While we did not travel far, we did travel often this week. But each trip was well worth it.
Monday was special because we got to help one the elders in the district with a problem he was having. It was one of those times when he needed a parent or leader to talk to and he felt comfortable enough to talk to me. I felt good that we had established a relationship that made this possible. In the afternoon we drove into Ikageng for Mary to teach a couple of piano lessons. Unfortunately her students tend to either not practice, miss a planned lesson or both.
Tuesday we took care of a number of little things we did not get finished on Monday. It seems that we often have to take an extra p-day to do this.
One thing we did was to follow the elders to the panel beaters that was going to repair their car and then drop them off at the school. They spent the day walking around the township talking to people and seeing some of their investigators. We picked them up after their last meeting and took them back to their flat for the evening. They said that they enjoyed the chance to walk and meet people.
In the evening we got a call from sister Taylor telling us that they were in Joburg with 110 members from Botswana who were on a temple trip. She said they were staying over night and wondered if we could come up and have lunch with them. Since we had other reasons for going there, we said sure.
So we traveled up to Joburg on Wednesday where we turned in our car and expense reports for the month, got some supplies from physical facilities, got other supplies from CES, had conversations with the office couples, and said hello to president and sister Dunn.
The Taylors arrived and we followed them to our favorite local restaurant where we had a delicious lunch and lots of good discussion about our missions. They finally received a temporary work visa so they can now live in Botswana and not worry about the 90 day limit. Hopefully they will get a permanent visa before the temporary one runs out. They are about to be the only senior missionaries in Botswana which means they are going to be even busier than they are now.
After lunch we said goodbye and went to the distribution center near the temple. While Mary got the supplies she needed, I was just walking around when I ran into sister Heaton who I had not met before. She noticed my African tie and I found out she was the sister who had been taking tie orders from the senior couples. She asked if we could wait while she went and got the ties we and E/S Dummer had ordered.
While we were waiting under the lovely trees that overlook a beautiful Koi pond, a young man walked up and said hello. We did not recognize elder now brother Nkosi from the Durban mission who we served with for 4 1/2 months in Richards Bay. He is now married and is going to school near the temple. It is a true tender mercy to see the young elders and sisters we have served with mature and become fathers and mothers in faithful families.
The Heatons arrived with our orders and we were hurried off to try and beat the rush hour traffic that starts at about 4:00 – 4:30 here. We did not make it and so it took a long time to get through Johannesburg and on the road to home.
Our last action of the day was to drive to Ikageng and pick up the elders at one of the member’s home and took them to the flat. The picture above is elder Perez hurrying to finish his dinner before we took him home. The members of the branch enjoy feeding the elders. At the last zone training meeting the ZLs told the elders that President Dunn wants them to have 80 minutes to have dinner and a lesson with the members. Total kilometers traveled – 337
Thursday morning we picked up elders and took them with us to sister Bobbi’s. Elder Lohmann got her computer up and running. We did a lot of talking, shared the sacrament and she fixed us a very nice lunch.
Elder Lohmann worked diligently to get sister Bobbi’s computer and printer so she can get on line. While he was busy doing that elder Perez helped getting lunch ready. He turned out to be an effective salad maker.
We dropped the elders at their apartment and came home for a short time. Then it we traveled to Ikageng where Mary had a lesson with Kanye Lebeke. After the lesson, I took Mary to the office where she set up for Seminary. I picked up Viona’s children and took them to the office. Picked up the elders and took them to their car.
Spiritual experience of the day. I had felt that I should go see sister Renny Motha for a couple of days but it was always at a time when I thought she was not home. On the way back from dropping the elders at the panel beaters, I had a very strong impression that I should stop and see how she was. But I hesitated because I again thought she would not be there or if she was there it was not a good idea for me to see her without Mary or some other adult. However as I started to turn away from her house I got this very strong impression that I needed to go there.
When I entered the yard I found her sitting outside eating a chicken leg. I told her how I felt I needed to see her and find out how she was. She said that she had been praying about what she should do because her uncle was coming by and she felt he was going to want her to do something she really did not want to do. She was asking God for help and she said she felt she needed a blessing.
