Our South African Journal

Thursday, August 20, 2015

It is always a race to get ready for church each Sunday. We have to be out of the house by 7:30 because we are 20 mins away from church and Elder Hind needs to be to the branch in time for meetings at 8:00am. Our branch starts at nine. We MUST eat some kind of breakfast because we never know when we will be able to eat again. We often have meetings and home visits after church so lunch can end up being more like dinner.

On this Sunday we had to get up even earlier because there are four of us to shower and get ready for the day. Elder and Sister Clayton spent the night in our spare bedroom. I got my shower in about 5:30am. Normally when I have company overnight I like to make something special for breakfast. Today everyone just had to settle for cereal and toast. I put a pot roast in the slow cooker. We found this nice rump roast at a butchery near our home so we bought it and put it in the freezer for a special occasion. The Clayton’s visit qualifies as a special occasion.

President Zackrison spoke in our Sacrament Meeting, along with Elder Ngulube one of our Madadeni missionaries. He is from Uganda. Elder Ngulube’s name means “little pig” so he starts his talk out with a folk tale about why pigs are dirty and will eat anything. That makes everyone laugh. He then ties that story into a gospel principal and quotes scriptures and references entirely from memory. President Z was amazed. Elder Ngulube just finished training and so he is still new but I think I see an apostle in the making.

During Sacrament Meeting Elder Clayton and Elder Hind met with the two branch presidents to teach them about branch finances and budgets. President Zackrison had interviews all day. We tried to get him and Sister Z to come to our house to eat but as soon as he was through with interviews he had to drive about 200 miles to another city to straighten out a problem there and then drive back to Newcastle tomorrow. He did ask us to feed the APs so we were happy to do that.

When we got home from church we put dinner together and had a nice visit over pot roast and mashed potatoes. Then the Claytons indicated that they love to play games. We brought out our Jenga game and had a couple of rounds of that. Then the Claytons brought out their Rumicube game. I think they came looking for victims and Elder Hind and I were lambs to the slaughter. We had fun anyway.

On Monday morning we hit the road early to join some other senior couples for a hike in the Drakensberg Mountains and lunch at the Witsieshoek Lodge. We haven’t seen most of these people since the couple’s retreat at the end of March. We met Elder and Sister Taylor in Ladysmith and then drove with them to Phuthaditijhaba, about two hours from Ladysmith. There we met up with Elder and Sister Woolston, (we flew over with them), Elder and Sister  Huls, and Elder and Sister Bird.
As we drove there it became apparent that we might not be able to do the hike we wanted. The weather was cold, cloudy and windy. The hike begins at a point that is 8200 ft above sea level. So we knew it was going to be cold but the wind and the possibility of rain was a concern.As we drove over a pass on the way to Phuthaditijahba the clouds were so low and dense the visibility was not good. When we met up with the other couples we followed them up the mountain.

I couldn't resist buying this wall hanging and having my picture taken with the artist who created it.

The artist's name is Merriam. Here are some more of her rugs and wall hangings.

We stopped at a couple of places to enjoy the view and talk with the people selling things on the roadside. When we got to the lodge we walked around and enjoyed the various viewpoints. However it was decided that the day was not good for this kind of hike. Most of the time the weather is nice here so it was bad luck to have a day like this come up when we wanted to hike.
Sentinel Peak on a clear day.

Sentinel Peak on the day we were there.
These chain ladders are part of the hike we were going to take. When I say "we" I really
mean Elder Hind. There is no way I would climb those ladders.

Some of our fellow senior missionaries

We are told that in the summer this all looks like a green carpet. We will have to come back.
We looked at the rooms they have there at the lodge in case we want to do an over nighter there sometime. We had a good lunch and some fun conversation. I get hungry for good conversation with someone above the age of 19. We love our missionaries but they are kids. We enjoy our visits with the members here but they don’t always understand us and we don’t always understand them. Anyway we had fun just talking. Elder Hind was very disappointed about not hiking so we will probably come back another time.

I am standing in front of some of the rooms in the lodge.
A shallow cave on the side of the road
These kids were selling bottles of colored sand and pretty rocks
We didn't buy anything but we gave them our snacks and some money

On Tuesday we finally had our delayed training from President Z. He also was able to finish up the interviews with the missionaries. We were in charge of lunch so we went to Nandos and bought everyone, chicken and chips.

On Wednesday we taught our first Preparing for Eternal Marriage Institute class. We only had two students but we hope to have more next week. We had a good time teaching the class because the small numbers made for a fun and informal atmosphere.

Saturday we went to help give the chapel a good cleaning.

Elder Ghartey photo bombing a picture of Elder Hind vacuuming

Young Women cleaning the chapel windows

The elders cleaning the classroom windows

A gogo scrubbing the trash cans

Elder Hind picking up trash

There are no pictures of Sister Hind working but she cleaned the kitchen. After she had one of the young men sweep the dead cockroaches out of the cupboards.

Saturday evening all the missionaries came to our house for a BBQ and transfer news. There was some interesting stuff. We lost 4 elders and are only getting two back because they decided to take out a companionship. Now Osizweni will only have two elders working there instead of 4. We are losing Elder Menze, Elder Ghartey, Elder Ochaya and our mini missionary. 


  1. Nandos! That was a missionary favorite when I was in London. Now that I think about it it did a have an African vibe.
    I have to admit that I giggled a little when I saw that a bunch of Sr couples chose a hike with giant chain ladders. Glad to hear you had such a good time anyway.

    1. Some of those sr missionaries had done the hike before and highly recommended it. Your dad could do it with his eyes closed. I would HAVE to do it with my eyes closed.