"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, December 31, 2014

New Years Eve Dinner ends up in Panorazzi Pizza

By the time we had left Cape Agulhas and then drove to Cape Town it was about 6:30 pm.  We drove to the B&B that mom had booked for us and got checked it.  We were all hungry so we went looking for somewhere to eat.  It was a challenge because everything was booked or closed.  We ended up driving by and finding a pizza place in a neighborhood that looked a bit dodgy but there were a lot of people in the stores around it.

About halfway though eating, Erin said she was feeling like we should leave.  We followed this prompting and took the balance of the Pizza back to the B&B for the evening.  We tried to watch a movie but that lasted about 15 minutes and we were all asleep.  New Year's Eve came without us this year.  We were fast asleep.

Cape Agulhas - Southern Most Point in Africa

Our sidetrip to Cape Agulhas in the Western Cape was a wonderful diversion that ends up feeling like you are entering an island community in Greece.  We enjoyed the time there and Sister Thomas and I have had this southern point of Africa on our list for a long time.  We have now been to the most southern tip of South America, the Southern Tip of Africa, The southern most tip of Australia and the Southern most tip of New Zealand.  It was part of our bucket list.

It was special to share this with Erin, Chelsea and Nicole. 

A visit to Tinus & Ansie Strauss and Family in Hartenbos, WC

We were lucky because we were able to stop by and spend some time with Tinus and Ansie Strauss and their son, Stephen (and his family) and their daughter, Analise.  They are some of our very, very special friends who we consider our adopted South African Family.  It was enjoyable to remember old times with Tinus about the good old BME Days.  Those were a big part of my life.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Visit to Jeffrey's Bay with Erin and Dinner in George

Jeffrey’s Bay - Tsitsikama Forest and Garden route drive in the rain on the way to George.  Erin was able to surf at Jeffery’s bay.  We were able to rent a board for her and she spent a couple of hours in the water and caught some nice waves.  IT was not Jeffery’s bay at its best but it was Jeffery’s bay.

We are able to meet up with the Kars and Elder Prisbry and Elder Drummond in George so we could go to dinner.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Visit to the Kwantu Game Park with Chelsea, Erin and Nicole

We drove to Port Alfred and dropped off some cookie cooling trays to the Wheelers that the Stapleys had purchased for them when they were at the Temple in JHB.  We then drove to the Kwantu Game Reserve for a game drive in the after noon.

It was rainy for much of the drive but it cleared up enough that we were able to see some good game.  Pictures were a bit difficult because of the darkness of the rain clouds and the over cast says.  However we managed to see a great deal of game.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Dinner with the Xalabile Family in Sada

We were so grateful to be invited by Bishop Xalabile along with Elder and Sister Stapley to dinner at the Bishops home.  We were so blessed to be there.  We sat a talked to the family about all that is going on in their lives.  They told of of the Temple experience where their daughter and sone-in-law were sealed.  They are fortunate that their sone who was on a mission was able to come to the Temple and be at the sealing. 

I was please that my daughters along with Nicole could see the home of the Xalabile’s and the way that they share and bless the lives of others so well.  We have come to love the Xalabile’s and will cherish the relationship that we have and will take with us when we leave the mission field.

A Visit to the Sada Ward on Sunday

We visited the Sada ward during the meeting block on Sunday.  It was like a wonderful reunion to be back with these saints.  Sister Xalabile was teaching the Sunday school class and called on Chelsea and Nichole to say the prayers and Erin to bear her testimony.  I was grateful that they were able to share some of them selves in Sada.  I was proud of Nicole to step forward and say a prayer.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Trip to the Mall in East London

Today I finished a summary I was asked to provide to Elder Cook on some building and construction methods I wanted to recommend.

It was raining all morning long so we did what everyone else does went they are on holidays and it is raining.  We went to the mall.  I purchased a new carrying case for the camera that Chelsea brought from the United States.  This is the whale at the center of the food court at the mall.

