"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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elder Capozzoli and Malpage and Two Flat Tires

After we picked up the van, we had a meeting with the East London Stake Presidency.  I needed to report back on the actions that I was taking with each ward.  While in the meeting we received a call from Elder Capozzoli who had just hit a pot hole along the side of the road and blew out two tires.

We ended up having to drive out to Mdantsane to collect the spare tire from the other Toyoto and then clear back to “Sunrise-by-the-Sea” to help rescue the Elders.  We caught a picture of Elder Capozzoli and Elder Malpage putting on the extra spare tire that we brought them.

Picking up a Van for Transfer Day

We are trying something new tomorrow for transfer day.  We are renting a van in order to pick up the Elders who are being transferred at the church.  Then we will take them to the airport or bus station and return those that we are picking up.  The van costs Rand 1300 for the day plus gas and any extra kilometers.  However, I believe that this might be close to the same cost as all the Elders driving to and from the airport and bus station.  It is a grand experiment, we will see how it goes.

Very Late Dinner with the Stapley's

After all that noise, we went out to Dinner with the Stapleys.  It was very late by the time we had the elders taken care of so we went to the hotel and had a “Pub” dinner in Gonubie.  It was good food and by the time we were done eating they were ready to close the place and lock the doors.  As we were about to turn off to our house, we realized that we had left the keys to the house in our car which we had parked at the church because we didn’t want to leave the van in the parking lot overnight.  It was a long drive at 11 pm, in the rain, to the church and back.  The Stapleys were good sports about it all as they were stuck with us because they were staying with us overnight at our house!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rainy Trip to Grahamstown

We had to drive up to Grahamstown this morning to complete a temple recommend interview for a sister.  It was urgent because the branch is on the way to the Temple on Wednesday morning.

It rained on us all the way over and all the way back.  We were able to spend some time with the Chases and had lunch with them at the Spur.

On the drive home we noticed this break in the clouds where we could see the Fish River as it makes its way to the coast.  We had to stop and turn around and go back to take the picture.  It was a calming view in the midst of the storm.

Rand/Dollar Exchange Rates

We received the message for the new exchange rate from the Church offices in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was set at ZAR/USD at 11.91.  This looked incorrect to me so I looked on the internet and then called our Mission Financial Secretary.  I taught him how to look up the exchange rate on Google Finance and showed him it could not possibly be correct.  Elder Peterson promised to go back to Johannesburg and query the rate.  He call Roff Randall, whom we know, and he checked with Salt Lake.  A day later we received the note below from Elder Petersen.  Nice to know you have an impact clear to Salt Lake City.  Impressive how quickly the communications went.

Hi All,

I just received an update on the exchange rate for October. Thanks to President and Sister Thomas, it was discovered that the exchange rate sent out by church headquarters last week was incorrect, see the corrected rate below and the attached files;

01 Oct 2014
ZAR/USD - 11.1340 USD/ZAR - 0.0898149

Please discard the earlier emails for our October Exchange Rate.

Kind Regards,
Elder Petersen
Finance Secretary
South Africa Cape Town Mission

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Mdantsane District at Church

Elder Strauss & Elders Martey and Elder Ndlovu & Elder Mashago from the Mdantsane 2nd Ward District have developed a wonderful friendship as they have served together.  They somehow decided and then found some ties that all matched.  We had to get a picture of a District that truly loved each other.  Next week Elder Strauss is on his way home and Elder Mashego is being transferred from the area where he was trained.  Perhaps it is lucky that we will only see these four ties together once.

Sister Thomas was looking particularly fine today and I caught this picture as she was patiently waiting at the end of the block of meetings for the baptism to begin.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Elder and Sister Thomas at the Baptism

Elder and Sister Thomas get our picture taken at the Baptism.  We were enjoying being there with everyone as pictures are taken and someone took our camera and took a picture of us together.  Not bad looking if I do say so myself.

