Our South African Journal

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 12-18

We are doing the rounds of branch conferences for the next few weeks so each Sunday is a different branch. Elder Hind has been asked to speak in all the branch conferences. Sometimes they run out of time and he hasn’t been able to speak. He is fine with that. This week we were at Newcastle Branch Conference. They had a really great turn out. There were almost a 100 people there.

President and Sister Zackrison are doing their farewell tour of the mission. They are interviewing missionaries and meeting with the members. So on Monday instead of the usual FHE we had an open house for them at the Madadeni chapel. We had a few speakers and Elder Hind and I spoke briefly. We also had all the missionaries in this area sing, “The Time is Far Spent”, which is President Z’s favorite hymn. Afterwards we had some treats. Then President Z had some interviews. When he finished those he asked to speak to Elder Hind. When they came out President Zackrison told us that he had called Elder Hind to be the 2nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency. And then he set him apart right then.
President Mashego - District President
President Hind, 2nd counselor in the Mission Presidency and brownie and cookie server

We have really enjoyed working with the Zackrisons this past 15 months. They are good people. They love the missionaries and they love the gospel of Jesus Christ. They have taught us well and have strengthened our testimonies. We will miss them.

We drove to Dundee on Tuesday and taught our classes. The kids told us that it is a school holiday on Friday so they wanted the classes earlier that day. We said OK but when we went out on Friday only two kids showed up. That taught us a lesson. No Seminary and Institute classes on school holidays. It is not worth it.

We had DDM on Wednesday and then drove out to our school. We were planning on another lesson on Kickball but as we drove there we noticed a lot of the children walking home along the highway from the school. When we got there we found out that there was a bus and taxi strike so they were sending the kids home early. Those poor kids had a long walk home. We stopped and picked up a car load and drove them into town and then went back and got another car load and drove them into town.

One day we went to visit the couple that we took the family pictures of. They picked out the pictures they want enlarged. I hope the pictures are good when they are blown up.

It was Elder Hind’s and Elder Kaitoo’s birthday this week so the missionaries came over to the house on Friday evening to have cake and ice cream.

The birthday boys - there is only about a 47 year difference between them

Saturday we went to a Relief Society activity in Osizweni. They knew I had been sewing baptismal clothing and they wanted to help in some way.  Only one person in the branch had a sewing machine and nobody had scissors sharp enough to cut fabric. They were so excited to sew a pair of elastic waist pants. Most of them had never used a sewing machine or cut out a pattern. But we did manage to make two pairs of pants that day. The Relief Society President remembered a talk from the temple ground breaking ceremony. The speaker told about how he donated 20 cents to the building of the Johannesburg temple when he was a little boy and how good that made him feel. She wanted to have that feeling about the baptismal clothes used in their branch.
Laying out the fabric and pattern

Learning how to thread the needle

Learning how to control the machine
Ta Da!! Pants  They were all so pleased and excited
After the sewing lesson we had a very nice lunch. I had my first taste of tripe. I didn’t care for it. Elder Hind said it was ok but too chewy. We also had Samp for the first time. It is dried white corn that is boiled until tender and then milk and butter and seasonings are stirred into it. Not bad.

A big pot of tripe.

clock wise: chicken leg, tripe, samp, beets and jeqe (steamed bread)

'Jeqe' (Steamed Bread) Recipe

4½ cups cake flour
500ml warm water
10ml instant dry yeast
10ml salt
20ml sugar

1.     Grease an enamel dish or bowl with butter or margarine.
2.     Sift the dry ingredients and mix them into bowl.
3.     Knead until the dough is combined and does not stick to the hands.
4.     Transfer the dough into the greased bowl.
5.     Cover it up and let rise.
6.     Add some water into a big sauce pan and put the greased bowl inside.
7.    Steam for at least an hour or until cooked.
8.    Cover the sauce pan during cooking.
9.     Serve warm or cold with veggies, soup, meat etc.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

June 5 – 11

I taught the Young Women class on Sunday. I am trying to get them to work on their Personal Progress. It is slow going. They like the classes and activities but are not great about following through. But I love them and pray that their testimonies will grow and that they will become great and faithful women and mothers.

Elder Hind with some of my young women.
We had our usual busy Monday. We try to use Monday as our house cleaning and doing the wash day. Sometimes it doesn’t happen because we have other things to do. However we were able to get some things done this day before we had to go to the Cottage Meeting.
The welcoming committee in Madadeni
 Elder Hind taught FHE. He talked about the Watchman on the Tower. Our FHE kids had fun taking pictures with our camera.

Elder Hind's watchman on the tower.
This is Lucy. We have told her we have a granddaughter named Lucy
This is Elder Smith with Lucy. Elder Smith is from Johannesburg

This is what happens when the FHE kids get a hold of our camera
The girls love having their pictures taken with the elders

We had so much fun out at the school this week. We decided to teach the kids how to play kickball. The boys all play soccer but the girls need more sports to play.  Anyway we had a great time teaching them how to play this simple game. They had a tendency to make up their own rules but they enjoyed themselves. Some of the elders came by and played soccer with the boys.