After that we went to Nahoon beach to see if Erin could rent a surfboard so she could surf.  However, the weather was not good and the surf was broken and choppy.   Erin elected to see if we could get a surfboard when we go to Jeffrey's Bay.

We then went out to dinner at the Shanghai restaurant which has a mix of Chinese meat and vegetarian dishes.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Erin Chelsea and Nicole visit the Cheetas

Sister Thomas and I got up early on this Friday morning and went in hopes of finding post at the airport.  Many Elders are still waiting for that special Christmas package.  Sadly, we came away empty handed. We then we went to all the boardings to pass out some Christmas cheer.  Our daughter, Chelsea, who served a mission in France, asked us what she could bring the missionaries.  She brought a candy cane filled with Reese's Pieces.  We then drove to all the boardings and passed these out to the Elders before they left for District Meetings.  It is fun to give the Elders any small gift.  They are always so grateful. 

On the day after Christmas Erin, Chelsea and Nicole are able to spend some time with the Cheetahs.  It is an awesome experience to hear the deep purr of these big cats.  Chelsea recorded the purr and played it often to scare Nicole and Elder Thomas.

Miniture Golfing in East London

We went adventure golfing today.  Enjoyable 9 holes of trick golf.  It was fun but by the time it was done we were a all a little tired of missing putts.  There was quite a bit of help pushing that last putt into the hole.

It was fun.  These daughters of mine, including my wife, can quickly turn anything into a contest.  That is what I love about them.

I managed to pull out a win following 7's on the last two holes over Chelsea by one stroke.  The others were close behind.  Nice morning.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Elders come to Skype with their Parents

Elders come to Skype with their families from 5:00 PM.  We had two computers working in each of the bedrooms so two Elders could be Skyping with their families.  We did not get a picture of all the Elders but those shown are Elders Cossey and Gurney in upper left, Elder Mukonda shared a christmas poem he wrote.  Elder Dean and Elder Richards enjoy some food following their discussion with their family.

Christmas Morning Skype with our Grand Kids

We Skype with the Hammond’s and Cutrer’s on their Christmas morning.  It was so nice to be able to join them as they opened their presents.  There is a special feeling when they open a present and then bring it over to the computer to show you what the gift was.  It is nice to share the spirit of Christmas over the miles and it is a wonderful to "feel like" you are there with them.

The church produced the video "He is the Gift" this year.  This short message touched our hearts as we served in the mission field.  After all our Savior has done for us we hope the small sacrifice Elder and Sister Thomas are making this year in the mission field will be acceptable to the Savior. It is not much but it is something we have chosen to place under the tree as a gift to the Savior this year.

Christmas Day PPI's with my Daughters

I am not around my kids as much as I would like.  Today I take the time to have a relaxing Personal Priesthood Interview with my two daughters, Erin and Chelsea.

It was a peaceful morning as we sat outside and enjoyed the peace of Christmas in the warm South African sun.  Goals for 2015 were discussed and promises made.  We also look forward to a different 2015.  We will see.

Christmas morning in the Mission Field

Christmas morning came peacefully in Gonubi this year.  We had a quiche breakfast with some bacon and other delights.  Then we opens some Christmas gifts we shared with each other.

When that was done we took the opportunity to spend a few hours at the beach.  We set up near the Gonubie River and the tide was going out so the river was running out to sea.  We walked up the river and then floated outside o the ocean.  That was a fun mid morning activity.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Dinner

Sister Thomas made a special Christmas Eve dinner this evening.  Her family tradition which we have adopted is oyster soup which her family had every Christmas Eve while she was growing up.  She also prepared some wonderful ham and we also had shrimp and cocktail sauce from the USA along with some Christmas crackers. 

Emergency Repair of a Washing Machine

I went out early today to pick up the post and then went to help the Zone Leaders with their car.  Both the right front bumper and the right rear bumpers are coming loose and were flapping in the breeze as they drove down the road.  We went and purchased a roll of grey duct tape in order to hold it in place.  When I purchased it, the person helping me called it MacGiver tape, which brought a smile to my face.  A wipe down of the dirt and several layers of tape and it looked fairly good.

