Monday, July 25, 2011

pictures of the Braai (BBQ)

Having a braai (bbq) - Eld. Packer & Sis. Lourenco
Christopher Sitolo cooking for the missionaries
Sis. Mhembere cooking sudza


Elder Dube from Masvingo, Zimbabwe
Looking down at Blantyre

More Pictures

Elder Bullock with our friends we met up top
Teasing the kids!
Goofing around!

Pictures of our day out with the Missionaries

Heading our for the hike to the top of the Mountain
At the top
Sisters Lourenco, Boltumelo, Semenya, & Mhembere enjoying their cookies

Picture - All missionaries in Malawi here for meeting with Pres. & Sister Padovich

Our Malawi Missionaries

Cute forward a friend sent us!

A group of seniors were sitting around talking about all their ailments.
"My arms have gotten so weak I can hardly lift this cup of coffee," said one.
"Yes, I know," said another. "My cataracts are so bad; I can't even see my coffee."
"I couldn't even mark an "X" at election time, my hands are so crippled," volunteered a third.
"What? Speak up! What? I can't hear you!"
"I can't turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck," said a fourth, to which several nodded
weakly in agreement.
"My blood pressure pills make me so dizzy!" exclaimed another.
"I forget where I am, and where I'm going," said another.
"I guess that's the price we pay for getting old," winced an old man as he slowly shook his head.
The others nodded in agreement.
"Well, count your Blessings," said a woman cheerfully - - "thank God we can all still drive"



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday July 24th

Wow!  We have been here almost 4 months.  Some days it seems like it has flown by and other days it seems like we have been here forever!! :)
We had a good day.  We attended Sacrament meeting at the Ndirande Branch and all the chairs were full.  In fact that is one branch where the members seem to get there in time for the most part.  As I sat there and we were singing "I Believe In Christ", I had the thoughts (and got teary) of how the church is the same everywhere, whether we are singing with a big organ or accapello, whether we are meeting in a beautiful chapel in Airdrie or on plastic chairs in an old house used as a chapel.  It is the same whether the faces are black or white, rich or poor.   These people are the pioneers of Malawi where the church has only really been here for a few years and they are doing so well.  I felt so proud of them today for the sacrifices that they make and their desires to share the gospel with others.  They truly have strong testimonies that come right from their hearts. 
We left after Sacrament Meeting and went to the Blantyre Chapel where I attended Relief Society with blantyre 2nd branch.  The teacher did a good job.  Then we attended Sunday School and Relief Society again at the Blantyre 1st Branch.    They are always happy to have us come to their Branches and wonder why we aren't there every week.  We have to explain that we have 6 Branches and 2 groups that we try to visit and some need more help than others.   We just need to clone ourselves OR get another couple to come and serve here.  Any takers???  Just let us know!! 
Wednesday we fly to Lusaka, Zambia for some financial training etc.   At least two people are coming up from the Area office and will do some training for our mission (us, Taggarts in Lusaka and President and Sis. Padovich).   We will fly back here on Sunday.
Tomorrow we are getting up early and picking up the 4 Sister missionaries and meeting up with the 8 Elders so they can have a Zone activity on their P-Day.  They are hiking up to the top of a mountain here in Blantyre where there is a big Catholic Cross.  There is a steep pathway up to it and it takes about 45 minutes or more to get to the top.  There is a beautiful view up there.  They will start hiking about 7 a.m.   There is a rough road going up also and we will drive up and meet them at the top.   After the hike they are playing some sports at the church parking lot and they have Christopher Sitolo, a returned missionary, preparing a braai (bbq) for them for lunch. 
Getting diesel or petrol is still a huge problem here.  We will need some this week so will be on the look-out for any queue that is forming and may have to join in and wait our turn.  It seems like diesel comes one week and then petrol the next.  There were huge queues this week for petrol.   It really is beginning to hinder us somewhat because we hesitate to travel to Liwonde or Lilongwe when we don't know when we can fill up again.  We have extra jerry cans full but the gov't has made a rule now that no one can fill jerry cans (too many selling it on the black market).  If we use our jerry cans we can't refill them so we really need to save them for emergency only.   We thought we could syphon from our truck in to the jerry cans and then try and fill up the truck but our tank on the truck has a screen in there (for our protection).    
The demonstrations have stopped and things seem to be back to normal.   We will just hope it stays that way.    There could be a repeat August 17th I suppose as they have given the President until then to come up with some solutions to the issues.  If he doesn't do it who knows what will be next.
Time to head to bed since we have an early morning.   And I just remembered we need to count out the money for their Allotments for the next two weeks.  Better get on that as they need to buy groceries tomorrow afternoon.
Love,  mom & dad/Elder & Sister Bullock

