Well, we do hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Your letters and messages sounded really great. Isn't family wonderful! We are very blessed to have such great family support and love. We had a great Saturday, our little branch had six baptisms. A husband, wife, and daughter were baptized. Then two brothers and then one young man (who we thought was already baptized). I've noticed that Africans don't like to get wet and submerged in water. So the elders had a different way to get them totally underwater. Our little branch has really caught on fire with sharing the gospel. In fact we had 167 people to church on Sunday. So, I sit up on the stand and play the keyboard, and a bus drives up and out comes 25 + people in to the church building. It was quite thrilling to see. Elder Hermansen looks quite good among all these African people, we really do stick out in a crowd. We are back to teaching the temple prep class, but with new people in the class. In fact one couple have only been members for a year, and they are already planning to attend the temple and their son just submitted his mission papers. Really great families. Our third hour at church was, the fifth Sunday, so our branch president lead the discussion about tithing. One man asked the question, "Since we are so poor, do we have to pay tithing?" My heart sank inside of me, and then President Mutize called on me to answer that question. Instantly, I could see the picture of the widows mite and that's what I talked about. In our Area Conference last week, Elder Bednar reminded the saints, that you don't always have to use money to pay tithing. So I reminded the people about that, but what ever we have we must pay a tenth. Then Elder Hermansen was asked to bear his testimony about tithing and he said that it was a commandment, and we must follow that commandment.
I look around and saw that only 3 people have a bike to ride, 1 car, and all the rest walk to church and take the bus. Our church building is surrounded by gardens and they are praying for rain to water their gardens so they'll have food to eat. I wish I could video tape a day here in Africa, it is so different and humbling, but it's a learning experience.
Today and tomorrow is Zone Conference, so all the zone leaders are here and then leaving back to their different areas tomorrow afternoon. I met one Zone leader and he's from Salem. Just down the hill from us. He's a friend of Brady Badders, that lives across the street from us in Elk Ridge. Small world. Our next door neighbors are leaving the mission on Thursday. It will be sad to see them leave, but this is their 3rd mission to Africa and they want to go home and see their kids and grandkids. In fact, she said that she has one little granddaughter, who has never really met her and gotten to know her. Her granddaughter tells her friends that she has a "black grandmother in Africa". I certainly hope that Hailey and Owen don't use that on us. This couple have been on the LDS Charities mission. They get to make the bore holes, fix schools, and they get to publicly show how great the church is to other people. They were here in Zimbabwe when a loaf of bread was one trillion dollars and still people couldn't buy it. Times are so much better than that. Unfortunately, they still don't have their travel plans. Just hope someone lets them know when to fly out.
We might trade apartments when they leave. It is really much nicer than ours, is that greed, or common sense?
Our next couple arrives on the 12th of December. President Cook has assigned us to take care of them for the weekend. I can't wait to see their total shock and hear their thoughts about Zimbabwe.
I saw a picture of a hot air balloon in Kanab. That would be a great place to have balloons. The beautiful red cliffs and farm land. Hope it works out for this spring. Mom, I did receive the envelopes with the letters. I thought they were beautiful and heart felt. As I read them, I felt they were for me, giving me support to stick it out to the end. It only took 10 days to get here in Harare. Please tell the young women, they will be blessed for their sweet letters and thoughts. Thank you for sharing them.
We love you all, and pray for you daily. Hope you all are getting ready for winter and can relax next to your warm stoves and fires. Always know that we love you, take care till later.
MOM and Dad (who never writes a word), Hermansen