"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, December 25, 2013

Picture of Queenstown with two Sister Thomas'

We went to the small Koppie named Balmoral for a hike on Christmas Day.  Four of the Elders joined us for the hike.  It is just up from our apartment and we look out at it every morning from our kitchen. I took this picture of Mom with the city of Queenstown surrounding us.  The picture covers just more than 180 degrees.  Mom had stand on the left side and then run around behind me as I took the panorama picture.  Cool.

Hike on Christmas day with the Elders

This is the group that took the Christmas Hike up the Koppie.  It is from left to right.  Our District Leader Elder Quinton and his companion Elder Lawson, Our Zone Leaders Elders Spencer & Madsen and Elder and Sister Thomas.  IT was a good hike and gave us a good look at the city.

Hike on Christmas Day

A group of pictures from the hill top.  The love of my life joins me at the top of the hill on this Christmas Day.  It has been a pleasure having my eternal companion join me on this mission.  We cry and laugh together as a result of our experiences.  We are hopeful that our family knows how much we love them and pray for them, particularly at this time of the year.  In fact the Sister Xalabele put our daughters names on the prayer roll at the temple when the ward went on the temple trip.  There is more than just use who are concerned about our posterity.  We love our kids and grandkids!

You can see our apartment complex a bit clearer in these pictures. It is the grey building with the covered parking lots.  Our apartment is in the upper right hand side of the building.

We had the Elders over for Christmas Eve.

We had the Elders over this evening.  We had each missionary bring a food from home that is a Christmas Tradition.  We had an interesting mix of food for the dinner.  Carolyn and I added some Shrimp with Dip and also Mexican four layered dip with some special chips we had purchased in East London.  We received permission from the Mission President to watch 17 Miracles.  We then gave the Elders our present which is the Mosquito fumigators and the pads that come with them.  All in all it was an enjoyable evening.

Getting Ready for the Elders on Christmas Eve

It is just about 5:00 on Christmas Eve.  Carolyn is busy with the last minute preparations.  The kitchen is looking colorful.  We are expecting the Elders to show up about 6:00 pm.  I am looking forward to a spiritual but fun evening with the elders.  We bought them a special present.  The last couple of nights the Mosquitos have been buzzing in my ears.  We bought them small plug in mosquito fumigator.  We used the peaceful sleep versions of this while we were in South Africa.  Not much of a gift but they will appreciate in the middle of the night when the mozzies aren't circling and buzzing in there ears.  Those are the gifts I wrapped up under our little tree.

Our Christmas Letter

December 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Our first two months in the mission field have been a bit of a whirlwind but let us start from the beginning.  This past year has seen significant changes in the Thomas Family.  Mark retired from work in January, which came as a bit of a surprise but in the end has proved to be a true blessing for us.  Then as quick as we could get all the check-list items completed, we turned in our names to serve as full time missionaries. 

In the background we sold our home in Denver and we bought a new home in Draper, Utah.  We are now believing this new home is our long-term go-to-place in Utah.   We are fortunate to have Trisha and Jeff and their family along with Chelsea living in this home and granny flat while we are away.  This house and yard needed a great deal of work to get it cleaned up and fixed up prior to our moving in.  It was a full summer’s worth of work.  In fact, there was so much effort put in by everyone that when we came to trying to think of a name to call it, Brody (one of Trisha and Jeff’s boys) promptly suggested that we call it “the Second Shift”.  The reason he gave for the name was because “we work so much around here that it takes two shifts!”

Heavenly Father was mindful of us over this summer because when the call finally came we were asked to report on October 7th.  When the truth is told, we would have never been ready earlier given what we needed to accomplish.  It was an exciting day when we finely received and opened our mission call.  Our personal thanks goes to our Stake President in Denver, President Carpenter who was kind enough to walk down to our house and check the post for us on a daily basis because the mission call was mailed to Denver and we were in Salt Lake.  He put it in an overnight package and it arrived in SLC the next day.  (I think I still owe him some money for that.) Our family was with us, either in person or on phone or via Internet video links when we opened our call. Trisha and Jeff were actually on a cruise ship leaving port with the cell phone signal fading and Tara’s family was parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot in between errands, with Erin in the Dominican Republic and Chelsea in person with us in Draper.  When everyone was connected it came time to open the large white envelope.   It was the warmest feeling, mixed with just a bit of excitement, as we read that we were called to the South Africa Cape Town Mission.  Simply put, we were thrilled to be called back to South Africa where we spent so much of our life.