Friday, July 22, 2011


Just a quick note to say that things have settled down today.  We will let the missionaries out again tomorrow.  Hope this doesn't happen too often though.
We were out this morning for a couple of errands and saw a little bit of damage but all in all things looked pretty normal.  Some shops were still closed though and there were a lot less vehicles in town.  People are a bit leery, I am sure.     We bought a paper and it said that 14 were killed and several others in the hospital with gunshot wounds -- most of this was north of here though in Mzuzu and Lilongwe.   There was one killed yesterday here that we know of.    Good to have it over with.   Apparently they have given the President until August 17th to come up with a solution to the country's problems.   If he doesn't satisfy them - I suppose there could be more demonstrations.
It has been a beautiful day and seems to be warming up a little from what it was a week or two ago.  
Jim & Nancy/mom & dad

Thursday, July 21, 2011


We are still home today due to the demonstratons/looting/fighting etc.    Last night there was some rioting in Ndirande and today in Chilomoni and we heard gunshots but apparently that is suppose to be the police firing tear gas.  However, there is reports of some people getting shot.   We and the missionaries are all safe and fine and just staying in our houses.    All the shops and banks, etc. are closed.  I am guessing that we will be in again tomorrow and with any luck this will die down over the weekend.    I think it is mostly the roudies out there now making trouble now just because they think they can.    We get updates from members who are out and about in the areas.  The District President was downtown this morning and said he quickly left when things started happening again.  He does business down there.
We are using the time to check through old emails, read our scriptures and relaxing a bit.   We are pricing out a generator for this place as we seem to get more power cuts and don't feel safe being in total darkness around the property.  President Dube told us to check into that and we are finally doing it.  I'm sure Pres. Padovich would agree with him.  I guess the problem will be whether we can buy diesel to run a generator.  We did go talk to someone and they said that if we can prove we have one we can get a letter giving us permission to fill a jerry can for it.  I don't think anyone is even selling any fuel during this unrest.  We hear that the fuel staions are being guarded well.
We will carry on!! 
The Bullocks

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Demonstration in Malawi

We have spent the day inside and it has been kind of nice actually.  The neighborhood is calm and nothing out of the ordinary.  However, a source that we have, was downtown and texted us a few times.  He said that there were thousands of people down there and there was singing and dancing and then it turned worse and there was some shop breaking and tear gas.    He is not down there anymore so we don't know exactly what is happening but we have heard 2 or 3 rifle shots.    None of the missionaries will go out tomorrow until we know that it is safe and that the demonstrations are over.   It is a nation wide demonstration against the current government and the lack of fuel in the country.  It was suppose to be peaceful but seems like it is not.  We have been watching for any news but haven't heard anything.  Maybe there will be something later.  We do have satellite TV and get CNN and some other news channels.  That should help us keep tabs on what is happening.  I guess we should have been listening better beforehand though, as we just learned yesterday that there was to be a demonstration and that was from a business that we were at.   We are the only couple here in Malawi and we need to be more aware of what is going on.  We will do better.  :)
We are all fine and there is no need to be worrying at this point.  Hopefully it dies down quickly.  Malawians are generally a gentle people. 
Love to all,  Elder & Sister Bullock

