"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
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Sister Thomas once again met with the Primary Presidency as they had their Presidency Meeting. She helped them plan for the upcoming primary activity. I stepped into this meeting to take a picture and caught the mock sadness of the sisters as they realize that this is the last meeting Sister Thomas will be able to attend. Sister Menze (president), and her counselors, Sister Skepe and Sister Marawu will do a great job because they have strong testimonies and a great love for the Primary children.
Friday, May 30, 2014
When I requested their help, the Elders were very willing to help but also concluded that “wood glue dries better if it is applied while eating cookies”. I explained this to Sister Thomas so she made a Hummingbird cake which the Elders said this was her best one yet.
Glueing the couch back together with the Elders was a good experience but it was interesting to see some Elders with a drill in their hands for the first time. We did get the couch together and it will live to see another day. We will have to wait for when Elder Tennant comes back for a visit to see just how good our repair job has been.
In the top picture you can see from left to right: Elders Manda, Shabalala, Potter, Cathemer, Murphy, Pennington. This district is giving it’s full conviction to the teachings presented in Preach my Gospel. In the defense of Elder Potter, the District Leader, who has on only a white shirt (you are required to wear a suit to District Meeting), he left his suit coat in the boot (trunk) of his car and it got substantially wet when they washed the car before the meeting. He apologized in District Meeting. Hopefully, it will dry out okay.
In the bottom picture is: Elders Matini, Afh-Fua, Chaparadza and Labrum. It seems Elder Labrum is seeing a vision about what the future holds and he claims it is bright.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
We were done with the handover from the Boyces at around noon and returned to Queenstown to begin preparing for the move next week.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Elder and Sister Boyce have a number of handouts to give the elders. They include: apples, vitamin C and Disperin packets, hand sanitizer, cheese rolls and cookies.
The Elders hang around and socialize a bit . . . perhaps a bit to long! They are also happy to see old friends.
About an hour later another bus departs going back to Port Elisabeth so you kind of hang out with the Elders until the bus departs. You have to make sure all the Elders have their tickets.
There are also a large number of missionaries that come to collect the arriving Elders and to be there as they drop of Elders to depart on the bus.
We see some missionaries that we have worked with in the Queenstown Zone at the airport either as they depart or as they come to drop off a companion who is being transferred. We run into Elder Grant and Elder Smith who both worked in Sada. Elder Potter tries to get a picture of a “fake hug” from Sister Thomas. Elder Palelei is on his way home. The last thing he said to Sister Thomas as he walked away was, “Sorry for the microwave thing”. That is another story but it is mentioned here so we will not forget it.
Elder and Sister Boyce provide a granolal bar and an apple for the elders in the airport.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
When we arrived, we met at the Boyce's and then went to dinner. They had promised the Zones Leaders from Queenstown that they would take them out to dinner.
I checked on it last week and, unfortunately, it was accidentally sorted incorrectly by the post office and went from Cape Town to East London, (so far so good) then to Mthatha (a large detour) then back to East London and on to Queenstown. The good news is that it arrived intact.
Sister Thomas went to pick up the post. When she arrived back at our flat and called Elder Potter and told him the package came, it did not take long for the Elders to show up knocking at our door. This particular package was sent from that secret someone back home. The smile or “Joy” it brought was written all over Elder Potter’s face.
We will lose Elder Henderson in upper right on the left and Elder Shongwe on the left in lower left. Elder Potter and Elder Cathemer in upper left and Elder Pennington on the couch to the Sister Thomas’ left in bottom right will stay in the Zone.
We are grateful to these Elders and we hope to see them again when they might be transferred back into the area.
Monday, May 26, 2014
In the back ground you can see the Elder’s mattress covers on the back of the couch. She had collected these so she could wash them and get them returned so that they will be clean when the new Elders arrive at the boardings at the end of transfers on Wednesday of this week.
Today our big project was to fix the basketball standard at the church as a service project and for the Elders P-day entertainment. I went this morning and purchased the wood and then had the hardware company cut it to size. The Elders brought their extension cords so we could reach with the drill out to the basketball standard. The finished product looked fairly good.
We tested the backboard out with a rousing couple of games of basketball. I can almost keep up with these young men if I mostly play next to the basket. I did score my share of points and the Elders appreciated that an “old guy” can be a good teammate. I may suffer for the 1 1/2 hour game tomorrow with a lot of sore muscles!
Saturday, May 24, 2014
It was the thoughtfulness of the Zone Leaders, Elder Henderson and Elder Murphy along with Elder Ah-fua (Elder Palelei’s son) who came up with this plan. Sister Thomas made a large pot of stew and bread rolls so that we could feed all of them. You can see them appreciating the meal.
The Elders’ final testimony was very special. I wish that the parents of these missionaries could have been in the background so that they could hear these powerful testimonies. We wish these two Elders well as they depart this coming Wednesday to spend a day at the Mission Home and then fly home on Thursday. We are grateful for their influence in our lives.
Sister Thomas and I will miss his work ethic and his total commitment to serve out his mission to the end. He has been a wonderful example of taking hold of the plow and working until the field is completed even when your hands might be full of blisters. I hope we can finish as strongly as he has.
