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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

6 Months!!

Hello family.
I thought I would publish a 6 month  letter. This is hard to do! I'm not one to stick to something until it's done! But I think I'll do this one, until it's finished. Last week for church , we had 12 confirmations. It took a long time, so Elder A didn't have long to give his talk. We had 2 other speakers also. we had another record church attendance, 223. The little building is bulging, with people. Some people arrive so early just to get a seat. It is so awesome to see. There were over 50 sisters to Relief Society and twenty babies. IT was so packed and stuffy. There were 14 investigators to the class. WE have a sister in the branch, Sister David", she is the best missionary. She talks and invites everyone to church and they come. Our branch president doesn't want her to come any more. HE says that someone needs to tell her to STOP, being the best member missionary ever!!!.
Our mission branch, just added another branch to the list. Infact at the split of the branch, there was a young 16 year old priest, who wanted to sacrifice all that he had, to see the new branch being formed. He road his bike 45 kilometers to attend the new branch splitting. I'm not sure I've even walked down the hill to church, in Elk Ridge. I'm sure I could walk down, it's the walking back up that would kill me. Another stake had 36 new convert baptism on last Saturday. Now I really have a lot of convert records to get into the system by Saturday.
This week has been busy,busy is very good. It finally rained a little today. The humidity was so thick and mucky. I love it when we get rain, the air cools down and is bearable.
I don't have Russ and Christine's address, but here is Rob and Whitney's. : 16408 Grizzly Drive, P. O. Box 6093, Pine Mountain Club, CA.   93222, phone is 661  - 340 - 7785. Russ' phone is 801 830 5285.
Last Saturday was the Mission Branch Presidents meeting. One of the counselors in the mission presidency, President Chesa. He gave me a great lesson. He told me that people are taking advantage of me, because I'm white. I was shocked. HE said that I should never pay the price for anything that people ask, and I should negotiate a price. I'm not one for negotiating on prices. So he told me that he would book all the hotels, and dinners, if I would call him. He said he would get a better deal , than me. I was some what crushed. I try my best with the church money. I have to remember to tell myself, that the money is someone elses and I need to do my best.
Lorraine you asked me about the mission branches. There are 6 of them. They are under the Zimbabwe Harare Mission unit. So since they aren't apart of a stake , our mission president is there Stake president. So we schedule all the mission calls, provide all the transportation, order their materials, help them do their branch conferences, and visit them on  Sunday's. Then the 2 Districts, and there are 6 branches in each district. So they are under the mission also. I get a headache just thinking about all the stuff that goes on. Elder A, has to make sure they are all funded and all the missionaires are getting their allotment money. That is a headache also. The money is never allotted on the day it should be and people here always live day to day. Never save money.
I sent in another referral today, to the assistants. It's so rewarding when someone comes up to you and asks you about your church, and they want to know more and even have the missionaries come to their home and teach them.
We are doing well, and we are so grateful for your love and support. The Lord has blessed us with so many tender mercies, we are so every indebted to him. A big group going home on this coming Tuesday, and then on the 17th of March. Life here will be interesting. Our new mission president comes on July 1st. This will be interesting, because there will be 3 elders who are white and all the rest will be Africans. Our mission will only have about 5 missionaries who can drive. A large car auction in August, 2015. We will have an all African mission office staff in a bout a month. Our mission president, president Cook, is trying to prepare us for this change in July. We have so much to remember and tell the new mission president. I just pray that the Lord will help us to remember everything, to tell and show him. I know I talk way to much about our mission, but that's life here.
One thing I've learned by being here, is that everyone is "grateful for the gift of Life". I can really see why they say this saying all the time. What a simple and non-stressful life, but a very hard life to live.
So I'm grateful for the gift of life also, and for all our family and friends. Take care of yourselves and be happy. We love you always.
Love Elder A and Sister H.


Hello Family,
Wow, where did the week go! We are busy as always. I just noticed that this coming week will mark our 6 month celebration. Yeah!!! We've asked the elders what they do in the mission to celebrate 6 month occasions. They do not burn any clothing, but instead give something away to a member. So on the 28th I'll give something away to someone. My goal is to have an empty suite case when I leave, but fill it with African junk.
 Last Friday on our way back from the Zone Conference in Bindura, we saw something really interesting. These men came out of the tall corn fields. The first one had a head dress on made out of big leaves. It covered his entire head and down his chest. NO skin was showing at all. Each man carried a spear with a colored flag at the top. Then they were dressed in different colors of burlap material. IT was so cool, to see. Elder A was driving to fast to stop, but he did slow down a little because it  was so unusual. WE had a branch president with us in the truck and he said they were from the country of Malawi, and they were dressed up because of a funeral. They come and  cast out the evil spirits. Then a little further down the road. we saw so many cute girls on their way home from school. All dressed in their school uniforms. So happy and enjoying the simple life. There was one girl all by herself, probably a teenager. She had her uniform on and walking so perfectly. WE noticed that she had no shoes, but we did see that the shoes were on top of her head.
 Everything was green and just beautiful. The corn is growing , every where, the fields have crops in them and the foliage is just heavenly. It's just in Africa! It has rained a lot so that's why it's all green.
 The branch we attend to is having a huge baptism on Saturday. 14 are going to be baptized on Saturday. They are families joining the church. We had 215 people to church on Sunday. It is something to see, all these people wanting to come to church and meet with the missionaries. I do wish we could witness the baptisms , but this Saturday there are meetings our Mission President has asked that we attend, and I have to provide a lunch for everyone there.
I can't wait for this Thursday morning at 8:00 am. I'm getting my hair cut. it's so humid and my hair is so wild and thick and gray. Talk about a life changing experience!!!
Thank you for the letters, they mean a lot to us. WE appreciate the time you talk to write and think about us.
We hope that you're all doing well and we do love each of you. Oh yes, one of the mission branches is going to split. So now we have 6 mission branches we have to be over and support. Talk about Hastening the Work. Our mission presidents wife mentioned to me today that she has only 5 months left. She let me borrow some puzzles to put together. Now I have a dead line to keep. She wants to return with them in July. I did put a puzzle together, it took me 2.5 months. Our lighting is really poor in our flat, and I only got a few pieces each night. But it's over and now onto something else.
Sure hope Utah gets some more moisture, I would hate to ration water on our lawn this coming year. wE pray that you're all well and would love to hear from you. Have a great week.
Love always ,
Joy and Alan