Monday, May 30, 2011

Our weekend

We finished the day of District training on Saturday with the new Blantyre District.  We had a good turnout of at least 110.   It started at 9:00 a.m. and went until 4:00 p.m., with an hour break for lunch.   I did the lunch which consisted of a bun with either polony (like bologna) or egg salad, a choice of an orange or a banana and a drink of SOBO   (concentrated punch that we mix 1:4 with water).  I wanted to see what kind of sandwich and which fruit was the favorite.  Well, it wasn't hard to tell because the polony buns went quick and also the bananas - the others had no choice.  So next time I will know to just do those two things, which by the way, are the least expensive.  We bought about 15 bananas for 150 Kwacha ($1.00) from the street vendor and the polony was cheaper than doing eggs.  At least now I know!!  

I thought my part of the training went well.  Thanks Debbie for sending me the info you did -- I used some of the role plays for visiting teaching and they liked that and we were able to discuss.  The training was on "Councils" and I think they learned a lot.  They are eager to learn the right way to do things.
Pres. Dube had a few of the leadership bear their testimonies at the end.  There was one man who said that he used to be a 'cadet' (I think that is the word he used) and he was taught to kill and shed blood but now he is a member of the church and has learned to love and serve.  His life is MUCH different now.  He is so grateful for the life he has now and to be a member of the true church.  It made me teary! 

Sunday we went to the Liwonde Group for church.  It is about 21/2 hrs. away.  We hadn't been there for church yet so it was interesting.  They meet in the Group Leader's home and there were 60 people there and we were in their pretty tight and it was hot.  Bro. Chisambo wanted to cancel the assigned speakers and have us speak but we told him we hadn't prepared and that we really wanted to observe how they were doing things.  We did bear our testimonies.  We told him we would come prepared to speak next time.   They do need some pretty basic gospel teaching there.  They are teaching the New Testament lessons for Sunday School but we talked to Pres. Dube and we will have them change to 'Gospel Principles' which they normally use in an Investigator class and that is the level that most of them are at there.  It will be much better for them.  Each week they get more people coming.  They have 5 or 6 that need to finish the missionary lessons and want to be baptized and there were 6 - 8 new faces yesterday.  There are no missionaries out there in that town.  We plan to focus more on that Group and give them the help that they need and we will teach some discussions there. 

After the meeting we went with Bro. Chisambo to look at a school where we did arrange to rent a couple of rooms for them to start meeting in.  It will be much better for them.  We are to meet the fellow tomorrow morning here in Blantyre and sign a 6 month lease and pay for it.  (11,000 MK/month - about $75). We will have to arrange to buy and take some chairs out to them before they meet there in two weeks.   Almost every branch keeps asking us for supplies like more hymn books, etc. etc. so we are working on an order from Distribution. 
After we left Bro. Chisambo's place we went to check out the "Hippo lodge" in Liwonde to see if we would want to stay there sometime.  We were surprised to find that it is not too bad and the prices are reasonable.  We will go to Liwonde next time on a Saturday and help with the institute class, do some training,  and teach some discussions, stay overnight and attend their church meetings on Sunday.  It is a 2 hr. drive there so staying overnight will give us more time.  We suggested to Pres. Dube that we would do that and he is all for it.  The mission pays for the overnight stay.   While at the Lodge we met the receptionist and gave her a couple of church pamphlets and she seemed like she wants to hear more.  We will follow up with her.  She was a pretty sharp girl who knows 'good' English and we sure need that there.  English is a problem.  We did take down some "Ye Shall Have My Word" books - for teaching English and hopefully they will start teaching some English classes.  If not, we will get them going when we go there next. 
This next weekend, Elder & Sister Howell, serving in South Africa, as financial/audit trainers will be here for the weekend doing some training in the Blantyre branches so we will be with them.  The weekend after we need to go to Lilongwe, as we have not been there for a few weeks and we have things we need to do there.  That is where we are praying that we can PLEASE get another couple to come and serve! 

Today we took allotments around to the Sisters and Elders and checked their flats for cleanliness - (only one had cockroaches under the fridge today).   The Zone leaders are in Lilongwe for a couple of days so after the misionaries finished their grocery shopping we picked them up and gave them a ride to their homes, otherwise they take public transport (minibuses packed to the brim).   They appreciated that.  I have been doing some computer work -- O Yes -- we took the computer and printer to the IT shop up the street, and within a couple of hours they had it all set up properly again and we are back in business.  He didn't even charge us anything. Nice!!  His name is Rafik. 
Anyway -  I got a chart/spreadsheet of sorts made up that I can keep track of missionary Visas and TEP applications so that I keep on top of it.  I am learning a little more about computers - slowly!! 
It is kind of hot out today - warmer here than in Zimbabwe.  There is a fountain/water fall cement pond in our yard and the owner had a couple of guys here today and they painted the inside of it blue and apparently she is going to put in a pump and get it working.  Nice!  We will like that.

