Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Scripture Conversations

Hi, We are having a little fun this afternoon with one of our pastors from the rurals - Bishop Chris - the one who comes pleading a lot for things for the people and we have had to pretty much put an end to it. However, he doesn't give up easily. These are the text messages that have been going back and forth this afternoon - you might have to look up a couple of scriptures if you want to get a chuckle. At least Bishop Chris is proving to have a good sense of humor. He told us the other day that he had ask some of the people to repair the road and then they would receive clothes from LDS Charities. We had told him there were no more clothes for him and we did not know about any of this.

Elder B: We haven't heard from you. Are you still alive?

Bishop Chris: I am alive but I have a problem of people who constructed the road who I ask to in order to get clothes from LDS Charities. Having faith in you and your organization, I did that.

Elder B. Why did you tell them that? We already told you there was no more before you started.

Bishop Chris: Elder, I am sorry. I will never do that again. Help them please. I need you to pull me out.

Elder B. But Bishop, when we came to your place with clothes and blankets we told you there would be no more, so why did you say that?

Bishop Chris: By the grace of God, can you do something for these people. They did a very good job.

Elder B: I don't have any clothes to give them. I already told you that.

Bishop Chris: We need only 3 bales of clothes, by grace.

Elder B: Sorry we had to go out and I forgot the phone. I don't know what we can do. As I explained before there are other projects. I doubt there will be any clothes remaining. I have no clothes to give.

Bishop Chris: Matthew 14:30 is my position. O Elder! (scripture: "But when he saw the wind boisterous he was afraid and began to sink. He cried, saying, Lord, save me.")

Elder B: Read in the Book of Mormon, page 380. Helaman 5:40-41 for your solution. (Scripture: "And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him, What shall we do that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us? And Aminadab said unto them, "Ye must repent and cry unto the voice even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma and Amulek and Zeezrom. And when ye shall do this the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.")

Bishop Chris: Repenting and crying is what I was doing until you ask me whether I am alive and I am still going to do that so that this dark cloud shall be removed. Be blessed.

Elder Bullock is starting to waiver - saying, "maybe we should help him". However, I really don't think we can.

E/S Bullock

Monday, July 27, 2009

a bit of news

We were just called into the mission president's office and Jim was
called to be the second counselor in the mission presidency and was
set apart. We certainly were not expecting that.
We still do our LDS Charities responsibilities but will fit this in
along with it. We will be doing more traveling and training and Jim
(oh - I mean, President Bullock) will be doing interviewing for
baptisms and such. We will have to get more organized and schedule
ourselves better.

Must get on our way home as it is getting dark. Just wanted to share
the latest turn of events.
Jim is feeling a bit overwelmed but he will do fine.

Love to all, President & Sister Bullock

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hi, We got back from Mutare a little while ago. Apparently there is a baptism for two people from Epworth and our family from Epworth is coming as they are to be baptized in two weeks, except for the dad he will be a couple of weeks after that. He has stopped smoking for 3 days now. So we will stay here at the church and attend the baptism as well. We were going to go out to Epworth and visit but we can visit with them here instead.

Thursday we arrived in Mutare and met up with Pres. Chadambuka and he had a group of young single adults with him. We went to the orphanage and set out the clothes and shoes and waited for the kids to come from school. They were excited to get some clothes (about 3 + pieces each) and a pair of shoes. There were only two girls so they got a few more things. They were pretty excited. The one little girl tried on a couple of different outfits and wanted her picture taken. We also gave them some hygiene kits for the nuns to give out as needed and we gave each child a school kit. They loved the school kits - you would think it was Christmas morning as they pulled each item out of their bag. It was fun to watch them. We also left a few toys, balls, and a couple of dolls. The nuns also got a pair of shoes each -- I hadn't really planned on that but it worked out great and they loved it. They insisted on giving us some sweet potatoes to bring home - but we gave them to someone else that we met on our ride home.

On our way to the orphanage - following Pres. Chadambuka and crew.

At orphanage.

Bedroom at orphanage.

President Chadambuka and young single adult men.

Orphanage kitchen - opening for fire is outside under pots.

Some of the orphans.

Her favourite new outfit.

Orphans with Pres. Chadambuka.

The kids loved the school kits.

Sister Bullock with the two Nun Sisters.

Elder Bullock with _________, a girl he met when we were there in March so we found her again.

The making of bricks - drying in sun. Men in background laying bricks.

Heading back to Mutara from orphanage.

Thursday afternoon we went to the Zororai Old People's Home in Mutare and were able to meet with the board members as they happened to be having a meeting. We were impressed with their board and the things they are doing to be more self-sufficient. We talked about what they need to do in order for us to put in the request for the motor for their grinding mill - the most important thing is to have a committee formed to take care of it and put aside a little money so that they can repair it is it breaks down. They seem to have that all figured out. Neighboring people will come there to grind and will pay $1 for a 20 ltr. pail. They have an organization called 'Environment Africa' that is helping the with their gardens and they are giving them inputs (seed and fertilizer, etc) for the first year. The Justice of the Peace gives some people food and in return those people come and work in the gardens at the old people's home. The water in Mutare isn't too bad (better than Harare it seems). We left them with some hygiene kits as well and they were most appreciative.
Going to Old People's Home.
I didn't get any pictures at the Old People's Home.

