Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday, April 27th

 We have had a busy few days this week.  Yesterday we spent most of the day at the Ndirande chapel where we have some people cleaning out the sewer line.  However, they couldn't get through it and it was decided (with the owner of the property) to dig a new line and put in new pipes.  We went and bought the materials and then had to go buy  300 brick for 1500 Kwacha ($10), load them into our truck and haul them back to the chapel. They are using them to build a box underground with a manhole to get to where the pipes change direction.   We were in rather a remote area when we got the bricks and got a little worried about being able to turn around and get out -- but we managed.   There was a bunch of young children there that couldn't understand English and of course I couldn't understand them but they kept trying to chatter away at me.  As we left they were singing "azunga, azunga" which means white people.  
We have been without electricity for 3 days -- it is off when we get up in the morning and comes back on about 9 p.m.  That is unusual for here.  We called this morning and they said they are repairing something and it may be off another day or two.  Well--- that is not good timing when I need to make dinner for Zone conference tomorrow, unless I want to stay up all night and cook etc.  So-- change of plans!!!  We went this morning and ordered food (chinese style) from a place where we have eaten.  It is good food.  We will pick it up tomorrow afternoon.  Whew!!  I feel quite relieved actually and can stop worrying about making it myself and wondering if I will have electricity.   As I lay in bed this morning and the power was off again I knew I had better have a different plan.    We did get power this afternoon and so I made some Brownies for dessert and will hopefully get some ice cream tomorrow (the store had none today).  You just never know here!!  I have arranged to have a young man (an Elder that we knew when he served his mission in Zimbabwe) help me tomorrow serve the food and do cleanup - Christopher Sitolo.
This morning we were up early and went top Immigration again and renewed visas for 5 Elders and paid for a TEP (temporary employment permit) that has been approved for 1 Elder and that allows them to stay in the country for 2 years.   We also got to the bank first thing (first in line!!) and got some cash so we can give the missionaries their allotment this weekend. 
Tonight we have 2 Elders staying with us that came down from Lilongwe for Zone conference.  The other two will stay with the Zone leaders.  Now we have a third one here with us -- he just arrived home from his mission to Kenya but cannot be released until Pres. Dube gets here tomorrow afternoon.  The Zone leaders picked him up at the airport and he will go home to his family tomorrow.  We ended up feeding 8 missionaries tonight that we weren't expecting to have to do.  We made spagetti for the first 5 and then when the other 3 came we made them grilled cheese sandwiches (which they loved since cheese is so expensive here they seldom can buy it).  We just happened to buy ourselves some today.      We also had another company come today to give us a price on installing/monitoring a security system here at the house.  We both really liked the guy and he seemed very professional and seemed to know what he was talking about.  We are waiting for his quote.  It has been a busy day, again!
We have our list of things we need to do first thing in the morning before Zone conference, which starts about 4:00 after we all eat.  Elder Pearson from the mission dept. will be here (Seventy) so we should have some great training tomorrow. 
We are going to Lilongwe on Saturday so we have quite a bit to get done before we go.  We will come back Monday. 
We found some candies today that were not too much money so we can keep them with us in the truck and give them to the little kids.  They love that and it is fun to see their excitement over getting a little treat. 
I better get to bed. I am hot and sweaty at the moment even with the fans going. We can't open the windows or we will get mosquitoes. :(
Love, Nancy/mom/Sister Bullock :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Happy Easter to everyone from Malawi.  Hope you have a good day and lots of good food.  We are feeding the missionaries this evening.  I am making roast chicken, stuffing, green beans mixed with butternut squash, potatoes and gravy AND apple crisp with ice cream.  They don't know what we are having but they wanted American food so that is what they are getting.  They are quite excited to be coming over to eat.  I doubt I will have any left overs. 
We attended the Ndirande (pronounced End er andee) Branch this morning for their first time meeting together.  I thought perhaps they would not be happy with their building as they used to meet in the nice chapel here but they are just so happy to have the place, even if it is not really that nice, because it is a lot closer to them and they can walk instead of having to pay for transport.  We have 47 to sacrament meeting.  All members over 18 were ask to stay afterwards so that they could be interviews and callings could be made.   It was a good meeting although there was not really much mention made of Easter or the Atonement. 
I am grateful for the Saviour and what He did for us all as we celebrate this Easter season, and always.  I'm grateful for family and friends and  the support you give us.  Love to you all!  Mom/Nancy

