We are in Lilongwe. The Zone leaders rode up with us as they needed to come as well and we came together to conserve fuel. We left Blantyre yesterday (Sunday) morning and stopped in Liwonde for church with the group there. We also took the Branch President from the Blantyre 1st branch with us as this group falls under that branch and he had not been there before. He needed to interview some children for baptism but when all was said and done, 4 of the children were not 8 years old but 11 years old so they will need to be taught the discussions before they can be baptized. We hope they can understand English and be taught. :) While he was interviewing the Zone leaders reviewed the Plan of Salvation discussion with a family we have been teaching. They knew all the right anwers and are a great family. We understand that the mom has cancer in her stomach and is having a lot of pain but can't afford the medication. When we go back on Wednesday we will see what we can do for her. She also had fallen and sprained her ankle but she walked to church anyway -- We gave her a ride home. The daughter, Maria, is a wonderful young girl (21 yrs. old). She is the one who heard of the church first and has shared with her family. Their baptism date has been set for August 27th and it will be a wonderful day. They all just glow! They all bore their testimonies in Sac. meeting. Bob Kwali will be baptized that day too and hopefully his wife if we can get her taught by then. She is the one who is deaf and so teaching her is a slow process but apparently she has been doing a lot of reading and her husband has been helping teach her.
We went to the Elder's flat this morning and gave them their alottments so they could buy groceries etc. Their flat wasn't as clean as we like but it was better than last week. We have promised a pizza if the flats are REALLY clean. One flat of 4 Elders in Blantyre kept asking when we were coming to check their flat so we went there on Saturday BUT...... it was quite good but they had missed a few things. Maybe next time! We checked all flats on Saturday and no one gets a pizza yet and definitely not the Lilongwe Elders.
Most of today we spent at the Kauma Church Building cleaning the quarters in the back which we are preparing so that 2 missionaries can live there. I cleaned the small shower room that someone has been using. It took quite a bit of scrubbing (elbow grease, as my parents called it), but it looks good now. We couldn't lock it up because the lock is broken so we have bought a new one and will put it on tomorrow.
There were quite a few ladies and young girls who came into the church yard with their containers to fill up with clean water and carry it home on their heads. It always amazes me how much weight they can carry and how smoothly they walk and don't spill. They seemed surprised to see me scrubbing and one girl ask if we needed a cleaning person to come. Sometimes I think that they don't expect that white people do that kind of work. I thought after that maybe I should have hired a couple of them to do the cleaning because I worked up a pretty good sweat and they would have done it pretty cheap. They live in the area behind the church and are pretty poor. We didn't realize that we were supplying water for them but....... maybe it is the least we can do to help them. In Zimbabwe they allowed people to get clean water at the church boreholes. Here it is not a borehole though - it is City water that we are paying for. If it is okay with the mission president we will attach a hose to a nozzle near the gate and let them get it there because when we finish this place for the Elders they will not be able to get to the water.
We also met with a plumber who had some quotes for us and will get another quote tomorrow to put in a gieser (not water tank) etc. etc. He brought someone else by who will give a quote of putting in some security bars and security gates. We didn't feel like we got as much done as we had hoped today but..... that is kind of the way it goes here in Africa on most days!!
I had to smile because this is the same place we were at last Monday and I had gotten after the gardener about making things look better. He obviously hadn't accomplished a lot in a week but while we were there today he was making an effort to be busy and things are 'slowly' looking a little better.
Jim spent quite a bit of time with the Branch President again going over some things. The Elder's quorum president who we were thinking might need to be released is looking like he might be making an effort. The Elders had been to his home and visited with the family and they have been to church the past 2 weeks and he seems to be doing much better.
We left there and went to the store and bought a couple of gallons of paint and a few other things and hope to get the rooms painted tomorrow and a couple of repairs done. We will lock it up and next time we come up we can hopefully get a fridge/stove, etc. etc. etc. in so missionaries can move in soon.
This morning we talked to the manager of the petrol station by the hotel and exchanged phone numbers. We called and he said that diesel was coming soon so we came and got in the queue. The diesel truck came and Jim walked up and talked to the manager and he told us to drive up to the pumps AND he had blocked one pump off and had us back right in beside the pump (1st in line)!! Now that is service!!! AND....he filled up 3 jerry cans for us so now all seven of our jerry cans are full. The Lord is looking after us!! We gave the guy a 'tip' and maybe he will help us next time as well. We also found out that the Elders in Blantyre were able to fill their truck too and the Elders here got a tankful yesterday. Good News!!!!!! It brings tears to my eyes. We are so grateful!
It is beginning to look like there will be another demonstration in the country on August 17th, unless the President does something to appease the people. He doesn't seem to want to. We have asked the missionaries to all make up a menu plan for 2 weeks and if necessary we will give some extra alottment so they can stock up a bit on food. We are afraid that it will be worse and perhaps longer this time and want to be sure we are all prepared. We are all safe as long as we stay inside and away from the market areas.
Today at this hotel where we are staying they were busy preparing lunch for 500 people. There is some important meetings taking place here and the President of Malawi was to be in attendance today. We didn't stick around. There were a lot of police and security people around this morning and some important looking people gathering. I think there are meetings all week but just today with the President.
We need to go find something to eat for supper. There is a buffet downstairs or we can walk across the street and have some pizza or chicken. Right now the power is off here at the hotel and they are running their huge generators. It does limit the use of some things like the air contitioner and TV.
All is well and the work continues to move forward.
Love, Elder & Sister Bullock