Sunday, July 31, 2011

When the smoke clears.....

It's hard to imagine the countries Africa still allow you to burn your trash, leaves, fields, and just about anything you care to burn. The smoke over the area this week has been very heavy. You feel like you have been at a camp fire all day, and your didn't get even one marshmellow. We have held district and zone conferences all over this mission this week. It has been fun to travel around the area and visit with the missionaries and to do training. we have several banana trees in our yard and they produce large bunches of bananas. We asked one of our guards. Yes we have guards 24/7, it's just one of the things you do here. We asked him when we should pick them. He said they were all ready to cut and place in the big bag in the laundry room. We cut a big bunch about 40 pounds worth, and placed them in the dark and two days ago we checked and they were ready. Remember when you run down to the store at home you get maybe a pound or two if your going to eat them with your cereal or bake banana bread. We had forty pouunds. We asked the guards if they would like to take some home and they politely laughed. It's like asking the baker if he wants to take home some bread. Everyone here has bananas. So if you have forty pounds of bananas you take them to the missionaries. And thats what we did, they ate everyone of them. I have never seen so few eat so many. We had about 12 missionaries at the meeting and I watched one Elder eat six without taking a breath. We are glad they didn't go to waste. We flew up to the Copperbelt last Tuesday for meetings. We went up in the morning and came back in the night. We left the Sisters at home and I took my 1st Counselor and the Assistants up for the meeting. It was nice, we have decided to open up three new areas there. The work is growing and we can use 6-8 more up in the north. We have been told we will receive 15 new missionaries in September. We look forward to the excitement that will bring. It will sure keep me busy as we will double the size of the mission by years end. We are happy that our things from home arrived. Everything was just perfect. We only broke one small glass in one of the picture frames. We would like to use our Apple computer but we need to find an adapter that will step it down from 220 to 110. And you all know the answer to that question. Where do we find one of those. We have looked e verywhere in Lusaka and have come up short. We have a couple of spots to look and we remain hopeful. We are going over to Malawi on Wednesday for a few days and maybe we can find one there. We have been looking for furniture for the house. We found a great place that has nice things. We found four chairs and a large sofa table and mirror and even a desk for my office. The fun is that it's going to arrive tomorrow. Now if you all remember the difference between Now and Now Now. You will just have to wait until next to see if it arrives. We are doing well, we are happy and very excited about this work. I received an e-mail from the boys at work. ss them very muThey are doing a good job. I mich and I am thanful for the stories I tell about them. I am proud to call them my friends. They follow our blog as you do and I would be remiss if I didn't express my love and prayers to all of them. They have had a big part in preparing Sister Padovich and I being able to take on this task. I am thankful for their trust and support. We went out to an area today for church services and met some wonderful people. Sister Padovich and I were called on to speak. She did such a fine job. You all would have been proud of her. I always am. If has been a nice day. On Saturday we had a family fun day over at the International School of Lusaka. We had about 400 people in attendence. We played soccer and had a BBQ. It was fun, the missionaries played a game with the local soccer kids. It was fun to watch the missionaries hold them off and finally win 1/0.. Yea Elders. The children were off to the side dancing it was fun to go get in the middle of them and dance. Yes, I danced with them. They laughed and laughed. We will send pictures one of these days. We hope for a strong wind tomorrow. A big wind would be nice. When the smoke clears remember we love you all. We think of you. We pray each day that you will know how much you mean to us. Be well, thanks for the e-mails. xoxo M&A

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Here a little, there a little.