Baptism at Mdantsane 1st Ward

We attended the baptism in the Mdantsane First Ward today.  It was a good experience to see 7 people enter into the waters of baptism.  The talks were good and the message was sweet.  Sister Thomas played the piano for the service.

One baptism of a little girl was a very real challenge for the father.  The girl was extremely afraid of the water and this caring father was struggling with the commitment it takes to put a scared daughter down in the water.  After about four attempts, Bishop Jada stood and went up next to the font and simply instructed the father in the living words of a wise bishop.  He simply instructed the father, "Baptize your Child".  It was all the instruction that was needed.

The Father then took the courage to place his daughter under the water.  We all felt like clapping when she was finally baptized successfully.

Train the Trainers at our home

“Train the Trainer Training” was held in our home for Elders Ndlovu,  Crowell and Mongalo.  It was presented but Elders Murphy and Judd.  The training was good and stressed the importance of making an impact in the lives of the new missionaries.

I was given to opportunity to express my love for Elder Tippetts who trained me in the mission field and of my love for Elder Gines who I trained while serving in the Heights area of Houston Texas.

We challenged these Training Elders to lead by example and with obedience.

Elder Ndlovu next to his name sake

This is Elder Ndlovu standing next to his name sake.  His name means elephant in the Xhosa language.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Career Development Training for Elders Murphy, Capozzoli and Strauss

This morning we had breakfast with the Blatter’s who had stayed over night with us and then drove to the Church for the Career Development Workshop for three of our missionaries that are departing next week to go home.  We had Elders Murphy and Capazzoli from Utah and Elder Strauss from Pretoria who were going to attend.

Elder and Sister Blatter do an outstanding job of providing this direction and the Elders are so grateful that they have been given just a touch of what will be needed as they begin to develop their careers.  You can see Elder Blatter teaching in the class room and over lunch.

Because this training goes on for about 6 hours we provide Lunch about have way through.  Sister Thomas made Enchilada Casserole.  The Elders had a couple of plates full.  We, along with the Blatter we sat back and watched as they consumed more than we thought possible.

These are three very special missionaries.  We wish them well.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Final Lunch at the Shanghai Restraunt.

We finished the Inspections and then went to the Church.  We met up with both sets of Zone Leaders there.  I had each Zone Leader drive one car and I drove the final one with Sister Thomas leading, we delivered all the vehicles to Meyers Motors today.  I was going to get a picture but was busy because the President gave me a call as we were driving in single file.  I spoke to the Elders about not getting into an accident this morning.  They were all very responsible.

When this we done, Anthony took two of the missionaries and we took two back to the Church.

From there we went to lunch at the Shanghai Restaurant.  I believe it will be the last time for Elders Murphy and Capazzoli.  They have been here so often that the people managing the place made a special effort to say goodbye.

You can see pictured, Sister Thomas Elders Capazzoli, Murphy, Malpage and Judd.  Some very fine missionaries who have learned how to be great church leaders.  I am sure they will use more of this skill in the future.  

Inspecting the Boardings of the Mdantsane Zone

We did the rounds this morning inspecting the Mdantsane Zone flats.  They were all in fairly good shape.  The Elders are shown getting some cookies that Sister Thomas passes out if the flats are clean enough.

Elders Strauss and Martey’s flat was excellent.  It is the second time in a year that Sister Thomas has scored anyone a 10/10.  This flat was simply spotless.  Well done to Elders Strauss and Martey.

Beginning in upper right are Elders Strauss & Martey then in lower Right from right to left, Elders Mongalo, Loomis, Shabalala, then Elders Ndlovu and Mashego.  We missed getting a picture of the Zone Leaders Elders Murphy & Judd.  Their flat was so clean we did such a quick job of inspecting that I forgot to get the camera out. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We stay over night with the Blatters in Port Elizabeth

We just had the opportunity to spend some time with the Blatter’s when we were in Port Elizabeth.  We had to drive over to complete a Baptismal interview that needed to be delegated upward.  We had a delightful evening going out to dinner with both the Blatters and the Silkcocks.

