Monday, August 24, 2015


Good afternoon,
I thought I would write while I'm still at the mission office. The office matters have slowed way down, so I'm using the internet here instead of at our flat. How are you all doing? I hear that Lorraine has been very busy with family campouts and fun with the kids. Dad I feel sorry that it just keeps raining and the hay is in the fields. Someday it will dry out and you can get back to work. Last weekend we did have a great time going to Masvingo , so we could speak in church. It was a nightmare getting out of Harare. It took us 2 hours, and we just kept going in a big circle trying to find the right road. WE followed everyone's advice to connect to the right road, and they were all wrong. If fact we were driving down one road and the police were out in the middle of the road, so we just stopped and asked for directions. The policeman looked at us, as we asked if we were on the  right road to Masvingo. His comment was, " You're lost!, You are on the road to Marondera". Dang it! So he said that if we turn around and then take a left and take that road for a very long time and maybe you'll connect to the road to Masvingo. We decided to turn around and start all over. We did that 3 times, and then we talked with a man who lives here in Harare and we were able to get on the right road and off we went.
Masvingo has a national park called the " Great Zimbabwe". It was the stone rock fortress built on top of a mountain where the King of Zimbabwe lived. Then down in the valley there was another stone round fortress for the queen. All the walls were six stones deep and they were all smooth. This fortress took over 300 years to build and keep up for their kings to live in. It is settled close to a beautiful lake and there were animals close by. The kings had over 200 children and many wives. So we climbed this mountain, and I can say that sitting in this office chair for a year has done me some damage. It did take my breath away, but I made it to the top and it was so beautiful. The daughters of the kings had a trail down the back side of the mountain , they would walk about 3 klm to the lake to get water and then back up the mountain with the water on their heads in containers. The women still do that today. So we also say a little shona village, where there were older women dancing. I have found out why the round huts are round in Africa. It's because if an evil spirit enters there is no place for it to stay because all the huts are round.
We had a wonderful time at church the next day and the branch is still on track teaching the correct doctrine as the rest of the church. they do have 4 full time missionaries in this city. It is so far to get to, so not to many people go and visit. The Branch president and his family are going to the temple for the first time this coming Sunday. They are so excited and that will boost the members to get motivated to attend the temple. Our drive back was great, we saw many huge, huge baboons and we saw long horned cattle roped together pulling a wagon, actually the back end of a truck. Any mode of transportation will work here.
Our mission president has been in South Africa for mission presidents training. So the office has been quite. We did mention to president  to try to recruit some of the senior couples in South Africa to come and take our place in January. He loved that idea and was going to present it to the Area Presidency. We'll see what happens. So far we have no new missionaries coming in December thru February. Our mission will be shrinking and so will the baptisms.
We are doing fine. I can't believe it's almost the fall season in Utah. It's just turning spring here. WE went to the bank to get money for the office and they were out of 100's. The teller told us that the money she had in her drawer was all she had! We kept wondering what that ment. Just hope they continue to get money at the banks.
The other day we had a panel beater, an auto body repair man , come to the office to talk with us. As he was waiting, and elder just started to talk with him and shared the gospel with him. 35 minutes later and some pamphlets, the man was interested. Sure hope he pursues this interest.
we are glad that Rob and Whitney are in Louisiana. Now we can't wait to here their stories!!! We do hope that everyone is doing well and that you're all happy and healthy.
Our little Domboshawa 1st branch is shrinking in numbers. The branch president is getting quite discouraged. All the growth is coming from the other branch. So we will need to visit with him on Sunday, sounds like a batch of brownies are headed his way. My maid gave me a letter last week telling us that her husband, our gardener, is in a mental hospital. I should have asked what pushed him over the edge, but I didn't. I do know that since he's been gone for 2 weeks, the foliage in the back yard is finally growing. He would cut all the plants back till they just don't grow. I hate to fire them, because we are there only income of 100 a month.  I guess we'll just hang on until the end of the mission, using this couple. They are members, but the man loves his marijuana and beer. They just had a daughter return from a mission to Malawi.
Alan is ready to leave the office, so I better end. We love you and we pray for you always. My 40 year class reunion is on the 5th of September. Maybe some one could crash it and take some pictures. I haven't seen anyone for ages. I read that Jeri Crosby's dad passed last week. he lived in Washington fields area. How is Lex and Uncle Jon doing? I do hope they are doing well. I better stop.

Love always,


Hello all:

I thought I had better write!. Time seems to get away from me and I just get a little lazy. Mom and Dad, thanks for the letter. Just to let every know, we are still here and doing well. The mission is doing well. I've been busy with baptismal records and submitting the medical to the insurance company. The office elders are gone a lot lately, so it's really quite and slow in the office. Not much has happened in the last little while. The Humanitarian couple just invited us to watch a bore hole drilling this coming Thursday. That should be exciting , if they drill into a water pocket. We just want to watch it once while we are here.  Last week we met the Breckstrands from Bountiful. They are on there 3rd mission. Now they are here in Johannesburg at the area office training stakes all over the Africa Southeast Area, on how to audit there stakes. That sounds rather boring thing to do. Tonight we meet another couples from the area office and they are called as Historians and training other members on how to do "History and writing it down". They are from Sandy Utah. I've seen this pattern of senior couples that have been called to Africa once, get called back again for another mission. They seem to be better at  what they do than we are, no worry here!!!!!

Our mission president asked Elder A the other day if we would consider extending our mission. Elder A had no problem with that question , but he did say that Sister H might be the hard one to sell that idea to. So of course, our mission president has not asked me about that question at all. He did want to know if we had any friends that might consider coming to serve here on a mission> So what do you all think, any takers?????

I hope you are all doing well. Just to let you all know, Rob and Whitney are moving this coming Wednesday to Lake Charles, Louisiana. He is being transferred with in his company. If any one wants to see what Louisiana looks like, Rob will be driving from CA. to Lake Charles on Wednesday. Whitney is flying to Denver for a few days and then to their new home. We will miss them and will have to Skype much more to watch Hailey and the new baby. Russ and Christine hopefully will be done with school in December. What a happy day for them. Then we wait to see what the next step is for  them.  Lou and Curtis planning to attend BYU-I next year. Dang all you guys are moving away. WE need to plan a family gathering for next summer, so come up with some great ideas.

A lady that is the house cleaner for the transfer house, told me about her nephews wedding last weekend. She said that they had a tribal wedding and then they had a church wedding. But what happens after the wedding is rather unusual. She said that the bride and 5 other ladies her size all dress I white material , with veils over there heads. They are taken to the grooms parents house and they all stand outside of the gate. Now the groom has to guess which one is his bride. With each guess he pays the brides family money. If he is wrong he has to pay more money!!! For a country with no jobs and money, they can be poor and broke before their life even starts. This lady said that it took her nephew several tries to get his bride, and a lot of money given to her family. What a tradition.

We hope that you're all doing well. Sounds like Utah has been blessed with more rain! That is a good sign for good crops. This lion killing here in Zimbabwe isn't as big a thing as it is in the States. I just read that Magabee just killed a baby elephant, antelopes and other animals for his million dollar birthday party. Then a landowner killed a lion and crocodile and stuffed them to give as a gift. I guess that these killings take place all the time here. He does need to confess to his crime. the dentist from the states.

We are planning a trip to Hwange National park  and then to Victoria Falls in September. It should be quite different, since it will be the dry season and not much water. I just want to see some lions in the wild and not up close so they attack us!

Let me know if there are any takers on subbing for us in the office, so we can go home in January. wE are grateful to be here and see the growth of the church and see how the missionaries struggle and improve in their lives. I sure will miss the office elders come October, who will invite us to play paint ball games with????

Next week we are going to Masvingo, Zimbabwe to speak in church. But we are leaving the day before and go see some ruins at the Great Zimbabwe! It has ruins dating back to the life of Christ. This should be fun, to get a way for 2 days. Just hope we don't get lost and end up in South Africa or Mozambique.  Now I have to decide what to speak about, I need to be inspired with the topic.

There have been some changes to the mission, with the new mission president. They will be good ones. HIs wife is a very nice person, and we seem to help each other in our callings.

Before your dad tells you his side of the story, I did fall again on a walk! It's the shoes and the potholes in the road. More road rash on the leg and hands. I'm on a big push to take as many interesting pictures that I can. Today we saw a first!!!! A lady had a new tire on her head. I really wanted that picture , but Elder A wouldn't pull over so I could get the shot...I have never seen that before. Well, I'm rambling.

Take care and know that we love you always and forever.

