Branch Visit, Studies & Safari

Hi – it’s us again!

A lot has been going on since the last post – we had family visiting from TX so we went on safari with them to South Africa, then brought them back to Harare with us for about 9 days.  Lots of fun! Here are a few pics from the safari… it’s hard to explain what it’s like to be with these animals in their habitat and observing them going about their daily lives, nearly oblivious to us.  But imagine Paradise … just without the petting and snuggling.

While the Conner’s were in Harare with us, we had many a braai – which in TX would be known as a BBQ.  Same idea, different continent. Grilling of meat, drinking of adult beverages (if you’re so inclined), plenty of conversation, you get the idea. All in all, pretty nice! We also took a day to go out to a game reserve and got to see 3 white rhino, which we hadn’t seen while on safari in South Africa.  There was also a pretty nice view from the top of the rocks and some very cool bushman rock paintings from who knows how long ago!


Sunday, Jan 8th, we were invited to attend the Headquarters Representative Branch Visit Special Meeting at the Harare Assembly Hall. Here are a few pictures – not great ones but it was raining quite a bit so I didn’t get many photos. Sorry!

There were 2400+ in attendance at the Assembly Hall (3 open air buildings each holding about 800) but if you didn’t get invited there, they also streamed the program to the local Kingdom Halls so that pretty much everyone in Zim could be a part of it. So for us being from the US, we weren’t really familiar with a Headquarters Representative Branch Visit.  A Brother Dillinger from the US Bethel branch (not sure which location he’s currently at) came to Zimbabwe to deliver a very encouraging talk which was translated into Shona, the local majority language. But, the first two parts of the program – the abbreviated WT Study and the local report for Zimbabwe – were in Shona and not translated into English.  I could very vaguely follow along with the Watchtower study by listeing for names and scriptures in the paragraphs but when it came to the local report, we were pretty lost. We could tell a nice experience was being told and then the audience would laugh or applaud and the sweet sister with us – her name is Fortunate – would try to fill me in on the joke or experience before they moved on to the next point. Then came the talk by Br Dillinger from the HQ which was excellent.  I took lots of notes because since it was being translated (almost sentence by sentence) into Shona, I had plenty of time to write down what he said! The songs though were probably my favorite part. We started singing in English but since we were 2 of about 800 in our area, we quickly decided we wanted to sing with the group instead of battling through in English.  The video screens had all the lyrics in Shona which is a mostly phonetic language so we were able to read the words and sing along with everyone in Shona.  I have to admit, we only did 2 of 3 songs this way … the middle song was not an easy tune so it was tough to keep up and sing in Shona for that one. Oh well, we tried!  Here’s a video of the brothers and sisters singing in Shona – video credit goes to our friend Kate Vosloo … I was too busy trying to sing the song and not burst into tears to remember to take a video!

Being in service here is great – there’s not much in the way of bathroom breaks or stops at Starbucks but there is lots of walking and lots of talking to people.  I’d say we talk to just about as many people walking down the street or doing gardening as we do talking to people at their doors. I’ve been able to conduct 3 bible studies so far – and they’re all really great in their own way.  One is with a mother of 2 girls that had been sitting in on studies with her brother but it was in Ndebele (the second most common local language) and she wanted to have a study of her own in English which is what she understands the best since that what she was taught in school.  Her name is Lucinda and she’s already pretty knowledgeable but she wanted to start over in the Bible Teach book.  Fine by me!  The other one that is so nice is the one that Cameron found for me a few weeks ago – her name is More Blessings. He showed her the Why Study the Bible video and when it asks if you’d like to know more about the bible and study it with JW’s she said YES! We’re in chapter 3 of the Good News brochure and she’s loving it.  She loved learning that God has a name and she just loved  James 4:8.  This is the busy season for planting and farming but she came back in from the fields to be there for our study at 11 and then was going back out to work the rest of the day. But she thanked us over and over for coming and for our time.

Here are a few random pics of service:


That’s it for now – headed off to the meeting! We miss everyone but we are having lots of fun and good times here!

Author: Keri Chmelik

I love to explore the world with my favorite person... and I'll probably take a few pictures along the way.

One thought on “Branch Visit, Studies & Safari”

  1. I love to see and hear about your adventures. You and Cameron are certainly experiencing amazing and wonderful things that most people only dream about doing. Love you little girl, Mom

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