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday morning, April 23rd

Jim is gone to help do some training for the new branch presidencies this morning.  They need some pretty basic direction so it should go well.
Yesterday we went and helped with clean-up at a house that was rented for the new Ndirande Branch.  There was a good turnout.  The women cleaned floors, windows, bathrooms, etc. inside and the men worked on the yard (it is a huge yard).  It was beginning to look pretty good when we were done.  The women were talking about planting some flowers and making it look even better.  There is a coconut tree in the yard and so there was some competition to see who could knock one down with a rock and finally once came down.  Pres. Chinyumba got it out of the outer covering and then the sisters broke the shell and we had a taste.  It was good.    We will go to that Branch for church tomorrow.
The previous renters left behind their dog and her three pups.  After yesterday it seems like they all have homes now.  I was glad to see that happen. 
Friday we took an Elder to the eye doctor and I met Juliet, the receptionist.  I talked for a while and I gave her a B of M.   She is really a nice girl and offered to take us for a drive some Saturday to see her rural home, about 50 minutes away.  She is here going to school two days a week (taking business) and working 5 days a week.   She is Seventh Day Adventist and discovered that we have quite a bit in common.
We had no water all day yesterday and had to heat water on the stove and have a bath out of the sink.  We had some warning so we had filled up the tubs, etc.  The water did come back during the night so we appreciated having a proper shower this morning.  We also had no electricity when we got home last evening - that happens now and then but not near as much as in Zimbabwe.  We decided to go out to eat.  We found a nice place at a hotel not far from here that has reasonable prices.  This weekend they are only caring half-price though since it is Easter - that was a nice surprise.  We had some rice with an Asian chicken stir fry dish.  It was good.   I said that perhaps we should go again tonight since it is half price and have a steak for my birthday!!
We will go shopping this afternoon to get some items for Easter dinner tomorrow.  The stores were  closed yesterday.  I hope I can get what I need or I might have to change the menu plan.  I am going to roast some chickens and I did buy some potatoes on the street yesterday.  I'm not sure that I really got that good of a deal but I did pay half of what he was asking to begin with.  They see our white faces and the prices go way UP!   I made a batch of rolls this morning and they seem to be turning out good, so far.  The first pan is in the oven.  Maybe I will be able to bake better in Malawi than I did in Zimbabwe.  I didn't ever need to feed Elders and visitors there though so I will have to be a good cook here!   I guess I will find out this week after I feed the missionaries tomorrow and then do the food for Zone conference on Thursday.
We were lucky and found some skim milk the other day so we bought all 8 litres of it.  Apparently there is a shortage of milk due to 'foot and mouth' disease somewhere.  I noticed that the milk came from Lusaka, Zambia.  It is UHT milk and will keep on the shelf for several months but only about 4 or 5 days after it is opened.  It tastes just fine.  That is what we had in Zimbabwe too.  It is easier to find 'full fat' milk but we are trying to not use that.  They sometimes have 2% but 1% is not even made here.
The weather is beautiful.  It isn't too hot in the day and the nights are ok - we sleep with a sheet and very light bedspread on us.  We have our mosquito net over the bed too, just in case.  We don't want to get malaria!!!  We do take a malaria pill each day so we should be ok.  Mosquitoes are not too bad at this time of year.
We hope everyone has a good Easter. 
Love to all,  Sister Bullock/mom

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Church in Blantyre
New District Presidency
Our Sister missionaries

