Sunday, February 19, 2012

Our weekend

Saturday we went to Liwonde with Elder Wadsworth and Elder Nyelele to teach our families again.  We started with our family of 8 out in the rurals.  The three boys were at Bro. Chisambo's for Institute class again and they took us to their place.  Elder Bullock almost remembered his way - only took one wrong turn.  I had the ages of the kids a bit off --  they have boys that are 18, 16, 14, 12 and 6 and a daughter who is 9 or 10.   This time the go-go (grandma) and an older aunt joined us and shortly after we started an older man who is one of the high-ups with the CCAP (Church of Central Africa Presbyterian) came.  I think he was wondering what we were teaching - he didn't say much and actually dozed off for a while.   The lesson was The Plan of Salvation.     Shortly after the CCAP man came a few more came.  I think we had 15 or 16 total and the small room was full.   Bro. Chisambo translated for us as some of the older ladies don't know English well.     The discussion went well and there was a great feeling there.  The ladies made some good comments so we know they are understanding.   The young missionaries taught and I am always impressed with how they can simplify the lessons so that they can be understood well. 
The Church is true.  It was an amazing experience to be sitting in that small living room with all those people so eager to learn more about Jesus Christ.  As I sat there I thought how at one time I would never have expected that we would be doing this.  It really is a great opportunity to be around these people here.   Outside the room where the gospel was being taught were 10 or 12 village cihldren who kept looking in the windows and doors at us - curious to see white people in their village.  We gave them all a candy when we left and that makes them very happy.  Jim teased them a bit too and they like that. 
We then went to the Namibande family (Maria's family).  Maria's oldest brother was there (he's a school teacher in a village about 15miles away).  Elder Bullock taught him the 1st discussion and he says he will come back hone next weekend too when we come.  Nice guy and he understands well. 
Today we attended Sacrament meeting at two Branches again.  Andrea Bring, one of the guards here at our place attended again today.  The missionaries went to his home this week and taught him and his wife.  He's been reading the Liahonas that I gave him and the Book of Mormon. 
Tuesday is Zone conference and then a couple days after that is a big mission transfer.  All but one of our Elders in Blantyre are being transferred so it will be a big change.  The 3 Sister missionaries are staying the same and we should be getting a fourth one at some point soon.   It will be a busy week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Beautiful countryside planted with maize

Want some meat for supper?

What would they do without bicycles?