Early Friday morning we left for the refugee camp with Pres. Chadambuka, Fortune, the public affairs rep. and another fellow who lives at the camp and gave us directions to get there. We never would have got there without him. He has his passport now so he is free to come and go from the camp. Nice fellow. Fortune gave him the first discussion on the way there and he wants the missionaries to teach him more.

We found the member we went to the refugee camp to find. He was surprised, of course, but happy to see us. He says there are two other members there but they have been going to a different church there at the camp. There were two other members before but they have left and gone to South Africa. We talked with him and his wife, a lady that he met there. There are no children. She is not a member but maybe he can teach her. We all squeezed into their small 1 room house and we all sang "Love at Home" with them. (kind of teary for me). That song will have new meaning to me now! Pres. Chadambuka then gave him a blessing. We left him with several Liahonas and Ensign magazines as well as the new Gospel Essentials book and a set of new scriptures. It was a neat experience. Hopefully now he won't feel like no one cares about him. Maybe he will stop sending his letters to church headquarters. He is from D.R. Congo and he spoke mostly french (some English) and Elder Bullock got a chance to use his French.

Friday - Refugee camp pics
Refugee camp.

Refugee camp.

Our Refugee church member.

Church member and his wife at refugee camp - checking return address on letter he sent to Russell M. Nelson that was sent back to mission.

Two little kids at the refugee camp - they wanted their picture taken.

More kids at the camp - they seemed to be dressed okay.

On the way to the camp we saw a lot of Baobab trees - the ones we saw in Malawi - the ones that kind of look like they are upside down. I will send a picture or two. Apparently these trees survive well because they store a lot of water and use little as they have small leaves. People cut the bark off in long pieces and use it to make rugs. The trees repair themselves but you can see the scars where the bark has been taken. The terrain we drive through was large hills and then it got really dry and dusty as we got closer to the camp.

Baobab tree - see the marks on trunk where they have peeled the bark.

Elder Bullock standing by Baobab tree.

Rugs made from bank of baobab tree.

There were a lot of goats roaming around and a few pigs. Where there was some irrigation there were some green fields but otherwise it was pretty barren. The people in the camp had garden spots that were surrounded by thorny bushes that they had cut - to keep out the chickens and goats etc.
Goats wandering across the road.

We need to head home so I will send this and then send Kim some pictures for the blog tomorrow and she can post it all then.

O yeah - we went to World Vision and found out where a little girl is that my friend, Florence Davidson, sends money for. She is down by Bulawayo. We are going down there next month and we are trying to arrange to see the girl, hopefully. I think that would be fun to see where she lives and to see how donations help these children. We are going to Bulawayo on Aug. 22nd to help with a service project the stake is doing at a hospital and we will take down some 'new-born kits' for them to give out.

Must run. Love to all, Jim and Nancy

I forgot about this yesterday -
On our way back to Harare on Sat. we stopped on the roadside to buy some wood for our fireplace. Wood is cheaper out in the rural areas. Anyway, we stopped and honked our horn and a lady came running from her hut - with her little boy. They looked rather needy so I pulled out a few clothes and shoes we had left over from the orphanage and gave them some. An older boy came out too (about 8 or 9) and we found a pair of shoes that fit him - also a pair of heavy duty sandals that fit the mother and left a pair for the husband (hopefully they will fit). I didn't have a pair for the little guy but gave her a pair that are too big and she can save them or trade them or whatever. They were pretty excited. She fell on her knees to say thank-you and we told her she didn't need to do that. We also gave her the sweet potatoes that the nuns had given us and a hygiene kit. I think they really needed it all.

We stopped to buy firewood and gave them some clothes, shoes and hygiene kit. She fell on her knees to say thank you

We bought the wood from her too so that should have made her day. When we were in Mutare we bought a big, good axe from Pres. Chadambuka's hardware store and we will need it. We did enjoy a nice fire last night - as we had no power. What's new? We seem to lose power a lot these days and seldom have water. O well - it will just make us appreciate it a lot more when we get home to Canada.
Pres. Chadambuka wanted to stop and buy tomatoes for his wife - they all hope he will buy theirs.

Love, E/S Bullock

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

We got up at 5:45 a.m. and went for our hour walk, had breakfast and headed to our office. We were excited to pick up our brand new Isuzu diesel truck today – twin cab with a topper on the back. It will be nice to have it. We need to go buy some diesel coupons now. We will buy a book of 100 coupons – each coupon is for 20 litres of fuel. I suppose using coupons helps to keep from having to handle the cash and probably is a method of security for the fuel companies and their employees. If you don’t have a coupon you can always buy one from one of several people trying to sell them at the entrance to the gas station but they likely cost more.

