"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

Sister Thomas and Elder Slabbert Teach Piano Lessons

Sister Thomas and Elder Slabbert have begun to teach piano lessons to those in the ward who have expressed an interest.  They had prepared for a  group of 10 but it rained and that limited those that attended (due to the weather).  In the end three members showed up and the training began.  Elder Lawson and I were there in support of those being trained.  Elder Lawson is seen giving strong encouragement to one of the Members.  All in good fun mind you. You can see Elder Slabbert teaching how to place your ten fingers on the “Center C”.

The Trip back from Mthatha to Queenstown

We went to District meeting with the Elders at Mthatha while we were there.  The Zone Leaders where also at the District Meeting because they came to do exchanges with the Elders.  Following District meeting, we took the Elders out to McDonalds for lunch.  After that we had to get on the road so we could be back in Queenstown in time for Sister Thomas to help Elder Slabbert begin teaching some of the Queenstown Ward members how to play the piano.  The drive takes about 3 hours and the piano lesson began at 5:00.

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

Teaching with the Elders in Mthatha

We drove up to Mthatha to inspect the elders flat and so we could spend time teaching with them.  We met up with the Elders at their boarding where I did some repairs on the washing machine and we added brought some additional light bulbs and installed them.  We then went with Elders Kivley and De Carvalho to teach two young men who they have been teaching.  They answered their questions and then taught about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy.  These two young men will be valuable assets if they are successful in joining the church and advancing in the priesthood.

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

Self Reliance Training for Elders Departing the Mission Field

We were assigned to help prepare and gather the Elders who are going home on the next transfer so that Elder and Sister Blatter could provide Self Reliance Training.

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

Stake Conference was good today.  Elder Maynes and Elder Mkhabela along with the Stake President were the main speakers.  It was an uplifting experience to sit and listen to the instructions provided.  All tied together with a challenge to become participants in Hastening the Work.  As full time missionaries, we feel blessed to be a part of this focused activity.

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 Haynes' Training During the Saterday Evening Session of Stake Conference

The Saturday evening session of Stake Conference with Elder Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Mkhabela of the third Quorum of the Seventy was inspiring.  Elder Jackson T. Mkhabela was the first Black Stake President of the Soweto Stake in South Africa.

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.

Saturday Morning Walk along the Board Walk and Beach in Gonubie

We had the Saturday morning in East London.  We went for an extended walk in Gonubie, had breakfast on the board walk and then went to the beach.  The water was a bit chilly but the walk through the breaking waves was nice.  It is a beautiful day here along the coast and we look forward to the training later today at the Priesthood Meeting and Saturday evening meeting of Stake Conference.

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

Group Photo of the Missionary Training with Elder Maynes

A group picture of those that attended the missionary training.  Nice to see all the other Senior Missionaries once in a while and good to spend a few quality moments with President and Sister Wood.  It was wonderful to be with the Elders from the three Zones for the Training with Elder Maynes.

We Attend a Special Missionary Training Meeting with Elder Maynes

We traveled down to East London so we could attend a missionary training meeting.  Elder Richard Maynes a member of the Presidency of the Seventy provided some excellent training today.  Elder Elder Mkhabela also addressed us.  Some of the highlights were to be a Celestial Missionary, to set very High Expectations for the things we do and the type of missionary we want to be.  He also made it crystal clear the difference between being called and assigned.  This was valuable for the Elders who are in South Africa because they could not get Visas for some reason to the country they were originally assigned.  You are called to be a missionary and you are then assigned to an area.  Assignments can and do change.  However, your call is from the Prophet of God to be a missionary and your assignment comes from the Quorum of the Twelve.  I am sure this clear understanding brought peace to the hearts of some of the missionaries.

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

Service Project - Fixing the Bishops Gate

We went to Sada to work for the day.  While Sister Thomas went Visiting Teaching with Sister Chipo, I was dropped off at the Church where I worked on the Ward Membership Records. I also entered the Home Teaching Visits for the month of February. 

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

Traveling down to East London to Pick up Elders Lekgoate & Elder Madsen

We traveled down to East London today to pick up our Zone Leaders, Elder Lekgoati and Elder Madsen.  We finally remembered to take a picture of the Thomas River which you cross on the way to East London. There were a group of Elders at the airport meeting the returning Zone Leaders and were there to pick them up or drop off borrowed cars.  We ran into some old friends.  Elder Olyabo and Elder Steele had both served in Queenstown so it was fun to catch up with them.

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.

Elder Thomas Fixes the Heat Sheilding Around the Exhaust Pipe

During our trip up to the village last night, our low slung car hit a couple of rocks that the rains had loosen combined with the ruts that you had to weave through.  One of these "scrapes" managed to bend the exhaust pipe shielding up against the exhaust pipe.  I had to get under the car to be able to bend this back where it was originally intended.  A simple fix which was fun to be able to do myself.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Family Home Evening with the Jaantie's, Elder Kintu and Smith and Attie

We have Family Home Evening with the Jaantie’s tonight.  Elders Kintu and Smith along with Athie were in attendance.  Athie has been fellowshipping with the Elders for sometime.  He was assigned to teach the lesson on the Plan of Salvation.  He did a good job as he lead the discussion and he covered all the sections defined in Preach my Gospel.  He is doing a good job of preparing for a Mission.  Meeting with the family was good for Sister Thomas and I as we get to know more and more Ward Members.