While there I received a call from Elder Dean who reported a broken washing machine hose.  This took a trip to the hardware store to get a new longer hose.  We got this fixed up in short order but I need to get the Elders a longer discharged hose.

You can see the broken hose along with Elders Dean, Radebe, Richards and Ngobeni.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Elder Freitas' Birthday - Turns 22 today

This evening Sister Thomas baked a cake and we arranged to meet the Elders at their boarding to sing happy birthday to Elder Freitas.  Sister Thomas brought along a hummingbird cake and this time we poured some Ultramel over the top.  It was enjoyed by all.

Elder Freitas turned 22 today and he has been out on his mission 20 months.  He is a good missionary and is now training a new missionary, Elder Si’ufanua.  Both are doing a wonderful job in the new fourth ward of East London.

Our Daughters Arrive for a Visit

Today is a day we have been looking forward to for quite a while.  Erin and Chelsea and our other adopted daughter, Nicole, arrived in East London today.

They will be her for a couple of weeks over the Christmas holidays.  Hard to describe just how excited we were for their arrival.  Having lived away from our family for all those years I understand now how happy our parents were when we made that trip back to the United States for a visit.

I hope they enjoy their visit with us.  For them it will be a holiday mixed with missionary work while they are here.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Deliver the Post to the Stapleys and the Engine Museum

I had a wonderful plan to have all the post for the MD, EL and QT zones sent to us.  My logic was that it would arrive on Friday morning and we could send the post up to Queenstown with the President or the Assistants who would be going up there for the Queenstown Zone Conference on Saturday.  The plan fell apart when the 8 boxes of post only showed up on Saturday morning.

As a result, we arranged that the Stapleys to meet us in Stutterheim.  This city is just about half way between East London and Queenstown.  We have done this several times and have always met here in front of the Engine Museum.  Another family showed up and called the owners and they came and opened up the museum.  We had seen it on one prior occasion but the Elder Stapley was interested in seeing in.  I would love to own one of these machines someday.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dinner at the Wheelers with the Missionaries and Elder and Sister Cook

Following Church we had a lunch of french toast and fruit with the missionaries, Elder and Sister Cook and the Wheelers.  Shortly there after we headed back to East London.

If any of the Wheeler’s children or grandkids read this blog, I would like you to know just how much we have come to love your parents and grandparents.  Your Dad is such an awesome Branch President and acts with love and patience as he serves the members of his branch.  He must be an awesome Father.  Sister Wheeler is the most wonderful hostess.  She is also the one person that has tears in her eyes before me as the spirit fills the room in our meetings.  Such a soft heart.  She must be a wonderful mother.  All you grandchildren are very lucky, very lucky indeed!

Port Alfred Branch Picture with Elder Cook

Today we attended church at Port Alfred again.  We were invited back by the Wheelers to be there when Elder and Sister Cook attended church and spoke on Sunday.  We had the opportunity to get a picture of all the branch members with President and Sister Wheeler and Elder and Sister Cook. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Visiting an Aaronic Priesthood Holding as he come outs of the Bush

President Wheeler had four of his Young Men come back from the Bush on Saturday.  We joined them as they visited two of these families today.  There was much celebration and way to much to drink for some of the non-LDS family members.  At one home one of the uncles told me he wanted me to know that when I pass away he wanted Sister Thomas.  An interesting experience.

At one place they fed us all some food.  They filled the plates with meat, veggies, and samp and a cool drink.  It was way to much food for all of us.

Culturally, this was a wonderful experience.  President Wheeler and I went into to the room where they were staying and offered some words of wisdom to the young men.

Our thanks to the Wheelers for inviting us along for the afternoon.  Later in the evening the Cooks arrived and we had dinner together.