Our new LDSC truck

Pastor Seka came in again today. They ask if we would help them out as they (their congregation, I guess) are supporting 3 college students. We gave them each a blanket, hygiene kit and a few items of clothing. Pastor Seka was also anxious to talk some more about the Book of Mormon and some other literature that we gave last week. He has read it and knows he has found the truth. He said he is prepared to make a sacrifice. He wants to come to Harare and be taught. He said he was sitting in church yesterday and he looked out at his congregation and he thought to himself, “I don’t belong here anymore –these are not my people”. He is willing to find any job he can do so he can support his family here in Harare where he can be taught by the missionaries. When he was out by the container he grabbed Elder Bullock and said, “I love you”. I asked him if his wife was okay with moving to Harare and he said she is though she doesn’t understand about the church yet but is willing to learn. They have two children – 9 years old and 3 years old. While he was waiting for us at the mission office he was talking to the elders and they were talking to him about some gospel principles. He was just eating it all up.

Elder Bullock and Pastor Seka

When he was in last week he said he wanted to be baptized and we told him that there were some things he needed to learn first. Today when he came in he had the pamphlets in his hand and said he now realizes that there is a lot to learn and he is eager to get started. It is thrilling and humbling to be part of this and see the Lord work on this man. He will be a great asset to the Lord’s kingdom here in Zimbabwe.

We taught Merci another discussion this morning and she is doing just fine. She really is a ‘golden’ contact that we know we were led to and she feels that as well.

Our family from Epworth were at church again yesterday for the fourth week in a row. They are doing well – Panashe and his mom are coming along faster than the dad. He has some word of wisdom problems to conquer and because of work (selling fruit) he hasn’t been in on all the discussions. He is going to church though and is doing okay.

Answer, our other contact, has been to church 3 times now and we need to get the missionaries teaching him. He called us last night to tell us he had been to church again.

Isn’t this just the greatest? These people are so good. O yeah – we are suppose to be humanitarian welfare missionaries doing water projects! We are working on that too, believe it or not. We just need the Lord to help us find where we are suppose to do a project. We thought we had a good possibility but are not convinced. We are trying to get hold of someone at Zimbabwe Water Authority to see if they can advise us on where there is the greatest need. We noticed in reading a couple of past projects that the couple had worked with them so..... We may have to just go to their offices as no one will answer the phone number we were given for the ‘ground water’ division. Tomorrow we are meeting with some people regarding a request to replace a borehole pump at a school and do a borehole at another school. They are in the city of Harare. They are hooked up to the city water system but since no repairs have been done to any water systems for years the water mostly just seeps out from broken underground pipes and runs down the roads and is wasted. This is a common sight. It is a sad thing as there is such a need for water.

Off to bed! We actually have had power all evening! Here are some pictures you will find interesting of a shoe brush business:

Small business of making shoe brushes

They use cow's tail

Cut, bend in half and wire the hair and then insert into drilled holes in the block of wood

They are making these shoe brushes

P.S. We can finally announce that Jeffrey R. Holland is coming here at the end of August. He will be talking to the saints here in Harare on the 29th and then going to Mutare and from what we understand he will be changing the district there into a stake. His security people are coming a couple of weeks early to check out everything here and were happy to hear that we have an X-policeman here who can possibly help them with the security for Elder Holland. After what happened to Russell M. Nelson in Mozambique last month they are being very careful. The people here are going to be excited to have an apostle visit. We have told our pastors about his visit and they want to come too.

That's all for now. Love, Sister Bullock/mom

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday afternoon we left about 3 p.m. with Taylors and went to Imire Safari Ranch about 1 ½ hours from Harare (close to Marondera). We arrived, got our rooms (hut-type cottage with a thatched roof), and then went on an evening ride and saw the rhinos and elephants where they are kept at night (to protect them from poachers). We rode in seats in the back of a pick-up as there were only a few of us at that point – but it was quite cool and we wrapped up in blankets. We stopped to see the sunset and were given a little snack and drink and then returned back to the cottages. They had a nice fire going to warm us up. More people had arrived and we were served supper of chicken, rice and vegetables.
Our nice cabin

Getting ready to leave for our rather cold safari. It was windy.

Off we go!!!

The Taylors got up early and went for an elephant ride – (we wimped out on that plus we didn’t want to pay $20 each for it). We slept in, had a warm shower and spent a little more time enjoying the nice fire in the dining room area. They served us a nice breakfast of eggs, baked beans, potato fritters, fried tomatoes and toast. We were then off for our safari – this time in a wagon (see pictures) because there were quite a few of us. We rode around seeing animals for about 2 ½ hours and then we were served a buffet lunch, which was really good. We ate sadza for the first time with some impala stew, rice, cooked cabbage, and some salads. When we were about done eating the handlers rode the elephants over and we watched them for a while. I was hoping they would go into the water but they didn’t. They sure are big animals! They estimate that the largest elephant weighs about 4 ½ tons. We carried on again and saw Enzoe (Zoey), the elephant that thinks she is a water buffalo. She was orphaned and they had no other elephants at the time so they put her with the buffalo and because she grew the biggest she thinks she is the boss and takes care of the herd. She doesn’t like the males and when they start to get aggressive, toward the females, she becomes protective. She has killed 14 of them (they use the meat to feed to the lions!). Apparently when they get close enough she just whacks them with her trunk which is super powerful (10,000 muscles in the trunk), and knocks them down. He then stabs them with a tusk and rolls on them. That pretty much does the job. (I hope I am getting the story all right). Once, one of the bulls went after a man who works with them and hurt him quite badly. He had to crawl for help and Zoey, the elephant, walked along side him the whole way to protect him from the bull (this man is the first one who ever cared for Zoe when they first found him orphaned). Zoey killed the bull shortly thereafter. National Geographic has been there twice to do a documentary about Zoey and her herd of water buffalo.

