April 10, 2017

Zimbabwe Harare Mission


Free resources about the Zimbabwe Harare Mission:

*Related Mission Page: Zimbabwe Bulawayo Mission



Zimbabwe Harare Mission Address

Here’s a recent address for the Zimbabwe Harare Mission. We try to keep this information up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.

Zimbabwe Harare Mission
65 Enterprise Road
Highlands, Harare
Zimbabwe

Phone Number: 263-4-776-359
Mission President: President Bryson C. Cook

Zimbabwe Harare Mission Map

Here’s a link to the mission map for the Zimbabwe Harare Mission (LDS). To access the official, up-to-date LDS.org map for the Harare Mission:

  1. Log into your LDS account here.
  2. Click here.

Videos with Zimbabwe Harare RMs

Here are in-depth YouTube video interviews with returned missionaries from the Harare Mission.  We interview hundreds of returned missionaries each year, so check back regularly to see new RM interviews.

mission interview  mission interview

LDS-Friendly Videos about Zimbabwe

Here are LDS-friendly educational videos about Zimbabwe. We scoured YouTube to find the best quality videos about Zimbabwe, that are free from inappropriate music, immodesty and profanity.

places  food  nature  mission calls  time lapses  lds church

Zimbabwe Harare Missionary Blogs

Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Harare Mission. This list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their blog was updated.

*Send your missionary a gift (mission-specific shirts, ties, Christmas stockings/ornaments, pillowcases, etc.)

Sister Yeram Park yerammissioninzimbabwe.blogspot.com 2017
Sister Tessa Beckstead tessabeckstead.blogspot.com 2017
Elder Cayden Cazier eldercazier.blogspot.com 2017
Elder Josh Barlow elderjoshbarlow.blogspot.com 2017
Elder Kevin Baldwin kjb-zimbabwe.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Caroline Richards sistercarolinerichards.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Jessica Faye Erickson jessicafayesmission.blogspot.com 2016
Sister Johnni Arbon sisterarbon.blogspot.com 2016
Elder D. Joseph Wilcken elderjosephwilcken.blogspot.com 2016
Elder Jonah Robison elderrobison.wordpress.com 2016
Elder & Sister Hermansen hermansensinzimbabwe.blogspot.com 2015
Elder & Sister Reynolds reynolds-meander.blogspot.com 2015
Elder & Sister Diede diedemission.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Mayall elder-mayall.blogspot.com 2015
Elder Zackary Patton missionsite.net/elderzackarywilliam 2015
Elder Shawn Miller missionsite.net/eldershawnmiller 2015
Elder Andrew Melot eldermelot.blogspot.com 2015
Mission Alumni mission.net/zimbabwe/harare 2014
President & Sister Cook thezimbabwemission.blogspot.com 2013
Elder Devin Maxfield missionsite.net/elderdevinmaxfield 2013
Elder Jacob Haltom missionsite.net/elderjacobhaltom 2013
Elder Quenton Kirkham missionsite.net/elderQuentonKirkham 2012
Elder Russell Hayes missionsite.net/elderrussellhayes 2012
Elder Nate Skroski missionsite.net/eldernateskroski 2012
Elder Justin Packer missionsite.net/elderpacker2 2012
Elder Taylor Ottenbacher missionsite.net/eldertaylorottenbacher 2012
Elder Simpson Nyoni missionsite.net/eldersimpsonstuartnyoni 2012
Elder Dustin Nellesen elderdustinnellesen.blogspot.com 2012
Elder Matthew Finn missionsite.net/eldermatthewfinn 2012
Elder Tyler Dragon missionsite.net/ElderTDragon 2012
Elder Moodley Dickson missionsite.net/elderdickson 2012
Elder Tawanda Chikanyanga missionsite.net/eldertawandachikanyanga 2012
Elder Jared Asay missionsite.net/jaredasay 2012
Elder Kolton Griffiths missionsite.net/elderkoltongriffiths 2011
Elder James Nixon missionsite.net/eldernixon 2011
Elder Lesego Wae missionsite.net/elderlesegowae 2011
Elder Tanner Randall missionsite.net/elderrandall 2011
Elder Lawson Toomer missionsite.net/elderlawsontoomer 2011
Elder & Sister Bullock thebullocksinzimbabwe.blogspot.com 2011
Missionary Couple jceyre.blogspot.com 2011
Elder & Sister Bean beanmission2.blogspot.com 2011
Elder Du Plessis mission2zim.blogspot.com 2006

Zimbabwe Harare Mission Groups

Here are Zimbabwe Harare Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the Harare Mission.