The next morning we had a quick breakfast and then began the drive back to East London.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Elder Thomas Sells the first Five Cars to Meyers Motors

Elder Thomas sells the church vehicles to Anthony Glover of Meyers Motors in East London.  I did not believe this would be part of our job description when we were called on our mission.  I am not sure I will ever sell five cars all at one time to one dealer again in my life.  However, this is much easier than trying to sell five different cars to five different members of the church.  All in all, a good day to get this action item completed.

Now all that is left to do is to deliver the vehicles once the payment has been made.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Visit to the Doctor's Office and Removing Stitches

While at the Doctor’s, we had the Elders take our picture.  We also caught Elder Ndlovu on the operating bench waiting to get some stitches taken out of his eye brow.  He injured himself when a handle to a hand held exerciser with elastic slipped from his hand and then hit him in the head.  He is lucky he did not loose an eye.

The Elder's make Some Guess on the Pannelbeaters Quote to fix their car

Today we had to meet up with some of the Elders at the Doctor’s office.  Elder Ndlovu had to get some stitches taken out of his eyebrow from an earlier accident and Elder Martey needed some X-rays taken of his knee and his hand from a bicycle accident.

While we were there, I sat them down and played a guessing game.  These Elders are using one of the cars that has multiple dents in.  I had them take it in to get a quote to get it fixed.  I asked them to guess what the cost would be to get it fixed.  The first guess was under R 10,000.  It took them some time to get up to the quote of R 51,481.70.

I think that the pictures tells the story.

I think that the pictures tells the whole story.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Elder and Sister Thomas travel back to East London

After Church we met with the Branch President and his PEC.  We discussed the Mission's vision and then reviewed the principle of Keys for missionary work and the Keys for reactivation.  We went through gathering of Israel as a hen gathers her chicks in.  We also went through Jacob Chapter 5 and discussed how often the master and his servant sought to bring forth tame fruit.  We challenged the branch to use the keys they have and then prayerfully give thought as to those less actives that they could assign the missionaries to help them with.

We will have to follow up with our missionaries on how the broach council does in this request.

This is Sister Thomas and me on our three hour drive back to East London.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fixing and Filling the Baptism Font

After lunch we came back to fix the font and begin filling it for the baptism which is scheduled to take place after Church.  The font needed some cleaning and the bottom had to be straighten out.

I pitched in and helped the elders with this task. The plastic lining was not centered and it took a bit of muscle work to get it in the correct spot.

We began to fill the font and then went on several appointments.  We came back about two hours later it was just over half full.  We decided that we could fill the balance if we started the water when Church began it would be full enough.

When we arrived in on Sunday the font was empty.  There are so many holes in the liner that we had to start all over.  Luckily we had 3 hours to refill it.

New Missionary Training in Mthatha

We were given an assignment from the Queenstown Zone Leaders to provide the new missionary training while we were in Mthatha.  We met with Elders Stegelmeier & Jenner and Elders Pulu & Taylor.  The training was on the gospel of Jesus Christ and we did some role playing on the baptismal invitation.  When completed, I interviewed the Elders to get some feedback.  It was a pleasure to report back that they are on schedule and the companionship relationships are strong.

When we completed the training, we had a picture taken in front of the church next to the large Boganvilla that is growing in front of the church.

Sister Thomas prepared a roast and potatoes in the Elders’ slow cooker for tomorrow.  They just need to turn it on tonight to enjoy a wonderful lunch tomorrow after church.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lunch following Zone Training

Today the Mdantsane and the Elast London Zones has their Zone Training Meetings.  Both were held at the Amalinda chapel with Elders Capozzoli and Malpage providing the training for the East London Zone and Elders Murphy and Judd for the Mdantsane Zone.  Sister Thomas attended the Mdantsane Zone meeting and I attended the East London Zone Meeting.  The training was on the next ugly baby which was Casualness in Dress, Casualness in Speech and Casualness on Preparation Day.  Both sets of Zone Leaders did a good job on the training.  Sister Thomas said something remarkable.  She said Elder Murphy's and Elder Judd's training might have been better than the original training that took place in the Leadership Skype call.  Quite a complement!