Pres. & Sister Dube were in town all weekend for the District training and we were able to spend a couple of hours with him when we got back from Liwonde discussing issues and getting some advice.  In another month he won't be our mission president any more.  We will have Pres. Padovich from California. 

I can't think of too much else to write about so will go relax for a couple of hours.  We were up early as Dubes' had to be at the airport by 7 a.m. 

We love to get emails so feel free to write!!

Love,  Elder & Sister Bullock

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Getting vehicles unstuck from san


Kids happy to get a 'sweet'
He wants a sweet too!
These kids saw our truck and came running out for a "sweet".  We always carry some with us.  They get so excited to get a small piece of candy from us because they rarely get such a thing.   As we drove into one school the kids, on their way home, hollered, "Thank you Elder Bullock for giving us the grinding mill!"  It was nice to know we are remembered!  It is thanks to Latter Day Saint Charities though and the members of the church for their donations to the Humanitarian fund that allowed us to do that.


Bro. Murenje & Elder Bullock
This is the Head Master at Danangwe School.  He and his family joined the church. 
This ox cart came up while we were at the school - common transport in the rurals.


Teacher's Desk & chair
Head Master's Desk etc
New Desks @ Danangwe School
These are the desks, chairs, tables and filing cupboards that were bought with proceeds from the grinding mill that we did for the Danangwe School near Chegutu.  We were so happy to see that they are being self-sustaining and using the project as it was meant to be used.  Thanks to a really good Head Master. 


Dzikamai, Bullocks, Tapiwa
Dzikamai (on left) is also like a son.  He has done very well too.  He is looking for a wife to take to the temple!  Tapiwa is a member of Highlands Ward and needs a wife as well!!  :)


Merci & Malaika
Our daughter and granddaughter of Zimbabwe!!  They are doing so well and we are proud of the progress Merci has made in the gospel and in her life.  Isn't she beautiful?


Animals in the wild
At the well.


Elephants on the move!


Termite Hill - about 40 yrs. old
Baobab Tree
There are lots of termite hills.
I love the Baobab trees.  They are so big and grow in such different shapes.  There were a lot of them between here and Zimbabwe and also some where we were having our conference.


Our tent - It was NICE!
Birds nest on wall of shoreline

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Couple's Conference adventure!