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday (P-day) April 18th

Our Blantyre missionaries (minus the Zone leaders)
We had a good weekend watching conference and there was a good turnout here in Blantyre.  They had all four branches meet together and Sunday morning was the best attended with 186.
Today we headed off early to Immigration to get an Elder's visa extended for another 30 days.  It was no problem and there was no one in line so we made a quick trip of it.  It seems that it pays to go early.   After that we made the rounds to each of the Elders and Sisters flats to check and see if they are clean and when they are, then they get their allotment for two weeks.  They were in pretty good shape, for the most part. However in one of  the Elder's flats Jim (Elder Bullock) pulled out the fridge and WHOA - cockroaches ran in every direction!!!!  The look on the young missionary's face was priceless. He got the message pretty fast.  He got out the pest spray and then got the floor swept and scrubbed - sprayed some more and put the fridge back.   The Elders are from Africa and one told me that he only had sisters and they always did the cleaning and he had never learned, until now.   The other thought it was all pretty funny and said that when he gets married he will do what Elder Bullock did and pull out the fridge and stove and tell his wife if it needs to be cleaned.  I told him that he then has to help her clean it and he said he would. 
The Zone leaders are off to Lilongwe for a couple of days so they weren't around to take the group grocery shopping.  They rode the combies (mini buses that are public transport) and we ran into them at Shoprite and gave them all a ride home with their purchases.  It was a tight squeeze with some riding in the back.   They then came to our place to watch a movie for the P-day activity.  We didn't get all the way through it so will finish another time.  We looked for hotdogs but couldn't find any so bought some beef sausages (that cooked down to almost nothing) and some sort of a chicken dog that was mostly okay.  I had lots of bread (they love their bread) and some potato chips that didn't really seem like potato chips.  They were happy with it and that is what counts. Mostly they are just happy to get fed.   We had 7 Elders and 2 sisters here.    They have all gone back to work in their areas now (except the sisters who are not to be out after dark).
We got our financial reports sent off to South Africa this morning and am glad to have that done.  I will see if I did it all right soon enough.  The petty cash balanced so that is a good thing! :)  We go through about $20,000 USD or more a month here so I have to keep close track. We can write cheques for some things so that helps.   That doesn't even compare with the amount that the mission financial person goes through in Harare in a month and it used to all be done in cash. 
We did survive our first week alone and things haven't fallen apart yet. 
We don't have a housekeeper here so we do that ourselves, as well as our laundry.  With only us we don't make much mess.  I guess if we end up with extra company etc. I can get someone to come and help if needs be. 
Davey, our gardener, went to a funeral for a couple of days and told us that when he came back his ladder had been moved.  We did some looking around and we did notice that the attic hatch in the carport was open (it was open before too) and thought we should check it out.  Jim got up and looked in there and saw a pile towards the back.  We sent Davey up to check it out and he threw down some old rags/clothes and an old blanket -- SO, at some point someone must have been sleeping up there (perhaps when the house was being buil)t.  It is a new house.   When he went up there I said that I was not going to stand underneath in case he fell through -- I should never have said that because he did put his foot through but luckily never fell.  He broke the "drywall" -- not really drywall as we know it!  As we were surveying the damage the District President, President Chinyamba, drove in and we sort of patched things up.  We left to go somewhere and when we returned President Chinyamba had gone and got a new board and brought someone with him to help put it up.  With Jim and Davey's help they got it nailed into place and then even painted it so now it looks good again.  We did pay for the board and a little labor.  Needless to say, President Chinyamba is a good man!!!!
Someone is just here with a contract to sign to have our guard dog and dog handler for another month.   We are still trying to get prices on a security system -- we have one so far.   
Tomorrow we are going with Pres. Chinyamba to compare some prices on office furniture for the new branches.   
Oh, I have a question for anyone who can help me.  On the 28th I am doing the dinner for Zone conference (about 22 people).  I am thinking that I will do enchaladas.  I can make my own tortillas using Cindy's recipe.  I can do ground beef ones but I think I would prefer to do chicken but if I do chicken my dilema will be the sauce.  There is no such thing here as "Cream of chicken soup" and the sour cream is not the same (if it can even be found).   There is a canned mushroom sauce but it is about $3.50 a can.   So -- how can I make a sauce??????  Any suggestions??    I could do a white sauce and use some chicken broth or????????  I can get nice cheap avocados here to make some guacamole to go with them.    We are having SLC visitors at Zone conference (Elder Pearson and his wife).  He is a 'Seventy'.
Well it is time to go read my book (my Kindle, which I am loving!)   Thanks Mike and Janeal for the cover for it - I am enjoying having that too.  It works great!!!
Love to all,  Elder & Sister Bullock

