Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

We packed up the food (that Spar and prepared for us) and headed to Gweru on the morning of the 24th to meet up with the ten elders there. We were planning to eat then do the activities at the Zone leaders flat but since they only had a toaster type oven on their counter top we decided we would move things to the church where there was a stove/oven. We put the lasagna and garlic bread in the oven to heat and set things up. The elders loved the food. Afterwards we watched a movie that they had brought and had apple pie with vanilla custard poured on top.

Christmas morning we met again and had a ‘breakfast casserole’ and fruit. The elders each received a ‘sock’ with some candy, tie, T-shirt, and a pair of socks. Some who needed it were given a white shirt as well. Some got a parcel from home but some did not. We had a ‘white elephant’ gift exchange but no one wanted to steal as the gifts were all definitely ‘white elephants’!! haha

We then all went to Antelope Park game reserve and resort. The elders were pretty excited to be able to go but were disappointed that they couldn’t go on the elephant ride or the walk with the lions. We did all go on a safari ride on the back of a truck and we had a good guide that talked to us a lot about the animals and the trees and vegetation. They had a good time. Afterwards we headed back to the church and put dinner in the oven (ham, scalloped potatoes, butternut squash, and a roll – o yes, and pumpkin pie). During this time they took turns talking to their parents on the cell phones. It was hard to get connections but I think they all managed to get a chance to talk to their families. We then played a game with some of them and watched another movie. By then it was time to clean and pack up.

We had made a reservation at a lodge that was on the list at the mission office. We paid for our two nights but were rather disappointed in the accommodation. It was old but the worst part was the gross shower. After we checked in we stopped at Pres. Paradzai’s office to drop off an envelope and he mentioned a new place that was nice. We called and they had space for the next night so we told the first place that we had a change in plans and they did give us back our money for the second night. We were glad we did that as the new place “Village Lodge” was really nice and we had a good sleep there. We had arranged to meet up with the Mayfields on Sat. when they were coming back from Bulawayo and we stayed an extra night there. Saturday we went back to Antelope Park and had a nice relaxing day there. We went on a game drive again but this time we went on a mule drawn wagon and were able to get up closer to the animals. We sat in the shade and relaxed while Elder Mayfield waited for his elephant ride – which he loved! After that we all went on the ‘walk with the Lions’.

The Lion Walk took about 1 ½ hrs. and it was great! We each were given a stick and told that if the lions were to look at us with a ‘naughty look’ (he said we would know what that was if it happened) we were to point the stick at the lion and say “NO” without having a shaky voice or shaky knees! - the lions would know if we were scared and they would single us out and pick on us! YIKES! *The naughty look: if the lion were to crouch down and look us in the eye as if he were about to pounce (it never happened). We were instructed to not touch their heads or faces and of course, not confront them at all.

The lions (1 male and 1 female, 15 months old siblings) stopped a couple times to wrestle with each other and at one point the female spotted some impalas in the distance and she walked off towards them and watched them. They must have sensed the lion as they ran off after a little bit. The lion handlers then called her back and she came. The females lions are the ones that do the hunting. The males are kind of lazy guys.

They take the cubs when they are 3 weeks old and work with them. (stage 1). When they are 18 months old they are introduced to hunting for themselves (stage 2) and when they are pretty good at that they are put out to totally take care of themselves with no human interaction (stage 3). Stage 4 is when they are confident that they can survive on their own and will be put into a ‘pride’ where they are needed. Lions are an endangered species as the population has decreased considerably in the past several years. It was an interesting experience that we likely won’t ever do again.

This morning (Sunday) we drove to Kwe Kwe for church (about 40 minutes down the road). We had never been there before. We were impressed with the branch. They even had a grand piano in the chapel – the first one we have ever seen here in a church) and a girl could even play it pretty good. The people were very friendly, as usual.

We had a good weekend but it is good to get back home too. Back to work tomorrow!! Lots to do!

P.S. I was going to tell you – in all the church’s here they have what they call a ‘strong room’ (basically a room with no windows and a heavy metal ‘safe’ door). They keep their library items in there and anything of worth. Anyway, at the church in Gweru they even put the fridge and stove in their when it is not being used. So when we were there the fellow had to come and get them out and put them back about 3 times for us. Luckily the strong room was right across the hall from the kitchen/relief society room. There are no dishes or supplies in the kitchen here as they would just get stolen. Too bad!!

