"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, July 30, 2014

Delivering a package to Elder Creech from his Grandmother

On the way home from the airport, we are able to catch up Elder Creech at his boarding.  We had him meet us on the street.  We delivered the package which ended up being from his grandmother.  One more bit of “Joy” delivered into the mission.

Seeing some Missionaries off at the Airport

This morning we went to the airport to see off some of our veteran missionaries who were flying to Cape Town on their way home.  When we arrive, about 15 minutes late, the Elders had already checked in and were all set to go.  These Elders would not be late for this flight!  They were there with big smiles.  They should have them after serving two years faithfully for the Lord.

They fly from East London to Cape Town today and then have closing interviews with the Mission President this afternoon.  This evening they have a dinner at the mission home.  Then they fly off tomorrow night to a joyous reunion with their families.

We wish Elder Tonge from Bountiful, Elder Sombke from Virginia and Elder Dolben from the UK well as they honorably return home.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Inspecting Elder Dolben's old Flat

We had arranged to meet up with Elder Dolben to do a final inspecting of the flat he was staying in.  This flat will be empty for a few weeks as we await new Elders’ arrival in the mission.  From left to right we see Elder Grant, Elder La Fond and Elder Dolben.  They did a good job of cleaning up and they were well prepared for Sister Thomas.  This was a high 9’s type of inspection. When competed, we took the last bit of trash out to bin.

A morning walk along Gonubie Beach

We made it up early and went down for a walk along the beach.  This was refreshing and as you can tell, the tide was at a low point.  You could really see and take note of the rip tides when the tide is low and the water flow is more obvious.  It was nice.  I remain hopeful that I can walk, run and play on this beach with my grandkids someday!  Hope my kids are taking the time to read this blog once in a while so they might get this subtle hint!

Monday, July 28, 2014

New Fridge arrives to replace the one that had given up the ghost

Our new fridge finally gets delivered at around 4:00 and they intended to arrive at 11:00.  It was a slow frustrating day as we waited for them.  However, it is a nice fridge and we have moved the one from inside into the garage and moved the one that was broken in the garage outside. The site manager, Bertie, came by and hauled it away.

Elders Slabbert and Elder Ramsey come for a hair cut

We had to wait around for our new fridge to be delivered.  I had a “wonderful Monday” spent studying and completing and posting onto our blog site.

Later in the afternoon Elder Slabbert and Elder Ramsey came by so Elder Slabbert could get a haircut.  It is always a pleasure to see these two elders and they manage to bring a bit of good cheer along with them.  Sister Thomas gives a good haircut.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Qunu - Nelson Mandela's Village where he grew up

As we drove back to East London from Mthatha after Church, we stopped in Qunu which is where Nelson Mandela grew up.  There is a museum at the top of the hill next to his childhood home.  These are the scenes he would have seen as he grew up.  This school is the primary school that he attended.  There is a nice story told on the wall of the building about his youth and a rock slide and pool in the river he swam in as a child.  It was a beautiful winter day in South Africa.

I had to beg the people at the Steers for a glass of ice.  It being the Sabbath, I could not buy a drink and I had a bottle of cool drink in the car.  They were kind enough to give me a glassful for free.  You can’t really see them but in the car behind me the people got a big laugh of a person taking a selfie of himself and glass of ice.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Elder Kaufusi's Shirt and Elder Pulu's Toe

While we were in Mthatha, we saw Elder Kaufusi’s shirt which he has decided to save.  I was able to tell him that he has a Parley P. Pratt kind of story.  Sometimes we forget that there continue to be Pioneer stories being created around us all the time.  While we were very worried for Elder Kaufusi during the time of the “crisis” and we are grateful that he is okay, there is not a missionary in the mission who did not wish this had happened to them.

To finish the story, Elder Kaufusi and Elder Pulu will be teaching the man that stabbed Elder Kaufusi this next week.  Not sure where that will go.  We will wait and see.