Love Alan and Joy   

Happy Pioneer Day

 Hello Family,
We'll I've seen some wonderful pictures of picnics and parades and birthday parties. I'm sure you all had a wonderful 24th of July. Dad, again , Happy Birthday. You look like you could run around the farm. Everyone looks so good and happy. We are doing well. Not much has happened this week. WE did receive four great missionaries into the mission, and 7 outgoing missionaries are very happy to be home with their families. It's like heaven people are coming and going all the time and it's always happy and sad moments when that happens.
 Today our mission president instructed the branch D1, to have everyone be instructed in the handbook for their callings. So I've been called to give instruction on Relief Society leadership, next Saturday. Every one needs to know their responsibility in the church. I do have a testimony of  that. Then if someone has a question, we can just say read your handbook, or look it up in the handbook. This should be an exciting meeting. We walked into our little chapel/house, today and they had put up these curtains along one end of the building. It  looks like a funeral home. They love them and that's what counts.
I attended Young Women's today in D2. The Y.W's president has this little girl, who got into the Vaseline jar during the lesion. She was glowing with Vaseline and then she started rubbing it on her mother's knees. She is so cute. She calls me Gramy. I can handle that name.
This week I took the mission president's wife to the Chinese Mall(Wal-mart) to show her what it was like. On the way, I got a 20.00 ticket. I came to a complete stop, but I still got pulled over. The officer, a woman, said that I didn't come to a complete stop. WE both said that I did, but the more we tried to fight against it, the madder the officer became. I just stayed quite, handed her 20. 00 dollars and said that I will be more attentive next time! I just wanted to scream!!!! The police are so dishonest, they should try to get the people who drive down residential streets at 95km. Oh, they can't there are only 3 police cars in the entire city!!! I'll get over it.
Hopefully this week , our mission president will be getting his counselors set apart, then he'll be able to spread out his responsibilities.
Alan and I will be the only missionaries in the office for Wednesday thru Friday. I don't like days like that, they go so slow.
This week we did "house cleaning " at the mission office. Unloaded 2 truck loads of stuff out of the back storage room. The office is getting a new look, infact the entire building will be. I'll send pictures when it's all done.
the mission had another car accident. I just can't believe how the missionaries are just driving these vehicles into the ground. One car just died! on the road and they had to tow it back to the mission office. Sad thing when cars are towed back to the mission office, someone comes and steals the batteries out of the cars.
Last Monday before home evening, I went out to get the clothes out of the dryer, and there was the biggest spider ever!! I had to take a picture of it. Then Elder A tried to kill it with the broom. It just wouldn't die! Finally after 4 whacks, it came a part. It was hairy, and huge!
I'm very cautious when ever I go out side, or even into the next room. I always look for spiders on the walls or ceilings.
My 40th class reunion is on September 5th. I sure wanted to attend this one, but maybe another time. It's been nice writing to the class members on  face book, and getting caught up with them.
I sure hope you're all doing well. I love to hear from you and hear what your families are doing. WE talked with Russ and Christine yesterday. It was great to see you two. Praying that you'll get a job out west!!! Love the pictures of Hailey and Owen. The cutest grandkids I could ever ask for! (just more of them).
Take care and know that we pray for you all and love you always.
Love Elder A and Sister H.


Hey all,
Another Sunday down, and it's been a very busy one. I was assigned to give a talk in both Branches today, on different topics. Then for Relief Society, they asked me to give the lesson, about the blessings of the temple. My brain is fried!!! It really wasn't that bad. Church doesn't start on time and we have so many who need to be confirmed that there isn't much time for talks, and we make a point to end on time.
How was your Sunday? I have to tell you about our activity yesterday. The office elders invited us to play at the paint ball course with them. It was so much fun! I first was very nervous about trying to shoot someone, but that fear soon left when one of the assistants nailed me on the shoulder. I got him back on the neck. It definitely isn't the most Christ like activity to participate in. We did attend to the branches baptisms yesterday, which is always most inspiring. There was a man that was baptized, who is so clear in his speech, and must really study the gospel. He's smart and has a desire to embrace the gospel with everything he has. We also witnessed a wedding at the chapel yesterday before the baptisms. I wish I could understand Shona, because it would have been an entertaining wedding. Just way to much laughter.
Lorraine I can just envision the potato fields  and wheat fields in Idaho. That state is really beautiful.
My ear is still plugged and it's quite annoying. I can hear somewhat when someone is talking to me if there is no other noise. But as soon as there is any other noise I'm lost. I do hope it will just happen some morning  that I can wake up and hear normally again. Maybe this is a trial that I must endure, joyfully.
I do hope you all have a wonderful 24th of July celebration, where ever you are. Dad I hope you the best birthday in the world. I would love to see the cake with 90 candles on it!!!!
We are having a transfer on Monday and Tuesday. We are going to send home some wonderful missionaries. They have served with all their heart!!! WE have four new missionaries coming into the mission on Tuesday. They are from South, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. It is a happy day when they all get on the plane together and arrive in a group.... Our mission President is doing well. His wife and daughter are adjusting and they will be a great help to the mission and all of Zimbabwe. Things are run differently, so I've had to make some adjustments. With time I might get everything down the way he would like it run.
Things that happened last week: We went to the bank and they had no 20 dollar bills and 10 dollar bills. The money they did give us is so dirty. Infact I laminated a 2 dollar bill and a 1 dollar bill, to show you just how dirty the money is here. May debt card has stopped working, the atm machine says that my car is"unsuitable". I just hope that Elder A's card doesn't stop working, or else we'll be coming home real soon if that happens. Just a few differences here is Zimbabwe.
I just want you all to know that you are all so loved by us! We pray that you're all doing well and your healthy and happy. I've really realized how grateful I am for our family. You bless our lives so much. We love you always,
Love Elder A and Sister J.

Monday, July 13, 2015

cold winter

Hello family,
I should write you all a letter. I'm getting lazy and I  think a little tired. It was really sad a week ago saying goodby to the Cooks. I've really enjoyed having a friend who will talk with me and of course go shopping and having lunch with. I've seen pictures and they just seem to be really happy being at home with their family. I just can't wait!
Before we took them to the airport, they had to weigh their luggage. she had two extra large carry ons, and I told her they would probably have to check them in, when boarding. She just ignored me and said they took them as carryons and they would be fine. Well, when they got to Atlanta, they wrote they had to check their carryon bags on the airplane and the airline had lost them. What a way to say, welcome! Those bags had all her little trincketts for her grand kids and family. But they have made it! Also when we were waiting for the Mkhabela's to get thru customs, we heard on the loud speakers at the airport, Cook1, Cook2, the plane is waiting for you to board to South Africa. WE all just couldn't believe what we just heard. For some reason they were late to board. We(the office elders and us) all looked at each other and said, "they've been here for 2 hours waiting to board".
WE got t he Mkhabela's and you are right, they have had to adjust to a lot, even though they are from South Africa. This is how different Zimbabwe is from the other African countries..PResident kept saying, I don't have my credit card yet, and we just said, President this  is a cash only economy! Then he saw some really nasty 5 dollar bills, he asked where did you get them. Elder A said, At the bank, and they look really good, he said, to never give him nasty bills, never.....
Sister M. is very soft spoken and nice. I'm learning a lot about their culture. I have such a hard time hearing anyone, so I feel like I'm always invading their personal space, I just can't hear them!!! She is great, and has taught me some great lessons already. One, the elders and sisters will have to purchase the items they need on their monthly allotments. We are not going to give missionaries, new shirts, pants, or jackets. They'll have to sacrifice for what they have. Yesterday, the mission had all the zone leaders and sister training leaders for a dinner and a meeting today. This happens every month. Sister Mkhabela was very stressed out because the dinner was at the mission home. So I got the food together and helped her set the tables and set up the food. I don't mind helping out, it's kind of like having a family get together once a month. Sister M, is going to take over the nursing position in the mission. As yet, I'm doing a lot of that. So the last week has been stressful getting to know a new job and listening to the missionaries and there aliments. My thought is, if there is no blood and we don't see any bones sticking out, you're fine!!!! Also just don't run to the local clinic because you have a runny tummy!!!!
 Since the Cooks have left, there are secrets coming to the surface in the office. I just found out that one of the elders, spent his allotment money on Labola. That is the African way of trying to secure a bride. The man pays the wifes family all this money, for his life time, and they give up their girl. I just can't believe he did this while on mission. He should get X'd for that. IT's sacred church funds!
Our fourth of July, was a memorable one. Elder A went to a craft fair with me! It killed him and he was so bored, but I have to admire him for going. The other older couples do this every weekend, and I usually go by myself. So it wasn't to bad. Later on that day, we had an indoor picnic with the other couples, which was fun.
I certainly missed the best parade on earth in Kanab. I love the  community spirit and the fireworks at night. WE can buy fireworks here, but I'm sure it would really upset the retirement community we live in, they are  not up for loud noises.
 The office is doing well, Last Sunday we went to both of the Domboshawa branches. The D1 branch had 87 members come and the D2 branch had 97. It was great. The eight hours we spent at church just flew by. I really enjoy them and their testimonies.
Sounds like you all had a fun and memorable 4th of July. I have to say, the United States is the best place to live. Even though it has a lot of problems, it's nothing compared to the rest of the world.
I just read that Zimbabwe is a country that is not requiring missionaries to wear or bring suite coats or jackets on their mission here. That is the craziest statement ever! It gets down right cold and chilly. AS soon as we get home, everyday, we put on our pj's, sweatjackets and cover up in a big blanket! We have one of the better homes to live in. WE do not have warm weather all year long.
 I do hope you're all doing well. You are all in our thoughts and prayers daily. Dad, so you got to ride in the parade again. JUst wish we could have seen you. Tell Mckay good luck as Bishop. I'm sure he'll be great.
This Friday I should get my tooth finally fixed. then I'm off to see a ears, nose and throat specialist. I still can't hear, after 2 rounds of antibiotics. I would love to hear again with out the pressure and ringing and pain. My goal was to never see any doctors here in Zimbabwe, I've not kept that personal goal. The other day at the grocery store and man stopped to talk to me, he asked where I was from and I said the united States, I asked where he was from and he said, I from there also. I couldn't hear his normal language, because I couldn't hear him. he must have thought I was stupid or something. So hopefully real soon I can hear every little whisper again.
Hope your family trips and vacations are all fun this summer. Lindsay has informed us that we have so many neighbors moving in Elk Ridge. We'll move back to a ghost town, in our neighborhood. Maybe we should consider that also.
 HOpe you're all healthy and well. We have a few more animal parks to attend, if we can, before we leave. I just can't get enough of the elephants and giraffes. 
Take care and have a great week. I'll write more next time. Thank you for the letters, skyping and  messages. WE love them and they keep us going.
Love  you always and forever,
Alan and Joy

