Pretes had the old and new Branch presidencies in Kauma Branch over for supper on last Friday night. It was great to see them and spend some time. Things are going so well in that Branch now. It has gone from about 40 attending Sacrament meeting last November to 142 last week. There are 21 baptisms scheduled for October and 11 more a couple of weeks later.
Also said our goodbyes to the Collins Family. We sure appreciate all they have done. We wouldn't have survived our first few months without them being in Lilongwe and helping in the Lilongwe Branch there and doing monthly trainings for both Branches.
We meet in a school classroom. It works out okay but hopefully in the near future they can find a house to rent. It isn't easy finding something suitable in Liwonde. However, even in a classroom with dirty walls, cement floor and noise/singing from another Church meeting in a classroom across the way, we can still feel the spirit.
We took some more white shirts and ties out to Liwonde on Sunday. They REALLY appreciate them a lot!!
Aaron Benjamin was helping some to get their ties tied right. He is pretty good at it now since he was working here in Blantyre with our Elders for almost 5 months. (we have been short missionaries so use Branch missionaries to fill in and they live with the full time missionaries).
Recently we went to Lake Malawi since we figured we couldn't come all the way to Malawi without seeing it. Everyone always ask us if we have been to the Lake yet. It was nice -- seemed like the ocean. Lake Malawi has 1000 different kinds of fish in it and 700 of the species are found ONLY in Lake Malawi. The favorite fish found there is Chambo and Chambo is only found here (in Lake Malawi and Shire River). It is eaten a lot here and it is a nice tasting fish. Lake Malawi makes up about 1/3 of Malawi. It is the 8th largest lake in the world. Right now there are disputes about who owns most of the lake. This is because they have found oil in it and now Tanzania wants more of it. Currently they own a tiny bit of it and now want half. :(
Last Saturday, Sept 15th we went to Liwonde and I taught the Sisters to make spudnuts (donuts). There were about 17 ladies there and a few children. It was a successful class and they were excited about it. Only one problem -- they wanted me to give them each money so they could start a business of it. I did explain that they just needed enough to make one batch and then they could double their money and go from there. Some will be able to do it.
It was a fun day. I made one batch and let them help and then let them do everything to make the second batch.
We visited this school with Elder & Sister Dow, the wheelchair specialists. I have more pictures of our visits but will have to send them later. We are so busy getting final things done here.
This Primary school has 5000 students and 64 teachers. The younger ones come in two shifts (7:30 - 10:30) and (11:00 - 2:00) but the older ones stay all day. Each classroom is suppose to have 60 students per teacher but there were over 100. The classroom was so full!! They feed each child a cup of porridge once a day.
We are teaching this family along with the Sister missionaries. We met John when he was working with Swoop Security. They monitor our alarm system in our house. This is a great family and they are fun to teach as they ask a lot of questions and love to discuss. It is great to see their faces as they understand a principle. Last night they committed to a baptism date at the end of October (not the girls yet though, as they have not been in on the discussions yet). John lets them choose but he is sharing with them what we teach and he is praying that they will want to listen. He is a really great father to them. I think with time they will all be together. Unfortunately we will not be here when they are baptized. They will be a great asset to the Branch though - great leadership capabilities. We have really grown to love this family.
This is Gabriel and his wife, Chisomo. Gabriel is the one who we contract our guards/gardener through for the Church and Mission. He is a counsellor in the Blantyre 1st Branch Presidency. We took him and Chisomo with us to the Liwonde Group and took this picture by the Shire river.
A couple of weeks ago Gabriel taught me how to make Samoosas (he is very expert at making them) and this past week I taught him how to make pie. (apple and lemon merangue) Pie here is small and mostly crust with a little fruit and the crust is not flakey. Gabriel was pleased with the pies we made. They weren't my best pies ever but they did turn out pretty good.