On the other had Sister Thomas had the “pleasure” of going to the store to purchase some Hydrogen Peroxide to use on Elder Pulu’s foot.  We saw that it was still red and swollen so we thought this would help out.  When Sister Thomas poured it on the toe, it went fizzy.  Elder Pulu sat there and said this does not really hurt and “after all I am a rugby player”.  About thirty seconds later the Hydrogen Peroxide hit the spot and the tough Rugby player showed his true colors.  The look on his face it priceless!

The Offending Bench

I just wanted to show the offending bench again.  When I stood up Sister Thomas went down fast.  I felt terrible that I had dropped my companion on the hard dirt.  I am glad that nothing was broken.  I must say that in all the activity of falling to the ground she managed to maintain total modesty.  As any good Sister Missionary should.

Flat Inspections, Tire changes, Lunch and Teaching Appointments

While we were doing the inspections we also had to change some tires that had bent rims.  I will need to take the rims back to East London to the Rim Doctor for repair.  Elder Pulu is intently inspecting the process and for some reason Elder Kaufusi felt like he could help out with the jumper cables.  Elder Stegelmeire was waiting his turn for the front tire.

This flat was spotless.  Sister Thomas actually had to look twice to find something wrong.  In fact, she could not find anything.  The Elders received a score of a perfect 10, it was the first one given by Sister Thomas in the mission field.

We took the Elders out to lunch at Kentucky Fried Chicken to celebrate.  We ordered up the Street Wise Five for the Elders.

Later we went out teaching.  This is at the same home where Elder Kaufusi was stabbed.  While we were teaching Sister Thomas and I were sharing a piece of wood and the milk crate.  It was a balancing act.  At one point I stood up to go explain something in the Book of Mormon to the person we were teaching and I dropped the balancing Sister Thomas on the ground.  She points to the offending chair to remind me what I did.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Fixed Basketball standard at the Queenstown Chapel

I arranged for the Elders to help Koos put a brace on the basked ball standard.  Koos is a wonderful man who has a “fix it” shop just down the road from our boarding in Queenstown.  He has build and fixed several things for us.  The weld had broken at the horizontal support and the rim was sagging a bit.  The Elders met him at the church and helped him out.  I wanted to see what it looked like when the basket ball hit the rim so I borrow the ball to check it out.  I was happy to be able to help them get this fixed up so they have something they can do on a Monday.  In Queenstown it is basket ball and/or soccer.

District Meetings in Queenstown

We attended both district meetings this morning.  We attended Elder Cathemer’s district and then I went and attended Elder Ah-Fua’s district meeting.  Because of training it begins one hour later.  The district meetings this week were on the importance of studying  the Scriptures.  Both District leaders did a good job of leading this discussion.  I am hopeful that I can remember this importance in my life.  Keeping the habit of Scripture Study every day for the rest of my life is important.

This is Elders Cathemer, Matini, Neilson, Sister Thomas, Elders Ah-Fua, Chaparadza, Labrum

Successful inspection of the Elders Boarding in Queenstown

A successful boarding is a pleasant thing.  Sister Thomas had the elders put all their dishes away.  They were all washed and in the drainers.  This must be a “guy” gene.  “We have learned by sad experience that it is the disposition of almost all” missionaries that the will not put their clean dishes away.  It is something Sister Thomas is constantly trying to teach them - to finish the job!

Other than this the inspection went well.  Our congratulations to them it was a score of above 9 which is a good score on Sister Thomas’ scale.