25 December - Antelope Park with Elders - going to see the wildlife

Camelion lizard - notice his eye and his foot


26 December - At Antelope Park again - a Giraffe

Posing with the giraffe

Trimming grass - no whipper snippers here!

Walking with the Lions at Antelope Park

Jim holding her tail as we walked along

Heading across the grassland

We all have sticks for a reason!

Sunset as we left Antelope Park

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hi from Zimbabwe

Hi, I forgot to tell you that Jim was asked to talk in church this past week in Masvingo. Apparently the Branch President had emailed us and ask him but we never got the email so he had to stay up late on Saturday night preparing.

We just chuckled because we thought perhaps they would have talks about Christmas but his assignment was "morality and modesty". I am attaching a copy of his talk as he did a good job and the Branch Pres. was quite happy with it. Elder Bullock asked after if that is what he had wanted and he said that it was (and even more). The Branch Pres. said when he has a hard topic he will always assign someone from outside the Branch since it is easier that way and Dad did a good job of it.

The x-branch president nodded his head in agreement a couple of times during the talk so it was obviously something that needed to be addressed. Women here are not especially modest and think nothing of pulling out a breast and nursing anywhere the need arises. They did
laugh when dad said that he was often afraid that certain body parts were going to fall out from their clothes. (and that is very true!)

Anyway - if you are interested there is a copy of his talk below.

I guess I am feeling the Christmas spirit as two different ladies came to the offices today asking for help and I was generous to them - gave them some clothes for themselves and their baby. They looked like they needed help. My only worry now is that they will go back and tell their neighborhood and we will have another rush of people begging at the gate. We have mostly put a stop to that as it is hard to tell if they are genuinely in need or not. O well. I was feeling in a generous mood today. There was a lady in the garden too that has two small children and they looked needy. I gave her a couple of toys for them and some clothes. She was really grateful. It is fun to give and help them but it can create a 'nightmare' too. I also made up a small box of toys and clothes etc. for Seka and his two children for Christmas.

We are fine and making preparations for Christmas day with the elders. It will be a nice break for us.

Oh yes -- we got one more grinding mill project approved at the Danangwe school (the one that has no desks or chairs or anything). We had to be a bit persuasive to get them to take it to the area presidency and get it approved on this year's budget but the money is there and better on this year's budget than on 2010 when our budget has been slashed somewhat. Thanks to Elder and Sister Godfrey for pushing it through for us.

Merry Christmas and love to all, Elder & Sister Bullock

Jim's talk:

In the Book of Mormon, Jacob chapter 2, Jacob explains that he has been commanded to teach the people something that is difficult to do, but because of the assignment he had received from the Lord, he had a responsibility to teach what he was told to teach. My assignment did not come from an angel, like Jacob, it came from President Munaki, but it is still difficult for me, and it is important.

David, the King of Judah started out as a very righteous man. Because of his righteousness, he was favoured of the Lord and he was protected as he fought and killed Goliath, but things started to go wrong for David as he was disobedient to God’s commandments. One night he couldn’t sleep, so he got out of bed and went out on the roof. As he was getting some fresh air, he noticed Bathsheba washing herself; he stood there and watched her, then he started to think about her, then he started to ask questions about her, then he sent servants to go invite her to come to his place and he broke the Law of Chastity with her; Bathsheba became pregnant. Once that happened, David called for her husband to come in from the battlefield, hoping he could hide his sin by having Uriah and Bathsheba come together. When that didn’t work, he sent Uriah back to the war and had him placed in the fiercest part of the fighting, and then he had all of the army pull away from Uriah, leaving him to fight by himself, and he was killed.

Now, let’s consider Joseph, who was sold by his brothers into slavery. The Lord was also with Joseph, as he served in Potiphar’s house, so much so, that Potiphar made Joseph overseer of all that he possessed. Potiphar did not know what he owned, he just knew he could leave it with Joseph and he would prosper. Potiphar’s wife liked Joseph...too much. She wanted him to lie with her. Finally, she grabbed Joseph by the cloak and tried to have him lie with her. Genesis 39:12 says he left the garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. David looked on Bathsheba to lust after her and committed adultery and murder; Joseph fled and got him out. What if David turned away and went back into his palace?

