"And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." D&C 84:88

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Elder and Sister Thomas Arrive Home and we are Speaking in Church

Family and Friends,

We have just arrived home safe and sound at the Salt Lake International Airport.  We wanted to let anyone that may be interested in seeing us that we are speaking in church this Sunday.  (Sunday April 12, 2015)  The time and address are listed below.  We will be having an open house following our block of meetings so if you are available please come by our place between 2:00 and 5:00 on Sunday afternoon.  We would love to see you.

Ward: Mountain Point 7th Ward
Meeting time: 11:00 AM
Building Address: 13112 S 700 E, Draper, UT, 84020

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wash, Wax and Braai with the Mdantsane Zone

We had the Mdantsane Zone over to our house today to Wash, Wax and Braai with us.  We were somewhat lucky today because we had three new vehicles show up this morning.  I had the missionaries meet me down at the site where Mercedes ships out all their vehicles and we picked up our new Chevy Aveos.   We had the opportunity to wash and wax the Elders’ brand new vehicles.  They drove away very pleased and happy with their cars.  Even our problematic silver Toyota looked good today.

Sister Thomas cooked all the hamburgers while Elder Thomas provided some direction on waxing and buffing out of small scratches.  Later, we all had the hamburgers for lunch and all the Elders went away happy and full.

It was also Elder Sanders birthday this week so Sister Thomas also baked a cake and we had it with ice cream after we all sang “Happy Birthday” to him. 

This was a warm sunny South African afternoon.  It was a bit heart breaking to know this was the last time we would do this with the Elders. 

The East London Zone Help Repair a Brick Wall

We met the East London Zone this morning at 7:00 at the site where one of the Elders had an accident with his vehicle.  We wanted to see if we could fix the brick wall that had been pushed aside and broken in the accident.

With the help of the Elders with the required muscle work and some cement caulking and some industrial exterior glue, we were able to piece the bricks back together.

It was like a big jigsaw puzzle that took time to figure where everything fit together.  Elder Chamberlain proved to be very good at figuring out where even little pieces of bricks fit together.  You can see the “Bent Brick Wall” in the lower right and the fixed walls on the left and right of the middle picture.

When we were done, it was not perfect but it was a big improvement compared to when we started.

In the center picture in the back from left to right: Elders  Kekezwa, Chamberlain, Johnson, Nzama, Chapman, Pope, Du Plessis, Malatji

Front row left to right: Elders Muller, Mmusi, Soko, Thomas, Katwana, Hyera and Stratton

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lunch with Elder and Sister Wheeler following Branch Conference

We had the Branch Conference at Port Alfred today.  We had the Mission Presidency speak along with their wives.  This was first weekend of school holidays so there were several families and members away.  The building was still fairly full which was nice.

After the meeting we went to the Wheeler’s for lunch.  It was enjoyable to spend a couple of hours relaxing with them.  Their son and daughter-in-law had arrived a few days earlier to spend a week with them.  We twisted Ryan’s arm  (the son) to share some family stories with us about his parents.  We enjoyed hearing a bit more about the Wheelers from their family.

After lunch we left Port Alfred and drove President Merrill to the East London Airport.  We were having such a good time with the Wheelers, we left the time a bit close in getting President Merrill to the airport.  We made it with time to spare.  We sent Pres. Merrill back to Cape Town with our set of golf clubs and made him promise to make time to use them!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dinner with Elder and SIster Taim, Elders Carnieletto & Banda, and President Merrill

On the way from Sada to Port Alfred we stopped in Grahamstown in order to set apart the new Elders quorum President and his 1st counselor.   After that was done, we went to dinner with Elder and Sister Taim, Elders Carnieletto and his companion Elder Banda.

Once dinner was over we drove on to Port Alfred.  It was a full day and we all slept well that night.  We were finished.

Celebrating Bonga Mango's mission departure, Elder and Sister Thomas departure and the Stapley's move to East London

We had the opportunity to visit with the Sada Ward today.  They had a special function for Bonga Mango who is departing on a mission to the London South Mission.  Amazing.  Sister Thomas and I helped Bonga as he made the necessary preparations.  Of course, there was a great deal of help from the Stapley's who follow us in Sada.

The function was also for Elder and Sister Thomas as well as Elder and Sister Stapley who will be relocating to East London to take out place there.

It was a joyous celebration and it was well planned and well executed.  They really know how to have party there.  Bishop Xalabile and Sister Xalabile are simply awesome leaders in the Ward.  It has been wonderful to see sacrament meeting attendance grow from 43 the first time we attended to over 120 today.  Dedicated service from the members, with the support from the Stake in calling Stake Missionaries to work in the ward, along with the service of the missionaries has made a difference.

About halfway through the celebrations, they came and took Sister Thomas away and dressed her up.  It was cute.  Only later did Sister Thomas realize that Sister Xalabile made the dress for her.  When she realized this she had tears in her eyes for more than just a moment.

We had President Merrill with us for this and he enjoyed the lunch provided by the ward.

We really love this place and and the people.  We will leave a portion of our hearts with these members.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Scripture repairs, District Meeting broken cars and Cleaning Supplies.

A busy day in the mission field begins with fixing two sets of scriptures for the Elders early in the day before District Meetings. Then we attended the East London 3rd and 4th Ward District Meetings.  I have had this picture on the wall in every business office I have worked in for the past 20 years.  It reminded me every day that my life was not just about the manufacture, delivery and sales of explosives.  I had the Elders take our picture next to it in the institute building where the District Meetings were held.

After that we attended to some errands to pay some bills and to get to the Telkom Store to get some queries answered for some other Senior Couples.  When we were done at the Telkom store, we received a call from East London 2nd ward Elders that their car was making noises.  We drove to meet them and I drove the car.  It was making a wild screaming sound from the right front wheel.  We managed to get it to the church and arranged for a tow truck to come and take it to the dealer.  We will have to check on this Monday.

By the time the tow truck came, we had to rush to make it to a dinner with the East London Stake Presidency.  We were invited to their social, which was a very nice jester by them.  We have had such a wonderful working relationship with them and it has been a blessing to us. We spent a wonderful evening with the Presidency and their wives.  We went to the Cape Town Fish Market restaurant for dinner.  The food was great and the company excellent.  We have come to love and respect President Bell, President Van Heerden, President Mangwane and Brother Welsh.  Unfortunately, we forgot to get a picture of the event.

After the dinner we went and dropped off some cleaning supplies to the Mdantsane 2nd ward Elders.  These Elders were pleased with the supplies.  In truth, it does not take much to keep Elders smiling.  They are always grateful for what we do.

Shown are Elders Smith, Shabalala, Martinez and Mashigo along with Sister Thomas.