We have had another good week. It's hard to believe that we have almost been here a month. We are still living out of our suitcase. We went over to the customs agent a few days back. He said maybe on Friday. The thing is here they never tell you which Friday. Remember now, this is Africa. They do things a little different then we do. It takes a long time to do everything. I know that you are all just laughing about now. You are all saying " the Lord sure has a sense of humor, he sent old President Padovich all the way down to Africa to teach him patience. A lesson he has never been able to teach him at home." I must confess, he has my attention. If it takes me all three years to learn to BE PATIENT, I will. We took our clothes into the cleaners. Remember the cleaners at home and the cleaners here are very different. They said to come back in two days. Here you must ask, Now, or Now Now. There is a difference. Now, means whenever, and now now means two days or so. We went back in two days. We lost the claim ticket. I left it in my white shirt and it went through the wash, we think. It looked like the receipt. But we will never know. It was just a small ball of blue and some lint. When we went back we greeted them with a smile and tried to explain about the blue ball of paper and lint. It got lost in translation. He said he could not return our items without the receipt. Soooooo, I told him I could see our cleaning on the rack. You know it's ours because you wrote the paperwork when we were here two days ago. He agreed. That indeed, it was our cleaning, but without the receipt. I can not give it to you. I started to ask him just how many Padovich's do you have in Zambia? That boat sailed real fast. He said come back in two days and we will see if my boss will allow me to give it to you. Now or Now Now? We are happy to say we got our things. Now Now. Life is good. With only a few items in our bags, to be down a couple of items really cuts down the fashion choices. We have had a lot of excitement in Malawi. They are in the midst of election campaigning and like everywhere one side does not think the other side is doing a very good job. We had to keep our missionaries off the streets for several days. They were good about the idea. It was not very safe in some parts of the land. Several people were injured in fights and disagreements. We asked the missionaries to use the three days to clean and care for their apartments. I hope they listened. Sister Padovich will be over next week to inspect them I'm sure. We are thankful form the organization of the Church. We never felt like we were alone or needed to worry. Those who watch over those kind of things do a fine job. I reported to them a couple of times a day. They were always on the line when we needed instruction. Our senior couple in Malawi is the best. They watched over the missionaries and did a terrific job. All of our missionaries are all safe and accounted for. I am thankful to this fine couple. You may notice in these blogs that we never mention anyone by name. We have been counseled to do so by those in authority. We hope you all understand the reasons. Today is Sunday, we went out to Chainama Branch this morning for Church. It was wonderful. Sure good people. They have a nice building to meet
in. The children sang. It was a good morning. I was standing near the front door. A family came toward me and we said hello. They walked by and their little girl about three years turned around and walked back toward me. She offered me her little hand and just stood there with me until the meeting started. It have a new friend in Chainama Branch. I think it was just what I needed to feel welcomed and loved. The Lord knows just the right way to calm our hearts. As we stood together I remembered just how much we miss you all. And feeling your hands in ours. We love you all and we are thankful that the Lord here's our prayers and touches our hearts with those who are near us at the moment. We are looking forward to going back to Malawi in a week or so. We have become better at driving on the wrong side of the road. The market had some nice things this week. We even found a good pizza place. It's not Chi Chi's. It more Afro ChiChi's. It was good. That was ok with us. We hope you are all well. And we hope you are as happy as we are. If you know anyone that would like to come down and be with us please let us know. We need several senior couples. We need an office couple as soon as possible. So the first twenty of thirty of you to email us get the job. until next post. We love you all. M

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You can't make this up.....

This week end was full of events. We have realized very quickly that things in Africa have their own rhythm. Sometimes we think we know why and how things should be. But we have found that we really don't understand as much as we think we do. On Friday night I was informed that one of our members in the the Matero Chinama Branch had perished in a fire. He was attempting to save what small things he owned from the fire. He went back into his small hut and was overcome by the flames. We offered what help we could and offered to assist them in the funeral arrangements. On Saturday I was asked to preside at the funeral. I have presided at many such events and have always tried to offer what comfort I could. The family informed me that most of the people who would attend would not be of our faith. That many of them are from far distant villages and that many of them would begin to walk to the funeral on Saturday in order to be at the site on Sunday at 11:30 am. I spoke with the District president and he asked if we could hold the funeral on Sunday after church because all of them would need to walk back to their villages in order to tend to their crops and those who had jobs needed to be back to work. On Sunday we dressed for church and attended Sacrament meeting and then adjourned to the cemetery. While at church before we left I met a man and his son who had walked over twenty miles to attend church before the funeral. They walk to church every Sunday and walk home again every week. My heart was full. These people are so humble. I asked him how he does it. He said, President, that's what the Lord has asked me to do. Someday they will have a church in my village, maybe I won't have to walk quite as far. After the meeting we went outside to find several pick up trucks and a small bus. There were several cars and even a flatbed truck with small sides on it. Everyone and I mean everyone climbed onto, hung onto it, or stood on it order to go to the cemetery. We drove out to the end of the road and traveled on what in our part of the world would never qualify as a road for several miles. We saw several hundred people standing in an open spot. As we got closer we saw that they were all waiting for us to arrive. We saw a small hand made coffin with several young people standing near it. They saw us and they picked up the coffin and began to walk off into the bush. We were told to please follow. We walked for about a quarter of a mile into what was a paupers field. We walked over a hundred unmarked graves. There were so many I could not count them. People from the area who knew The family were wailing and crying. The sound was the most unreal sound I think I have ever heard. They walked and they cried. Many of them had painted their faces. And many had taken chalk and ashes and covered their bodies. I failed to tell you that all of the church members were dressed in their Sunday best. My black suit and new shoes will have stories to tell for many years. Sister Padovich in her nice blue dress and her new shoes looked like an angel as we walked and watched this event unfural. At the grave site there were still several grave diggers still digging the hole. We stood and listened to the sounds as the wind blew dirt and dust everywhere. Then we began to sing. The sound of a hundred or so saints, who had gathered in this far away place, began to offer up the prayers of hope to a loving Heavenly Father, who hears us in our time of need. The events of the day, the wind, the dirt, and the travel all faded away. The Spirit calmed the souls of all who could hear. The wailing, the crying all went away. The Branch President offered up a wonderful talk on the plan of salvation. The hearts and minds of all those who attended were touched. I know that I will never be the same. I witnessed what it means to feel of the Spirit of the Lord. To feel at peace with Him who knows me by name. I held my dear wife's hand as we watched those who knew where they were going after this life, testify of the love of their Savior. As we walked back to the car, we felt joy for these great people.  They know where they come from. They know that Heavenly Father loves them. They know that as they struggle through this live and  remain true and faithful to the things that are right. He will bless them. I am thankful to be able to work in this part of the vineyard. I am  thankful for the lessons I'm learning. I know that we all can enjoy that same feeling of peace and joy if we but listen. We are well and happy. We love you. We miss you. We think of you often. We are planning another trip over to Malawi in August. Still working out the travel details. Remember, " you can't get there from here". Xoxo m&a

