Our South African Journal

Sunday, November 29, 2015

We went out to Osizweni this week to try again to teach the Sabbath Day Observance lessons. Last time we tried they had forgotten to bring the projector so we had to come back. This time the DVD wouldn’t work. Luckily we have taught this lesson enough that we could just teach it without the DVD. Goes to show what experienced missionaries we are. Good thing, because you never know what will happen out in Osizweni.

We came back to Madadeni and Elder Hind was asked to bless the baby of the less active family we have been working with.

This picture was taken a few days after he blessed this baby
While in the church he got a call from the elders asking him to come outside. He looked out the doors and could see that the missionaries had been in an accident with a van. The van had decided to back up and the missionary driving the bakkie could not get out of the way quickly enough. This is the bakkie that had been in an accident back in April and spent 3 months in the shop. Now it is back to the panel beaters again.

It was only lightly damaged

On Monday we had to spend some time cleaning the house to get ready for Elder Hind’s family to come and visit us. We are so excited. It will seem strange to have family here. Elder Hind’s older sister, Carol, his brother, Doug and his wife, Karen and their daughter, Mallory are all coming on Wednesday.  We had the Newcastle elders help us move mattresses from their boarding to ours so our guests would have comfortable places to sleep. In addition to house work I had a pedicure appointment and Elder Hind went to the Madadeni police station to file an accident report on the bakkie.

Elder Benisson showing off his head carrying skills
In the evening we went out to the Madadeni cottage meeting and then came home to a house full of young people for Family Home Evening. This is Elder Ngulube’s last FHE so we had him share his testimony and leave us with a spiritual thought. We are going to miss him. We met one of our new missionaries, Elder Canamela. It is hard to see our guys leave us but it is fun to get to know new elders.
Saying good bye to Elder Ngulube

Elder Canamala
Tuesday we worked hard to get ready for our company and to pack for our trip to the Drakensburg mountains. It was good that we did not have too much missionary work to do. We did have a teaching appointment and we also taught our Eternal marriage class on Tuesday because we will be gone Wednesday.

We woke up Wednesday morning anxious for our company to get here. We didn’t expect them until around noon. We had some more preparations to take care off so that helped the time pass. Along about eleven we heard a car in the driveway and there they were. We were so happy to see them. We worried about them finding their way. They did have a little trouble finding our house but when they stopped and asked for directions someone actually showed them the way.

Elder Thsuma
We hugged them and chatted with them and showed them where they would be sleeping. Some of our missionaries came by so we introduced them to our family. We also met another new missionary, Elder Thsuma.  Then we were off to see the Drakensberg Mountains and to watch the Drakensberg boy’s choir. The trip to the mountains takes about two hours. About an hour into the drive we noticed Doug was not behind us anymore so we turned around to see what the problem was. He had pulled over because his oil light went on. Because his temperature gage was reading normal we risked driving it into Ladysmith and getting some oil in it. It was reading a little low.  We then decided to go ahead and drive to the choir concert as it was not far away.

We got to the concert in good time and enjoyed a great show. Carol was kind enough to buy us a choir CD. We will enjoy listening to that as we drive around the country.

After the concert we drove to Champagne Castle where we will be spending two nights. We stayed here when we went to our first couples retreat and we really liked it. The view is magnificent, the rooms are luxurious and the buffet meals are really good.

The next morning the weather was rainy so we had to postpone the planned hike. Doug called the car rental company and they agreed to drive a new car to the nearby town of Winterton and trade with him. But for some reason when he stopped to put some gas in the car the oil light went out. He traded with him anyway. We went to a place that sells hand woven rugs. Carol and Karen bought somethings there. We also looked into some other shops.

It takes two weeks of constant work to complete a hand woven rug
We went back to the hotel for lunch. By this time the weather had improved. So Doug, Karen, Carol Mallory and Elder Hind all went for a hike. I didn’t go because I had done this hike before and once was enough. Carol and Karen came back after a while but Doug and Elder Hind and Mallory went on further up the mountain.

Doug, Elder Hind, and Mallory

Mallory enjoying the amazing view

Elder Hind, Carol and Karen

Elder and Sister Hind, Carol, Karen, Doug
After dinner that night I heard a chorus of unusual sounds out in the dark beyond the hotel. I asked someone what was making that sound. He told me it was bull frogs. There is a big pond out there and it must be full of frogs. It was a beautiful night and the sounds of the frogs made it even more interesting.

In the morning we packed up and headed to the Ndaka lodge in the Nambiti game reserve. Imagine our great surprise when the ranger that came to pick us up was the same one we had when we came to Nambiti 8 months ago. That time we had stayed at the Springbok lodge.We had a great lunch and then went to our tents to rest up for the game drive.

