"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
Friday, February 28, 2014
On the drive back we took some pictures of the sites along the way. Just as you leave Mthatha there are some stalls on the side of the road. You can see one of the chicken shops where you can purchase live chickens and feed to go along with them. You drive through the small town of Engcobo which is always busy along the main road. Everyone is trying to do something and there is always a lot of activity. There are some very nice country homes along the drive. They are painted just about eveyr color you can imagine.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
We then were transferred over to Elders Radebe and Trepanier to teach this family shown above who live a bit out in the country. They had actually read the Book of Mormon and had so many question about what was meant in different scriptures that the Elders did not get to the Word of Wisdom lesson they had planned on teaching.
A lot of the questions had to do with the meaning of Lehi's dream. The Elders answered all of them skillfully and allowed Sister Thomas and I to help them with some of the questions as well. They are a delightful family group that have committed to be baptized. This is a success story from a newly baptized member from Cape Town who visited Mthatha and took this family to church and referred them to the missionaries. They will be a wonderful family to have in the church.
While we were teaching a chicken wandered up to the door and started to come inside but was shooed back out the door with a soft click. It must have be the equivalent of “Voetsak” for a dog but in Khosa. (SIDE NOTE TO ALL NON-SOUTH AFRICANS) 'Voetsak' pronounced "foot-sack" is an Afrikaans saying which means, as near as I can tell, "get lost!” or “get away from here!”. It is commonly said to a dog. In fact most dogs in america understand this Afrikaans word as well.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The Elders pictured in the photo lower right hand photo from right to left are: Swenson, Lekgoati, Dladla, Olyabo, Khumalo, Nkosi, Radebe. A group of wonderful Elders who have given two years of their life to the Lord.
I am thrilled that this small bit of training is being provided to the Elders as they move on in life. I would like to see them as prepared for this next phase in their life as they have been prepared in the mission field to effectively teach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The training covered helping them prepare a “Me in 30 Seconds” statement as well as the creation of some “Power Statements” that will help them make a positive impression on those they are seeking employment with in the future. They were also instructed on the benefits of using LDSJOBS.org as well.
Sister Thomas provided "nearly lasagna”, sweet corn, french bread, cake and water for lunch. As always, it was appreciated by the Elders and they all sang their praises to Sister Thomas and her lunch.
It was nice to get an assignment that we could help with outside our normal responsibilities.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Elder Maynes and Elder Mkhabela along with President Bell were the main Speakers in Stake Conference
Later on this evening we were able to face time with our grandkids and children. It was good to get caught up on everything that is going on in their lives. We also discussed what we needed to do to the Montane Drive house to be able to sell it. Nice ending to a spiritually up lifting day.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Elder Mkhabela taught on how we can act on Principles of the gospel which are the foundation for action. The key is in changing broad line principles into actions that impact specific people, either ourselves or others. Elder Maynes comment in support of Elder Mkhabela that as long as our faith is greater than our fear we can share that which is so precious to us.
Elder Maynes taught a practical and useful version of the Plan of Salvation that stressed the way that we begin to prepare to qualify ourselves for the Celestial Kingdom. He highlighted that there are Choices that we take, that over time become Habits, those Habits turn into Traditions and Traditions, over time, become our Culture. He also described and detailed that there are 42 things we need to do to be prepared to enter the Celestial Kingdom. (These are the required teachings in Preach my Gospel.)
He highlighted that we have a mixture of O’s and X’s. O’s are those celestial traditions and X’s are false traditions. Our church has a culture and a mixture of X’s and O’s. Some people bring these false traditions with them when they are converted. Each ward has a culture that has been built over time. Each family, in fact, my personal family has a combination of O’s and X’s. If we are to be prepared to enter the Celestial Kingdom we need to assess ourselves and our families and concentrate on removing X’s and adding O’s. He discussed different ways on how we can share the gospel. He challenged us to act. His focus was on us creating a Zion in our homes.
I took the opportunity to take a picture of Elder Maynes’ white board drawing. I am not sure he would necessarily be extremely happy with his artwork but it will be a constant reminder to me to seek improvement so that when the time comes, both Carolyn and I and also our family will be more prepared to enter the Celestial Kingdom.
A family had built a connected pathways across the beach by drawing the path boundaries in the sand with sticks. They even had some holes dug (but they were a bit small to my liking). There was some type of a chase game being played where you could run around but could not leave the paths. I sure missed my GRANDKIDS and our games on the beach. Perhaps if they come to visit while we are here in South Africa we will get to have a game on the beach. I will hold thumbs for that day ……
Friday, February 21, 2014
Elder Maynes spoke for close to three hours and it seemed as if he spoke for 30 minutes. I took almost 9 pages of notes which is a lot for me. This missionary training was wonderful. It really made you want to raise your game.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Once Sister Thomas returned to pick me up, we went to the Bishop’s so we could complete a service project that we had wanted to do. It was to fix the gate to his front yard. It needed the lower hinge raised up so it would swing properly. It was fairly straight forward to fix and other than the rain, it did not take long to complete this small service project. It was raining and that is why all the pictures are of me. Sister Thomas took them from the protection of the car. However, I need to point out that I was dressed for the work project and Sister Thomas was dressed to go Visiting Teaching.