Over dinner Elder Cook shared an experience he had with President Packer when he was first called as a Seventy.  The story about the first Stake Conference that Elder Cook was responsible for and which Elder Packer chose to join him was very special training for me.  I better understood the necessity of having a humble and almost desperate need for the blessing and influence of the Holy Ghost.  We need to understand when we have no where else to look, we can, in our hour of need, rely on the influence and help of this member of the Godhead.  This was a very enjoyable meal and the company and teachings were very special.  I will forever be grateful for the Wheeler’s invitation.

Friday, December 19, 2014

East London and Mdantsane Zone Conference

Zone Conference for the Mdantsane and East London Zones was a wonderful faith promoting experience.  President Merrill had asked the missionaries to study the combination of Setting Goals, Covenants and Faith together.

The training took on a special spirit as the President and the Assistants took the lead in teaching the missionaries in a grand council meeting. 

Sister Thomas, Sister Wheeler and Sister Chase were wonderful as they made preparations for the lunch of roasted beef fillet roast, baked potato, corn, bread rolls and then an awesome desert prepared by Sister Wheeler.  It is surprising just how much work goes on behind the scenes.

You can see President and Sister Merrill speaking personally to the Elders as they passed out a Christmas message from the Prophet.

The Elders also prepared a “Christmas Around the world”.  They read the story of the birth of Christ with each missionary reading one verse in their own language.  Then some of them share a tradition from their home country or from their family. It definitely ushered in the Christmas spirit to all of us.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Senior Couples gather for Dinner in East London

The Senior Couples arrive in East London today for our Zone Conference  tomorrow.  This evening we gathered for a dinner at the Grazia restaurant which is along the Ocean Drive in East London.  At this time of the year, with the sun going down late, there are wonderful views out across the ocean.  It is a lovely sight as the sun went down.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rental Truck Return and Christmas Shopping

Today we took the rental truck back and then went to the East London 3rd Ward boarding so we could hook up the washing machine that we delivered that came from Grahamstown.

We then had to go to the mall to make sure that the Chicken that we had intended to order for the Zone conference has been canceled.  We are glad that we went because they still had the order even though the manager had not called us back to confirm.  Luckily, we went and checked.

Once that was done, this trip to the mall somehow turned into a Christmas outfit shopping trip for Sister Thomas.  She wanted a new skirt for the coming Christmas Zone Conference.  We found one but it was at the last store we went to.  I was getting tired at that point.  Nice photo bomb by the young man who had join me on the bench before Sister Thomas sat down for the picture.  He was tired too!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Delivering the funiture to the Elders in Mthatha

Today was an early start and a long day.  We returned the truck we had rented and then rented a small pickup (bakie) to use to deliver the two extra beds and two desks to Mthatha.  We drove up in a constant but light rain with a great deal of fog.

We arrived and the Elders helped us off load the beds and mattresses into their newly cleaned garage.  It was rainy and cold in Mthatha.  You can see how the Elders were dressed for the day.  Pictured are Elder Banda, Sister Thomas, Elders Castro, Best and Martey.

Once that was done we took the Elders to Nando’s for lunch.  Then Sister Thomas and I had to get on the road so we could get back before dark.  We had a significant delay driving through Butterworth.  It is a small town that is very congested because of the holidays.  It took us just over 45 minutes to crawl through the town that does not have more that three traffic lights down the main road.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Elder Hoffman and Jenner give hand unloading in East London

We waited until the Elders were though working for the day and then we met them at Summer Pride to off load those pieces of the furniture that were going there.  They cashed in on a new couch and some night stands.  The rest went down in the storage at the back of the house.

These are Elders Jenner and Hoffman lending a hand with the furniture.  With the two security gates at the front of the house moving the couch in was like threading the needle.

Our Load of Funiture we are Moving

We were traveling today with our load of furniture from Grahamstown on our way back to East London via Port Alfred.  This was after church in Port Alfred as we departed from Elder and Sister Wheeler’s.  They were nice enough to have us for lunch today for a few minutes after church.  However, their company was so good that we over stayed just a bit and got on the road at around 3:00.

