Sunday we had the adult and general sessions of District Conference. The conference was held in a large auditorium at the Khaselihle Primary school in Madadeni. The night before a member in the Newcastle branch asked us to drive her and her sister to the conference. We told her to be here early. In the morning we got up and got ready and then waited for the members to come by. And we waited and we waited. We did not have their phone number so finally we had to leave or we would be late. We had to pick up the Madadeni walking elders and people were calling and asking for directions to the school and we were just trying to get there ourselves. It was a scramble. But we made it on time (just barely).
|This is the hall that was rented for the Newcastle District Conference|
The adult meeting was good, the choir sang beautifully, we received important instruction from our leaders and were spiritually fed and refreshed. There was an hour break between meetings. Because people travel so far and with so much difficulty no one goes home between meetings. We knew we wouldn’t have time to run home so we packed a picnic lunch for ourselves. We should have known that some of the missionaries wouldn’t remember to pack themselves a lunch. Fortunately we had just packed a loaf of bread and jars of peanut butter and jam. I told the missionaries that I would share my lunch with them but probably didn’t bring enough to fill them up. One of the missionaries said. “This is why we love you Sister Hind.” I would like to be loved for my wit, my intelligence, my spirituality, or my beauty. But I will settle for being loved for my food.
|Sister Taylor and friends having a picnic between sessions.|
|Some of the missionaries and men enjoying the beautiful day.|
It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. It was nice to be outside enjoying the sun and visiting with our brothers and sisters.
The afternoon session was packed. It was a good meeting. President Z gave a great talk on the temple. Then the sound system went crazy for a few minutes. It was making noise and then it wouldn’t work at all. Finally they got it going again. President Ellis asked the congregation, “Do you want me to talk to you straight or do you want me to sugar coat my talk”. The congregation asked for straight talk. He was blunt but kindly as he taught them things they need to know. There are customs here that are not in keeping with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some people don’t seem to have a problem leaving these things behind, but others struggle to give them up. These are things that hold people back both spiritually and temporally.
At the close of the meeting the District President gave the beautiful flower arrangements that were on the stand to Sister Ellis, Sister Zackrison, Sister Taylor and Sister Hind. The arrangements were huge. Sister Taylor took hers apart and handed out flowers to all the sisters. I just gave the whole thing to one sister. It made her really happy.
After the meeting the District Relief Society President had all the fathers stand up and the missionaries passed out gift bags to them. The bags contained a pair of socks and some candy. Later I told President Z that if the RS was making such cute things then this was obviously a fully functioning district and it was time to become a stake.
|Elder Hind with the Father's Day gift the Relief Society gave him.|
After church we came home to get ready for our dinner. We knew we wouldn’t have a lot of time after church so we kept the menu simple. We served chicken alfredo, orange and strawberry salad, roasted green beans, and toasted rolls left over from yesterday’s lunch. Sister Ellis had told us to just serve leftovers so we did. We were going to make rolls. On request from Elder Hind, Sister Taylor brought her now famous carrot cake for dessert. We had a lovely visit and then said, “Good bye and good night.” It has been a hectic few days for those of us in the Newcastle District. However Elder and Sister Ellis and President and Sister Zackrison have been on the road and traveling from one meeting to another for several days. They must be very tired and ready to go home.
|The District Presidency and two of their wives|
We got the go ahead to start looking for new boardings for the Madadeni Elders. We have an empty flat here in Newcastle one companionship can use. It will need some cleaning and organizing and we will need to find a boarding for the other companionship. Here we go again. Moving the elders.
We got to do a little sight seeing this week. We went to the Art Museum and we took pictures of the town hall. There is not a lot of historic buildings and such here in Newcastle so we don’t get to do much of this kind of thing. I did buy a lovely beaded necklace at the museum shop. It is really nice. Beautiful bead work is part of the culture here.
Everything I have done this week has been overshadowed by my concern for my younger sister who is in the hospital and is critically ill. I think about her all day, every day. I hate being so far away when she is so sick. I hate being out of the loop. Her family and my other sisters have been valiant in keeping me informed but it is not the same as being at the hospital and holding her hand. She is in all my prayers. Please get well, Vonnie.
|Yvonne with a grandchild|