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Were back....

We hope this letter finds you all well and happy. We sure are. We have been over in Malawi for the past several days. You know how they say, "you can't get there from here" we finally found a way. We need to travel to Malawi at least once a month and stay for at least a week. There is only one flight a week that goes into Lilongwi on Tuesday. And the fun part is the only flight back to Lusaka is also on Tuesday. So when you go you need to plan on staying the week. If you want to arrive on any other day you need to travel all the way down to Johannesburg's in South Africa, and make your connections via Blantyre in the south of the country. The fun part is when you arrive your at the bottom end of the country and we need to get up to the top to visit all of the missionaries. This past week we went into the area with one of our senior couples who are there. They serve in Malawi and if it wasn't for their hard work we would have been so lost. They are from Canada and they have been out about seven months. We traveled by car up north and spent three days in Lilongwi and in Launshaya. The work of the mission is really going well. We have opened several new areas and we have several missionaries who are teaching English class in the various branches. We went to church on Sunday and visited two small branches. They each had about 60+ in attendance. I spoke and so did Sister Padovich. It was nice to watch the little children sing in primary. They are so cute and the smiles just melt your heart. These people really do love the Lord. They work so hard and they listen to the Spirit. It has changed there lives and has given them hope as they seek a better way of life. We have several of the families in some of the villages walking all the way from their small huts to get water. When we were at the small branch in Kauma the sisters were there getting water. The two of them had walked about five miles each with a baby tied to their backs carrying a large tub for water. They filled the tub. I figured it held about 8-10 gallons. They picked it up and placed it onto their heads, balanced it and walked back home. They never spilled a drop. We hope to send pictures soon. We have been told that our stuff from the United States has finally arrived. We get to go out and get it on Monday. Yea!! We have so much to do each day. I tell people that it feels like were running out of time. We have just finished meeting with all of the missionaries in the mission. Now we are planning our first leadership and Zone and District meetings. We are booked all the way into mid September now and even have some things on the calendar in October and November. The missionaries are the best. They all work hard and are faithful. We are blessed to serve with such fine people. We are getting better at driving on the wrong side of the road. Sister P. is still my best passenger. She said "no way will you get me to drive like that" your doing fine. We love you all. Be good to one another. We are fine. Very happy and blessed. We have witnessed things during the past week that have renewed our faith. Things that have made us stronger. Things that bear witness to the divinity of the Savior. Things that make us want to work harder each day in bringing some peace and comfort to these wonderful people. We need you all to come and be with us. Through your faith and prayers. We need couples to come and serve. We need several couples here in Zambia and several in Malawi. Come join the adventure. You can do this. We know it. Xoxo M & A

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Were on the move....

