We Call it Camping….

Tuesday we went to the mall so I could return something and Mary could do some shopping. While we were there I saw this sign in the window of an outdoor store much like Out N Back. I have always thought that if you had the supplies and equipment to spend a week camping you were certainly prepared for anything that would require a 72 hour supply.IMG_9375 IMG_9378

We went to the school where Mary helped sisters Thulo and Williams to prepare to have their parents sealed in the temple. I took three pictures and in everyone sister Williams closed her eyes. I was along to solve problems which I was happy to do the couple of times it was needed.

IMG_9379 IMG_9380While Mary was busy with genealogy and later piano lessons, I visited a member. While on my way there I saw this young man patting the springbok mural on the school wall. Who can pass up taking a picture of such a cute child. Sister Lebo is Mary’s most devoted student and is doing very well for only 5 weeks of lessons. After the lesson we drove her home and found out that she had volunteered at game reserves in the area and knew the Faan Meintjes Reserve we went to yesterday.

P-Day Game Drive Plus…

We decided to spend the morning on a game drive at the nature reserve outside of Klerksdorp. It was an adventure just getting there as we went the back way instead of going through Klerksdorp. Turning off the N12 we had nice road for about half the way and then we found ourselves on decent gravel roads. At least it prepared us for the unpaved roads we would find in the reserve.

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In the two drives we have taken at this reserve we have only seen one other vehicle that might have been on a drive. I do not think it is a very popular place to go – at least not during the week. They have cabins, an educational centre (England you know) and a really nice picnic area – none of which were occupied.

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As we started our drive we got this wonderful view of valley below. It had been foggy on the way to the reserve but it was burning off an you can see the blue in the sky. It was perfect weather for the drive – warm but not really hot. We were greeted by a good size herd of impalas. Later talking to the warden at the gate he was surprised that we saw this many impalas together because the week before he had taken 4 drives and only saw an occasional impala. So it is with game drives  - sometimes you see lots of animals an at others they seem to be all hiding.

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We saw lots of gemsbok but this big fellow was all alone and gave us a good looking over as we drove by. Zebras are alway fun to find – we did not see any by themselves but these three were among a herd of Hartebeest. I do not remember seeing any hartebeest on our last drive.

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We finally found the giraffes.There are 7 in the reserve and I think we saw 5 of them. Most at a distance at first but then we found the road drove right next to them so we got a good look and pictures.

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While taking pictures of some distant wildebeests, I noticed this interesting looking tree sculpture.

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A herd of gemsbok and a zebra among some wildebeests. I never got a good shot of the wildebeests.

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The male South African Shelduck was swimming while the female was just enjoying the sunshine.

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There are no elephants in the reserve but when we got home I went to the Tembe webcam and found this rather good size herd of them around the water hole. Notice the really young one in the lower right hand corner of the left hand picture. The herd contained all ages from large males to this little one…if some the size of a small car can be called little.

Odds and Ends…

A couple of weeks ago President and sister Dunn came to our flat so the President could interview the Ikageng district. While they were here sister Dunn took these pictures and I borrowed them off her blog so we would have them. IMG_1240 IMG_1223

Mary, elders Peterson, Barton, Oldroyd, Alvial, DiRuscio, President Dunn, elder Todd and me after the missionaries and the Dunns had been out witnessing and having lunch at the Moori River Mall. While President Dunn interviewed the elders those who were waiting got to watch the Priesthood session of conference on Mary’s laptop. Elders Todd, Alvial, Peterson, Barton and DiRusico bookend Mary.

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Here is the group with Sister Dunn. I think elder Avail is pinching elder Barton but it may be elder Oldroyd who is the culprit. We finally finished the puppy picture only to find one piece was missing. We have only had a piece missing in two of the many puzzles we have done and both of them included dogs…

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The other day I took a picture of the new welcome signs that have been put up on the concrete sculptures that have stood empty for the first year we were here. I took a picture of another one on last Friday but it was surrounded by lots of other signs. This on is right by where Ross comes into the N12 on the edge of Ikageng. On Saturday the heavens really opened up and poured out rain. While we were stopped to get fuel I took this picture of the many splashes that can be seen  as well as the people seeking shelter. With winter coming the rain will soon almost stop – going from an average of 15 days a month in Autumn to 3 days a month in winter.

Every Sunday is Beautiful in Potchefstroom

Once again we were blessed with great weather as the clouds parted and the yard was filled with sunshine. Before, between and after classes the members gather together to talk, take lots of pictures, and just enjoy the warm sun.

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Sister Kujane with Adam Lebona and sister Molebogeng Ratema who has been called to serve in the Zambia mission. Menzi Ramosena with sister Kgolango (Meisi) Ratema.

IMG_9309 IMG_9310Everyone likes to pose for pictures…Jacque Kruger looks on as Papa Thulo and Renny Motha clown for their picture.

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The elders quorum presidency – Tinashe and president Ncapayi – hold a casual meeting. The two Ratema cousins pose for their picture.

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Meisi was busy taking lots of pictures while others are just enjoying talking. Brother David speaking with Simon on the left and president KK speaking to Gomoleno on the right. Gomoleno is scheduled to be baptized next Sunday.IMG_9314 IMG_9315

The two newest members of the branch – Joshua and Adrian Gerber share a picture with elders Avial and Barton. Sister Thulo stopped for me to take her picture.

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Sister Merriam was all in brown today. She is second counselor in the Primary presidency. Omphile Mokate holds the Thulo young man while sister Lebo helps out.IMG_9319 IMG_9320Brothers Johannes and Simon got together for this picture. Brother Johannes is the branch mission leader and brother Simon is one of the branch missionaries. A group of YSA were gathered together so I took their picture. Sisters Amo, Ratema, Renny and Lebo are with brothers Omphile and Tinashe. In the middle is brother Ncapayi who is not a YSA but looks right at home among them.

