Tuesday, September 29, 2009
All is well here. Lots to do. It seems like some days we run around and don't get a lot accomplished but are busy doing necessary errands. We spent Sunday in Kadoma at their meeting and then Sunday night we ladies went to the church here to hear the Women's broadcast, however, it wasn't working right so we missed it. Instead Sis. Sharon Spencer led them in some singing of hymns and I played the piano. She is a really good chorister and everyone enjoyed the time singing. They really love to sing here and do a good job of it.
Seka got back to Harare on Sunday afternoon and came here Monday morning. We called Bishop Spencer (who gave him a job at his grocery store) and he said for him to be there at noon. Since we had a couple of hours we taught him the first discussion and he was frantically
taking notes the whole time. He is so eager to learn all he can. He has been searching for the truth for several years. He is so happy to be here. He just can't thank us enough. His baptism will be a 'great' day. He will be such a great member of the church here in Africa and a tremendous leader.
A few days ago we met one of Merci's friends and Elder Bullock gave her a Book of Mormon and explained a little about it. (We have a B of M loan program where we loan the book for 3 days and then get back with them). She called today to ask if she could keep the book a couple more days and that she would then like to meet with us because she has some questions. Of course we were happy to agree to that and look forward to seeing her soon.
Out in Epworth, we met a barber and his wife and son. He has a small concrete pad on the side of the street where he has his barber shop (an old table chair). He has a car battery that runs the clippers. He also charges cell phones with the car battery ($1.00/charge). We met the barber first and gave him a B of M. When we went back the son, Prince, was reading it too so we gave him his own copy. The barber also wanted us to meet his wife - she is a very nice lady and is hoping we can get her husband to stop drinking alcohol. We told them where church was and they have been a couple of times and have had a discussion or two. We referred them to the elders to be taught. Anyway, the elders told us today that Prince (he's about 16 yrs. old I think) told them that they are holding up his progress. He wants to be a missionary. I guess they will have to speed up the teaching for him. :) We need to get out and visit with them.
We took a bunch of cabbages and onions to Bishop Spencer's grocery store and he bought them to sell in the store. Glad to have that done. Each week we deliver 10 Kg. of tomatoes to the Hamburger Hut and also 20 big bunches of spinach to a restaurant called Mama Mia's. Huseni is taking good care of the garden and green house but after this growing season we are likely going to turn the whole garden area over to be 'priesthood' run by the Highlands ward. They mentioned that they may keep Huseni on as a gardener to take care of things. We have a meeting coming up to discuss all this.
The weather here is getting hot - they tell us October will be the hottest month. Last night there was some lightning in the sky but no rain here. Apparently there was some in a couple of areas though. It is really dry - as it is the dry season still. Lots of sunshine everyday and sometimes a bit of a breeze.
We have our water tanks working now so we are finally getting a shower/bath. We really do appreciate having that!!!! What a wonderful luxury.
I'm still having trouble sending photos through for the blog but will send as I can.
Hope everyone is doing well.
Love to all, Elder/Sister Bullock
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
This morning Seka (the X-pastor) came to Harare. We had set up a job interview for him with Rob Spencer. All went well and Bro. Spencer hired him and will put him through 'management' training for about 6 months at minimum wage ($150/month). That isn't a lot of money but it
is enough. We then took Seka to meet Merci and she will rent him a room (out back of the restaurant) for now and he can likely help her at her restaurant in his off hours. He has to go back home and finalize some things there but plans to be back here to start work next Monday. He was thrilled with the day. He is so very anxious to get here and start taking the missionary discussions.
His two children (3 yrs. and 9 yrs.) will stay with his mother until the end of the school term (first part of December) and then he will move them here. His wife is not back with him yet, although we are all hopeful that she will have a change of heart - or that her parents will. Seka has given up a lot to make this move in his life. He had a pretty good life and he is starting over with basically nothing. It has taken a lot of courage but he is determined to continue on and
move ahead. I wish you could all meet him!
This afternoon we are going out to visit Emmanuel and his family. His wife had her baby boy on the weekend and all went well. He called last evening to tell us that they want us to pick a name for the baby. Apparently that is a real honor. We decided on "Emmanuel James" -- we will see if they like that or not. We will take them a few vegetables from the garden here as they have nothing. That will help them somewhat. We already gave her a new-born kit for the baby.