Transporting tomatoes to market

Jim's Just Rewards :(

We drove back from Lilongwe today, after meeting a returning Sister missionary at the airport last night at 11 p.m.   There were family there to meet her and take her home after President Bullock released her.  
Today on our drive back we got stopped by the police who had a laser gun.  They caught us speeding.  It really is crazy here though and we try and watch VERY carefully for the speed signs OR the posts where a speed sign used to be!!    It doesn't seem to matter even if the sign is missing.  Somehow we are just suppose to know.  We thought we were out of the speed zone but....      When stopped the driver, Jim, has to get out and go over under a tree usually, where another policeman writes up the receipt and takes our money.  The fine is usually 5000 kwacha (about $30) no matter how fast you are going.   
About five minutes later we were in another speed zone and had just sped up and got pulled over again.  We weren't quite out of the zone again.  Jim was not happy, as you can imagine!!   He showed the policeman the ticket receipt we had just paid and apologized, saying we thought we were out of the zone.   After a bit the policeman kind of waved the receipt at the guy under the tree and that guy smiled and waved us on.  Whew!!  It is hard to get out of a ticket here.  
The speed on all highways here is 120 unless otherwise posted.  As you enter a town or village along the way there will be a round sign with a "50" on it.  However, as I said, sometimes the sign is totally gone and sometimes only the post is there.   If we see a sign with the name of the town we always slow down.    When the 50 zone ends there is another round sign with the "50"on it but it has a diagonal line through it.   Sometimes there is a sign and sometimes not, so you kind of guess whether or not to speed up again.     It is really frustrating and believe me, we try really hard to watch constantly and hope we are obeying the law but those police seem to know just where to 'get you'.      So to all you who have seen Jim in the past years hiding behind the sign on the 16 Ave hill with his lazer gun and enjoying writing all thos tickets --  these guys in Malawi are getting back at him  for you!!!  
We are really tired tonight.  We detoured over to Liwonde on our way home to meet with the Group leader for a few minutes.  There is a need for some welfare help there as crops are late maturing and people's maize from last year's crop is finished.  It is so hard when we get a call saying, " Sister Bullock, "I'm hungry" or as a couple of young boys said to us last Saturday - "Can you bring us something because we go to bed without food".     They are hungry!   We have referred it to the Group Leader who is talking with the Branch President and they will give some aid through the proper channels (the fast offering fund).   It is really hard sometimes.  I could just sit and cry for them.    We also met with Peter again at a town halfway between here and Lilongwe - we met him 2 or 3 weeks ago when we were meeting up with Pretes there.   He was pleading with us to pay his fees so he could go back to the Poly-tech school here in Blantrye.  They get so desperate and really there isn't much work for them so that they can earn money.    He's 21 yrs. old.  
Anyway ---  we did have a good visit with Pretes.  We are looking forward to our zone conferences over the next few days (ours is on the 21st).   Shortly after that some missionaries go home and there will be a bunch of transfers so everyone is wondering where they will be next.  
The works goes on..............
Love,  Elder/Sister Bullock

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Jack Fruit

We are glad we invited some Elders over to try this 'new' fruit discovery with us.   We cut it in half.  If you look carefully at the close-up picture you will see a white liquid oozing out.  It was REALLY REALLY sticky!  We had to scrub our hands with dish soap and a scrubbie to get it off.   We tried to cut out the centre (like a pineapple) to avoid getting any more of the sticky stuff on us.  :) 
There is a lot of sinew type stuff inside but there are also kind of pockets of good stuff around each seed.   We decided it tastes like a cross between pineapple, papaya and mangoes.   The flavor really isn't bad at all.  It was good - we all ate 2 or 3 pieces.  If it was bad we would have stopped with the first bite.  :)       I guess it is really something you would have to experience to really know.
We did decide that perhaps we shouldn't have cut it in half.  We should have tried to peel it even though the skin is really weird, but on the soft side.   If we peeled it and dug out the good stuff from the outside instead of the inside we could perhaps have avoided the sticky stuff.  
We only ate half of it and the Elders took the other half over to some other Elders.  I hope they warn them about the sticky but am afraid they might not!!!!!  You know, they are young Elders, afterall, and if they had to get sticky why shouldn't the next guy? 
Would we buy one again?  Maybe - if only to try dissecting it differently.  There must be a better way!  We should have them show us how it is done next time we buy one.  We would also like to see the tree it grows on.    It only cost 300 kwacha (less than $2.).  

Our Jack Fruit Experience!

I'm doing this backwards so that when they appear on the blog it is in the right order!  
Elder Bullock is holding up one of the seeds. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

This is a picture of a guy carrying a LOT of eggs on the back of his bike.  A common sight here.     AND also a picture of a vegetable stand on the side of the road.  Notice the potholes.  This stretch of roads has a lot of potholes!

This is called Jack fruit.  We have no idea what it will be like but it is pretty strange looking.  It is grown in the Zomba area.  We bought one and invited the Zone leaders to come by tonight and help us try it out.  Should be interesting!  Will let you know the verdict.

This is the road (more like a pathway) into their place.  It is just wide enough for the truck to get through.   The crops REALLY need rain out there!

