Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30th

We had a good weekend here in Blantyre.  We attended the District baptism on Saturday morning where 8 people were baptized.  There were suppose to be 9 but Andrea, a guard we met here at our complex, was late.  By the time he arrived the baptism was finished.  He was quite disappointed but I don't think he will be late next time.  His baptism is rescheduled for April 12th but now we may not be able to attend.    We purposely did not go to Liwonde on Saturday so we could be at his baptism.  :( 
We have not been to Liwonde for three weeks due to General Conference Broadcast, a trip to Lilongwe for church business and then the baptism this past Saturday.   It was good to be there though.  Some good people were baptized.   One young man (about 12) was baptized and so on Sunday morning we took him a white shirt and tie.  He was so pleased!!!   The missionaries got him changed into it and tied his tie for him and he looked pretty smart for his confirmation. 
I didn't get a picture of the whole group.  We got there at the last minute as a worker showed up to install a electrical plug at our flat for an air conditioner.  They said it would take 10 minutes but we should have known by now that it would never happen that fast.  It was more like an hour and a half.  We finally left and had Davey watch things for us and lock the place up.  We totally trust Davey.
The weather is cooling off a bit.  We still use our air conditioner in our bedroom at night though.   It will cool off much more by the end of May.  We just bought nice warm blankets for all the missionary beds.  That was also an experience.  We had Christopher Sitolo bargain for us because if we try and do it (with our white faces) we will pay far too much.   We went to pay and pick them up.  They knew we were coming but hadn't brought the blankets to their little store.  He had to send 2 workers, by foot, to their warehouse that was a few blocks away.  They made three trips carrying the blankets back on their heads.   So again, we thought picking them up would take 1/2 an hour but not so.  It took about 2 hours.  Again, I should have taken pictures of the shop and the workers but I didn't.   We bought 22 blankets so all our Malawi missionaries will  be nice and warm through the winter months. 
We discovered a little while back that we should be paying a withholding tax on any rents we pay for missionary flats.  We didn't know about this but will start doing it as of April 1st.   It really puts the onus on the renters to make the landlords honest.  This has made a couple of our landlords a bit upset with us but we have no choice in the matter.   The Malawi Revenue Authority can come and check our books and if we are not doing it then we can be fined.   The tax is paid on the landlord's behalf, not ours.   We have a book from MRA and we fill out paperwork and give 1 copy to the landlord showing the 15% withholding tax that we submit and then it also shows the 85% balance that goes to the landlord.    The Church has decided that if we already have a lease that doesn't mention the tax and the landlord is upset about not getting his full 100%, then we are to pay the 15% extra.  The Church always wants to do the right thing.  In this case, it is even going the extra mile.    The landlords are already suppose to be paying this on their own and showing us that they do it but.....  most are not doing it.  It is just another thing for us to worry about.  That's what we are here for.  We are just glad that we learned about this though and the Area office had their legal people register us with MRA and get the book for us.    One landlord was only declaring half the rent to the gov't and so now this will force him to be honest.  Another was hoping to avoid it totally.  The honest ones are just fine and understand.  The dishonest ones are unhappy with us. 
I am washing baptism clothes and towels today.  It is our P-day (preparation day).   I made a couple loaves of banana bread as we had bananas that needed to be used.   Lots of bananas here!!    Oranges are now in season so it is nice to be able to get them again.  They have some pretty good mandarin type oranges that we enjoy.  
Well -- that's it for now.   Elder/Sister Bullock

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Our weekend at Lilongwe

Last Thursday (April 17th) we drove to Lilongwe and we stayed with E/S Prete.  President and Sister Padovich and Elder & Sister Taggart drove over from Lusaka, Zambia and we all met there.   Elder Taggart is also in the Mission presidency so they were able to have a good meeting.  Taggarts go home  in a couple of weeks.   
While in Lilongwe the Mission President  interviewed and selected a new Branch President.  As you may remember this is the Branch where we had so many problems last fall with a group that didn't like the Branch President, caused all sorts of difficulties  and attempted to split off into their own Branch.   We spent a lot of time back and forth trying to help.   We visited their homes and pleaded with them to realize what they were doing wrong and to come back to the Branch.   When Pretes arrived in Lilongwe it really helped a lot and they were able to visit the members and listen as they talked things out.     The Branch did become united again and the ones who were aposticizing realized that they had been led astray by the adversary.  They apologized and went about trying to fix the damage they had done and now everyone is back in activity at the Branch and they are all friends again. 
One of these men was just called to be the Branch President and one is a counsellor.  He also kept one of the previous counsellors.   We had a great Sacrament meeting and they bore their testimonies and talked a bit about their previous troubles and how they now are united and love each other and will support each other.   The Branch President that was released called the new Presidency up when he bore his testimony and hugged them each and said he would help and support them and encouraged the members to do the same.    It was really a good experience to see all this take place.      
That is the kind of day that makes all this worthwhile.   As they bore testimonies Elder Bullock was thanked 2 or 3 times for all that he had done to help them.    After the meetings the new President came and got Elder Bullock and said, "What do I do now?"  He had his Branch council waiting for a meeting.  They talked for a few minutes and Elder Bullock  told him what he needed to do for the meeting and that Elder Prete would be there to train and help in any way they needed.    He will do fine.  The new President is a good man and we knew that all along.  We are so glad that we were able to help him turn things around.   