Monday, May 24, 2011 
We are back in Blantyre, Malawi after about 10 days in Zimbabwe.  The purpose of the trip was for a Couple’s conference but President Dube agreed that we could add a few days to see people in Zimbabwe that we knew from our last mission there. 
We drove our truck – Malawi through Mozambique and then into Zimbabwe.  The trip took us about 9 hours total with border crossings.  We did get vehicle clearance & insurance ahead of time as well as our double entry visa for Mozambique.  That did speed things up somewhat.  We have to stop at the border crossing at Malawi and get our passports stamped and then several metres away we stop at the Mozambiqu border and get them stamped again.  We always have to get a gate pass so that they will let us through each border.  Lots of paperwork!
When we drove up to the Malawi border several men wanted to sell us currency for Mozambique but we didn’t need any.  We went inside with our passports and when we came out the same men wanted to sell us reflector stickers for our vehicle (all vehicles must have them on the 4 corners).  We said we don’t need them because we already have them.  They pointed to our bumper to show us that we did NOT have any!  The marks where the stickers had been were clearly visible!!!!  They peeled them off and stole them while we were inside.  We told them that we weren’t buying new ones from them after they stole ours.  A young kid came across and told us he would run across to the market and buy us some so we let him.  I’m sure we still got ripped off but they did only cost us 1500 Kwacha ($3.33).  We were annoyed but we still have to smile about it after!!!
The other border crossings were uneventful, but always SLOW! 
Our first stop when we reached Harare was to see Merci!   It was really great to see her even if only for a few minutes.  We did go back on Monday night and spend time and have supper together.  She is doing so great!  She is also in the “Saint to Saint” program where she has borrowed some money to improve her business (restaurant/gift shop).  She has paid back the first part and now has received more.  She is doing well and they are really wanting her to succeed so they can use her an an ‘example’ of how it should work. 
We stayed with another couple that we served with there – The Mayfields.  It was fun to see them again.  On Saturday we went to Masvingo – it was their Branch conference.  We had couples – past, present and future there.  We are the past, Beans have been going there since we left, and now the Eyres, a new couple, will go to that Branch.  Mayfields were also at the conference since he is a counsellor in the mission presidency.  It was really great – they didn’t know we were going to be there and the people were very surprised to see us.  We loved seeing them – lots of hugs etc.   We stayed overnight at one of our favourite places, ‘ The Inn on Great Zimbabwe’, along with the other couples.  We had a nice time together.  We attended church Sunday and then headed back to Harare.  It really felt like we had never left. 
Tuesday morning we left about 7 a.m. to head to “Mana Pools” for our couple’s conference.  It is right at the top of Zimbabwe by the Zambezi River.  The couple coming from Zambia (the Taggarts) were having some vehicle clearance problems so they got there a day late.   The plan was for us to all carpool in the mission van but then realized that they required 4 wheel drives to get into the camp.  We don’t have 4 wheel drives but took 4 trucks and drove about 4 hours on pavement and then about 5 hours on dust roads.  It was pretty slow going and we hoped we were on the right road.  We were driving through a wilderness game park and saw lots of animals.  One elephant trumpeted at us and started to charge  but we kept driving and he turned away.   The people from the camp met us at the airstrip (could hardly tell it was an airstrip!) and we followed them into camp.  We were first in line and we followed the guide through the sandy riverbed (like driving in snow) but the other 3 vehicles got stuck.  Elder Bullock went back with the guides and they managed to push and pull them out.    Jim drove one of the other trucks out after it got stuck a second time.   We finally made it to camp and were assigned our tents.  They were really nice luxury tents!  We were told that after dark an armed guard would walk us to our tent and we were not to leave it until morning.  The tents had screens open to a view of the Zambezi River.  No one was allowed on that side of the tents as there really was not much privacy – even for the toilet and shower.  There was also an outdoor shower but we were advised to not use it at night as someone had been killed by a lion at one time.  We did not use ours as we felt a little exposed using it in the daylight.  The inside shower exposed us more than we liked – with no curtain.  It was really quite neat though!!!  
I went into the public bathroom near the eating area and YIKES! – a person was to sit on the toilet and look out at the river through a huge opening – seemed like no privacy at all but then no one was allowed on that side of the buildings so.....  J.
The service at this place was absolutely fabulous.  We all went on a game drive first thing Wed. morning and saw lots of animals, came back for lunch and then had siesta time for about 3 hours!  After that we had ‘afternoon tea’ and then went on a boat ride and saw lots of hippos, birds, crocodiles and elephants.  We then returned to camp and went on an evening game drive.  The driver had a red light that he shone into the grass/trees and the animal’s eyes would show up and we could watch them.  There really weren’t a lot out that night though so it wasn’t too exciting.  At one point he pointed the light at the water and there were a lot of eyes – he said that they were crocodiles!  We returned to camp and had a late dinner and then were escorted to our tents.  We hadn’t been in our tent long when we heard a noise outside and there was a huge hippo eating grass right in front of our tent.  The hippos come up out of the river at night and wander around the camp.  Hippos are one of the most dangerous animals – they kill more people than crocodiles. 
We got up the next morning and had to leave by 7 a.m. to go to Kariba.  The camp people said that they would guide us out on a shorter route than we had come in on.   First they took some air out of our tires to make the tires a little wider and had us put on the ‘differential’ in our vehicles.  By now we had 6 vehicles in our party and we followed behind the camp ‘land rover’.  We drove a LONG way down the river bed and did pretty good until close to the end of it.  Some vehicles got stuck but we were told not to get out because there was a LION in the area.   We all got on our way again and further down the road we all stopped to wait and make sure we were all together.  We were out of our vehicles and some women needed to find a bathroom spot behind a bush.  We saw some tracks and ask what they were and he said that it was a leopard track.  He suggested we move on before we relieved ourselves but then said it should be fine.  As some women were in the bush another Land Rover showed up (Park rangers) with about 6 men on it and said to get in out vehicles and get out of the area because they had leopard bait close by!   Needless to say we didn’t waste any time!  Poor Sister Dube was the most scared – I don’t think she slept the whole time she was there.    We carried on and finally came to a junction and the camp guides said we should be fine from that point.  They put air back in all the tires and they left us on our own.   We don’t think they realized that the road was not any better.   It was slow going – down steep slopes and through creek beds and back up again.  There was still a lot of sandy areas and several times some of the vehicles got stuck and the men all had to push.   We are so lucky (blessed) that we got through the area all in one piece.   We told President Dube that he was our leader and if a lion or leopard came he had to be the last one in the vehicle!    The shortcut turned out to take just as much time as it would have taken to go the other way because of all the trouble we had getting through.    BUT – what an adventure!!  We found out later that the area has the highest population of Lions etc. in the wild!!   We are lucky we didn’t see one!  We also found out later that the travel agency did not inform us that we could have gotten into the area by boat (1 hr. ride) and saved us all the time fighting the roads.  It took us about 5 hrs. to get out to the tar road.
It was President Dube’s idea to go to this camp but he had never been there before and did not realize.   Sister Dube says she will never go there again.  I think it was perhaps a little more dangerous than anyone realized. 
We then drove to Kariba Lake (another 2 hrs. or so) and we were booked on a boat to take us 40 Km. to an Island where we spent one night.  We all wished we had just stayed one more night at the first place because it was so nice there and we would have been able to relax more.  (Even if we were in the midst of wild animals J).    The Island resort looked nice at a distance but there was an abundance of little ants and the places were not really very good.  We all felt a little ‘crawly’ and were glad to leave the next morning.   We then drove a few kilometres to  see Kariba Dam and then we found a place and had our lunch and headed back to Harare (4 hrs.).    It was good to get back.   In the midst of all this we did have a couple of meetings together and talked about helping get members prepared for the temple etc.  and Elder Taggart gave an excellent talk about marriage and relationships between couples.
We got back to Harare and we managed to spend some time with Dzikamai, another of our special people that we baptized on our last mission.  We saw others as well on Saturday as they were having a Ward conference at Highlands.  Sunday we drove to Kadoma Branch and totally surprised them.  We baptized the Murenje family there about 10 months ago and were able to spend some time with them.  He also took us out to the school where we had put in a grinding mill  (Latter Day Saint Charities) and showed us how they have spent the proceeds from the mill.  We were very pleased with what we saw.  When we first went to that school they had absolutely no desks, tables, chairs – nothing.  Now they have 30 desks (2 students to a desk), tables and chairs for the teacher in each classroom, and a desk and cabinets in the head master’s office.   It was so good to see that they are being self sufficient and operating the way the project was intended. 
We spent the evening with Elder & Sister Bowen and had a good visit and we got up early Monday to drive back to Malawi.  Our trip back went well.   At one border, as we were about to drive through the gate, we were stopped and the guy said, “you are wanted by the police”!  YIKES!!  However, we had just missed stopping at their desk that was under a canopy to show them our vehicle clearance papers.  It is a little startling though the way they word things here sometimes.  
We are back to work today and feel rather tired.  We are having a bit of trouble with the computer/printer.  If only we were computer whizzes our life would be easier!!!  It is so frustrating!  We need our kids here to take care of computer issues!!!!
We are off to Immigration in the morning to apply for 5 TEP’s.  We have 6 new missionaries that came to Malawi with the last transfer while we were gone so we will have to start worrying about their visas/TEP’s next.  It never ends.
Must get myself off to bed.  Love to all,  Elder  & Sister Bullock