Just as I was about to start to give her the blessing her uncle arrived so he got to watch and listen as I blessed her. She received a strong blessing and had a big smile on her face when I finished. So the Lord does know each of us and will provide help if we have the faith.
After giving the blessing I drove back to the office where Mary was finishing up Seminary. I solved her problem with the internet and got her video up and running. They played go fish for activity night. Only three there for it and we need to try harder to get at least two more there.
By the time we were finished taking the students back to their homes, it was getting dark so we headed home. It was a busy but very special day for us. Total kilometers traveled - 157
Friday started early as we picked up sister Viona at 8:00 to take her to a school to see if she could get her children – Jacques and Shavoone – enrolled. It turned out that they had no room and the waiting list was already too long so she was resigned to the fact that they would have to be home schooled.
However while we were driving her to work, her daughter called and told her another school that she had gone to yesterday called and said they would be able to take the children – her prayers were answered.
Now to show how important their education is to her, the cost of the school is such that it will take almost all of her salary. That is why we are now praying that she will get a promotion at work so she has enough money for school and other things.
After we dropped her off at the university, we came home so Mary could take a short nap and hopefully get rid of her headache before we leave for district meeting.
We drove to Klerksdorp – a round trip of about 70 miles – to attend district meeting where, after the usual reports, we had a lesson on finding. Elder Otieno told us that he came from a tribe that were great fishermen and related how finding was much like fishing. Among other things Both Prime Time and Walkabout – programs that were used in the Durban mission were discussed. Elders Perez and Lohmann talked about their success in finding father led families using these program. We were also happy to hear elder Otieno telling of the success they had with display booth – 50 names with some of them father led families who were immediately interested. I think one of the reasons the Lord sent us here was to help the missionaries use these programs to find those who the Lord has prepared to hear the gospel. We brought double chocolate Rusks as the treat. Only a couple of the elders had ever had these very popular twice baked biscuits and they soon disappeared.
Elder Larsen did a credible job of leading the music and I caught E/S Dummer and elder Otieno singing.
After the meeting we had lunch at Sandwich Baron with the Dummers. We were able to talk about the tri-branch training meeting that will be held in Jouberton tomorrow, share some missionary experiences, and we got to hear about the congregation that calls itself ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” that moved here as a group from the Congo, teach from the Book of Mormon, but does not have any one who is actually a member of record. The Dummers had attended one of their Sunday meetings and found that it was nothing like a regular LDS meeting as it included a band with drums.
By the time we arrived back in Potch Mary had to spend the rest of the afternoon making 12 dozen cookies for the training meeting. Total Ks traveled 122
Saturday we picked up some members and took them to the school to wait for the taxi to arrive to take everyone to Klerksdorp for the special training meeting conducted by president and sister Dunn.
We asked people to be at the school by 8:30 so we could be sure to leave by 9:00. Unfortunately president KK told the taxi driver to be there by 9:00 and he was not. Also he could not be reached by phone. Finally at about 9:10 president KK went to the taxi rink to get another taxi and found the original one who said he had to get something repaired. All of this meant we arrived at the Jouberton chapel 40 minutes late and missed part of the training. But the leaders did get most of it and just being together with the leaders and teachers from the other branches was worth the effort.After the training there was lots of pizza to eat and plenty of good conversation.
Mary is talking to the branch clerk, brother Louw, with president Kwaikwai in the background. Two of the branch missionaries – Antoinette and Simon Tlotleng – with the branch mission leader – Johannes Xhego.
Sister Thulo and sister Williams wait patiently for the taxi to arrive. The great group of leaders and teachers from the Potchefstroom branch with the taxi.
Elder and Sister Dummer did a wonderful job organizing the training meeting and getting all the food. The members and missionaries went through a lot of pizzas, apples and cookies.
President and sister Dunn take lots of pictures and post them on their blog. Three of the lovely young single adults sisters from the branch enjoy the food, sunshine, and conversation with friends.
