Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas......

Let's see. Last we spoke we were on our way back fro Malawi. This blog finds us in the same place. We travel so much. last week we went over the the US Embassy and had them add 40 more pages into our passports. 40 pages. we have only been here for 6 months! they like to stamp the book. We think there must be a competition as to who has the better country stamp. here a stamp there a stamp. This last trip we drove over to Malawi. You talk about an adventure. when you drive from Santa Clarita to Las Vegas or even up yo Salt Lake, you just hope in the car and go. The hard part to to decide where your going to stop for lunch. When you take off here you better be ready for anything. As we drove out of town the whole area became green and plush. As we drove we went through several tropical forests and several mountain canyons. Not much out there, except baboons who just love to run into the street, just to see if you will lock up the brakes and skip to a stop. Padovich 2, baboons 0, chickens 0. We drove over to a border town called Chipata, we spent the night in a pretty nice hotel considering where we were. We got up early and headed for the border. It proved to be pretty easy to crossover. Lot's of paperwork and fee's, they have fixed a price to everything. From the border it was only about 140 kilometers. I spent the week in interviews. There were many who wanted to visit about various things. Both Spirirual and temporal. We have concerns about the rain this year. it seems that it is either to much or not enough. The cost of everything in Malawi has really gone up. Many of the members are concerened they will be able to sustain themselves. We have needed to increase the alotment for the missionaries for the month because it just won't strech anymore. The vendors now write their prices and quotations in "chalk" it is really funny when you are in the checkout line and they erase the price and need to recharge for an item that is already in your cart. Like we say, "someday it will be better, just not today" While we were on Lilongwe our new Senior Couple arrived. Elder and Sister Prete. They are wonderful. They just jumped right in and have made things so much calmer. With them in Lilongwe and Elder & Sister Bullock in Blantye we will see great growth in both area's. It makes is so much easier on the Bullock's. No more long drives in the middle of the night. We are thankful for this blessing. Speaking of blessings. If you are ready to come and serve with us, let me know. We need you so much. There are many of you that think or say, "Oh, I just don't know if we can do it" Sure you can, with the new rules for travel you can come for six months, and go home. Or if you like it you can extend. And if you decide to stay longer than six months you can come and go if you need to. You have all been talking about this, just like we did. Just do it. Just tell the Bishop we are ready to go. You will never, never have more fun. Sure it is hard, but isn't just about everything we do hard? We waited for six months just to get a telephone line in the house. Now that we have one we can "SKYPE" the kids, and the rest of you. If you think I am applying pressure, your right. You have nothing else to do. Anyone can go to Nauvoo or Hawaii, come to the mission field. Come out where it's hot, dusty, and see the animals and the stars at night and keep score of the wildlife you run over in the car!. We have been working really hard. we have several missionaries that will be returning home soom. It is hard to say goodbye. They are fine men and women. They have really touched our hearts. Arlene crys everytime  they arrive and every time they leave. Here in Lusaka the Louthans just arrived. They will be in charge of Public Affairs for the Church here and in Malawi and Angola. They will be busy. A lot of travel and tons of meetings. We look forwar to the new year. Time goes so fast. We have so mush to do. We leave for Malawi again on the 4th of January. We will hold Zone and Branch conferences up and down the country. Then down to Johannesburg for two days then home. Then we start all over again. It looks like the next three months will involve alots of travel. We have found that we can drive over and back to Malawi. It will save money and time. We looked into renting a car in Malawi at the airport last time we were in country. The cost to rent a small toyoya for one week was over 2,000 US. If you wanted a small Ford Ranger, 3650 US for the week, without the fuel charge. Thank you, we will drive. We want you all to know how much we love you. You are the reason we are here. We have made a list of all of the things we needed to know since we arrived, then we put your names next to the things we were taught by each of you. You have molded us into being able to serve, you are the ones we thank. We are greatful to Heavenly Father. For the trust he has in us. I am thankful that he would allow us to represend the Church in this part of the world. We love the Lord, He is our strenght. We hope you will all remeber us in your prayers. We think of you always. We laugh, we cry, and when the power goes out, which is often. I will hear Arlene yell, the powers out again, let's go eat oreo cookies. We then spend the next hour sitting in the dark, telling stories about all of you. We are thankful for our children and all of the grandchildren. We love them so. We thank all of our family, and all of our extended family, for your support and your love. We are well, we are happy. Have a wonderful Christmas. Write of Skype us. xoxox M&A

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In our last exciting episode.......

