Our South African Journal

Monday, September 7, 2015

The mission president asked us to teach the Sabbath Day Observance lesson and discussion to all the branches in our area. So this Sunday we presented it to the Madadeni 1st Branch. We were not able to get through all the material but it went well and we enjoyed doing this lesson.

The Claytons went to church with us and Elder Clayton took the opportunity to look at the finances for Madadeni 1 and 2. Elder Hind was able to help him with some of that.

After church we went home and made dinner and had a nice afternoon. Elder Clayton and Elder Hind spent some time talking about woodworking while Sister Clayton beat me at a word game that she brought me. I love word games, this one was fun and I got good at it.

One of the YSAs from Newcastle had a birthday on Sunday and we told her to come by in the evening and we would have cake and ice cream for her. She wanted the missionaries to come too so they were invited also. The birthday girl’s mother, aunt, sisters and brother came. We sang Happy Birthday to her and ate cake and ice cream. We gave her a lacy scarf which she seemed to like.
The birthday girl
Sister Clayton and her new friend
On Monday we said goodbye to the Claytons and they headed home to Johannesburg. In the afternoon we drove with eight elders to a Lion Park near Memel (about 45 minutes northwest of here). That was very fun and interesting.

Not a lion
Also not a lion

This is a lion!
This is a lioness eating a dead chicken
A seven month old lion just before she rolled over and hooked my pant leg with
a great big claw. I just stood there waiting for her to retract her claws. Unfortunately
Elder Hind didn't get a picture of that.
Elder Hind petting a young lion.
This is the pretty girl that clawed my pant leg

This is not a lion

We had FHE that night. Elder Gant taught the lesson which was a series of games and each game taught a principle from Preach My Gospel. Overall we had a good P-day. We don’t always have a set p-day. Sometimes Monday can be a busy workday for us.

We love our Eternal Marriage class. What fun it is. Our lesson this week was on Dating Standards. We had a very lively discussion about dating with marriage in mind. The young people in our class told us that the people here don’t really date. Outside of taverns there are very few entertainments in the townships. There are movies and restaurants in Newcastle but they are expensive for them and if you add in a taxi ride they are even more costly. They also told us there is no word in Zulu for “like” so most young people just say they love someone. That can and does lead to some misunderstandings.  So we are discussing ways to get to know other young people and to develop romantic relationships outside of traditional dating. Any way you can see that we have our work cut out for us.

The poet tells us that Spring can be cruel. I always thought that was true in Utah. I have found that to be true in South Africa also. After a couple of weeks of temperatures in the 80s we took the heavy blanket off the bed, and put away the heaters. I also bought me two pairs of sandals. Then suddenly the weather changed and the daytime temperatures fell into the 50s and the rain came pouring down for two days. So we put the heavy blanket back on the bed, got out the heaters, put the sandals away and made ourselves some hot chocolate. Now we will wait to see what happens next.

We had a crazy day on Saturday. The Relief Society had a farewell get together in the morning for a sister that is leaving on a mission to Ghana. They gave her gifts and said nice things about her. This was so much fun but a little different from the usual Relief Society activity.

Then we had a Seminary and Institute training. It was uplifting and educational and spiritual. And then we topped off the afternoon with a District Meeting, which was pretty dry but necessary. After all that, we went to the store to get some meat pies to eat because it was about 5:30 and we hadn’t eaten lunch. We had to eat them quickly and then we were off to have a FHE with one of our favorite Newcastle families. Whew!


  1. My kids and I couldn't help but oooo and ahhh over that pic of dad petting that baby lion. Oh I'm jealous.

    1. I think you should be jealous of our RS activity.

  2. My kids will be so jealous when they see you interaction with the lions! Reagan especially! I loved (once again) seeing and hearing about your week. It's all so interesting!