Another busy week. We have had the opportunity to visit with our Missionaries this week. We held a meeting on Tuesday with the Elders & Sisters here in Lusaka. They are the greatest. When we arrived they were all standing in a long line out front of the chapel ready to shake hands and greet us. Sister Padovich was in tears before we even got through the first one. We can feel the strength and their Spirit. We had a fine meeting and we were able to train them as to the importance of the message they bring and the great example to the fine people they are called to serve. On Wednesday morning we flew up to the Copperbelt. It's about a 50 minute plane ride, or a 5 hour drive on a two lane road. They were all in fine spirits and all healthy and happy. We bought lunch for all of them in each area. Boy they can eat. My it was a sight. We checked with all of them as to there needs, some of them need their bikes fixed, something I can do. Others needed help with furniture or a new bed. They work so hard serving without saying a word. Sister Padovich is "mothering" all of them and I think they enjoy that. It's great to see all of these big Elders gather around her and hang on every word. She likes to tease them and I know they enjoy being with her. I don't think I will ever see a people who have less than any people I have ever seen, yet they are the happiest people in the world. They know that God lives and that He loves them. They are thankful for the peace that comes to all who do what is right. They are so humble and I gain strength from them each day. Tonight is Thursday, it's late and were going to bed. We leave early Friday. We travel over to Malawi in the morning. You know how they say, "you can't get there from here". Welcome to Africa. When we leave, we will travel down to South Africa. Then over to Malawi. They have one flight each week directly in Lilongwe in the north and one that goes down to Blantyre in the south. It's only a 6 hour drive, but the lines at the border and the the drive to the south is a long couple of days. It's recommend that you don't drive at night because the roads are bad in some places. To make matters worse, the only way you can enter the country is from Lilongwe, and you must exit the same way. The adventure continues. Today I met with the District President from Lusaka and extended a call to a fine man to serve as a new Branch President out in Woodlands area. He will do a fine job and the Church will grow in the area because of his goodness. We miss you all. We are fine. Happy and eager to serve. We hope you are all well, be good to each other. We will send pictures when our things arrive from home. They think.... they think..... maybe by the end of the month. Oh well, that's Africa! Will write again soon.

M & A

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A week of 1st times.......

We have a had a wonderful week. When we left the United States one of our daughters said, "starting today you will have many 1st times" go enjoy them. These are just a few of the 1st........we flew to London, England and saw the palace in the rain. We tried to use US dollars and they laughed, we rode the underground, we experienced the wonders of Heathrow Airport, oh my......, we saw the inside of a Boeing 777' where the first 30 rows looked like something from the attack of the pod people, we landed in Africa, we saw for the first time the face of this wonderful land, and the first smiles were given to us, we felt the sweet Spirit of these fine people who have allowed us into their family, we flew up to Zambia, and found our new home, we found that the Missionaries are true and faithful young men and women, we discovered that you might have hot water and you might not, we found that the dog next door really likes to bark......,only between the hours of 11pm & 6am, we experienced for the first time driving on the left side of the road, and discovering that when they made the cars they put the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car.......,this was indeed one of the major firsts this week, we got to go to the bank, now that is an experience, they have never seen US currency, and you must use your ATM card, we asked the ATM for one hundred dollars in Zambian Kwachas and we received back two million in bills, it takes a shopping bag to carry them, we went to the grocery store and found it to be better than we had hoped, there were things we knew and even more things we didn't, we spent our first million Kwachas on a samll bag of groceries, we have the opportunity to interview a new missionary who has been called to serve in Uganda, we set him apart and sent him on his way, we met our new assistants, and senior couple, who are some of the finest people we have ever met, we attended and presided over the first baptism in the newly created Zambia Lusaka Mission, we came home last night to discover that the power was out, I mean it was out, we learned that walking around in a new house in the dark while trying to put away the groceries can be fun, we learned that sitting in the new couch in the dark can be a bonding experience I learned that my wife is a saint, that she is the riches blessing in my life, that her patience with the things you can't do anything about is a lesson I will continue to learn, we went to church for the first time in Africa, and saw the faces of these good people who love the Lord, and suffer from like of wordily things but are happy because they know the Lord loves them and here's their prayers. We know that we are blessed to be here at this time, we know that even though we have only been here for a week, we feel like we are running out of time. We are thankful to you all, not for the first time but for all of the time you have been our friends and companions, we think of you often, and pray that you will miss us as much as we miss you. We will write again soon.