Let's see where to begin. Last we spoke we were heading over to Malawi for the dedication. It was fabulous. We had been working on the program and the planning of this event for several months. When it finally came down to the last couple of days, we were ready. Sister Bullock and Arlene were at the chapel and Elder Bullock and I went out to the airport to meet Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder Dale G. Renlund and their wives. It was so great to be with these Brethren. When I greeted Elder Nelson he said, "How are you Mikele?" I said we are doing very well. He asked, "Have you got all of the tree's cut down yet?" I told him no, not yet. We went on to the meeting and enjoyed the Spirit that comes from such a great event. Later in the day as we were on the way back to the airport, Elder Nelson spoke of the "tree" question. He said, "Remember President, your job here is to cut down the tree's. You just get us pointed in the right direction. Someone else will pave the road." I am thankful for those simple words. For me they spoke volumes. Since we came here, we have wanted to do so much. We feel everyday that we are running out of time. We have so many things we want to do. But because of "things" you just can't. My "things" list is a block long. We are so hampered here. We lack the electronics that we need. If the powers not off, the Internet is down, and if the Internet is not down the cell phones won't work. So it goes on and on. I am thankful that the old "Mike" the one who has no patience is not here anymore. The Mission President has taught him that it will all take place in the Lord's own time. I am thankful for those simple words, "Just cut down the tree's Mikele". We hope you were able to see some of the pictures on the Internet and in the Church News. After the dedication, we were able to go out with some of the missionaries to a wild game park. We will put up some of the pictures tonight. If the Internet works, HA! We just got back from a week in Johannesburg. We were invited down to a conference with all of the other Mission Presidents and their wives. We had a wonderful time. We were able to listen to council from our Area Presidency. They are inspired men and we were filled with good council and good food. We were able to do some shopping there. We even went to a Cheetah Park. We were up close and personal with them. Oh my! It was very exciting. The things you get to do on a mission are things you only dream of. To be in the wild with these animals is beyond words.
We have been home now for a few days. We have been working hard. We were blessed this week with a new couple to work in the office here. We are so blessed. They will be such an asset to us. We pray that the rest of you will want to come. We have lots of room and there is plenty of work to do. Next month we will have our own Public Affairs couple come and be here. We have so many things to do. It will be so great to have them help with all of the projects we have planned. We are sorry it has taken us so long to post to the blog. We have been on the run. We are now in the rainy season. Now for us at home, you might get some rain. but here we get RAIN. Oh my were talking major league rain and the lighting! WOW! It just shakes the house. I am so happy to pull the covers over my head. Samantha, you would never survive! Wow! We hope all is well with you all. We miss you. We love you. We think of you always. We are thankful that the Lord took a chance on us. We thank all of you for your kind words, your love and prayers. We hope you like the pictures. We will write again soon.

xoxox M&A

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A few weeks ago we were able to take a day when we were in Johannesburg and go out into the bush to another wild animal park.....
I know it looks like Jurassic Park right?

Just on the other side of the gate was this big Lion, the King of the Jungle. This guy wanted to eat the head of this Springbock. He was pacing back and forth trying to figure out how to get the meat.

In just a matter of minutes he dug his way under the fence and was able to get a claw on it. It was so neat. His growl still keeps me up at night!

He got hold of it but he couldn't figure out how to get it under the fence....

If you pull just hard get the prize!

Just down the road we were followed by a pack of wild dogs. They hunt in packs about twenty at a time will chase their prey down. They hunt at night. They will chase for hours at a time.

This was one of the most amazing things we have ever seen. We entered into another part of the park and were able to get close to the Cheetahs. There were three of them. The guide stopped the truck and said, watch the bushes over there. We waited for just a few minutes and out they came.

The dogs were close by.....