We joined the Elders at Nando's for lunch.  Everyone of our daughters seeing a picture of us eating at Nando's are more than a little bit jealous.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Elder Marty's Birthday Cake

Today is Elder Martey’s birthday.  We arrange to meet at his flat at about 8:45 in the evening with the members of his Zone.  Sister Thomas made what is called an Earthquake cake.  It was a recipe that Sister Blatter gave us and we decided to try it out.  It proved to be good and was enjoyed by the Elders along with some ice cream. Sister Thomas put on two green candles and two blue candles on the cake.  This is a close and we could come to represent someone turning 22.  When it came time to blow out the candles Elder Martey was taken back and did not really know what to do.  He finally was able to blow them all out, but with a bit of trouble.  All accused him of trying to get some extra girl friends.

When the cake and ice cream was over, we ask Elder Martey to share something about himself that no one else knows about.  He told us of his early life of his father giving him to a lady to live with where he was abused.  From the age of six or seven, he went to living in the streets for most of his young life.  Then with tears in his eyes he thanked those for coming this evening as this was the first time in his life he had had anything close to a birthday party. He had never been wished happy birthday and had never had a birthday cake.  At 22 this was the first one in his life.

I put my arm around him and told him to look around. He needed to know that he has a family around him.  When he goes home there will be  members who will become his life long friends.  I thought of the Scripture “Now therefor ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and the house hold of God” (Eph 2:19).  I explained to him that he who was once separate is now part of something larger, he need not feel or be alone again.  Added to this family of Saints he will have his relationship with his Elder Brother which he can always rely on.

A very sobering evening and we left with love in our hearts for Elder Martey and for each other.  I left knowing that I am peace with myself for any and all actions that I took with my daughters while they were growing up.  I hope that they are as grateful to have me as their father as I am to have them as my daughters.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Elder Strauss and Elder Marty's Reminder Sign

I thought this would be fun to share.  As we were leaving the boarding of Elder Strauss and Elder Marty’s Flat we noticed this sign.  It is wonderful thought and we should all review this question as we leave for our daily activities.  Did we think to Pray?

However, I love this little note for what it says about young missionaries and what it does not say.  I guess this is the “Guy” gene that is bred into all males.

No fancy flowers or boarders drawn to liven up the picture.  No cute little exclamation marks.  No bright colors to add to the sentiment of the message.  No pictures of a little  boy or little girl down in the corners of the paper shown in prayer.  Forget the fact that it is actually a question, just drop the question mark and make it a command.

To top that all off, it is put up on the door not with some press stick on the back so it looks good.  What is it stuck on with?  Yes, that is right.  It is being held up there with Duct Tape and not one but four pieces.   That little sign will not come down any time soon.

I love the difference between men and a women, but deep down I am grateful for a partner in life and as a companion here in the mission field, for what thoughtful and compassionate service is brought and given as a result of the input of my wonderful wife.  She is a real treasure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mission skype call with the Zone Leaders

While we were in Port Elizabeth, we received notice that there was going to be an additional Skype Meeting which was set for today.  The President wanted to follow-up on some principles which he wanted the Elders to use when working with less active members. 

We invited the Zone Leaders over for breakfast.  The condition for breakfast was to come 30 minutes early so they could vacuum out their cars.  When they were done, we sat down for breakfast at 10:00 which was right on the time frame Sister Thomas had set.  She prepared breakfast burritos made up of sausage, scrambled eggs, hash browns, grated cheese, and bean and corn salsa.  Along with this there was a fruit salad and homemade, freshly baked cinnamon rolls.  It look so good Sister Thomas requested a picture.  The Elders said, “they have never eaten such colorful food”.  Elder Capazzoli said he had never had colors taste so nice.

