We woke up Sunday, March 29th excited to begin our new life as missionaries. We had Cheerios for breakfast, yay! The missionaries came by so we could follow them to church. We have a GPS also. The Madadeni chapel is about 10 miles from our house.
We were almost there when we got confused about whether we were following the right bakkie. Translation: small truck. Some of the missionaries drive bakkies because they often drive dirt roads. Anyway we weren't sure those were the missionaries in front of us because the darn GPS was telling us something different. (We have since learned - the hard way- that the GPS is not entirely trustworthy in the townships.) However we quickly realized that we turned the wrong way and so we pulled over and the missionaries found us and led us to church.
The Madadeni chapel is a lovely little brick building. It is like Mormon church in miniature. We were told by the missionaries how to shake hands. They do it the normal way but they also do a shake, twist, shake handshake. They also do a thumb snap handshake but they said Elder Hind can learn it but I wouldn't be expected to do it. So Elder Hind likes to practice it with the little kids.
We were greeted with shy handshakes and hugs. Everyone was very nice. When we went into Sacrament Meeting we were surprised to see Elder and Sister Cinquini there. They are a Public Relations senior couple. They were in town doing some training for the local public relations people.
They don't do normal prelude music in this branch. One sister just starts singing a song and then nearly everyone joins in. Then someone starts another song and everyone sings along. As I sat in that little chapel listening to those beloved hymns sung with such sweetness and in beautiful harmony I realized I was finally on my mission in South Africa. This is why I came: to hear these voices, to share my life, my love, the gospel of Jesus Christ and whatever else I have to offer for the next 18 months. As I sat there the tears just poured down my face. This is where I am supposed to be. We were asked to introduce ourselves and share our testimonies. We managed to blubber through that also.
Most of the service and classes are in English but some of the prayers and comments were in Zulu. I am determined to learn a little Zulu. I will begin by learning to pronounce their names properly.
After church I told Sister Cinquini I would love to have them for lunch but I could only offer them peanut butter sandwiches. She was gracious enough to say that that sounded great so they came to our place and ate sandwiches and apples with us. It was nice to have them here. We had a good visit with them.
Some more of the local missionaries came by to introduce themselves. (I wished I had cookies to pass out to them) There are 10 missionaries serving in the immediate area. Two elders serve the Newcastle area, four elders serve in Madadeni and four more Osizweni (another nearby township).
There hasn't been a senior couple here for 4 months and one of the elders told Sister Taylor that he is glad we are here because he feels more secure when there is a senior couple nearby. So who is going to help us feel more secure?