Elephant Family

He wants a branch - they eat leaves and the bark.

They have an armed guard with the rhinos and elephants all the time because of poachers. They lost their rhinos (breeding stock) to poachers a couple of years ago and luckily had some young ones still and they are having to wait another two years for them to be old enough to start breeding. They kill them for the horns and ivory tusks. This farm is more of a conservation area for the animals than anything. They keep them in at night but they are out all day roaming around a vast area. There are a lot of impala and sable and other animals as well.

Warthogs have to kneed to eat

Rhinos have 24 hr. guards due to poaching

We met a young couple with a baby – he works at the American Embassy. They were really nice and we are going to have them over for supper one night. He reminded me of Wade. They are here for two years and come from Boston. The four nurses were at the ranch for a get-away. 3 of them are here in Zimbabwe for 5 weeks as part of their training – they were from North Dakota, So. Dakota, and Toronto. The fourth has been here for 5 years. They sure need them here. They were with a church organization. Nice girls. There were also a couple of family groups there. We all ate together in the dining room and visited some.

We headed home at 3:30 and got back before dark. It was a nice break but 10 minutes after we walked in our flat the power went out for the evening – a regular occurrence, it seems. We had hot water for our bath this a.m. but no cold!! We just added some borehole water from our bucket we always keep on hand.

Today we went to church at Highlands ward so that we could go with Merci and Malaika, her daughter. It was nice to have them there and they enjoyed it and met a few other people. We will see Merci tomorrow and give her another discussion. Elder Bullock is having an afternoon nap as he didn’t sleep much last night (due to a kidney stone which we think passed!!). I checked out the flowers in the yard while he’s been sleeping and picked a bouquet to enjoy in the flat.

Bouquet of flowers from our yard

They say the weather won’t get any cooler than it has been and should start warming up soon. We are getting a little more wind - apparently August and September are the windy months. The past couple of days have been cloudy. It looked to us like it would rain any minute but when we ask the gate guard if it was going to rain, he said, “No, just clouds” and he was right. Today is a nice sunny day with a slight breeze and probably about 70 – 75 degrees I think. It was only 56 degrees in our bedroom this morning when we got up though – we are enjoying our new flannel sheets!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday, July 16th / Friday, July 17th


We just went shopping and bought $340 worth of groceries so we could stock up. Prices are going up here so just in case..... We bought 24 ltrs. of UHT milk @ $1.49 each, toilet tissue @ 4 rolls for $3.54 (there is cheaper but it is awful) and some fruit juices, flour, oil, rice, oatmeal, laundry soap, chicken and ground beef, and some candles (as we can't ever have too many candles!).

We left the office in the middle of day because we had too many people outside the gate asking for stuff. We have had to made the decision that we are not going to give out at the gates anymore because it is becoming such a problem. We told them we cannot give out but they were not leaving so we thought if we left and they knew that we aren't here they would leave and they did leave. We came back a couple of hours later. We did have one man who was there that we felt like we
needed to give a blanket but we couldn't give to him in front of all the others so we ask him to go down the street and around the corner and we would meet him there - which we did on our way out. There was another who needed a new wheelchair and we ask him to come back today with information about why he couldn't walk (we wanted to make sure that he really did need one). He did and we gave him one today - we don't have hardly any wheelchairs left to give.


We taught Merci again last night and have set Aug. 15th or 16th as her baptism date. She is doing very well and has a special spirit about her.

We have been out all morning talking to people and checking out some things in regards to a water project we are looking at. Lots to do to get a project together.

More people at the gate today - we had to send them away because otherwise we will have line-ups down the street forever (most of these people are coming from Epworth and yes, we did partly create this problem and have to put an end to them all coming here)!! :(

Anyway - we are taking off in half an hour with Taylors and we are going to an animal park about 1 1/2 hrs. away and we will stay overnight there and go on an evening excursion for a couple of hours and then supper at 8 p.m. Tomorrow morning if we want we can take an elephant ride at 6:30 (?? don't know if I will do that), the breakfast then another excursion to see animals from 10 - 3 or so with a lunch inbetween while we watch the elephants at the watering hole. Sounds like it should be a fun getaway!!

I will try and send a couple of pictures and will try and maybe get on chat or skype on Sunday afternoon.
Merci and her daughter, Malaika

Our investigators from Epworth that the missionaries are teaching.
Panashe and his mother Zvikomborero from Epworth in front of their new home

a little girl watching us.