Our two sets of Zone Leaders in the upper right picture from left to right: Elders Judd, Capozzoli, Murphy and Malpage.  Take a closer look at that table.  The food is colorful.  Those cooks on Master Chef would have been proud of Sister Thomas.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Monument and Interview in Port Elizabeth

We went to Port Elizabeth to interview an investigator who has made a commitment to be baptized.  I agreed with the Elders who were teaching her that she should maintain her working scheduled so she could attend church in the morning.  The Silcock’s met us and escorted us through down town to a Spar where the investigator was working.  We had arranged with the Investigator that she would be able to take her lunch time for the interview. 

It was behind this monument on a park bench where this interview took place. While it was out in a public place the spirit was with us.  The pigeons were around our feet and it seemed as if we were all alone in the middle of the small park.  The interview was a wonderful Priesthood experience for me.

On the right side of the monument, you can see Elder Silcock outside our car while he is waiting patiently to open the door for Sister Silcock while she is speaking to Sister Thomas who is sitting in our car. Sister Silcock and Sister Thomas were siting in our car while they were waiting for me to finish the interview.

The monument was paid for by a group in Britain.  It is actually a drinking fountain for livestock.  I guess it has been some time since it has been used for that purpose.  The moment celebrates all the fallen animals that perished in the Anglo Boer war in 1899 - 1902.  The script ion reads:

“The greatness of a nation consists not so much in the number of its people or the extent of its territory as in the extent and justice of its compassion.”

A nice thought and inspiration objective for any nation.

Lunch with the Chases after Church

After a full morning at Church we were invited over for a quick lunch with the Chases prior to our departure to Port Elizabeth.  We are grateful for and to the Chases for all they do.  To the Chase Children and Grandchildren: You should be proud of your Parents and your Grandparents.  They are wonderful missionaries and an example you should plan on following someday.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dinner with the Chases

We have come to love the Chases for their loving ability to carry forward doing good even in times of personal sorrow.  They are wonderful examples to the branch and know and understand the both the Gospel of Jesus Christ but also how the church functions.  They have been a wonderful influence on the Grahamstown Branch.

We are able to join them at Sister Chase’s favorite restaurant in Grahamstown.  As is always the case, we enjoy some adult company for dinner.

Sister Thomas and her Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

We had to come to Grahamstown today to interview three different people.  Two for callings in the branch and one for a temple recommend.  When we were done, right next to the church, Sister Thomas found one of her favorite flower bushes.  The Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow bush is very pretty but the fragrance that it gives off is wonderful.  I have also begun to enjoy this bush and rank it right next to my personal favorite which is the Lilac bush.  Sister Thomas is also a very lovely flower all by herself.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Elder Murphy's Package is Delivered

We called Elder Murphy to let him know we had received a package for him.  He was in King Williams Towns doing training and exchanges.  He called on his way home and asked if he could come and collect it.  They would be getting here at about dinner time so we invited them for dinner.  Elder Murphy was excited but way to serious about getting this package as is shown in the picture.  However, he was pleased when he opened it up.

Inspecting Elder Mashego's Toe

Elder Mashego is the most joy filled Elder in the mission field.  He always has a smile on his face and is an eternal optimist.  I hope this virtue remains with him.  This morning he told Sister Thomas of a sore toe.  Actually, it was the side of his foot just up from the ball of his foot.  He got kicked when the Elders were playing soccer.  Sister Thomas was inspecting but the wind was doing wonders with her hair blowing all around.  To do the inspection of Elder Mashego’s foot she had to get her hair under control.  It was a lighter moment.

The foot/toe will be fine.  It is certainly bruised but not broken.  We will have to watch it for improvement over the next week.