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Evening

Hello All,
I just have to tell you about today. It was a very special sunday. We drove about 2 hours to a town called Kadoma. The zone leaders met us along the road and we followed them to the chapel for church. This branch has grown a lot, so today the branch was split. It was the first time being there, and they have a really nice chapel and it was almost packed. The music was beautiful and everyone was so reverent. Now they have Kadoma 1 and Kadoma 2. I'm sure in about 3 years they'll have another branch.The members are not people that live out in the bush, so it was a different feeling in their meetings. Most everyone speaks English and can read it. But the branch president did translate the division line , in Shona and everyone understood then what was happening. The young man playing the organ, keyboard was really good. He taught himself and has only been playing for 2 years. He is 22 and was called as one of the branch clerks. He did say he was getting ready for a mission.
After church these 2 cute little girls came and latched onto my hand and then ran to grab Elder A's hand. They were so cute and expressive.(A tender mercy). Later they only wanted a picture with them in it. We laughed for a while over that.
The Lord pours out his blessings, and we saw that today.
We've had many tender mercies come our way lately. Like last night, our power was out for most of the day and our generator wouldn't stay on. I thought that I'd have to go to church with another "bad hair dooo". But last night the power came on so we could clean up for our Sunday meetings.
We are doing fine. This week , we get to Skype with our new mission president. It should be good and exciting. I'm rather nervous to get a new mission president. I just don't know what to expect from him and his wife. We'll just do our best in the office. I believe that they are as over whelmed as we are about this change in the mission. I'll just have to give her some cookies and soften them up.
Our missionaries are doing well. No accidents this week. Just some really big medical challenges for some missionaries. they might have to go home early.
How are you all doing? we love to hear from you and hear what you're up to. Our winter is here now, and it's cold. I need to buy some winter tights, so I can wear under my skirts. I know that sounds like a "Colorado City" thing. but it's cold!
I'm back to the doctors tomorrow to try to get my ear unplugged. I think I might have an ear infection. They took the wax out but I still can't hear. Very annoying!!! I'm going to get a hearing aid in the future. Not hearing is awefull. I just have to hear what is going on.....
We hope that you're all healthy and your doing well.
Love always Sister H. and Elder A

Hello Family

Hello family.
I'm getting on my soap box, to say how grateful I am for our country. Just to be able to drive down the road and not be stopped every 5 miles by a police stop, or to have sidewalks and garbage cans. I'm just so missing these things. Our mission office activities are going well. ON Tuesday we have another large transfer with new missionaries coming in and  10 going home. That will be a busy day. Just praying that everyone will get their right flights and then that makes me happy.
Our power here has been really crazy lately. Last week we had 3 days with no power. Then on Monday Sister Cook read me this message on her face book, from a man that knows all in Zimbabwe. It said that now until the end of July the power will be out for 16 hours a day. WEll it has started! Our generator is chugging along. Now we tried to have hot water, and there is something wrong with the geizer, or hot water tank. I think I'll just go to bed!
Our maid came to day, but I had to send her home, because we didn't have power and water, so she couldn't clean or iron. I felt bad all day, because she came a long way to do her job. I haven't had her for two weeks in a row, because of the power outages. She just wanted to hang out at our flat and wait for the power to come on, but I told her no and gave her money for the buses to go back home. She only has us and the Cooks, for income. I'm not sure how they will survive. Some days I just wish that these people could get a truck full of food and money and then they'd be ok.
Last Sunday, for our fifth lesson. Our branch president spoke about food storage. He said that the branch members could hide there food in a cave, or dig a hole outside and  cover it and store it. Also he said that they should save their coins!!!. BEcause times are going to get tough again. My heart aches for how poor they are. Then today at the office, the cleaning lady that cleans the  missionaries transfer house, came and was begging for a propane stove at the transfer house.She said that she had to move out of her house because her husband is abusive and she is on her own now. WE just can't give things like that away. wE have to watch out for the missionaries first. We';ll have to talk with her about seeing her bishop and getting assistance first.
I do hope your all doing well, sorry about my venting. I might just go home with the Cooks, This will be a test of all tests to stay here.
Oh, one more vent. The ATM machine declined my debit card! It wasn't compatible, What does that mean? Does that mean that it could tell that I'm white and someone behind the machine was just laughing at my frustrations. The teller just said that I have to try other machines. Great! Only Elder A has a card that works.
I do have to count my blessings. The missionaries in this mission don't have washing machines, hot water, or water for days on end. they don't have heat in their flats( no one does). and they have no power for weeks at all. But they don't complain like me, and they do their calling. I so admire them, they are good and strong.
I do hope that you're all doing well. We sure miss you and pray for you always. There is another bright light. ON Saturday there will be six baptisms at the branch. That will brighten my day. Oh yes, we went shoe shopping last Saturday. Just running shoes, are 150.00 and up. I do believe that i'll be keeping my uncomfortable shoes for the next little while. Most of the white's here make good money, so they can buy expensive things. I have heard that there is a "black Mall" downtown with cheaper items. I would go, but I'd be a little out of my league.
The gospel is true, so very thankful for it. Love you all and please take care.
Love always

Memorial weekend

Hello family.
I hope you all had a great memorial day weekend. I've seen pictures of beautiful cemetaries loaded with flowers. This time of year is a great way to remember those who have passed on and those who have gave their lives for our country and freedom. Here in Africa there was a holiday last Monday also, it was Africa Day. I believe that it is only for Zimbabwe. It was the day they joined the African Union and received their independence. Most of the African workers in our office had no idea why they had a holiday. In fact one worker, Bongani Moyo came to work that  day. I said that he should go home and enjoy the day with his wife, he said that it's better to work because at home there is nothing to do. Some holiday's are like that.
Well a week ago on Friday night we received a phone call and a set of elders had just been in a car accident. They had been driving down this road at night and a "comvee" , a van bus, came right at them with it's lights on bright. This vehicle was making it's own third lane, right down the middle of the road. So the elders went to the side of the road and there tires came off the lip of the road and caught the gravel/dirt. Their car rolled 7 times off the side of the road down a hill. Came to a stop. One more roll and it would have landed in a body of water. I asked the senior companion what he did when it started to roll, he said" I hugged my companion and said, Lord we are your chosen servants, please help us now". I know they were helped, they walked away with out a scratch. The car is totaled. They are the best missionaries. Infact the senior companion is going home in just a week from his mission, Elder Ojok, who has served with us in the office. I will so miss him, and his goodness.
Later that same night, in Bulawayo the furthest part of the mission, there was another missionary accident. They weren't as lucky. Their accident was on a straight road, the same thing a comvee came towards the missionaries and cut them off, so the elder swerved to miss them and hit a pedestrian and then hit a car head on. The pedestrian was killed and the missionary driving broke his leg, cut up his hand and arm. The lady in the other car received cuts on her face. The branch elder sitting in the front seat had no injuries, but the elders sitting in the back seat (wearing his seat belt), has body bruises from the seat belt and hitting the seat infront of him. So our mission president called us last Saturday morning to drive to Bulawayo and get the missionaries out of the hospital and see how they were doing. Also the one elder needed to have surgery on his broken leg. The trip to Bulawayo was very interesting. Very dense trees and bushes. One place on the road there were baboons all over. It is a one lane road, so we were always looking for pedestrians or other cars coming at us, but the road was good, for Zimbabwe. The closer we got to Bulawayo it became more open and grassy. It looked somewhat if we were driving towards the Arizona Strip. WE could see some higher mountains in the distance, but you could see for ever! Then came the donkeys and big cattle wandering on the road, there are no fences.
We made it to Bulawayo and went straight to the hospital. The one elder with the broken leg had been released a few hours earlier, so we tried to get the other missionary out of the hospital. He was doing well, just very sore and achy. His xrays showed no internal problems. The doctor wouldn't release him, so he spent another night in the hospital. The hospital was clean and no smells. IT was a 3 story hospital, six people to a room, with community showers and bathrooms. Not modern at all! The beds were a very thin mattress with a piece of plywood under the mattress. They lay flat, no sitting up in bed. They did feed the patients, were as some hospitals here people have to bring food into the hospital to feed their friends. So the Zone leaders showed us where the other elder was and we went to their flat. I'm so grateful for my flat here. The missionaries really have it a lot harder, living conditions. The mission does try to find the best housing for the missionaries.
The elder was in a lot of pain , even with painkillers. He had been instructed to pack his clothes, so with help he was ready to leave his flat. He spent the night with the zone leaders. That night we took the elders out for dinner at a local pizza place. It was downtown and we felt very safe. So Elder A and myself spent the night at the Holiday Inn, it was nice to have a hot shower and soft carpet under our feet and the electricity stayed on all the time.
On Sunday morning we met up with the elder with the broken leg, because we were to take him to the airport and ship him to South Africa for surgery. This elder wanted to say good bye to his branch ,so we took him to church. What a special experience to attend this little branch. The members that came were the choosen few. It was held in a little house, that was so clean and built well, with crown molding and a fireplace. They called on this elder to bear his testimony so Elder A helped him get to the microphone. He bore a simple testimony of the restoration, the prophet Thomas S. Monson, and of Jesus Christ. Then the branch president counselor helped him back to his seat, but he hit his leg on a chair. This elder was in a lot of pain. During sacrament meeting the elder in the hospital called and his doctor wanted to talk with us about this elder. So we tried to hurry after the meeting, but every member came and hugged the elder that we had and wished him the best. It was touching! There about 40 members who did this. Elder A was anxious to get to the hospital because our mission was to get the other elder out of the hospital! I know the Lord blesses those who attend sacrament meeting and partakes of the sacrament weekly, because we were blessed that day. To tell you alittle about this branch. One lady had her car totaled during the week, an army truck side swiped her. Another member's husband was trapped in his car after a car hit them and then it caught on fire, and the man has server burns on his body and is in the hospital. and then to have their elders in an accident. They were suffering as a branch, but they were strong spiritually.
We retrived the elder from the hospital, we never talked with the doctor, and then we drove him back to the little branch to meet up with the zone leaders, who were to take care of him.
Elder A, the other elder and myself sped off to the airport. The area office sent an escort from their office to be with this elder. Well we got there and they wouldn't let him on the airplane, because he couldn't walk by himself up the stairs to get on the airplane. The head airline official was set against him getting on the plane, even though the escort showed him how he would help carry him up the stairs. Elder A called our mission president and told him what the situation was at the airport. The mission president, wife and the area 70 president, were all together in the car. The ARea president Carl B. Cook, told the Cooks to pull over and they needed to offer a prayer. At the same time we were all saying a prayer for this elder. Not more than 3 minutes later, the airline official changed his mind and all was well. This elder has had surgery on his leg and is doing well. He can't leave the Continent until the legal matters are taken care of. We talk almost every day
Now the rest of the week has been exciting. We've had the priviledge to meet with Elder Lynn G. Robbins and his wife. They gave the zone conference this week and then we had a couples dinner with them. He told us about the ailing apostles and President Monson. Today we saw that Elder Perry had passed on. That was quick.
I apologize for writing a book, but I needed to write to save my thoughts. Also for sacrament meeting today, our combined meeting , our branch president gave a lesson on "food storage". I thought he was crazy, but I'm sure there will be harder times ahead for these people and also for us in the land of plenty. We love you all and pray that your safe and happy. Remember you are in our prayers and thoughts always.
Love you,
MOM and Dad Missionaries