These guys came right up to us. We were about 10ft. from them. When this one walked by, he raised the hair on his back to let us know....don't mess with me!!

This one just watched....

After the guide gave them some horse meat, they just went over next to the tree and sat....probably looking for dessert....

The old bald guy.... I bet he dosen't run very fast.......

Naw......let's see what else we can find.....

It didn't take long to figure out where he was headed....

This one was the guard.....boy can they run fast.....

Look at those eyes.....

It was a neat day. We will post again soon.

More pictures.......

We were able to get back on.....scroll down for more....we hope!

Scroll down.....

We were able to get on the internet on the 17th and the 19th. We will send you more pictures as we get back on the network. We are fine and doing well. Miss you all.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

You just never know what will run across the road...

We continued on and we finally found the elephants....

We were able to get out of the truck and walk right up to them!

Unless you go way into the bush most of them are in small parks. The ones out in the wild won't let you up close. This guy was huge!

We were just down the road and we spotted these Giraffe's. The look on their faces speaks volumes. We looked at them and they looked at us.

We saw a total of 17.
Our guide said he had never seen this close together. Must have been a meeting! What a picture. You lookin at me?

We walked right up to them. They were really quite.

This one just kept to himself.

When you need, desks, chairs, or anything else.......

just head on down to "Muyambango & Company"
If we don't have it in stock....we'll make in 30 minutes of less......available on any street corner in Lusaka.....

So I happened to mention that the plane from the border would probably be just a bit smaller than the one we took when we arrived....

It hold eight people and you get a great view out the front window.....

Oh, did I mention the thunderstorm.....

What a ride......

Everyone cheers when the plane comes in.....

These are our Sister's in Malawi. A good group.

A big group of new Elders......

How many can you fit in one small truck??

We were able to find new bikes in Malawi. Assembly required.

About 30 minutes later.....last minor adjustments.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bless the rain ....

We received our first rain of the season. it came with grand applause. We were over in Malawi last week and we were near the border by Mozambique when it started. It just poured. The locals were all out in their fields making sure that none of the water was wasted. They have just planted the corn crops for the summer and just about every piece of ground is planted. The country depends on a good crop to be able to survive the winter. It really rained. It was fun to drive along and see everyone out in the fields celebrating the blessings of the first rain. Of course with the rain comes the mosquito's. They are everywhere. Arlene is their favorite meal. They just line up where ever she goes. I think the first day after the rain she was bitten 7 times. Yum .... We are taking our malaria medicine and we hope we will survive. Like they say here. If you stay here, you will get it. It's just a question of how many times .... The loss of life from this disease is pretty harsh. While we were in Malawi, we were able to arrange for a new meeting house in an area outside of Lilongwe. It is really nice and the church members will be able to access the building from all sides of the area. We will now have about 80 people attending each Sunday. As we focus on our "Centers of Strengths" we will be able to grow and support all of the local programs. We have been so busy these last few weeks. We were able to get the air conditioners installed at the mission home. What a difference it will make. It will be so great when the outside tempeture is around 105 - 125 and we will will be able to turn it on and enjoy the cool. Of course that's only if the power will stay on. It's the little things you know .... Arlene and Sister Taggart were able to get the rest of the drapes hung in the downstairs. I even got a set in my office. They are really nice. One of the locals here came to the house and sewed them on the spot and we hung them up and they are super. While we were in Malawi, some of the missionaries were having trouble with their bicycles. We were able to meet with them and see what the problems were. They are all made out of pot metal. You can strip them really easy. So there I was setting in the dirt trying to fix a head set and crank arms with no tools. The hubs and wheel sets were out of round. They had even put the front fork on backwards. ....don't ask... I took care of the forks and reset them and ajusted the brakes and was even able to "true" the hubs by banging them on the pavement. An old mountain bike trick I learned from the master bike fixer, Jim "If I can't fix it it can't be fixed" Biehahn. I was so happy to be able to work on their bikes and get them running a little better. Arlene even let me take a couple of them for a short spin. "Just don't leave the yard, where is your helmet .....yes, dear. The lessons I learned while out on the road with my bike have come in really handy. Jim, I wish you were here....It is great how many lessons we learn just from observing the work of others. It is the "unwritten order of things". Most of them are not written, but we listen and observe and learn. Next time i'll take my bike tools with me. It is amazing what you can fix with a pair of pliers and s screw driver and a good hammer. We have not had internet for several days. We just learned the other that all of the emails we have sent out and many of our reports were never sent. We hope you will understand if we don't get right back to you it's because we can't. We would trade a lot to have internet and a phone line. Christmas is coming ... Someday we will be up and running. Right after my hair grows back. We do miss you all. We were able to get one email from Sammy and the kids. Jr. broke his ankle in a football game. Sorry big boy. You can go and watch little Max run the ball while you heal. We will write again soon. if we can get on. Love to all.