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Another day in Malawi

Our house (Malawi mission home)
View from our porch
Hi to our family and friends,

If you don't want to be on this list for my emails just let me know, otherwise you will get to hear all about our 'goings on'.  :)

We had another busy day.  We took the printer and our computer over to an IT shop and they are doing whatever needs to be done to make the printer scan to my computer.  We tried but were unsuccessful.  The internet downloads things rather slow here which creates it's difficulties.   
We received the conference dvd's and then sent some off to Lilongwe so that this weekend all of Africa should be having conference. 
One of our Elders who arrived here April 4th from Harare is still waiting for his luggage.  It seems that the plane was overloaded so the 44 passengers' luggage was sent on a different plane via Johannesburg.  Apparently it all arrived except for Elder Mudave's.  We finally got them convinced today that it really is still missing and they are doing a more indepth search for it.  Hopefully they find it soon - the poor guy is missing most of his clothes etc. etc.   If after 21 days it does not surface then they will pay $20/kilogram which would give him $600 to purchase some clothing.  It would be better to get the suitcase (at least in my opinion).  I ask if this was common for the passenger's luggage to not get on the plane with them and they assured us that it very rarely happens.
After going to Air Malawi we met the Zone leaders and Elder Phiri at a hospital where Elder Phiri had a check-up after the surgery last week to remove the screws from his ankle.  He will still be off his foot for another week so he has lots of time to study/read. 
I meant to tell you in my last letter that the first weekend we were here and went to Lilongwe - there were 16 baptisms between the two branches.  We were at Sacrament meeting at one branch and they confirmed 2 of the 9 people before sacrament and then after a couple of more showed up and they did those.  Testimony time started and then about half way through they announced that more had arrived and they stopped to confirm them and continued on with testimonies.  We had to smile!!!  It was all good though! 
I have been washing baptismal clothes and towels today so it seems that the missionaries here must have had several baptisms as well.  I did 3 loads of clothes and 1 load of towels.  We have a pretty good little washing machine but no dryer.  We have a line outside or a couple of racks inside if it is raining.   The rainy season is ending now although we did get a couple of good rain storms last week. 
There are two new houses that have been rented for the new branches here.  Pres. Chinyumba was here tonight with a list of things they need to get the toilets working and doors locked etc.  The members will go and clean up the grounds and make it look presentable.  It is in pretty rough shape.   He was also asking about desks and chairs for the branch president's office as the one branch is using a cardboard box at the moment.  There is a lot to do! 

This afternoon we went grocery shopping.  The prices, for the most part are pretty high.  We keep trying to figure out how much things cost compared to the US dollar.  1500 Kwatcha = $10.00.  The biggest bill they have is a 500.  Our groceries came to about 15,000 K so we have to count out 30 bills ($100).    We have to carry a pretty good wad of money.  The first day we exchanged some money and I took some with us and I thought I had lots but.....  I really didn't.   We will get used to using their money soon.  I can figure it out a bit quicker now.   The fresh fruit and vegetables are a good price but any canned goods are really high.  We couldn't find any skim milk so when we do find some we will buy a case (UHT milk in the carton -- it tastes pretty good.)  A pound of butter was about $8.00.  We found a place that has some nice looking bread and it is an ok price.   I guess if we decide we really want something bad we won't look at the price.  The meat didn't look too appetizing but we bought some hamburger and a chicken.   We are glad we brought several deodorants with us because it is about $12+ for one.  

I was feeling a little discouraged last night and went to bed early.  Things will come together for us as we learn.....   The people we are meeting have been wonderful and will do anything to help us. There are a few really choice ones that we already love!  
I just hope I don't miss paying a bill on time or whatever --- not that we actually get a bill here until a month late anyway, if at all --- but we still have to pay even when there is not a bill.  We just put some money on the account and then hope that it is enough.  I have to pay the water, electricity, phones, rents and ?? on all the missionary flats and our own, of course.  I just need to get my mind wrapped around it all.  I hope I don't sound like I am complaining - I just can't wait for the time when I feel like I am in control somewhat and really know what I am doing. 