Sister Bullock and I spend a lot of our time out in the rural areas doing humanitarian work. We work with some of the ministers and pastors out there. We have found that there are a lot of children being raised by their grandparents, because they are double orphans. There are many children who are single orphans, living with only one of their parents. The main reason for this is that one of their parents, or both, has died from HIV/AIDS. Not only have the parents passed away, but far too many of their children have also been infected, or they have died, from HIV/AIDS. This disease is not something you get because someone sneezed and left germs in the air. Usually, this disease is the result of the husband, the wife, or both, breaking the Law of Chastity with someone they are not married to and then returning to their spouse and passing it on. I understand that many may have been infected with the disease before they joined the Church, but many more were infected after joining the Church.

The physical consequences of breaking the Law of Chastity are not always as drastic as contracting AIDS, but the spiritual consequences are. In Alma 39, Alma teaches is son Corianton, who guilty of sexual sin, just how serious it is. In verse 5 we read:

Alma 39: 5 Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost.

Being morally clean is not only avoiding committing adultery.

In Doctrine and Covenants 59:6 we learn: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it.

Adultery is committing sexual sin with someone who is married to someone else. What does like unto it mean? Like unto it is committing sexual sin when both partners are not married; we call it fornication. Like unto it is thinking about committing sexual sin with someone; like unto it is making physical contact with someone, of the opposite sex, in an inappropriate way; like unto it watching movies or shows on television, listening to music and reading books that promote sexual sin as if it was something normal, and acceptable; like unto it is using language or telling jokes that are not appropriate.

Young sisters, you need to read 2 Samuel 13. Amnon loved his brother’s sister Tamar. He made up a story to get her to come into his place with him when they could be alone. He wanted her to fix him something to eat, and as she was doing that, he forced her. She tried to say no, this is wrong. They were of the same family and the same religion. If that young man you are seeing is not a member of the Church, how much different will his values be. He may say he loves you and giving him what he wants proves your love for him, but look what happened to Tamar after Amnon got what he wanted.

15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.
16 And she said unto him, There is no cause: this evil in sending me away is greater than the other that thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her.
17 Then he called his servant that ministered unto him, and said, Put now this woman out from me, and bolt the door after her.

He chased her away. Young men, it is not love, but lust, that pushes us to acts of sexual impurity before we are married. Young women, once we have submitted, the supposed love turns to dislike and hate. If they will do that before marriage, what will they do, and with whom will they do it, after marriage?

Doctrine and Covenants 121:45 counsels us to let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God.

President Boyd K. Packer, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave us some good counsel when he said that the mind can only have one thought going on at a time. When we have inappropriate thoughts, we can replace those thoughts by memorizing a favourite hymn and letting that go though our mind until the bad thoughts are gone.

Sometimes, as we go from place to place, not only in Zimbabwe, in Canada also, I almost have to hold my hands in front of my eyes, as I walk down the street, for fear that certain body parts are going to fall out right in front of me because they are so exposed. Other times, the clothes that people wear are so tight fitting that the clothes leave nothing to the imagination. It is difficult to have virtuous thoughts when the way we dress detracts from modesty. We can be beautifully dressed and still dress modestly. Your children watch how you dress and they will do as you do. If you stretch the limits of modesty, so will they. However, if you demonstrate how beautifully you can modestly dress, they will follow in your footsteps. Sister Bullock suggested that if you will dress yourselves, and your children, as if you were wearing the garment of the temple, you, and they, will not have to change the way you dress when you go to the temple.

Ephesians 2:19-20
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God,
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Sisters, if President Monson was sitting up here, I wonder how many would nurse your babies in front of him. That may be an accepted cultural tradition of the past, but when we join The Church of Jesus Christ, we leave some of the incorrect traditions, of our past life, behind and adopt higher traditions of modesty. The chapel is not the place to feed your babies, nor is being where the public can observe you. A small blanket can be used to cover yourself so that modesty can be preserved.

