Our South African Journal

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

.We had business in every one of the branches today. First we went to Newcastle and spoke to the branch president. Then we went out to Osizweni for a while and then to Madadeni 2 and finally to Madadeni 1. We did not sit through an entire Sacrament Meeting the whole day. When it was over we realized that we never took the Sacrament. Four churches but no sacrament. Ridiculous!

Monday was our usual busy day. We went to the cottage meeting and found out that a counselor in the Madadeni 2 Branch has been given the job of finding a school room to rent for the cottage meeting. At first we had been meeting in the living room of a home in Madadeni and then we moved to the garage of the home because it was roomier. Now they are looking for a school room. Cool! Soon they could be moved from being a cottage meeting to possibly a new branch. I am told that if there are eight active Melchizedek priesthood holders they can be a branch.

This is our garage meeting room for the cottage meeting

Garage meeting room with people
After the cottage meeting we went home for Family Home Evening. Elder Hind taught a lesson about how our decisions can affect generations of people. He told about his  great great grandfather, Thomas Hind who was baptized in England in 1849. We were able to get pictures of him and his wife and his son George and his wife and his grandson James Hind and his wife and his great grandson Spencer and his wife. We talked about how Thomas’s decision to be baptized has affected everyone down to our own grandchildren. We also talked about how our decision to marry in the temple and to be active in the church has affected the lives of our 7 children and our 34 grandchildren. And that our decisions will continue to have an impact on generations of people we don’t even know. It is a powerful lesson. The missionaries realize that they are not just baptizing one person but could bring generations of people into the church. And the other young people realize that their decision when, where and who to marry will affect generations to come.

This is transfer week. Two of our elders left Monday morning and two came on Tuesday and the “greenie” came on Wednesday.

Elder Agyeman

Elder Shanga (new Zone Leader)

Elder Harper (our greenie)
This week we were really focused on getting ready for the Mormon Helping Hands Painting Project at the Ncandu Combined School. We needed to shop for paint and painting supplies. We don’t know where to find things and where the best prices are. It is harder than it would be at home because we don’t know what we are doing. We also needed to plan for some food for the painters. I did’t want to do a full meal because there is no way to keep food cold or hot. So we decided on snacks that would be stable in the heat. We decided on Queen Cakes (a sturdy, unfrosted cupcake), fresh fruit, candy, and snack chips. The school asked us to paint the lower walls blue and the upper walls cream but they weren’t picky about exact colors. So we just picked some colors that looked nice. We also had to arrange for some way to get people to the school because most don’t have cars.

We got the paint and supplies on Thursday and shopped for the food on Friday. In the evening we went out with the Madadeni elders and visited some families. We visited a member family that has two returned missionaries in it. But the adult daughter has never joined the church. She did not come into the room when we had our lesson and discussion but she was sitting in the kitchen when we were going out the back door to leave. We stopped to talk to her for a few minutes and asked her why she was never baptized. She said her mother and her brothers were always sharing the gospel with her but she preferred her grandmother’s church. We asked her if she had ever had the missionary lessons and she said she had not. She was willing to set an appointment for lessons right then so we will see how that goes.

Saturday was the big day for our Mormon Helping Hands project. We went out to Madadeni to make sure the taxi came and was loaded with everyone that wanted to come. Then we headed for the school. There were people from Newcastle there when we got to the school. We think we had about 35 people all together. The principal was not there to unlock the gates but Sister Zikalala was in touch with her by phone so we knew she was on her way.

Waiting for the gates to be unlocked

We painted the classrooms in the building on the left

The principal wanted us to paint the four classrooms in one building. We did not want to make promises we couldn’t keep so we told her we would promise two classrooms and then see how the paint and people held up. Well, we had plenty of paint and people so we were able to paint all the rooms. The rooms looked so bright and beautiful when we were done.  About noon we had stopped to eat our snacks when the principal brought out a big pot of beans and some plates so we ended up having a real lunch. After lunch it was mainly touch up and clean up and then we were ready to go home. What a great day! We all had such a great time. We made life just a little brighter for some school children and in the process we got to know one another a little better and enjoyed being with our fellow saints.

Snack time!


After the paint project we went home to clean up and get some rest. But as the old saying goes, “There is no rest for the wicked.” We got a phone call from the Zone leaders telling us that one of our elders had dislocated his elbow in a soccer game and was in the emergency room at the hospital. So we ended up spending several hours there while they did x-rays and then sedated him to put his elbow back in place and then x-rayed it again. Finally, when everything had been paid for and they didn’t need us any more we left him in the tender care of his companions (he currently has two) and then we went home to fall into bed.

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