Helping the Queenstown Elders fix some Stairs

When we showed up to inspect the flats in Queenstown, we found one of the stairs had broken.  Luckily, this was a matter of replacing a couple of screws and I had brought my small set of tools.  I had the Elders help me and we fixed up the stair that was broken and one other that had come loose.  Elders Ah-Fau, Matini and I finished this relatively quickly as Sister Thomas inspected the rest of the flat.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Changing Tires to take the elders some spare tires to Mthatha

We are preparing to go to Mthatha and we spent the morning going to 4 different second hand junk car dealers trying to find four rims for the Chevorlet Aveo’s.  The Elders cars in Mthatha have hit so many pot holes that they have ruined 4 rims.  I went to the church and collected two spare rims from the cars we are going to sell.  I will take these new rims to Mthatha and bring the old rims back to East London and then take them to the “Rim Doctor”.  Tells you something about the roads here if a company can eek out a living straightening and taking the dents out of the rims.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Elder Ramoshaba, Loomis and Sombke help me out changing some tires

We have taken delivery of 4 new cars for the mission.  Two of these are for the Senior Couples and 2 are for the use of the Elders.  We took delivery last week and now we have to trade a few vehicles around in order to the get the oldest vehicles to the Church so they can be sold.

Elders Ramoshaba, Loomis and Sombke came to the church to exchange their car because it is an old one that will be sold.  We took note that the tires on the car they are going to be driving had worse tires than the old car they were dropping. We changed all the tires across to the car they will be using.

I thanked them for the help and they will pick up the red car tomorrow.

Sister Thomas gets a Blood Sample Taken

Sister Thomas goes it to have some blood drawn for the first part of a medical check up.  She has a big smile for just being stick with a needle.  Always warm of heart and open spirit she had a friendly chat with the nurse while the blood was being drawn.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sister Thomas Drains a put at Gonubie Golf Course

Once this was completed Sister Thomas and I had the opportunity to go play nine holes of golf at Gonubie.  I managed to get a good picture of Sister Thomas draining a putt.

Meeting at the Church for Emergency Transfer

We met the Elders at the church to make sure a transfer takes place.  We also exchanged cars with the Elders from Grahamstown for one of the new vehicles that was just delivered to us.

This is the first of several trades that need to take place before we get the vehicles with the highest mileage back to the church parking lot so they can be sold.

Left to Right are: Elders Strauss, Sanders, Capozzoli, Crowell, Smith, Creech, Woodward, Wells, Moliki and Ebong.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Elder Strauss recieves a Package

On our way home we dropped by to deliver a package for Elder Strauss.  It was the only piece of mail that was delivered this week.  The office Elders had some finger problems and sent the post for East London to Port Elizabeth and we received mail that should have been delivered to Port Elizabeth.  Elder Strauss proved to be the lucky Elder.  However, as we have been taught, any package brings “Joy” to the Elders.  We like to get a picture to preserve that Joy.

Dinner with the Wainwright Family

We were thrilled to be invited over to dinner with the Wainwright family.  They also had a son and daughter-in-law come and join them as well.  This son was just made bishop of one of the East London wards.  It was a delightful evening and the conversation over dinner was in remembrance of many mutual friends in Johannesburg.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Elder Obonye and Elder Murphy get to collect a new Vehicle

We spent much of our morning picking up 4 new cars that were being delivered to the mission.  Funny experience going to a Toyota dealer to pick up four new Chevrolets.  We drove them one my one to the Amalinda Chapel so we could park them until we can deliver the new cars to the Elders and collect the old ones that are to be sold.

Elder Murphy and Obonye (MD Zone Leaders) got one of the new cars as they had been driving our old one.  They were a happy companionship when the received their new car.

The car we were given when we arrived in the mission is to be sold and it has 115,000 kilometers on it now.  Sister Thomas has just added up that we have driven just over 30,000 kms (+/-18,000 miles) so far on our mission.  It adds up quickly as you drive between Mthatha, Queenstown and East London.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Burrito Night with the Elders

We were invited to “Burrito Night” with the Elders.  Everyone including Elder and Sister Thomas pitched in 30 Rand per person so that they could purchase all the ingredients that they needed to can make two burritos for each person.  The tortillas were handmade by Elder Grant.  It was an awesome sight as the Elders fell over each other to get the food made.  I don’t believe I have seen that much food consumed so quickly once the amen was said.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Helping the Elders Capazzoli & Strauss with their Keys Locked in the Car

We received a call from Elder Capazzoli and Elder Strauss.  They were out for an evening teaching appointment and as they were getting out of their car, they accidentally locked their keys in the car.  We had the opportunity to go on a rescue mission in order to save the Elders from themselves.