Because he does not live in Ikageng We needed to drive brother Louw home to Potch. This allowed us take a break before driving back to Klerksdorp for dinner with the branch presidents, their wives and president and sister Dunn.
Back at Klerksdorp we picked up president KK who was visiting his brother at work and headed for the restaurant where we were to meet the others. This started a real adventure that was rather like going on “Mr Toad’s Wild Ride” at Disneyland.
Elder Dummer had given us and president KK very detailed instructions on how to get to where we would eat. However it turned out that when he said that we needed to turn at the McDonalds intersection as a starting place he was mistaken. We really needed to start at a different intersection. So basically we got lost and drove around looking for the hotel with the restaurant. At one point I turned to a street that appeared to be a regular two way street. Unfortunately it was a major one way street and I was not going the right way. Once I realized those cars rapidly coming at us were not going to get out of our way I flipped a quick u-turn and got out of their way. By the time we finally found the hotel and the restaurant I had managed to turn down two more one way streets – none of which were marked as such at their intersections – and had to turn around. Since there was no damage, it was funny enough that we were all laughing about our wild ride.
A nice group picture of the branch presidents, their wives, the senior missionaries with President and Sister Dunn before we went in and had dinner. One of the items on the menu was chicken on a skewer. When it was delivered the skewer was suspended over the plate.
Dinner was delicious – Mary and I had salmon. We were surprised at the huge portion that was served. I think they were twice as large as any we had ever had. However the best part of the meal was getting to sit and talk to the Dunns, Robbins, and Mogapis. As usual with meals in South Africa it went on for about 3 hours but the time passed quickly as we talked and ate.
We said goodbye to the couples and the Dunns and then drove once again back to Ikageng and Potch. We took president KK to his home and then got back to our flat at about 9:00. It was a long but very rewarding day. Total Ks – 243.
It was a very normal Sunday. This means we left our flat about 7:00 am and picked up some members on our way to the school for church. While I helped get things ready in the room we use as a chapel, opened the toilets, and wrote up the agenda for sacrament meeting, Mary went out and picked up a few more people. Since a number of our regulars were not going to be around – school is out for the week so most of the university students went home and others had other things to do – she only had to make one trip instead of the usual two or three.
We had a brief branch presidency meeting that mainly dealt with what we were going to do about conference broadcasts next weekend and what to do for priesthood since neither of the members of the elder presidency were in town.
Fast and testimony went over because for some reason many of those who bore their testimony preached – including elder Lohmann who will be heading home before we meet again for a sacrament meeting. But it was a good meeting and I think people shared the spirit of testimonies and stories.
At presidency meeting president Kwaikwai mentioned that he would like to have a more reverent chapel as it is Holy ground as the Lord explained to Moses. I took some time at the end of the meeting explaining this to the congregation and so they exited quietly and talked outside. They were also quite reverent at the start, probably because the presidency and the elders did not go around talking to people before or after the meeting. We were to set the example.
During priesthood the two men who were baptized last week had the Aaronic Priesthood conferred upon them and they were ordained to the office of priest. This gives three prospective elders to prepare, bless and serve the sacrament. After the first one was ordained, president Kwaikwai invited him to join in the circle for the other ordination. In the future he wants the priests to perform this ordinance for any new members. He believes that it is important that the priests have the chance to have the opportunity to learn their duty and use their priesthood.
In the evening we had elders Perez and Lohmann over for dinner and to watch the Sunday morning conference session. Mary prepared a great dinner of beef stroganoff, rice, steam carrots and green beans, and KFC mini-loaves. I think the elders really enjoyed the meal and we were glad to share the evening with them. The quiet day – Total Ks – only 35! Total Ks for the week – about 900 or about 540 miles.
The flowers around our house are in bloom. The white roses are along the driveway through the complex. The yellow flowers are part of a curtain of them that hangs over one of the fences in our back yard. While walking this week I came by this house. At first, since this and other windows feature crosses, I thought it was a church. However there is no indication that it is anything but a regular residence. It is very beautiful and well maintained. The next time I walk that way I am going to take more pictures.