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)

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