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Happy Late Mothers Day

Hello family,
I'm really off the chart with the late mother's day announcement. Some days just fly by and then a week is gone. I do hope you all had a great mother's day. Last week in church, before it ever started, our branch president told everyone that was sitting waiting for church, that today was mother's day. And that sister Hermansen was going to give everyone money! I just dropped my mouth open. He said that I had a lot of money, since I was white, and I could help everyone out!. Then he just started to laugh and said,"just kidding". But then after our sacrament meeting, he announced for all the mothers to stand, Even Sister Hermansen who is white! We have a treat for all the mothers. They had purchased large chocolate candy bars for all the mothers, and young women in the branch. I just never know what to expect when we go to church. A man in the branch had picked peas, from his garden , and gave me a huge bag of  them, and wished me a happy mother's day. To top all that off, just speaking with the kids and grandkids, made my day.
The burning of the corn fields have started. IT is smoky and hazy most days now. Just an old African tradition. One thing that has really impressed me, is to see the beautiful poinsettia trees. They have been in bloom for the last month. It really is a remembrance to see, when we celebrate the birth of Christ. Of course in America it is at Christmas in December, but I do believe that he really was born in April. Just makes sense.
Lorraine, I love the pictures at your recital. You are doing a great work. You'll be loved forever by these women.
I'm so sorry to hear about Leslie's mother. I really liked her, a great sense of humor, like Leslie. I do hope the family is doing well.
Last week we had another family get baptized into the church. The mama was just beaming. She was so happy, and to have her oldest son and her husband baptized also. Last Saturday we had our first ever, Mission Branches Auxiliary training meeting. It was great. We had over 100 members there and they really made a great sacrifice to attend. My class was with the Relief Society. Some of the women have such great knowledge of the gospel, where there are some who are struggling. I do believe that we should be teaching English to most of the women. They don't read English, so that is a struggle when it comes to reading the church handbooks. I have really come to love these women of Africa. They are dedicated and so they are teaching their children the correct paths. they  still have their tribal customs which are confusing to understand. They just don't make any sense at all. So for lunch I had ordered 120 sack lunches from this church member, who does catering. The lunch was going great, I went back into the cultural hall to grab a sandwich, and thy were all gone. If there is any extra, they are gone!!!! Oh, well I heard they were great.
Now on the 28th and 29th of May, we will be having Elder Lynn G. Robbins from the first quorum of Seventy, Presidency. So another large zone conference and a dinner to worry over. All the couples are invited to attend a dinner with them and the Cooks at the mission home. A lot of things going on before our president leaves on the 1st of July.
I went to the dentist yesterday. My root cannel that I had in Utah, before our mission, is getting really expensive. Yesterday I could see that the infection at the top of the root now has gone down in size. So the dentist has packed the empty root cannel with sharp things. I'm not sure what is up in there, put they tend to make my gums hurt. He'll leave all this stuff in until the first week in July(after his vacation ). Then he will take all the sticks and needles out, and put in a screw. He said that the bone structure will detriate if it's not supported well. So much for having good teeth on a mission. But in the states, to have this done would cost a couple of thousand. Maybe one good thing about Africa. Did I tell you about where my dentist lives. You drive down ChurchHill drive, to Normandy, to Dunkirk Lane. Sounds rather familiar. The dentist is from Croatia! Go figure.
I come to the conclusion , that my mission is centered around meeting people and not seeing the landscape of Africa. We have a problem with not having church material to hand out, even in the distribution center that is down the hall of our building. There was a man from Zambia this week looking for Books of Mormons. He said that he was truck driver and the church members in Zambia can't get Book of Mormons either.
There was one of the grounds gardeners, who came running into the building late one afternoon, looking for money. His wife who is  6 months pregnant, had fallen and was bleeding. He needed $50. to rent an ambulance to take her to the doctor and he was asking everyone for some money. He said the next day that she will be alright and thanked us for helping him out.
We do have some great news in the mission, come October transfer, 2 U.S. missionaries will be coming to the mission. One from Ogden and one from Alpine. I just can't wait to see their first take on Zimbabwe. In October that will bring our U.S.count up to 9 people.
I guess, you've heard that the empty lot that is across from us in Elk Ridge is for sale!!! That is really depressing. there goes our view, we might as well put our home up for sale and move to downtown SLC. At least there, no one has a view of anything.
I'm glad that it is raining in the Western States. You certainly need it.
I went to an all girls private school today, to pick up some paper work for the new mission presidents daughter, who will be attending there. It was one nice school! Sure it was old, but the buildings were well kept, and the athletic fields were just  perfect. Now I'm excited to meet this little 13 year old, and her parents. Dad I'm glad your hay is coming up, sure hope you have a great crop this year.
We are very grateful for you all. Everyday I think about you and hope you're doing well. We just are "hanging out" haha, here. WE are really just waiting for the power to go off, so we can get that out of the way for the day. Elder A. has had a hard week, dealing with church members here in Africa. they don't understand the most common business ethics. I just have to tell myself that the church is true! I was so grateful to have Sister Cook back from South Africa. Last week was slow and boring. this week we had a lot to catch up on! It is sad that she is so excited to go home, and we'll be here still working.
Take good care of each other, and we love you always and we pray for you all.
Love Elder A and Sister H.

Friday, May 8, 2015

hard week

Hello all,
I'm glad this past week is over. We had a transfer of new missionaries coming into the mission on Tuesday. So we had their new trainers come to the mission office for training on Tuesday, the day they were suppose to arrive. Well out of 11 missionaries, 9 made it on the plane on time. later in the day the other 2 were on a later flight. So one of the two, misplaced his passport and couldn't get through customs. What a great panick time! When the mission president and others heard this, they said a pray for this missionary. One of the assistants immediately went to the place where the elder had placed his passport and then he was able to enter the country. Here is Zimbabwe you get deported immediately with out a passport. Maybe the U.S. should use this practice. Well the next day, we were waiting for two more missionaries coming from the Ghana MTC. We thought we had that day all arranged, but it went like the day before, rather confusing. Some how the mission secretary found out that these elders were being delayed, at the airport and wrote and told us this. But didn't know the new arrival time and what flight they would be on. So I was busy calling the Ghana MTC and their travel department and they had no idea what was going on. So President went down to the airport and waited and then came back  to the mission office, and then went back later . He couldn't find the two missionaries, he called us and was yelling in the phone,. WE hung up and said a prayer, minutes later the missionaries found the Cooks,at the airport. We are grateful that the Lord watches over his chosen missionaries. They are all safe in the mission and they all asked that I write a short note to their families, by way of their priesthood leaders, that they are safe! I've received a note back from all of their priesthood leaders and they are all grateful they are safe. They all entered the MTC in Johannesburg, South Africa where there is a lot of violence right now. So their families can now take a deep breath and know they are safe. To top off on of those days, the travel in Ghana moved up the departure of 4 missionaries, going to the MTC there. They were all from Zimbabwe, one from our mission branch. So this elder was having his going away party when the zone leaders picked him up , and took him to the mission home so he could be set apart for his mission and then leave the next morning for Ghana. I just pray that next transfer will be so much smoother. It's been very stressful!!!!!
So this week, PResident Cook and Sister Cook are in Cape Town South AFrica, for the mission presidents seminar. What a treat for them! Our office , I hope, will be very quite and maybe I'll be able to catch up on some late work.
So last week I had the MTC in Provo call me, so they could train the person in charge of referrals on the Churches new referral system. Well that would be me. I kept telling the young man that our power goes out on a regular basis and that it might not work. Well, the next day we got connected, through the phone and on the computer. The young man finally gave up on me and told me to print off this written script and read it. ON Tuesday coming up, we are going to try it again. Our computer never got connected to the Church map link. WE do have great problems here, and I'm probably the greatest problem. Me on a computer is deadly!
Our church meeting was good today. Our numbers were off, but the testimonies were really good and sincere. This coming weekend the mission is going to have the first ever branch mission auxiliary training meeting. I just need to get my portion all together and order food for the lunch after the meeting. We should have about 100 people for the meeting, it's joined with the branch mission presidencies meeting.
 Enough about me and elder A. How is every one? Dad, that's great that you've been able to get some hay cut and sold. Sure hope the farm equipment doesn't give you any problems this coming season. Mom, I'm sure you're outside a lot these days.
Well, Rob and Whitney called and told us that they are going to have a little boy!!!! we are excited to have another grandson. WE keep skyping with Lindsay and Curtis, and Owen. HE sure is cute and we can't wait to hold him and BAby boy hermansen (he needs a name).
We have officially passed our half way point. Just can't think about going home, time will slow way down.
The mission is going to have Elder Lynn G. Robbins come at the end of the month. That will be a treat. WE'll have a special zone conference, lunch and then a couples dinner with them at the mission home. There are more Area authorities coming before the Cooks leave on July 1st. IT will be a busy time in the office. I'm not going to defrost the freeze!!!! No one ever looks inside. I will for the new mission president.
Elder A posted the drop box pictures. I have no idea what he included in there. I will have to label each picture. Lindsay , so proud of you winning that race in Elk Ridge. I'm not sure if I'll be up to doing the temple to temple race when we get home. I'll certainly keep trying.
We are doing well. Elder A is frustrated with the business people in Harare. But we have noticed that they are putting in new street lights. I can't wait to see them. Did I tell you that we now have lines painted on the roads(just some of them). The other day, there were two men out in the middle of the street filling the hugh pot holes with bricks. They were trying to slow down the cars and get people to pay them for doing that. I'm grateful that someone is filling the craters in the road. Maybe we need to be more generous with what we've been blessed with.
WE do hope you're all doing well and we love you all and pray always for you. Hope your healthy and happy.
Love Elder A and Sister H.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