They were good sports about it and allowed us to catch a picture of them next to their locked up car.

A last picture with President and Sister Merrill

One last picture with our new Mission President and his wife.  They had to jump into a car and drive for four hours to day to get to Port Elizabeth.  They then had to repeat this process for two more days and then attend church in George on Sunday before flying back to Cape Town.

Mdantsane Zone Conference Lunch

I finally got a picture of the dinner that Sister Thomas prepared.  We again had Sloppy Joes, Potato Salad and Brownies with ice cream.  Once again, it was a big hit.  We decided to try a new table configuration so everyone was at one big table.

Group Picture of the Mdantsane Zone

This is the Mdantsane Zone who were at East London for the Mdantsane Zone Training and Interview meeting.  The Elders at the meeting is as follows:

Back Row: Elders Martey, Mashego, Ramoshaba, Sombke, Loomis, and Black.

Middle Row: Zone Leader Elder Murphy, Elder and Sister Thomas, President and Sister Merrill, Zone Leader Elder Obonye

Front Row: Elders Smith, Ramsey, Slabbert, Creech, and Maciver

This meeting was very special and the President truly began to more fully define his level of expectations.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Elder Creech comes for a hair cut and Elder Smith helps out with the Potato's

After all the travel back to East London from Queenstown and the shopping to get the final items for the Mdantsane Zone Meeting, a meeting with the Stake President, we remember that we committed to give Elder Creech a haircut.  Elder Creech and Elder Smith came over after they were finished working for the night and Sister Thomas gave him a haircut.  We put Elder Smith to work pealing the potatoes for the potato salad that Sister Thomas still had to make.  Elder Smith was a good helper and Elder Creech felt like he was ready to meet his new mission President.

Shoes at the Queenstown Zone Conference

I found Elder Kaufusi and Elder Pulu with some interesting shoes on at the meeting.  Elder Kaufusi shows me his worn out shoes with holes in the bottoms.  He has truly walk more than just a bit.  Elder Pulu has a problem with an ingrown toenail and he is required to wear no shoes until the surgical sight heals up.  Just a small inconvenience for a fearless missionary.

Group Picture of the Queenstown Zone at Zone Interviews

The Queenstown Zone assembled for the Zone Training and Interviews meeting at the Queenstown Chapel.

Back Row, Left to Right: Elders Pulu, Matini, Kaufusi, Stegelmeier, Caparadza, and Zone Leader Manda.

Middle Row, Left to Right, AP Whitworth, Elder and Sister Thomas, President and Sister Merrill and AP Gillespie,

Front Row, Left to Right: Zone Leader Hale, Elders Neilson, Ah-Fua, Labrum, Tennant, Cathemer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Group Picture of the East London Zone and the Zone Interviews

The East London Zone missionaries that were in attendance at the meeting.  The Senior Couples are from left to right, Elder and Sister Wheelers, President and Sister Merrill, Sister Thomas, (Elder Thomas is taking the picture), Sister and Elder Chase.


Back Row, Left to Right: Elders Wells, Tonge, Roeloffze, Dolben, Prisbrey, Capozzoli, La Fond, Ebong, Sanders.

Front Row, Left to Right: Elders Moliki, Strauss, Woodward, Crowell, Grant, Stratton and Bradley.

East London Zone Training and Interviews with President Merrill

We had Zone Training and Interviews with the East London Zone today.  The Zone leaders Training was good and the Elders were thrilled to finally be able to meet their new Mission President. 