  1. Zimbabwe Harare Mission Facebook Group (584 members)
  2. Harare Mission Returned Missionaries Group (93 members)
  3. Zimbabwe Harare Mission Reunion Group Group (87 members)
  4. Zimbabwe Harare Missionary Families Group (79 members)
  5. The Real Zimbabwe Harare Missionaries Group (53 members)
  6. Zimbabwe Harare Mission Memories Group (27 members)
  7. Harare Zimbabwe Returned Missionaries Group (24 members)
  8. Harare Reunions in SA President Bester Group (2 members)

Zimbabwe Harare Mission T-Shirts

Here are T-shirts for the Zimbabwe Harare Mission!

Shirt designs include Harare Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL.  The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.

*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: Harare missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.

*Click here to browse Zimbabwe Harare Mission gifts



Zimbabwe Harare Mission Presidents

Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the Harare Mission.

  1. 2015-2018, T. Jackson Mkhabela
  2. 2012-2015, Bryson C. Cook
  3. 2009-2012, Edward Dube
  4. 2006-2009, Andre Cornelius Bester
  5. 2003-2006, Joseph A. Jenkins
  6. 2000-2003, Keith Reid Edwards
  7. 1997-2000, Frank D. Bagley
  8. 1994-1997, William Lindsey Hunter
  9. 1991-1994, Vern L. Marble
  10. 1990-1991, Escar Jesse Decker, Jr.
  11. 1990-1990, George T. Brooks
  12. 1987-1990, Joseph Hamstead

Zimbabwe LDS Statistics (2015)

  • Church Membership: 26,156
  • Missions: 1
  • Temples: 0
  • Congregations: 64
  • Family History Centers: 4

Helpful Articles about Zimbabwe

Coming soon..

Zimbabwe Harare Missionary Survey

Here are survey responses from Harare RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.

When did you serve?

  • 2010-2012 (Carson)
  • 2009-2011 (Bathobile)
  • 2009-2011 (Sam)
  • 2001-2003 (Athanasi)
  • 2002-2004 (Cleopas)
  • 2010-2011 (Gladys)
  • May 2013 – April 2015 (Welile)
  • 2001-2003 (Athanasi)
  • 2000-2002 (Batishita)

What areas did you serve in?

  • Bulawayo, Harare, Gweru, Mutare. (Cleopas)
  • Blanty Malawi, Lusaka Zambia, Bolawayo and Harare Zimbabwe. (Gladys)
  • Harare, Gweru, Bulawayo and Marondera. (Welile)
  • Lusaka, Gweru, Mutare, Kwekwe, Bulawayo, Kadoma and Lusaka again. (Athanasi)
  • Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Lusaka, Gweru, Kadoma. (Batishita)

What were some favorite foods?

  • Obviously I have to give a huge shout out to sadza nay kovo! That stuff got me through two years. I loved the rice and chicken with soup that members would make. I think they would use a packet (I think called Royo) to make a gravy-like sauce (they call it soup) to put on top of the rice. They would mix that in with green peppers, onions, and tomatoes. (Carson)
  • Kapenta, tomato and onion relish and rape. The rice in Zambia is to die for. (Bathobile)
  • Aadza, beef, mangoes. (Sam)
  • Sadza, vegetables, meat all kinds, etc. (Athanasi)
  • Sadza and Kapenta. (Cleopas)
  • Chomolia. (Gladys)
  • Sadza, khovo and beef stew. (Welile)
  • Sadza, green vegetabls and meat. (Athanasi)
  • Pizza, sadza, vegetables. Cakes. (Batishita)

What was a funny experience?

  • This may be a little irreverent, but I think any young person can appreciate a good fart story. I had many hilarious stories by the way, but I just remembered this one. We were teaching a young man, probably around 20 years old. His name was Daveson. He had come to church a few times and was preparing to be baptized. As my companion was getting serious and spiritual in the lesson he leaned forward and accidentally let out a small fart. We all bursted out laughing. We tried multiple times to get back into “the zone”, but we could not stop laughing. (Carson)
  • In my first couple of weeks being out, I hadn’t quite adjusted to the culture yet. We were teaching a part member family where the Mom and Dad were members, but their sons were not. Well the Mom just had a baby and right in the middle of the lesson without any cover or warning she started breast feeding him. My eyes immediately shot up to the ceiling. My companion started to laugh at me but turned it into a cough. (Sam)
  • Falling in a Poo River while going to teach the gospel.
  • Our zone leaders finding me and my companion on top of their Avocado tree at their house. They were very shocked to see sister missionaries on top of a big tree. 😊 (Gladys)
  • I broke my tooth while eating maputi (a very hard type of popcorn) (Welile)
  • Proselyting in the rain. (Athanasi)

What was a crazy/dangerous experience?