Elders Potter and Ah-Fua came and collected all the mail for their respective Districts. They were also pleased to receive personal mail as well. A happy day!!!
Friday, May 23, 2014
Sister Thomas spent time inspecting and because we are so far away she made the Elders address those items that needed to be addressed while we were there. When we left the flat were in good order.
We attended District Meeting and Elder DeCarvalho led a worthwhile discussion on the Inviting, Committing and Following Up. After District Meeting we took the Elders out to eat at Mike’s Kitchen. While we were at lunch we discovered Elder DeCarvalho’s mother had looked at our blog and had never seen a close up picture of her son. So Sister DeCarvalho this picture is for you. You can see him with his companion Elder Tennant who is from Melbourne, Australia. We also challenged him to take that first big bite of his burger for the picture.
When we arrived in Mthatha on Thursday afternoon, we were able to go teach with the Elders. We went to one home with Elder DeCarvalho and Elder Tennant to teach a follow-up lesson for someone who had just been baptized and then a lesson on the Plan of Salvation to a new investigator. The Elders teaching was exceptional and Sister Thomas and I were fortunate that we could be there and share our testimonies. It was one of those lesson taught outside in the late afternoon warmth of the South African sun while sitting on buckets!
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Then we traveled from Queenstown to Mthatha so that we could teach with the Elders in Mthattha today and then inspect the Elders’ accommodation and attend district meeting tomorrow.
It is late and we did not get any lunch so we stopped at Nando's tonight.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
The Elders came back to the Church to change following their service project. They had teaching arranged all afternoon.
I had some time at the church while we were waiting for the second day of the Career Development Training. I changed back into my white shirt and tie but then got stuck into fixing the door to the men’s toilet so that it opens and closes without getting stuck.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
I also took the time to fix the pull out drawer that holds the key board to the computer. When you pulled it out it would fall off the runners. I wonder if anyone will notice?
Monday, May 19, 2014
We also brought back the “prescription” that our dentist prescribed for Elder Ngobeni which we presented to him and had him read to all the other elders. It was a fun experience. Hopefully, we will have convinced Elder Ngobeni, as well as the rest of the Elders, to think twice about opening a bottle with their teeth.
It was wonderful to be back with and in association with the Elders and their infectious spirit.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014
The view of the Corner Canyon Temple from our back yard is something I never get tired of. You can see the Temple through the trees up on the bench.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Then breaking down some dry walls, breaking up some old tile, removing old cabinets, adding heating and air conditioning, a small kitchenette and a new walk in closet. I was only able to help with the demolition work. My Son-in-Law, Jeff Cutrer, will have to help get it finished up.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
For a bit of history for those that do not know. Jeff Cutrer is a lifelong friend that I grew up with so it was good to spend some time with him and his wife Valerie who was also a friend from my youth. I am fortunate to have their son Jeff married to my oldest Daughter Trisha. So this was a very close family/friend Mothers Day Dinner. You can just make out the special red and clear goblets and plates that were given to the "Mothers" on this day. This is one case where the word family and friends have blended into something like "friendmily".
Saturday, May 10, 2014
It was my sister Melanie's suggestion that we give everyone a helium filled balloon so they could let it go at the cemetery. At first it seemed a strange thing to do when she first suggested it, but at the time it was a peaceful representation of the departure of my Dad. I will eternally thank her for this suggestion. I hope that my grandkids will remember this one thing if they remember nothing else about the funeral. Colin Campbell's dedication of the grave site was special as he called for the ground to be hallowed and to be a place where family members can come to seek peace and solace.
All my Brothers and Sister spoke at the funeral. We were limited to 5 minutes each which was a real challenge. It seemed that each of my brothers and sisters shared a personal experience they had with Dad and when combined these experiences yielded a good description of the kind and loving person that my dad was.
The Bishop and Stake President also spoke and expressed thanks to the family for sharing Dad with the members of the ward and stake during the periods that he served. Dad served as a Bishop for 5 years and then as a member of the Stake Presidency for 17 years then later as the Stake Patriarch. He was well known and beloved by the members of the church in the area.
I was pleased because at different times I saw all my grand kids go up to the casket and look longingly at their Great Grandfather. You can see one of Trisha’s sons and her daughter (Chaz and Colbie) having a look and saying goodbye. Byron and Melanie take a moment and give comfort to each other. They carried a great deal of the burden of organizing the funeral and making the arrangements with the mortuary. I am grateful to them.
Friday, May 9, 2014
You can see me standing between two of my younger bothers, Kelly on my left and Lindsay on my right along with my youngest sister, Cindy, on Lindsay's right. Melanie and Byron are just outside the picture on Kelly’s left. Lindsay had a definite advantage over me because he lived in the same ward as my Dad and was in the Bishopric of the ward when Dad was in the Stake Presidency. If we would have given this a bit of thought, we should have put him on my right because he would have helped reminded of the names for those faces I recognized or partially recognized but could not remember their names.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Sadly, when we get into New York and call to check in with our family, we find that Dad has passed away while we were traveling over the ocean. It was a heart stopping moment for me to realize that my father had passed away and our family Patriarch was gone.
