On my morning walks I like to take pictures of things that interest me – mainly flowers, homes, and yard art. Bailie Park is an upscale section of Potchefstroom and a delightful mixture of modest and huge homes. With Spring comes lots of flowers. I was surprised to find gladiolas already in bloom…we usually do not see them in Utah until Summer.
Most large homes in the area are surrounded by high walls or fences which are often topped with high voltage wires. I love this large home without any fence or wall in front and the gracefulness of the tree.
Hiding cell towers as very tall pines is one way to keep the neighbors happy.
For the second time since we have been here an African Hoohoe showed up in our back yard. The common sparrow behind it is put to shame by the bright colors of the Hoohoe.
When I first saw this gate I thought they had put a mask in the middle and then I looked closer and saw that it was a _ _ _ _ _ ! The Dutch ancestors of the owner appears to be reflected in their choice of decorations.
We often drove past these raised garden beds and from the street I thought they were part of a memorial. It was only when I got close that I found that they were grow boxes.
This sign interested me because who would think to advertise a dentist and a children’s preschool on the same sign?
Wisteria is in bloom throughout the area.
First let me point out that I added a new blog address to our links. Our good friends Elder and Sister Mickelsen served with us in the Durban mission and recently accepted a call that has them Down Under in the Brisbane mission. I am sure you will enjoy sharing their experiences and pictures as we do. Maybe we will be able to follow them down – well actually over from where we are now – after this mission.
The herd of elephants are taken from the Tembe Elephant Park website which I like to look in during the day. Hopefully before our mission ends we will have a chance to see the big animals up close and personal. What we did get to see on Tuesday was a couple of mother crowned lapwings with their single remaining chick. The lapwing usually lays 3 or 4 eggs but many of the chicks are killed by predators. I missed the picture of one of the mothers spreading her wings and covering her chick. It reminded me of the scriptures where so often the Lord says that He would cover us like a mother hen her chickens.
Mary at her computer where she seem to find lots of music to use in Primary and for her piano students. Of course she also looks up mail and FaceBook. On Saturday the branch had a temple excursion and this is one of pictures that were posted on FB pages. One of the sisters who went for the first time told me how she was a little nervous before she went into the temple but how a peaceful, loving spirit came over her once she was inside.
Just two days after zone conference the Ikageng district held their usual Friday district meeting in the Klerksdorp chapel. The zone leaders, elders Menendez and George, traveled close to two hours to attend.
In the morning our favorite yellow bird showed up to have breakfast and I got a good shot of him – I assume it is a him because males tend to have the brightest colors. The meeting opened with elder Perez leading the music. What he lacked in ability to keep time he more than made up with enthusiasm.
After the meeting elder Larsen worked on a baptism program while elder Otieno made some followup notes. Others just enjoyed talking to friends that they have not seen for two days!
The discussions continued into the parking lot where the zone leaders handed out supplies and the ever hoped for letters from home. Some of the missionaries get regular mail and some have never had one their whole mission. I just noticed that the companionship of elders Graham and Larsen is sporting blue ties.
Sister Dummer has a discussion with elder Otieno. For lunch we went to Steers with E/S Dummer where we talked about – what else – missionary work. We shared ideas that work. talked about the branches we work with and gave suggestions about problems or concerns.
On our way home we stopped at the used books store so Mary could stock up for a few more weeks of reading. I find that I did not take a picture of this stop but will the next time we go.
On the 10th a conference for the Vaal, Benoni and Bedfordview zones was held in the Bedfordview chapel. Since Mary was recovering from a bought of stomach problems I hitched a ride with elders Perez and Lohmann. The Zone conference centered on more effective finding and how to work more closely with the ward or branch where they served. I missed the first hour because the senior elders do car inspections at ZC to find out if the elders are keeping up their vehicles. Most of them do a pretty good job but some just do not get the fact that they are responsible for the Lord’s vehicle. Not even when they know that their car is going to be inspected gets them to make sure they are clean and neat.
Since President Dunn is an expert on media, the visuals are always well done. There were three training sessions. This is elder Stephens teaching the Vaal zone.
Pres Dunn’s presentation was on how to work more closely with the branch or ward to help more missionary work along. After the presentations it was time for lunch. Everything was good but the rolls and cookies were outstanding.
While the missionaries were eating president and sister Dunn walked around talking to them and taking pictures. Then they took the opportunity to enjoy the lasagna, salad, rolls and some of the best cookies I have ever had. Sisters Hansen and Thompson – she was surprise as I took the picture – did yeowoman service in seeing that everyone was fed and then the mess was cleaned up.