When we arrived President & Sister Wood and Elder & Sister Petersen met us at the airport.  We spent a couple of days in Cape Town while the President was involved with some Zone Conferences.  When we met with the President he assigned us to the town of Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.  Queenstown has not had a Missionary Couple assigned there for several years.  We were instructed that we would need to arranged temporary accommodation, find an apartment and then get it furnished.  We had the opportunity to drive from Cape Town to Queenstown - a
driving trip of some 1200 kilometers.  We were able to stop along the way and were able to meet with several of the Sr. Missionary couples.  This trip was fun because even with all the time we lived in South Africa, we had not driven this complete trip from Cape Town to East London.  The views along the garden route are spectacular and can be highly recommended.   Look closely at this picture, line up the first point jutting out into the sea in the lower left of the picture and the first large breaking wave toward the top of the picture and you will see a large group of surfers in the water.

When we arrived at Queenstown, it was clear that we do not have a view of the ocean.  We do have a view of one of the mountain peaks that sticks out from all the others.  It has been named Hang Klip by the local’s decades ago.   It is in the far distance in the picture.  Just to convince you we are in Africa there are some White Rhinos in the picture just past the bushes up on the grassy plain.  The mountains that surround Queenstown are named Longmount (on the right) and Madiera (on the left).  It is a nice assignment and the members are wonderful. 

One of the first teaching experiences we went to when we arrived in Queenstown was to join the Elders teaching an inactive member and his fiancée (Daryll and Lianet).  They are both in their mid-20's.  While we were speaking, I asked Daryll where he went to church in Johannesburg when he lived there.  His reply was somewhat remarkable because it was the same building where I was the Bishop between 1995 and 2000.  I asked him if he could remember the Bishop's name and he couldn't.  I then asked him if it was either Andy DeKock or Mike Perry, who were the two bishops that were called in the Sandton Ward following me.  He told us, “No, it was the guy before Bishop DeKock”.  I leaned forward in my chair and told him I was that "guy".  

Daryll’s reaction was remarkable and he actually put his hands over his face and paused for a minute as he remembered me.  We did not remember him clearly as he was primary age or had just become a Deacon at the time.  You can change a great deal over that time period.  We told him that it was statistically impossible that we would end up coming into his home, to teach him and his fiancée.  When you consider all of the missions we could have been called to around the world and of all the places that President Wood could have assigned us and of all the places we could have been on this night; when there were choices made by Elder Mahoney and Kupka and finally by ourselves so that we would be with the Elders to come to this teaching appointment, it could have only been divine intervention.  We were there for a reason and that was so Heavenly Father could put us in a place where our paths would cross one more time.

It was simply an awesome experience. As we sat in the room teaching, we realized with total clarity and new enlightenment the true meaning of D&C 18:15. “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!”   We are grateful to be here and hopefully we can continue to be a positive influence on them.

Since our first teaching appointment, the Elders committed Lianet, to be baptized and Daryll has committed to get worthy so he can take Lianet to the temple.  In one of our subsequent teaching visits Daryll told us he had spoken to his mother and she reminded Daryll that it was Sister Thomas that helped his mother (who is a long time member) to find her way back to the Church.  Daryll’s mother was walking in a parking lot in Rivonia close to where we lived in Johannesburg and happened to look into Carolyn’s car and saw an Ensign laying on the back seat.  She stood there next to the car and waited until Sister Thomas returned so she could find out where and when the Church met in the area.  That was Daryll’s mother’s first step back into activity.   