Hippo going into water

Elephants & hippos


Zambezi River -- Notice the clouds
Cruising on the Zambezi River

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Nice quote to think about!

"No one gets out of this world alive, so the time to live, learn, care, share, celebrate, and love is now," by Dr. Leo Buscaglia

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our early visitors this morning

It was the zone leaders that showed up at our door so early this morning.   I said, " you are out early today' - and they said they had been up since 12:30.  They had three robbers/thieves break into their house and into their bedroom where they were sleeping.  Elder Ngcobo woke up and tried to find his phone (under his pillow) but they saw it first and grabbed it. The theives ask for money.   They hit him on the leg with a stick and told him to put his hands behind his head.  They got in his closet and got one of his ties to use to tie him up.  At this point he was mad and he saw that they only had sticks and flashlights and they were small men.  Elder Ngcobo is a good sized guy.  He jumped up and started hitting them and they got scared right away and ran.  He says they weren't very brave.  The Elders are taught to just give them what they want but he decided since they were small and had no knives or guns that he could see, that he would do something.   His companion, Elder Owens, had woken up but lay still trying to assess the situation and the theives thought he was asleep and didn't bother him.  It all happened pretty quick.   Elder Ngcobo's hands/wrists are sore from punching them and he has a bruise (hard to see on black people) on his leg where they hit him with the stick but he is alright. 
They called for the guard 3 times and he finally appeared and yelled 'thief, thief'.    It was dark so they couldn't see their assailants but they suspect it was the guard and perhaps the two guards on either side of their place.  They say that they are all small men.   They had no phone now so the guard must have called Gabriel (his boss) and he came and then they went to the police station and reported it.  The police have taken the guard in for questioning.   We are just happy that everything is okay and no one was seriously hurt.
Our alarm system should be finished today.  We will have several 'panic buttons' throughout the house and also 2 remote panic buttons - one for the guard and one for Davie, the gardener.  We ordered an extra one for Davie because we know he is nervous after the last break-in when he and his wife were hurt.  Plus it helps protect everyone if he has one and can alert the security company if there is a need.  We will  have a remote but ours can activate/deactivate the alarm as well as have the panic button on it.  We will  feel better having this done.
The good news today is that Davie, our gardener, has a smile on his face again and his wife will be cooking for him today!!!  :)   President Chinyumba and Gabriel spent a couple of hours talking to he and his wife this morning and helped them resolve their 'friction' and now they are both happier.  Davie thanked us for suggesting that they talk to their church leaders to get some help and advice.  We are glad it all worked out.
Elder Bullock has gone with Pres. Chinyumba to get the clearance, insurance etc. that we need for our truck to be able to drive it to Harare for the couple's conference.  Pres. Chinyumba knows about all this kind of stuff because he drives to SA to buy vehicles and brings them back here and sells them.  He knows all the ins and outs of getting through the borders.  It is great to have his help.  
This afternoon he will also go with Elder Bullock to Immigration and they will help and pay for Passports for a family that is going to the temple in June.  We have been waiting for the confirmation of the temple trip so that they can get their paperwork in order to make the trip.  There are two families going for the first time and so they get assisted by the 'temple patronage fund' and there is a couple going along as well,  that have been before, and they are paying their own way.  
The Stevens have booked two trips for October  so we will need to make sure families are prepared to go by then and taught the temple preparation classes.  It is exciting for them to go. 
I better get busy and work on the TEP's for 5 Elders.  We just got the transfer letter so now I know who is staying in Malawi and who needs TEP's.   A TEP (temporary employment permit) allows them to stay in the country for up to 2 years.  There are several forms to fill out, passport pictures, letters, etc. to do for each one.   Two of our Elders are going home this transfer and we are getting 6 Elders transferring in from other parts of the mission.  This transfer decides who will be in the new mission or the old one. 
Love to all our family and friends,
Elder & Sister Bullock

