Our South African Journal

Monday, December 14, 2015

This week started slow and built up speed as the days went by. This week's cottage meeting was great. There were a lot of people there. The missionaries don’t have to teach the lessons, the members take turns giving the lessons and they are doing a great job. We always leave the cottage meeting and go home to a house filled with 20 to 25 young people. Their energy and their hunger for gospel knowledge always gives us a lift. We are running out of cheap refreshment ideas. Sometimes we bake something, sometimes we make popcorn and sometimes we have ice cream. Watermelon is in the stores now so we have had that also. But we wouldn’t change FHE. It is a symbol of the life and growth of the church here.

We are shopping for Christmas for the children in the branches here. We have spent some time looking around in the stores trying to decide what to get. We have had a hard time finding gifts for the girls but the boys have been easy. We have also bought lots of wrapping paper. This is going to be fun.
Christmas shopping is fun

A young girl in a family we are working with asked us to attend the “prize giving” at her school. This when they hand out academic and sports awards at the end of the year. This is at a primary school which runs from 1st grade to 8th grade I believe. Anyway this young friend of ours took second in her class in academics. We were so proud of her!! But she was devastated that she wasn’t first. She left the school and was sitting on the curb with her face in her hands when I found her. I tried to say something to comfort her but found I couldn’t speak without crying myself.  Eventually we found the best cure for the problem was an ice cream cone.

Here is our little scholar with her mother and sisters. She is not too happy.
Here she is after eating an ice cream cone. Now she can smile a little.

We went to the Drakensberg Boys Choir Christmas concert this week. I have been looking forward to this concert. But every time I thought about it I pictured it in the snowy mountains. The Drakensberg do get snow but they get it in July. It was weird to listen to Christmas carols in the heat. We went with 7 other senior couples and we had a wonderful time. We didn’t go anywhere the first five months of our mission and now we seem to do a lot of traveling. But we love it!

When we stayed in the Drakensberg before we have stayed at Champagne Castle resort which is very nice. This time we stayed two nights at the Ardmore Farm. It was a cozy and homey place but it was still very nice and the food was good. The only problem we had was the bed area is raised one step above the lounge area. In the middle of the night I got out of bed and forgot there was a step and fell very hard on to a tile floor. I told Elder Hind I can skip the bone scan test this year because I obviously have good bones. None of them broke.
Ardmore Farm
Ardmore Farm used to be a dairy farm but now it is a working tree farm. The lodge is a big sprawling building that is open to the outside and has the owner’s dogs and children roaming it. There were two young girls riding their bikes around the farm, followed by two sheep. When the girls got off their bikes the sheep continued to follow them around. It was such a charming scene. The sheep were obviously pets.
The mighty Rhodesian Ridgeback also called African Lion Hound because they can keep a lion at bay
Doesn't look too fearsome does he?

One of the cottages on the farm. Looks like a Hobbit house.

It is so beautiful here!
We saw a morning concert that consisted of the boys showing off their individual talents. They were amazing! In addition to their choral accomplishments they can sing all kinds of pop music and play instruments and even compose.

Craft and food booths set up on the school grounds.
After the morning concert we did a little shopping in the craft and food booths that were on the school grounds then we decided to do a little exploring. Elder and Sister Nielson came along with us. We were driving down the main road when Elder Hind decided to take a side road that we had been wondering about. It was a lucky decision. We came to a lovely little bakery and sandwich shop. We had a light lunch outside and just sat a talked with the Nielsons. When it was time to leave Elder Hind spoke to an older couple sitting at a table near us. The man looked at Elder Hind’s name badge and said, “ We are related.”  Elder Hind asked him if he had Hinds in his family. The old man just smiled and said, “No, but we have the same father.” Then it struck us that he was talking about Jesus Christ. Yes, we told him, we are all brothers and sisters.

When we went back to the choir school we saw a piano performance by “A Handful of Keys” It was two guys that played the piano really well and were very funny.  After that we went back to Ardmore Farm and had dinner.

That evening was the main Christmas choir performance. It was wonderful. These kids are so talented and disciplined. This was such a fun little trip. But now it is back to work. 


  1. I'm glad its not all work with you guys. You're having such a good time!

  2. Glad you didn't seriously hurt yourself!
    I need to look up this boys choir on YouTube.