President Merrill taught using the feeling of Lehi as he taught his children “with all the feeling of a tender parent”.  He sought a commitment from the Elders to raise their game and become obedient missionaries.

Sister Thomas prepared Sloppy Joes, Sister Wheeler made an awesome potato salad which was a recipe with a secret sauce.  We twisted her arms and she shared this with us.  Sister Chase made some triple Chocolate Brownies along with some Vanilla Ice Cream.  The Elders went away very full and very happy.

The top right picture shows Elders Dolben, Tonge and Roeloffze.  This is their final transfer and they will all be going home in the next month.  The stood up front as the other Elders sang then the SACTM Anthem.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dinner with our new Mission President

We helped arrange a dinner with the Senior Couples and our New Mission President and his wife.  We were happy to have the Wheelers, Chases, Merrills and the Thomas’ join for dinner.  It was a special experience to meet and get to know our new Mission President.  We can see from the way he approaches life that he will be a blessing to the missionaries in the South Africa Cape Town Mission.

We look forward to working with him closely over the next nine months.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Celebrating Elder Creech's birthday today.

We took some cake and ice-cream over to Elder Creech today for his birthday.  His companion is Elder Smith.  Elder Creech turned 21  today. 

Sister Thomas made a Hummingbird cake and we brought some chocolate swirl ice-cream which matched up OK.

The Elders have a sixth sense for food.  Both sets of Zone Leaders happened to be there because there is a flat of elders next door from the East London Zone and Elders Capozzoli and  Strauss came to get the weekly reports. 

The Zone Leaders from Mdantsane had also come to get the weekly reports for Elders Creech and Smith.  All good reasons to be there and “if you get cake on top of reports, that is always a good thing” was the comments of the unsuspecting Zone Leaders.

I did not manage to get all the Elders in these pictures.  Somehow I missed Elders Roeloffze and Bradley.  I will have to make sure I get them next time.

Going clockwise from upper middle:  Sister Thomas with Elder Creech, Elders Obonye, Capozzoli, Murphy, then bottom right, Strauss, Creech, Moliki, Crowell.  Elder Creech is blowing our the candles. Creech, Smith, Sister Thomas, then Elder Creech with Elder Murphy screaming in his ear as he cuts the cake.

Church at the Mdantsane 1st Ward

We attended Church at the Mdantsane 1st ward.  This is an awesome building built just about in the middle of Mdantsane.  This was a real live ward with all the bells and whistles and a wonderful spirit.  The talks in Sacrament meeting were as good as they come.  In Priesthood meeting the Bishop had some priests confer the Aaronic priesthood and ordain to the appropriate office some new young men who had recently join the church.  A very good example and good training.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Senior Couples meet at Grahamstown for a few hours

Today we take the opportunity to travel to Grahamstown so we can attend the Grahamstown Festival.  The other Senior missionaries in the area are also able to drive and join us for the day.  I wish I could say this was our idea but the first suggestion came from the Blatters. 

We were able to walk though some of the art displays and then we went through all of the tents where the venders were selling all their South African wares.

We met up with the other couples and had a bit of lunch at the food venders and then just sat around and talked until we reacquainted ourselves.  It was a delight to be able to learn more about the couples that are serving in the mission with us.  It was also special to have an adult conversation as well.

We saw the Silcock's and Blatter's take a ride in a donkey drawn cart. 

You can see clockwise around the circle as follows beginning with Sister Thomas then Sister Blatter, Elder Chase, Elder and Sister Silcock, Sister Chase, Sister Gardner, Sister and Elder Wheeler, Elder Gardner and Elder Blatter.  Yes that is me behind the glass!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Visiting the Mdantsane District meeting and Lunch

Early we drive to the airport to collect the mail.  We have not had any notice this week and the phone number at the air freight company is not working so this morning we are going because we know of everyone love for their missionary.  With 30 elders it is hard to believe that there will not be any mail at all.  This morning we travel on faith that there will be a box or two.

