Our South African Journal

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Church meetings were different this week because so many people travel during this time. A lot of the people we usually see were gone and there were a lot of new faces because people are visiting their families here. We attended our branch this Sunday and then we attended Branch 2 because the mother in a family we have been working with was speaking in Sacrament Meeting. She was very nervous but she did a great job and her nerves did not show much. We are so happy to see the progress this family is making.

We did not have a cottage meeting this week because the hosts were out of town. However we had a great FHE, as usual. The lesson was taught by one of the young women in our group. She talked about how Heavenly Father helps us through hard times.

Tuesday we drove to Ladysmith so Elder Hind could train a new branch clerk. He is still learning his clerk duties so he is learning along with the new clerks. We had lunch with the Taylors and then we put all four of our heads together to help two of the branches with their curriculum orders. One branch’s order didn’t go through and the other branch ordered way too much and blew their budget. So we gathered up what the branch that ordered too much didn’t need and we plan to take it to the branch whose order didn’t go through.

Ladysmith has a great street market and we have been wanting to stop and pick up a few things. Usually we are short on time when we go through Ladysmith but today we stopped and did a little shopping. It was fun.

I bought this apron at the Ladysmith street market. Everyone here wears big aprons. They call them pinafores.
It makes sense to wear aprons when your laundry facilities consist of a plastic tub and a clothes line
I like it because I often have to cook and clean in my good clothes.
Wednesday we had Zone Training Meeting. It was great and we are really impressed with the new Zone Leaders.  They encouraged the missionaries to spend more time finding new contacts. We provided lunch for the elders, just hot dogs, chips, fruit and ice cream.

After the meeting we drove out to Osizweni to deliver some curriculum materials to the branch president. We also talked to him about us teaching the Eternal Family class out there.

After we left Osizweni we drove to Madadeni to teach our last Eternal Marriage class. We have loved teaching this class. It is one of our favorite things we do. This institute class has been discontinued and has been replaced by a class called the Eternal Family. It has a lot of the same lessons. If there is enough interest we will start teaching that class in Osizweni in a couple of weeks.

As I was getting ready for the day on Thursday I thought to myself, “This a pretty open day. We don’t have much to do.” Then I thought, “But that can change. We never know what will happen from one minute to the next.” I was right. The phone rang and we were told that there was a funeral in Madadeni and they wanted us to come. So we got dressed in missionary regulation and headed to the funeral. About half way through the funeral they asked us to speak for a few minutes. We just pretty much shared our testimonies. When we went out to the cemetery they asked Elder Hind to dedicate the grave. Then of course, he helped shovel the dirt into the grave. After that we went back to the branch and ate a big funeral feast. Here they don’t feed just the family – they feed everyone who came to the funeral and also some of the neighbors who drop by for a free meal.

Driving out to the cemetery
The cemetery - after the burial a large mound of dirt is left on top of the grave

A large tent was set up on the lawn of the church for the funeral feast

The woman who died was not a member of the church but lived with a family in Madadeni 2. Twenty three years ago they took her in and gave her a home after she lost her memory due to some illness or injury. They never could find her family so she lived with them all these years. She came to church sometimes but chose not to be baptized. We didn’t know her.

In the evening we went out to dinner to celebrate the New Year. We went to a nice pub near our home called the “Pint and Pig Out”. We passed on the pint but fully embraced the “pig out” part. I had a Poorboys stack, chicken breast layered with shrimp and calamari in a cream sauce. Elder Hind had a steak. There were very few people in the restaurant. They don’t go out to celebrate the New Year. 

We were told it was the custom to set off fireworks to bring in the New Year and that became apparent when we went to bed and tried to sleep. They didn’t have a lot of showy fireworks but they have a lot of really noisy ones. Some of them sounded more like bombs than fireworks. At midnight we got up and looked out our windows for a few minutes. Fireworks (known as crackers here) were going on all around our house. Things didn’t quiet down until about one in the morning.

The rest of the week was pretty slow. Everyone is still out of town or busy with relatives or still celebrating in one way or another. We worked on lessons and other projects (I got my video finished), Elder Hind had a meeting and we visited with a Newcastle family. Next week it will be back to work as usual.


  1. The dirt mounds are interesting. Do they leave them there for forever?

  2. Yes, but the soil will settle over time and the mounds will not be so high.