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tues. July 19th

We bought ourselves a lamington at a bakery nearby.  It was chocolate cake but otherwise looked the same -- well I put more whipped cream on mine.  It tasted good.   I'm telling on myself -- I ate sugar!! 
Tomorrow we missionaries here in Malawi are not leaving our houses.  I guess we should be listening to the news better because we just found out today that there is to be a 'peaceful' nation-wide demonstration tomorrow against the government.  We really hope it is peaceful but there are some signs that it may not be.  We went out this afternoon and stocked up on a few food items just in case there is a problem and we need to take care of missionaries for a day or two.  They will stay in their own flats tomorrow though and we will keep an eye on things.   We are told that most businesses will close.   We had planned to go to Liwonde tomorrow to teach some lessons but we will not be going.  Better safe, than sorry!!   We called our mission president about the situation and he has contacted the Area in South Africa and their people are watching things as well.
This past weekend we stayed in Blantyre and attended the Ndirande Branch.  It was kind of cool in the building (it is winter here) so we had Relief Society outside.  There was eight of us and we sat in a circle in the sunshine and stayed warm.  (on chairs)    The Young Women were also outside.   It was a good day.  We invited the four Sister missionaries over for dinner.  They wanted American food so I made a roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, and corn.    When they arrived I had them make the dessert so I could teach them a good, easy recipe.  It was mom's fruit cocktail pudding cake.    They were thrilled to get fed and they liked the food.  We took a plate of the left-overs out to our gate guard and he loved that!!
The fellow I wrote about a little while ago that came here from 2 hrs. south, came again and called and said they were at the church.  We went over and met them and talked for a few minutes.  We again encouraged them to teach English to the people so that they can read and understand the church materials.  If the fuel situation improves we may try and go visit them sometime.
Speaking of fuel -- it is still a problem.  We were fortunate enough to fill up the trucks last weekend.  We have seen long lines of vehicles waiting this week and it appears that it is petrol not diesel that has been coming in.  We are just trying to be wise and conserve as best we can.  We still have our 7 jerry cans full and will not use them unless we really have to because the gov't has made a rule that no one can fill jerry cans anymore.  We thought we would syphon gas out of the truck into the two empty jerry cans that we have but there is a screen or something blocking the way.  Too bad.
Keep us in your prayers.  God is watching over us.  We feel it every day.  We love our new mission president and his wife and so do the missionaries.  They will be great to work with.
Love,  Elder/Sister Bullock

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 13/11

Hi,  It has been a while since I have written.  We have been really busy.  President and Sister Padovich have arrived and we have spent the last week with them traveling Malawi and visiting the branches and the missionaries.  We have really enjoyed our time with them and are looking forward to serving with them.     After seeing the circumstances here in Malawi they tell us that the next couple that get called to the mission will come to Malawi to help us here with the work.  There is such a need.  We need a couple in Lilongwe so much.

We have also had the Public Affairs couple here from South Africa that are over the SE area and they have been sharing information with us and the District leaders and Branch presidents.  The Brother from SA who is over Immigration was also here and has decided that we are doing the job just fine. 

A couple from Midnapore in Calgary (The Shields) have been called to our mission and will serve as CES in Zambia.  The Area President has assured President Padovich that they will make our mission a priority for new couples.  Hurray!! 

Some good news that we can finally tell is that Elder Russell M. Nelson will be coming here on October 26th and will dedicate Malawi for missionary work as that has never been done.  We are excited about that.  It will be great to be part of that.

A letter was just sent here from a Pastor in Mozambique (from a city about 1 1/2 hrs. away from here) requesting that the church please send someone to teach them.  He says he has a congregation of 750 and they have all read the Book of Mormon and some other literature and they want to learn more.   The letter was forwarded to the Area Presidency and will likely go to the mission in Mozambique.   Imagine!!

The weather has cooled off the past few days and I have been wearing my jacket.  I guess winter is here for a few weeks - till about mid August. 

We have had to deal with a few situations this past week and hope all is well.  Time will tell.  We are hoping to get back to Liwonde very soon and continue to teach our families there.  We have two families that are wanting to be baptized but we need to finish the lessons first.  They are amazing and to see the light and joy in their eyes is wonderful.  As we visit their homes the people next door approached us and want us to talk to them too.  We gave them some literature to read. 

I don't remember if I told you about the wife of Bob Kwali.  She is deaf but Jim managed to teach her part of the 1st discussion by hand writing a lot.  She can talk.  We saw Bob a couple of days ago and he is so excited because he says after we left that day she is reading everything and excited to learn more.  He says they are finally 'together' with this.  He was so happy.  We hope to be able to baptize them together.  He is ready.