Mail, Hair Cuts, District Meeting and a Toe

This morning we went to the Airport to pick up the post.  There were four packages that were delivered.  We then rushed to get back to Elders Trepaneir and Crowell’s flat so we could give them a haircut prior to District Meeting.  We also delivered packages to Elders Trepaneir and Ebong.  Those packages brought smiles to their faces and a bit of Joy into the Mission field. 

District Meetings were held at the Amalinda Chapel today.  Sister Thomas had to inspect a bruised toe this morning.  The wind was blowing her hair wildly as she did.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Flat Inspections at Elders Mmusi and La Fond

Elders Mmusi and La Fond did a good job cleaning their flat.  In fact, the kitchen was so clean we noticed a piece of rug that had been used to balance the fridge.  This time we had to get some tools so we could loosen the adjustment screw in the bottom of the fridge so it would sit flat on the floor.  It look much better and cleaner when we were finished.

Inspection of the Two Jesmondene flats

We inspect the two flats here at the Jesmondene apartments today as well.  The flats were clean and we were pleased with the progress that has been made by the Elders.  We caught this picture of Elder Trepaneir, Sister Thomas,  Elders Creech, Ebong, Crowell and Moliki.  Elder Bradley had just ran up the stairs to their flat to check on the food cooking on their stove.

Elder's Grant and Manqane's Inspection

 Next was the Inspection of the flat of Elders Grant and Manqane.  Their flat was also very presentable.  I took this picture showing Elder Grant’s Scripture Covers.  He has patiently collect small pieces of different hides and has hand stitched his own covers.  He is holding the Book of Mormon and the bible cover is on the kitchen counter top.  They are beautiful and something that he will be able to show his children and grandchildren.  I should remember to get a close up picture of them before his is transferred.

Elder Manqane has settled in and has begun to show his joyful personality.  We first met him when he arrived Cape Town after his transfer form the Liberia mission.  It is nice to have him in the mission field with us.

Sister Thomas has an extended conversation with the Elders on the necessity of keeping their flats clean.  They also get cookies.

Inspecting Elders Capozzoli and Malpage's Flat

We spent the morning Inspecting the boardings of the East London Zone.  This flat was the cleanest Sister Thomas and I have seen it.  I am glad that the Zone Leaders are leading by example.  Sister Thomas always brings cookies to the Elders when their boarding is really clean.  This shows Elder Malpage and Elder Capazzoli enjoying the reward for a clean flat.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mission Leadership Skype Call

Today was the Mission Leadership Skype Call.  We had two sets of Zone Leaders at the meeting.  You can see Sister Thomas and then clockwise it is Elders Murphy, Capozzoli, Malpage and Judd.

Sister Thomas cooked a wonderful breakfast that Elder Murphy proclaimed was his best breakfast in the mission field.  I agree with him it was an awesome collection of bacon, hash browns, french toast casserole, fruit salad and juices. 

The breakfast was a good idea because the Skype meeting went until 3:30.  The Elders defined the next three Ugly Babies.  They were, Casualness in Speech, Casualness in Dress and Casualness on Preparation Days.  The Zone Leaders were tasked with taking this training out across the Mission.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sister Thomas Makes the Local Paper

When we were in inspecting the Elders flat, they showed me an article that was in the paper.  A few weeks ago we went and helped out with the East London 2nd and 3rd Ward Helping Hands activity at the East London Zoo.  It was a fun morning sanding picnic benches.  Sister Thomas’ picture made it into the papers.  You can see Elder Thomas in the back ground as well.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cutrer Grandsons Win their Football Games

We try to stay close to our family at home.  Today we were sent the links to some pictures of our Grandsons football games.  They all won on Saturday.  Of course we get the scores and outcomes of the games during the day on our Saturday Evening. Their Dad, Jeff Cutrer, is one of the coaches on Brody’s football team. 