Friday, September 23, 2011

And the winner is .....

We have been really busy this past few days with the arrival of our new missionaries. We are so happy to finally have them here. We went from 45 to 62 in one week. This transfer effected almost the entire mission. We are so thankful to have all of them here. When you stop to realize how this great work unfolds, it is most humbling to know that the hand of the Lord is involved. To have all of these young missionaries come from all over the world at this time in this place is not by happen stance. In the beginning when we lived with our Heavenly Father, we all chose to follow Him. Not the adversary. We all kept our first estate, chose to come to earth and gain a physical body and to learn to walk by faith. As I look at all of their pictures on the wall, I wonder what it would be like to see them as their Spirit and to see just how old they are. We can see them physically sure, but to see them Spiritually I think we would marvel at just how long each of them have waited to come here to the earth to complete Heavenly Fathers plan. The facts that surround this "gathering" of people is staggering. 62 different individuals, 9 different countries. At least 10 different language's. Family circumstances that in most cases would bring tears to your eyes. And all of the events that would lead all of these servants to the same place at the same time to do this work. It's not by chance. It is by the power of the Priesthood that created this earth. It is by the love and kindness of a Heavenly Father who loves his children and knows them all by name and blesses their lives as they serve Him. We are so blessed to be able to serve here with all of these wonderful saints. We have had general elections this past few days. It has been very exciting to say the least. Elections in Africa are a life changing experience. We have had several of our missionaries in lock down due to the fact that they really have to be careful with the locals and how they react to the events of the day. We are all fine. We have been blessed. I am sure many of our Elders & Sisters will have lots to write home about in the next few days. We are on the move again. It seems like we just get home long enough to wash our clothes and pack them up again and were off. We will head back over to Malawi on Tuesday for 10 days. We have new areas to look at and several meetings. We love you all. We hope you liked the pictures. We look forward to sending you more. Remember, we have room for all of you. Come and serve with us. We need you.



Sunday, September 18, 2011

On the Home Front

This is the side of our home and the gate with the guard house next to it.

This is the front of our home with the block wall.     

Different view of the front of the house.  Office upstairs.   

The guard's house.

The electric wire on top of the walls and gate.
Mikele standing in the laundry room with some of our bananas.

Our long hallway.  That is the door of our bedroom.

Part of our living room.

Another view of the living room with the President.     

Stairs going up to the office.  Inside, but outside our part of the home.

 First door on left in hallway, part of the kitchen.

 Eating area in kitchen.  When looking in kitchen, it is around the corner on the left side.  

Part of the pantry on left side of kitchen before the eating area.   It goes more on left side and then the fridge is across from what you are seeing.

Dining room next to kitchen.  The little window is the kitchen.
Spare bedroom that we are turning into the exercise room.
This one is my make up room in our bedroom.

These two pictures are part of our bedroom.

Another spare bedroom or the General Authorities Room.  
 Another spare room that we are using as our office downstairs.

Dining room before we hung the curtains. 
These three are our bathroom.  We have a new shower head now and it works much better.  

Mikele outside with our bananas.  This is only one bunch.  We have had about 9 bunches. Mikele can hardly wait for the mangos. 

We do have a pretty yard. Which is something here.  Most people do dirt only and they sweep it to keep it clean.  That is something to watch them sweep dirt.

Well I hope these all get sent. Here we never know.  This is a start and  we will continue to send.  Miss all of you and love you all. xoxoxoxox