Friday, November 13, 2015

A Saturday Visit to Bangwe - Carole's Post

Bangwe, 45 minutes to the southeast of the city center, is one of the most densely populated townships in Blantyre.  It is outside of the "centers of strength" that the church has designated for the missionaries to focus on.  However, that doesn't mean there are not members there or that the church will not expand that direction in the near future.  At this time, the members are considered part of the Blantyre 1st Branch.

We have had occasion to visit Bangwe four times in the last few months.  The first time was to visit Sister Mable Pindani, a faithful sister who joined the church in England while visiting a daughter about about 10 years ago.
It requires a very long walk to the minibus "stage" (stop), then two different minibus trips, and a walk on the other side to get to the Blantyre building. Not only is it costly, but it takes such an early start to get to the 8:00 am sacrament meeting because Sister Pindani likes to come to the 2nd Branch where her friends are.  She makes it about once a month.
The first time that we went to visit her we were accompanied by Brother Nixon Ngwira and Sister Kandioni, long time friends who could show us where she lived.

I love this photo.  Brother Ngwira was once her branch president and you can see how wonderful it is when two dear friends get together.

Sister Pindani and Sister Kandioni, two friends who go way back to the beginnings of the church in Blantyre. Sister Pindani's daughter, who lives with her, is sitting next to her mother.  Maria Paul, who lives with Sister Kandioni, is sitting on the other side.

The other family who lives in Bangwe is the Chizola family, father Frank and mother Loveness and various children and grandchildren.  Since Brother Chizola retired from the railroads and now works at a furniture company during the week, we can only catch him at home on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.   
From the very first time, we met them, we felt their graciousness and warmth and we connected immediately.
Brother and Sister Chizola, because of distance, only make it to church occasionally, but what large spirits they have - and such a desire to learn more of the church.

On this particular Saturday, we told them we would bring a lesson for the entire family.
Several of their chairs have a big LDS written on them and there is a blackboard mounted on one wall.  They said a former senior couple would come out and teach the Chizoles and their neighbors.

We sang hymns and taught a lesson about families, specifically telling the story of Helaman and the 2000 stripling warriors.
Alma 56:47-48
" ..yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
  And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."
This is such a beautiful family!  Everyone listened intently, answering questions and were totally engrossed with the pictures.

George brought some seminary materials to help the older twins, Peter and Paul, and the parents study the Old Testament.

The parents translated for the younger children.

Before we left, we wanted to take more photos outside.

I think had we kept going, we would have had the entire neighbood!
When we had first arrived, little Daniel, a grandson who is not yet three, had opened the gate for us, even without any other adults around.  We gave him the name "clever Daniel" and he was the one to let us out.

We will be undoubtedly visiting the Chizolas again.  Some experiences are pure joy and this is one of them!