Last Monday from 0830-1200 we taught the self reliance initiative to eight missionaries who had completed their two year mission honorably and were going to their various homes the next day. Four from Zimbabwe, one from Uganda one from England, and two from the United States. It is a real treat to teach these missionaries who have served the Lord so well. The missionaries from Africa, however, have a whole different world to come home to than the missionaries in other parts of the world.
The past weekend we were trained by Elder and Sister Ellis. He is an area Seventy and member of the presidency for the Southeast Africa area. He is here to boost the self reliance initiative. They spoke at the Bindura District conference over the weekend. On Monday they taught at the missionary zone conference and will do so throughout Zimbabwe all week. We, of course, loved the messages they brought to the people and missionaries here.
We have been training facilitators and self reliance specialists throughout the three Harare Stakes, Bindura District, and the eight mission branches. We still (after nine months) do not have enough manuals for everyone. We do our best, but it is hard for the members to do the assignments required without their own book. Another thing we hope will help is a newsletter with resources listed to help the people know what is available.
Another new thing that is being started is a new app called OPUS which is a Latin work meaning Work. Our managers son and his friend wrote the app and a webpage so that the members here can advertise their businesses, services or products. The purpose is to help the members buy from each other and be advertised to the general population. We think this will be a real asset if they will only use it. Anyone can download the app for free on the play store. The icon is the gold circle with a family in the middle and the six self reliance goals stated around the circle.
They are still working on our new offices downtown. They have been working on it for months. Every time we ask about moving, they say "a couple more weeks". We are okay with that, as it is further to drive in heavier traffic. So, after nine months we finally received a projector and sound bar. They are wonderful!
Our mission president has assigned the senior couples (3) to speak on the third Sunday at one of the mission branches and to see how they are doing. We were assigned to Chegutu last month and they meet in an old school classroom. Then they go outside for sunday school, primary relief society, and priesthood. For September we go to Dombotombo where they have a beautiful building but they still go outside for some of the classes.
It has turned a lot warmer now, so we don't have to wear a jacket when we walk in the morning or in the evening in the apartment. It is very dry this time of year here and the air is full of smoke from all the burning of fields and grass along the road. They also burn their garbage and leaves in all the yards. As we walk in the morning people stop us and ask for work and the "blue bible". Some people think we just produce and manufacture jobs. We wish we could!
Our adventures this month are as follows:
The spillway at Lake Chivero. We saw men fishing with long nets attached to two bamboo poles. They went in the water to their waist, cleared the thick lilies and slid the poles under the water They opened the poles once under the water and closed very quickly catching small fish called breem. They were yelling at us because we were taking their picture and they said they were "poaching".
We found a new lunch/dessert place. It is called Classic Desserts. They have homemade ice cream, cakes, brownies, cheesecakes, and all kinds of pastries. Their sandwiches are also delicious. Miles had a dessert called "I'm Not Sharing" which was a crumbled cone and brownie mixed with whipped cream and choice of ice cream sprinkled with nuts.
Well Drilling - Our friends, Elder & Sister McMurdie are the Charities/Humanitarian missionaries and they drilled several wells (boreholes" last week. We went out and watched. It was very exciting because they got water on both the drills we watched that day. It is such a need here for clean water.
We have attached a picture.
Elder Ellis taught that self reliance is helping people help themselves. He taught a few of My Foundation principles, mainly faith, honesty, and integrity. There are 12 foundation principles which can be found on lds.org/self reliance. We know these principle, if followed, will help everyone become better disciples of Jesus Christ.