We are tired and ready for bed.  It's been a busy day --- AND we did get full tanks of diesel in the trucks today.   We are being looked after!

Love,  Mom/Nancy/Sister Bullock

An article that was in the paper. (Click on image to view larger.)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Our week

It is Saturday evening already and we wonder where the week has gone.  It has been a busy one and too much of it was spent in gas lines.  It really is rather stressful.  If everyone would be nice and take their turn it would be so much nicer but some are always trying to butt in - especially the minibus drivers (public transport).  This fuel shortage is bad and they say it is the worst one yet.   We saw a line last evening on our way to 'somwhere'(cant even remember where) and we called the Elders and they went over and joined in as they were getting pretty low.  They were in line for  probably about 5 hours and finally got their tank filled.  They called us because they had forgottent he key to their money box so we took them over some money and decided to get in the line as well since it wasn't too long at that point.  It was aggravating but we did finally get our tank filled as well as two jerry cans.  We waste so much time waiting for fuel but at least they didn't run out before we got to the pump.  
We decided we need to make friends with the right people -- so we have been chatting with the lady that manages a station nearby and it paid off because this morning she called us to say that diesel was coming very soon.  We hurried over and got in line and Jim walked up and talked to her.  She told us to come up closer and bring our jerry cans and then she put them right at the pump ahead of some others.  We waited for the tanker to come, unload the fuel and then we did get 5 more jerry cans filled.  That took about 3 hours but we are pleased because now we have 155 ltrs. in reserve plus our tanks are full.    They keep saying that this shortage will get better but so far it isn't happening.  They are also saying it could last for months.  We sure hope not.
I spent a fair bit of time this week on Immigration stuff.  Four of our Elders visitor visas expire (90 days) on Monday and their TEP's haven't come yet.  We went into Immigration and ask what we should and they said to apply for TRP's (temporary residence permit) so we rushed home and did the paperwork for those.  We need passport pictures for that and one Elder is up in Lilongwe and we had no picture but he is sending them by DHL.   At immigration I explained that to the guy and he was really nice and said to give him the application anyway and bring in the pictures on Monday.  Whew!!!  TRP's get approved quickly and are good for 6 months so at least these 4 missionaries will be legal  until their TEP's get approved.  It is my fault I guess as I didn't apply for the TEP's as quick as I should have when they first got here but we were brand new at the time and I thought I had some time to do it.  Now we know better how to do that stuff.   We have 7 new missionaries with the present transfer and I am working on their TEP applications and will get them in right away.
Our gardener Davie and his wife are having marital problems again.  She wrote us a letter (had someone write it for her as she doesn't know English) and wanted our help but when we can't even communicate with her it is rather difficult.    Anyway - we again suggested they talk to their branch leaders, which they did but it seems nothing got resolved.  The next step is that their relatives are getting together with them and will talk about the issues and try and help them work things out.  I wish I could be a fly on the wall and hear what will be said (it is taking place tomorrow at the wife's family village).  
President Padovich has arrived and called us.  They will be coming this way about the 13th or 14th and spend 3 or 4 days.  We look forward to meeting them. 
We went for a drive this afternoon with Pres. & Sis. Chimyumba up the mountain to check out the road.  All I can say is that I now have a headache -- it was so rocky and bumpy and we did turn around as soon as we could find a place (about 3/4 of the way up).   It was a beautiful view of Blantyre and would have been even better from the top but.....      We will check out a couple of other spots for what we need.
I need to finish off my financial reports for the month of June and was hoping to get that done today as the area office will be wanting them on Monday.  I think I will wait until I don't have a headache though so I can think more clearly.  :)  They are mostly done but I need to finish them off and email them.
We have some people that we are teaching and are meeting with a girl on Monday that we met at a restaurant and another girl at the same restaurant ask us for a pamphlet. 
I need to go make something to eat.  I bought some vegetables on the street today while waiting for diesel. 
Hope all the Canadians had a good 1st of July and that all the Americans will have a fun 4th of July. 
Love,  The Bullocks