Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nov. 24th

Good morning! 
We are up early, as usual.  Another busy day is on the horizon.  We did get moved into our new place and it is much smaller but feels more like a home.  Does that make sense?  It was a big job getting the other place ready to hand back to the landlady and her estate agent was not a pleasant man to deal with.  We definitely handed it back in better condition than the couple got it last year so they should be happy.  I found the whole experience rather stressful, to say the least.  I am so glad we are finished.  We did buy the paint (requirement in Malawi to paint the whole house when you leave, whether it needs it or not!) and hired a couple of painters (a guy and a girl) and they did a really good job.  That was a worry because painters here are not necessarily very careful.  They were painting here at our new place and we saw that they were doing well so we ask if they could come and paint for us.   Their quote was the lowest and we felt it was too low after they did some extras for us so we paid them a little more.  They were pleased.    Gabriel, a member, also did  some painting at the boy's quarters and the carport and did well.
I had a lady clean.  She did ok but was quite slow so I pitched in and helped for a couple of days.  I think she was surprised at how quickly I was getting things done but I don't think it make her speed up at all. 
There is a member who has a big truck and we hired it for our move and had all the missionaries help.  It really went pretty well.  Davie, the gardener, has helped us a lot too.  He is so cute ---  He said,  "I am just so happy when you say, "Davie can you come and help us?"   He is so eager to do whatever we need him to do.  It is so nice for us.  We should all be more like that.
Our new place is in a shambles at the moment but it will come together as we sort and organize.  We will take some things up to Lilongwe to the couple's flat there and that will help.  We have to go up there today to take some passports to two Elders who are transferring tomorrow and the missionaries are out of working fund there.  We also have 2 Elders coming into there, arriving at 1:30 a.m. tomorrow - fun!
The Pretes' will be here soon and we are looking forward to that.  At the same time there is another couple with 4 children arriving in Lilongwe from the U.S.  He has a contract with USAID for two years.  They will  be a good help for the Branch in Lilongwe.  The more, the better.  Our one Branch up there is having such big problems -- to the extent that a group have started  holding their own Sacrament meetings, even though they were told they CANNOT do that.  A sacrament cloth and the extra trays, along with hymn books, and Gospel Principle books are missing from the Branch.  The Branch has basically divided into 'sides' and there are accusations, quarreling etc.   The dissenters have tried to convince new members/investigators to their side.  It is a terrible mess and this is only a brief synopsis.  The Area Presidency is aware and the matter will be dealt with as soon as they can fit it into their schedules.  In the meantime, we just try and help the Branch President carry on doing what he should be doing.    Prete's will have their hands full!!
As of January 1st the Area office will take over doing all Immigration stuff for the 32 countries in our Africa SE area.   I have no idea how they will be able to do that but --- hey!  it is fine with me if I don't have to worry about it anymore. 
The weather is hot here and we have had some rains.  Everyone is busy working in their fields getting maize planted.  At this time of year that is pretty much all that is growing - it is their staple food and they need all they can grow.   It is everywhere.  All the gardens/fields are cultivated by hand (hoe) and it is amazing.  They work really hard.  The poorer people are able to buy some seed that is subsidized by the gov't.  That really helps them.  Better to give them the seed than try and give them the food later.  They are also given a certificate to buy some fertilizer at a big reduction.    I need to send some pictures (they are on the other computer). 
Dec. 3rd ---  I should have just sent this email when I wrote it.  I will send it now and then write another today as well.
Love,  Nancy/mom/Sister Bullock  

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