Monday, May 9, 2011


Hi,  Just wanted to write a about a couple of things that happened today.   We tried to get out early but got delayed so we didn't get first in line at the bank and then at Immigration but fortunately the lines weren't too terribly long and we got our stuff done. 

We had to go around to the missionary flats and two church buildings and put electricity codes into the meters so that they all have power for a while.  We bought the electricity on Friday but never got it put in.  Strange way of doing things here.

We stopped at a garden/nursery that we saw and bought a Gardena plant for mother's day.  It cost 350 Kwacha, which is $2.33.  I said that is about the least amount he will ever have to spend on a mother's day gift.  We brought it home and Davie, the gardener planted it in the yard.  It will be interesting to see how fast it grows in this climate.  He was happy to get it for the yard.
Davie told us today that he has a problem he needed to talk to us about.  He said that there is friction between himself and his wife.  It is the custom here that the '1st born' (that is Davie) has to take care of family matters.  His father died a while back and so the father's family come in and take everything and leave the wife with nothing.  Davie has been building her a brick house/hut in the village to live in but he hasn't put on the doors and windows or finished roof yet and recently someone tried to steal her maize (but she yelled "thief" and people came and chased the thief away).   It is taking some of his pay each month to do this and his wife is not happy about that.  So - she has not spoken to him for 3 days and today she did not even cook him some lunch! :(   He is quite upset and told us he wanted to leave her.   We talked to him and told him that we are sure they can work things out.  His wife does not speak English so we can't talk to her.  Jim made a phone call and so the Br. President and Pres. Chinyumba will come and talk with them and see if they can help them.    Davie also told us that her family is making demands on him too and want him to buy things for them even though they do have two cows and are selling the milk and making some money that way.   When he can't give them what they want they tell his wife that he is not a good husband.  He has a lot of demands on him and that is not uncommon when a member of the family (especially the 1st born) has a job.  Hopefully his wife will see things differently and start cooking for him again and talking to him.  They have a cute little 3 yr. old daughter and both are members of the church.    :)

We decided today on a security company to come and install the system in this house.  We talked to Pres. Dube and he said to go with whoever we feel good about.  There is a big company in the city but we didn't get any good reviews about them.  Apparently they don't pay their people very well so they subsidize by stealing from the customers when they can.  We don't want that!!!   It was interested that as we were making our decision we had a visitor - a man who lives down the hill, across the creek, behind us.  He had heard that we had a break-in and was wondering about it.  I guess another neighbor had a break-in a week or so ago.  The man is East Indian, and is a dentist.  I think I mentioned before that there are a lot of East Indians here and they seem to do quite well.  We like dealing with them.  Anyway,  this man told us that he doesn't have a guard and never has a problem.  Whenever he has had a guard that is when he gets robbed!   He does, however, have a security system that is not monitored but goes to his cell phone and then he can call the police and he says they are really good about checking things out.    We had a good chat with him.   We will have a monitored system though.  We will not commit to a long-term contract and they will have to prove themselves!  We do feel good about the company we chose and hopefully we will be taken care of.  The gate guard and Davie will both have panic buttons so if they see something or need help they can just push them.   I think it will be good.  We will have motion detectors throughout the house and alarms on the exterior doors (5 exterior doors).  Davie was cut and tied up when the robbery happened here a couple of months ago and his wife was molested - they both had to be taken to the hospital.  I suppose they are lucky that they didn't do even worse to them!  I think Davie has been nervous ever since and was worried about us going away.  We assured him we would have the system and that he would have the panic button and he seems okay with that.  He told us today that we shouldn't tell even church members that we are going away because they will come and try to steal from us. 

