Our South African Journal

Saturday, April 2, 2016

March 20-26, 2016

We went to Newcastle Branch today. That was a mistake! The branch president asked us if we could take more registrations for the Strength of Youth Conference that starts on Monday. I know they said they would take registrations up until the last minute so we told him to get them to us right away. We also told him we couldn’t make any promises. We will be so glad when this conference is over. We actually started working on it almost a year ago. We don’t have any responsibilities for the actual conference but we have been asked to find the kids and get them registered. They started collecting names almost a year ago with the idea that the conference would be in December. Then they changed it to March and so we pretty much just started over again. We really want the kids to go. It is a big 5 day conference in Durban. This is a once in a life time opportunity, they will have loads of fun and hopefully their testimonies will be strengthened. Anyway the branch president gave us 6 registrations, we had to call one girl and tell her she was too young, and two others dropped out so we ended up with just 3 youth going at the last minute. We emailed their registrations and told them to get packed.
We picked up the Newcastle kids on Monday morning and drove them Madadeni so they could get on the taxis (15 passenger vans) to drive to Durban. All the kids were so excited! We were so happy for them to have this wonderful opportunity. Can’t wait to hear all about it when they get home.

Sending the Youth off to the youth conference in Durban
They are going to have fun!

We didn’t have FHE this week because the mission president was in town doing some training and interviewing and Elder Hind had some obligations with that.

We had Zone Training Meeting on Wednesday. I had decided not to go because I had developed some lung congestion and a cough. However there was a funeral at Newcastle Chapel so we decided to have it at our house. I laid in bed while they had the meeting in the living room. We had already decided not to have lunch this time so that made things easier. Elder Hind just bought some bananas, plums and apples and Sister Tayor brought brownies.

We went to visit President Nkosi. He has two adorable twin granddaughters. One of them is outgoing and friendly and the other is afraid of Elder Hind. So Elder Hind has made it his business to win over the shy one.

He has just about won over the shy one. At least she will sit on his lap.

Elder Hind and the Osizweni missionaries have spent hours building some temporary steps for some of the buildings at the new speed space. The plan is to install permanent ones but we don’t know when and the members want to celebrate Easter in their new chapel. So Elder Hind scrounged up some free pallets and the missionaries helped him tear them apart and build steps. They took them out to the site and then found that there were still problems with them so they made some modifications and they worked fine.

The missionaries and the branch president also installed a water faucet outside because the only water in the building is in the sinks in the restrooms and the branch president was adamant that sacrament water not come out of the bathrooms. They needed one anyway because Osizweni uses a portable baptismal font that will need to be filled with a hose.

Tearing up pallets

Loading the steps into the bakkie

Temporary steps installed

Saturday we went to our first wedding! We have been looking forward to this. The bride and groom are a great young couple. We love them. They are going to build a wonderful family. I wish we could be here next year when they are sealed in the temple.

We walked from the groom's house to the bride's house carrying gifts and singing a song (in Zulu) that said, "We are coming".

The groom.  He is wearing a traditional Zulu headdress made from some kind of antelope.

The groom's family and friends waiting outside the gate of the bride's house.
The beautiful bride. We also saw  her in a cream colored traditional skirt and hat. But
she only wore it for a few minutes and we didn't get a picture of her in that outfit.

The bride receiving  blankets from the groom's family. Tradition dictates that the bride
wear the blanket on her shoulders for a year. Last time we saw her she was still wearing
it. It is still hot here so it is pretty uncomfortable. She told us that her husband's family might
not make her wear it more than a few weeks.
The Zulu ceremony is all about the exchanging of gifts. Here the bride is given
a watch by the groom's family.
Here the grandmother receives a case of soda. She also got a dress, scarf and blanket.
The grandfather got a coat, hat, walking stick and a case of beer.
All the other female relatives (aunts, sisters, grandmothers) got dresses or aprons. blankets and scarves.
These things were given to them individually, as they sat in front of the bride.

This was taken after the church ceremony. Elder Hind is wearing a Nigerian shirt we
bought from a friend of ours.  My skirt is a traditional married woman  Zulu skirt. I bought mine
from an old woman who sells her things on the street in Newcastle. These skirts are often
covered with beads but mine just has a little ribbon trim. That way I can wear it
when I get home. The pleats in the skirt represent the strips of cowhide that they used to
make these skirts with a long time ago. The dress the bride is wearing is African but it
is representative of the clothes that are worn now days by the women of South Africa. They
also wear regular clothes all the time.

The bride and groom signing their names. This is what makes the marriage legal.

The bride and groom coming back from the church ceremony

The celebration included a nice but not fancy dinner.

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