Our South African Journal

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

So today I realized that a lot of people have been reading this blog and thinking to themselves, "Man if this is a mission, sign me up!" So I figured I better explain. Once or twice a year the senior couples in the mission get together for a retreat. Many of them are all scattered around the country and rarely see each other. So this is a time to get together, get instruction from the mission president and to share ideas and learn from each other. When the mission president realized we would be coming close to the time of the retreat he requested us to come a week early so we could participate. I can't tell you how much it meant to be with the other senior missionaries and learn from them. I would also like to add that all the senior couples paid their own way. Anyway, on to more adventures.

On Saturday, March 28, we got up early so we could go on a morning game drive. We had a cup of hot chocolate (the lodge was very accommodating) and set off in our trucks. We had fun even though no wild animals chased us. We saw a bunch of giraffes. They are so amazing to see in the wild. They are just so huge and so different looking. When one of them walked in front of our truck the music from "Jurassic Park" was playing in my head.

We came across a herd of Cape Buffalo. They can be very dangerous because they are so unpredictable. However our bunch of buffalo were peacefully eating and were only mildly curious about us.

Cape Buffalo

This time around we also saw lots of warthogs. We didn't get a picture of them because they are very skittish and run off before you can get to your camera. At one point our guide told us to stop worrying about getting a picture and just enjoy the moment. I think he was right. It is just so wondrous to see these animals in the wild that we need some time to just absorb the beauty and majesty of God's creations. Yes, even warthogs are beautiful and majestic. Well, maybe not, but their babies are kinda cute.

I am just glad there were no lions or elephants around when we got this flat tire. I am wearing a jacket because it was a cool morning and bouncing around the savanna in an open truck can get a little chilly.  

We didn't pet this cheetah

We got to see a cheetah in the wild. He was very big and beautiful. He got bored of looking at us looking at him so he got up and walked away.

Guinea Fowl

After another great game drive it was time to get back to reality. We went back to the lodge where they had a wonderful breakfast waiting for us and then it was time for all of us to head home.

Home? Well by this time we knew we were going to a small city a few hours drive northwest of Durban, called Newcastle. We would be assigned to a small branch in the township of Madadeni. But that is all we knew. Another couple, Brother and Sister Taylor drove us to our "boarding". (That is what they call the properties leased by the church for the missionaries.)  The Taylors helped us unload our luggage, gave us the keys to our car and house, offered us some last minute advice and information and then left.  We were alone in a strange house, in a strange city, in a strange country surrounded by strangers and no food in the house. So we got in our car and drove ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD to a grocery store the Taylors had pointed out to us. I wandered around the store not sure what to buy. They had Cheerios, yay! I bought milk, bread, peanut butter, jam, honey, apples, bananas and soup. The young missionaries stopped by to meet us and we arranged to have them escort us to the Madadeni chapel in the morning.We ate our soup for dinner. Made our bed up with sheets and blankets we found in the linen closet, said our prayers and fell exhausted into bed.


  1. Wow! I really can't imagine the whole "here's you knew digs. Good luck!" It sounds awesome and scary at the same time! We need to see pics of the house.
    Giraffes are weird looking.

  2. I wish I could just "like" Mary's comment (I assume that's Mary lol)

  3. I typed a big comment earlier and it didn't post so the above "Hello?" was a test.

  4. I had the scary Jurassic Park scene with the T-Rex going through my head when I was reading about the flat tire. Glad there was nothing fierce around for sure!

  5. That last couple of paragraphs brought a tear to my eye...you two have such a wonderful connection. In all the strangeness, you just take each others hands in comfort, faith and love ♡ Fear not, for the Lord is on your side...

  6. I can't imagine just getting dropped off with no trainer to take your hand and show you the ropes. I love the giraffes!