  • Let’s just say I had a few, but you will be well protected! (Carson)
  • Learning how to drive stick shift. I was a danger to everyone on the roads. But I did run over a 7-foot long snake when I was learning! And I hate snakes. (Sam)
  • When we went to walk with lions. (Cleopas)
  • People following us because they think we were Satanists. (Gladys)
  • Was almost bitten by a snake twice at night while returning to our apartment. (Welile)
  • Mountain climbing. (Athanasi)

What was a spiritual experience?

  • We found and baptized an incredible family, the Maulanas, in Masvingo, Zimbabwe. Finding them was a spiritual, rewarding experience on its own, but I will tell another story with them. About two months after the Maulana family was baptized (Brother Maulana was baptized and then was able to baptize his wife and daughter about a month later) we had an interesting day. We were having fall throughs like crazy! Everyone we wanted to see was not home. It got to the point where we had to step back and say, “This is crazy. Maybe we need to be somewhere. Where should we go?” My companion and I both felt that we needed to see the Maulana family. When we got to the house Sister Maulana and their daughter were crouched over the bed crying over Brother Maulana. He had gotten weak the previous few days and was unable to walk. In Zimbabwe many families live day to day. Meaning whatever money they make that day is how they buy dinner that night. They were flat out of money and did not have food in the house. They depended on Brother Maulana to walk the two miles to town for work to provide for the family. It was a humbling scene, but my companion and I felt filled with power. We were reminded of the verses in Acts 3:1-9 where Peter and John tell a lame man to “rise up and walk”. We gave Brother Maulana a blessing and he arose and walked out of the house with us. He walked to town and made enough money for his family to buy dinner. He also walked the two miles to church the next day. (Carson)
  • Towards the end of my mission I was given a difficult task of opening up two new areas at the same time, while training. It was during a time when I extended my mission by six weeks. It was awesome! It was the hardest I ever worked and the most fun I had while on my mission. It was late one night and we were trying to hitch a ride back home which was almost two hours away. I was worried we wouldn’t make it, so I said a prayer and asked for protection while we worked everything out. A minivan full of 14 people stopped and offered us a ride. They were a different church on their way to an all-night prayer meeting. While riding with them they sang some of their hymns and I just felt this comforting feeling over me. Prayers can be answered by anyone! (Sam)
  • When we approached a father during tracting and later on he told us that he knew that one day people would come to share a very important message which will change our lives. (Cleopas)
  • The best spiritual experience was seeing the Lord use us to touch His children’s lives. (Gladys)
  • Meeting an investigator on my second week on mission who had read the triple combination from cover to cover and was willing to leave everything and join the church. That strengthened my testimony of the truth and that investigator was baptized a few weeks later. (Welile)
  • Seeing a member being healed after giving her a blessing and the doctors had confirmed that she was not going to live. (Athanasi)

What are some interesting facts about the Harare Mission?

  • Zimbabweans are amazing, beautiful people. (Carson)
  • For a while the Harare Mission was the highest baptizing nation in the world. Zimbabwe has had the highest inflation ever recorded at around a trillion percent. (Sam)
  • Seeing how our Heavenly Father changes people and how the Lord preserves his servants. (Cleopas)
  • It covers 3 countries. (Gladys)
  • It was a wonderful mission with some dedicated missionaries serving very humble people of Zimbabwe who are dominated by the Christian religion. (Welile)

What was the weather like?

  • The weather was very mild (usually). They had a rainy season for a few months of the year. They also have a winter, which basically means you will be kind of cold at night and in the morning, but in the day time you will still be hot. (Carson)
  • Subtropical. It got cold during the winter months, but really hot and rainy during the summer. (Sam)
  • Hot. (Cleopas)
  • Every country was different depending on the area. (Gladys)
  • Hot and sunny almost year round with rainy season coming towards the end of the year, from maybe October, November to somewhere in January. I stand to be corrected though. (Welile)
  • Favorable, because I was a native. (Athanasi)

Any things you really like about the area/people?

