September 22, 2013
Dear Family & Friends:
The Sabbath is about over and I wanted to share some thoughts of the week. Mainly thoughts of gratitude. Thursday we went over to see Jimmy Letsoalo at a nursing home. Jimmy is about 48 and married. About 17 years ago he was in a bad auto accident that left him a paraplegic. He has some control only with his arms and hands. With help, he sits in his wheel chair or he just lays on his back in bed. His family visits once in a while. The nurses have to roll him over often, so we call ahead to give him time to get turned facing out, so he can visit.
He loves to have visitors and someone to talk to. He is a member of the Church and loves the Gospel. He has his phone tethered by a cord to his bed. When his hand get tired, he can not hold the phone and dial at the same time, so he either dials with is nose or uses his tongue. His time is not idle. As limited as he is, he has still managed to write a biography about himself, and is working on a cook book. He is in the process of trying to get the biography published. He is so happy and upbeat. No complaints or sad faces.
He talks about the church to everyone that will listen. No matter how bad we think we have it, there is someone that is worse off. I will rethink before complaining about anything in the future.
We told you a little about our visit to Bernard our “Group” Mission Leader last night. With the Elder Chirinda and his new companion, we traveled through this place called “Blood River” to a small village a long ways out of town. The Elders told us to always lock our car doors while traveling through this area and stay in the car. I’ve never seen a place like this. Cattle were walking around right in the area where people lived. Dirt roads and lots of little shacks made of everything… Some brick, concrete, metal, or whatever could be found to keep the weather out. Some were finish, some really not.
We pulled off the dirt road into the driveway. The dirt around the home had been neatly raked with lots of care. No grass, just dirt. This home was made of cinder block that had been plastered. The interior wall were the same with an open ceiling, so you could see through the rafters to the metal roof. The only light fixture (a cord hanging down with a burned out bulb) was hanging in the door way between the living room and the kitchen area. We met in the living room. Three badly worn couches were grouped around a coffee table. They took up half the room, wall to wall. As humble as it was, it was clean and the spirit of Bernard, his wife and 2 kids. (a little girl about 1 and a little boy about 6) was noticeable.
Bernard, reviewed with the Elders, the people they were working with and what we could do to help. With that completed, I asked him if we could review the list of members in the area. He knew everyone as we went through the list, one by one.
It had got so dark in the room we could not see to read the list. Bernard got up, went to another room in the home and took the only working light bulb in the house and replaced the bad bulb, leaving his wife and kids in the dark, while we completed the list.
Bernard is about 32 yr. old. He and is family moved from Zim to find a better life. He said they are happier here. His wife and children so sweet. He asked us if we knew what time the bus was going to leave Sunday morning to go to District Conference. We told him it needed to leave by 6:30 am.. He said on Sundays they have to leave at 6:00 a.m. to get to church by 9:00 a.m.
Want to learn to be flexible? Come to Africa. We drove 2 hours through some mountains and lots of fog to get to Conference. It was beautiful. Normally, I would expect a cat or dog running across the road. Not here just monkeys. Only got lost for a while. No GPS in this area and as it turned out, and the whole town had the power out until tomorrow. Everyone scrambled, got generator and make shift PA System. We even had a hand held microphone with lots of feed back to keep everyone awake.
The keyboard was so loud is did a pretty job of covering any mistakes with our two choir numbers from our “Seshego Group”. I was a little stressed, since no one brought any song books and our singing left lots to be desired. Mom was trying to level out the “bleeding” voices to each side. You know, lots of vibrato. A little scary. It all turned out fine. The District President asked anyone to loan us their song book so we could remember the words and the roaring keyboard took care of everything else.
The people here are so dedicated and they love the Lord so much. A lesson for all of us … Talk is cheap. We really show what we believe by what we do.
I am so grateful to meet and learn to love such people as these.
Take care of yourself. We love you all so much.
Elder & Sister Harward