Our South African Journal

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

This week we attended Sacrament Meeting at the Newcastle Branch. There was a very good turn out this week. That made the Newcastle elders happy. After Sacrament Meeting we met with the Branch President and asked him if there was anything we could do to help the branch. We can’t take callings in the branch because we have callings in Madadeni 1 Branch but we can help in other ways. He asked us to help with an upcoming branch activity, teach a temple prep class, and create a branch Facebook page. Can do.

After our meeting with the Branch President we drove out to Madadeni so I could attend the YW meeting and give the girls a handout I had prepared. We were able to visit with Elder and Sister Taylor because they were in Madadeni for a meeting and were also carrying a mission call for a young man serving a mini mission here. A mini mission is a six week call to work as a missionary while waiting for the official call. A mini mission helps a young man know what he is getting into and it also helps the mission when they come up a little short on missionaries like they did this last transfer.
This young man was excited to get his call. We were excited for him. He is going to the Johannesburg Mission. He won’t be far from home.

Monday we went out to inspect the Meadowlands flat before turning the keys into the manager. The elders had done a pretty good job of cleaning so we just had to do a little bit. We did a walk through with the manager and she commented on some marks on the walls. They use the cheapest flat paint they can find so when you wash the walls the paint comes off, so yeah, the walls didn’t look great but that was not the missionaries fault. Anyway we are glad to put the whole Meadowlands episode behind us.

Some of the missionaries came to our house and played “Settlers of Zarahemla” for their P day activity. The winning elder was so happy he treated the other elders to McDonalds. I know he didn’t have any allotment left so he must have dipped into his personal funds. That shows how happy he was.

One day this week we went out visiting with our Branch President. He is really a sweet, meek and gentle guy. We visited a very old lady, and a young less active lady and then we went to visit a man who is active but evidently does not pay tithing. The president asked Elder Hind to ask him why he does not pay tithing. So Elder Hind was thinking about how to approach the subject. Meanwhile the president and this member were talking in Zulu and we heard him say the word ‘offering’. We realized that the president had asked him about tithing. I looked at the president’s face and he had a kindly but firm look on his face so different from his usual expression. I felt like he was feeling the authority of his calling. I was really impressed. The man we were visiting was not at all offended but just smiled and said that he struggled with the temptation to not pay his tithing but now he will begin to pay tithing. It was actually a really powerful moment.

A young mother in Madadeni

Cattle run free in Madadeni. (So do goats, sheep and chickens) The cattle can be a nuisance. They think they own the roads. They also help themselves to the garbage sacks set out for the trash man. They make a huge mess. However I laugh every time I see a cow shaking a plastic garbage sack until it falls apart. We also found a bunch of cow feasting on oranges that had been put out for them.

In the US we have dogs, raccoon, and bears that get in our garbage
In Madadeni it is the cattle
I think this one was afraid we were going to steal her bag of garbage
Cows eating oranges. In case you ever wondered where creamcicles come from.

The Madadeni District Development meeting was held in our home again this week. The District Leader gave us a great lesson on the Christ-like attributes of faith, hope and patience. One elder told us about being teamed up with a companion that no one else wanted because he had a bad temper. During companion ship study they decided they were companions because they both needed to control their tempers and vowed to help each other do better. A few days after that they were teaching in a home and heard a fight going on outside. They tried to ignore it but soon a large rock came flying into the room. They went outside to see what the trouble was and had more rocks thrown at them. His companion tried to grab the trouble maker and our elder held him back and reminded him of their vow to help each other control their tempers. Then a rock hit our elder and he got mad and his companion had to hold him back. Anyway they ended up not fighting but having a good talk with the troublemaker and teaching him missionary lessons. I thought that was a great story.

On Friday we found ourselves with a little time on our hands so we drove to Memel, a little farm town about 50ks Northwest of Newcastle.  In some ways it reminded me of some Southern Utah towns. There is a fundraising run from Memel to Newcastle on Saturday. Elder Hind wants to run it so badly. He was offended when I reminded him he is almost 70 and too old to be running 30 miles. He runs about 5k every morning and hopes to increase his speed and distance. I content myself with walking about 1k.

A beautiful old church in Memel

We saw a flock of these at a lodge just outside Newcastle
Saturday we went to a Seminary and Institute Training class. The Taylors always do a great job. Elder Taylor is a Seminary teacher by profession and you can tell he knows what he is doing. Sister Taylor is a good teacher and organizer too. Their duties take them all over the Eastern part of the mission and they are very busy. They are the senior couple that live about 98ks from us so we see them regularly.  We have been asked to teach Institute. We are teaching the Preparing for Eternal Marriage class. It should be fun. We just need to find a time that most students can come.

Saturday night we went visiting with the Newcastle elders. We love to do that. We taught a family to play Go Fish. Who would believe that old game would be so much fun?

Flowers from my garden


  1. My girls really loved your flowers in the vase. They seemed truly amazed at how beautiful they were.

    Great stories! I was especially touched by the one about the branch president. I'm happy to know you guys are doing so much teaching now. I know you will be very effective teachers.

    1. Those lilies are so beautiful that they don't even seem real. On top of that they bloom in the winter here.

  2. Coleman can't get over that you didn't mention cooking anything in the WHOLE post! It must be some kind of record!

  3. Also ostriches FREAK me out!!!! 😱

  4. My dad is NOT almost 70!! (That freaked me out a little...)