This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Leaving Zambia - Heading to California

 Slowly we cannibalised our flat.  We gave away most of our "stuff", the mission took back what belongs to it and the landlady bought what the mission didn't want.
It sounds simple but it was a lot of work.

It just doesn't feel much like home anymore.

I won't be taking goats but the paperwork is ready.  The goats passed and now Pres. Erickson needs to find someone willing to drive 14 goats to Malawi in our "goat mobile".

Sunday at church was tough.  It was difficult saying goodbye to so many friends.
This is Ben Chikopa, his mother Catherine and his sister Celine.

This is Bishop Chikumbe Banda.  Remember we thought he looked like Johnny Mathis when we arrived two years ago?

This is Brian and his namesake Brian Jr.

This is Eve-lyn Mainza, our librarian.

This is Bernard.

This is Sister Catherine Malumbe.

This is Mary Banda, the Stake Young Women president and Gertrude.

Bro. Imangu will be on a mission soon to Accra, Ghana.

This is Linda Sikana.  She has reminded me of our daughter Rachel since I arrived here and we have become good friends.

This is Mary who recently moved into our Ward.

Aggie and Sianga Chizoka, both returned missionaries.  We were privileged to attend their wedding back in October of 2013.

This is Charles Chikopa who is waiting for his Brazil visa to go to the MTC there.  He has been called to serve in Mozambique.

Anthony Mulenga looks pretty cocky here.

Elders Walusimbi and Ketchum.  I didn't get a photo of Elders Mabe and Knobloch who serve in our Woodlands Ward.  Elder Knobloch made a wrist band for me as a parting gift.

This is brother Malao Sipalo, my home teaching companion.

At times it seemed like a funeral since the ward members were so kind with their comments.
I was pulled into the last part of Relief Society and the sisters sang to Kristi and I and gave us some gifts.

These are the young women.

This is Robert Zyambo.

Anthony Mulenga with us as we were leaving.

I was able to only catch a few and get their photos.  I wish I had a photo of everyone in the Ward.

Shuko Chizoka is the Young Men president.

Michelo Banda is the pianist.

This couple with us became good friends.  They are Orie and Ruth Orien.  They served in the Copperbelt but stayed with us whenever they came to Lusaka.  We hosted them again as they headed home to Alaska, just two days before we left.

I got to photo-bomb the Shamanga family.  That is Golden, who will get a mission call this week.  His aunt, then Mildred with her niece Emily, Bwalya, Beauty, and Emily's mom Claire Chishala, sister Shamanga's daughter.  I missed Beauty, Kelvin (in Livingstone) and Oliver who is in the Copperbelt serving a mission.  Also Claire's husband Elastus, the 1st Counsellor in the bishopric.

This is Hilda and Elastus Chishala Senior.

Noel became my friend and has difficulty getting around as he is blind.  He will tell you 
"he is the most handsome dude south of the equator."

This is a photo Ruth Orien took of us.

We ate dinner with the Bodilys since our house was torn up.  Chris Chansa found us and came by to say "goodbye".   I really have enjoyed talking with Chris over the past two years.  He has great insight into church culture and the missionaries who pass through Zambia.  He is now a counsellor in the new Lusaka stake presidency.  I will miss him.

I stopped by the Emirates airline office and found out that we will have to spend one day in Dubai unexpectedly.  It seems Emirates doesn't want to fly over Yemen anymore so it takes a little longer to get to Dubai and we will miss our connection.  That will sort of mess up Rebecca's plans to meet us at the airport and for Marjolyn and Leon staying at our house an extra day.

They had a model of the 380 Airbus we will be flying in.  It is a two decker.  We will be below in economy.  :^)

Elders Barton, Chiliza, Payne and Nakale helped move some of the bigger furniture out of our flat.
The office Elders will finish up after we leave.

This was the final panic packing.

We are actually taking one less suitcase home than what we came with, but we have sent a box or two ahead full of little chunks of Zambia. 

The mission president and his wife are in Cape Town, South Africa this week.  As we leave there is only one other couple left in Zambia, and they are responsible for Humanitarian work.  This mission could use more couples willing to serve here.  The Bodilys will graciously take us to the airport for our 21:30 flight.  

There is a real need for more couples here and I can guarantee you it would be hard.  It is hard to arrange leaving house, ageing parents, pets and with finances to consider.  

However, I can also guarantee you will be busy, that time passes quickly, you will make MANY new friends, you will grow closer to your spouse, you will grow closer to our Heavenly Father.  You will be able to be of service in innumerable ways.  You will love the members and love and worry about every young missionary you come in contact with.  You will leave a part of yourself wherever you serve but your children and grandchildren will love you even more than you thought possible because of your example to them which they will long remember.  You will feel younger and your mind will be quicker than when you started.

Oh, it is not all easy but it is so worth it!

I know I will leave a part of my heart in Zambia.