That is JT in the upper left looking for a pass from his quarterback.  Chaz in upper right seems to be looking for a way through the line and I can see he is just about ready for the shuffle step to break through.  Brody in lower left looks like he is pausing as he waits for a hand off from his quarterback.  Their dad in lower right runs back along the side lines.  (You can tell it takes a bit of imagination as you look at the pictures, something I have plenty of)

Final scores were:
Brody: 15 - 0
Chaz: 34 - 6
JT:  18 - 0

We thank Trisha and Jeff for helping us stay connected.  It is not quite the same as being there in person.  The Text’s back and forth while the games are being played are fun to read.

Jeff: Chaz's game. Up 6-0
Jeff: 12-0
Jeff: 20-0 half. Chaz with a pick to set up a TD right before half.
Chelsea: Atta boy!!
Mark: We'll done.  Is he playing line backer or corner or safety?
Jeff: He's playing safety
Jeff: 26-0
Jeff: End of 3
Mark: Thanks
Jeff 34-0. Chaz at QB
Jeff: 34-6. Kick return for TD.
Jeff: Final

Jeff: JT's game. No score end of 1.
Jeff: JT up 6-0
Jeff: Half
Jeff: 12-0. End of 3
Mark: Thanks for keeping the scores coming.  How's the weather?
Jeff: Gorgeous!  Sunny and 81
Jeff: 18-0
Mark: Is it over yet?
Jeff: Final

Mark: Thanks!  Brody is next?  What time?
Jeff: Starting now.
Jeff: 13-0
Jeff: Half
Jeff: 15-0
Jeff: Final
Chelsea: Awesome. 3 wins!
Mark: Tell all three well done.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lunch with the Stapleys on Fast Sunday - A blessing for the Thomas'

Following attending Church with the Badi family at the Sada ward, we had to hustle to get over to Queenstown so we could meet with the Bishop and members of his PEC to review the Ward’s objectives to support the Stake split.  We have four missionaries working in this ward meeting with us as well.  It was a good review.

Then we drove to the Ilinge Ward and met with the Bishop, Ward clerk, Ward mission leader and the missionaries to complete this same assignment.

We drove back to Queenstown to have lunch with the Stapleys.  This was an enjoyable lunch, especially since it was fast Sunday.  They are such wonderful servants of our Heavenly Father.  We were able to help them with their phone and also to help them with getting the Mission drop box on their computer as well.  We also did a Skype call to make sure we could connect in preparation for the coming Mission Leadership Skype call this week.

The Badi's Bless their Daughter at Church

We woke up early and drove to Sada so we could attend Sacrament Meeting there.  Brother Badi had his Priesthood blessings restored and was able to bless his daughter in Church today.  I told him when this happened that we wanted to be there so we could enjoy the event with him and his family.  While a mistake was made in the past, this young family walked through the fires of repentance and now stands worthy.  What a wonderful example of the Atonement of Jesus Christ working in a family’s life.  They have much to be happy about.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Future Missionaries from the Mthatha Branch

Today was a busy day for us.  In the morning Sister Thomas and I met to discuss and review those issues that I should bring up during the Presidency meeting with Elder Merrill and the APs.  Then we reviewed where we thought some Elders could be placed in the future as the mission complement grows.  The conference call was between 10:00 and 12:00.  We reviewed the above issues and then all those issues that are to be covered on the Mission Leadership Skype Call.  Busy morning.

Then we drove out to Mdantsane to meet with the Bishop of the Mdantsane 1st Ward to review the goals and objectives the ward has set to support the Stake splitting in November of 2015.  This proved to be a fruitful meeting.

We had to rush back to the Church for the Stake Adult Meeting.  It was this meeting that the President had to excuse himself and ask me to sit on the stand.  I ended up being asked by Elder Ellis to field a question about how and what we say if we are speaking to someone considering a same sex marriage.  I guess I did OK.  Sister Thomas commented about how we should be treating each other in the gospel, considering our different cultures and backgrounds.  She challenged everyone to “climb the the higher ground of the Gospel Culture” as Elder Bednar advised.

