I attached my letter that I wrote yesterday on word document.
We have a fellow that we have seen a lot when walking in the mornings and Jim gave him a Book of Mormon and introduced him to the missionaries. The elders met with him yesterday and he had his wife there and also his brother and his wife. They taught them and have another appointment next week as well. :) We are excited about that!
Today we went to the first church meeting held in Epworth. It wasn’t the beginning of a branch, like I first thought it was going to be, but there will be Sunday meetings held there and when there are sufficient priesthood holders to form a branch then that will happen. The missionaries had passed out flyers and some pamphlets the past couple of weeks and we had about 44 people there. We were excited that our new friends from Epworth came and she brought her husband as well. His name is Gift and her name is Eveleen. Their son, Panache, the 11 yr. Old that we gave shoes to recently was there also. Panache also brought along his best friend, Brite, and Brite’s two sisters, Michelle and Olivia. Eveleen’s good friend, Beatrice, also came. They came late and missed sacrament meeting but were there for the Sunday School lesson that the elders taught about the Plan of Salvation. It was a really good lesson. Afterwards our friends made an appointment with the elders to come and teach them on Thursday. The elders were making several other appointments as well so all in all I would say that things went rather well.
I took the piano keyboard with me (with batteries, due to no power) and played the music. They ask Jim to lead and he did a fine job of it. The stake president and a counsellor in the stake presidency spoke in Sacrament meeting about the history and restoration of the church, also a ward missionary from the Queensdale ward (that ward will be in charge of these meetings).
The meeting was held at a school in one of the classrooms. Each classroom is it’s own building with dust pathways around them. They will request a different one for the future though – one on a corner. We were kind of in the middle of things today and it seems that several different churches rent classrooms there. Consequently we had quite a bit of competition as far as noise went. There was singing and drums etc. going on all around and it was hard to hear. From where I was sitting I could see the building right next to us and they were hauling in “American” style drums and sound system. I was really praying that we would get finished our sacrament meeting before they started up – and we did. We shut the windows during Sunday School and that helped some. It was definitely interesting. We were glad to have been there.
There is another lady from Epworth that keeps showing up (mind you – we did give her a flyer about the meeting today). We met her at the Highlands ward a couple of weeks ago and we did go out to her place after she ask for some help. She is not a member but knew to come to the church to ask for assistance. We did give her some blankets, soap etc. then but she wasn’t really happy because we didn’t take food too. (we don’t have food to give) Today she approached me and said that I had promised to bring her something and I told her ‘no, I hadn’t promised any such thing’. She wants food, money, or whatever. She had approached Jim before me and given him a sad story. We purposely had nothing with us. We don’t want people coming to church just because they think that they will be able to get stuff from us. In reality, the members do not receive from LDSC (humanitarian) but they would receive through the bishop (fast offerings) if the bishop feels they are in need. This lady does appear to be needy but it is hard because she will drive us crazy and we could never give her enough. I think she is a grandmother taking care of a couple of orphan grandchildren. We did give blankets so that they won’t be cold at night. We do not give money. By the way, the lady Paulene, in Epworth, that I gave $10 so she could start her banana business just spent the money. We also found out that she is living in a polygamy situation so the elders cannot teach her. There is a lot of that here.
Anyway that is our Sunday. We will have Taylors over for supper later – a combined effort. We will have some pot roast with potatoes and carrots and cabbage salad (coleslaw). We eat a lot of coleslaw here as cabbage is plentiful and cheap. There is lettuce but it isn’t all that great and it goes bad quickly – And the salad dressing here leaves something to be desired!! Cabbage and broccoli are in season now and there have been some nice looking heads.
One more thing – I want to copy a text message we received a couple of days ago from a Pastor. We are a little disgusted with his greediness. This is what he sent. “Elder, how are you this morning. Am going back to Muzarabani today so see you on Monday for our 836 orphans, 52 volunteers, and 300 guardians. Am requesting the following: 2 boxes of toys, 6 bales clothes for children, 2 bales for women guardians and volunteers, 2 for men. Then 15 boxes of school kits and 20 boxes of hygiene kits, wheelchairs and a borehole. I will talk to you on Monday. Pastor Mike.” That is quite the request. I guess our meeting Monday will be interesting. Maybe we will want to just run and hide when he comes!! We only have 4 bales of children’s clothes left – we had 15 bales. We want to try and take some to an orphanage in Mutare that we visited when we first arrived here. It was run by some nuns and they really did need help – I think they had 29 children living there. It was up in the hills away from Mutare. (We are meeting with the Mutare District President tomorrow about possibly doing something there). He may want to have the youth do a service project again at the same time. There is also a school for the handicapped in Mutare that we could perhaps give some school kits to (the kids live at the school). There aren’t a huge number of them.
We are thinking that we will write up an initiative right away for purchasing some exercise books for schools. There is such a huge need for them and that is something that we can buy here – rather than have the shipping costs. If the initiative is approved we would have the money available to order the books as we need them. They also really need chalk and pens/pencils. Schools have ask us for exercise books even just for the teachers so that they can have something to use for their planning (scheming, as they say). I hope I am not repeating myself as I ramble – if I have said this before, sorry for repeating it. I will end this for now.
Much love to our family and friends. The Bullocks