When we arrived we did find one box that had arrived.  When we opened it we found some supplies and letters, However every letter was for a members from several different wards in the Stake that were sent back to South Africa via the Church pouch from several missions in Africa. 

We went to the Mdantsanti District meetings today.  We were meant to follow the Zone Leaders so we would learn the way to travel to our church building.  However the Elders drove a back way to the church and we got lost so the Elders came and found us and showed us the way to the church.

The District meetings were taught on the effective way to use the Book of Mormon in the way that we teach.  It was good instruction.

We then went to the Mdantsanti Mall for lunch.  It was a mix of Debonares pizza and KFC which we all sat down and enjoyed together.  Once lunch was done Sister Thomas and I went and picked up the threesome of Elders Grant La Fond and Dolben so we could take them back to collect their car which was in to get a new wheel bearing on the rear of the car.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Morning where we Divide and Conquer

Sister Thomas and I had to divide and conquer.  She still needed to cook for the Zone Conference so she stayed home in the morning and I went to several different hardware stores trying to find the parts we needed to fix those items on our list that came from the inspections of the Elder’s flats.

Once that was done we went to the store to purchase the kettles, toasters and microwaves to replace those that were broken.  We went to check in at Motorbake, which is the panel beater that is fixing one of the missionary cars that had been in an accident.  We found that the car had been moved from the towing company's yard to Motorbake and that parts had been ordered.  The vehicle is going into the shop to begin repairs.  It will still be three to four weeks before we see it again.

After that Sister Thomas and I went to lunch at a restaurant that we are considering taking President and Sister Merrill, President and Sister Cook and the other Senior Couples to when they come on their tour of our mission at the end of August.  The food was good and the views were wonderful.  We will have to see if this is something we can do closer to the end of August which is when the mission tour takes place.  We need to check the weather closer to the time because the real charm of the restaurant is to sit outside on the balcony and look at the sea.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Transfer day in East London

Today is Transfer Day in the mission.  We have a busy schedule which began at the airport for those flying to Cape Town, then to the bus stop where Elders arrive from Port Elizabeth, then about 2 hours later the bus leaves from East London going to PE, and lastly we are back to the airport to collect the Elders arriving from Cape Town. 

Sister Thomas had fruit for the Elders as well as a package of vitamin C tables along with some aspirin.  This is primary so she can tell the Elders when they feel sick to “take two aspirin and call me back in the morning”.  Also when the Elders feel like they are coming down with a cold, they can take a bigger dose of vitamin C.  We also give them hand sanitizer in the hopes that we can prevent illness by killing germs.

From left to right across the top and then across the bottom, we are at the airport with some of the missionaries flying to Cape Town.  Then at the bus station where Sister Thomas also passes out goodies to the Elders arriving.

We run into Elder Pennington who is being transferred to PE who began his mission in Queenstown with us.  He is a dedicated and worthy missionary.  In fact, the Elders he works with look up to him for his commitment.  Nice to see him prior to his departure.

In between the stop at the bus station and when we had to go to the airport, Elder Cathemer came to Sister Thomas with those sad pleading missionary eyes and asked her for a quick haircut.  We had to go get the hair cutting stuff and then we met him at the boarding where he was staying.  We had to do this quickly so he and his new companion, Elder Neilson, could get on their way back to Queenstown so they would arrive before dark.

Finally this is us with the missionaries waiting for the plane to arrive at the East London Airport.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Projects at Home

When we were finished at Elder Obonye’s flat we went home and began projects that we needed to get done.  Sister Thomas began cooking the food for the three Zone Training and Interviews meeting that we will have with the East London, Mdantsane and Queenstown Zones next week which we need done in advance so we can freeze them and then thaw it our for the lunch at the meetings.

We brought the stove back from Queenstown and we cleaned it up so we could replace one at one of the flats that has broken.  We plan on delivering this to the boarding just after transfers this week.

