Our South African Journal

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

We had our usual busy Sunday morning and then Elder Hind dropped me off at the Newcastle chapel so I could teach the last of our Temple Preparation classes. We were expecting his family to return from their travels so someone had to be at home to welcome them.

They arrived safe and sound. They had a good time out on their own. They had some adventures and they did some interesting things. They stayed with us one last night and then in the morning they packed up and headed off to Johannesburg and the plane flights home.

We packed up too because we were going to Pinetown (near Durban) for a Multi- Zone Conference. Elder and Sister Stevenson invited us to stay with them. We have been on the road a lot lately but this was business. We arrived in Pinetown just in time to spend FHE with the costal senior missionaries. This FHE activity was a trip to the movies. This is the first movie we had seen on our mission. It was at a huge mall. We have never been to such a large mall. After the movie we got something to eat at the food court. It is always nice to spend time with the other senior missionaries.

Elder and Sister Nielsen from Layton

Elder and Sister Snell from England
We realized that in some ways our mission is very different from those of the seniors in the Durban area. There are six couples that live there.  They are able to socialize together on a weekly basis. I think that is nice. Elder and Sister Stevenson live in a 13 story apartment house. They have floor to ceiling windows in the front room and bedrooms. I love light and since they were so high up we could open the drapes and still have privacy. My house has big windows but is too close to the street where there are a lot of pedestrians so I don’t have much privacy when the drapes are open. However we love where we work and would not change it for anything. We are exactly where we are supposed to be.

The Zone Conference was wonderful. We are always inspired and energized by the things that are taught. President Zackrison told us that this generation of missionaries are the greatest that have ever lived on earth. He reminded them that the Lord is watching out for them. Elder Chimukuzi read from Doctrine and Covenants 100:4-8  and taught us that we have not been called here by mistake so we must lift up our voices unto the people. Elder and Sister Stevenson both spoke. Sister Stevenson reminded us that we are disciples of Jesus Christ and to stay totally committed. Elder Stevenson talked about his great grandfather who came on a mission to South Africa. He asked us to remain sensitive to the spirit, and don’t lose focus.

This Multi-Zone Conference was especially nice because we got to see some of our missionaries that have transferred to other places. Many of them are going home in a couple of weeks so we got to see them one last time and to say good bye.

The Newcastle Zone along with President and Sister Zackrison
This is Elder Mabetha and Elder Holman
They were companions in Newcastle when we first got here
Elder Mabetha is an Assistant to the President and Elder Holman is going home to Nevada in December
The elders can never resist clowning in front of a camera. Don't ask me why.
Elder Benissan and Elder Mvinqi
Again, don't ask why.
With Elder Mabetha, Elder Merile, and Elder Holman

With Elder Ghartey

Elder Jena and Elder Ghartey
Then it was time to go so we headed home hoping to get some mileage behind us before dark. However we only got a few miles into our drive before the police blocked the freeway and started forcing people off the freeway. We were a little worried because we were not sure where to go to get back on the freeway. We stopped at a gas station and bought some sandwiches and drinks and reset our GPS. We were concerned that the GPS would just try to get us on the same ramp we came off. But it set a course for an on ramp about 10Ks down the road. It was slow going because everyone else that was forced off the freeway was trying to get back on also. Eventually we got back on the freeway and enjoyed an uneventful drive home. We got home about 10pm which was about an hour later than we had planned. Our elders were not so lucky. They got caught behind the multi truck accident that closed the freeway and so they spent a long time trying to get past the accident. One car load got home at midnight. The other bunch spent the night with the Ladysmith elders and then drove home the next morning.

I told the elders that I wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving. One elder said, “What is Thanksgiving?” His companion told him it was a feast day so he was happy with that. We managed to find a couple of small and expensive turkeys. We also found, after diligently searching, two cans of cranberry sauce. (a tender mercy).  We couldn’t find canned pumpkin and we didn’t want to make pumpkin pie filling from scratch so we settled for apple tarts. We also did not make stuffing because it would have to be from scratch also. A long with the turkey we had homemade rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, fruit salad, corn, and roasted butternut squash with pecans. The butternut squash will be on our Thanksgiving table forever, it was really good.

Before dinner we showed the elders a YouTube video about the history behind our celebration of Thanksgiving. We had a nice evening. Although we miss our family at times like this we loved sharing this holiday with our elders.

Sister Hind was asked to speak at a Young Women’s in Excellence meeting on Saturday in Osizweni. They did such a nice job. We were really impressed. That YW president there works really hard.

We took the opportunity to look at the speed space (portable church) they are putting in Osizweni.
Right now they meet in a school.
Elder Hind in the chapel of the portable church

There are six portables arranged in a square. Two double wides (one is the chapel)
Two single wide and two small (bathrooms and offices)
We are worried this fence won't be adequate protection for the buildings 

We ended the day visiting with members in Newcastle. And that is also a good way to end the week.

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