After the meeting we met up with the members who had driven down from Mthatha.  There were a group of young men from Mthatha who had “Future Missionary” badges on.  I was thrilled to see so many beginning to enter into a commitment.  I pulled in Elder Trepaneir who served in Mthatha while we were in Queenstown for the picture.  The Branch President, Obadia M. Mbilase, is to my left.

Friday, September 5, 2014

District Meetings were all at the Amalinda Chapel

Today we went to the airport and picked up the post.  There were four boxes there so we were excited for our missionaries.  As we opened them, our happy hearts were somewhat disappointed because 3 of the boxes should have been sent to Port Elizabeth rather than East London. 

We then went to our District Meeting where Sister Thomas joined the EL 3rd ward district meeting.  Elder Thomas joined the MD 1st Ward district meeting.  Elder Creech led this District meeting and the topic was on regaining our Missionary purpose.  He led a good discussion about the need to be prepared to lead with the power Heavenly Father has promised we will have as missionaries if we are obedient missionaries.  I also learned something about “Sharpness” See D&C 16 and the reference on sharpness.

Elder Trepaneir lead the other district meeting which was excellent as well.

We persuaded the Elders to huddle up for a picture following the District Meetings.  They we all at the Amalinda Chapel because they could not get the keys to the Mdantsane building.

Elder Murphy gets a Package from Home

When we picked up the post, we had a package for Elder Murphy.  It was nice to see his smile when we delivered his package.  He had been expecting it for quite some time.  He was on exchanges with Elder Creech.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Walk on the beach as Sundown

We went down to the beach at Gonubie to have a walk as the sun went down.  It was a spectacular evening and the walk/run on the beach did us some good. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dinner at Mc Donald's with the AP's And Zone Leaders

Today we were busy traveling to King Williams Town and back as we had to get Elder Cossey to reimburse him for some medical expenses.  Then we had to be at the Church so members could come and view the vehicles. 

At 19:00 we met with the Bishop Wainwright of the East London 1st Ward along with Elders Capozzoli and Malpage to discuss how we can be aligned with the ward’s goals to support the split of the stake.

We also had the APs, Elders Whitworth and  Ah-Fua, with us because they were doing exchanges with these Zone Leaders.  After this meeting, we took these four Elders out to dinner at McDonald’s.    

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cleaning and selling Mission Cars

After returning from the weekend in Port Alfred we had a busy morning getting the cars cleaned and ready for people to view them.  We drove them one by one to the car wash and one by one brought them back to the church.  We were at the church between 12:00 and 15:00 a,s we promised, so people could view the cars.

This felt very much like what it would be to be a used car sales person.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Golfing at the Fish River Sun

We went golfing on Monday morning at the Fish River Sun.  We only played nine holes but it was very enjoyable.  We played a better ball Scramble competition.  President Merrill and Sister Thomas took on President Wheeler and me.  It was a good match with President and Sister Thomas winning 2 up  with 1 hole remaining.  President Wheeler and I missed a couple of short puts which cost us the game.  You can see President and Sister Thomas enjoying the victory in the pictures.

We ran into several tortoises while golfing.  They were all over the course.  The day was beautiful and you can see the typical clear blue African winter sky out overhead.  The company was a welcome. There are not that many times Sister Thomas will play golf with three Presidents all at the same time.

You could hear “good shot President” all over the golf course but most of those where for the other two Presidents as President Thomas did not bring his A game today.  And there were a lot of “good shot Sister Thomas” especially after she sunk a 30 foot putt!

As I sit here writing this, I have suddenly realized that I owe President Merrill and President Wheeler some money.  I took the total and divided it by three rather than dividing it by four.  I read that as a complement to my thought process that Sister Thomas and I are really “One”.  I will have to recalculate and get the money back to the Merrill’s and Wheelers.

450/3 = 150 and should have been R450/4 = R112.50  then R150 - R112.50 = R37.50.  I will have to pay them back at another time.