Elder Obonye's flat, Elder Rickett's cake and Elder Smith's hair cut

Today we arranged to meet Elder Obonye at his flat so we could inspect his boarding.  He had been working in a threesome with Elders Ricketts and Smith for a few days because his companion, Elder Whitworth, was just transferred to become one of the President’s new APs.  That Transfer was a bit sudden so they were not able to get the flat cleaned up as good as it should be so we came over to inspect and help out just a bit.

We fixed all the curtains which were falling down because the plastic clips has become hard and brittle from all the sun and many of them had broken.  They looked much better once this was completed.

There was a great deal of vacuuming and mopping of the floors as well as some deep cleaning of the kitchen.  For those of you that know Sister Thomas, it is difficult to get her stopped once she gets the cleaning bug.  Elder Obonye said that this is like going back to an investigator who is not reading the Book of Mormon and having to read it with them.  It was like having someone come along and help him do something that he should have done by himself.  We can’t help loving Elder Obonye. 

I guess having Sister Thomas hovering around helping is something he would like to avoid in the future.  I understand his pain myself.  However, perhaps this will help give him the incentive to keep it clean.

Elder Ricketts was there to bake a cake that they are going to take to a member later today.  It was his mother’s secret recipe for a “Triple Killer Chocolate Cake of Awesomeness”.  When Elder Ricketts was done, it looked pretty awesome to me.  I can see his mother taught him well.

It was fun to be around Elder Smith again.  He was with us up in Queenstown and we worked in the Sada Ward together.  When we got done cleaning up the flat, Sister Thomas took the time to give him a haircut.  He has let go of his desire for the little top flip which he had when he arrived in the mission field to something that is a bit easier to keep looking good.  Elder Smith is one of our keepers.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Inspections of Elders Black and Mashego and Elders Maciver and Mchunu's boarding

As we inspect the boardings of Elders Black and Mashego and Elders Maciver and Mchunu, we found several things that needed to be cleaned up a bit.  As always, the Elder got right on it and cleaned those items up.  We also had some light bulbs to replace and curtains to get fixed up.

Sister Thomas declared the barber shop was open and all who wanted a haircut could come to this flat to get their hair cut.  Elder Black and Elder Maciver took advantage of the opportunity.

At Elders Maciver and Mchunu’s flat, we found that their kettle and toaster were broken as well at the microwave.  We will work on getting these replaced over the next week.

Fixing up Elder's Nance and Capozolli during Flat Inspections

Sister Thomas inspected the Zone Leaders flat today and the boarding was fairly clean.  As promised, we came back with a new shower curtain and we also fixed some of the curtains so that they are hanging correctly.  We discovered some other broken things as we took the time to look a bit closer and those items have been added to the list of things to get done.  It never seems that these little list of things are an ever ending list of "Elder & Sister Thomas To Do's".

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Elder Thomas has a Birthday Dinner on Sunday

After Church today Sister Thomas fixed an awesome birthday dinner of steak, baked potatoes and green beans.  I was excited for the small red bag on the table which I assumed was my birthday present.  When I opened it, it ended up being a bottle of Hot Sauce that I wanted to try out and we had purchased several days ago.  Carolyn wrapped it up and re-gifted it to me.  What is that all about?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Brother Keweleta's Funeral at Sada

We attended the funeral of Brother Kewleta at Sada Chapel and then went to the graveyard for the dedication of the grave.  Our ward Choir also sang some hymns at the graveside.  Then everyone retired to the Kweleta’s where they served lunch.

You can tell is was a crisp day from the bundled sisters.  These are Sister Chipo, Sister Xalabile and her daughter, Sister Badi, with Sister Thomas.

Sister Thomas and I took our leave and drove directly to the Stake Center in East London so I could attend the East London Stake General Priesthood meeting.