  • They are incredibly humble and loving. They care about you. They will give anything to you. I miss them very much. They give life meaning. (Carson)
  • The people! Everyone, even strangers on the street were willing to be your friend and talk to you. (Sam)
  • The love of the people. (Cleopas)
  • Each country had its own culture and beliefs. Typically in each country, there would be more than 10 tribes and all had their own languages and traditions. So we actually meet different people every day. (Gladys)
  • They were always willing to listen to messages about Jesus Christ even though they would disagree with certain doctrines that we teach. (Welile)
  • They love the Gospel but need some little patience when teaching them. (Athanasi)

Any packing advice?

  • Get ready for all four seasons. Bring mostly short-sleeve shirts. Also, have a good sweater for the colder months. Bring mostly short-sleeve shirts. Also, have a good sweater for the colder months. (Carson)
  • Never bring long-sleeved shirts! And carry everything with you. If someone robs you, they are most likely going to rob your house and not your person. Learn how to wash clothes by hand…that skill will pay off hugely! (Sam)
  • It’s a walking mission so you need strong shoes. (Cleopas)
  • If you going to Zimbabwe, pack warm for winter. Malawi is very tropical so pack for rainfall, their weather changes 5 times in a day and their winter is very cold. Zambia is hot but very windy. (Gladys)
  • I’m not very good with advice for packing but would say, do not carry a lot of warm clothing cause you might not need it. (Welile)
  • Weather is good for any clothing. (Athanasi)

What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?

  • I have a greater perspective of the Gospel as not only part of my life but it Being my life! I understand and know what I want to achieve.. and I want an eternal family and be able to serve in every way I can. Countless. I received a great education because of it. I learned to talk to anyone. That has helped me meet girls and also stand out at the work place. Most people can’t strike up conversation with anyone at the drop of a hat. Countless. I received a great education because of it. I learned to talk to anyone. That has helped me meet girls and also stand out at the work place. Most people can’t strike up conversation with anyone at the drop of a hat. (Carson)
  • Work ethic, discipline, obedience, a love for strangers, a different perspective of the world. Strengthened testimony. (Sam)
  • Finding a faithful partner, living life to the fullest and serving in the church. (Cleopas)
  • I was the Lord’s most important convert. My mission was not to change or convert others, but to convert me fully to his work. I came back a very changed being and I’m grateful for that. (Gladys)
  • Lots and lots of blessings but one I can mention is a strong testimony of the gospel, and in the restoration of the true church. I struggled a lot with doubts before mission. (Welile)
  • I have became a good communicator and have grown to work hard. (Athanasi)

What are some skills you gained?

  • Listening to people and feeling Christ like Love. Living with a companion 24 hours a day certainly helps prepare you for so much in your life working for a living learning team work trusting someone with all your secrets and your life at times. Prepares you for marriage and how to live with your husband eg learning to listen communicate with each other trust and rely on. I learned how to plan, work hard, and lead people. I learned how to plan, work hard, and lead people.(Carson)
  • Study skills, work ethic, how to fix a bike, how to drive a stick shift vehicle, how to kill a snake. (Sam)
  • Communication skills, public speaking, diligence, self confidence and endurance. (Cleopas)
  • People skills. Communication skills. Confidence. Analytic skills. Endurance. (Gladys)
  • It would be teaching skill that stands out with me, also a little bit of problem solving and being able to discern people’s needs. (Welile)

Is there anything you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?

  • Talk to everyone I would have told my trainer to have a better companionship inventory and companionship study. I wish I would have known the scriptures better. I wish I would have known the scriptures better.(Carson)
  • I wish I had not been so homesick. I know being homesick is natural, but I wish I would’ve worked harder during that time. (Sam)
  • Tracting. (Cleopas)
  • I wish I knew that I didn’t have to do everything perfect or be a perfect missionary. I wish I had let loose and enjoyed my mission. Only half way, did I learn that lesson, that the mission rules are guide lines. And that I can actually enjoy and have fun serving the Lord. From that day, my whole mission changed. (Gladys)
  • I wish I was bold in teaching and bearing testimony, I feared boldness because of the questions that would always come and I didn’t have answers for. (Welile)

Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries called to Harare?

