Our South African Journal

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sept 4 – 10, 2016

We are very aware of the fact that we will only attend church in South Africa a few more times. It makes each Sunday sweeter. Elder Hind had to go to Newcastle to take care of some business and then he came and picked me up and we went to our home ward Madadeni Branch 1. 

These are President Nkosi's granddaughters
They say, "Elder Hind, Elder Hind," whenever they see him.
The Young Women's class

This is what happens when you let the Young Women play with your tablet

After church we went to visit President Nkosi. He knew us and said our names when we greeted him but when missionaries brought him the sacrament and he seemed to have a real hard time taking it. We believe he won’t be here very much longer.

After visiting with him for a while we went out to the cottage meeting and then home for our Sunday devotional with the missionaries.

We decided that this would be the week that we would begin to prepare for going home. We decided that the first thing we would do is to pack up all our mementos and souvenirs. We have things stuck all around the house and stored away in our closets. So we started packing those away and cleaning out our closets. We gathered up some things that we knew we didn't want to take home and we will give them to the Relief Society president. Doing this has made us realize that we are indeed going home soon.

Our suitcase full of souvenirs. Hope we have room for our clothes.

On Monday night we played a game using the For the Strength of Youth book. Each team took a turn trying to answer fill-in-the blank questions. When they got the answer right they got to shoot some of Elder Hind’s socks into a bucket. They could get one, two or three points depending on where they stood to take the shot. Anyway they seemed to have fun with it.

Janeal getting ready to take her shot.
Elder Deihl 
Elder Stitole
Elder Martin looking serious and determined
Elder Jewkes trying a trick shot.
We had Zone Training Meeting this week. It was weird because we have always had it in Newcastle. Now the Zone Leaders are in Dundee so we went down there to have the meeting. It was an enjoyable meeting and we had lunch afterwards. It was our last ZTM.

Sister Rhodes and Elder Diehl

Newcastle Zone
I wanted to do the Young Women in Excellence before I went home so we scheduled it for this Saturday. Elder Hind had a meeting with all the Branch Presidents to talk about branch finances and budgets. So he was busy while I was with the young women.

I wish I could get the parents and grandparents to come to these things but they never come. I don’t know what the problems is. I guess it will take a while before they understand that these activities are for them and their daughters.

We learned a song just for this activity and some of the girls gave talks. We had some refreshments (sandwiches, apple slices and brownies) and I talked to the girls about Personal Progress. I told them that my prayer for them is to become powerful women of faith and testimony. I reminded them that they are loved by their Heavenly Father. I asked them if they had dreams. I told them that their dreams could come true if they keep the commandments, get an education, and learn to serve others. My prayer is that in the time I have worked with them I have helped each one in some small way.

We are going to miss the beautiful African sunsets.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Aug 28 – Sept 3, 2016

Spring has finally arrived on the High Veld. Night temperatures are not as low so our house does not get cold. When we wake up in the morning we are not freezing to death. I don’t think we have used our heaters for over a week now. The weather is so lovely.

The Ezakheni Branch President asked us to speak in his branch this week. He said that we probably wouldn’t be out there again before we go home. He also asked Elder Hind to do some interviews. We spoke in Sacrament Meeting and then Elder Hind did his interviews and Sister Hind waited and waited. Our leaving is starting to get real. We won’t be back to Ezakheni again.

While Elder did interviews Sister Hind entertained herself buy taking pictures
of the children in Ezakheni Branch.
We had a devotional with the Elders in the evening. We love to do this. It is so nice to meet with the elders at the end of the Sabbath day and talk about all the good things that are happening to us. And then share a treat. It is one of the things we are really going to miss.

We won’t be doing many more Family Home Evenings with our missionaries and the Newcastle YSAs. We played Bean Boozeled one last time. We always try to play it once every transfer. We realize that we are doing many things one last time before we go home.

Playing Bean Boozeled for the last time

We decided we needed to go to the Johannesburg temple one more time. We called and made a reservation at the Temple Patron Housing.  We drove down Wednesday and checked into our accommodations and made reservations for dinner in the cafeteria. Then we did two endowment sessions in the temple. Then we had dinner and went to our room. The rooms are very nice and the bed was comfortable but our room was on the side of the building that is near a busy street. It was pretty noisy but we managed to get some sleep.