Golfing at the Katberg Country Club and Golf Estate

Sister Thomas and I played golf at Katberg Country Club and Golf Estate today.  We had a very enjoyable time and the course was in outstanding condition.  It had rained hard a couple of days ago but the course had dried out and the greens were cut and were very fast.  Carolyn shot 83 and I shot 87.  The Katberg mountain’s were something to see.  This is a place to visit and play if you are ever in the Eastern Cape and you have the time.   The top picture is a panoramic shot, while I was taking it Carolyn ran around behind me and got in the picture twice.

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

Taking Elders Lekgoate and Madsen to East London

After Church today we had to leave in order to transport Elders Lekgoati and Madsen to East London so that they can catch a plane to Cape Town first thing in the morning.  They are going to a Mission Leadership meeting with President Wood on Monday and Tuesday of this next week.  Carolyn and I are driving home to Queenstown via a place called Katberg where we will stay the night.  On this drive we went by the University of Fort Hare.  This is the University that Nelson Mandela went to and where he earned his bachelor’s degree. Tomorrow morning, on Monday, we are playing golf at the Kateberg Golf Estates.  Then we will drive back to Queenstown Via Sada where we will have Family Home Evening with the Jaantjie’s.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Working at the Sada Ward Building

We went out to Sada today and arranged to be at the Church when the Seminary and Institute class was being held.  We needed the keys from the Bishop so we stopped by his house and collected them on the way to the ward building.  While we were there I worked on the ward records which was an assignment/request from the Stake Clerk to get some of the records cleaned up.  I was able to correct close to 40 records today.  A good step forward.  Carolyn took time for a Relief Society discussion with Sister Xalabile and then she vacuumed the entire church so the building would be ready for Sunday.

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

Special Valentine's Evening Dinner with our Kids???

We went out for a special Valentines dinner tonight.  It was at The Gallery restaurant, which is also an art gallery.  It is a nice setting.  Just as they were bringing the main course, we received some Whatsapp notes from our family.  They shared with us some of the events of Valentines morning in the United States including some pictures of breakfast rolls and our granddaughters Valentine’s Day hair.  We shared some pictures of our meal and the restaurant.  One of those was the painting of Nelson Mandela. Trisha then located our cell phone and sent us a picture showing the map where we were.  It is amazing just how close the world’s technology allows us to be. 

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.     

Valentines Day District Meetings

Today was our district meetings.  You can measure just how fast the weeks fly by, by how often we are at District Meetings.  Today is Valentine’s Day and Sister Thomas got up early and fixed each of the Elders at District Meeting a Valentine Sugar Cookie complete with frosting and sprinkles on top.  They looked awesome.  I told the Elders that with only one Women in the Zone, the Elders should have been giving her a Valentine’s day treat.  Like typical men, they all looked a bit sheepish.  I was lucky, I made arrangements and booked a very nice restaurant to take Sister Thomas to tonight. Of course my companion was in the car giving me directions to the restaurant so I could walk in and make the reservation.  We make a good team, don’t we? 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Transporting an Old Fridge and Washing Machine for the Elders

We have had a old fridge that was hanging around one of the flats that was not working.  A couple of weeks ago we had a washing machine that started to give us problems and would stop and start and then not pump out the water.  We tried to get parts but the washing machine was old enough that we could not get new parts for it.  There was a member in  the Queenstown Ward that thought he could get second hand parts and get them running again.  We loaded them up and transported them to their new home.  There are definitely some days I wish I had a bakkie (pickup truck).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Picking up Elder Ndlovu and Elder Ngobeni in Illinge

We went to Ilingi this evening to pick up Elders Ndlovu and Ngobeni.  Their car was taken into the shop on Monday morning early to have the driver’s side door and right front fender repaired.  The zone leaders dropped them off and we picked them up.

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.

Sister Thomas helps out at Relief Society Meeting

Today we went out to Sada so that Sister Thomas could attend a meeting with the Relief Society.  We also planned to take the printer that was delivered at the stake training and get it installed at the church so we are able to print out items there.  We picked up Brother Yomelani who is the Second Counselor in the Queenstown Bishopric on the way.  He was asked by Brother Welsh, the Stake Clerk, to come out and help with the installation of the new printer driver software on the church computer. 

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

Famly Home Evening with the Canti's

On Monday evening we went out with Elders Ramat and Pennington to a home evening that was planned with the Canti family from the Queenstown ward.  It was a pleasant surprise that met us as we came into the home.  There were at least 20 kids in the room in addition to the family members.  The Canti Family have always invited the children from the neighborhood to join them.

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.

Our trip with the Elders to the Local Game Park

We went with all the Elders in Queenstown to the local Game Park this morning.  It is 35 Rand per car so we loaded up in three cars and drove up to the park.  I had made prior arrangements to have a guide join us so we could walk up and see some bushman drawings.