Elder Hind teaching the finer points of Kickball

We had to drive to Ladysmith this week to take an elder to the doctor and to see about getting a vaccination for another elder down there. We also met with a young man who is going on a mission and is working on getting a visa for Angola. We sure miss the other senior couple that used to work in Ladysmith. Our work load is much bigger now they are gone.

We had ZTM this week. We didn’t make lunch this time so that made things a bit easier. We still brought fruit and muffins for the elders. We HAVE to feed them something.

This elder got a bonus in his banana
 We went to Dundee on Tuesday and Friday to teach our Seminary and Institute classes. We find we are really enjoying teaching these kids. They are so fun and smart and committed to learning.
Sister Hind's Institute class
Elder Hind's seminary class
We are both teaching the Old Testament
This is Elder Hind's Ark of the Covenant

Monday, June 20, 2016

May 29-June 4

Osizweni Branch had their branch conference today so we headed out there first thing in the morning. The attendance was phenomenal! The place was packed. There are always several investigators at every Sacrament Meeting. We met one young man after church who is being taught by the missionaries. He introduced us to his sister whom he had invited to church. We asked the sister if she was being taught by the missionaries too and she answered, “Not yet.” But she was going to make teaching appointments with them that day. Lots of great work going on.

With some of my friends in Osizweni
We had our Sunday devotional with our elders in the evening. It gave us an opportunity to say goodbye to the Elders that are leaving.

Elder Mears
Elder Shinga
Elder Chitate

On Monday we played Bingo for Family Home Evening. They really got into the game and had fun. The winners received prizes like cookies, gum, pencils, pens, and markers.

We thought that Tuesday was our first day teaching our Seminary and Institute classes. We were wrong! We drove all the way to Dundee only to find out the classes don’t start until Friday. Duh!

The new elders coming in this week are:

Elder Rakotomalala
Elder Knight
Elder Woodland
Elder Jena

Wednesday we had a combined DDM with all the Northern Districts in our zone. We needed to make plans for the activities in Osizweni. Because the branch has gone from meeting in a school room to having its own space we wanted to invite the neighborhood to come and have a look at the new building. We got permission from President Zackrison to have all the missionaries around here go to Osizweni and pass out invitations to the Osizweni Open House.  The invitations will be distributed on Friday and the open house will be on Saturday. After our meeting we went out to the school we work at and watched some of the elders play soccer with the children.

Elder Hind has to go to lots of district meetings and he also goes visiting with President Mashego. This week they visited an inactive man and got him to commit to going back to church. When Elder Hind is out doing district business I am home baking, studying, cleaning, preparing lessons, or occasionally, just being bored and lonely. There is ALWAYS something to do. But sometimes I just don’t feel like doing it.

On Friday we made a bunch of sandwiches and wrapped up some of the brownies I had made on Thursday and packed lunches into a cooler for all 12 missionaries. Then we drove to Dundee to teach our Seminary and Institute classes. It all went pretty well. The kids out there are great. And they liked my brownies.

After class we drove straight to Osizweni to give the elders the lunches we had packed. Actually it was their dinner. In addition to the sandwiches and brownies they had sodas, chips and bananas. The elders had all been knocking on doors and passing out invitations under the direction of the Zone Leaders who actually work out there every day.

The elders eating their sandwiches

As we were leaving Osizweni we took some pictures of a beautiful sunset. The gorgeous sunset is caused by the smoky air. It is winter here now and the farmers are burning their fields in preparation for planting new crops. Many people in the townships build fires in their yards to cook or get warmed by. Many times we see random grass fires. Most of the winter there will be a lot of smoke in the air. We will probably always remember South Africa when we smell weeds burning.

However, all that smoke makes for beautiful sunsets. As we drove home the sun went down and the darkening horizon was distinctly layered in colors of deep purple, lavender and dusty pink. It looked like each layer had been colored in separately. It was amazing. I found myself wishing I could make a watercolor picture of the sky. I could have taken a picture to paint from later. But it was getting late and we were tired. Perhaps I can paint it from memory.

Beautiful sunset through the razor wire

We paid a woman in Madadeni branch to make sandwiches for the Osizweni Open House. In addition I made oatmeal cookies and snickerdoodle bar cookies (thank you Pinterest). On Saturday morning we picked up the sandwich makings from the sister and headed to Osizweni. It was a beautiful day for an activity. A lot of people came by. I think we fed all the children in the neighborhood. A bunch of about 12 young men came in and devoured some sandwiches. I walked up to them and asked them if they would like a Book of Mormon. Most of them just left but about 5 stayed and talked with the missionaries for a few minutes. The branch president is worried that people will come to see if there is anything to steal. We know that could happen but we have to invite people in to look around so they will be comfortable coming into our church.

The elders making punch

The Relief Society sisters making sandwiches at the open house.

It was a good activity. The branch members had a good time and the missionaries tell us they got a lot of contacts. We are just glad it is over. Between the Seminary and Institute classes starting and the open house activities it has been a stressful week. We are glad to see it end.