Our South African Journal

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

 We left the house at 8am on Sunday and drove out to Osizweni to attend Sacrament Meeting. We met briefly with the YSAs to discuss the Eternal Family Institute class we will be teaching there. Then we drove to Madadeni and attended church there. We went to a baptism after church and then we drove to Newcastle and met with the Branch President. We finally walked in the door of our home at about 3:30. We find that we often only eat two meals a day. On Sundays it is usually breakfast and dinner.

Monday we went to our cottage meeting. The turnout was disappointing, hope it is better next week because they have asked us to teach. This night we learned about the 2000 stripling warriors.

Elder Hind asked if we could take this little cutie home with us.
 Her mother told us we could.

We came home and had our FHE and we talked about the Family Proclamation. We had two young men there that were not members and not currently investigators. That might not have been the best lesson for them. Maybe something more basic would have been better.

Playing a game at FHE
Elder Weiler hamming it up

Elder Nyrinda eating a piece of watermelon
Watermelon is good here and a cheap FHE treat
The mother of one of our friends died so we went to a “mourning” they had at the mother’s house. As I have explained before this is a time to express condolences and a time to pray with the family and sing hymns and such. As I was sitting there in that little room with a single bare light bulb hanging down from a tin roof I was over whelmed with feelings. Was I really in South Africa? Am I really sitting here in this tiny house with its plastered yellow walls listening to the conversations in Zulu going on around me? It suddenly all seemed unreal. And yet I love it all! I love the work we are doing, I love the people we are working with, and I love the Lord. I cannot express how grateful I am for this time in South Africa.

We are working with a young couple and we are teaching them lessons about marriage and family. They are less active. We love them and are anxious to help them. They want to get active and are planning a March wedding. We are looking forward to that.

Elder Fransen with a cute puppy
Elder Hind with our Branch President's grandchildren
There is a very high rate of twins born here
Every branch seems to have a set of twins
We have another less active couple that have become active and are planning a September temple sealing. She insists that we extend our mission a week so we can be to the sealing. We will see about that.

We went to FHE in Madadeni on Friday night. It so happened that the young boy that lives there with his grandmother had a birthday that day. Every one calls this kid "Boy". He has a real name but he goes by Boy. When we were shopping one day we saw a baseball cap with the name "Boy" embroidered on the front so we picked it up for him. We had been carrying it around with us for several days. We were glad we had something to give him for his birthday.

We have been very busy getting ready for District Conference on Saturday and Sunday. President Ngubane is really relying on Elder Hind to make this happen. We made programs for all the meetings and printed them. We hope everything goes well.

We drove to Ladysmith on Saturday for the District Conference meetings down there. The early morning drive was lovely. There was a light mist over everything and meadows and fields were bright green.

There were Priesthood and Women’s Auxillary training meetings in the first part of the morning and then the Adult Meeting later in the morning. Elder Hind was asked to preside and speak in the women’s meeting. The theme for the meetings were: How we advance the work of salvation by focusing on gospel ordinances. After those meetings we drove to Madadeni and attended those same meetings there. Again Elder Hind presided and spoke in the women’s meeting and I also spoke on temple marriage.

I was a little nervous because I didn’t feel I could talk about marriage without talking about “labola” or the bride price. I know that there are still some traditional people who don’t want to give it up but it stands in the way of young people getting married. There are couples that want to marry but the parents won’t let them until they give their parents money. I have heard of some couples that simply go the temple and get married without telling their parents. Then they come home and live together and that is fine with their folks because they don’t know they are married. Anyway I reminded them that temple marriage is a saving ordinance and they shouldn't stand in the way of their adult children getting married. I didn't get stoned so I guess I did ok.

It was a long day and we drove home from Madadeni in a heavy rainstorm. We were so tired and hungry we went to KFC to get some dinner before going home. The take out window had a really long line because no one wanted to get out of their cars. So we decided to brave the rain and go inside even though we wanted take away. Just the short run from our car to the door had us completely soaked and then we had to run back to the car. And then when we got home we had to run from the car to our door again. So by the time we got inside we were really soaked. The rain drops are huge. It is like being hit with water from a hose!

We had a lot of extremely hot, dry days right around Christmas. But the entire month of January has been rainy. Some days it is just a sprinkle and other days it is a major downpour with tons of thunder and lightning. It has made the days cooler and has turned the countryside green. Sometimes when we look over the green hillsides we wonder if we are in England.

We have been driving past this dam almost every day for 10 months.
It has never had more than a trickle of water going over the spill way.

After a month with a lot of rain there is a ton of water going over the spill way
and filling the little river below.


  1. You've almost lived there a full year and will have experienced every season and the changes that they bring to the landscape.

  2. You haven't mentioned that your precious baby granddaughter , Ivy, was born. I am sure this has had a huge impact on your mission so better include it in your next blog. ;)

  3. Remember that the date on the blog is the date the post is published not the date it actually occurred.Give it another week. I usually run a week or two behind.