These are welder's goggles that help protect your vision while welding.
We pick up packages at the downtown post office and to my surprise one came for me that was really large. It was unusual because to send such a large parcel cost quite a bit of money.
What was even more unusual is that it was sent from someone I had never met and they included a card that said THANKS! I hadn't done anything for anyone to thank me, for so I was very curious.
Well, it was a North American missionary's parents. They thanked Sister Skidmore and I for looking after their son. To be honest we treated him like we treat all the missionaries here, nothing special. However, at the end of their note it was clear they had read my blog.
On 28 January 2014 I wrote about a street we drive down twice a day getting to the office and home again. On this street, Alick Nkhata, there are at least fifteen or twenty welding businesses. None of the welders wore welding goggles but only sunglasses. I made a plea, just off hand, that if anyone had any goggles - send a box over.
I was embarrassed that this box showed up. It turns out not only did they gather goggles and mailed this box, but they enlisted the help of their friends to help fill the box with new goggles.
I counted more than forty.
I felt, and was also advised, to not just open the box and have them gone all at once.
I took a pair or two and approached each welding shop.
I found the men who were actually welders and made sure they each had a pair.
I explained that they came from Arizona, America, and that people there had seen photos I had taken and wanted them to protect their eyesight.
I also gave them a pamphlet that talked about Joseph Smith's experiences. I asked them to read in there about bright light and how it acted differently than we were used to. The light was described as descending slowly. How can that happen? It was brighter than the noon day sun. How can that be possible? Then it recounts why that event was so significant to all of us. I think it peaked their interest.
They were very grateful for the thoughtfulness of people so far away.
It took me a lot longer than I thought it would to get them passed out.
It turns out Bro. Nguni of the Chainama Branch is also a welder and is teaching his son to weld.
When I traveled to Shiwa Ngandu, Charlie had several welders on the estate and he was happy to have goggles for them.
It was a good experience for me to get out and meet so many hardworking men.
They were all very grateful and happy.
So these thick goggles have moved me, and a few others, closer together and the world seems a little smaller.
Now, who are these people that just jump in and DO things rather than just read about them?
Elder Patton, their son, moved on from here. He was a "visa waiter" in Zambia, waiting for a visa to get into Zimbabwe. He wasn't even permanently assigned to Zambia and left some time ago for Zimbabwe.
Yet he and his parents acted like this was his mission and he would be here forever.
Some people are easier to like than others. Elder Patton was one of them and now I know why.
I hope it is OK to tell what I know about them, because in my next blog I will tell you just a little bit more about Elder Patton's family.