I will send this letter when I can – as we have had no internet for the past week (maybe a few minutes a couple of times). It still wasn’t working today so hopefully someone will get it fixed soon. It does make us feel out of touch with the rest of the world and hope all is well at home.
On Tuesday morning (Nov. 3rd) Pastor Wonder came in to see us. He works out in the Goromonzi area (about an hour from Harare). He wanted Elder Bullock to explain to him about the Book of Mormon. We had talked a bit once before when we had him in the truck. As Elder Bullock explained about the book I could see the understanding come into Pastor Wonder’s face. He said that he wants us to come and teach his people (which we can’t do, again they are out of the center of strength). He said he felt that this was true and he wants his people to have the truth. I explained that what he was feeling was the ‘spirit’ testifying to him. He said I can feel it in my mind and heart and nerves! Then he wanted to apologize because he said that he had a Book of Mormon before and that he had destroyed it. He was feeling really bad! He said that when he was studying religion they had taught about our church but they taught that we are a cult and to keep away from us – so when he was given a B of M he destroyed it. He said that he knows that they didn’t know what they were talking about and he is grateful to know the truth now. We offered him another Book of Mormon and he was happy to take it and said he wanted to read it. We told him he could come back anytime and we can talk some more. We could feel the spirit in the room.
I’m beginning to wonder if part of our reason for coming here is to teach these pastors that LDS Charities has been working with for several years. Other couples have given Book of Mormons but never stopped to explain so that they can understand. Elder Bullock is very good at explaining it to them. If there is anyone at home that would like it explained to them when we return just let us know!!!
Pastor Seka (now just Seka, after leaving his posting and congregation) had his baptismal interview today and passed with flying colors. We were out of town and called him to see how it went. He said, “I really enjoyed it. I was really prepared, I tell you.” He will be baptized on Sat. Nov. 14th and confirmed on Sunday. We suggested to him that a fellow he works with could baptize him and he has asked him to do that. It is strongly suggested that if possible, a member of the ward or a friend should do the baptism so that there is a fellowship established. Missionaries come and go and they need to be bonded with the ward members. Seka has invited several people to his baptism (members and non-members). His friend, Pastor Mhike is coming. He is the other pastor who is working towards moving his family to an area where the church is functioning. Saturday will be a great day!! Merci is still in Uganda but she should be home any day. I know she doesn’t want to miss Seka’s baptism.
On Thursday we went back to visit the boreholes near Chegutu that were done in 2007 by LDSC. We had ask the people to get a water committee together so we could meet with them. It is a 2 hr. drive so we can’t keep running back and forth every week. We were happy to have 9 men there (some from the original committee) and they are prepared to help get these wells working again. The meeting was at the Damangwe Primary school. That is the school that is so poor – there is not a single desk or chair for the children. In fact, we found out that the school ‘head’ doesn’t even have a desk or chair. Some of the children did not even have exercise books (scribblers) or pencils. We surprised them with 18 cases of school kits and they were SO pleased and grateful. (perhaps we should have even taken more but....) When the school ‘head’ saw the boxes in the truck he asked, “How many schools are you going to today?” We said, “Just yours!”. We also gave them 5 balls and some skipping ropes. It is really only a drop in the bucket but it will help them. There are 401 students there. That is where the borehole was still working (needs a bit of maintenance). They have a good sized garden that looks good considering the dry conditions right now. The kids are hauling water in 2 & 4 litre containers to water it. The borehole isn’t really close to the garden either. It makes me want to cry to watch them with their small containers making so many trips back and forth. I suggested to Elder Bullock that we should write up in our proposal for the area to give them an electric submersible pump and a tank and run water lines to the garden, school and also where the village people could fill their containers easier. We don’t know if this will get approved, but we hope so. We will try. Another thought that I had is that we should try and get them a grinding mill. The closest one to the area is 10 Km. away. They could generate some income for the school and buy some of the things they need (books, benches, tables, etc.). A grinding mill would help them be more self-sufficient. We could do an initiative to give them some of these things but perhaps it would be better to give them a way to generate their own income. If they can have the water and grinding mill they could also have a chicken project to help them. All sorts of possibilities. I just really felt a lot of compassion for this area and would love to help them. I hope that is Heavenly Father putting these thoughts in my head and that this is a good project to work on and that our people in South Africa will feel it too (through us) and approve it. We will pursue it and see what happens.
