Our South African Journal

Monday, August 8, 2016

July 17 -23

Whew!! Well, the Newcastle District Conference came and went and we all survived. We worked so hard to make this happen and Elder Hind has been so sick. But we prayed hard and the Lord blessed us with many tender mercies. We had a good conference.

We got up early again Sunday morning and picked up the District Presidency and drove down to Ezakheni again. We know this road well. We only have two meetings today. The general session in Ezakheni and the general session in Madadeni. The session in Ezkheni only involves two branches but they had a good turn out and we enjoyed it very much. After the meeting I passed out sack lunches to all the leadership that was heading for the next meeting in Madadeni.

The Madadeni general session was held in a rented hall at a school. It involves 5 branches so there is not room in any to the chapels to hold that big of a crowd. We put the missionaries in charge of setting up the hall; setting up the chairs, bringing the electric piano from the Madadeni chapel and the pulpit from the Osizweni chapel and setting up the sound system. They were great. They did a good job and everything was ready to go when we got there. The Lord is watching over us.

President Thompson greeting the elders

The hall we rented for conference
President Thompson, Elder Mabaya, Sister Thompson

 President Thompson, Elder Sorensen, President Mashego

President Nkosi and Brother Mlambo
I was so touched by the Newcastle Choir. They always do an excellent job. Sister Ngubane is their director and she knows music.  They showed up on Sunday with lovely turquoise dresses. Even the men had matching ties. They looked and sounded beautiful.

We had talks from the leadership and some young people and they also called on a couple of people to bear their testimonies. It was all great.

Elder and Sister Sorenson (office couple) came at the end of the meeting to pick up Elder Mabaya and take him to Durban to catch a plane home. President and Sister Thompson and their daughter Nichole came to our house for dinner. They are great people. President Thompson insisted on mashing the potatoes. He did a great job. After these last couple of hectic days, it was nice to just sit and visit and get to know them.

We are so glad District Conference is over.

On Monday we dropped by the Newcastle chapel and visited with Sister Thompson and the missionaries for a few minutes. President Thompson was interviewing the missionaries.

We went out with President Mashego to try to find the boundary of Madadeni 3. We found some road names and some coordinates and the president kept us oriented on our map. We were able to send that to the area offices. Now we will just have to wait and see.

President DeKlerk is president of the Dundee Branch. He and his wife have been after us to come and visit their farm. They live about about 220ks from Dundee. We realized that if we didn’t set a date we would not go. We looked at our calendar and decided the week end of July 22-24 would work. The fact that our 46th wedding anniversary was the 23rd gave us a reason to take off for a couple of days.
We met Sister DeKlerk in Vryheid, a town about 1 hour from their farm. We followed her out to the farm. The last 16 miles to their farm was on a dirt road and the last couple of miles were on a pretty rough road.

Their farm is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It is closer to the coast and in a valley so the weather there is much warmer than Newcastle or Dundee. I forget how many hectares they own but their land does include the mountain sides on either side of the valley. They grow bananas, mangos, and tomatoes. They are experimenting with some Macadamia trees. They also have a large herd of cattle. In addition to their agricultural endeavors they also run a small shop that sells basic supplies to the surrounding Zulu community. They are very hard workers.

DeKlerk's store

View from their front door

In addition to working hard in their shop and on their farm they work very hard for their little branch in Dundee. They drive 2 ½ hours to church and back every Sunday and sometimes during the week. They really look after the people in their branch. It is a blessing to have them in the district.

They built their own house with cement blocks that they made themselves from the sand in a nearby river. After their house was nearly completed it was set on fire by a disgruntled neighbor 4 years ago. They are still in the process of rebuilding. They have a few rooms finished. We stayed in a large bedroom with beautiful modern bathroom. It was very pleasant and comfortable. We toured the farm, were fed very well (Sister DeKlerk is an accomplished cook) and had a wonderful visit. We had our first experience eating crumpets for breakfast. And the braai they put on for us was amazing.

A rainstorm moved in Saturday night and it was very welcome as this area has been experiencing a serious drought. It was good to hear the rain falling on the DeKlerk’s farm. They deserve every drop.


  1. Loved the video of you guys driving and the little noises you were making! It looked like you were cruising on a very bumpy road!!

  2. I want to meet the DeKlerks. They seem like great people.