I do want to slow down a bit and enjoy the beautiful country.  Everything is green and nice from the rains.  Winter is coming and it will cool down quite a bit.  Right now it is really quite perfect, weather wise.  Mosquitoes and other such things are not a problem right now.  I better close and quit rambling on. 

Love to all,  Elder & Sister Bullock

Monday, April 11, 2011


Living room
Another angle of Living room
Central Hallway


Laundry room - no dryer though
Part of Kitchen
More of Kitchen - have to love the counter space


Offie in our house
Dining room


Our new home
Driveway with gate at top
Flower in yard


Another view of house
Our ensuite bathroom
Our bedroom


View from Office window
View from Kitchen deck
Our new home

Long update on Malawi

I finally was able to get something written and did it on an attachment as the electricity was out and email down.  Sorry it is so long but we have just been too busy. 

Hope everyone is okay at home and that it is not still snowing!  

Love, Elder & Sister Bullock

April 2, 2011
Yesterday, (Saturday), we left at 7 a.m. and headed north to Lilongwe.  We stopped at about the 2 ½ hr. mark at Lwanda where we visited with the leader of a new church ‘group’ that has just been started there.  It is in interesting story.  There previously was a branch at Satima Village which is about 6 miles away.  We had heard the story of this village on our first mission.   Several years ago there were about 200 people baptised there – some not really taught well.    About 2005 the branch was shut down as it was too far away to oversee things there and there were things going on that shouldn’t have been.    Not too long ago Pres. Dube and Elder Stevens, along with someone else went to visit the Village to see what was going on there.   Someone heard that they were coming to attend their meeting and they quickly cancelled it.  When they arrived and talked to a couple of people Elder Stevens ask what an outdoor bell was and that if he rang it, would the people come.  They said that it was the church bell and that people would come. Elder Stevens rang it and about 80 people appeared right away and they were able to talk to them and find out what was happening there.  They were happy to see people with official church name tags on came to visit.  It turns out that even still some members have still been meeting and the ‘leader’ was collecting tithes and offerings which were not being turned in to the church.   Some did not realize that the branch had been dissolved because when the letter was sent out to the group leader he did not read it to the people.  

Anyway, -- a man, his wife, and 3 children recently moved to Lwanda.  He was previously a branch president in Bulowayo, Zimbabwe.   This man is now a ‘group’ leader there and meetings are being officially held again in Lwanda.  Some of the people from the village are coming and they have about 40 in attendance now.   The past branch president who was doing things without authority and that he should not have been doing has been disfellowshipped.  He is telling people that they should come to the new ‘group’ though and is not trying to compete with it.  In fact, it seems that he is going to start coming as well.   It will be exciting to see the progress here.  We will be spending some time there when we can.  It will operate under the mission.

We spent our day here in Lilongwe and attended part of both branches.  We were surprised at the number of men and boys in attendance – almost double that of the women.  In Zimbabwe there were always many more women.  They just rented a new house to use as a meeting house.  It is really nice and has several bedrooms that are used as classrooms.  It has a garage and we bought a large inflatable swimming pool to be kept in it and it will be their baptismal font.
Sunday after our meetings we were invited to dinner at the Collin’s home.  They are a young white couple with 3 young children, from California,  and are in Malawi for 18 months evaluating the education system and helping to decide how donor money can be spent wisely.  I think he is with USAID.  They have a nice place to live.  They are such a blessing to have here in the branch.  He has been called as a counsellor in the branch presidency and she is Primary president.  The load on them is tremendous as they are training and teaching the members.  We are so grateful to have their help though because we can only be in Lilongwe about once a month and that just isn’t enough.  Hopefully they don’t get burned out!  They certainly are learning a lot with this experience.

Monday, April 4th:  We went shopping in Lilongwe and we bought 2 desks, chairs, a filing cabinet and some office supplies for the new branch presidents office and the clerk’s office that are in the new building.  We also bought some curtains for the windows in the two offices.  If Physical facilities doesn’t get curtains for the rest of the windows we may have to do that the next time we are up there.    The branch president was thrilled with his new office. 
There are a lot of Muslims here and they own quite a few of the businesses.  They treat us very well and we like shopping at their establishments.  