Providing service is something that we can all do more of. All we have to do is keep an eye out looking for the opportunities when they arise. Service opportunities are all around us.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
All the Zone Leaders arrived from Cape Town at 3:30. We went to a store so Elder Madsen could get some solution for his contacts and so I could go to the Telkom store to check on the installation of our data line. Not much progress on that front. We then took Elders Lekgoati and Madsen to McDonald's for a late lunch. It was good but the older I get in life, McDonald’s hamburgers are never as good as I seem to remember. We arrived back in Queenstown after driving in the rain for much of the way to a pretty sunset on the Western horizon.
Monday, February 17, 2014
The sky was a wonderful blue with no clouds in it for most of the day. In fact, we were the only golfers on the course. It was a nice Monday morning activity. There were some Springbok on the course. While we were hitting our second shots on a par five they left over the hill side. The younger ones “Sprung” across the grass over to the other side of the hill out of sight. Not sure if that is the correct word but it was a treat. It is lots of fun to be able to see Springbok spring and bounce across the bushveld/grassland.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Just as we were getting done the Elders came by looking for some help. We joined them in teaching one lesson to a recent convert and visiting two different members. It is always good to be out teaching with the Elders.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Carolyn tried to take a picture of my scary left eye which she claims looks a bit like the original “Terminator eye” without the red glow. All she got was a handsome face. She is still a wonder to look at across a candle lit table. She reminded me this is the 39th Valentine’s Day we have been together.
Just prior to our dinner appointment, we went with Elders Slabbert and Lawson to teach a family that we have been with the Elders in prior discussions. Nice way to begin a Valentine’s Day evening. All in all the whole evening was enjoyable.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
They only had one appointment for us to join them and it fell through, so they made an appointment for tomorrow evening. Following a good planing process they both record the new appointment. Elder Ndlovu is doing a good job with the training of Elder Ngobeni.
After working all day in their area they wolfed down the cheese rolls Sister Thomas brought out to them. They were thrilled to find out that their car has been fixed and Sister Thomas and I picked it up before we came out to collect them. No more walking back and forth across their area.
While we were at the Church fixing the printer, Sister Thomas attended a Relief Society meeting and also helped them sort out the Sewing Machine. I helped with that just a little but fixing the sewing machine was, for the most part, Sister Thomas who solved this mystery. After I took different parts off the sewing machine so I could figure out what was wrong with it, Sister Thomas figured out that the plug was not all the way plugged in. It is always the simplest solution, isn’t it?
We then returned the Bishop’s keys and we took Brother Yomelani back to Queenstown so he would finish his day at work. Brother Yomelani is a dedicated returned missionary who served in Uganda and Tanzania.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Elder Ramat and Pennington gave a lesson based on CPR. They had a child pretend that they were injured and almost dead. Then asked Sister Thomas to show how to administer CRP which she did. She explained about the heart pumps and the required breaths as part of CPR. The Elders then talked about the body and the spirit. They explained that we can used CPR to help fix the body. They explained that sometimes the spirit gets sick too. Sometimes it becomes necessary to administer CPR to our spirit. In this case C stands for Church, P stands for Prayer, and R stands for Reading the scriptures. It was a good lesson and we had Brother XX to help with the Xhosa translations.
Sister Thomas then arranged for Elder Thomas to show them the dead chicken wrapped up in a towel trick which went down very well. Brother Canti had to tell the story again in Xhosa and learn how to make the chicken. A very good Family Home Evening Evening put on by the Elders.
While we were driving to the site where we would see the bushman drawings, we came upon some zebras and giraffes. We were very close to them. From the car behind us Elder Lawson broke out singing the theme song from the Lion King. The local guide, who was in our car, thought something was wrong until we explained that we had someone from the UK in the car behind us who was very excited to see African wild life . That gave our guide a grin, however, Elder Lawson's rendition of the song scared the wild life away from the car.
We were able to see some bushman drawings and plenty of wildlife. We also stopped at a picnic spot and Sister Thomas broke out some Cinnamon Rolls which she baked that morning along with some juice. The Elders thought this was awesome surprise.
We were done around 10:00 and all the Elders went to complete the rest of their Monday activities. I went to check on the missionary car we have in getting repaired in the body shop and to check on the bicycle we have in the repair shop. Elder Pennington and Elder Madsen came over at the end of the day to get hair cuts and Elder Lawson brought over his new friend that he brought back from the game park. (A tick, which was properly removed)
Other than the game drive and perhaps the removal of a tick it was a typical Monday in the mission field.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
We then left church and traveled back to the Queenstown chapel to attend the East London Stake Auxiliary Training. Sister Thomas attended the training for the Young Women and I attended the training for Ward Clerks.