I thought this picture looked a bit like what I pictured those on their way to California in the book “The Grapes of Wrath”which I had to read as a young man in school. The Wheelers felt like all we needed was a rocking chair and it would have been more “Jed Clampett“ from the Beverly Hillbillies, the TV show of our youth.

Elder Cook does not make it to Port Alfred and we Pitch in to Help

While we were in Port Alfred, Elder Cook, the Africa South East Area President was due to visit the small Branch of Port Alfred.  Unfortunately, his travel schedule changed and President Wheeler found out on Saturday evening at around 7:30 that he would not be coming.

As it turns out, it was good that we had planned several weeks ago to come to Port Alfred to have the training meet with the Branch Presidency.  President Wheeler put us all to work along with the Missionaries.  Sister Thomas was asked to play the piano, the Missionaries were as to be the first two speakers and I concluded by speaking on “What Gift Will You Give?” to the Savior as a present this Christmas season.

I am sure I was a poor substitute for Elder Cook.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Elder Smith and Elder Pahulu Help Load Funiture in Grahamstown

We closed down a boarding in Grahamstown which resulted in all of the furniture and appliances being stored in a storage building at the Church. We loaded a majority of these items on the loading the truck so we could transport them bucket East London.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Elders Stratton and Elder Wells help out with the Funiture

We picked up a rental truck so we could move some of the Elders’ furniture around today.  We closed down one flat and needed to return it to the Landlord by the end of the December so we moved the final items out this afternoon.  I solicited the help of the East London Zone Leaders who met us at the flat and helped us move and off loaded the beds and desks at our storage shed at the house we rent in Summer Pride.

Elders Stratton and Elder Wells are shown with Elder Thomas stacking the mattresses and covering them with plastic for storage.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hair Cuts for Elders Hoffman and Richards

We made the rounds today and Sister Thomas gave several hair cuts.  In one of the flats we had to abandon our efforts due to a lack of power.  I only took two pictures of all the hair cuts.  This shows Elder Hoffman is on the left.  Elder Ngobeni approves his companion’s hair cut with Elder Richards in the chair.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Transfer Day in East London

Today was a very full transfer day in East London which, even with all the little hiccups went off fairly well.  We started by getting to the Church at 6:30 in order to meet with the Elders who were flying to Cape Town.  That group is shown in upper right, Elders Chaparadza, Hale, Judd, Sister Thomas, Elders Crowell, Kaufusi and Elder Ndlovu.  Elders Hale and Judd are on their way home and have served their Heavenly Father well.  May they depart South Africa with love in their hearts for the people here.

We delivered three Elders to the bus stop.  Elder Trepaneir going to George and Elders Arthur and Mongalo who are on their way to Port Elizabeth. 

We also picked up 9 elders who flew into East London from Cape Town.  I did not get a group picture at the Airport but I did get a picture at the Church but only after they had fanned out meeting their new companions.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New Missionary Training in East London

Once new missionaries have been in the mission field for about 4 weeks they are brought in and provided some follow-up training.  This training is divided into three different sections.  In one there is a review of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in the second there is a discussion about the ways to give the baptismal invitation to an investigator and this is also role played.  Finally, the elders are interviewed by their Zone Leaders to see how things are going.  Elders Malpage and Elder Wells provided this training because the Mdantsane Zone Leaders, Elders Judd and Mchunu provide the training the last time.

Sister Thomas made some home made Ice Cream Sandwiches from some cookies that she had made and passed them out at the end of the meeting.  In the group picture you can see Sister Thomas at the front door of the church.  The wind was blowing just a bit to much for the skirt she had on so she was staying in the cover of the building for modesty’s sake.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Zone Leaders come for a Skype Conference call with Queenstown and Dinner

Late this evening at close to 8:45 we had the Zone Leaders over for a Skype call with the Zone Leaders from Queenstown.  This is done to correlate where the missionaries are going to stay when they drive down the day prior to transfers.  We are going to have four groups come in to stay over night.