We had the first little rain fall in Harare on Thursday – it didn’t last long but it is a start. On Saturday when we drove to Gweru we hit a storm between KweKwe and Gweru and it was coming down so hard and fast that we had to pull off to the side of the road twice. There were 2 other vehicles nearby and we all pulled off together both times. We made it to Gweru though in time for their district training meeting and had a good a meeting and some good training. There was a turnout of over 100. We talked again about home teaching, visiting teaching and working with councils. I never cease to be amazed at the spirituality of the people here and their willingness to work and serve. They have some powerful leaders and some of them are so young. The strength of the church here is in the young people and the ones that serve missions come back prepared to be leaders.
The hotel we stayed at in KweKwe last night left something to be desired. We will try and avoid staying there again, however, I shouldn’t complain as the sheets were clean and there were no bugs. We drove to Kadoma today for church. We had promised that we would go this week for their primary presentation and they did do a great job. When we had promised to be in Kadoma we didn’t know we were suppose to go to Gweru for the training but it worked out okay. They are all on the same road.
On Friday we went to a meeting at the Henry John Reimer Clinic where we hope to replace their transformers and fix their borehole. There was a decent turnout. This area is farmland. There are about 30 farmers (black) who employ a lot of people. This clinic is for them – about 6000 people. The clinic had ask the farmers to come to the meeting to discuss how they can help sustain the borehole and transformers (protect them from theft) once they are put in. We had two influential people come. One is the MP for the Goromonzi North area – his name is P. Zhanda. He and his son are two of the farm owners. He got the farmers to commit to donating $20/month to pay for security guards and also to have a fund to repair things if there are problems down the road. He got up and handed the treasurer $120 for he and his sons first 3 months worth of contributions. At least he is leading out and doing – Do as I do, not as I say. We had met Mr. Zhanda once before at a “thank you” ceremony and were impressed with him. The people seem to like him. He thanked us for trying to do more charity work in his area. We didn’t realize that were in his area with these two clinic projects we are working on. Afterwards he ask what we are doing for Christmas and we told him that we will be spending it with some of the missionaries (Gweru is our assigned area for Christmas). He said he is going to give us a ‘pig’. He will have it butchered however we want it! I did tell him I was relieved because I was afraid he might be giving us a live one!! I guess we will wait and see how that comes out. Perhaps we can cook it up for the elders. He might forget about giving it to us and that might be alright too.
The other influential person there was a lady and she is currently the executive director of an organization called “Zimbabwe Women Against HIV/AIDS, Poverty and Violence”. She goes to NYC for 3 weeks each year to a big world-wide conference on women’s rights etc. Anyway – it was a great meeting and we were impressed with all that was accomplished. It was one of the best meetings we’ve had so far while trying to get committees to function properly.
The head nurse was not at the meeting because her husband had been in a “combie” accident and she had gone to find him. A combie is a minivan that is used as a bus here – and there are a LOT of them and they drive like maniacs and stuff way too many people inside. Her husband is a school teacher and had taken a combie to Marondera to turn in the grade 7 exam papers. (The gr. 7 kids have all been writing this provincial or national exam this week.) We found out later that the husband was killed in the accident. I don’t know how many others were killed or hurt but when they have an accident it usually is not good news. They could really use some better ‘safe’ driving practises here. We cringe sometimes when we see how people ride. It would be SO against the law in America.
This week Elder Bullock is going to a Zone Leaders conference for a couple of nights (I’m not invited). The other counsellor in the mission presidency, Elder Patterson is coming down from Zambia and will go too. Sister Patterson will be here and I guess I will be spending time with her. Pres. Dube said that we, along with Sis. Dube, should come out to where they are one day for lunch and that we women should go visit the “Lion and Cheetah” park that is in the area. We went there with Taylors once and it was a good place to visit. That is where I was when I held the lion cub.
I’ve gone on long enough – hopefully not so long that you quit reading before now!
Love to all, Elder and Sister Bullock