This experience also brought peace to our hearts about the city and the region where we have been called to serve in the South Africa Cape Town Mission.  We recognized and had a witness that President Wood is an inspired leader of our Heavenly Father.  When we told President and Sister Wood about this experience they responded as follows: Sister Wood said, “The story is so inspiring.  You were supposed to be in Queenstown!” and President Wood’s simple comment was: “This is evidence of the inspiration in your assignment.”

We are working with the Sada ward.  If you can find Queestown on a map, which inland from East London and then look South you will find the small town of Whittlesea. The Sada Ward covers this area and you can see Sada on the map as well.  We have found the Ward warm and welcoming. 

Sister Thomas, with me in support, attended the function for the Elderly women in the ward. It was done to honor the older sisters of the ward.  Sister Thomas gave them a talk explaining that they are not the elderly they are the “wise ones”.  It was wonderful to see the love expressed for these women who are for the most part unable to come to church due to their infirmities.

It has been a special experience for us to be here in South Africa as Nelson Mandela passed away.  It has been 13 years since we left South Africa and there is an unanimous praise for what Nelson Mandela accomplished in his life.  It was simply awesome to be here and see the reverence that was expressed and shown to Nelson Mandela.  Sister Thomas and I, along with the Relief Society Second Counselor, Sister Xalabile (also the Bishop's wife) had to go to the store for some last minute items for the Relief Society Function mentioned above.

This function was on the same day as the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg at the FNB Stadium. President Obama, President Bush, President Clinton and many more attended.  Sister Xalabile's dress is a reflection of joyous spirit and feelings of gratitude for the life of Madiba. (Madiba is Nelson Mandela’s clan name) These feelings exist here, far away from that main stream, in the very small country town of Sada. Such is the influence and life of Nelson Mandela

Now for a bit of a Xhosa Lesson for everyone, I would like to teach you how to pronounce Sister Xalabile’s name.  She is Xhosa.  They are the group that speaks with different clicks.  There are different kinds of clicks that are used but to keep it simple the name is pronounced as follows:

First tell your horse to go
forward by putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth and sucking in air around the side of your tongue.  (Like when you tell your horse to go forward just a little) It is the clicking sound you make after you say giddy-up).  I hope you can tell what I mean. Now to pronounce the name it sounds like this...

click (make the sound)-all-a-bee-lay.

Thought that would be a bit fun for you. You have just learned your first Xhosa word.  That is right, your second word (Xhosa) is pronounced:

click (make the same sound) -hose-a

Well done.  Please share this with your family for Christmas!  It should be just a bit of fun.

We had our Christmas Social on December 14 at the Ward building.  The Ward Christmas social was quite the experience. We have arrived early only to be beaten to the church by some on the primary children. It is however a nice way to begin the day and the kids are excited because they are going to do the nativity story at the social. These children came to the church without any supervision and then got on all their costumes and practiced the play along with the songs, speaking parts and actions. They went through it four or five times by themselves with no leaders at the church. It was a wonderful thing to watch.
Some of these children have walked well over 6 kilometers.  To give you an idea it is much farther than from our old house in Draper to our new house on 300 east.  Their homes are on the far side of the valley on the hillside in the picture.
We picked up the meat, bread and ice cream on the way to the ward building.  We had a typical South African high cholesterol meal of pork chops, beef steaks and boerewors. Had to go pick up a braai in the back of the car. Cooked food, ate and then had a primary presentation, YM/YW songs, Carolyn then led everyone in the Orchestra song and then the Elder's sang How Great Thou Art.  It was good a good day. We had the opportunity to see four generations of Sister Xalabile's family. She was with her mother, her daughter, and her granddaughter.https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gif (lower right picture)

This last week we taught some investigator lessons in Sada with Elder Kintu and Elder Steele.  Elder Kintu is from Uganda and Elder Steele is from Nephi.  It is a thrill to work with them.  We are teaching the young lady with the colorful hat on. 

We are grateful to be on a mission for our Heavenly Father and while we miss our family and we miss being close to our grand-kids, we do feel like we are making a difference in what we are doing in the mission field.  We are grateful for your collective influence in our lives.  We are grateful for our testimonies of the Gospel and pray for all of us to stay close to the faith with one hand firmly griped to the Iron Rod as we move forward.