In Mosiah 4:29-30 And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them. But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.

In the last days of the Nephite nation, Mormon mourns about how the people had lost their sense of moral values and civility.

Moroni 9:11-14
11 O my beloved son, how can a people like this, that are without civilization—
12 (And only a few years have passed away, and they were a civil and a delightsome people)
13 But O my son, how can a people like this, whose delight is in so much abomination—
14 How can we expect that God will stay his hand in judgment against us?

Moroni counsels us that the Book of Mormon is to help us to be wiser than they were.

Physical intimacy between a husband and wife is a beautiful and sacred part of God’s plan for His children. It is an expression of love within a marriage and allows husband and wife to participate in the creation of life. God has commanded that this sacred power be expressed only between a man and a woman who are married. The law of chastity applies to both men and women. It includes strict abstinence from sexual relations before marriage and complete fidelity and loyalty to one’s spouse after marriage.

Monday, December 21, 2009

our weekend

Dec. 19, 2009 (Masvingo)

Merry Christmas – I think it is almost Christmas!! It doesn’t feel like it as I am sitting here with perspiration dripping down my face looking out at the most beautiful gardens ever. I am at the Inn on the Great Zimbabwe (probably our favourite place here). Jim and the Branch President have gone with another man who will take them about an hour into the rural area to try and find a member so that they can serve him a letter and talk to him about setting up an appointment to deal with the contents of the letter. Then at 2 p.m. Pres. Bullock has up to 10 baptismal interviews to do. He has a busy day but none of it concerns me so I am able to relax and enjoy this paradise.

---later ---

They had to go to a Gold mine where the member is working. They didn’t find him though but left a note for him. Perhaps, next time.

They treat us royally here. There is always a small bouquet of fresh flowers in the room and a basket with a couple of pieces of fruit and two chocolate bars. When we went out this morning we discovered that one of the gardeners was washing our truck for us – and it really did need it. We gave him $3. It seems like we are the only ones staying here. We had the dining room to ourselves at breakfast. There was a group of 8 or 10 here last night for supper but they never stayed over.

I wanted to tell you that a few days ago Jim took a fellow from Precision Grinders out to the school to look at the setup where the mill will be installed and make sure the electricity is correct etc. On the way out the fellow (about mid to late 20’s) said, “This is the first time I have been alone in a vehicle with a white man.” Jim ask him if he was nervous and he answered, “No, actually it is kind of nice.” Funny! (I had to stay at the office and wait for a delivery of some ink cartridges and paper.)


About the time church meetings ended yesterday in Masvingo it started lightning and thundering like crazy and the rain came down in torrents. Jim said there was some small hail with it as well. All the people just stayed in the building for about an hour until it quit – I wouldn’t have wanted to be out in the lightning as it was a little too close for comfort. Jim had another baptismal interview and some things to take care of so we didn’t leave for Harare until about 2 p.m. The rain had cleared up by then too. There were several collisions on the roadside as we drove home – too many. It does make one think about driving more carefully and taking it a little slower. The speed limit is 120 Km. but if we were in Canada those kind of roads would have a limit of 80 Km. (narrow, sharp shoulders, pot holes, etc.) It is a major truck route between Harare and Johannesburg. People either drive too fast or way too slow. We did make it home in one piece and were glad to arrive safely.

This morning we stuffed stockings for Christmas for the elders/sisters. They get a pair of socks, tie, cookies, candy, deodorant, toothpaste, and a T-shirt. We will all leave for our different cities on Thursday morning to spend Christmas with the elders there. (We will be in Gweru). Mayfields go to Bulawayo (2 hrs. past Gweru) and will stop and meet us on their way back on Sat. morning and we will go to Antelope Park together and stay the night there if we can get a room – if not we will stay at the Lodge that we are booked into over Christmas (we are hoping it is an okay place – the Elders said we will like it so....)

Right now Jim has driven to Goromonzi to take them some more electrical supplies they needed to prepare their building for ZESA to come and hook them up to the main line. (that is the building where the grinding mill is to go). We were suppose to take the ZESA people out today but nothing happens on schedule here in Zimbabwe – it may have to wait until after Christmas now. O well – no big rush!!