We came home from Lilongwe on Tuesday and we were tired, however, there was not rest as we had so much to learn from Stevens.  We spent some long days and long nights and hope that we can remember at least most of it.  We appreciate their patience with us.

Friday we took Elder Phiri to a private hospital here to have some screws removed from his ankle that he broke before his mission.  He was there all day and spent a couple of nights here with us.  We got him some crutches so he can get around a bit and is back with his companion.  He will be slowed down for 2 or 3 weeks.
Saturday, April 9th:   President Dube arrived last evening and is conducting interviews to find the District President, counsellors, and District counsel.  He is also dividing the two branches and there are now four, consequently he is also looking for 4 new branch presidencies.  There was a training meeting from 2 – 4 p.m.   I was assigned Primary, Sister Steven did Young Women’s and Sister Dube did Relief Society and other things.  It went well.  I hope my part of okay.  After that there was an adult meeting from 4:15 – 5:30 and Sister and Pres. Dube spoke.  Sister Dube used to be so timid and quiet when they were first called and I am so impressed with her and her ability to speak and teach.  President Dube always does a good job.  He is a good man.
Sunday, April 10th:  The new district was created and we have a good District Presidency and some good Branch presidencies.  There are some good people here and we are starting to get to know them.  It will take some time learning faces and especially how to pronounce names but we will get it with time.    It was a great day for the church in Malawi!   They have a beautiful building here in Blantyre and it is big (stake centre size).  We aren’t quite sure how they got that before now but it is wonderful for them.  Recently a house was rented here to accommodate the new branches – it is small and old and needs work so Elder Bullock is already arranging some of that so that hopefully they can meet in it in two weeks.  This next weekend will be our General Conference weekend here as the DVD’s arrive this week by DHL.

Sunday evening we had Elder & Sister Dube here for supper, as well as Pres. Makasi, Stake Pres. from Bulowayo, Zimbabwe.  He was here doing some Seminary and Institute stuff(that is his paid job) – he stayed here at the house with us.  We knew him from Zimbabwe.   We had a nice supper (lasagne that Sis. Stevens made) and some great conversation.  

Monday, April 11th, (Today):  We got up early and left here about 6:30 to take Pres. Makasi and Elder & Sister Stevens to the airport.  The young elders took Pres. & Sister Dube.  They all flew together to Harare.  The Stevens will be there for a week and then they will fly home to Mesa, Arizona.  So...... we are now alone and hoping we know what to do.  We did have a plan for today and it went well.   Jim never even got lost as we drove around doing our errands.

First we went to immigration and got the TRP (temporary residence permit) for one of the Elders so he can stay in the country another 6 weeks.  It was approved and we had to pay some money (30,000 Kwatcha) and then it will come in the mail.  As long as we have the receipt he is ok.  Last week we also applied for our 2 year TEP (temporary employment permit) so that we can be here and it will come in the mail in a few weeks too.   

After that we then went to the new building that will be a chapel for the new branches and got the account # off the electrical box and went and bought some prepaid electricity.  We then went back to the house and entered the code into the system there so that the lights will come on.  We do that for the Elder’s flats too.  Our place is post-paid.   We met up with the new District President, President Chinyumba at the bank where he was opening the new accounts for the District.  He went with us to find the place that will cut keys for us so that he could a key he needed.  They are VERY careful about who cuts keys here – that is a good thing!!!
We then came home and had a bit of lunch (tomato sandwich and some salad).  Yesterday a young man was set apart as a missionary and needed some missionary clothes.  His family doesn’t have much and under such circumstances the mission helps outfit him.  He is set apart about 2 weeks early so he will stay with the missionaries and work with them.  They dropped him off and we took him and bought razors, deodorant (and taught him what it is and how to use it), socks, shoes and a new suit.  Pres. Chinyumba met up with us again to show us where to shop for a suit and we got one for the Elder.  The taylor sitting outside at his treadle machine hemmed the pants.  He will be a ‘sharp’ looking Elder now.  He seemed to be pretty pleased with it all even though he is rather quiet.  He will go to Johannesburg at the end of the month to the MTC (missionary training centre) and then will serve in the Zimbabwe, Harare mission.   