New Investigator

We met this man at Immigration some time back.  Elder Bullock gave him some pamphlets and exchanged phone numbers.   We had communicated a time or two by phone but....
This morning we met him again at Immigration.   We both just happened to be there at the same time, again!  Some say that nothing happens by chance!   We chatted and he said that he had a couple of appointments and wondered if we could get together this afternoon.   We did manage to do that and he also had his fiance' meet with us as well.   We taught the 1st discussion.    He commented that it was Divine intervention that we had met again at the same place (Immigration) and that he was able to arrange his schedule to meet with us.   They are both eager to read the Book of Mormon and she said she will come to Church on Sunday and he will let us know Friday if his schedule will allow him to be there. 
He was born in Paris and has a french accent.  His family is from Nigeria and he has also lived there.   He is a Civil Engineer and was just granted a contract today to do some work at the airport so he will be moving from Lilongwe to Blantyre now.  He is a super guy and we are excited to teach them.    He is the kind of person that the Church really needs here in leadership positions.   We will keep you posted.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Re: Taking Chickens to the market to sell

hahahaaha,  I was thinking the same thing as Cathie....that it is funny he has a cell phone while riding with his chickens!!!

On Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 3:45 PM, Cathy bulthuis <> wrote:
And am I correct about the guy having a cell phone in his ear?!?!?  So completely out of touch with the modern world completely in touch.  :)

Re: Taking Chickens to the market to sell

And am I correct about the guy having a cell phone in his ear?!?!?  So completely out of touch with the modern world completely in touch.  :)

Taking Chickens to the market to sell

I have been trying to get a picture of this for a while but never got my camera out fast enough.   Not sure how many chickens are tied to the handle bars but there are a lot of them.   

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Foggy Morning

I think this is the first time we have seen fog here.  I suppose we were just surrounded by a cloud for a while as Blantyre is up in the hills (mountains).

Sister missionaries

We had our Sister missionaries (Sisters Murisi, Ngqondela, Sieben & Njoroge) here tonight and then we invited them to stay for supper.  Supper was a sausage and avocado on a bun with some potato chips.   They were just happy not to have to cook when they got home.  They are definitely enthusiastic and do a great job!!   We love our Sisters. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

New Investigators

This is a father and his two sons.  The dad saw the sign for our Meeting House last Sunday and went in and joined them for the meetings.  He says he has been searching for 'something'.   He attended the baptisms yesterday and then we arranged to meet with him and his two sons in the afternoon.  He is a deputy head master at a Secondary school.   His wife died in a car accident about 6 years ago.    We had a good lesson with them -- sitting on a mat on their porch.  There were too many little ants for our liking but at least they aren't the 'biting' kind.    He wonders why he couldn't have found this Church when he was much younger!     He was a very good student as he has done a lot of reading this past week of pamphlets etc. that Bro. Chisambo gave him.   We had the zone leaders with us (Elders Hewlett and Elder Dowse) and as they taught he would finish their sentences.  He is very eager to learn more.  The father's name is Paulgodfrey (1 word) and one son is Godfrey and I can't remember the other son's name - it is a hard one.
We just love days like that!!!!!

Easter Sunday/Gomani Baptisms

Saturday morning we had the baptism of the Gomani family in Liwonde.  We had it at the swimming pool at the Hippo Lodge.  It was great and they were so happy!   They had several relatives and friends come with them to watch.  Also one of the Elders from the CCAP Church at their Village.  We had to set up extra chairs as more people arrived.
Today they were confirmed at Church and some of the family came to that as well.   We had an excellent meeting and a great Sunday School class that Elder Bullock taught to clarify some questions they had from last week's lesson.   There were 80 in attendance today - the most we have had so far.  
Aaron Benjamin was ordained to the office of an Elder and we brought him back to Blantyre with us so that he can work with one of our full time missionaries until a new Elder comes in 6 or 7 weeks.   We will get his mission application sent in shortly and he will be anxiously awaiting his call.    There were also several interviewed today by the Branch President from Blantyre for priesthood advancements.  The Liwonde Group falls under Blantyre 1st Branch.    All in all, it was a great day!! 