Our Love to all, 

Mark and Carolyn Thomas 

Monday, December 23, 2013

YEA!!!! The post arrives in time for Christmas

Happiness is getting a full load of Christmas packages.  We were able to pick up 8 out of 9 packages that were sent to us, hopefully the last one will come tomorrow.  We will have happy elders today.  At least all but one of them!

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Visit at the Bishops house holding his Granddaughter.

We also stopped by the bishop's house because we are planning a surprise service project to fix his washing line and front gate while he is away at the temple.  I had the opportunity to hold his granddaughter for a few minutes until Sister Thomas took over.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Teaching Nathi under the Trees at her Home

We spent the day teaching with Elder Kintu and Steele today.  We taught four different lessons.  Three were to investigators and one was to a less active member.  In the discussion below we teach Nathi.  The missionaries have just started teaching her. Today we taught her that God is our loving Heavenly Father and Family's are ordained of God.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Morning Following Zone Confewrence

It is the morning after zone conference looking out to sea from the Amanda's bed and breakfast.  It is a very nice place with wonderful views.  A bright new day with new horizons following the training received in zone conference.  We studied the Atonement, Grace and how developing Christ like attributes will help us endure to the end.  We were challenged to teach well enough so that we can take our investigators to Gethsemane and Golgotha so they can understand the Savior's  sacrifice.  It is a beautiful morning that has dawned on us as we seek to take that message into the world.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gettting ready for the Christmas Lunch at Zone Conference - Military Precision

Getting the lunch treaty for the 60 elder and couples that are attending the zone conference is no small task.  Much gratitude to Sister Boyce who was the planner.  She gave out assignments and them followed up with all of us.

December Zone Conference

Zone conference in December brings together the Queenstown Zone, The East London Zone and the Mdansane Zones.  We take a group photo at the start of the Zone Conference.  It is the start to a wonderful day.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Making Bread Rolls for the Christmas Zone Conference

Tomorrow is our Christmas Zone Conference.  Actually, it will include the three Zones from the Eastern Cape.  We will be traveling to East London this afternoon.  Sister Thomas accepted an assignment to bake 12 dozen home made rolls.  She has been up since 6:00 AM.  The apartment smells wonderful.  She is truly an artist when it comes to baking.  "Master Chef Australia" here we come.  I am sure that the Elders will be very pleased with the rolls.  Luckily I already had the opportunity to sample some.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandella Passed Away Today

Nelson Mendella passed away today.  It has been a wonderful thing that, while in the background and somewhat as a spectator, we watch with amazement as he was released from prison and lead a peaceful transition to free elections.  Hard to believe that some who had the right to hate developed the ability love and lead a whole nation through a reconciliation process.  We were here in the country and we watched it all.  Amazing that we are back in South Africa when Madiba passes away.  The whole country is coming to a stand still as people pause to honor one of the worlds greatest leaders.  We are thankful to be here again.  He has left a wonderful legacy which we have been a bakery small part of.  Tara, takes the time to honor him at the South African Embassy in Washington DC in the United States.

Friday, November 29, 2013

All the Senior Missionary Couples for a Picture

While we were at the tree park we took the time to get the group together for a picture of all the Senior couples.  From Front to back and then left to right across the picture the couples are as follows: Gardeners, Thomas, Chase,Wheelers, Hogben, Blatter, France, Scotts, Woods, Boyce, Petersen and Sherbert.  It is a powerful group with a great deal of Church and Missionary experience.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day and Dinner

Our Thanksgiving was spent in the morning preparing the  pies and then running to the Vodacom shop to purchase some additional air time.  Then to the mission home for the dinner.   Thanksgiving dinner was at the Mission Home with President Wood taking time to prepare and serve the food.  We then drove to an arbor park where we spent some time enjoying the trees. Finally back to the mission home for dessert and then a testimony meeting.  Each couple was given the opportunity to add their testimony.  An amazing feeling of love for the people of South Africa and for each other came over the room.  It was a very special meeting.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Dinner out as a group of Senior Missionaries