Elder Hind in the doorway of our "tent'

We really had to "rough it" in our "tents'
View from our couch
The weather was not great for our game drive.
 It was very windy and a little bit rainy but we still had fun.

The lodge provided us with warm and water resistant ponchos

Zebras and Kudus. I love the beautiful horns on the male Kudu.

We saw lots of elephants
and we saw lots of elephant behinds

we saw 4 lionesses playing in a field (mother and nearly
grown daughters) but we couldn't get close enough to get
a good picture in the fading light
white rhino
We also saw a hippo mom and her baby before we went back to the lodge. But it was pretty dark by then so I didn't get a good picture.

The next day we went on another game drive early in the morning. The weather was good this time.

At a rest stop with our ranger
We saw lots of elephants again
Cape buffalo are one of the BIG 5. They are considered very dangerous to hunt on foot.

An old European settlement

a momma rhino and her baby

We were excited to get this picture because it is of a rare black rhino. They
are very endangered and also very shy so it was cool to see him.
This big guy had a brother nearby that we could also see

After a wonderful and fun game drive we went back to the lodge and had breakfast. Then it was time to pack up and get ready to go home. We had such a good time, it was hard to leave. But we headed back to Newcastle, which was about an hour away.  We had a self reliance training meeting at 2:00pm so we got home and cleaned up and left our guests to rest for awhile. When we came back from our meeting we took everyone out to visit a Newcastle family. The Newcastle elders came also.
We had a great lesson and the family made us a nice dinner. It was our first opportunity to share our mission with our family. It was a good way to end the day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

According to scripture the Sabbath should be a “delight”.  It has always been a delight to me. At least it is since my kids are all grown. I love to gather with my brothers and sisters and visit with them, study the gospel surrounded by my friends, learn new things, laugh with others and then go home and take a nap. I miss gathering with my children on Sunday but I look forward to when I can do that again.

 This Sunday I taught a Personal Progress lesson to the Young Women. We are learning about our Divine Nature. I made them all crowns that say “Daughter Of A King” They were happy to put them on and wear them while I took a picture.

After church we hurried on over to the Newcastle branch to teach the Temple Preparation class. Then it was home for a nap.

Monday we went to a cottage meeting in Madadeni. A cottage meeting is like FHE but it involves multiple families. It was a great meeting with a good group of people there. We couldn’t stay for refreshments because we had to hurry home for FHE in our house. We let the Newcastle elders have our keys so they could let people in if we were late. When we got there the place was jumping. We had a lot of young people from the branch (more than just the regulars) and there were about 4 investigators too. We used one of the corn hole boards and if they made it into the hole they had to answer a scripture question. They were really competitive and they had a lot of fun. The elders said they want to make our FHE the place to be for young people. These kids generally don’t have someplace to go for FHE.
Some of our Family Home Evening family
This week we really had to buckle down on some important paper work that Elder Hind has to complete. They are really loading the work on him. He is no longer Assistant District Clerk. He is now the District Clerk and has many more responsibilities. I think we are about maxed out on things we can take on. Now that school is out we won’t be working there until January but our church work  has continued to grow. They say that on a couple’s mission you work about as much as you want to. We want to work hard and that makes for a great mission. However now we are at the point where we have to make choices between the things we are asked to do. I don’t like that but we can’t be in two places at once. We are glad to be needed.

We taught our Eternal Marriage class and we learned that one of our favorite students is leaving for a job on the coast. We will miss her.

We went out with the Madadeni 2 missionaries again. It is our favorite thing to do. We tried to visit a number of people but weren’t able to find them home. At one home we visited an older woman. As Elder Mvinqi introduced us all he introduced us as his parents. That made us all laugh.

When we left one appointment we noticed that there were millions of bugs flying all over. The elders told us they hatch out of the ground whenever there is a rain storm followed by a warm, sunny day. They only live one day. They fall to the ground and lose their wings and then die. It was a night for bugs. Elder Hind found a huge rhinoceros beetle and picked it up. They are not dangerous but they are big and ugly.

Elder Jase went home this week. We saw him off at the bus station. He is such a good guy. We will miss him. On Saturday evening we got transfer news so we found out who is going and who is coming. In addition to Elder Jase, we will lose Elder Ngulube. This was his first area and he has been here 6 months so he is really ready to move on. Our new Zone Leader is Elder Canamala and our new Madadeni missionary will be Elder Tshuma.

Snacks after transfer news

Saying good bye to Elder Jase

Some of the elders saying good bye to Elder Jase
Newcastle District