Some people here are so grateful for what we do for them. We went to Epworth yesterday to see Pauline (the one with the tiny baby that almost died back a few months ago). Pauline wasn't home but her neighbor said that the baby is doing really good. We will go back on Wednesday. The neighbor, Anasia, invited us into her house and ask if I remembered her and her son (I didn't really). I guess she had come here at some point and I gave her boy some clothes. She was so grateful for that and said, "I will never forget you for what you did for me". That was nice.
The Mayfields arrived today and seem like very nice people - not that we expected anything less. Mom--- his mother was born in Magrath. Her name was Isabel Merkley.
It's been a good day and tonight we have been invited to go out for supper with Pres. & Sis. Dube, Deppes' and the Mayfields. We do that when someone new comes.
Love to all, The Bullocks
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Anyway - our account was to have $10,000 transferred into it on Sept. 7th, at the latest. The money comes from SLC. On Sept. 11th there was nothing when we went to check -- that is because the banks here in Africa hold onto the money as long as they can. When we start asking
where our money is then it suddenly appears in the account. However, there is money missing (almost $3000) as of today. The bank says money has been debited out from our SA office and they have to figure it out. We just hope it is them because then we can get it transferred back. Hopefully it isn't some mysterious person taking our money. I emailed our money person, Sarika, in Jo'berg and she will sort it out for us. Lots of fun!!
We just got the audit report from 2008 - we have to have an external audit done for LDSC. I guess it was a challenge to figure out the report for last year as there was the massive inflation of the Zimbabwe dollar and they had to try and convert that to USD. We think they take as long as they can to do it so they can charge the church more for the service. It gets a little pricey.
3-5 year olds at preschool
Holding his baby brother
Kids in the school - we gave them some school kits
There is a guy laying across the chairs in front, sleeping.
Young man getting water out of manhole.
Love, The Bullocks
Thursday, September 17, 2009
about missionary work, of course, and working with members and with the bishops/branch president and the ward councils.
Sister Watson talked about the articles of faith and the doctrines covered in them. She ended by telling us: Be strong, Don't give up, Endure to the End.
Pres. Dube talked about how the gospel of Jesus Christ brings us all together, no matter where in the world we are. He also talked about the atonement. Sis. Dube talked about looking for Christ-like attributes in our companions and also about faith to follow the Lord's commandments and not to ever doubt. The conference ended with a wonderful roast beef fillet dinner with peppercorn sauce or mushroom sauce, scallop potatoes, butternut squash, broccoli and ice cream sundaes for dessert.
We are going to Merci's at 5 p.m. to give her a new member discussion. She wants us to teach her about 'gifts of the spirit' as she missed that Sunday School lesson week before last. When we saw her a couple of days ago she told us that something really good happened at church on Sunday. She said a lady sat by her in SS class and she found out from her that she and her husband had been driving by and decided to check out our church as they are looking for a new one. She said they never drive down this particular street but for some reason did Sunday
morning. Merci got them Book of Mormons and introduced them to the missionaries. (the missionaries have a discussion set up for Saturday). Merci said that in R.S. she and the lady (Lucy) were talking and she ask Merci where she worked and Merci told her that she had a restaurant and what it is called. Lucy ask her if she worked with 'Merci' and she said, I am Merci. Anyway she had recently talked to this lady, Lucy on the phone when she had called to book a birthday party for her daughter at her restaurant. Merci is SOOOO good. She told Lucy that it wasn't just by chance that they drove past the church that morning. She explained a few things to her and told her that she was a brand new member and how wonderful it all is. Lucy ask how long it had taken for Merci to be taught and get baptized. I guess in R. S. there was talk about getting baptized for the dead and Merci explained to her that it sounds "weird" but that it is okay.
Merci wants us to go see them and explain more about the church. We will try and do that tomorrow if we can get hold of Lucy - so far we haven't been able to.
We met our friends Carol and Ellson on our morning walk yesterday and they, along with their mother, have been reading the Book of Mormon we gave them. Carol said she has a lot of questions and want us to meet with them. The mother called yesterday and will call in a day or two to set up a time for next week. :) This is so fun!!!!
We were out yesterday talking to people in a community about a borehole (well) that they would like us to do. We are working with them to teach that they need a water committee and what the committee needs to do. They are starting to understand it all and get themselves organized. When we left the area we saw a boy down in a manhole in the street bringing up water in his container - it wasn't sewer water, but I'm sure it wasn't too clean. They get water
wherever they can. Hopefully we can get some boreholes in the area for them - we are looking at 3 schools and 2 areas in business centers where we would like to do boreholes. It is a lot of work to get it organized but we are working on it. It will take some time to put it all together. It will be exciting if it all happens or even part of it.