Love to all, E/S Bullock

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


We had two ladies come in this morning to learn more about the Book of Mormons we gave them. We taught them the same things we taught the two pastors that were here on Monday and gave them pamphlets etc. They also live away from our centers of strength. I don't know if they were as enthusiastic as the pastors were but that's okay. Pres. Dube came by though and bore his testimony to them and told them that if they read the Book of Mormon it will change their lives. The ladies did end by asking for donations but we didn't give them any as we already have given to them.

Now, we have Bishop Chris back again. He sent us a text message asking if he can buy Bibles and we answered that he cannot because we sell only to church members. The reason for that is because the church really subsidizes the basic materials for the members - Bibles sell for 50 cents. We would have everyone buying them to sell on the street to make a living. Anyway, Bishop Chris, being such a persistent individual, showed up anyway and tried to slip by our office to the distribution center. They wouldn't have sold to him anyway as they as for a unit #, etc. We did buy 2 copies for him the other day so he would have the King James version. (He had to buy 2 because there is no change for dollars here). Now he is having a discussion with Elder Bullock!! He was telling us that he has joined 5 churches but he still isn't satisfied. We said that is because you
haven't found the right one yet. Perhaps we can enlighten him. He says he has until 3:00 to keep discussing. He lives closer than the other people but he is still away from the 'centers of strength'. He lives in the rurals outside of Harare. He could come into Harare.

We stopped in and visited with Merci this morning on our way to the office and we will meet with her tomorrow for another discussion. She has been reading a lot and she tells us what she has read and totally understands it. It just makes us 'tingle'. She says she wants to be baptized but we need to get her attending church and we need to finish the discussions. We will take Samantha, a member of her ward, with us tomorrow for the discussion.

Anyway.... must run. Love, Nancy

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More of Monday, July 13th

We had an interesting and busy day today. We started out by meeting with Bishop Chris from the rural areas. He is the one who asks us continually for things that he can take back to his people and we have been warning him that we cannot keep giving as our focus is changing. We find him very manipulative. What it really came down to is that he will lose ‘face’ with his community if we don’t give him something to take back. We told him that we have to tell him ‘no’ and he will have to tell the people ‘no’. We discussed with him for well over an hour and he finally left with nothing. He has been receiving handouts from LDS Charities for a long time.

We talked to him about how people have to learn to take care of themselves and become self reliant. It was hard for him. Next, Pastor Mataya came to see us. He hasn’t received anything from the container yet so we arranged with him to take some clothes and blankets out to the rural area that he works in – also explaining that we can’t give him any more after this.

NOW – for the highlight of our day! Pastor Mike and Pastor Seka came to see us but they never asked for anything!! They are from Muzarabani – about 300 km. north. Last time we saw them Elder Bullock gave Pastor Seka a Book of Mormon and he has been reading it. They wanted to talk about it and learn more. They both have congregations and want to teach them from the Book of Mormon and want to make sure they understand. They are willing to come and ‘squat’ for a few days in Harare so they can be taught. Elder Bullock (Jim) taught them about where the B of M comes from and about the atonement and several other things. We invited the AP’s to come in and they talked to them for a little while. The pastors just ate it all up – they have also learned some things from humanitarian couples that they have dealt with previously. I wish I had a recording of our visit with them. They want it so badly. I ask what their superiors would think if they knew they were teaching from the B of M and they looked a little sheepish and said they would likely be run off – but they don’t care. I told them that our bishops and leaders do not get paid (it is all – if they join the church that would be the end of their income as pastors. That was okay too. Anyhow, due to the fact that they are so far from our ‘center of strength’ they cannot be taught. We have no missionaries up there because we don’t have enough to cover the area. They could come here and be taught but could not be baptized as there is no branch where they are.

Anyway – the mission president said we could give them each the missionary pamphlets, a conference edition of the Ensign magazine and a couple other things so that they have some correct things to teach. They were so happy to have the Book of Mormon and are so determined to teach their people. It was really an amazing experience – just like ones we hear about now and then. I don’t know what will happen but eventually the church will get to them – we just need more couples and missionaries to cover places like this so they can have the gospel.

This afternoon we met with some people from our church who wanted to show us a garden project they want to do and a need for some boreholes in the area. We have been praying that if we are suppose to do water projects that the Lord will guide us to the place that we could do this. This just might be an answer to prayer – it has some really good possibilities that we will pursue and is in an area that would help a large amount of people who now walk a long distance to get clean water.

Primary children at Marondera Branch carrying their chairs to primary

July 13th, 2009

We arrived home safely from our trip to Johannesburg for our Humanitarian welfare training. There were 7 couples in attendance plus Elder and Sister Godfrey and Bro. & Sister Elks who oversee all that we do in SE Africa. The couples and their area of responsibility were:
Lester and Joan Moody – DR Congo, Cameroon, Congo, Guinea, Gabon, Central Africa Republic
Neuman and Judy Callister – South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland
John and Geri Esplin – Kenya, Tanzania
Robert and Susan Bird – Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion
Bruce and Linda Cox – Mozambique, Angola
Kent and Becky Himle – Ethiopia
Jim and Nancy Bullock – Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi
Arthur and Alice Glenn – Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Southern Sudan

We were really impressed with some of the projects they are doing and it was fun to share and learn from each other. We stayed in a lovely hotel that had good beds, hot water for the shower & tub, electricity that never went off, and a wonderful buffet of food for every meal (and of course we all ate way too much).
Duck at hotel in Jo'burg

We had meetings everyday and learned about ‘raising the bar’ in regards to what projects we do and how we do them. It is our main objective to help people become self-reliant and do only projects that will accomplish that and get away from just ‘giving’. We had two video conferences with people in SLC who oversee water projects, wheelchairs and agriculture and could ask questions.

