Last week I took an African elder to the dentist because he had a very bad toothache. He ended up having a massive infection and will need a root canal. As I watched him lying in the dentist chair my heart practically burst with the love and care I was feeling for this young man who had never been to a real dentist and never had novocain. He was so grateful that we were getting him the care he needed.
Today in Relief Society a woman taught the lesson on forgiveness. Her mother abandoned her when she was 4. She lived in many different homes and on the streets and always felt she was a burden and a throw away child. When she joined the church as a young adult in Zimbabwe she visited with her Bishop to tell him of the hate she had for her mother… he read with her in the Bible the story of Joseph of Egypt… and how Joseph was able to forgive the brothers who abandoned him. She said that she read it over and over until she was able to weep with forgiveness for her mother. Powerful stuff! I was so moved and humbled by her testimony.We undertook a monumental task on Saturday of training all the branch councils in Lusaka. We invited them all to the Lusaka chapel and they sat around long tables...by branch. Leif trained on how to counsel as a council, how to utilize forms and records to strengthen their branches, how to clean up records and utilize the missionaries in doing so....etc etc....this district wants so badly to become a stake...in order to do so...Salt Lake needs to see that through the records they have (among other things) the proper number of priesthood...it is called the nurturing ratio...there needs to be 1 full tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holder to every 20 members to become a ward. There are stats and graphs that show what needs to be accomplished...Leif did a great job of getting through a lot of information without making it too heavy. Then the branches held their council...right there. We thought it would be so noisy in the gym...we forgot how soft spoken Zambians are...especially the men..it is so interesting. Then we gathered everyone back and had reports from each branch on how they are doing/how they can do better/observations etc.Then we had cookies and cinnamon raisin buns and juice. There are 7 branches and we had over 100 people at the meeting. It was a first...we were told...to get that many out to a training. Keep in mind for all those people there were about 8 cars in the parking lot. They come by bus or they walk...some for more than an hour. Some need help with transport (bus fare) so we offer to help (about 4 dollars per person who need it) otherwise they would not come...because they cannot afford to come on a Saturday and again on Sunday for church.Not one crumb of the refreshments were left. There is such a fine line here between doing for them, what they can and should be doing for themselves. You want to just jump in and help with everything and pay for everything....and quickly realize if you do...they will let you do it all.We will do the same type of meeting for the Copperbelt, Lilongwe and Blantyre. All in good time. We are told this is not a sprint but rather a marathon and that we are supposed to pace ourselves.....well... I never ever aspired to run a marathon! haha
We love this experience. We love working so closely together with such purpose and focus. It is a very good thing that years ago we learned to overlook each other's short comings and to forgive easily and quickly. Without a good marriage this could be a disaster! Warm regards to all and anyone who reads this! best, Linda