, and catered food. It was really something. But it was fun! to just shop and see something I might really like. There were about a thousand cars parked on the road for this affair. It happens every Oct/Nov. So I'm saving up for next year. Just have to find someone to go with! I believe this event helps out a local orphanage here in Harare.
Also, I went downtown with a lady who is going to sew up some new curtains for our flat. We drove downtown and that was such a different experience. The fabric store was really nice and clean. But we had to walk from the fabric store around the corner to another fabric store. The Africans just walk out in front of cars and  weave in between cars. Here I am waiting on the corner for the light to change, while the lady that I'm with is just walking real fast across the street. The street is a street with 2 lanes on each side. It was crazy. So glad I survived that experience. Now can't wait for new, bright curtains... Before we moved here the mission painted the entire flat for us. Well, the painter, also painted the floor, the new curtains and baseboard, with drippy paint. Now we just have to figure out how to get rid of the huge spiders that linger around.
The mission office was fun today. The zone leaders and their companionships were in the office for Missionary Leadership Conference tomorrow. It's great to feel of their spirit and enthusiasm for missionary work. I saw Sister comp again. She is getting ready to head home next Tuesday. We'll all miss her.
Sunday was good also. The preacher that used to have his own congregation was there at church, with his family and about twenty other people, who were of his old congregation. They seemed to like church, and we'll see what happens next week for branch conference. Our mission president is over the branches, so he had suggested the branch have a choir. Well, the branch council will be the ward choir on Sunday. I do believe in miracles! They like to sing with their own rythmn and pitch, should be very interesting. Even Elder Hermansen sounds great with this group.
I just received about 80 new baptismal records today, just for the month of November. Also a large stack for October.  Just a lot to do, which is good!
We just pray that you're all doing well. Hope all your halloweening was fun. Lindsay you're right about the grass. I'm just a bit weird about that stuff. Please go out and roll down the hill, and tell us how it feels. (This is Lindsay, I'm not going to do that...)
The weather is really hot and sticky. I turn the air on in the office as soon as I get there. Maybe I can just sweat off the pounds. I'm just rambling on, so it must be time to sign off. We love you all and pray for all the happiness in the world for each of you. Dad and I are memorizing all the scripture mastery scriptures. Second week, so far and I can remember last weeks.
Take care, and let us know how you're all doing. Thank you Jeri and Lorraine for your letters. They really are uplifting and fun to find out about your families.  Love you all, Sister Hermansen