The excitement that followed this meeting was special for Sister Thomas and I. Wendy Miselo, who also attended the Primary training, was handed her mission call from the Stake President. I spoke to Bishop Xalabile and he said that the Stake President told him (and he had told Wendy one week ago) that it would be delivered today. Wendy has been sick with excitement to the point she has not been feeling very well all of this past week. She opened the call on the spot and found she is will be serving in the Ghana Kumasi Mission and that she will report on May 2 to the Ghana Mission Home. We were very excited for her.
I, Sister Thomas, am especially fond of Wendy. She has such a strong testimony and commitment to the gospel. She pretty much single handedly takes care of Primary each week. She is a counselor in the presidency, but is usually on her own teaching 25 kids in one class, doing the sharing and singing time. I try to help her when I am not helping in YW. There have been times when I am sitting up on the stand during Sacrament meeting (I play the organ for the meeting) when I look down and see her and I am so strongly reminded of my daughter, Chelsea. She even looks like her (ethnicity aside). Maybe it’s because I can see the missionary in her and it is a look I saw in Chelsea as she was preparing for her mission. We are very, very happy that Wendy is worthy of this opportunity but will miss her a lot when she leaves!
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Sister Thomas and I have committed to go with the Elders in the coming weeks and teach them about temple marriage and the commitments we make as we go to the temple.
Friday, February 7, 2014
There were some strange combinations that ended up being created. I guess Elder Ngobeni wasn’t listening closely because he bought a waffle which Sister Thomas loaded up with ice cream. Elder Madsen brought fruit juice which is an interesting twist on an ice cream float. There was about every other combination between these two. I think Sister Thomas and I were the only ones with Root Beer. We were lucky to find some.
The evening ended with Elder Lawson burning an old white shirt which is a tradition with the Elders in the mission. He did it in style in the Elders’ back yard. I hope there is not a mission rule about playing with fire.
In the upper left hand corner, beginning with Sister Thomas going clock wise: Sister Thomas, Elders Kintu, Ramat, Lawson, Ndlovu, Lekgoati, Slabbert, Madsen, Pennington, Ngobeni and Smith.
After District meeting we took some pictures. As I turned my head to take a picture with my arm as the tripod so I could be in the picture Sister Thomas had the Elders going funky on me. Then we went with the Elders to the Queenstown Golf Club for lunch. They have a reasonable menu and a quiet place for the group to sit and share experiences of the prior week and to do some planning for the new week.
Front row: Elders Ramat, Smith, Sister Thomas, Elders Kintu, Ngobeni
Back Row: Elders Pennington, Madsen, Slabbert, Lekgoati, Ndlovu, Lawson
Thursday, February 6, 2014
After we dropped off Elder Ellingson we had several hours before Elder Pennington’s plane arrives. We went to purchase some items that we could only get in East London and then we stopped at the Beach so Sister Thomas could go down to the ocean to reset her altimeter. She went right down to “sea level” to make sure is was set at this level. Then we stopped and had lunch at a sea food restaurant. Elder Ramat’s face turned a shade of green when he learned that when he order a Calamari Steak he was in reality eating squid. That was pure joy to watch unfold. We had to search online to show him a picture of a squid. In missionary fashion he took courage and finished the meal and in the end liked what it tasted like.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
I went with Elders Ramat & Lawson and then later Elders Slabbert & Ellingson. It was a wonderful experience to go and teach with Elder Ramat and Lawson. We taught the Plan of Salvation to a member’s sister who is investigating the Church. She had come prepared and had read everything that the Elders had assigned her. It was a blessing to see someone hunger after knowledge. Then we stopped at a long time investigator where we pleaded with her to “Come Follow the Savior”.
Then we went back to the Elders’ flat and we traded and I picked up Elders Slabbert & Ellingson and we went and taught a mother and her daughter about prayer. I had the opportunity to express my testimony to this mother using Moroni 10:3-5 and challenged her to have prayer as a family. We also challenged her to read Alma chapter 18.
Pictures sometimes speak for themselves. In this case some explanation is in order. Elder Ramat and Lawson are jokingly picking the site for a future Stake Center at the edge of their area do to their prolific efforts. As I try to take a “hand held tripod” picture of the three of us they go funky on me. The other two are pictures of the Elders showing gratitude that they are not walking to their appointments because of the broken car or broken bike.
Lastly I took Elders Slabbert and Ellingson back to our apartment where we found Sister Thomas surviving on the couch with some of the 7UP I had purchased for her earlier in the day. We took the opportunity to give Sister Thomas a blessing. It was nice to see the elders scrambling for their "white books" to make sure they could help correctly. She was finally feeling just a bit better however it took the Elders a bit longer than one day to get over the bug. Hopefully she will recover quickly. It is not fun seeing the “Love of Your Life” suffering. (If I knew how to hash tag something I would have done it for that phrase)