After the meeting the missionaries played a game that was somewhat like Battleship. There was a curtain between the two teams and if you were hit by the ball thrown by the other team you were out. Then it was time to leave but everyone had to have a last conversation to catch up with what was going on with old companions and friends. Sister Dummer is about to walk by elder Perez.
The final part of the conference was the zone pictures. Bedfordview zone on the left and Benoni on the right. Since some elders like to get their picture taken they manage to show up in more than one.
Two pictures of the Vaal zone one with elder Perez doing his thing and me helping him, and one for the family album.
I finally got to meet the Allreds. We have been sending emails back and forth for months as they prepared to come to the mission. I tried to help answer their questions about what to bring and what they could expect to find here. They are going to be a powerful influence on the new cluster they will be working with. The final picture is elders Perez and Johnson. I kidded elder Johnson that it seems like he is always at the same meetings as I am. I think that every transfer and zone meeting that we have attended he has been there and I have taken his picture.
So ends Zone Conference for another 12 weeks or so. The next one may be an All Zone Conference for Christmas!
On Friday the 5th, the branch and missionaries put up a street display. In the past we did it on a Saturday morning but we decided to see if the evening display when people are coming home from work would provide more men who were head of households. The three hours produced about 50 names and hopefully one or two will be baptized in the next month or two.
As usual the booth was set up under the KFC sign on the busiest corner near the chapel. The hope is that those who come by live close enough that they can walk to the chapel in less than 30 minutes. President Kwaikwai and brother Thomas are setting up the display. Brother Thomas is an investigator but from the way he talked to the people about the Church you would think he had been a member for a long time. He will be baptized in a couple of weeks. One of the others who helped is a recent convert who was just baptized last month. Their testimonies and willingness to serve is powerful.
Elders Perez and Lohmann watch – well they were watching before I started to take a picture – one of the men who came by sign up for a Book of Mormon or a video that the elders will deliver in the next week or two. In the background you can see brother Thomas hard at work as a woman he was talking to walks away with a passalong card.
Here are a few shots that really do not fit into other posts but show part of mission experiences.
If you look carefully past the right side of this pile of trash you will see a piece of playground equipment. Piles of trash is something you just get use to in townships as often they do not have trash pickup or people can not afford to pay for it. So they just pile it up in areas and then often they burn it so on any given day you will see lots of columns of smoke rising up over the houses. I took this picture of a great looking fence. Often you fences like this protecting very humble homes. However here the house was neat and clean.
Another picture of the birds gathering at our feeder. We have counted as many as 15 birds in our yard at one time as they seek out the feed we spread around. The last picture shows a house in progress. Notice there is a fence already in place. That is because they tore down an older house to build this one.
Wow am I behind in writing about our experiences and commenting on the pictures. I wish I could say that it was because I was so busy but the truth is that I just grow lazy at times. On the 28th we went to do apartment inspections up/over to Ennerdale where two companionships live in different apartments in the same complex. It is a good 90 minute drive and none of it is very interesting. But meeting with the missionaries – we see them only two or three times a transfer – and getting to know them at least a little is one of the tender mercies of a senior mission.
On the way back to Potchefstroom we stopped in Parys and had a nice visit with sister Bobbi who we helped move to a new flat just a week ago. She loves her new flat and I think it is much nicer than her old one. After our visit we took the long way home by going on a route we had never traveled before and probably will not take again. I will have to take some pictures of the views along the way but if you have ever driven across Kansas you have a pretty good idea of what it is like. What is funny about that is I mentioned this to Mary as we were traveling and she told me that it was exactly what she was thinking at that time. I guess 58 years together – 56
The next day – Friday the 29th – we went to district meeting. Since this was the last one before transfers we kept up our tradition of taking the missionaries to McDonalds for lunch. Elder and Sister Dummer are now part of the tradition and shared the cost.
While we were inspecting the Ennerdale elder’s flat, the Zone Leaders dropped in on their way to the mission office to pick up supplies and mail. So I got a picture of elders Pedersen and Stilgoe bookending elders Flynn and Menendez. A few days later elders Pedersen and Flynn were transferred to new areas so it is kind of like the last picture of the 4 of them together. The Orange Farm elders – Dutson and Puis – also got a last picture as elder Puis was transferred.