Thursday afternoon we attended a session at the temple with just our group. It was really a good experience to be there together.
To finish off our conference we were then taken out for supper to a very nice restaurant with some great food. Friday we met up with Elder and Sister Ward (who we met at the MTC) and they took us shopping. Johannesburg is a very modern city with real freeways and malls with good stores!! We bought ourselves a set of flannel sheets (which we are loving), an electric frying pan, a sharp knife and some raisins, nuts and a ‘little’ chocolate! The nuts and chocolate have already been eaten and we are now on our ‘sugarfree’ diet again and trying to eat carefully. We had fish and salad for supper tonight. (It was good). We brought back 2 computers and a projector for the mission (as carry-ons).

flying from Johannesburg - the haze is smoke from all the burning of grass etc. that goes on
This just shows the layer of smoke hanging over the country from all the cooking fires and the burning along the roads and in the fields.

Harare airport

We came home on Friday evening to no electricity or water and again none on Saturday night either. O well – that is life in Zimbabwe! We haven’t had water much lately – we have to haul it from the nearby borehole tap outside. Oh – and by the way – we managed to get 5 - 100 Trillion dollar bills. They are not easy to come by (collectors item – supposedly worth something on e-bay). They are the largest bills they printed here but never really went into circulation before they did away with the Zimbabwe money and started using U.S. dollars. We had a good week and enjoyed our time in South Africa but are now back and ready to go to work.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Morning

Another quick update - I hope we aren't going on about this too much for you. We talked to the elders last night on the phone and they told us why our family 'the Kurevas' had to move. Their landlord told them the missionaries were not allowed to come and teach them at their home anymore so they moved and apparently the new landlord lives far away and so it won't be an issue. We haven't seen their new place yet - we will go with the Elders on Saturday.

Also, the son, Panashe's best friend, Brite, has been in on the discussions too and they gave him a Book of Mormon to take home for his parents and now his parents have an appointment with the missionaries on Thursday. AND.... some of the extended family are interested - Gift's brother and family and Zvikomborero's friend.

Just a note about their home and moving. Here people have little homes with 2 or 3 or 4 rooms - usually with separate entrances and then they will rent out a room or two. The Kureva family was renting one room (about 10' x 10') with 1 little window for $20/month. They have one double bed (wood frame and wood base - no mattress or pad) and the kids sleep on the cement floor with blankets that are stored under the bed. They have a little table by the window where they keep a little food and pot/pan and dishes and they have one or two small stools to sit on. In the other corner at the end of the bed they have their few clothes in a couple of boxes. When we taught them the discussion we crowded in - we and the elders sitting on the edge of the bed and the kids on the floor.

They do their cooking outdoors and spend the majority of their time out. No water (except what they haul from the well) and no electricity. It is as if they are camping ALL the time but that is how lots of people live here. They have to try and find wood or can buy it on the roadside from someone else who has managed to get it. You see people hauling wood on their heads and bikes all the time - trying to make a few dollars for themselves. They can cook with very little wood or sawdust or dry corncobs. (We waste so much and think nothing of it!!!!)

If they make $100/month here they are getting by. Except that they can't afford to pay their children's school fees or buy uniforms. There are people that make more and might rent 2 or 3 rooms for their family and there are some who actually have a house. They make more money. We pay our garden help here at the LDSC gardens $.85/hr for the head worker and $.75/hr. to his helper. That money comes out of the project initiative, but we worry what they will do if we do not keep the garden functioning, and we may not. We have been suggesting that they need to look for some other ways to make some money - besides we aren't paying enough for them to really function and we are not employers!!!! -- it is just short term labor when there is work. School teachers and police are getting paid $100/month right now and that is not enough. They survive because they have gardens. They just keep going to work hoping that things are going to change and get better soon. A bad paying job is better than no job at all.

There are some people here that seem to do fine and drive decent cars etc. The majority do not have vehicles though and they bum rides or take the transit or walk for miles. Gas just went up to $1.50/ltr. YIKES!!

Sorry to have rambled on. We do get accustomed to what we see here and as I have said before - they are happy for the most part because they know nothing different. They pray a lot and say that God will provide and will make things better.

Must run - time to head to the airport and Jo'burg (Johannesburg). Love you.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hello everyone, I want to take some time to tell you how we met Mercy. It is a good thing that happened to us.

We had taken a lady to her home, who had been helping us distribute some things to some people. We thought there must be a quicker way home, so she gave us directions to go to the stop sign, turn left, and more directions. We promptly got lost. However, when we made the left turn, at the stop sign, we passed a home that was turned into a restaurant/art gallery. We thought we should check it out, someday.