slow week 4/23/15

Hello Family,
Like I said, this has been a slow couple of days. Sure there is work today, but I'm just not motivated. All the office elders and the Cooks are in Bulawayo and Gweru for Zone Conferences. So Elder A and myself have been keeping the "fort down". We had an experience last Sunday when we went to attend church in Chegutu. WE arrived early and thought we could remember where they met, but ended up getting confused and lost. So we called the elders and asked if they would find us at the stop light (it's called a robot here). We made a u turn waiting for the Elders and we hadn't been there a minute, and we got a huge spike strip but under our back tires. There were 3 men, saying they were the police and that we were parking in a no parking zone. That's a laugh because there are no such signs in the entire country. They were not going to let us go, or even reduce the fine of $35.oo. They said they needed to write us a ticket, Elder A, asked where their ticket book was and they said, back at the office. So then he asked for some identification. Only one out of the 3 could produce anything. It was very questionable, some thing from a cracker jack box. Then came the elders, and they spoke to them in Shona and still they wouldn't lower the price or just let us go. One Elder he said, "Sister Hermansen you know why you got this ticket? and then he pointed at his skin. " Yep! I know. So we paid the ticket, made it to church on time to speak. We spoke at this little branch, even before it was a branch and there were only 25 people in attendance. Last Sunday it was more than doubled. Such a great feeling to see the church grow. Elder A was asked to give the Gospel Essentials class and I gave the R.Society Lesson and then Elder A gave the Priesthood lesson. It was great to be there, even being $35.poorer.
This coming week we will be having another large transfer. We'll be having 13 new missionaries coming to the mission, so there is a lot to do. Then we have 14 going home, the same day. It should be rather confusing here on Monday and Tuesday.
We are doing well. I saw the dentist about my tooth a couple of weeks ago. He put an Iodine solution inside of the root canel. I go back on the 14th of May to see if the infection has cleared up. If it has he'll put a screw inside of the root canal and then fix my crown that he keeps drilling into.  I don't have a lot of pain, which is good. Alan should also see him in a couple of months to start his tooth implant.
We are keeping a close watch on the troubles in South Africa. It's sad what violence is taking place, especially towards the Zimbabweans that live there. But they are being forced to leave everything they've worked for behind and move back to Zimbabwe. WE had a church employee today, who needed to visit the embassy here in Zimbabwe to get his visa renewed so he can go back to South Africa and work in the area church office. South Africa is kicking everyone out. So Mozambique had a gold mine and workers from South Africa were working in it, they were asked to leave and they wouldn't so the country of Mozambique burned down the gold mine, so they wouldn't have a job!!
I keep our truck full of fuel just in case we ever have to leave, but it doesn't involve Americans, so don't worry about us.
We do hope your all doing well, and are healthy. Did spring ever come back to Utah? We went to the theatre last Saturday. It was Independence day here in Zimbabwe. We were told that the branch wasn't going to have any baptisms, but they did. So decided to go out. We saw the new movie Cinderella. It was really good. The theatre was so clean and new. I just couldn't believe it. I think the  country is trying to improve it's image. They have now painted lines on the road! Only a few major roads. Also the standing light poles have been painted, and some of the lights have been fixed. In  the richest neighborhoods they look really nice with nice robots and lights. We know where the money is in the country.
Well, I'm rambling on, and should get started on some project, or read something. Hope your all doing well. love to see the pictures of Hailey and Owen. WRite when you can and have a great week.
Love always Elder Alan and his wife Joy


Hello family.
Today was really spiritual. We had a zone conference and I was able to listen to almost all the talks. President Cook talked about the restoration and Joseph Smith. He told us about a man named Solomon Chamberlain, who lived in upstate New York. Are we related to this man. He said that he was a man that sent himself out on a mission before he knew about the church, he went around teaching that Jesus Christ would send a church on the earth. He met Hyrum Smith and Solomon asked him, if he believed in visions. WEll, Hyrum didn't know if he were someone who might harm the Smith's , but he said yes and invited him to meet Joseph Smith. He joined the church!
One of the assistants, who is from Uganda, talked about how he grew up on farms. He said that if we are not obedient, then satan will plant small seed into our lives ( like weeds) and they can choke off the garden( our spiritual growth). We need to be obedient in all things.
We found out that a man from our Domboshava branch died today. He has been very ill, but it was sad to here about him. Most people die from Aids, or  something related to Aids. Tomorrow is the funeral out in the bush. I would like to go, just to see what a funeral is like. We taught him in our temple prep class, and he really had a strong desire to some day go to the temple and be sealed to his wife. His wife died last June. So between them they had 3 children. I believe that our mission president would like to sponsor the teenagers and have them come to the united states. They are so bright and now they have no one to look after them.
It's turning winter, and it's getting colder. But it is also raining a lot! totally different from last year when we arrived.
WE saw pictures of the wicked wind and storm that has hit Utah. I do hope you are all doing well. yes, Lindsay see if Chad can help out with the sprinkler problem. Did the snow come to southern Utah?
WE are speaking in a different branch this coming Sunday. Should be interesting, but the branch is really growing in numbers.
 Are you all healthy and fine? Alan's uncle Wayne had a heart attack, we hope he is doing well. How is uncle Jon and cousin Lex? Our prayers and thoughts are with them.
Ok, I have to admit, we have been watching the show "Downton Abbey". We are hooked. Elder A has been calling me, my lady. If you don't know what we are talking about, just watch the show.
We get to watch conference next Saturday and Sunday the 25th and 26th. Our power is out yet again. WE';ve spent a lot in generator gas lately, but very grateful for that generator. Mugabe must be in town. I do believe that he just tries to make people suffer.
So grateful to be associated with the missionaries that serve here in Zimbabwe. They truly are special missionaries.
I believe that I've caught up on my letter writing. Keep safe, and I do hope that not all the fruit trees were damaged in the latest storm. wE love you all and keep you in our prayers and thoughts.
Love Joy and Alan
Please send grand children pictures!!!!!