  • I feel strongly about this, and it doesn’t apply to everyone, but I feel it applies to most people. If you go on a mission, stay on the mission! You promised two years of your life. Don’t punish yourself by coming home early. But then also, if you come home early, don’t punish yourself. Heavenly Father still loves you and still wants you to serve a mission but maybe in a different capacity. (Sam)
  • Be prayerful the Lord will use you. (Cleopas)
  • Work hard, play hard, eat hard and have fun. If you not having fun, you don’t have the Spirit. (Gladys)
  • Be bold in bearing testimony but not overbearing and have a firm testimony in the restoration and missionary work. This will be good benefit to your investigators and the work, and also a benefit to you too. (Welile)

What was a funny language mistake?

  • I meant to say the word “love,” but I accidentally said “homosexual”. (Sam)

LDS Church & Missionary Work


Nate (Zimbabwe Harare Mission)

–Paraphrased from Nate’s mission interview–

What The South Africa MTC Is Like

My sister went on a mission right before me and she went to the Provo MTC.  She told me all about the food there and how they have a general authority come to visit every so often.

When I went to the Johannesburg MTC, instead of there being thousands of missionaries, there was a total of maybe thirty missionaries and the food is not quite what the huge Provo MTC cafeteria is like.  The food is good but it is definitely African.  The first day, I am looking at this plate and there is this big thing of white and it looked to me like mashed potatoes and I am thinking excellent…I love mashed potatoes.  So I get my fork and I poke it and it jiggles like jello and I say, “this potato has gone bad.” The guy sitting next to me (I think he was from Durban) grabs my fork and he throws it away and says “no, you don’t eat pap with a fork.  You eat pap with your hands.”  So I take off a piece and I throw it in my mouth and it is the most tasteless thing I have ever had.  “I say “why do you eat this?”  He says “no, no, no” and he takes a piece and he dipped it into some type of gravy and I ate it and that was much better.  You begin to crave it after a while. It settles in your stomach and it fills you up more than anything else.  Eventually your body wants it pretty constantly. It is not an addiction but for a missionary, it is really good food.  In Zimbabwe, it is called sadza and it is delicious…eventually.

The cool thing about the Johannesburg MTC is that because there are so few guys, you get to know every single person.  You get on a very personal basis with everybody.

I had President Christensen at the MTC.  He and his wife were amazing.

There are like five or six teachers who are all hand picked, great people.  It was definitely a different experience than I would expect the Provo MTC to be.  It was very unique and basically every teacher knows that you are going on like 5 or 6 missions so they say “Okay, so this is what your mission is going to be like”.  Either they served there or they have talked with guys who have come back from there and this is what you are in for.

The LDS Church In Zimbabwe

When I first went there, the Zimbabwe Harare Mission was Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. Six months after I arrived, they split the mission, so all the missionaries in Zimbabwe stayed there and all the missionaries in Zambia stayed there and it became the Zambia Lusaka Mission.

When I first got there, there were maybe a hundred, maybe a little bit more missionaries and when they split, it went down a lot.  I think they were aiming for maybe 150 with so missionaries in the field.

Beginnings of Church Growth

In the past, it used to be part of the Africa Southeast Mission.  President Dube, my Mission President, served in that mission.  He served in some of the same places that I did.  Back then the mission was gigantic and very few missionaries.

There were several people that had a huge impact on whether or not the church would be successful there.  The Neal’s were a very well known family with the people and with the government because he used to be a Rugby star. When the church was getting started there, he had good influence with the government and made sure that everything was all right with the church’s growth and that nobody was out rubbing shoulders too tightly or causing problems.

Africa Southeast Mission started out as a little district, with little branches and not very many members at all.  At some point, it started to grow and more missionaries would come in.   When I was there, there was a stake in Bulawayo and in Gweru. When I was in Vendura while I was there, it became a district and they organized district presidencies there and another district in Mutare where there were two stakes in Harare.  I know they have split them at least once so now there are two more stakes since I was there. It is one of the fastest growing missions in the world. It seemed like every stake conference you went to, they were announcing splitting off another branch or another ward.  It was growing like crazy.

From Missionary to Church Leaders

President Dube used to be a Stake President there.  He is now a member of the Seventies. President Mkhabela…he was in Bulawayo. He was in charge of the CES program and then was the Stake President and now I think he is an area Seventy as well.  Elder Cook came and I remember him saying that some of the men in Zimbabwe…some of the Priesthood leaders were…I guess he was just impressed with how dedicated they were with helping the growth of the church there.