Following that short correlation meeting Sister Thomas had made Navajo Taco’s for dinner for the Elders.  We had to rush them along so that they could eat and be on their way back to their boarding.  The food was good and the Elders had a couple of Taco’s each.  Sister Thomas continues to surprise them with different meals.  Of course, they are missionaries, so anything (almost anything at all), is better than what they end up cooking for themselves.

We were late eating tonight because we went with the East London Zone Leaders on a teaching appointment at 7 pm.  The sister was on the late in seeing us, so the lesson time went a little long.  She is an investigator that has a strong testimony of the Bible.  Tonight the Elders introduced the Book of Mormon to her.  She had a lot of questions.  We love investigators who have questions.  That means they are thinking about things.  She is due with a baby in the next few weeks, so getting a follow-up lesson was a challenge that Elder Malpage did not give up on.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Elder Judd and Mchunu have a baptism in Mdantsane

Friday, December 5, 2014

Elder Freitas Recieves a Package From Home

We only received three packages in the post today.  The largest one was for Elder Freitas who was thrilled that a package from home had arrived.  We keep seeing the joy when a package arrives.  Check out this face and you will see what I mean.

East London Zone Meeting

We attended the East London Zone Meeting this morning once our flat inspections were completed.  This meeting began at 10:30 so we were rushing to pick up the mail and complete the flat inspections and get to the church by that time.

Elder Malpage and Elder Wells provided wonderful training on how to become the “Fourth Missionary”.  They gave examples of four different missionaries - all with different levels of obedience and commitment.  They challenged the Elders to set themselves apart and become like the 4th missionary in their personal obedience, personal spiritually and in their personal power.

The Elders are showing their commitment to seek the higher ground and become like unto the 4th Missionary in the training example used by the Zone Leaders.  I have no idea why Elder Smith has up four fingers and his thumb.  Perhaps he is trying for an even higher standard? 

Front row from left to right: Elder Matini, Si’ufanua, Trepaneir, Sister Thomas, Elders Crowell, Wells and Smith.

Middler Row: Elders Monyo, Freitas, Pitsoane, Moffett, Ludvigson, Shabalala.

Back Row: Mmusi, Manqane, Malpage, Pahulu,

Mdantsane Zone Inspections

This morning we inspected the flats of the Elders in the Mdantsane Zone.  There were only three boardings to do today because we had already completed the Zone Leaders inspection and the Elders boarding in King William’s Town.

While we were inspecting the flat of Elder Carniletto and Elder Faitau, we were able to focus some time buffing off some of the tire marking left on their car when they were involved in an accident.  The before and after picture shows the difference.  Not perfect, but not bad!  Elder Carniletto and Elder Faitau are shown in the lower left.

Sister Thomas is shown with Elder Mukonda, Hoffman, Moliki and Ndlovu following the inspection of this boarding,  These Elders also received a 10/10 rating.  However, Elder Moliki had to quickly shave to get his personal grooming up to missionary standards.  His companion Elder Mukonda also had to stand a bit closer to the razor before they went to the area.

When we inspected the boarding of the Mdantsane Third Ward Elders, Sister Thomas gave them a 10/10.  Both sides of this boarding were as clean as we have seen it for a while.  Elders Richards, Ngobeni, Mongalo Sister Thomas and Elder Dean show their flat rating of 10 as we depart.

Elders Ngobeni and Richards sit in typical missionary study mode.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mdantsane Zone Meeting

We undertook a unique flat inspection today.  The landlord of our small retirement house agreed to come in a repaint the house on the inside.  Over the past three days we have been somewhat displaced as they have moved from one room to the next room in the house.  We have also had to stay close because they have been in our boarding painting for the three days. 