Monday, May 5, 2014
I was able to FaceTime with my Dad thanks to my daughters being at the hospital with their smart phones, wireless networks and the internet. I was able to tell my Dad just how much I loved him and let him know that his example is a shining star for me. Literally, he was an unmovable beacon on the hill. I had the chance to tell him that much of what I am is because of his endless personal example on how to become a man, how to work, how to be a loving husband, father and committed priesthood holder. I owe much of what I am to him.
I was able to see him and tell him this while on FaceTime and be able to see his reaction. As was his life on earth and with his undying faith, the last words that he spoke to me were with absolute conviction. He said simply; “I will see you in Heaven”. I will hold these words as a special command from my father and will act accordingly so that his request will come to past. I asked him to find my son and give him a hug for me and he said he would care for him until I arrived. It was a feeling I will never forget and pray the special feelings I had then will not fade from my memory over time.
This morning I spoke to President Wood seeking his guidance on what we should do. He gave us good guidance and we sought his permission to return home as quickly as we could. This permission was granted by President Wood and was also approved by the Area President. We are grateful. Sister Thomas made travel plans and we began to drive to East London for the trip home. We departed at 1:00 on Monday to catch the flights. East London - Johannesburg - New York - Salt Lake City.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
I was grateful for the support of Elders Palelei and Labrum who met me at the Church early to get this little safety project completed prior to the arrival of the members of the ward.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Friday, May 2, 2014
Tonight on the way home from Sada, following a successful missionary sponsored activity, we stop at the Buffalo Spur for a small celebration dinner. Sometimes the simple times you spend together mean the most and that was the case tonight. Happy Anniversary Carolyn, I love you more today than ever before. Thanks for becoming and being my best friend.
We also took time to inspect the cars after Zone Conference. That is why all the trunks are opened on the cars. Two cars had flat spare tires and three needed to get their cars in for service. I will need to follow up with the missionaries this week to make sure this gets done.
Sister Thomas baked some cookies as promised to the Elders and passed them out following the Zone Conference. You can see the Elders lining up for their fair share.
I had a Good Samaritan moment as I walked to the Zone Conference this morning. Please ask me about this experience someday. I would love to share it with you.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
It was nice to see Wendy spend time with her brothers and sisters and mom as they said their good byes. We certainly wished Wendy well and pray that she will be a faithful and obedient missionary.
We returned home I looked up the information on the Missionary Training Center in Accra. I sent an email to the email address for the MTC asking them to let us know when Wendy arrives safety. I wanted to let Wendy’s mother know that she had arrived and was safely in the MTC in Ghana. We did exchange several messages back and forth from the MTC President. I thought I would record them here.
To the MTC
My wife and I are serving as a MLS Senior Couple in the South African Cape Town Mission. We are serving in the Sada Ward where Sister Miselo attended prior to her entering the mission field.
Sister Miselo's family actually lives in a small village up in the mountains just outside the small town of Wittlesea. This is the first missionary to leave from the Miselo family and it is the first time Sister Miselo has traveled outside South Africa.
I was wondering if you could email me back and simply confirm Sister Miselo safe arrival? I will be driving up to her village over this weekend and I would like to let her mother know that all is well and that Sister Miselo has arrived in Ghana and is at the MTC.
Elder & Sister Thomas
The plane has landed but we have not seen any of the passengers come through immigration yet. It is after 3:30 p.m. here.
Thanks for the feedback. I was with her and saw her board the plane to Johannesburg from East London. Hopefully, she is just coming through customs. Please let me know some time tomorrow so I can let her Mom know.
Sister Miselo just made it through immigration and they have her with them in the van. I will be interviewing her in one hour. Is she endowed? Please tell her mom she is fine and safely here.
Yes, she is endowed. We went with her to the Johannesburg Temple. We also made sure she has all the necessary vaccinations except chicken pox because that was not available in South Africa. You will immediately love her. We certainly do.
Elder and Sister Thomas
Elder & Sister Thomas
We immediately loved her. She is great. Contagious smile and will serve well in the Ghana Kumasi Mission. She said that she is happy to be here and feels at home already. Please tell her mother that she arrived safely and is enjoying this. She said her mother must have been worried. Please tell her she loves her so much. Please tell Awo, Siphenati, and Gcobani, Sihyle and Lisa she loves them too…the others are smaller and would not get this message.
Surely we will pass this message along to her family. Our hearts are a bit sore. We might not see Wendy again because by the time she has completed an honorable mission Sister Thomas and I will have completed our mission and returned home. We will hope that our paths cross in the future someday.
Our best regards
Elder and Sister Thomas
When President Bell finished, he shook Wendy’s hand and said that he looked forward to seeing her and shaking her hand again in 18 months and not one minute sooner. It was said with love but also set the standard for what his expectations are. President Bell is a wonderful Stake President and has a special love for the missionaries serving from the East London Stake.
Sister Miselo was all smiles and, of course, she had a great deal to be happy and proud of as she sees her daughter depart to serve our Heavenly Father in Ghana.