Victoria Falls 4/16/15

Hello Family,
I've really procrastinated in writing. So I've decided today I would do this early in the morning while my brain is still fresh and alert, somewhat. Last week we had our couples outing to Victoria Falls. That is some amazing natural wonder. The water level is real high right now, so the falls were just gushing with water. The actual falls are a mile long. The canyon they fall into ,lets just say is really deep. The mist was so heavy it created it's own rain system. so even with long plastic rain coats (with hoods), we were wet. I've seen pictures of when the water is low and people and animals can walk across the river. That would be an awesome picture to see also. I do wish somehow the country of Zimbabwe could collect the water and distribute it to the people who need the water. IT just goes to waste. So we spent a long day at the falls. If I ever figure out my camera, and learn how to send pictures, I'll send them your way. Alan and I are the ones in the baby blue rain coats, rather gay!
The next day was our trip into Botswana to take the safari drive and go down the Chobe River. That was so incredible also. Botswana is a place I could live . The country is clean! and beautiful. Our guide said that every week, the people stop what they are doing and  pick up trash. I believe it, so clean. There was a military presence in Botswana, more than in Zim, which w as different. When we crossed over the border, we had to walk into this solution, an d also the vehicle had to drive through the same stuff. It is to clean our shoes off, they don't want hoof and mouth disease to come to the animals. WE saw our share of animals. Before I tell you about them, I just thank God for all his creations, they are amazing. WE didn't see any animals until we drove close to the Chobe River plains, then we saw antelope, Cape Water buffalos, and an old elephant eating. This elephant was in the swampy water pulling up the tall grass, then it would wrap it around it's trunk and  with the grass beat it's self with the grass, to knock off the mud. Then it would eat the grass. I could have watched this elephant all day long. Next we saw a zillion baboons. They were running all over and chasing each other all over. Then there came an outsider into the group and the fight and chase began. This poor lonely baboon just wanted to be accepted but the older monkeys really took into this lonely monkey. They chased it for a couple of miles and the noise the baboons made was , really mean. WE saw mongoose. They are funny and fast little creatures. Then we came closer to the river bottom itself. There were wart hogs, more baboons huddled together , they could hear the other baboons chasing the lonely one. Then the hippos ! They are something else. I thought that there were these huge rocks on the banks of the marshy river, but they were Hippos!!!! we counted about 60 of them, all with there heads in the mud! WE did see many of them eating and swimming. later in the day we saw them walking into the river and snorting at us. That was when our guide punched the motor on the boat and we took off quickly. They swim very fast and tip boats over. Ok, back on land. We also saw the biggest Nile crocodiles ever. Even our guide took out his binoculars and said he had never seen them that huge. Some looked like big tree logs but they were crocs. One had it's mouth open, it was cooling it's self off. Rather neat to see. We then saw a herd of elephants come running out of the hills down to the water. Our guide stopped the truck and said for us to be quite. They were like a pack of kids running to jump into the swimming pool and play. We heard them roar and dunk themselves in the water, swish their trunks around and spray water. Then after about 15 minutes the mother in charge, said something and they all came out. Well, they came out and started walking right by us. I was looking at them so close to us, I could see the eye lashes of this one elephant. I was waiting for the trunk to come in the open truck and swipe me. A little to close for the driver, and we drove down the road just a little to watch them from a distance. The bigger "bulls" were off in the river eating, so we don't get close to them. Awesome! Don't you all want to come for a vacation now. WE didn't see any giraffes or zebras, they were in Namibia grazing on the grasses there. From there we went to a place where the guides stop for a brake, they even created a sign," rest stop". but there were elephants there and the guide wouldn't let us out. He said that one day he stopped there and put out a table and put his lunch on it and was taking a break. Then the elephants came and shoved his table over and stomped on it. He learned that this area is for them and they humans have to respect it.
We then drove to the town of Kasane  Botswana, where we got on this little boat to start our river trip. The weather was perfect, and the river was so nice to look at. But we had to remember it was full of crocs of all sizes. The company that did the trip also had a floating restaurant on the river, so we drove up to this round barge and they 2 ladies and 1 man cooked lunch for us. It was  really good, and almost American food. After lunch we were off to see the animals from the river side. We saw the most beautiful birds ever, and a lot of them. Then we saw the huge monitor lizards, that were waiting to eat the birds and baby crocs. Our guide said that the really big crocs that we saw were 125 to 140 years old. I didn't even think that we could be in any danger, but that was foolish thinking. We saw hippos in the river, crocs on the side of the banks, two large elephants came out of the bush(trees) with there horns locked and they were fighting. That was really neat to see, our guide stopped the boat so we could take all that fighting in.  The one thing we did see, were two people. They were fishing. One man was in the water near( the bank of the river and the lady was in the boat( the boat was a wooden tree dug out boat) They would put their fishing net in to the water and then pull it back out. The guide said that most people don't survive such outings because of the crocodiles in the water. He said that these people live in Namibia and take their fish to the market in Botswana to sell and buy food and take it back to Namibia. The Chobe River is the natural border between the two countries. Our guide said that the two countries fight over  where the boarder is all the time. Infact some one has placed a flag pole out on this island. He said that every day some one will change the flag from Botswana to Namibia.
Our trip was nice. The people in Victoria Falls are ready to be taught the gospel, the church doesn't have a branch there. We had people ask all the time about our name tags and they wanted to know more about our church. I did tell President I wouldn't mind starting up a branch there, just give it a shot. The city is very expensive to live in , because it's tourist driven. So workers migrate to other communities when the tourist season dries up, and then they come back to vic falls to work. There is a bridge that connects Zambia to Zimbabwe, and that is at Victoria Falls. WE did not have permission to cross over into Zambia, sure wanted to.
We made it back safely and grateful for the protection the Lord feely gave to us.. One thing about our trip. ON the roads, there are elephant crossing signs. Only in Africa!. Our hotel was awesome, we got a great deal on the rooms, because they were running specials. It's the off season. Our dinning area is all open with a huge thatched roof covering it. So the baboons would love to run into the place, and swing on the open beams. They hired guards to only take care of the baboons. They would us sling shots, and just the sound of them being fired off would scare the baboons away. Ok I've really talke a lot, so my next letter will be more spiritual. We love you all and please take care of your selves. We pray for you always and day dream all the time , about our family.
Love from Elder A and Sister H.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Happy St. Patricks Day

Hello family.
How has your week been? I do hope you all remembered your Irish ancestors on the 17th. I really enjoyed reading Lorraine's link to "James Little" on family search. I really liked learning about him. We've been blessed with great people to call family.
We are doing well. This week is almost over, and it's been a very busy and tiring one. We had transfers this week, sent 16 missionaries home(there time was up). I really wanted to hug each of them, but they were still missionaries. WE have 2 elders whose families have come to Zimbabwe to join them on their flight back. One elder's visa expired on the 16th, so the gov't gave him a one day extension  and then get out of the country. Well, his family is traveling here for 10 days. As of tonight it has not been resolved, so I hope he doesn't get caught without a visa. All the missionaries leaving were top notch missionaries. I do hope to see them one day, probably in heaven.
So now it's catch up on the work and getting the next batch of missionaries ready to leave at the end of April. Last Saturday we enjoyed witnessing another group of 7 people getting baptized. It was really great. One of the elders who left this week, worked in the same branch as us. He said that he taught 63 peoplein out little branch, who all got baptized. He also told us that he baptized 102 people on his mission. Our little branch broke the record in attendance last sunday, 254 at sacrament meeting. All time first for the Domboshava Branch. We really need a new building. Also at the baptism, there was Sister Sande. She told me that she was going to get baptized next week. She is  the little lady who had to get married first before she could be baptized. Her husband is 90 years old and didn't want a civil marriage, but he gave in and now she will get to be a member of the Jesus Christ's church. She was so thrilled that her husband consented to the marriage. Now I have to bake him a cake. The Church has a rule in Africa, that all married people have to be married civily before they can be baptized. A tribal wedding isn't enough to be baptized. All the branch presidents and bishops have gone through a marriage candidates course, so they can perform civil weddings. Just another miracle. But last Sunday, Alan and I attended the Bindura District conference. It was really good. One thing that was a tender mercy, when we were walking into the school, where church was being held. These little boys grabbed onto Elder Alan's hand and wouldn't let go. They sat by us during the conference. 3 little boys on one chair for the entire meeting. The oldest boy's name is Washington Chapadzit, then there were Proud and Pride, twin brothers who sat next to Alan. I guess the Lord knew we were missing our grandkids on Sunday. I've talked about Bindura a lot, I really like driving there. the way is green, but this trip, the corn stalks were so tall, you couldn't see the fields and mountains. It is starting to dry out, and then the people will burn all the weeds, trees and fields. I don't look forward to that again.
Last Friday night, the Cooks invited us to dinner. it was interesting. WE went to this restaurant that was outside. All the tables were on the grass, and they had these open brick ovens and they cooked the pizza outside. Reminded me of Italy, but the food wasn't as good. There were only white people there. I've come to the conclusion , that the white people here are mostly alcoholics. they love their liquor.
I can't remember if I have written about our office Elders. Any way, Elder Ojok,from Uganda works in the office. WE asked him about his conversion story. I won't repeat myself, but he is really a great missionary. he use to be an "Alma the Younger" before he was baptized. he said that he really persecuted the Mormon's and their missionaries.
Sister Cook and I have realized that there a lot of missionaries that have no parents. they have died. WE have a new Elder from Zambia, this week, who told us that his grandmother's  sister is raising him, since his parents died when he was 10 years old.. They truly are valiant young men with a great purpose in life.
Here are some funny things that have been said to me this past week.
Sister Mashati, told me, that she thinks she has "worms". I just couldn't contain the laughter. She said that she eats all the time.
Elder Burnham, said that some one told him, if you "pee" on your feet, it will take care of atheletes feet. I said that he needs to scrub out his shower, keep his feet dry and buy some ointment.
Oh,yes, the other night President Cook received a call from one set of sister missionaries. One Sister was crying and he said, Sister what is wrong. Sister answered, "My companion told me I was stupid". That brought a silent laugh.
Today, we had a delivery man with some papers run into the office. He said that the papers needed to be here before 5pm. Well, we congratulated him, because it was before 5pm. I walked with him to another office in our building and he handed the papers to the secretary. The man was so proud and announced that he was here before 5pm. The secretary responded back, yes you are , but the papers were due yesterday before 5pm. His bubbled had been burst!
We are fine, and Alan's tooth is healing and now I need to see the dentist next Monday. Not looking forward to this appointment.
I hear that Spring has come early. Dad I do hope that you will be able to get out to the fields and spin around in the tractor. WE talked with all our kids last weekend. what a treat for us. We did miss Whitney and Hailey, but maybe this weekend. We love you all and love the letters and pictures that are posted. The church is true, the people of Zimbabwe are truly blessed with the ability to feel the spirit and act upon its promptings. Yesterday a Lady came up to the mission office window and said that she needed to talk with Bishop Spencer(he's a bishop that serves in the  building next to us). This lady had a look of panic and desperation. She was so skinny and I noticed that she had some very small children outside. She really was looking for the Relief Society President, who was late. She was there for welfare assistance. I really felt bad for this sister. When I see this look in their eyes, I wish I could give them all that we have, but then I remember there is a certain order in the church that things are given out. Well, I've gone on to long. We love you as always and pray for your safety and happiness.
Love Alan and Joy

