We had the opportunity to hear Elder Welling’s voice yesterday for Mother’s Day. He sounds great and was very upbeat and positive and when asked how he was doing, responded with I am doing great and really love it here. We were able to visit with him for about an hour and fifteen minutes. While we were talking we asked him a few questions that we thought would be good to share his responses with everyone.
How is the work going?
Two of the main religions that I deal with are the JW’s and the Brunomites and they know their Bibles very well. It doesn’t matter what scripture references we throw at the JW’s, they just dismiss them. The Brunomites believe in the restoration, but they believe that a man by the name of Bruno restored the gospel.
Are you close to the mission home?
No, we live in a suburb fifteen minutes outside of the city (15 minutes by bus). We have to take a small bus like you see in the movies, a bus that is supposed to fit six or seven and they cram 15 to 20 of us in them. The drivers are crazy! We try and get on the bus with our eggs and other groceries and hope we make it home with them intact. I am scared to drive. There are no traffic laws down here, they don’t yield to pedestrians. I have already been hit by a truck. I was walking on the side of the road and a truck clipped my shoulder and arm. I am scared to drive down here! People don’t have licenses; they just jump in cars and drive.
So how many elders are in your district?
There are four elders and four sisters. We are in one of the tougher areas. Me and my companion are in the Libala South area, and a kid from Canada and his companion are the Libala North. Between the two areas we have a branch of about 100 people. The hardest part is keeping them active.
When you play soccer on P-Day, who do you get to play with?
All of the elders in our zone. The members also join in and some onlookers as well.
Do you get to play basketball?
No, not really. I choose not to. Too easy to get hurt. The courts are dirt and very uneven. The curbs are right under the rims, so if you forget and go in for a breakaway layup, you roll your ankles. Plus the games just turn into jungle ball.
Has Grandma been forwarding Zach’s letters to you, Zach is having a difficult time with how filthy India is?
Yes she has, it is filthy here too. People burn their own trash, they don’t have garbage trucks that come and pick it up. So, they throw their trash out. If it makes it into the garbage can, great. But if not, it just lays on the ground. Nobody picks it up. The only system that is maintained by the city is the underground water. Our flat is the only place that has a septic system.
Are the people nice?
Yes for the most part, unless they are drunk. The alcohol is called Chiboota (is what I think he said) and they are not nice if they have been drinking too much.
Are there any other critters running around that you have seen besides spiders and scorpions?
Yes there are a lot of lizards, BIG lizards.
Are you still getting along with your companion?
Yep, we get a long great
What other languages do they speak there?
They speak Bemba and Nyanja
Do you eat with the members a lot?
We eat with them a few times a week
Do they eat with you or wait till your done eating then eat?
Both some members eat with us and others wait until we are done then they eat. It is really interesting because then don’t have silverware, we eat with our hands. Before we eat they bring out a large bowl or pan of boiling water, we then all wash our hands and then eat. We take the Nshima and form it into balls and then use it to pick up the rest of the food.
How are your clothes holding out?
They are doing ok, we have to walk everywhere and the roads are reddish clay like dirt, we start out heading to church with our white shirts on and by the time we get to church our pants and shirts have a reddish tint to them. It is almost like the red dirt at the baseball fields in Evanston. I have to hand wash all my clothes and can usually get most of the red out of my shirts. Since we wash all our clothes by hand, I have to do a lot of ironing.
What kind of fish are you eating?
I believe the small fish we eat is called Kapenta, the larger fish, not sure on the name but they are pretty good.
Are there a lot of street vendors?
Yes they are everywhere and they sale anything you can imagine, from fish to vegetables, fruit, little trinkets, clothes, etc. I can tell you that the fruit down here is amazing; it tastes so much better here than it ever did in Evanston.