Pictures from December 18:

Working in their garden plots
Going home with some Kovo from his garden

Heading out to work in the garden

Love, The Bullocks

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hi, We got back from Mutare about noon today. We went there yesterday for the 'hand-over' ceremony at the Zororai Old People's Home. They were overjoyed to have their grinding mill working again. The nun who runs the place said she is so happy she can't even begin to express it to us. It was great to be able to help them out. It will be a source of income for the home and it also enables them to raise some chickens again. The chickens can eat the residue that is left after grinding the maize. We were pleased to hear that they had taken delivery of 100 baby chicks yesterday morning before we arrived so they are now also in the chicken business. They pay $1.50 for each chick and can sell it 'live' for about $6 - $7 when it is mature. They said people like buying them 'live' as they like to use "everything" (head, feet, intestines, etc.).

We took Mazoi juice and some sweet rolls (cinamon rolls) for refreshments and they liked that, of course. All went well. It was too late to drive home so we stayed over at the Inn on the Vumba. It is a nice enough place (but not as nice as the Inn on the Great Zimbabwe).

Tomorrow we head down to Masvingo for the weekend. Saturday Elder Bullock has several (maybe 10) baptism interviews to do there. There are no full time elders serving there so the branch missionaries do the teaching etc. Branch missionaries here do a great job. The branches the senior couples attend all only have branch missionaries - Kadoma, Bindura, Masvingo, & Marondera.

It is hard to believe it is almost Christmas. It doesn't get the commercialism here that it does at home. For the most part the native people look forward to being with family and having a big meal. Some might exchange small gifts.

The weather is great. We have had rain and the maize is starting to grow. People everywhere are working in their 'fields' and we always see people walking with their big hoe over their shoulder.

I know everyone is busy with the Christmas preparations and we hope it will be a good time for all! Wish we could be there but.... glad to be here with these wonderful people.

Here are some pictures from the last few days.

December 13, 2009
Our Christmas Corner

December 14, 2009
Road to the Reimer Clinic - Do we or don't we drive through? - We did!

Two little girls at the clinic - we gave them a 'sweet'

Going out. We made it through!

December 16, 2009
Yummy Sadza!

Cutting the ribbon for grinding mill @ Zororai Old People's Home December 16, 2009

Maize grinding mill

Looking down at Mutare from Vumba Mountain


Butterfly OR moth on wall outside our room

Love, Elder/Sister Bullock

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Zvikomberero, Sis. Bullock and Panashe
These two finally got baptized yesterday by Elder Bullock. It was a good day yesterday and today Elder Bullock also confirmed them both. We've known them for several months and they have worked through some challenges.

Pananshe, Elder Bullock and Zvikomberero - baptism day Dec. 12, 2009

Panashe and his mom, Zvikomberero with Elder Nel

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our Mission


A couple of days ago Kimberley got 2 cheques in the mail for us from Deseret Mutual Insurance (the co. that insures missionary couples). She also discovered that in November they credited our Master Card with over $2000. She called them and was told that we were released last March and that we never came to Zimbabwe. They have been charging our M/C each month for our health insurance and Kim has been paying it (and the credit was them paying it all back, since they thought they were charging us in error). YIKES!! She assured them that we were indeed here and was told that we need to call them to fix things. We will do that on Monday.

Jim called the Missionary Dept. this morning (late night for them) and talked to Bro. Seegmiller. He is also the fellow that we talked to there before we came (we had Grandma Bullock with us). It seems that the Missionary Dept. also has in their records that we were released in March and never came here. He will look into it and straighten things out.
We are having a good chuckle!! They did pay for our plane tickets here so.....????

Perhaps our being here is just an illusion!!! At least our superiors in South Africa know we are here.

Elder/Sister Bullock

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11, 2009

We have been without internet for about 3 -4 days this week but it seems to be back up and running now. It leaves a lot to be desired but I guess we will take what we can get.