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hello family

Hello Family.
I wasn't going to write this week, but Robert put me to shame. Way to go Robert! How are you all doing? We are fine. It's just been one of those days. Towards the end of the day, I had inputted, a whole batch of baptismal records. I went to submit them on the church site, and only one submitted. I almost cried. It takes me forever to do these. So I'm working on Saturday this week, trying to catch up on the work in the office. I would wait until next week, but the missionaries just keep baptizing. I'm the only one complaining and I shouldn't. See I should not have written this letter.
 Yesterday we took the office elders out to lunch. We have Elder Innocent Ojok and Elder Merritt. Elder Ojok is from Uganda and he is such a great missionary and young man. We asked him about his conversion and he told the best story. He said that he comes from a family that his mother and two sisters and an aunt are members of the church. His father is a minister for another church. He said that when he was younger his aunt would come for a visit and they would all make fun of her for joining the Mormon Devil worshipping church. Elder Ojok said that he would make fun and  persecute the Mormons, every chance he could. One day one of his friends at school asked him to come to his church. He said that he was busy and that maybe he would come after school. he said they had school 7 days a week. So one Sunday he told his friend that after school he would go, because he had to go to school in order to pass the final exams that were coming up. That sunday as he passed the church, he just went inside. He said that he was shocked to see so many of his classmates and friends at church. He said that the first day, he felt like this church was the place for him. He had the missionaries teach him about Joe Smith and the church. He said that from then on , he would go to church on Sunday and then go to school after church. He said that he was in the upper 90% of his class in school. After the finals he has never gone back to school . I asked him if he were like Alma the Younger. He said that he was worse than that.   Infact since he's been of mission, he's run into one of the missionaries that he persecuted. The returned missionary just couldn't believe that Elder Ojok joined the church and is serving a mission now. He is such a powerful giant, in the mission field. His dad still is a pastor for another church, and he's looking forward to returning home and getting his dad to listen to him and getting his mother to come back to church. Conversion stories like his, really strengthens my testimony of the restored truths
Last week Elder A. had a tooth pulled. The tooth was cracked down into the gum line and couldn't be saved. He's been suffering from an infection , because of the cracked tooth for over a month now. I now have a tooth problem. I'm terrified to go to the same dentist. I can't loose one of my teeth, it's near the front of the mouth. Any way, Alan is planning on having an implant here before we return. It's a lot cheaper and the dentist said that it's a good implant. The dentist is white from Croatia.
We are doing well, This coming Tuesday 16 missionaries will have finished their mission. I'm just quite sad they are leaving. 12 are going back to the states. All fantastic missionaries. One of the missionaries that is leaving had served in Sierra Leone this past year,  before the ebola out brake. I would love to read his mission letters from his mission president. I might ask him, if he would share. They were really put to the test, and had to leave all but a small bag when they departed. We are getting a change in the assistants that work in the office. Elder Kawauki, from Uganda is going back in the field and we'll be getting Elder Mayall( he's from England) to take his place. I've come to see these missionaries as angels. They are so blessed and can teach the gospel like the apostles.
Well just a bit about my day. How are all of you. Thank you for the letters, we really appreciate them all. We hope that you're all doing well and still going to church. How's little Hailey and bigger Owen?  We do love them and all of you too. Our next door neighbors are the Diede's , they are the Self-Reliance missionaries. They have their work cut out. This is a country with no jobs and they pay maybe $5.00 for a twelve hour shift. That is a good job. Can you imagine what people in the U.S. would do if they only received $5.00 after working for 12 hours. A big revolt would take place. The government just closed down one of the countries telephone companies today. So there is only one left , and it's run by the government. Crazy life here! but the people are great.
I just realized that General Conference is in a couple of weeks.Wow! time just keeps ticking.
When you get a minute drop us a line and send pictures on facebook. Would love to see them. Our prayers are for you all. Oh yes. the little boy who had the really bad burn, his leg looks so good. It's like a miracle has happened. The skin has healed so well and He might have a little white thin line down his leg after it all heals. I wish I could give all the branch members American medicine. They ask me for headache pills, I've given out my neosporen for the little boy with the burn. They are so in need of really good drugs and ointments. Take care and maybe I'll write next week. Tomorrow I need to find "Joy in the Journey". Time for bed. Love you all,
Elder A and Sister Joy

March Madness

Hello family:
We'll I can't believe that March is here. I do miss basketball. WE loved that BYU won the game against Gonzaga. Well, our mission tour is underway, but it has moved from Harare to the other cities in Zimbabwe. Our dinner was really good and everyone got enough to eat, which is the goal. Elder Kevin Hamilton and his wife are our visiting  general authority. His wife looked at my name tag, and said, hey I know a "Miriam Hermansen" do you know her? WEll, yes we know Miriam and her family. They use to be Miriam's bishop and her stake president in Newberry Park in the Thousand Oaks area. WE did have a great visit. They have been in South AFrica since 2013. I'm not sure how much longer they'll be here. WE did have a great zone conference. Of course our Mission President and his wife are still stressed, but today we just really relaxed at the office and it was time for some catch up. Yes, the office refrigerator is still clean, and no one looked inside. We have some really great elders that work in the office. They are all leaving the mission in June. They will be missed, but they are looking forward to returning to their home.
Today we received the new mission presidents information to receive his visa for Zimbabwe. He is bringing two teenage daughters with them. That will be interesting, so I'm practicing saying his name. I might get it , by the time they arrive. Tonight all the senior couples went outside of our gated apartments and picked up trash for just 30 minutes. WE ended up with 3 huge trash bags full, a rusty bucket full of garbage, tire tread and much more. One man walked by me and thanked me for picking up their trash. Maybe we'll spur some interest in keeping the earth clean. So much for service.
Last Saturday was a full day off, so we took a road trip to the city of Mutare. It is right on the boarder of Mozambique. It was so beautiful. This community is surrounded by big mountains, and it was so green and beautiful. We drove around and we saw a cricket match being played, and that was what we ended up doing. Watching a cricket game. IT is so confusing to understand and watch. Nothing like baseball or any other sport in the world.... But we were the only white people at the all  black sports club in Mutare. I felt just a little out of my comfort zone, but we stayed for a while, then we drove home, a 3 hour drive each way to this city. but it felt great to go for a drive somewhere.
 I've loved the letters about all the snow fall.  About time you have received some snow. To bad the blossoms were out on the trees. WE have received so much rain lately. but the rainy season is almost over, and then it will be cold. I don't llike the cold here because I didn't bring anything warm to wear. Maybe this year I'll go find something to wear. Christine you're on the mailing list. I'm sorry that your husband  has not shared all the letters. They are on a blog that Lindsay has set up on Facebook. I do hope you had a wonderful birthday. By the way , how is your job coming along? we certainly hope you're doing well. We hope the weather isn't doing a lot damage back there, and we do hope your car has been fixed.
Curtis happy Birthday, hope you made it up the hill to the house after the big snow fall. WE are doing well. I'm just very grateful for our family and the temple blessings that we all enjoy. We love you and pray for your families and all that you do daily.
We are trying to book a trip to see Victoria Falls. I guess I need some one with a  African accent to book our hotel. They are charging us Americans an outrageous price. But I do hope it will work out. Hopefully sometime in April, will be our little trip. Today I received the weekly missionary list for the south east Africa area. I counted up how many Americans that are called to this area. Only 15 americans out of 144 have been called to this area from now to the first part of August. The countries here are really stopping the flow of foreigners coming to Africa. It is really hard to get a visa, and every country has their own different requirments. Well, I'm not thinking  well, so I better end.
We love you and thanks for the letters. They mean the world again to us. I did receive some great advice from Kathy Browning, she said that I should just buy the African junk on Amazon when I get home. She has a good point to ponder on. Our little branch is doing well, we know have a really good PA system in the building. Someone has planted really nice plants around the building, it looks really well. Please take care of you all, and we'll talk to you later. Love Elder A and Sister H. Our goal is to have 5 grandkids by the time we get home.... so adopt or start giving us some great news...... Love you all.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Just Another Week

Hello Family and our greatest fans.
Well I just remembered that I've not written a letter this week. I did get my journal up to date, which feels really good. Not much is going on. This coming week we will be having our yearly "mission tour", by a general authority. It is Elder Hamilton and his wife. I hear they are from Utah. They've been living in South Africa for the past several years. My mission mom, sister cook, has warned me. He's a very serious man, and doesn't take jokes . Oh boy, I'm in trouble. So President cook gave me yet another assignment.  I'm in charge of "spring cleaning" before Monday when they arrive. Today I defrosted the little refrigerator that we have in the office. I really don't think a general authority will look in the refrigerator. But it is clean and defrosted... Also you can walk on the floor in the back room. I picked up the clothes that have been scattered all over for the past 4 months. I hate it when people just drop off old suits and yellow white shirts for the missionaries. I know there heart is in the right place. (these are white Zimbabweans that do that). The clothes don't fit anyone, because Africans are just so skinny.
 Now it's more deep cleaning tomorrow. I'm just not getting on my hands and knees and scrubbing the torn carpet. It just isn't worth it. So all the dinners have been ordered, almost. On Tuesday I have to get food for 6 zones, 125 people and make sure I have enough tables an chairs for everyone, and tablecloths. That will be a challenge, since the mission office is the only place that believes in tablecloths. But we don't have enough! I just have to pray for miracles to happen.
Last Saturday we had four more baptisms at the branch. They were really cute and beautiful girls and their mother. After the baptism we had a fireside with President and Sister Cook speaking. It was really good. WE had 231 members come to the fireside. Someone told the members that there would be food afterwards. So everyone just stayed seated in the chapel. There was no food! We didn't have a great turn out to church the next day.
During the baptism this lady , sister Chaboomba, showed me her little sons leg. It was awful. he had a 3rd degree burn from his knee to his ankle. There was just flesh on his leg. She said that she had gone to the doctors and they just said, wash it out! I just couldn't stand it.
Little Le Roy, had touched his leg up against the porridge kettle, they all cook outside. And porridge is milky sodza(like real milky cream of wheat cereal). I gave her my tube of neosporen and suggested that she put some on a kotex pad and then gently put the pad on the leg. and then find something to wrap the leg. I saw her the next day and little Leroy had a pad on his leg and he was so much happier. The flesh had hardened somewhat so it wasn't bloody and it never blistered. I just felt so bad for this little guy. He's only 2 1/2 or 3 years old. He looks like he's about a year old. The kids here are very small. And they don't have clean filtered water, so I'm hoping the neosporen will help and not hinder this little guy. So now I need some more neosporen and big bandages. Also dad needs some pills from Costco. They are called"Move Free, joint health. Triple Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin". These pills help with his arthritis. So if you purchase them and  take the money from the joint account. wE would appreciate these items. Also some chocolate chips would be nice. I'll get a list together and send it to you.
I've read that Sterling and Shelly Gardner are going to the Honolulu Hawaii Mission. I read their article in the deseret news paper. Sounds like she's really had a very successful life and career.
we are doing well. This morning I was doing some laundry outside(our washing machines and dryers are outside in metal locked cages)., and my neighbor next door asked me if I was the one trying to jog early in the mornings. I said yes, I try! All she could say is, Jolly good, Jolly good, jolly, jolly. She has become my new best friend. She can't hear a thing with out her hearing aids in and she has just a few teeth left in her mouth. But she'll talk with me, and that's what counts.
Several months ago, a man came into the office area and asked if he could have a pair of glasses. Someone had told him that we have eye glasses to give away. Well, we have a few. HE found a pair that would work, and so I told him, he needed to take something to read from us. I gave him some phamplets and a book of Mormon and he said , that we would come back and he'd tell me if he liked the reading material. Ok, this past week, he came back, because he broke the first pair of glasses. He did say that he reallydid like the reading material that I had given to him, and he wanted to talk with the missionaries. Wow, to have people just walk into the mission office and ask to speak with the missionaries is awesome. They talked with him, and told him that a pair of elders would be coming to his house and will teach his family the words of Jesus Christ. He was thrilled, The material that he read was the life of Christ and his resurrection and the plan of salvation. He said that he wanted his family to know this. LEHI"S DREAM! He did tell me that his family is going to the Baptist church because its very close to his home, but he said they don't teach what we teach. He said that we teach the  truth. I've learned that if you pray for experiences then the Lord will help you with sharing the message of Jesus Christ. YOU have to invite and share.
Well, I've preached enough. The power is out again, but the generator is working much better, and we have water in the tank for another day.
We hope and pray that you're all doing well . That your happy and healthy. I guess that Utah will be in the California drought soon, glad I bought that extra water barrel. Now we just need to replenish our food supply. We love you all, so very much. WE pray for your families and our little cute grandkids. If you have a need of something ffrom Africa, make a list. I need to start shopping. It will take 9 months to get just a few things.WE love you Christine and wish you the best birthday ever. You're the best! Take care and remember those who pray together stay together...... Love your African parents and grandparents.....Elder A and Sister H.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Valentines Day