Our dinner out as the senior missionaries.  The restaurant was named "a touch of madness".  Good meal and excellent company.  It was a very special experience to meet with other who have chosen to give of there time and serve The Lord in this special way.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bishop Xalabile prepares to baptize Sister Mgobe

Bishop Xalabile prepares to baptize Sister Mgobe. Elders Kintu and Grant taught her and we went along and helped teach her once.  A lovely lady with a soft heart and a mild spirit. Sister Mgobe deserved to be found.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Our Son-in-Law Tracks our Phone - Mthatha

Our kids tracked our phone and found us on Nelson Mandela drive while we were having breakfast at Mike's Kitchen.  We are now going to leave and inspect the elder's flat and cars.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013 - Eggs

Elder Thomas learns how to make a poached egg.  It got better on the second attempt.

Letter from Elder Thomas to his grandson William on 11/18/13:


It was nice to hear from you.  It sounds like you had fun at the Silver Dollar City.  Is that the same place that you took Grandma and Grandpa when we were visiting?

I thought I would share a picture with you.  It is of me trying to make a poached egg.  You will have to have your mom try it out sometime.  Poached eggs are good on toast.  Grandma says that they are more healthy for you.  It was hard at first but I did get better at it.  Just like on Master Chef.

Thanks for thanking the time to write us a short note.  I will include you in my future emails.  Thanks for sending it to me.


Letter to Elder and Sister Thomas from their Grandson William on 11/18/13:

"dear grandparents I am really missing you. But I am really happy you could  tell people about god. thank you love will.  I am doing just fine my week is going grate!!! last week we went to silver dollar city! i went on all the rides except the barn swing."

Saturday, November 16, 2013

November 16, 2013 - Flood Waters in Sada

We went to the Sada Ward building today.  We were working on the computer and printer.  It started to rain and when we looked outside the roads were flooded.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12, 2013 - Sunset over Queenstown

Sunset over the westward mountains with Queenstown at our backs.  We had just finished teaching a Young Women who desperately wants to be baptized but has taken the decision to wait until her mother is willing enter the waters of Baptism.

Letter from Elder and Sister Thomas to family on 11/1102013:

"Dear Family,

Hard to believe we have been on mission for a full month and 4 weeks of that have been in South Africa.  First, I am including a couple of paragraphs from an email to Luke.

"We have been asked to help a ward that is about 30 minutes away from where we live.  They are struggling a bit as a ward.  Yesterday we went with the two Elders (missionaries) assigned to that ward on teaching appointments.  We had a lesson with a girl of 16 who had just joined the church.  She is just starting to do year-end exams, so she hasn't been at church for a couple of weeks as she has been studying.  She is also struggling to read the scriptures.  She didn't grow up reading the Book of Mormon, so she has a hard time understanding "scripture" language. You are lucky to have been taught to understand the scriptures since you were Leah's age.  We had a good discussion with her about that.  We taught the lesson sitting on a little bench outside the house.  Grandpa and the Elders sat on the ground so Sinase and her grandmother and I could sit on the bench.  The wind was blowing and we sitting under an apricot tree outside their very humble home.  It was really being in Africa!

Later that evening we went about 30 minutes on a dirt road up into the hills to a member family.  Their daughter has just turned in her papers to go on a mission.  We will be excited to see where she is called to serve.  I had made a pumpkin pie (from a butternut squash but it tasted like pumpkin) and taken it to her family.  After the family home evening, they brought us out a plate of rice, a piece of chicken and a sort of unspicy salsa mixture.  It was very good and very welcomed as it was after 8 p.m."