Trip to Liwonde

This is the family that we taught today.  Mom, Dad and 5 boys and 1 daughter.  They are a great family and want to be baptized so we set a date for March 24th and will aim for that.   We really enjoyed going to their home as it is out in the countryside.  We miss driving out in the rurals (like we did in Zimbabwe).  We took the Zone leaders with us and we had a great day.  We also did some new member lessons.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday, Feb 10th

This week we made some visits to some inactives with one of the Branch Presidents.  It started to rain  about the time we started and quit as soon as we were done.      We visited one good man who had his feeling hurt when he was accused of stealing something when he was helping someone move.  He didn't do it but felt like everyone was thinking badly of him.  This happened before our time but we had heard about it and know who the culprit was.    We had a good talk with him.  At first he didn't want to talk about why he wasn't coming but did open up and we were able to discuss it.  Elder Bullock apologized to him for the Church and we really hope he will come back.  He said he will.    He ask me if I could play the keyboard and I told him I could.  I guess he has some natural musical abilities and was learning to play and would like to continue doing that.   He was smiling when we left him.
I missed the next two visits because the rain was pouring down and I opted to stay in the truck as they had to walk a bit to get to the houses and the water was running and it was muddy.    The last visit was with another good man who had his feelings hurt because people had told him he HAD to wear a white shirt and he said that here in Malawi not everyone can afford a white shirt.    We explained that we do try to look our best but that no where in the handbook does it say you have to wear a white shirt and tie to participate in this Church.   We did also tell him that we do have some white shirts and ties that were sent to us and if he would like one we would be happy to give him one, but that it is definitely not a requirement.    He said he still believes the Church is true but has to talk with his family about whether or not to return.  He has excellent English.
Today we got the mosquito nets hung up in a couple of the flats.   The ceiling in one flat is high and is made of cement so Jim had to drill and put in a plug to screw the hook in.    All inside walls here are brick covered with cement (stucco) so hanging pictures is not quite as easy as at home.   In fact, we haven't hung any yet in our new place but we really should.   They have special hooks that have 4 little cement nails to hammer into the wall.   Later they just fill them with cement and paint. 
One of our guards here at our place asks about the Church.  Jim has talked to him a couple of times and gave him a Book of Mormon.  They get quite bored at nights.  I gave him a couple of Liahonas to read - one is the Nov. conference edition.  Tonight when we got home he commented about the pictures of the General Authorities and told Jim that he couldn't find his picture in there.  We laughed about that.  I guess because Jim wears the badge that says President Bullock (since he's a counsellor in the mission presidency) people think he's important (not that he isn't ).   He often gets called Mr. President.   
Tomorrow we head to Liwonde to teach some lessons.  We have decided to take the Zone Leaders with us and they can help teach.  We were going to do it ourselves, spend the whole day and stay overnight but since they are going we will come back.   I want to also take the Young Women's Personal Progress and explain it to Maria and get her started on doing that.    We want to teach her family about the temple, especially since they just lost the mom.  We haven't taught them much about that yet.   It will be a full day if we get everything done that we hope to.
It felt hot and humid today.  It was about 30 degrees I think.   Jim is outside right now with his binoculars looking at the stars .   The guards like to look too.  Very few have seen binoculars and are always amazed.   
I'm off to relax for a bit before bedtime --- well maybe not ---- the Elders are coming over so we can make a plan for tomorrow. 
Love to all,  E/S Bullock