Elder and Sister Watson were here last weekend for the Harare Stake conference. Elder Watson is a counsellor in the SE Area Presidency. We actually didn’t get to the Sunday meetings as we needed to be in Kadoma but we did get back in time to have dinner with them and the Stake Presidency & wives and also President and Sister Dube at the mission home. (We got invited because Elder Bullock is a counsellor in the mission presidency). We had a nice visit after dinner. Before Elder Watson was a Seventy he spent 30+ years as secretary to the First Presidency and the quorum of the Twelve. He had a few good stories that he shared with us and talked about things that happened in his younger life that helped prepare him those responsibilities. The Lord definitely was preparing him.

Monday we had Zone conference and it was good, as usual. We give our regular report on what LDS Charities has been doing and had lots to report this time as we have 6 projects approved now and are working on some of them.

We paid a down payment to Precision Grinders so that they will start building the mill and dehuller for Kadyamadare Primary School. The people out there have pretty much gotten the building secured and are now putting the electrical wiring, etc. into the building. As soon as they are finished (Monday) they will call us and we will then take the Zimbabwe Electrical Co. People out there so that they can connect the building to the main line (well actually they are increasing capacity for the mill). We have had to buy quite a bit of supplies to make this happen. Hopefully everything is about ready. It was a real experience shopping for the supplies as we had to go to several different places to get the things. The shops are in the “very busy” part of downtown where traffic is a nightmare, to say the least. It is amazing that anyone can get anywhere down there. Once the power is hooked up then the mill can be installed and we are hoping that it will be done before Christmas. The people out at the school really have come through and done a lot of work. We are pleased about that. The school head took us to his ‘plantation’, as he called it. He has a nice place (for Zimbabwe). He took us into his home and his granddaughter offered us Mazoi juice but we declined as we have to be really careful about the water and besides, I am not eating sugar. Their houses here are nothing like ours but they are really clean. Their painted floor shines. They have no electricity but they have a solar panel that charges a battery that they use to operate their radio and they had a small television. They have a nice looking field (probably a couple of acres) of maize that is starting to grow. They have chickens and he has 2 turkeys that he hopes will start reproducing.

The grinding mill motor that we bought and had installed at the Old People’s Home in Mutare is about done. We were hoping to have the ‘turn-over’ ceremony today but they weren’t quite ready. A belt was the wrong size and they had to get another one in from Harare. The ceremony has been rescheduled to this Wednesday afternoon. I guess we (LDSC) are buying some refreshments for the occasion (at least enough for the special invited guests). We will take biscuits (cookies) and Mazoi juice (a concentrate that they mix about 1:4 with water). They love that drink here. It reminds me of the punch that grandma Godfrey used to make.

We took the Sister Missonaries with us to teach Carol, Ellison and their neighbour. It went well and the Sisters are meeting them again this afternoon. We thought we would be in Mutare but since we aren’t we may try and be there as well.

Zvikomberero and Panashe are getting baptized tomorrow afternoon. We are excited about that. We will go to their branch Sunday morning for the confirmations but will have to leave right after and head to Highlands Ward because we need to meet Carol, Ellison and their mother Mavis there. They are coming to church for the first time. The neighbour is coming too as well as Mavis’ friend.

Merci has invited us to dinner on Sunday afternoon (for Elder Bullock’s belated birthday).

That is about it for our week – at least that I can remember at the moment. I will admit that I have felt a little homesick this week, shed a few tears, and wished I could go home, but..... we still have a few months to go and LOTS to do so I will just get over it and carry on.

Love to all, The Bullocks

Monday, December 7, 2009


November 27, 2009
House and maize plot

Looking down Bvumb Mountain toward Mutare

December 3, 2009
Hillside of terraced garden plots of maize

They plant all over the place

December 7, 2009 - Zone Conference
Elder Sua & Elder Nell - a couple of our favourite Elders

Another favourite - Elder Baird from Idaho

Dish Duty
Elder Bullock helped for a little bit, but then the elders kicked him out of the kitchen.