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

Wendy Miselo"s Mission Call

Today was a full day at Church.  I taught the Priesthood class Lesson 3 in the Joseph Fielding Smith manual on the Plan of Salvation.  After church I taught the Prospective Elders class and I had three in attendance.  The lesson went well and I am hopeful that we are able to put several names forward at the Stake General Priesthood meeting in a couple of months.  Sister Thomas helped out in Primary providing the Sharing and Singing Time.

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

Daryll's Birthday Braai

We were invited over to Daryll and Lianet’s for a braai to celebrate Daryll’s birthday.  It was an enjoyable evening with Lianet’s father and some of Daryll and Lianet’s friends.  There was lots of meat of all the types of meat that are typical at a South African Braai. (Steak, Rashers, Lamb, Chicken and, of course, Boerwors)  Lianet made a black beans and rice mix that is typical of what is made in Cuba.  I would like Sister Thomas to get the recipe and learn how to make this.  The dinner was good and Elder Slabbert and Lawson certainly ate enough meat to last them for the rest of the month.  Actually, I must admit, so did Elder Thomas.

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

Elder Lawson's "Click Day"

During lunch after District Meeting today Elder Lawson confirmed his desire to have ice cream floats in honor of today being his “Click Day” or in the terminology used when I was in the mission field his “Hump Day”.  Sister Thomas pointed out that it is also our 4 month click day as well.  As a result, we told the Elders that they would need to bring their desired drink and glass and we would bring the ice cream.  Elder Lawson and Elder Slabbert were assigned to bring the straws.  The story about the supply of the straws is one story you need to ask Elders Lawson and Slabbert to tell you about someday.

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.

District Meetings and Lunch

Today is our District meetings.  Sister Thomas attended the Queenstown/Ezibeleni District and I attended the Ilinge/Sada District.  Elder Ndlovu lead a wonderful discussion on teaching and seeking commitments from all those we teach.  He led a very good discussion and had many comments from those in attendance.  Sister Thomas reported that Elder Ramat also led a good discussion and training as well.

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

Picking up Elder Pennington from the East London Airport

We went to the East London airport to pick up Elder Pennington.  His plane arrived on time and we were off back to Queenstown.  We did get one picture of his arrival as we were leaving the airport. It is always a blessing to see new missionaries come into the mission field and picking up Elder Pennington was no exception.  While he looks a little like the “Men in Black” in this picture with his shades on, we look forward to working with him while he is in Queenstown. 

Trip to East London with Elder Ellingson and Elder Ramat

We drove down to East London with Elders Ellingson and Ramat.  Elder Ellingson is being transferred to an area in East London.  We were able to drop him off at his new flat and introduce him to the new missionaries he will be working with.  We met up with Elder and Sister Boyce who had just finished a flat inspection. Elder Ramat is coming along so he can pick up a new missionary who is flying into East London from Cape Town.

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

A last Dinner for Elder Ellingson

We are fortunate to have Elder Slabbert and Ellingson in our home for dinner on the evening prior to Elder Ellingson being transferred.  We have had Elder Ellingson in our Zone for too short of a period.  He has been a joy to be around.  I must make the effort to get to his home town in Canada someday to meet his family.  They should be proud of who their son is and what his is accomplishing.

Elder Ellingson Received a Valentines Package

Elder Ellingson received a Valentines package today.  He was pleased that it arrived prior to the upcoming transfer.  He was so excited he could not wait and had to open it while we were out teaching.  It always amazes me how much joy the Elders receive from very small things.  Their gratitude is infectious.  That very happy smile is directed toward his family.  Well done Ellingson Family and most likely the majority of the credit should go to his Mother!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Elder Thomas teaches with the Queenstown Elders

We have had a series of very sick elders.  This stomach flu has had several of our Elders throwing up and with diarrhea.  It seems like when we get one Elder free of it and feeling better it brings someone else down.  The bug is striking a bit closer to home this time as Sister Thomas feels terrible and is now throwing up.  We also have one of the missionary cars in the body shop and one of the bicycles in to repair the main peddle bearings which have been worn out.  When the Elders called and ask me to come and teach with them it was a no brainer.  I was glad to leave Sister Thomas home in bed recovering when I could also go help transport the elders to their teaching appointments.

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)  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Lunch and Knitting with Sister Chipo

We went to church and our fast and testimony meeting was a wonderful experience.  After Church we were invited to have lunch with Sister Chipa at her home.    She feed us a wonderful meal and then took the time to teach Mom some special knitting with some different kind of yarn that mom had never used.  Mom is making a cool looking scarf.  Sister Chipo is a wonderful committed church member who is currently the Ward Young Women’s President.  Mom is helping her teach the young women two times per month.  Sister Chipo is from Zimbabwe but is working here in South Africa to support her family who have been at home in Zimbabwe but now live here South Africa.  One daughter lives fairly close in Lady Frier and another daughter and son live in Cape Town.  Yes that is the apple tree I was trimming earlier in the week.