Sunday, November 20, 2016


We went and visited a member who was living at this construction site in the dirt (so basically homeless). While we were there they were fixing some dinner- nshima, and cabbage, then they just eat with their hands.

This is how they pour cement, just a pile of rocks, and then mix cement with it and then move it around.  Notice some of the guys in their bare feet.  Not a great finish!

 Steven got baptized a month ago- we were able to teach him with the sisters. Sister Salmon and I bought him a quad.  He was so excited to have his own scriptures.
 I had to show these young bucks how to lift a couch by yourself into the back of a truck.  You can see how impressed they were.


We are helping these two sisters to get PEF.  We visited the school that they wanted to attend, and we also visited a Zambia Nurses Association to verify that the course they want to take will lead to a job.  The man on our left is our self-reliance manager from Zimbabwe, Kasnos Paradzai.   He is great guy and really gives us hope that the Zambian and Malawian people can be self reliant someday. 

We spend a lot of time with these two great guys.  They are the Self-Reliance Specialists here in Lusaka.  On the left, Jackson Phiri, he has a wife, Catherine,and little boy, Zikholo.  The one on the right is Davis Munkondia- he's not married, but wants to be!  They both just found new flats to move into so Sister Salmon bought them pillows and made them pillow cases.  They loved them.

 This is what we found in the refrigerator of a pair of Elders during our flat inspection this month- chicken feet and whatever.  As you can see sister Salmon was not having it.   We  told them to clean the fridge and stove, and we would be back the next day to check again!!!!     We returned the next day and it looked pretty good. I'm pretty sure they hurried and ate the chicken feet.

 This was a Mission Leadership Council.  We had a BBQ  afterward and Sister Salmon and Groesbeck did a great job.  They made a lot of food.
 This was a Self Reliance meeting we held in the Copperbelt.  This picture doesn't do it justice, but it was dark....   The power went out and we used our phones for the meeting.   The flash on the camera worked too good.

Okay, this is a radio station that one of the members arranged to be a guest on and talk about the Self Reliance program and Especially For Youth principles. They do it twice a week and people call in and ask questions.  Pretty Cool. 
 Just a fun picture of a guy hauling a bunch of pigs and another guy sitting in the back keeping control.
 Sister Salmon and I took some missionaries out for dinner.  They loved it and so did we. Wallet, not so much!
 This is a great story.  In the small village of Luwande, Malawi this small group of members meets together.  They are not a ward or a branch because they don't meet all the requirements yet.  About 50 or so wanted to be baptized but only about 25 could answer all the questions correctly.  Our dear friends, the Hull's, on the far left are like family to us here.  Elder Hull is the1st councilor in the Mission Presidency and he had the challenge of interviewing all of them for baptism.  The  Hull's do a great job here.  They are amazing people!!!

 Part of our assignment is vehicle coordinator.   I swear we are solving issues every week.  This is the Assistant's truck.  A drunk driver was coming at them head on and they had to go off the road to avoid a serious accident and turned the truck over.  They were okay- no injuries.   

 This is car that some sisters side-swiped in the parking lot.  We had to settle it with the owner.  He took 500 kwacha, which is about 50 US dollars.   I gave him the money and ran....

More Mission leadership meetings and food.   Sister Salmon and Sister Groesbeck never stop cooking.

Our lesson in Relief Society today started with this quote from President Howard W Hunter.
"The supreme achievement of life is to find God and to know that He lives."

Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?  But when we know that, it changes everything.  He goes on to say,

"There comes a time when we understand the principles of our creation and who we are.  Suddenly these things are illuminated to us and the cords of our hearts do vibrate.  This is the time when testimony enters into our very souls and we know beyond a question of a doubt that God is our father--- that he lives, that he is a reality, that we are literally his children."

I love this!

Friday, October 14, 2016


We'll start with another birthday- why not? It looks like the whole cake is on fire but it's not.  Sister Ntwe (seated in front of the cake) is from South Africa.  She hasn't been out very long, in fact she just finished her training and then became a trainer.

 We came across this little guy out in the middle of nowhere because we were also out in the middle of nowhere. A member wanted to show us a piece of property he had acquired which turned out to be, as I said, out in the middle of nowhere.  The son of the headman in the village gave him the piece and was perfectly willing to give us one also.  I kept telling Craig he needed to make it perfectly clear that we were not interested.  I'm not sure the message got through.

The man standing slightly behind me is the son of headman.  It was about 95 degrees and we were tromping around in the weeds and burned grass, the bugs were biting, and I wasn't sure when it was going to be over, thus the gun to the head.  Good news though.  I'm pretty sure we are now the proud owners of land in the middle of nowhere in Zambia.

We were invited to a wedding and someone (who shall remain nameless) decided that we should show up in real Zambian style.  Craig is getting measured for his new outfit.  Stay tuned for pictures of the new outfits and pictures of the wedding.