This week we have been involved in some interesting discussions as we have accompanied the Elders.  We sat in our first "Chastity" discussion to a 21 year man.  He had already had part of the lesson in the Gospel Essentials class, so we mostly got to discuss the promises associated with the law of chastity.  Then a couple of days later, we did the same lesson with a less active member and his fiancé who is being taught the lessons.  He had already told her what the discussion was going to be about before we came.  They have been living together and are supposed to get married in November of next year.  They both committed to living the law of chastity until then.  She wants to be baptized soon.  He is a Melchizedek Priesthood holder and has some steps he has to go through.  She is from Cuba and they want to honeymoon in Cuba and have a big wedding.  They do have the temple as their goal.  We are wondering how we could suggest that they have a smaller civil wedding now and then go on the big honeymoon after their temple sealing.  Don't know how they can keep their commitment for a whole year while they are living in the same house.

Later that evening we went on a first appointment to an investigator.  It was to a man who had come to church the Sunday before all on his own.  He wanted the Elders to come and tell about their church in his home so his wife could be there.  The wife, her friend, his sister and another lady were there.  It started off a bit tense when he stated that God was the same no matter what church you went to so it didn't really matter what church you were a member of.  The Elders started off with the Restoration of the Gospel lesson and by the end everyone was really into it.  He was worried because he had heard at church that if you know the truth you need to tell others about it because if you don't their blood is upon you.  He wasn't sure he could handle that burden or if he even wanted it.  We assured him that it is our obligation to "warn our neighbor" but they have their agency in deciding what they will do.  As long as we do our part, Heavenly Father is happy with us.  The sister lives about 4 hours away where there is not a branch of the church.  I had just put some pass-along cards in dad's shirt pocket before we left, so we gave them each one.  They can SMS the number with their name and address and someone will deliver the "Joy to the World" dvd to them.  Nice first appointment and they invited the Elders back.  This man really has the Light of Christ in him.

Then on Sunday we went with the Zone Leaders on a couple of appointments.  The first one was to a man we had been to once before.  Elders have been visiting him for a few months now.  He wants to be baptized but wants to do it just before he dies so he will be clean when he meets God.  We were there to teach him the Word of Wisdom lesson.  When we got into his house, he told us that his wife had served him with divorce papers on Friday and as he went into town that afternoon to hire a lawyer, he saw his wife with another man.  He was so angry he wanted to go get petrol and throw it on their house and burn her up in it.  Fortunately, because of the truths he has been taught in the last little while, he did not do that.  But he was in pain and sorrowing over the situation.  Dad handled the discussion talking about how we all have trials that seem so hard that we are sure we can't get through them.  He told a little about our trial in losing Chaz.  The Elder Spencer read in D&C 122 where Joseph Smith is in prison and the Lord tells him of all the trials that he might have to go through and how they don't really compare with what Christ went through.  I was amazed at how quickly the discussion was changed from W.O.W. to what this man needed to hear.

The next appointment was to a single mom with a seven year girl.  The lesson was The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We had a good discussion on faith - led by me.  Elder Olyabo (from Uganda) has a way of surprising you and giving you the "eye" as he says you will explain something.  He had Dad teach about repentance.  This was the first time we were really teaching instead of just adding comments or a testimony.  As we got through the steps of repentance, the woman told us that she has a boyfriend and she knows it is wrong, but she has been out of job for a year and he is giving financial support to her and her daughter.  She says she has great faith in God, except she doesn't believe that things will be okay if she tells the boyfriend to go away.  She is worried that they will really suffer temporally.  So it came back to me to challenge her to build up her faith in God in all things and then take the leap of faith and make her repentance complete.  Such a sad situation because her daughter is old enough to know that this man is not her father.  Her father actually died.  The mom doesn't want her daughter to think this is okay.

After we came out from this discussion, I was wiped out emotionally and mentally.  Elder Olyabo said this happens all the time.  They must be led by the spirit because I don't know how they could possibly know where to go with the discussion except by listening to the spirit.

I attended Primary this week.  They are having their program in two weeks.  There are about four girls and ten boys.  The Primary President hasn't been to church in while so the young woman who is waiting for her mission call does all of Primary.  She is in the presidency.  After the lesson, which was mostly in Xhosa, she said that she didn't have a sharing time because the president had the outline.  I had downloaded it on my iPad on Saturday, so I pulled it up and she asked me to teach it.  It was "We are Thankful for Temporal Blessings".  So I had a couple of minutes and got it organized and it seemed to go well.  These kids understand English as well.  They sang the Articles of Faith song for all 12 by memory.  I am so impressed with their knowledge and eagerness to learn.  The other night at a FHE the sixteen year old son (a new Priesthood holder) conducted the meeting.  The Elders presented their message and the young man summarized it and added his comments and testimony at the end - without being asked or assigned to do it.