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


We are very happy to have had 11 TEPs granted to our missionaries this week and 1 TRP.   We like to keep everyone legal!!    We must be spending too much time at Immigration though because while  waiting yesterday, Fedex delivered a parcel to us there.   Just kidding about being there too much.  The Fedex man saw us there and brought in a small parcel!  We did get a chuckle out of that though. 
Jim is at the District Presidency meeting right now and I just finished baking some banana muffins to take to the Elders at District Development meeting tonight.   That should make them happy!
Here is a little bit of an email from Elder & Sister Heck in Zimbabwe who attend the Marondera Branch.  We attended that Branch for the first 6 months or so of our mission in Zimbabwe.  When we were there they were meeting in a house that needed a lot of repairs.  They did own the house and property and the Church has built a nice Church for them now.  They now have 2 sets (I think) of full time missionaries working there.   Exciting things happening there. 
From Sis. Heck   ----- "  I want you to know that I had a wonderful Birthday yesterday at Marondera.  We created a new Branch there called the MomboTombo Branch, and Brother Chale is now President Chale.  It was a wonderful time, and the members excepted the division with open arms.  The last 4 Sundays we have been averaging over 200 in attendance, and the building was built to accommodate 135.  It is just unbelievable what is going on out there.  We love it.  This coming Sunday we are having another baptism, and supposed to have 41, I will try to remember to send you pictures." ----
Can you imagine 41 baptisms in one day!!!  We heard they recently had 25 in one day.     The members there must be thrilled at the growth of the Church in their small City.   Hopefully they can integrate them all in.  There will be a need for lots of training.  
The skies and blue and the sun is shining.    It is about 27 degrees C.   We can't complain about that.   We are doing fine and hope you all are too.
Love,  Elder & Sister Bullock

Fwd: Never judge by appearance

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Reeve A. Nield <>
Date: Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Subject: Never judge by appearance
To: "Reeve A. Nield" <>





Sunday, February 5, 2012

Some random pictures

Music at Liwonde

Elder Bullock was helping this young man learn to lead music for Sunday School class.  I don't think he really gets it but we had fun trying.  We need to spend some time teaching them the basics of conducting music.  They really want to learn.  It was fun!!

A good Sunday!

Hi,   We attended meetings in Liwonde today.  They meet in a classroom at a school and are filling up the room more and more.  Today there were 63.   Most of the people are coming from Sitima Village, where the Church first began in Malawi, but the Branch was closed there a few years ago.    Lots of the meeting is done in Chichewa because so many of them do not know English.  They are calling a man to teach English out at Sitima Village but it takes time.   At the rate things are going they will be a Branch again.    We have several men who are ready to be advanced in the Priesthood.  One of the problems is trying to find their records and make sure all is in order.   We really enjoy going out to this Group and working with them.  They are so grateful for anything we do.
We will go out this coming Saturday and teach some new member lessons to the families that got baptized in August (yeah - I know we are bit late on doing that).  We will also teach Andrew and his family who have been coming each week for quite some time.  We will stay overnight in Liwonde so we can spend the whole day and not have to worry about getting home before dark. 
Today we gave out some more white shirts to the men there.  There is no way they can afford that themselves and we want them to look like Priesthood holders and feel good about themselves.  Thanks to a young man, Jordan, and donations from our Stake at home we received lots of white shirts and ties.  I am sending a picture of a group of the men there who are looking pretty 'smart' in their new shirts. 
After we got home today Elder Bullock was teaching Andrea, the gate guard here at our compound.  He ask this morning when we left if he could be taught some more today.   We had a lesson with our landlord on Friday too and that went well.  
On another note - we were excited to find some sour cream at the grocery store yesterday.  It is the first time we have seen it here and it is really good.   We had Christoher Sitolo buy us some lettuce at the market since I can't find any decent lettuce at the store.  I ask him to get us some green beans too but he thought I meant the other kind of beans.  He felt bad so has offered to cook them up for us.  We will see how that goes -- we may have to share them with Davie and the guards.  :)   Christopher is a really good cook.
The rains have been coming and the maize is looking better.  Everyone is hopeful.   We had some REALLY GOOD thunderstorms the past couple of days.  We were in the truck when one lightening struck very closeby and we could feel the thunder crash.  We had a couple of people with us and our first thoughts was that someone had hit us but then realized it was the cracking of the thunder. 
All is well.  We carry on trying to do the Lord's work as best we can.  We love what we are doing although some days are difficult.  We love the people here.  I wish I could speak Chichewa.  Maybe that is something we need to work on for a while each day.  My bad memory doesn't help though. 
Love,  The Bullocks