This was a very good meeting where the members of the Stake Presidency spoke on “putting off the natural man” and “what manner of men ought you to be”.  Then the Stake President spoke on his vision of splitting the stake at the second Stake Conference of next year.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Queenstown District Meeting

On the morning of July 4th we went to the airport at 6:30 am and picked up the post and delivered it to the Zone Leaders in East London so they could distribute it at District meetings.  Sister Thomas and I then drove to Queenstown so we could be there for the District meetings.

We attended both, with Sister Thomas attending the Queenstown District meeting and Elder Thomas attending the Ilinge/Sada meeting.

This picture is of the Queenstown District just prior to the meeting enjoying that “Happiness and Joy” that comes when any Elder gets a package from home.  Only one package came today and when the rewrapping was removed, it was discovered it was one box which was addressed to Elder Cathemer.

From right to left is Elder Potter, Pennington, Shabalala, Sister Thomas, Manda, Cathemer and Murphy all enjoy the arrival of the package.

Elder Chapparadza and Elder Thomas share a Birthday Celebration

When we returned to Queenstown, we went to see Daryll and Lianet and were given an invitation to their wedding which will take place in Nelspruit.  We visited for a few minutes and then went and purchased the final items for the birthday party tonight.

We invited the Elders over to celebrate the birthdays of Elder Chaparadza (23) and (believe it or not) Elder Thomas who turned 61 today.  Boy, that sounds old but as of today 80 is the new old for me.

Sister Thomas made a Snickerdoodle cake and a blueberry cheese cake to celebrate the birthdays.  We added some Ice cream and everyone was very happy.

Attending the Prayer Meeting and Peeling at Brother Kweleta Funeral

We attended the “Peeling” and prayer meeting at the home of Brother Kweleta who has just passed away.  While we were there, we were asked by the bishop to address the group of friends and family that was assembled at the home for the daily prayer meeting which is held in all Xhosa families at the death of a loved one.  The peeling was well under way and, even though Sister Thomas brought her apron and knives, she was not needed as the family had that well in hand.

You can see many of the members of the Sada Ward who were there for the prayer meeting.  They proved to be a very good choir and sang numerous hymns while we were there.  Brother Menze, Bishop Xalabile, Sister Gevesa, Sister Menze, Sandisiwe and Sister Badi’s daughter, Sister Thembakazi and Sister Xalabile.  Of course, that is Elder Labrum sticking his head out.  Elder Labrum has of bit of that “Where in the world is Waldo?” look!

The family and friends come over to the “peeling” which is a group effort to get all the vegetables prepared for the luncheon which is provided after the funeral tomorrow.  Behind the group peeling, you can see the pelts of the 10 sheep that were slaughtered for the funeral feast.

I was grateful to Brother Kweleta because although he could not speak much English, he welcomed Sister Thomas and I into the ward with open arms and an infectious smile.  He was a man of few words but was one of Heavenly Father’s faithful who was and is easy to love.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mission Leadershp Skype Call

Today we have the Mission Leadership Skype call.  We had the Zone Leaders come to our place at 9:00 and we fed them a big breakfast with waffles, hash browns, eggs, bacon and chopped fruit.  One of Sister Thomas' best.

This was the first Skype call with President and Sister Merrill.  It was thrilling to watch the mantle of responsibility fall upon President Merrill.  I was especially mindful of his desire to have the Elders understand the principles behind each mission rule and several times during the meeting he stopped to make sure the Elders understood the principles behind the issues being discussed.

He also stressed that he needed this leadership group to help prepare all Elders in the mission to be not only successful in the mission but be fully prepared to be a success in life.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How many Elders does it take to change a light bulb?

While we were fixing up some items, we needed to change the light bulbs in the Elders accommodation to low energy light bulbs.  I had the Elders do this and talked them into this “How many Elders in takes to change a light bulb?” picture.

In this case all four Elders helped in the process.  This is Elder Manqele on the chair with Elders Loomis, Elder Ramoshaba and the Elder Sombke (from left to right) in support.