A couple of Fridays ago, we were looking for a place to go for dinner, and thought about that restaurant. We drove over, but she was just closing, because her chef had gone back to his rural home the weekend before, and had not returned. She apologized, offered us some sandwiches, but we declined. She showed us through the gallery and restaurant, very homey. Then her daughter, Malaika come out. She is about 3-4 years old, very cute. We always carry some sweets to hand out to the kids we pass on the roads. I went out to get her a couple, and as I was getting them, I felt impressed, by the Spirit, to give her a study guide on the Plan of Salvation.

When I got back to the restaurant, I asked her what the most important thing in her life was. I was a little surprised by her response; she said it was her relationship with Jesus Christ! I complimented her for that, and asked her what the next important thing was. She hesitated, so I pointed at Malaika. She said of course, but everyone would say their children. I asked her why people would say their children were so important. Again, she paused, and said it was because they are a part of us, they are from us. I then asked her what she would do if her daughter was taken away from her. She got very quiet, and said she didn’t know, but she would probably cry a lot. Then I asked her what would happen when she died, what would happen to her family. She said they would be hers, but not really. I felt I should put my arm around her shoulder, and I told her, “I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, that the authority to have your daughter sealed to you for this life, and through all eternity is on the earth today.” I tingled all over as I bore testimony to her that what I told her was true. She was really taken by that thought. We talked for a long time about the Church (she knew where the chapel was). I gave her the study guide as we were leaving. She said she loves to read things like that, and she would devour it that night.

We didn’t get back to see her until Tuesday afternoon. She was so excited to see us. She had read, and re-read, underlined, and made comments in the study guide, and on pieces of paper. We talked, again, for sometime. She said she believed everything that was in the guide. We arranged for her to come to the mission office, and taught her the 1st discussion. That went very well. She said she was reading the Plan of Salvation study guide, and it made reference to the Book of Mormon. She told us she wished she had the book so she could read it, and here we were giving her a copy. She is such a special lady. We love her, and her daughter.

Sister Bullock has told you in her letter today that she wants to continue studying so she can be baptized. What a wonderful experience that will be. We have been very blessed as we have talked to people we have met, about the Gospel, in our travels. Right now there are several who are studying with the missionaries, and we are teaching Mercy and Malaika. The Lord is pouring His Spirit on the people of Africa, and they are accepting the Gospel everywhere. It is wonderful to be able to tell them that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth through Joseph Smith, that there has been a continual line of Prophets and Apostles on the earth since his day, and that we are guided under the direction of President Thomas S. Monson today.

We love you all.
Elder and Sister Bullock

More Good News

Hi everyone,

We stopped to see Mercy on our way home from Kadoma. She didn't make it to church today as her car is not working and by the time she got public transport she was going to be too late so she went back home. Anyway - the first thing she said to us was, "I decided that the next time I see Elder and Sister Bullock that I am going to tell them that I want to keep learning and work towards getting baptized". Of course, we loved hearing that!!!!

We ask if she would mind if we had the sister missionaries come by and teach her this week while we are gone and she is just fine with that.

Must run. Jim is writing more for the blog.

Love, Nancy

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Baptism Date

We are really excited. The elders called us last night to tell us that 'our family' have agreed to a baptism date of Aug. 8th. This is the family that came to us because they had been robbed and we gave them blankets and some clothes. We talked to them about the gospel and they came out to the first 'branch' - well not a branch yet - meeting that was held in Epworth and at that time set a date with the missionaries to come and teach them. We showed the elders where their house is and sat in on their first discussion. They have the 11 yr. old son that we gave shoes to - the one who threw his arms around Elder Bullock and said 'thank you, papa'. He is a great boy - smart. He will be a great missionary one day!!!!! Their names are: husband: Gift Kureva, wife: Zvikomborero (means - gift in Shona) so the elders have nicknamed them the Gifts, children: Panashe - 11 yr. old boy, Poshia - 9 yr. old girl, Rumbidzai - 3 yr. old girl.

Sister Bullock & Zvikomborero Murniro in Epworth
(I have sent this picture before, but thought I would put it up again so you could see what she looks like again.)

We visited with our other investigator, Mercy, late yesterday to see how she is doing. She has been reading and praying. We left her another pamphlet and a Liahona. She said she believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet. We haven't taught her about the word of wisdom yet and she said, "I've been trying not to drink coffee or tea because I know you don't do that". She said that she drinks a coffee now and then. We told her she could drink herbal tea if she wanted to. She then said that she wondered how it would work since part of her restaurant business is selling coffee and tea. We told her it was fine. She might decide differently down the road. She is really doing some thinking though. She is a rather independent type girl -- I wondered how she would react to only men holding the priesthood and interestingly enough she asked about that. We explained it and she thanked us for not beating around the bush. She said she liked the answer -- that God created Adam and Eve to walk side by side and to work together. I told her that I had never felt 'put down' as a woman in the church and that we have women who have leadership positions in the Relief Society, primary, etc. She was okay with it. Anyway - she is doing great and we think she is just great!!!! She is really an intelligent, sharp lady. We will introduce the sister missionaries to her so they can visit with her while we are in Johannesburg next week.