Hanging a couple of new light fixtures in one of the missionary flats.  The repairs are never ending.

We visited a farm that one of the members in Lusaka works at.  He was a white farmer in Zimbabwe and was forced off his farm and it was given to black Africans who have done nothing with it.  Many other white farmers in Zimbabwe were also forced out.  They have great hopes that someday they will be able to return to their farms and take control again.

They were harvesting potatoes.  Wow- those potatoes were giant sized!

These women would fill the bags and then throw them up on the truck.  Hard work.

Craig already put Steven's picture on Instagram but these are some of the sisters that taught him.  He really make them work for this baptism.  He had so many doubts and questions but in the end he knew baptism was the right thing to do.

We worked with this young man to help him get his missionary papers ready to send in.  Evans has only been a member for just over a year.  His parents are both deceased and no one else in his family is a member of the church, so he only has the support of the other members.  It has been very difficult for him.  He finally got his call and he is going to Ghana on December 29th.  He is excited.

The mission was able to acquire a new van for the mission.  Elder Salmon was the one who made it happen.  He drives a hard bargain and it was quite the process.  I'd say he was the right man for the job.

Just a typical market place.  They are everywhere. Pictures just don't do it justice.  I wish you could see it and hear it and smell it.  Garbage and flies and people are thick.

This is a common occurrence -getting pulled over by the police.  Probably about once a week the negotiations begin.  Notice the stool to sit on- front and back seat.  Anything you pay pretty much goes right into the pocket of the policeman or woman so if you say the right thing you can pay very little or even get away without paying anything-  Especially if you are a missionary and you say you will pray for them. Yup, we have actually used those words and didn't have to pay anything.  If you get angry or argue the price usually goes up.  It gets really frustrating sometimes.

I have never seen a bottle fed baby here.  If they are not breast fed they drink from a cup.

 Craig just loves this little guy.  He always has this suit on at church.  His name is Nephi.

Okay, here are the wedding photos I promised you.  Everyone in Zambia must be married civilly first before they can be sealed in the temple which is in Johannesburg- a 24 hour bus ride from Lusaka.  It was a real cultural experience.  The ceremony took place in the branch and was more like a sacrament meeting with a choir and congregational singing and speakers who basically gave talks.  Closing song and prayer included.

Out attire for the wedding reception.  Family and friends of the bride.  The groom was the branch president in the Kitwe Branch.

Just waiting with great anticipation for the wedding party to arrive.  Aren't those the greatest decorations you've ever seen?  Like I said, pictures don't to it justice.

Finally they arrive.  There was a Master of Ceremonies, a D.J. and dancing that made me blush.  Those Africans can really shake it!  I'm not kidding- it was a sight to behold.

We watched conference at the Kitwe Branch which is held under this tent.  You might not be able to see but we are watching it on Craig's laptop propped up on the chair because they couldn't get the projector to work.  It was about 100 degrees under the big top.  By the end of the four or five hours there weren't many people left.  I can't wait for the Conference Issue of the Ensign to come so I can read the talks.  I think my eyes rolled back in my head a couple of times.

This time we did the birthday party up big and had a BBQ.  Birthdays are not really a big deal here and some people don't even know when their birthday is (mostly just older people) so it's fun to celebrate and make it a special day.

It was Davis Munkondia's birthday- front and center, age 27.  Just as it was getting dark the power went out, of course.  No big deal.  We can handle it.

I read this quote in the October Ensign:
Every couple with the ability to serve a mission has been prepared to serve in ways special to them.  They just need to exercise faith enough to go where the Lord has need of them, and He will use them to make a difference in the lives of others.
"Couples can  make a difference," said Elder Robert D. Hales.  "Couples can accomplish remarkable things no one else can do. . . .
". . . . The ways in which couples can serve are virtually limitless.  From mission office support and leadership training to family history, temple work, and humanitarian service- there is an opportunity to use almost any skill or talent with which the Lord has blessed you. . . .
". . . You have received much in your life; go forth and freely give in the service of our Lord and Savior.  Have faith; the Lord knows where you are needed.  The need is so great, brothers and sisters, and the laborers are so few."

Thursday, September 15, 2016


There is no stopping someone that loves golf this much.  Somehow he is able to squeeze it in occasionally and there's no problem finding a golfing buddy.

Birthday Cake- Brother Noel

 Birthday Cake- Brother Jackson Phiri

This is a pretty common sight in the villages, not so much in the city though.. This young girl is responsible for her baby sister all day, probably while her  mom is at work.  Pretty incredible. Imagine your 6 or 7 year old in charge of your 6 or 7 month old- all day.

Elder Etiang was born with these beautiful blue eyes- so unusual but so cool! The Zambians are a little freaked out by it but I think it's awesome.