SA has requested that all the humanitarian couples go out and check on previous projects and see if they are still functioning and if the committees are doing their jobs. This will take some time but should be interesting. They want us to select a few (mostly water projects) and get what information, feedback and recommendations. This will take some time but they want the reports back by Oct. 23rd.
Need to run and go to Merci's.
Love to all. The Bullocks
Monday, September 14, 2009
We had a good weekend in Masvingo. We met with the new branch president and discussed a few of his concerns. He is young but certainly doing a great job. These young returned missionaries make good church leaders here. We attended their meetings on Sunday and things went well. We are happy to have our branch assignment changed to Masvingo now. (Not that we didn’t like the branches we had.) We go down once a month and we go on a Saturday and stay overnight. We stay at the “Inn on the Great Zimbabwe”. I had forgotten how beautiful and peaceful it is there and the food is good too (served in a ‘fine-dining’ atmosphere with attentive waiters). We open up the drapes so we can watch the sun come up and it is a beautiful sight.
On our way home we came across an accident where a little girl had been hit and killed on the side of the highway. There were a few people there diverting traffic around her. We stopped and Jim got a scarf from someone and put it over the girl so that everyone didn’t have to drive by and look at her. The mother had run off, as I am sure she was very upset. It was very sad! We stayed for just a couple of minutes and drove on. They said someone had gone to get the police. It isn’t really surprising that someone could get hit like that as there are so many people walking along the roads and running across the roads and the vehicles drive kind of crazy a lot of the time. We pray every day that we can drive safely and not get hit or hit anyone else.
Sorry to have missed mom’s 80th birthday party but we wouldn’t miss this experience for anything either. Glad that Tara, Pam and Kim and their families could represent us. We are certain that they had a good time together too. We hear that there were a few manicures, pedicures and facials that took place at Diane’s school. We did get a shower at the ‘inn’ on the weekend and it felt REALLY good.
I’m having a hard time sending photos for the blog lately. I will send more when I can.
We now have a U.S. dollar bank account for LDS Charities. In the past we have had to get cash from the mission office and it is charged against our LDSC projects, etc. There was suppose to be $10,000 put into our account on Sept. 7th so we went to check on it Friday the 11th and found that there was no money in the account. We have heard that sometimes the bank here will hold the money for a while – which is what it seems they did to us. We went back again today and suddenly we have money that was deposited Friday after we left the bank. However, there have been a couple of transfers from our account in the amount of over $2200. We explained that we haven’t taken any out yet so they suggested that there has been a mix-up with another account. They are sorting it out and we will go back tomorrow and check again. It seems we will have to keep a very close eye on things. Everything is done in cash here – no checks, no debit cards, no credit cards. We will have to go get cash when we need to pay for something and then we keep records here of what is spent and send in a report to South Africa.
President Bullock has been doing a few polygamy interviews with people who want to get baptized. It has to be determined that they are not sympathetic towards polygamy and that they have not lived in a polygamy family. There is a fair bit of that here so the church has to be careful. If their parents practiced polygamy then a report has to go to SLC to get approval for their baptism. If it was grandparents then the area authorities in South Africa can approve it.
Time to go home. Love to all, Elder & Sister Bullock
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Last evening we went with Wellington to the Celebration Center to a meeting of different church leaders and some others as well I think. They talked about uniting in the cause for Zimbabwe. They talked about what we can do for the destiny of the nation and feel that men
of God can change things. It was mentioned that if people would pay their tithes the Lord would bless them. One speaker said, "Zimbabwe used to be the bread basket of Africa but now it is the basket case of Africa". Their goal to to try and feed the nation in 2009 & 2010 regardless of the President and ministers of the country. The main focus is on "Farming God's Way" which basically means to teach the people to stop burning their fields etc. and compost instead. Instead of digging/plowing the fields they dig holes, put in some compost material, put a little dirt on top and then plant their seeds. All this is generally done by hand and this new method would be less back-breaking work as well. The yield from this method increases dramatically. They don't seem to know much about composting here and think they need someone to give them fertilizer all the time.
They showed us a movie they had made about it. It was in Shona with English subtitles but it was hard to read the words as the background was too light. We got the idea though. I think it would be good to try and teach it to some of our rural pastors who are going to be planting corn maize next month.
Today we went out and checked on Emmanuel's little family. We took them some rubber gloves (that mom sent with us) and 4 candles. She is going to have the baby any minute!! He is staying close to home. The wife doesn't know a lot of English but Emmanuel's is really good. We hope they may want to hear the gospel one day.
