Our South African Journal

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.

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