Sister Mayisiri, Bullocks and Sister Kavande

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thurs. Dec. 3rd, (Jim's birthday)

Just got a text message from Pastor Mhike from Muzarabani. That is where Seka lived and they are friends that came to us together with their questions about the Book of Mormon a few months ago. Pastor Mhike was here on the weekend and Seka took him to church. This what he has to say about it:
“Hi President and Sister Bullock. I failed to leave Harare that day due to pressure of work but once again this is to say I enjoyed each and every event at the church. Please keep praying for my family. The Lord has spoken and we have obeyed. Now our sincere prayer is our God must give us something to do in Harare that we may enjoy fellowship with other brethren and even show our commitment in baptism and participating in the sacrament service.”
Wow!! That brings tears to our eyes. These people are amazing.

Later in the evening we got a call from Panashe, Zvikomborero’s son. By the way, she is getting baptized on Saturday, Dec. 12th. Panashe’s uncle, who is 7th day Aventist, would not let Panashe get baptized. However, Panashe called last night to say that he is getting baptized with his mom. He is meeting the elders today for his interview. (He was already approved once but it’s been a while so he needs another interview). He was really excited and was asking us to come and see him, which we will try and do today if at all possible. We are thrilled because he is a really good boy. He is 11 yrs. old, turning 12 in January.

The work moves forward!!!! We are now teaching Carol (18), her brother, Ellison (9), their mom, Mavis, as well as a neighbour that wanted to join us (Dzikamai – who is 25). Dzikamai has been to church before when he was going to MIT in Boston on a full scholarship. Something happened there (not sure what yet) and he didn’t finish and feels really bad that he blew such an opportunity. Anyway, he says something is really missing in his life and he needs to find his faith again. Should be interesting. We will also take the sister missionaries with us when we go to the next appointment so that they can help us teach them as we don’t always have enough time. Carol and Ellison are the two that we met a few months ago on our morning walks as they were walking to school.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


The day is about over and we got a few things done, which is good in Zimbabwe. Things don't always happen very fast here.

Firstly we just got a message that Mike and Janeal are at the hospital so we will wait for the good news that all went well.

Second, we got another project approved today. We must be on a roll!! It is another grinding mill project for a school. It is a school that had a grinding mill that ran successfully for 7 years until the second hand motor died. They had Zimbabwe money saved but of course that disappeared with inflation. We are replacing the motor and also giving them a dehuller to go with the mill. We are actually trying to get one more project submitted by Monday (deadline) for another complete grinding mill at the Danangwe Primary school out by Chegutu where they have absolutely no desks or chairs. We hope we are not pressing our luck with grinding mill projects but we do feel like that they are a good project to help the schools be more self-sustaining and a way for them to help themselves.

We paid a bill today so that ZESA will hook up the electicity for one of our grinding mills. There was an armed guard there to protect the money, I guess. The guy behind the cage had a good sized metal box that he dropped the cash into and there appeared to be a fair bit. He had to dig through to find bills to give us our change. Didn't seem like a very good system - perhaps that is why he needs an armed guard.

We then went to UNICEF to pick up an invoice so that we can go to College Publishers where we are to pick up some textbooks (mostly math, but some science) for Primary schools (gr. 1 - 7). Now we just have to figure out how we are going to pick them up -- make several trips I guess or solicite some help. There are 3880 books worth $10,739.00. Then we have to decide what schools to give them to as we are told that some school authorities might sell them to students or other schools and we don't want that to happen. And I suppose we have to figure out where we are going to put them in the meantime -- don't know that our container will hold them. Pres. Nield has a warehouse so we may need to use that.

Elder Mayfield just brought us in a copy of his journal entry of the trip he and Elder Bullock took yesterday out to Danangwe School for their prize giving day. I think I will add it on here as it is a good description of the day. I guess I missed a good one by being sick, but couldn't be helped.
On December 1, Sister Bullock, the wife of one of our fellow missionary couples, was ill so Elder Bullock asked me if I would accompany him to the Danangwe Primary School, which is a 1 1/2 hr. drive south of Harare, where LDS Charities had provided funding for several wells along with basic school kits for the students. The school was holding an awards assembly at year-end, and the Bullocks were to be their guests of honor. It turned out to be a fascinating experience.

First of all, this was way out in the country. We drove several miles on dirt roads with huge potholes. The assembly was held outdoors under a huge metal canopy with no walls. 200+ students from all 7 grades (ages 5-12) were sitting tightly together on the dirt ground in about twelve rows. Their teachers were sitting up front with the headmaster, the school development committee chairman, and other officials; off to the side about 40 parents had also gathered. Elder Bullock and I were also prominently seated up front.