Willing Help

The missionaries there could asked the Branch President to go and tract with you and they would go and tract with you. People were very willing to help you in the church.

Life in Zimbabwe

So every mission has the apartment that they envy and think is super nice, and then there are apartments that you refer to as outer darkness. My mission president wanted us to live with the people. One of the places I stayed in was a side apartment that used to be the servants quarters. Carpets aren’t that popular because vacuums aren’t a thing there. Electricity and water come and go so you can’t always depend on them. They apply this stuff called cobra to wax the floors. Make sure you don’t sit on it quickly because it will leave red streaks on your pants. Most of us would store water around the apartment if the water stopped working. We would take bucket baths if the water and electricity went out. It’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I was spoiled with my showers at home. Bucket baths are pretty fun. Some missionaries hate them. To get into town you take these VW buses that hippies in the US would drive and they cram maybe 25 people into one. You have like four to a row. If you see a large person getting in you get scared because it’s gonna get tight. Otherwise it’s a ton of fun. The drivers will yell what the destination is going to be. A lot of the times the drivers will fight with each other to pick you up. You get to town and there is this hub of all of these vans yelling where they are going to go. Some of the zone leaders would have cars, but we would pay those guys. The hard part is going shopping, because you can’t buy too much food at once because there won’t be room for it in the van. They use American dollars there because of inflation and problems with currency that they had. Bills are a lot easier to transport than coins, so you don’t really get change. They’ll give you lollipops or candy instead of change. A lot of people will see missionaries and they’ll think you have money. If you’re buying something in the market, you have to barter down because they will try to get you to pay a higher price.

Culture and People

There are a hundred things I love, so I’ll have to pick my favorites. Zimbabwean people are naturally friendly and polite. I don’t know what makes them that way, but they’re willing to take time out of their day to speak to you. As a whole, the country is friendly, and they smile more than I was used to. It was fantastic. As a missionary there, you kind of get spoiled. You can talk with them about anything. You invite someone to church and most of the time they say yes I will  be there. They’re just so friendly. If you go into a house, it’s part of the culture to offer you something to eat. I remember people that didn’t like what we were doing or teaching, but when we were in the house they would still give us something to eat. You call the women mamas. They will call you son as well. I loved that and I felt like I belonged when people would say things like that. They would discipline me like a mom as well. It was funny when it wasn’t happening to me. We love food, so on holidays they cook special meals, and they sing cultural songs. I guess the biggest example of that is when you go to a funeral and the family provides food for everybody. We would be fed, and sing songs, and they would talk about the life of the person. It was an occasion to be together and it was a very unifying feeling. They’re good at remembering that we all come from the same place and we are family. In church it’s fun when they translate the hymns into Shona. They also have their own unique ways of singing the hymns and I love it.

 


Paul (Zimbabwe Harare Mission)

–Paraphrased from Paul’s mission interview–

LDS Church In Malawi

When I went to Malawi, it had been open to missionaries for about 4 years but the growth was very, very slow. When I got there, there were about 25 to 30 people meeting in a branch or group.  They actually met in an office complex…that’s where the branch would meet. While I was there, the church purchased land to build the first chapel in Malawi which is now there and I believe they have or are about to have a stake there now. When I was there, there was only one branch.  It has now grown to four branches about to be wards.

First Missionary from Malawi

When I was there, the first missionary who left from Malawi, his name was Noah.  It was a great experience to work with him as a branch missionary and see him become the first missionary to leave Malawi. He was very hungry and excited to be the first missionary and very proud to be the first missionary to leave from Malawi.

Background/History

The church had just opened up, in 2003, the Lilongwe area.  The church originally was in Blantyre,  which was a bigger city, but the capital was Lilongwe further north. The church had just opened up Lilongwe as I was leaving the mission. The mission was opened up by Jonathan Weaver and they put two missionaries up there. Then after that, the church had to reduce the size of the mission so I believe they may have had to pull them out after a while.

As far as Malawi goes, it is great. It’s the third poorest country in the world. When you go to Zimbabwe, you get a bit of a culture shock as far as the economic status. Malawi is even more so. They almost seem fourth world because there is so much poverty there. There are very few paved roads.  Lots of dirt roads.  The towns that the people live in are just thrown together…not really structured…there is no rhyme or reason. The country of Malawi used to be called Nyasaland which means ugly in the local tongue. They kind of did that because it is so beautiful.  Kind of like the Iceland/Greenland thing. Africa is an ugly land so people would want to go live there because it was so beautiful and fruitful.  Lake Malawi is one of the largest lakes in Africa. Malawi is a small skinny country and it runs along the border of the lake.

