"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
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
Monday, July 28, 2014
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
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
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!
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
This is Elders Cathemer, Matini, Neilson, Sister Thomas, Elders Ah-Fua, Chaparadza, Labrum
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.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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.
Monday, July 21, 2014
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
Saturday, July 19, 2014
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
Thursday, July 17, 2014
They were good sports about it and allowed us to catch a picture of them next to their locked up car.
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
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
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.
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
We look forward to working with him closely over the next nine months.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
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.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Saturday, July 5, 2014
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.