Liwonde Trip - a few random pictures

1)  a bike ambulance.  Most times the only way to get someone in to the hospital from a Village
2)  People get transport however they can. 
3)  Creepy looking caterpillar.  Put my cell phone by it so you could see the size and now you also have my number, it seems.  :)

New Malawian President

We are glad that after the death of Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika, things have stayed peaceful.  There was some concern that there could be trouble but the vice President was sworn in last night.  For the most part people seemed happy about having her.  We all hope that she can improve relations with other countries and fix the fuel situation.   The queues for fuel are just unreal this past week.  Even tonight coming home from Liwonde there were some terrible traffic jams due to fuel queues.    Hopefully we can get some diesel ourselves this week. 
FYI  ...  Here's an article I found on the internet about the new President. 

Malawi's Vice President Joyce Banda has become Africa's third female head of state after taking over as the country's president following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika.

April 8, 2012 - Lilongwe

Malawi's Vice President Joyce Banda has become Africa's third female head of state after taking over as the country's president following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika.

Joyce Banda was elected to be the third-ever African head of state on Saturday, after Ethiopian Empress Zewditu and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Banda, a women's rights activist, described 'restoring relations with donor nations to the poverty stricken nation', as her first challenge.

In an announcement from Lilongwe, Banda ordered a ten-day period of mourning for Mutharika.

"I call upon all Malawians to remain calm and to keep the peace during this time of bereavement," The Christian Science Monitor quoted her, as saying.

According to the report, Banda's succession as the next President was doubtful as the announcement of Mutharika's death was delayed, and some ministers had even claimed that Banda was ineligible for the job.

Mutharika, a former World Bank economist, had a tensed relationship with Banda following a dispute over Mutharika intentions to have his brother, Peter, to take over as presidential candidate in the 2014 elections, to which Banda had reportedly objected.

She eventually left the Democratic Progresive Party (DPP) and formed her own opposition, People's Party.

Mutharika had allegedly tried to have her removed as vice president, but the effort was futile as under Malawi's Constitution, it is the parliament and not the president who can remove a vice president.

Read more:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Water Buck

Okay -- I think I am finished sending pictures of our weekend.  Hope you like them!

Few more bird pictures

I forgot to post this picture of the little yellow bird and his nest.  Really a pretty one. 


Our guide would be disappointed in me for not remembering all the names of these birds.  I have even more pictures of birds but will have to post more a different time.     These are the most beautiful ones!!

Our Safari getaway!

The Pretes and Collins met us about half way between Blantyre and Lilongwe (at Liwonde) and we travelled 45 minutes by boat to get to the Wilderness Camp, where we spent 3 nights.  It was a great getaway with some great friends.  Bro. Collins works for USAID (with education) here in Malawi.  They have been such a wonderful help for the Branches in Lilongwe.  We would have had a hard time without their help up there. 

Stuck in the mud!

We actually went out into the park several times and always had the same driver/guide.  He was really quite good and knew the names of all the birds, plants, trees and animals.   He prided himself on never getting stuck and having to call for help..... until now!   He went off the edge of the road into a rut and the more he tried to get out the deeper in we went.  Finally he decided he was not going to get himself out and called for help.  ;)   It was quite wet and muddy still out in the bush but he drove a 4 wheel drive and we got through a lot of mud holes and water ways. 

Millipedes, etc.

These millipedes are common to see during the rainy season.  They get to be quite big.  You can see all the legs in this picture.
The second picture is the Warthogs and Impala.   There are a lot of both of these animals at the park.  Especially lots of impala which Africans eat (we have had  Impala stew before) and the lions like them too!!


The big tree is the Baobab and they get huge!!   The other is just an example of how vines, etc. crawl up and around the trees.


This really is a face only a mother could love!  These guys have short necks and have to go down on their front knees to eat.

These are tall coconut trees along the Shire river.  Also more elephants and a Sable. 

Army Ants

These were really interesting.  They were all carrying termites.

Lots of Hippos and LOTS of Crocodiles

The Shire River is full of Hippos and Crocodiles!  We stay away from the river banks!! 


There were lots of monkeys around the park and near the Wilderness Camp where we stayed.  The monkeys would sneak up by the dining area which was open on the sides.  If food was left unattended they would quickly jump in and grab whatever they could.    At one point, one monkey got into the eating area and very quickly jumped up to the food bar where there was breakfast cereal and muffins etc.  and grabbed a muffin, tipped over the bowls of cereal and dashed out again.  He was really fast.   The staff tried to watch carefully but at times the monkeys still got by them.   They had a sling shot and they would point it at the monkeys and they would run away, even though they had nothing to shoot at the monkeys.    Those monkeys are pretty clever!!!

Animals at Liwonde Game Park

We had a great weekend at the Park with Pretes and the Collins family.  Here are a few pictures.   This are some baboons, elephants and a kudu.