Tonight at 6:20 the electricity went out.  I guess it happens a couple of times a week here but only for about 2 hours at a time so that is okay.  (Better than it was in Zimbabwe when we never knew when or for how long).  
Blantyre is a pretty city up in the hills/mountains.  We have a nice ‘mission home’ here with a beautiful yard and a really good gardener who has worked for the church for quite some time.  He is totally trustworthy and watches out for us.  The house is surrounded by an 8 ft. + wall with razor wire around the top.  We have a large steel gate at the entrance and have a gate guard day and night.  The guard company we use is run/owned by a member (Gabriel) and he hires a lot of the young prospective missionaries to work for him.  We really like Gabriel – he is a wonderful young man and was just called to be a 1st counsellor in one of the branches.   

We also currently have a guard dog and his ‘handler’ here each night to patrol the grounds and keep us safe.  President Dube has told us to get a security system installed and monitored and we are looking into doing that but until then we have the dog.   There was a break -in (the first) a couple of weeks before we arrived.  Luckily Stevens were away at the time but some things were taken but Davey the gardener and his wife (who live in quarters on the property) were attacked but are ok.  It seems like it may have been planned knowing that they were away and a temporary fill-in guard from a different company did not show up for work that night.  He is now fired.  It  makes us somewhat nervous so please keep us in your prayers and we do pray for safety each day.  For the most part it seems that Malawi is even safer than Zimbabwe though and we should be just fine.
The house has two ‘master bedrooms with ensuites’ as well as two other bedrooms.  It has a very nice kitchen, big office, big living room, & dining room.  We aren’t complaining!!   

There are 4 missionaries in Lilongwe and 10 here in Blantyre but that will increase by July or before when we will become part of the Zambia, Lusaka mission.  

I have made this too long so hopefully you haven’t quit half way through.  I will try and send a few pictures soon.  Good news – the electricity just came back on as my computer battery was about to die.

Love to all and thanks for your prayers and support.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Quick note from Malawi

Hi,  We are SOOOO busy trying to learn all we can from Stevens before they leave us on Monday morning.  Also they are having a conference this weekend and are making two new branches and creating a District.  Pres. Dube will be here Friday and will start interviewing to fill positions etc.   There will be training on Sat. afternoon and we have both been ask to do part of that -- Jim on using the handbook and me on Primary.  Yikes!  I don't know when I am going to have time to prepare with everything else.  I don't even know the primary theme for the year.
It is hot (but not too hot) and humid here.  We won't complain at all - we just get a bit sweaty at times.  The people we have met so far are great.  We will do a lot of office work and applying for visas and TEP's (allows missionaries to be in the country).   It all seems rather overwelming at the moment.  Stevens said they were busy with 3 branches and as of this weekend we will now have 7 branches and 1 group.  We spent time on Monday, while in Lilongwe, buying curtains,  office furniture etc. etc. and a large inflatable swimming pool (baptismal font)  to put into the new building that was rented for a new branch.  The branch president was pretty pleased to have a desk and filing cabinet.  
I honestly can't begin to tell you how busy we are and how much there is for us to do.  I hope we can keep up - at least we will just do what we can.   If anyone wants to put in their papers on go on a mission PLEASE come here and HELP us!!!!!  It is a beautiful country with beautiful people. 
I will write all about what we have been doing etc. next week hopefully when things slow down a bit (maybe). 
We are fine though and enjoying our time with the Stevens.  We got a good ''safe" delivered today -- it took 4 guys to carry it in and they barely could do it.   The mission pres. wants us to have good security here so we are pricing a security system to be monitored.  Our home is the mission home of Malawi and it needs to be safe.    There have not been any problems here until a couple of weeks before we came and they had a break-in.  Security has been beefed up and more will be done.   We will have at least a couple of visitors this weekend staying in rooms here. 
Must run.  Love to all. 
Sister Bullock/mom/Nancy