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