On the board behind elder Otieno is the prediction squares – at the last district meeting the elders often make predictions about who is going to be transferred and where they will be serving. I predicted that no one was going to be transferred because all the companionships had only been together for a single transfer. It turned out I was wrong. Elder Lohmann is comfortably watching the predictions. You will notice he has his coat on because it is colder inside the building than it is outside.
Smiles all around – Mary, Elders Perez, a little piece of elder Larsen, Fidel, Graham and Lohmann. Then it was off to McDonalds for lunch with E/S Dummer and the missionaries.
Elders Fidel and Otieno with elder Larsen once again hidden. Finally I got a picture of elder Larsen with his famous smile. He was sitting next to a young lady who I approached and gave a passalong card. I then mentioned to elder Larsen that she lived in his area and he should get her name and phone number.
I was having some problems uploading pictures to the blog but it seems Jim fixed it so now I need to do a little catching up. Last Friday we inspected the Klerksdorp/Jouberton flat. It is a very nice stand alone house with lots of bedrooms, a big kitchen, and a large living room/dining room. For the most part the elders did a great job cleaning up for us. After the inspection we went to district meeting and for some reason I did not take a single picture. However as usual it was a spiritual experience as we discussed mission work in the district and how to improve member lessons so they want to be more involved in helping the missionaries.
The kitchen is much larger than ours as is the living room. Our flat is considered the nicest one in the mission but this has it beat for size. It helps that it owned by a member who lives next door.
Elder Otieno looks over the equipment list while Mary starts inspecting. Almost any flat we go into has lots of white shirts on racks being dried or ironed. The house is big enough that they can devote a complete room for this
The elders take their shoes off while inside. They can do this because much of the floor is carpeted. This is the main bathroom which also has a shower.
After district meeting we went to the Sandwich Baron for lunch. The Drummers could not join us because they had to go to an appointment in Jouberton. The food was very good and they had strips of bacon on the breakfast sandwich. I commented to the manager that we had never seen bacon in strips in any store. He told us that they got it special from a supplier in Joburg. As we were leaving I had to take a picture of the motorcycle used for delivery. It reminded me of the hundreds of them that we saw almost every day on our mission to Indonesia.
During the day we went visiting and at one of the homes we met this man with the great looking hat and smile. The person we were looking for was not home and the man did not speak very good English but he loved the picture I took. In the evening we were invited to have dinner with the Dummers. They came over to Potchefstroom and we went to an Ocean Basket restaurant that had delicious Kingsklip. Near the end of the meal they told us that this was their 46th anniversary! We were happy that we got to share it with them. During the day
On Thursday we made another trip up to Parys to help sister Bobbi with the last of her moving to her new flat and on the way home I saw this herd of Bontebok and took a picture. What I did not realize was that there was a nice looking Springbok lying in the grass who stood up just before I took the shot. We love to see the birds come to eat from the feeder and I was able to catch this beautiful yellow bird catching a little snack.
During the week Elders Perez, Lohmann and ourselves made the 30 mile trip up to the city of Parys (Parr – is) to help sister Bobbi move to her new flat. You can see how excited she was to have her picture taken.
The elders, myself and a young lady who works for sister Bobbi did most of the work because she is not well and of course still insists on helping. The elders took down her computer at the old flat and got it back running in the new one. I was very glad to let them do this because they have known computers all their lives and I think of them as tools.
I think the same about cellphones which is why I was very happy when elder Perez figured out how to make it so I get audio notices when a SMS comes in. I have had a number of people – including elder Lohmann try with out success. But in just minutes elder Perez had it happily chiming away. If you look at the elder’s legs you can see that they do not get a lot of time to lie around in the sun getting tans.
Of course when sister Bobbi moved her pug-nosed dog Louis came along. Louis thinks he is a human – only better – and sister Bobbi treats him that way. At the back of this picture you can see Paulina – sister Bobbi’s helper for the last 6 years. I told her she deserved a number of gold stars for lasting that long. Sister Bobbi laughed and agreed. Mary was happy to sit with and talk while the elders got some of the boxes emptied. BTW so was I.
One of the things we try to do is wish members happy birthday. We do not always manage to do this on the right day, but in sister Thulo’s case we did. I had to show a picture of our new hose pipe. Here you can get them cut to length and then you put on connectors. In this case it is 3/4″ in diameter and 25 meters long. I can not water the plants and lawn in our backyard and when we have a baptism I will take it to fill up the font!
After showing you all the birds we get, I decided to get a bird feeder so that we could have them all the time. Yes I put the top on crooked but I have since fixed that problem.