The next morning Elder Hind wanted to visit the Area Offices which are on the temple grounds. He wanted to talk to them about some branch financial issues. But the offices don’t open until 9am so we went to breakfast at Mike’s Restaurant which is near the temple. We had passed this restaurant every time we went to the temple and so we decided to try it. The prices were reasonable and the food was very good.

We enjoyed eating breakfast outside in the garden
Restaurant cat 
Elder Hind enjoying his hot chocolate
Mmmm...bacon and poached eggs on English muffins covered with Hollandaise sauce
After breakfast we went back to the temple grounds. I waited in the car and read a book while Elder Hind went in to the office. He wasn't gone very long but he came back a very happy man. He has been trying to get the finances in all the branches sorted out and he has been successful. He has been working on this project almost our entire mission. 

On Friday we went to Madadeni and picked up a member and her children. She wanted to use our computer to apply for college. Elder Hind entertained the kids while I helped their Mom fill out her application.

Elder Hind babysitting
Saturday we went over to the Newcastle boarding to clean. We are tired of cleaning this place. I hope the next missionaries that come here appreciate how nice we have made it. However, It could use a paint job and a carpet cleaning.

Elder Hind doing some serious cleaning
It is time to start preparing to go home. The church will pay for our flight home but because we have family coming they want us to book our own tickets and they will refund us later. So our tickets are bought. Our daughter Cydnee and her husband Eric and their four kids are coming here and spending some time visiting and then we will fly home the same day she does. We are excited to show her around this amazing country and introduce her to the wonderful people we have met.

It won’t be long now.

Monday, September 5, 2016

August 21 -27

Another busy Sunday. We needed to be in Newcastle Branch so Elder Hind could bless some twin babies.  He had planned to bless both babies but another branch member wanted to do one so he just blessed Taffy, the little girl.

Taffy and Bonzo's blessing day

After Newcastle Branch we went out Madadeni and attended Branch 1. Then we went to visit President Nkosi who has been released from the hospital. He is still very weak and still has some problems but he looks better than he did. After visiting him we went to the Cottage Meeting and then we finally were able to go home.

One of the children at the cottage meeting.

We had to say good bye to both of our Newcastle missionaries. They have closed their area. They have been working hard to clean their boarding because it will be empty for at least six weeks. We had to go and do more cleaning after they left. Over the years a lot of junk gets left behind by the missionaries and it just piles up. Elder Hind took a couple of loads to the dump and we put a dozen garbage bags out for the garbage men.

Elder Knight
Elder Opiyo
We have been working on a lot of missionary recommendations. As part of his mission presidency duties Elder Hind interviews them and signs their papers. I check their papers to make sure they have everything and then we send them to the area. The area nearly always finds something wrong so we have to contact the prospective missionary and get more information. It is taking up a lot of our time right now.
We take a lot of sunset pictures but this is the sunrise on the way to
 Durban Thursday morning
Elder Hind needed to go to Mission Presidency meeting in Durban this week. We got up early in the morning in order to be at the Mission Office by 10:00am. The meeting lasted a long time. While Elder Hind was in his meeting, Sister Hind wrote two talks, sent a couple of emails and wrote some blog posts. After the meeting we had a late lunch with President Thompson and then started home. We were not looking forward to the long drive. When we passed through Pinetown we decided to call the Stevensons. They were happy to hear from us and invited us to spend the night. We hadn’t packed for overnight but spent the night anyway.

We have stayed with them several times now and so their boarding is starting to feel like home. We took them to dinner at a restaurant called “The Big Fish” and had the best salmon we have ever tasted. It was amazing!  We enjoyed the Stevenson’s hospitality that night and then drove home refreshed the next day.

Sister and Elder Stevenson
They will be going home in November
They are from California but sold their house before going on mission and
are planning on buying a house in Utah Valley

Our bedroom at the Stevenson's boarding
On our way home we stopped to take a picture of this beautiful mosque in Ladysmith

On Saturday there was a Newcastle District Relief Society Activity. It was very well planned and presented. They had people from the Board of Health speaking on dementia, and HIV. They had a police woman talk and people from the Legal Aid Society give presentations. They even had a local department store come and talk about bras and how to measure for proper fit.

They asked me to talk about my South Africa experiences. I felt a little like I was giving my homecoming talk. They served a nice lunch and decorated the tables nicely. It was a great activity.

Can't end without a sunset picture