Sunday, August 21, 2011

Let there be light ......Please!

We have been in the dark for awhile now. The power has gone out once again so it must be time to write our letter for the week. We went down to Johannesburg this past week for a Mission Presidents seminar. We had a good meeting we met with Presidents from five other missions around Africa. It was nice to hear from others and see that we are not the only ones who have challenges. I don't think I would trade any of our struggles for any of mine. We are all in this together. The work is going well and we feel that we are making a difference. We are going over to Malawi on Tuesday for conferences. We will travel up and down the country for for the week. We have set up meetings withe the District Presidents and some of the Branch Presidents. We are looking forward to seeing the Missionaries. It is a good time to interview each of them and review what they are doing. We are hopeful that the country will settle down and the unrest we stop. They have many problems and the opposition and the current leadership have different ideas as to the way things should be done. We pray everyday that they will be able to solve their differences and that we all may live in peace. I know I sound like a contestant in a beauty pageant but when you live here and see the difficult circumstances these people live under it really tugs at your heart. We have seen things here that we will never forget. We witness the poverty and the sickness and you learn quickly just how blessed you are. We have so much and we are so blessed. We have learned that a mission is a great blessing. We have also learned that a mission will change you. It changes the way you look at things. It changes the way you see the world. A mission is here is not for the faint of heart. It is a difficult assignment. It takes a toll on you physically and emotionally. The stress level reaches off the chart. Today on the way home from Church Arlene looked over at me and told me how gray my hair was getting.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

We might fly today .....

When we first arrived here all we wanted to do was to be able to travel around the mission as we needed to. We were so frustrated at first because we were not able too. We found out quickly that we must be patience with this because the harder you try the harder it gets. We have tried for several weeks to get back into Malawi to see our missionaries. We Have booked our trips several times and have even gone to the airport and the flights were cancelled. They called us once last week the night before we were to leave and said we might go, but we don't know for sure. We are determined this next week to make it happen. We go to Johannesburg on Tuesday for a meeting with the area Presidency. We are looking forward to hearing from them. We will return on Saturday and then we fly into Malawi and if we make it we will stay for a week. We have so much to do there. We are aware that the country is gearing up for an other round of protests. Last time they have several days of unrest. We are in touch with our security detail and we have our missionaries ready to run for cover like last time. We have asked them to please prepare for a week of being locked down. We hope and pray that this time we won't have as much trouble as last time. As the mission grows we have been on the hunt for more apartments for the missionaries and bigger places to hold our meetings we have almost outgrown the buildings we are using. During this last week we have held zone conferences in Zambia. I have had time to interview all of the missionaries. They are a fine group. They work so hard and bring joy and peace to all they see. We have learned that being able to translate my words from how we see things and speak of things into words they understand is a challenge. It is so wonderful to see their faces when they do understand. It makes all of this worth while. We strive each day to make life just a little more peaceful. We were told this week that we might be getting two senior couple to help in the office. We sure hope so. We are pretty buried with the paperwork, and we have such a need to get the office up and running. The power just went out again. It goes off a lot. Most of the ti e for an hour or so. Hope it comes back on soon. It's just one of those things you get use to. We have really improved our grocery shopping. When we first got here we had a tuff time finding the things we needed, now we have it down pretty well. We found some spray starch yesterday,
we bought four bottles. When you find it you buy it. The cost for groceries is expensive here. Besides the cost they apply a 16% tax to
everything. All in all it's not to bad. We have the things we need and we are happy for that. If you had the ability to open a Super WallMart here you could rule the world. Last week we read a poem to our missionaries entitled "A Box of Crayons" this poem fits the way things are here.
While walking in a toy store the day before today.
I overheard a crayon box with many things to say.
"I don't like red!" said yellow. And green said, " Nor do I!"
And no one here likes orange, but know one knows quite why.
"We are a box of crayons that really doesn't get along,"
Said blue to all the others " something here is wrong!"
Well, I bought that box of crayons and took it home with me
And laid out all the crayons so the crayons could all see.
They watched me as I colored with red and blue and green
and black and white and orange and every color in between.
They watched as green became the grass and blue became the sky.
The yellow sun was shining on white clouds drifting by.
Colors changing as they touched, becoming something new.
They watched me as I colored. They watched till I was through.
And when I'd finally finished, I began to walk away.
And as I did the crayon box had something more to say ...
"I do like red!" said the yellow and green said,"So do I!"
"and blue you are terrific so high up in the sky."
"We are a box of crayons each of us unique,
But when we get together the picture is complete."

We love you all and miss you more, be good to each other.
Xoxo M

Saturday, August 6, 2011

They say it takes about 30 days ....

When you get to that time in your life when you are ready to serve a mission it seems that everyone is so happy for you and you take on some kind of a rock star persona. That is what you think anyway. We have realized that the rock star goes away very fast and that reality sets in quickly. When we were almost ready to leave I sat down and started to make a list of things I should do in my first thirty days. Now remember this was my list not Sister P's. She is the smart one, she said let's just go find out what the Lord wants us to do. Now back to my list. We should turn the world upside down. We should teach and baptize and bring everyone to Church and so on and so on. And we should feed everyone and get everyone a job and everyone to speak English and we should get them to drive on the right side of the road! then suddenly thirty days goes by and I find that I have accomplished nothing on my list, because it was on my list not the Lords. I have learned in these past several weeks what my dear wife has known all of of her life. It's the Lords mission were on. Its He whom we serve. It's His work not yours. Going on a mission is hard work. It takes a whole different mind set than we thought. It's a blessing for sure but it takes lots and lot of work. It takes a total dedication of all your thoughts and all of your attention. It takes a total commitment. We hope and pray everyday that the Lord will send us many many senior couple to serve with us. We are so big we can offer you your very own country. Now how can you refuse an offer like that?. Yes, it takes about thirty days in the mission field for a man like me to start to understand that I must listen to His direction. Now I don't want to paint a picture that I don't listen. That I am a run away train. I think we all have agends and plans and things we think about doing. But I realize that when I listen and then ask if this is the direction we should go it seems to run a lot better. We are here to do as He directs and that when we listen a little more and pray a little more we are in tune a little more. As we move around these two wonderful big countries we see His work in progress. We see just how it will be in the future. But right now, we must go a little slower and listen a little harder. It's small sure steps. It's such a simple task, right? The Mission is growing. The work is moving forward. The people are in tune. And we will succeed. We are thankful to be here. We are getting the house up and running. We move forward and then
we move backward. The nice thing is we have learned to laugh in both directions. Xoxo M&A