The weather feels warm today - almost hot. We decided it is time to take the flannel sheets off the bed and go back to regular ones. Beauty is at the flat today doing that. She even irons our sheets (we told her she didn't need to but she still does). She does a good job. We did get a hose pipe (garden hose) for her as neighbors were not letting her always use the communal one so now she can fill the washing machine with that instead of having to haul the water in buckets. (The washer and dryer are outside, on the side of our flats, enclosed in locked cage. The water comes from the borehole (well) since we have no municipal water still (well we did get enough for 2 toilet flushes this week). We aren't complaining though because we have not had any power cuts for 8 days now and that is really great!!!
Yesterday we took some school kits out to two primary schools that don't have a lot of kids (as we don't have enough school kits to hand out at a large school). Pastor Sikyani took us. He is one of our favorite pastors as he is so humble and honest. He asked if we wanted to arrange to go with him by ox-cart one day to take some things to some of his people that cannot be reached by vehicle. I think I want to more than Elder Bullock but we are going to do that. :) He said
it is about 45 - 60 minutes one way. There are 60 children there that could use some clothes and school kits or whatever we can take. We will try and do that late in the month after our Marondera Branch conference is done. Should be an interesting experience!!!
I better get back to work. Hope everyone is fine.
Love, Elder and Sister Bullock
Saturday, September 5, 2009
New mothers receiving 'new-born kits' as they were getting ready to leave hospital
Brand new baby (on right)
At hospital in Bulawayo when we gave out 'new-born' kits. There were so many premature babies.
On wall of hospital office
Kids taking water home - we gave them some candy
Kids making lunch (sadza and relish). Notice the 2 balls in his hands.
Ali, the gate guard at the mission office
Some kids outside Zvikomborero's house
Elder Nell, Panashe and Elder Mabhena
We went with the elders to teach Panashe and his mother Zvikomborero. The elders do a really good job to teaching in a plain and simple way.
We go to Marondera tomorrow for meetings and to make preparations for their branch conference in two weeks. President Bullock will be presiding and speaking. We will go down on the Sat. and do branch training so we need to set that up and figure out what we will be
doing for the training. I am a little nervous about that.
The weather is getting warmer now. The nights aren't so cold anymore, although we still are using our flannel sheets - not ready to give those up just yet. I can wear just a T-shirt for our morning walks now. We still have absolutely no water in the taps at our flat.
Pres. Dube is having us get prices on installing a 2500 ltr. tank outside our flats with a pressure pump. We can fill the tank with a hose from the borehole and then the tank is hooked up to our water pipes and we can have water from that. It will cost somewhere around $800 plus or minus for everything but we could have water to bath and flush toilets etc. The geiser (hot water heater) would fill and we could have hot water for a change. The mission is looking at paying for it to make life easier for the couples! It would be a real treat!! Hopefully it will get approved. The electricity seems to be a little better lately - not off quite as much as it was. I guess we are lucky though - a couple serving in Ethiopia got an electricity bill for 13 cents because that is as much power as they received last month!!! Sorry Esplins.
Must run and get to the grocery store and get on with our day.
Love you, Elder & Sister Bullock
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
This morning we went out to see Emmanuel and his pregnant wife (the one we paid the $50 to the maternity clinic). She is doing better and is expected to deliver any day. When they go to the clinic to deliver they have to take gloves for the nurse to wear while delivering, 3 candles and matches if the baby comes in the night as there is usually no power, and a few other things. We thought that was rather interesting. They are a nice family. I will send a picture for the
blog if I can get it through (it has been difficult to send pictures lately).
This afternoon we spent some time sorting shoes that came in the container. They come in bags all mixed up ( men's womens, and children all together). It took a little while and it was hot in
the sun where we were doing it. We haven't been giving out shoes for a while as it is hard to do that when there are a lot of people to try and fit.
We have one of our branches that is having a branch conference in a couple of weeks. Pres. Bullock will be in charge as Pres. Dube can't be there. We also have to do the Saturday training for the branch. We have a lot to do to prepare for that - especially since we aren't sure what we are going to do.
When the new couple come on the 21st they will take over our two branches that we have been responsible for and we will be doing Mashvingo branch(3 hr. drive) - as well as Mutare District. When the couple come we will take them out and introduce them at the branches.
Must run. We want to get home. We are doing fine. Love to all, Jim and Nancy