We got our truck (the one that was in the accident) back yesterday and it looks as good as new. Tomorrow we will drive it up to Lilongwe as that is where it will be used. We will each drive one and then come back on Tuesday. On Monday we plan to do a day trip to Lake Malawi since we have never been there and we are told it is a 'must-see' before we leave. Our days our numbered so we are squeezing it into our schedule. Too bad we aren't into scuba diving so we can see the 1000 species of fish and apparently there are 700 species that are only found in Lake Malawi and nowhere else.
This week we have wheel chair specialists, The Dows, coming from California and will be staying with us for 3 days. We will do whatever they need us to do to help them develop their wheelchair project here - drive them around, etc.
It is getting hot here now. It is nice to see the Jacaranda trees blossoming. That is a nice send-off for us. They are really beautiful but we think they were more of them in Zimbabwe and that they were fuller. Still nice to see here though before we must leave.
Malawi now has a Kentucky Fried Chicken as of this past week! We decided we had better try it at least once and it was okay. The chicken was nice and tender. Seems a bit pricey though. It's been too long since we had it at home so can't really compare. I wonder if McDonalds will be next!
I haven't written for a while and I shouldn't procrastinate because then I forget things. We have been busy organizing things a bit better in preparation for the new couple. Actually Elder and Sister Prete will come to Blantyre and take our place here. They will already know how to keep the financial ledgers etc. but I will need to show them what we do with the Immigration paperwork and a few other things. They will be coming down this week for a few days and then the Lilongwe missionaries will all be coming down Wednesday for a combined Zone conference with Elder Soares, from our Area Presidency. We will have about 32 of us altogether. I am planning the zone conference lunch.
We have been teaching a family (or parts of the family) of John. He works for Swoop security who monitors our alarm system. They are fun to teach as they ask so many questions and love to discuss. It is so fun to see them when they understand the answers to their questions. John has investigated several different religions over several years. I ask him if this one felt different than the others and he says it does. He is anxious to have his wife and children listen to us but he allows it to be their choice. His wife, Prima, is becoming more comfortable around us and is gettng more involved in the lessons. We have started taking the Sister missionaries with us to their home because we will not be here for the duration. John, his brother in-law, and two daughters came to Church today - oh, and also a 9 yr. old.
Friday--- The week has gone by quickly. We had Zone conference with Elder & Sister Soares from Brazil. He is a counsellor in our Area Presidency. Of course, Zone conference was excellent and we along with a couple other missionaries bore our testimonies as this is our last Zone conference. We go home in less than 4 weeks. We are excited to go home but of course we will miss people here and miss working with the young missionaries.
Elder & Sister Prete brought a fellow down to Blantyre who is a member of the Church. He has been in a refugee camp for 8 months up near Lilongwe. He was living in Burundi and was head of a political youth group. The other party won the election and then people starting disappearing. This fellow received a phone call that he should not go home because there were people outside his house waiting to kill him. He never went back. We got him a place to live for a while for free and today gave him a couple of pots and pans, cup, dish, etc. and a bit of food and money. He has a job starting Monday teaching French at a school. He is well educated. He seems like a really nice fellow and hopefully he can rebuild his life. We will do what we can to help.
We took Aaron Benjamin shopping this morning and got him a suit for his mission, a suitcase and a few other things. He has been working with our missionaries here for almost 5 months since w are short Elders right now. He will go home Sunday and spend a month with his family before he reports to the MTC. The mission here helps young men get what they need because their families cannot. They do what they and thanks to the General MIssion fund of the church these young people are able to serve missions and return and help establisht he Church here. It is wonderful to see the returned missionaries lead in the Branches. They are such a huge asset.
I'm on the wrong computer to attach any pictures so I will have to do that later.
Hope everyone is doing well. Would love to get some emails! :)
Finding water, whether from a borehole or from the river is a must to carry on the daily chores of the day. Oh how we need to appreciate more that we have taps in our house and clean water available at our fingertips!
We were staying at the Hippo View Lodge and we saw a lot of hippos this time. We saw one dash through the grounds at the hotel when we were eating supper on the patio and we heard them making noise during the night. In the morning they were stil nearby in the water. There were actually quite a few of them but several are underwater at any given time. We have to have the camera ready to get a picture with any action.