Our mission isn't a proselyting mission but we do try and talk to people whenever we can. We also have another man and his wife taking the discussions with the missionaries (Funuel) - the man we met when we walk in the mornings. His brother and wife are also listening and it sounds like they are doing well. We also have 'Answer' a waiter at a restaurant that we talked to and he has been to church a couple of times but we haven't gotten missionaries to him yet. We need to get on them again to go visit him as he has great potential too.

We went to the 4th of July celebration at the ambassador's yard. It was hamburgers and hot dogs and potluck salads and desserts. We ate too much!!! They had a bit of entertainment and some games for the kids. We didn't stay the whole time but it was an enjoyable couple of hours.

We are off to Kadoma tomorrow for church.
We love you all, E/S Bullock

Friday, July 3, 2009

Well we made it back from Masvingo about 4:00 yesterday. We needed to get some petrol to make it back and they were out at the station in Masvingo where we can use our coupons. We thought we would try and make it but half way decided we didn't have enough so we stopped and
paid cash at a petrol station and had to pay $1.55/ltr instead of the usual $1.30. O well - we put in enough to get us home.

We loaded up with our donated food on Wed. morning - most of it was from Rob Spencer's SPAR (grocery store owned by a member of the church). He was very generous and tried to give us food to provide a balanced diet - powdered milk, bread, fruit, veggies, protein (dried soya, peanut butter and some little dried fish, and some beans). We also had arranged to pick up at a market near us but they gave us a bit of old greens (chinese cabbage and a bit of regular cabbage) - we were disappointed in what they gave. On the way out of town we stopped on the roadside and bought 20 cabbages for $10 from a young fellow -- he was pretty excited to sell that much at one time!! We also took a few bags of a high-nutrition porridge that Pres. Nield gave us.

We dropped in at the hospital unannounced as we wanted to see if they had the blankets on the beds that we took down last Saturday. They did not. They said they were putting them in their reserve storage and we told them that we had heard that the patients were cold and needed blankets now. ??? Most of the beds that we saw only had 1 blanket on them. They got a little defensive but we told them that we were just hoping that they were making use of the donations for the patients. They said they wanted to label them first (& that is a good idea).

Men's ward keeping warm around fire

More patients keeping warm

We gave them the food and they were thrilled to get it. We then told them that we had $200 that someone had donated (The Taylors) and that we would buy more food and bring it out the next day.

Delivering donated food to the mental health hospital

Vegetables for hospital

Oranges and soup mix

We asked the man in charge of the kitchen what they really needed and he told us they would love to have some dry yeast and some sugar (they had flour but no yeast). So we went shopping but had a hard time finding yeast. The SPAR store wouldn't sell yeast as they use all they can get in their own bakery - and they did have a huge line-up waiting to buy bread. We went to another store and they didn't have a bakery so we bought the 26 x 100gm. packages that they had. We also bought 100 kg. of sugar and spent the balance on 15 x 10 kg. bags of mealie meal (milled corn). We took it out to them and they were happy to show us that the blankets were now on the beds!!!! They were also making the mid-day meal and using vegetables etc. that we had taken them.

Cooking lunch with some of our donations

Directors at hospital and Jim - making a list of contributions

We took a couple of balls to them which they seemed to really like.

They were thrilled with the ball we gave them - they said they just need uniforms now

We also took some books to give to Vernon (I think I called him Vincent before and said he wasn't mentally handicapped but he is rather slow). He can read a little but probably not well enough. We left the books and perhaps someone will read to the patients who cannot read. They were good life-skill type stories.

Elizabeth & Vernon - checking to see if he can read before we give him some books (he can't read very well)

All in all we had a good trip down there and we feel like the directors will use the things appropriately - at least we hope so.

We took Elizabeth with us to the hospital - she joined the church about a year ago and is a really good lady. She is a social worker. She was good to take along and she enjoyed the trip because she had heard about the hospital but had never been there. She visited with the different patients.

We all took a liking to Mona Lisa, a 23 yr. old girl there. We found out that she is 5 months pregnant and that her boyfriend had dropped her off there for the second time. After the first time she went back to her family and then back to the boyfriend and he brought her back to the hospital. The nurses say she is doing better and her family visit her and are supportive. Hopefully she will get well - they had her rather sedated on Wed. when we saw her again. She is a pretty
girl with a really nice smile. We left a new-born kit with the nurse to save for her and left a note for her with it.
Mona Lisa and Elizabeth

Road coming from hospital

Gloomy day on way home from Masvingo

Semi tipped over on side of road - was there on Sunday too (Thursday today!)

We also saw another semi flipped over that had a couple of tanks on it. The edges of the roads have sharp drop-offs here and there so whether they went off (the roads aren't very wide) or whether the driver fell asleep, who knows. I wonder if they will retrieve the vehicles or just leave them there to get stripped. So many of the cars that are in accidents are just left where they are.

I had better get to work - we are trying to get a couple of initiatives written up and sent in still.

Love to all, The Bullocks