Hello All:
How was your Valentines day? We had a most interesting day. Of course it was our Prep day and yes, we went to the branch for a baptism. There were 7 people that were baptized. The baptism was held in the afternoon at 3pm, and it was threatening to rain. The lightening was striking and thunder rolling, but no rain. WE just said a little prayer and a tender mercy was given. No rain until after the last person was officially baptized. Then it really let loose. WE had a good group to witness the baptism. After they are baptized then they are asked to bear their testimonies. They were really good, and you could feel the spirit in the room very strong. Ok, after the baptism was the couples valentines dinner. The branch had members at the church since 7am cooking food.Over an open flame outside. It was really something to see these couples all dressed in their red valentine attire. Some had walked a great distance to come for the dinner and then  turn around in a couple of hours and make the trek back to their homes. But we had a fun time. WE had about 70 people and yes there were some singles there, which I'm glad they came. They had a few talks, there are always talks at every activity. Then they brought out the food. Our plates were so piled high with African food. WE could only eat just a little it was filling and the chicken was so tough!!!!.The highlight of the night. They wanted the "white missionaries" to show how us white people kiss". I just couldn't believe it. But we did put on a great show for the branch....
 When we got home , of course the power was out,. Alan went outside to turn on the generator, and when he came back in  he was urgently calling my name. He said, Joy get something to kill a snake!!!! I couldn't think of anything in the flat. So I grabbed some golf clubs and went in to the other room. There surely was a snake on the floor!!!! It wasn't very big, but we didn't know what it was. So Hunter Al, only wanted something to cut it's head off. So I got the biggest, sharpest knife we have and gave it to him. Sure enough he whacked it's head off. Then we watched it wiggle around. I'm not sure what it was. I know it wasn't a "green mamba", because it was a light color. I didn't sleep well last night, and I won't for a long time. My question is , how did it get in to the flat? Just a little excitement in our lives.
Friday was a great day. President Cook was on travel to Bulawayo, so Sister Cook and I planned a few hours together away ffrom the office. It was so relaxing and enjoyable. WE went shopping to this shopping center. It only had African items. Then we went to lunch at the little café. IT was the best sandwich I've had in months. WE almost licked the plate, it was so good... Then we went back into the shops. Our last shop was full of some interesting things. I walked past the store clerk, and she was staring at my name tag. Then she said, " I like your church". I said, are you a member and she said no. Then I said, would you like to go to church on Sunday? and she said yes. I told here where the only church is at, that I know. and she said that she would be there.... Then I asked her if she would like to learn more about our church and she said yes! Wow, how easy is that. I did say that I would have to have her address, name and phone number and she wrote it out. What a blessing to have that experience. I just have to follow up with the missionaries to see if someone has contacted her. Last week our mission president promised us , that if we would pray for opportunites for missionaries experiences, that we would have them. I know that I'll keep praying for these experiences.
Elder A's tooth is still giving him grief. Looks like he'll be having a tooth pulled. We just wish we could go to South Africa to have it done. We are doing well, and keeping safe. WE love you all. It's a funny thing. WE see so many people here, always walking. Some are walking out in the fields, others walking next to the roads. The thought accured to me today as we were coming from church, that all these people need to hear the gospel message. That is so over whelming, but it has to happen in this life. Then the comment of "hastening the work", and our missionaries are working as hard as they possibly can. Just not enough hours in a day, and few to many  missionaries. Just encourage you all to invite and share the gospel with friends and neighbors.It's ok if they say no, at least they have been given the opportunity.
Well, it's time for bed. We love you all and hope your healthy and happy. Remember we love you and we love those cute little grandkids. Prays always and with each other. Love Sister H and Elder A.


Hello Family:
Well, today Alan went to the dentist. He now has a temporary filling in one of his back teeth. He as been in pain for about 2 weeks. The dentist has found a hairline crack on his tooth. So he now has to go back in a month. I sure pray that his temporary will hold for a year. He has been is a lot of pain, but he's loved the pain killers and the antibiotics that he's been on also. You just never expect to have teeth problems in Africa. WE just pray that he'll be well. So that's what we've been dealing with for the last week and a half.
I just have to say I love my family!. WE have just loved talking to our kids and seeing their spouses and the grandkids.  You're all so beautiful and  cute. I just feel so blessed to see you and talk with you all. I sure pray that you're lives will be blessed with those things that you're all concerned about.
Last Saturday we went out to dinner with the other couples and President and Sister cook. We all had a great time. We also went to another baptism  at the branch on Saturday. Add two more members to the list. This coming Saturday will be very special at the branch. 7 are scheduled for the waters of baptism and then we'll be having the annual Valentines couples dinner. That should be really something. Our branch president stood up in R.S. and told all the single sisters, that they were invited to attend the dinner, but they would be the ones cooking and cleaning up after. I told him,he was rather harsh with his words! He said that was his way of making sure the whole branch didn't come and that they would have enough food to feed everyone! He's a dictator when it comes to deligating.
We are doing fine. Oh yes, last Friday after noon, Sister Cook took me to the  China Walmart store. It was packed with junk from China. Even the  receipt was in Chineese.  I did get two body scrubbers for a 1.oo a piece. I'm not sure If I want to go back for a while. I  think I'll go back and look for a puzzle.
Not much has been happening. The power is going off more lately since Mugabee is back in the country. Now our generator is broken so our "fix it Man" has connected us to our senior couple that lives next door. Just hope we get a generator soon and it will work right this time
How are you all doing? I do love to look at Hailey and Owen on facebook, So please send more p;ictures. Russ and Christine, now has it snowed in Philly? I keep hearing about all this snow in New England. Does it come down your way.
Today a young lady received her mission call.She opened it at the mission office.She is going to the Washington D.C South mission. She was so nervous and is not sure about leaving her country and going to the United States. The Cooks and myself were trying to really build it up nice and that she'll love it there. I know that she'll do fine. WE had one sister missionary who was to report to the Provo MTC today, but she missed her plane on Sunday. There is a break down of communication in the stakes and branches. Her Stake PResident didn't tell her about her travel plans. She's going to be a Temple square sister missionary. Those are some of the problems in the mission and country.
 Our neighbors, another senior couple, have been in two minor accidents since the first part of December, since they've been here. The last one, they ran over a dog. This dog must have been very big, because it broke the plastic on the front of their new car! To think, the church gave them a new Toyota Corolla to drive!
The church work is going well. This month is rather slow in the convert sector of the work here. I'm sure it will pick up soon. We've been praying for missionary experiences and we hope that we can share the message of Jesus Christ with some one soon.
 The first week of March is our mission tour. A general Authority will be coming. I believe that I need to get a cleaning crew in to the office and spruce it up before he comes. There is a lot of cleaning to do!!!!!
I hear that spring is in the air? Sure hope it doesn't freeze the buds and leave the trees with no fruit. Lindsay sent us some pictures of  deer eating our grass. First off, shoot the deer to save the grass!!! Not really Curtis!!!! The other couples are going this weekend to Antelope Park, in Gweru. This is where you can walk with the lions, and ride elephants and see all sorts of wild life. sSome day we'll get out of the office and go touring.
 WE have found out that the United States has stopped sending money to Zimbabwe. WE have noticed it by the way the currency is really, really dirty and old. I'm not sure what will happen when the money drys up. I've heard that they are trying to get connected to the Rand from South Africa. We'll just wait and see. When the banks don't have money, that will be a big red flag to us.
I do hope you're all doing well. Hope that every one is happy! That is so important in life to be happy. I do have a problem with that, but I think I'm doing better. WE pray for everyone all the time. WE can't wait to go to the temple when we get back, and eat Mexican food till we're sick! We enjoy your letters, we love to hear from you all. You all mean the world to us, please remember that.One thing that really impressed me last week at church. Towards the end of sacrament meeting, this young girls, maybe 12 or 14, walks into church and she's carrying a baby and then there are 2 little boys with them. I've never seen here before, but something impressed her to come and be with everyone. There is one girl named Lucia, who comes every week by herself. She sits by herself, no other family. She is the sweetest girl and has a strong testimony. The members of the branch really have a strong desire to do good and follow the teachings of our savior. Little things like that keep me going until I see something else that really is touching.
wE love you all and keep safe and be happy.
Love Sister H and Elder A.