So for the fun, unmissionary part of the week, we finally decided on a lounge suite for the new flat and a mattress.  We have shopped and shopped and hope we have chosen the right things.  Today we got a dinnerware set and glasses - we already have the silverware.  We stopped by our new flat on Saturday and we are getting more excited about moving into it.  December 1st is still the date.  The contractor was there and verified that it will be done.  So we have scheduled the internet guys to come and the furniture to be delivered then.  We still have to get the refrigerator and microwave and all the linen and bathroom stuff, but that shouldn't be too hard as we have been looking a lot in the shops.

We went golfing today for the first time.  The course is really dry.  They don't really water anything except the greens.  It was a nice day and we were the only ones on the course.  We bought a cart from the shop at the course for about $90.  They are happy to let us share clubs.  Dad had an eagle 2 on a par 4 hole that was 300 yards.  He was on the edge of green and chipped it in.  He beat me by a stroke!  I didn't put sunblock on anything but my face and the back of my knees, arms and neck are pretty red.  I think we are going to really look forward to our P-day golf.

As we were playing, I noticed something was funny with one of my teeth.  It was actually a crown that had come loose.  So after we came home and changed, we went to a dental surgery we had seen one day on a walk this week.  In fact, Dad had said, "That's the dentist I want to go to if we need anything."  We didn't really expect to ever need his services.  He was very busy when we went there so they said they would call when things slowed down.  We went to find some panel beaters because one set of elders dinged their car.  Right across the street was the Tupperware warehouse.  So I went in and got a big bowl.  It was kind of a trauma because they want you to sign up to be a dealer to buy things.  I got one of the ladies in there who is a dealer to order it for me and then I paid for it and got it then.  The bowl is big - 10 liters.  I can now fit about 3 batches of dough in one bowl!  I have to make 12 dozen rolls for the tri-zone Christmas dinner, so the bowl will be great.  Anyway, I did get my crown re-cemented and it only cost R100 or $10.  What a deal.

We did our first boarding inspections and I was not as tough as Sis. Boyce (from East London) who was teaching me how to do it.  Only one flat out of the three passed with flying colors.  I am doing re-inspections tomorrow morning.  Hope they used their P-day wisely today.

Okay - that is about it from here.  Congratulations to the Cutrer boys on winning their championship games!!!  We love getting emails from all of you updating us on your lives.

Elder and Sister Thomas - aka: Mom and Dad

Sunday, November 10, 2013

JT, Chaz and Brody win their Championship their Games

Back in Utah all three Cutrer grandsons played and won their respective football championship games today.  We were able to get the updates on whatsapp on Saturday night.  You have to love GRANDKIDS.  Aren't they great!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

White Rhino in the local game park

We drove by the game park and we happened to catch some Rhino near the game part fence.  As we drove along the fence they came very close to us.  No doubt we are in South Africa.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Rained Soaked Evening Teaching with the Elders

Returning home from a rain soaked evening to our first visit to a inactive members home in the Mlungisi township. We helped the elders invite an inactive mother with two teenage daughters back to church. She committed to come. The elders used Alma 50:1-6 to describe how we should build a fortress around us. It was a wonderful lesson and we received a commitment that she would come to church. Now we need to see if she comes.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Our First Zone Conference of the Queenstown Zone

This is the Queenstown Zone on October 23 2013.  It was out first Zone Conference and was held at the Queenstown ward building.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

October 20, 2013 - Second Day of Driving and Church in George

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October 19, 2013 - Drive up the coast to Queenstown

October 18, 2013 - Shopping

Thursday, October 17, 2013

October 17, 2013 - Visit to the Mission Office

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 16, 2013 - First day in Cape Town

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15, 2013 - Layover in London