There are these weird grasshopper type things that seem to be in-season.  Davie told me this morning that they like to eat them and that they can catch them best at night time.  I wish they would catch them all!!!!  They are attracted to light and seem to get in the house now and then - but they usually die pretty quick and Jim flushes them down the toilet.  I guess we should start collecting them for Davie!!  :)

We are ready to head to bed.  Another busy day tomorrow! 

Love,  mom/Sister Bullock

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday, May 8th, Mother's Day

Happy Mother's day to all the mothers out there.  I don't think they seem to worry about celebrating here as no one mentioned it at all. 
We had a good day and attended the Zingwangwa Branch here in Blantyre.  They were formerly meeting as a group until the District was made April 10th and they also made the two new Branches.   The meetings were good.  The newly called Relief Society President did a good job.  There were a total of 6 of us in Relief Society and after I ask how long they had each been members.  The new Relief Society President was baptized Feb. 23rd of this year, along with 3 of her sons.  That is a big calling for such a new member but she seems to be doing okay with it and bore her testimony several times during the lesson.  I was impressed with her.   Another Sister was also baptised on that day and another one was baptized in 2005 but were inactive and have now come back and her husband is in the Br. Presidency.  Another of the sisters has been a member 3 years and told me about her conversion, along with her husband and he is now 1st counsellor in the District Presidency.   There was only one sister who could not speak English and she has a son serving a mission in Durban.  
Yesterday we did some training in the Ndirande ward -- Elder Bullock did it, and I was happy to let him.  He talked about Counselling with our Councils.  They seemed to pretty much know how councils work and we were impressed with the training that the Br. President did.  Pres. Chinyumba, District President, also talked a bit and it was a good meeting.
After the meeting we ran to the store and bought toilet paper for the all the buildings as they needed it for today.  We really shouldn't have to be the ones buying this kind of stuff but Physical Facilities doesn't really operate like it should here.  It doesn't come out of our pockets - we use mission money and code it back to Physical facilites.  We also bought mops and brooms for Ndirande building as there are none there.  We took Gabriel with us and we got the mops and brooms at the outdoor market.  We had Gabriel get out and buy them as they want to charge us more because we are 'white', however because he was with white people he got bombarded by people selling mops.  He said if he had gone in alone then perhaps one person might have approached him and he was a little overwelmed with the mob of sellers.  We got our stuff and got out of there as quick as we could.  Of course there were several others at my door trying to sell me carvings, bananas etc. etc. and I just keep my window rolled up and shake my head at them.
We are roasting a chicken for our supper.  We did manage to find some nice looking lettuce (leafy) on the side of the road the other day as we came home from Lilongwe.  I saw the lady with it and we backed up and got some.   Good lettuce is very hard to find here.  She probably grew it herself.  It is iceberg lettuce but it doesn't get into nice heads like at home (maybe they just pick it too soon)!  It is a pain to clean too but worth it sometimes when we really want some.
I better go check on the chicken and see what else I can find to go with it. 
Love to all and especially the women in our lives on this Mother's Day.  We love you.
Mom & dad/Elder & Sister Bullock

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Letter from Sister Patterson to us on facebook

We thought this might be nice to put on the blog so we can save a copy of it here in our "journal".  

Dear Nancy, I have just finished reading all of your blog entries and viewing your photos. It has been WONDERFULl! And you are so calm and collected! It is nice that on your second go-round in Africa, you can hit the ground running more confidently than the first time. Your place reminds me of our first flat in Lusaka,in Woodlands. Did you ever see it? I'm glad you have a nice washing machine with all the laundry (baptismal clothes, etc.) you have to do. We had one of those two sided ringer tubs. When we moved from Woodlands,we had a washer that was also a dryer! I'd never heard of such a contraption! It didn't work too well, but it was better than the two-sided ringer and the dryer got some things things somewhat dry! We felt quite spoiled. The list of your responsibilities just brought all those details flooding back to my memory. . . the many bills, the electricity cards/codes, the immigration, the Physical Facilities, the stacks of hundreds of thousands of kwacha, security/safety issues, feeding and housing Elders, the Zone Conference meals, the leadership training, the un-staffed auxiliaries and the lack of English, the missionary-medical-needs, the traveling up and down the country, the desperate need for more couples. . . . just to mention a LITTLE of it, right? But it is miraculous how Lord makes you equal to it at the time. He really had to help us out a lot! The pictures of Malawi look much like Swaziland. I was happy to hear you mention Christoper Sitholo. Tell him hello for us. Isn't he in the new District leadership? He is a special soul. Give Jim our best. We are so proud of you! Love Lynette