At the outset, the children sang the Zimbabwe National Anthem and then reverently placed their hands over their faces and recited the Lord's Prayer. The headmaster warmly greeted Elder Bullock and me; then 20 young students performed a traditional tribal dance with singing and accompanying drums. this was followed by speeches, recitations, and further entertainment. Elder Bullock was then asked to present the awards, consisting mostly of paper notebooks, pencils, and cloth bags. (Note: that is from some of the school kits that we gave them - they divided them up). THAT IS WHEN THE FUN BEGAN!

Three students from each of the seven grades were individually honored for their achievements in 2009. Each time a student's name was announced, the child's mother jumped up with a huge smile, began dancing, made a type of Native American pow wow chant, ran and picked up her child, and literally carried him or her up front to receive the award. Sometimes relatives or friends joined the parent in the celebration. The mothers were as thrilled as if had their child won a million dollars. Additional children received awards for various achievements, and the same thing happened every time.

During the ceremony it began raining like it would in a tropical forest; it was like being under a water fall. The headmaster kept having us move our chairs closer and closer to the children to avoid getting wet. Eventually there was so much water that a small river began running through the area where the children were sitting on the ground, so they had to split up. None of this made any difference to the kids. Most of them had no shoes on, and when a parent ran to pick up a child, they both jumped gleefully through the little stream to get to the front. I can't adequately express how joyful they were.

Afterwards, we met with the headmaster and faculty to discuss the possibility of LDS Charities providing a large electric grinder for the local community to grind their maize. The community would have to provide a secure building for the grinder, hire a miller to operate it, save enough from the profits of this service to repair the equipment, pay the miller, and buy tables and chairs for the school's classrooms. Presently the school has none. This is an example of how LDS Charities operates. Rather than just donating the table and chairs to the school, they try to get the community to work together in a cooperative effort to obtain what they need, which will also help them appreciate what they have even more.

Unfortunately, Judy stayed at the office and work the whole morning. Neither of us knew in advance what I would be doing. Therefore, I didn't have a camera to record what I saw.
These school events are kind of fun to be at. When we do our borehole and grinding mill 'turn-over' ceremonies it will be more of the same. It is so great here because they always open and close with prayer and sing hymns of praise to God. (different than the way things are getting at home).

I am going to send this before I lose it.

The Bullocks

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hi all,

I've been down for a couple of days with 'something' - maybe food poisoning, but not sure. It hit me about 5 hrs. after we had breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Mutare on Sunday. The only thing I ate different than Elder Bullock was some fruit and a couple of little sausages. It was a long drive home (3 hrs.) and I was ready to go straight to bed (well after a badly needed trip to the bathroom). I have made a LOT of trips to the bathroom since and hopefully it is getting better. I did come into the office late today. I am starting to feel better but not all the way there yet. Elder Bullock took Elder Mayfield with him this morning and went to the Danangwe school 'prize giving day' that I was suppose to be the guest of honor at. They said it was really good.

They have been changing all the locks on the mission office today because this morning the mission president and the AP's were robbed (smash and grab). On their way from the airport at a red light some guys smash the car window and demand whatever you have. They got his keys, computer, bag and whatever else. This has been happening a lot in South Africa but not so much here. I guess we will have to be much more alert. Scary! They suggest putting purses, computers, etc. in the trunk, out of sight -- however that is rather difficult when we drive a truck. We will have to figure out something.

Other than that, we are doing okay. I guess this email is a little on the dreary side! Sorry.

On Friday when we went to Mutare we paid for the motor for the grinding mill at the Old People's Home and arranged to have it installed. It should be done this week and then Friday the 11th we will go back for the "turn-over ceremony" where there will be the mayor and whoever Pres. Chadambuka can get there. I guess we need to figure out exactly what we have to do at it.

Anyway - I need to go home. I hope Mike and Janeal have a new baby soon. It is hard when it is over-due (well not that I ever had that problem as mine always managed to come early).

Love to all, Mom and dad/ Elder& Sister Bullock