Growth of the Church in the Area

The growth there was a lot of hard work.  We had more success in Zimbabwe and Zambia even because the church was so young and getting some to buy into the idea that this a new church in their country was very, very hard because you are meeting in a small branch.  It is amazing what a few strong Melchizedek Priesthood holders and families can do for an area.  So really the church was focusing on trying to find and establish those Melchizedek holders and families in the area they opened up because they are such a great base for the church to grow off of.  So that is what we really focused on…trying to find families with good, strong priesthood holders that can lead a branch and can lead the people and help them to become self sufficient  There were four elders and two sisters  in the area when I was there.  I don’t know how many are there now but I am sure that it has grown quite a bit.  When I left, there were about 40 people attending.  We did have success finding people and in reactivation.

Government and Connections

In townships in Malawi they have a different governmental system where they have what they call a chief and that chief is someone the people go to for advice and to solve small problems or issues within that small township.  One of the members was the  chief so we all called him Chief because of the title that he had.  He was someone that was partially active.  He would go a lot to church but at the same time he was pretty busy.  He was someone that I tried to create a special bond with so that we could also get into the local tribal system and help with the families that would be a more established base in the church so we created a really unique bond with him and became really close to him. It was pretty neat..the day that…after I had been there 4 1/2 months laboring, I  set these personal goals for myself to attain such as so many people I had to contact every single day and I would try to break these records of contact that you could do every day.  It was a lot of hard work and wasn’t as fruitful as far as baptisms.  It was definitely fruitful as far a blessings that I saw and experiences I had. One of those was for the Chief that I had put so much effort into all  those months.  He gathered up all the members and he had a small farewell party for me.  You spend 4 1/2 months with someone and they take you into their home and they want to love you unconditionally.

It is very black and white…not a lot of grey there.  In America you have a lot more things you can justify.  In Africa, you are either someone who is doing something very wrong or they are trying their best to do what is right.  The same thing…the temptations are very black and white. It is almost refreshing to go there and to see the wickedness or the righteousness.  There is not a lot of grey. I think that happens because of all the trials the Africans have with the poor government that they have and the unrighteous dominion that the leaders do as they go along and pretty much in every African country, there is a lot of political turmoil and because of that political turmoil, it is like you read in the scriptures where the people have been compelled to be humble because of their circumstances…their living circumstances, their lack of freedom and their lack of ability to have a successful life like most people experience elsewhere so the people in Africa are very humble. There is a special Spirit that you can’t deny. The Spirit they bring.  The light of Christ is so heavy on them. It is humbling to anybody who is able to experience that because of the lack of things that they have.  Being in a first world country, they say that you have to have this, this and this to be happy in life.  Once you realize that when all that is taken away, your relationship with God becomes that much closer.

Life and Death

You are watching people count on God for the next meal and count on God for their health. When you are in Africa and they get sick, people are genuinely worried about you.  When they find out an elder or you are sick, they genuinely are worried about you because there, if you get sick, they don’t know how bad you could get and you could possibly pass away which is very normal for them.  So life and death, black and white are very large.  Age is a huge issue in those areas especially in Zimbabwe and Malawi and Zambia and South Africa and because disease is rampant funerals are just part of their life  They have funerals at the chapel every week.  It seemed like someone was always passing away because the rampant disease that is going on there.

Ready to Hear

Because of all that humility, it makes your experiences look like their time is right now to hear the gospel. They have been compelled to be humble by their political circumstances and the lack of worldly items that they have in their life.  Expect when you go into a home, they will let anybody come talk to them.  When you are going out as a missionary, and you are tracting, especially in the high density, lower income areas, anybody lets you into their house.  That is when it is different because you are not being rejected, you are asking and praying in your heart for the Spirit to guide you to know if this family is ready to hear the gospel which is something that you don’t get anywhere else and is probably unique to that region of the world.

Description of Area/People

Malawi is a great place because it is green with a lot of hills.  It is very humid.  A lot more green grows there than in Zimbabwe.  The church is very young.  Lots of people don’t even know what the Book of Mormon is whereas in Zimbabwe and Zambia, the pastors are doing a pretty good job of telling the people what the Book of Mormon is or what it isn’t is a better way to say that. Malawi is very young and the church is very new and people have not heard much about it.