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Hi all,
We have had a busy day, for the most part.  We paid the DHL bill for the month and then we went to each flat and two church buildings to read the electric meter and see how much prepaid power is still left at each place and then tomorrow we will go buy more -- then we go back to each place and put in a code/number and give them more electricity.  
We also went to the Mozambique Embassy and applied for a double entry visa so we can drive through Mozambique to get to Zimbabwe next weekend to go to the mission couple's conference. We were told that if we get the visa before hand it makes the entry at the border go a LOT faster.   We are excited to go back to Harare and see our friends there - like Merci and Malaika, Lawrence, Dzikamai, Zvkomberero and Panashe, Seka, the Murenje family, etc. etc.   Hopefully we will be able to see them all but then it will be hard to say good-bye all over again, probably for the last time ever - well until the hereafter and then it will be a grand reunion!   
When we were downtown we ran into a white couple and stopped and talked.  They are from Kelowna, B.C. and are here doing some humanitarian work through the Rotary Club.  They have been in Africa for about a month (Mozambique, etc.).  She asked if she could give us some pairs of reading glasses to give out as we see the need.  We met them this evening and had supper together and a nice visit and she gave us 12 prs. of glasses.  She had brought 4 suitcases full with her and this is the last of them.  She works at an optometry place in Kelowna.  Sounds like they have travelled a lot doing humanitarian projects.  Nice people. 
We got a phone call from the Elders that their kitchen tap wouldn't shut off so we just went there and found the main shut-off valve.  They did have the tap rigged up with rubber bands so that it was just running slow.  We couldn't fix it so told them to turn off the main valve when they went to bed and we will get someone in to fix it tomorrow, hopefully.   Just another thing to add to our list.
I'm ready for bed.  All is well.
Love, Sister Bullock

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


A village
A village in the countryside
Malawi is generally quite hilly.


Boys herding the goats
Kids playing on pathway to their home
People walking along the road
Travelling down the road back to blantyre


Tomatoes waiting sell
This is how they display them!
Roadside vendors trying to sell to people on the bus


Supper, anyone!
He was hiding behind the mirror - he didn't want to be in the picture. I gave him a handful of candies if he would let me take a picture of the mice.
Yes, some do eat these! 

Monday, May 2, 2011


Ladies and kids carrying water home
I like the clinic next to the Bottle store (liquor store)

more pictures

Diggiing a trench for new sewer line at Ndirande building
Buying brick to build manhole for sewer line
Firing bricks inside here.


Seminary & Institute class as Liwonde
Liwonde seminary-institute class

Good experience!

Hi,  I should have waited a little while before I sent the last letter.   When we were talking with Bro. & Sis. Collins today they told us about a young man that is mostly inactive.  He served a mission in South Africa 7 years ago but now he and his family, who are the ones who first started the church here, are pretty much inactive. 

Jim called him up and told him we'd like to meet him and he just came to the hotel to see us.  He is about 30 yrs. old - a really nice guy with really good English and sisters who have university education.  We told him that we need them back in the church.   We told him we would like to meet his family and so next time we come to Lilongwe we are going to their home for supper and to meet the whole family.  Yeah!!!   He seemed pleased to have received the phone call and said that when he told his mother about the call she said, "they remember us".    Jim offered to give him a blessing and he agreed and seemed quite touched by it.  So.... perhaps he will come back and would be a great leader that we need here so desperately, along with his family.      We will do all we can.  We feel really good about what just happened.  It's exciting!     I think the family joined the church in Blantyre and then then moved up here and he told us about how it was only their family and they had church in their home and he blessed the sacrament and his brother passed it and sometimes they had a visitor from Blantyre who could give a talk and give them a break from just hearing talks from each other.  His sister is also a returned missionary.  They must  be a really good family that needs to come back!!!! 

We are off to have some supper.  Love,  Jim & Nancy/mom & dad

Monday May 2/11

We left Blantyre to come to Lilongwe on Saturday morning.  We stopped at Liwonde (about 2 1/2 hrs.) and met the Group Leader there at his home.  We had to call for directions but we did find him.  That is the group that I wrote about earlier where there used to  be a branch at Satima or Satina??  Village that was officially closed by the church.  When we arrived at Raymond's home they were having institute/seminary.  There were 14 there for the class and all but one had walked 2 hours from Satima Village to come to the class.  They would walk home afterwards and walk back again for church on Sunday.  That is dedication!  We did discover that they REALLY need some leadership help there and some basic gospel teaching.  The group is under the mission direction and so we will try and get out there more -- if we can find a place suitable to stay we will go on a Saturday and help teach the class and give some training and then be there for Sunday as well and attend their meetings.  As a group they hold sacrament meeting and Sunday school only.   There is a park not far from Liwonde,  so we need to look into lodging there and see what is available and see how far away it is.   They meet in Raymond's home but it is tooooo small so something needs to be found for them soon. 

