Our South African Journal

Monday, May 4, 2015

Conference finally came to South Africa. We didn’t get to see the Saturday Sessions in Madadeni because of the funeral. But we got to watch Sunday Sessions in the chapel on Sunday. I wasn’t thinking or I would have brought some water bottles and snacks for Elder Hind and me because we only got about 45 minutes between sessions and that wasn’t enough time for us to go home. By the time Conference was over we were tired and hungry. I must admit I got a tiny bit homesick when they showed the Conference Center and temple square.
I think my favorite talk was given by Elder Neil Anderson. “Thy Kingdom Come” He talks about the Second Coming but he also talks about the 3 newly announced temples and about being disciples of Jesus Christ. His talk just touched my heart.

We have spent a lot of time this week writing emails, answering emails, making phone calls, receiving phone calls, etc, etc. Sometimes missionary work is just plain work.

Elder Hind took me to lunch at my favorite restaurant (Ocean Basket) and we sat out on the patio. The weather has been so nice. The temperatures are just in the 70s and 80s. As we were sitting there enjoying our lunch I noticed a cloud building up in the distance. I had Elder Hind take a picture of it. Let me tell you about South African clouds, they are different. I don’t think you can really see the difference from a picture and I am not sure I can describe the difference. The only thing I can say is they look more solid and substantial than clouds in Utah. I know it does not make sense to call clouds solid and substantial, but there you have it. They don’t look like water vapor, they look like whipped cream.

I spent most of one day altering the curtains from the Madadeni elder’s old flat so they would fit the windows in the new flats. Some of the curtains fit ok they only needed washing. But others needed to be altered. I have a good machine here and it felt good to do some sewing. One of the Newcastle elders brought me by 3 shirts to mend. Boy he is hard on his shirts! It is not like the shirts are wearing out, he is just tearing holes in them. I told him I could patch them but they won’t be pretty. He was ok with that.
On Wednesday we went out to Osizweni with the walking elders assigned there. Osizweni is a township about 30Ks from Newcastle. We haven’t been out there yet because we didn’t feel we could go by ourselves the first time. We have been pestering the elders to take us there. There are 4 elders that work in Osizweni, two driving elders and two walking elders. All four elders live in Newcastle and drive out there every day. The driving elders drop the walking elders off in their area every morning and then pick them up and bring them home every evening.  The driving elders are also the zone leaders and this week they had some responsibilities in other towns in the zone so we were asked to take the walking elders out to their area after district meetings on Wednesday.

The “chapel” in Osizweni is a school room at an elementary. The elders showed us how to get there and set our GPS so we could find it on our own. Then they set our GPS with the home where we will meet them in the evening to have FHE and then we will bring them home to Newcastle. Well when the time came to meet them we set out to Osizweni but we couldn’t find the name that they put in our GPS. We headed out there confident we could find it on our own. Things look different after dark and while we found the township we couldn’t find the house. I was looking through the GPS and finally found the name I was looking for. Within a few minutes we were at the house with some concerned missionaries waiting for us. We had a great FHE with a lovely family. They had a son about 9 or 10 who reminded me so much of our Samuel. We played a game of UNO and he was just so excited and energetic. When I told Elder Hind that he reminded me of Samuel his older sister heard me and started calling him, Sam.
The next night we went out to Osiweni again to visit two families. At the first house we got there ahead of the missionaries. There were some boys pushing a homemade go kart down the street. It reminded Elder Hind of Ethan and his friends and their homemade go kart. So he decided to have a look at the go kart and before long he was surrounded by friends. 

 Child engineers
Elder Hind was in top form that night as he wowed the family we were visiting by standing on his head during a game we were playing. We were in a corrugated metal shack that was the family’s home. But we felt we were in a sacred place because this was a family with a mother and father raising their children in the gospel. The father shared his testimony about how the church helped him stop drinking and smoking and start being a father to his children. There was love and laughter in that home as well as a great lesson presented by a young daughter who clearly understood the gospel and knew how to teach a lesson.
We visited another family and had a great time with them also. We love these wonderful people. We are humbled to be invited into their homes and we are blessed by their love of Jesus Christ and their faith and testimonies.

We had to take the walking elders out to Osizweni again on Friday. We have really been putting the Ks on our poor little Nissan this week. Not only is Osizweni far away but there are 52 speed bumps between Newcastle and the township. They use a lot of speed bumps around here. I guess they are cheaper than traffic cops. We thought the zones leaders would be back to pick up the elders in the evening but they were late getting out of their meeting and said they wouldn't be back until morning. So we had to trek out there again that night. We arranged to meet them at a house that was on our GPS. They told us they would walk to that house. When we got there they were not there yet. I called them twice and sent them a text and they didn't answer. It is not safe to wander around the townships at night and these two elders are not very big guys. I was sure they had been mugged and their phone stolen. About ten minutes later they showed up and they had a great big guy with them. They said he was their body guard. I was sure glad to see them. They told us they were walking fast and didn't hear their phone.
Saturday we went out to Osizweni again and watched the Saturday morning session of conference. I talked to a young mother there that had an adorable baby. I told her that we would visit their branch from time to time. She said that she will invite me to her house and make sugar beans and tripe for me. Can’t wait.

The Zone Leaders came back while we were watching conference. They brought us a mission call envelope for a young man in Madadeni 1 branch and a copy of Meet the Mormons. We are going to plan an activity for each branch and show that movie. An elder’s mother brought several copies of that movie with her when she came to pick up her son. She donated them to the mission so one was sent to us.

Saturday night we went to visit a new member family. We got to teach the lesson. We enjoyed preparing and teaching. Visiting people is our favorite thing to do.

Beautiful sunset


  1. I love that picture of Dad with the kids. They are all so adorable!

  2. I love that picture too. I wish I was a fly on the wall (or air as the case may be :)