Elder Thomas went to inspect Elder Judd and Mchunu’s boarding. While there, I FaceTimed with Sister Thomas and I walked through the flat.  I showed her the inside of the fridge, the inside of the microwave and the whole kitchen as well and the bedroom and bathroom.  It was as thorough an inspection as we have ever done.

When the inspection was over I went to the Dentist’s office that the Mission uses so I could pay for Elder Chapman’s root cannel.

After that I went to the Church and joined the Mdantsane Zone for their Zone Meeting.  Elder Judd and Elder Mchunu did a wonderful job of providing instruction on when it is appropriate and how to take pictures of young women and YSA.  They also provided some extended training on the reasons for the 5/5/5 and what the Zone needs to do to improve.  It was a good Zone meeting taught with love and focus on the subjects.

It was a boring day for Sister Thomas.  She was stuck in the house with the painters all day long with no food because the painters had the kitchen blocked off.  I stopped and bought her a salad on the way home from the meeting.

Front row left to right: Elders Hoffman, Dean, Cossey, Chapman, Faitau, Mukonda
Back Row: Elders Ngobeni, Mongalo, Carniletto, Zone Leaders, Mchunu and Judd and Elders Ndlovu, Richards, Thomas and Moliki.

Distrupted by Painting Days in our Apartment

Our Missionary lives have been impacted this week as we worked around some painters who our landlord had hired to come in and repaint the flat.  They did a good job with the painting but we had three different conference calls with the painters in the background.

We had to divide and conquer over these days.  Some days I stayed home with the painters and other days Sister Thomas stayed there while the other did some type of errand that needed to be completed or attended a meeting.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Big Burger Night with the Zone Leaders

This morning we had the Senior Couples Skype call where I took the couples through the items that were covered in the Mission Leadership Skype call.  I also provided instruction that was provided to President Merrill from both his recent Cape Coordinating Council and his Mission Presidents Conference in Johannesburg.  It was a good meeting but it was really more sharing information than a real council meeting with the Senior couples.  I will need to work on that.

In the evening we invited the Zone Leaders to join us for dinner so that we could counsel together about a couple of issues.  We took them to a place just outside Gonubie that claims to have the largest burgers in the world.  In fact, they were big.  In fact, they were GIGANTIC.  Elder Malpage was the only one able to finish his burger.  The rest took their remaining burger home for a future meal.  Elder Thomas was only allowed a half burger order and was just barely able to eat it all.  Sister Thomas went for the half portion of calamari.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Breakfast with Zone Leaders before the Mission Leadership Skype call

We invited the Zone Leaders over this morning so they could have breakfast with us before the Mission Leadership Skype call.  Since Elder Judd is going home in a week, Sister Thomas asked him what he would like.  He went with baked french toast casserole, hash browns, scrambled eggs, bacon and fruit salad.  It as a nice breakfast and we were done in time for the Skype Call.

The Skype call as always was enjoyable.  The topics covered by these young leaders was necessary.  I believe that they are finely understanding the power of their callings.  Of course, we also had the traditional apple slices dipped in “wicked syrup” as an after-the-skype treat. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Game Drive through Mpongo Game Park with the Missionaries

We joined the Mdantsane Zone on a game drive.  It was at the Mpongo Private Game Reserve.  It cost R 50.00 per person, which is something that the Elders can afford.  We were able to see a lot of different boks.  Water Buck, Eland, Kudu, Blesbok, Impala, Springbok, Wildebeest are a few.  We also saw giraffe and one very large white Rhino.

There were six vehicles with two people in each car so 24 of us in total.  It was a good drive and only a flat tire on Elder Carniletto’s vehicle.  Too many Elders to be named in the lower left picture.  We were happy to have Elder Chapman (left) and Elder Cossey (right) join us in our car for the drive.  Sister Thomas wanted a picture of the cactus growing out of the top of the abandoned farm house that was on the game reserve.  One wonders how it gets the nourishment to survive up there on the top of the wall.

The Rhino was the star of the day.  Unfortunately, our car was not able to get really close to the Giraffes.