Sunday we went to part of the meetings in both branches here in Lilongwe.  They meet at the same time so we go to Sacrament meeting at one and the other meetings at the other.   We got lost on our way there but finally found it and since they started late we did get there just as they were starting at 9:15.   We were surprised to see another white couple about our age at church.  They are from Lloydminster, Alberta and brought us greetings from the Angevines, our good friends who used to live in Airdrie.  The Harpers are here with Habitat for Humanity - have been here for about 3 weeks and left today.  We met with them in the afternoon and had dinner with them and a nice visit.
We attended the Kuama Branch for their last two hours.  They ask me to teach the primary kids as they have no one called to primary yet (new branch).  I ask if the kids could speak English and they said, No.  I agreed to do it, knowing that it was going to be a huge challenge when we can't even understand each other.  There were 6 children of different ages.  They gave me the lesson book for nursery age kids but actually that was okay!  I also grabbed 4 Friend magazines from their closet.  It turned out that they know the words to sing "I am a Child of God" and we sang that several times and I taught them "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes".  They liked that and I figured I was perhaps teaching them a little English.  Sister Duma came in for a little while (she knows some English) and we attempted to teach a bit of a lesson but it really didn't go all that well.  I found a whole bunch of pictures that go with the lesson book that were thrown in the cupboard and I straightened them up and went through several of those and ask  the kids, by pointing, what different items were.  One boy seemed to know several English words.  We also went through the Friend and looked at pictures.   Sister Duma's son was in the class and I ask her if she talked English to him at home so that he could learn and she said No.  I suggested that it would be a good idea to do that.   If people here know English it really helps them.  If the women know English they can get a job as domestics. 
There are a lot of men in this branch and few women because the women do not know English.  They are teaching an English class for the women during Sunday school time and I would have liked to attend that to see how they are coming along.  They haven't called a Primary or YW President because there is not a woman who can speak English, except for Sis. Duma who has been called as the Relief Society President.  All the manuals etc. are in English.  Today when we met with the Br. President he told us that a lady was baptized last week and she knows English so he plans to call her to be the Primary President in 3 weeks.  I told him to tell her that next time I come I will sit down and teach her how primary is suppose to be run (a very basic primary). 
After the meetings there was some training for the Branch Presidencies.  Bro. Collins, the one who is here with USAID, taught them about LUBA (Local unit budget allowance) and how they need to budget the money etc. etc.  We hope they understand.  We also talked about taking care of the building. 

I wish I could make you understand how DESPERATELY we need another couple here to help.  These are such new members and they need constant direction to know how to run things.  It is just the basic of basics that they need and any of us can do that.   They were asking if we could find a place and live in Lilongwe so we can be here full time to help them but we can't.  We are needed in Blantyre too and are spread too thin.  We do hope that when the mission is split in July that we can get another couple called to Malawi to serve in Lilongwe.   We have been told we can recruit as well so.........  anybody want to join us here in this beautiful country??   Malawi means "the warm heart of Africa".   You don't know what you are missing if you don't at least try it!!! 

When we came to Lilongwe we didn't realize, that today, Monday, is a holiday and things are closed.  We need to go to the Water Board and pay some bills and do a couple of other things so we are here another night.  It has worked out well though as we spent some time this morning discussing issues with Bro. & Sister Collins and then we met with a branch President and answered some of his questions and made a list of requests that he needs for his new branch.   We also gave the four missionaries their allotments this morning so they could buy groceries etc.   They get an allotment every two weeks.  Two of our Elders go home in two weeks at transfer time.  The transfers in May will determine which mission the Elders will be in after the split so they are anxious to know, but don't seem to be worried about it.  We have some good missionaries.

There are about 90 U.S. army and airforce personnel here at the hotel where we are staying.  They are here working with some medical people.  They are doing some eye surgeries (cataract surgeries etc.) as well as other things.  They just arrived and will be here for about 2 1/2 weeks.  One is a member of the church and approached us since we are wearing our missionary tags.    We will get together with him later and visit.  He is from northern California.  He said someone from his stake was talking about doing some charity work here and wanted a contact person so he felt like he was fortunate to run into us!   We will see if anything comes of it.

We have had a busy but a good weekend.  We will finish off what we need to do here in the morning and then head back to Blantyre.  I need to get my financial reports for April finished off and sent in. 

We love being here building up the Lord's kingdom!   Life is good!

Love,  Elder & Sister Bullock