Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Re: Hi!

Hi Julia,
All the missionary apartments, including ours, have guards, night and day.  One thing the guards do is open the big gate to let us in and out.  The houses are surrounded by tall (8 - 10 foot) walls made from bricks and there is usually razor wire (wire with very sharp razor type blades on it) and some with electric wires.  Often we see walls with shards of broken glass cemented in so that if someone tries to climb over they will get cut.   There are many thieves here who would break into houses whenever they can.   We do all we can to make sure the missionaries are safe.   There are also metal bars on all windows and often metal gates at the doors.  Sometimes it feels like we are locking ourselves into a prison but it is for our own safety.    The place we live in now is in a safer neighborhood than our last place and we have not had any problems so far.   Heavenly Father looks out for His missionaries but we also have to do all we can to protect ourselves too.
The rain does not seem to wreck the crops.  They make furrows and plant the seeds at the top and so the rain seems to drain into the ditches between the rows and not wash away the seeds.  All this is done by hand with big hoes   Right now, during the rainy season, everyone plants maize.  Maize is a field corn that they leave on the cobs until it is hard and dry.  They pick it off the cobs and dry it some more and then they pound it or take it to a grinding mill to be ground into flour.  Then they put it on a tarp out in the sun and dry it some more.  They cook it like a thick porridge and that is what they eat every single day.  They eat it with their hands - roll it into a bite size ball and dip it into a 'relish' made from vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, onions, or whatever they have).   There is not very much nutrition in it though but it fills up their stomachs.  Some people here only eat one meal a day and recently we heard of some people who only had enough food to eat a meal every other day.  The people here are generally small and thin.  There are a few that are a bit over-weight but not too many.    There are posters up that encourage good nutrition for children so that their growth will not be 'stunted'.    Right now everywhere there is an empty space someone has used it to plant maize.  It is growing everywhere.  They need enough to get them through the year.  They can plant their vegetable gardens anytime throughout the year because they are generally smaller gardens and they can water the plants from the rivers or from a well.
The Church group that meets in Liwonde had 47 at church on Sunday.   We hope to be able to make the Group into a Branch sometime soon.  We need a few more Melchezidec Priesthood holders.  One day I will tell you the story behind the Group in this area.  They used to be a Branch but there were problems and it was shut down a few years ago.  We are happy that they can meet as a Group now.   There are more men than women because more men know English.  The women in Malawi have not been educated and so most do not know English.  It makes it very hard to teach them the gospel.  We are going to have some English classes and try to help them learn.  We do not have any church books in their language.  In church the men like to sit on one side and the women on the other side.  We are encouraging them to sit together as husband and wife (if the wife is there).    More of the little girls are able to go to school now but parents who don't have much money will not send the girls but only the boys.   The language that is spoken here is Chichewa.   We don't know many words but we do say: Zikomo.  That means Thank you. 
The Group meets in a school classroom so we had a sign made to put by the gate of the school that says:  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints  ---- visitors welcome.   :)   People like to learn about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ here and they like it if we give them something to read like the missionary pamphlets.  They always ask us for Bibles but we don't give those away.  We can sell them to the members only because the Church subsidizes the price a lot.  A Bible costs about 50 cents  for them because that is all they can afford.  Even that is hard for some.  The Church wants the members to be able to have scriptures.  They can buy a set of economy scriptures for 200 Kwacha (about a dollar).    We have to be very careful because people will want to buy a Bible but then they will go sell it on the street for more.  We even have to keep track that members are not buying more than they need because they might sell it too.   People like our Bibles because it is the King James version and because it has the Bible dictionary etc. in it. 
I better get back to work.  I have lots to do.  
Love you,  Grandma

On Mon, Jan 2, 2012 at 9:13 PM, Brad & Nicole Bullock <bnbullock@shaw.ca> wrote:

Hi Grandma and Grandpa,

Why do you need to arrange to have guards at the apartment? Doesn't wreck the crops when it rains hard? When are you coming back from your mission? How many people are in your group? When they say they look "smart" they are saying that they look good and when we say we look "sick" we are saying we look coolJ Perhaps we can start saying that we look smartJ What is the sign say that you put out on Sunday's? What language do people speak if they don't speak English? Do they speak French? I better get cleaning my room!!

I love you,



From: Jim & Nancy Bullock [mailto:noflattires@gmail.com]
Sent: January-02-12 6:05 AM
To: Brad & Nicole Bullock
Subject: Re: Hi!


Dear Julia,


Thanks for your emails.  I will answer your questions.


Missionaries have to follow the mission rules!  We didn't want them going home at midnight when there might be people out drinking and celebrating and they might get hurt or something.   We have some good missionaries here who always try to obey the rules. 


We are busy getting a new apartment ready for some missionaries to move into.  We have to arrange to have guards there for them and buy pots and pans, dishes, beds, and a lot of other things.  It is a lot of work.  The Zone leaders will move in there and then the sister missionaries will move into their place.  Always things to do.


It is kind of rainy today but that is good.  They need rain here.  It is rainy season but the rains are late in coming.  The crops (corn maize) needs it.   Sometimes it rains very hard but it doesn't last too long. 


We are meeting some good people here and they need help to know how to run the church.  Most of them have only been members for a short time.  The church has only been in Malawi for less than 20 years and some areas it has been much less than that.  There are some good people getting baptized but they have to learn many things and that is what we are here to help with.   The people here are the pioneers of the Church in Malawi.


I am helping a young many from Stima Village get his mission application ready to send in.  He will be the 2nd missionary to go from that Village.  The Church helps pay for his passport and police clearance and will also need to pay for him to get some missionary clothes because they don't have any money for those kinds of things.  After he serves a mission though he will be able to go back to the Village and really help the Church to grow there and he will know a lot about how to run the programs of the Church.   We will give him some white shirts and ties that were sent to us from your Stake.


We took some of the shirts and ties to them in that Group (they aren't big enough to be a Branch or a Ward yet).  Most of the men there do not have white shirts and especially not ties.  They were so pleased and they all looked so good.  When someone looks nice here they say that they look "smart".    We didn't take enough with us though and will take some more next time.  That Group is in Liwonde (pronounced: Le won day) and they are 2 hours drive away from where we stay in Blantyre.   We need to take a picture of them next time too to send home.    The Group in Liwonde meet in a school room - but it is not like your nice school rooms.  It is a brick building with two rooms per building and no windows - just a bunch of round holes in the wall for air circulation.  The walls are very dirty and there is a cement floor.    It might not be very nice but we can feel the Spirit there.

We have two men who have been attending are want us to come and teach them the missionary lessons so that they can be baptized.  We want to teach their families too but they don't speak English very good.  We will get someone to translate for us.   They were just walking by and saw the sign we put out on Sundays and came to learn more. 


I must get back to my office work.


Love you,  Grandma







On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 5:02 PM, Brad & Nicole Bullock <bnbullock@shaw.ca> wrote:

Hi Grandma and Grandpa,

Thanks for the birthday e-mails!! I really enjoyed reading them!! What are you doing in Malawi? I don't know what I am going to do today but tonight we have some friends coming over to celebrate my birthday and New Year's EveJ I can't wait for you to come home! Why are the missionaries not allowed to stay up till mid-night?

Love you too!!!

TTYL (Talk To You Later)




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