This little guy is less than 24 hours old.  He belongs to one of our guards.  Father and son are both named Daniel.  We gave them a ride home from the hospital, otherwise they would have had to take public transportation.  Baby Daniel is wrapped up in two big blankets and a winter hat.  It was about 80 degrees outside.  Another very common thing to see that I don't understand.

Part of the fish raising business included adding pig manure to the water.  As you can tell, it was not a pleasant experience.  I had to steer clear of this portion of the process.

Bagging it up and getting it ready to add to the tanks.

No one enjoyed it.

Finally it was time to pick up the baby fish.  We brought home around 2000 fingerlings.

I'm not quite sure how they counted them.  How do you count out 500 (in each bag) swimming fish?

Anyway, we finally got them into the tanks and now we hope and pray that they live to adulthood.  It's kind of scary when someones livelihood depends upon it and we don't really know what we're doing.  Elder Salmon will try just about anything.  Nothing scares him!

We spent half a day with these three characters who came to Lusaka from the Copper Belt  to go to immigration.  There are so many rules involved with immigration between Zambia and Malawi I can't keep it straight.  It's so complicated  the church hires a member here to take care of it.  If the missionaries are under 21 they have to go to immigration every six months or something like that.  If they are over 21 the rules are not as strict and if you're really old like we are, they barely notice that we're here.  These elders made a 6-8 hour bus ride (depending on how fast their bus is) to Lusaka the night before and we had to get them to immigration and back on a bus home the very next day.  This picture was taken at the bus station.  But like most bus stations, it's not a great place to hang out.

As we were waiting for the Elders to buy their bus tickets we noticed this big lump wrapped up in a dirty blanket right in front of our car and I said, "Craig, that looks like a body- do you think there's a body in there."  And he said, " It sure looks like it. Why don't you go look and see.  Take a picture."

Needless to say, I didn't but he did. No idea if it was dead or alive.  Only at the bus station................!

Luckily we had time for a trip to KFC before they had to head home.  I was never a big fan of KFC at home but sometimes it sure tastes like home out here. 

Elder Zimene had 4 pieces of chicken and this is all that was left- I'm talking bones and all.

We had a special Zone meeting with one of our area presidency and his wife, Elder and Sister Ellis.  They came to tour the mission with President and Sister Kupu.  This is just the Lusaka Zone.

I finally got a hold of all the right ingredients and made a couple of batches of caramels.  They have been a big hit with nearly everyone.  I don't have a candy thermometer so I had to resort to the ice water test and it works great. There are some Americans here who are members of the church that work at the US Embassy.  They have a commissary where they can get corn syrup.  There is no corn syrup in any of the stores here in Lusaka (among a great many other things).  If I give them caramels they get me Karo Syrup.  Fair trade.

Another p-day activity with the Elders.  Most of the African Elders don't know how to play basketball but they are learning.  There are several courts around town so I think it must be catching on.

Just down the street from where we live there is some kind of construction going on behind these walls and there's always a bunch of men hanging around hoping for work.  I don't really know what kind of building is going up- I've never been able to see behind the barriers.

Elder Ford from the UK has gone home now but the day he left he was waiting around at the mission office and we noticed the bottom of his shoe.  There was a hole worn all the way through to his sock.  Now that's a hard working missionary.

Somehow I got elected to do the missionary immunizations.  I have only
done insulin shots which are much different.  On top of that there was no electricity the night I had to do this one.  I'm pretty good at it now- even in the dark.

Craig has also helped some young return missionaries start their own security business they are calling Ocean Eyes.  Security is big business here in Africa.  Most businesses and many private residences, including ours, have security guards.  The guards don't make a whole lot but if you own the business you can become self-reliant.  And that is the goal.  This is their logo.

They are taking it very serious and are doing a good job.

This was a long one and I hope I haven't bored you but I have to end with my monthly quote.  This is by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland from the Ensign, Jan 2003.

"However dim our days may seem, they have been a lot darker for the Savior of the world.  As a reminder of those days, Jesus has chosen, even in a resurrected. otherwise perfected body, to retain for the benefit of His disciples the wounds in His hands and in His feet and in His side- signs, if you will, that painful things happen even to the pure and the perfect; signs, if you will, that pain in this world is not evidence that God doesn't love you; signs, if you will, that problems pass and happiness can be ours.  Remind others that it is the wounded Christ who is the Captain of our souls, He who yet bears the scars of our forgiveness, the lesions of His love and humility, the torn flesh of obedience and sacrifice.

"These wounds are the principle way we are to recognize Him when He comes.  He may invite us forward, as He has invited others, to see and to feel those marks.  If not before, then surely at that time we will remember with Isaiah that it was for us that a God was 'despised and rejected...; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,' that 'he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed' (Isa. 53:3,5)".