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Sister Molebogeng Ratema and Omphile and sisters Kujane, Williams and Mogapi had a planning meeting.

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While their mothers were busy planning the Kujane and Williams children played with Mary’s iPad. I was happy to see the youngest Williams granddaughter was more interested in reading her Barbie book than playing with electronics.

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However the youth get it naturally as you can see here a group of women gather around to look at all the pictures sister Ratema took today. Sisters Ratema and Kujane pose in the sunshine for one last picture before heading home.

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Mary starts for the car with another Sister Mary and her granddaughter. Sister Mary is a counselor in the Relief Society presidency.

Zone Development Meeting – Seminary – etc.

We could not remember if this Friday was Zone Development meeting or a regular District Meeting. So I called our elders and they told us it was District Meeting. As we were on our way to Klerksdorp for the meeting we got an SMS from the ZLs saying the Zone meeting would be held in Sharpeville. Luckily we were not too far down the road so we made a U-turn and headed for Sharpeville. Along the way we caught up with the elders from Klerksdorp/Jouberton and followed them because we did not know where we were going. It turned out they did not either so we ended up taking a while longer than we should but everyone made it.IMG_9276 IMG_9278

The Elders in front of us. Elder Peterson directed the singing of the opening song. IMG_9279 IMG_9280

Elder Savage – trained by elder Clegg – played the piano. During a break Elder Todd talked to Mary while elder Peterson looks on.

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Elder Turouskis watches as elder Andritiana plays. The ZLs had an activity planned. It is called 30 seconds but they did it with a twist. Instead of being a race against the clock they had two wrapped candy bars and while one team tried to guess the answer to the clues the other team had to unwrap the candy bar and them eat it with a knife and fork. To make it harder the one working on the candy bar had socks on their hands. Since the whole Zone was sitting down it allowed me to take a picture with most of them being seen.

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Our faithful ZLS – elders Tekurio and Togiatomai – or elders T2 and T1.IMG_9286 IMG_9287Elder Oldroyd with his mouth full of chocolate.

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Elders Carter and Barton look at the clues

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Elders Barton and Savage.

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Elders Barton and Peterson.

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This was elder Andritiana last meeting with the zone as he is heading home a little early. The ZLs asked him to bear his testimony. On the way home I took this picture of the new greeting signs that have gone up on the concrete sculptures at the edges of the city. This one is surrounded by lots of other signs but a few days later I took one of another sign and it is in a post above.

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After a busy morning and driving 200 plus Ks we got home for 40 minutes before leaving for the office so Mary could teach Seminary and have an activity. Unfortunately only three showed up but they had a good time learning, playing and eating.

 

Picture a Wednesday…

We were out visiting on Wednesday and I started taking some pictures. IMG_9271 IMG_9272This little charmer will be a year old on April 30th so we will share a birthday…I am a little older. We stopped by to see sister Mary so I got a picture of the two Marys together as they looked over the good size garden that the one has growing in her yard.IMG_9273 IMG_9274

We stopped by the orphanage to drop off some donations from the branch. I started to take a picture of three young ones happily playing together. One of the women who works at the orphanage decided to rearrange them for a better picture and the little girl in the middle did not like it at all. They are building on to the orphanage so they can have a nursery for younger children. Lolo and George are doing a wonderful service by giving these lost little ones a place to live and be loved. I noticed that the brick layer used a line to make sure the layers were straight and then pretty much ignored it when he was laying a brick so the layers are not quite straight.

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I had to make a run over to Ikageng to open up the school for the self-sufficiency class. However when I got there sister Kruger and Ncapayi found out that the other sister who was supposed to be there had to cancel so since they both live in Promosa they decided they could just as easily hold it there. I took this picture of these two dedicated women before I headed back home. I managed to get this picture of two cape sparrows and a yellow weaver having breakfast.

Welcome, Welcome Sabbath Morning

 

Another beautiful Sabbath at the Potchefstroom branch. With vacation time coming to an end, there were over 50 in attendance to share the sacrament, lessons and of course wonderful fellowship between and after the block. Members of the branch got a surprise when president Kwaikwai announced from the pulpit that he was going to be married and sealed in the temple on Friday April 24th.

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Saturday – Time for a Missionary Booth

We have not had a missionary information booth for a while so Saturday the missionaries and members of the branch set up across from the police station and for three hours talked to people passing about the gospel and offered to deliver a free Book of Mormon or DVD. It is not only a great missionary tool – it certainly beats door to door finding – but it also allows members of the branch to bear their testimonies of the gospel.

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Elders Barton and Avial ‘struggled’ to carry these 6 cups out to the car. They proved to be such a burden that they didn’t take them out of the trunk when they were setting up. Sister Kujane and her daughter Thato were great helps as was Papa Thulo who is one of the Teachers in the branch.

IMG_9247 IMG_9248Brother David Rampai is always happy to help at the booth…he has been doing it since before he was baptized. Brother Simon Tlotleng is a branch missionary who came to help. The elders worked together to explain about the gospel to this man.

IMG_9249 IMG_9250Our dear friend sister Antoinette Tlotleng forgot about her aching shoulder and spent the whole three hours fearlessly stopping people to tell them about the joy the gospel brings into her life.IMG_9252 IMG_9245Sister Lebo joined the booth – she is Mary’s piano student. I am not sure what Papa is trying to point out. These unusual yellow flowers reminded us of firepots but the the plant itself is quite different. Whatever they are they brought a wonderful bit of color to the mall landscaping.

Friday – District Meeting and Seminary

Fridays are great because we get a chance to be with other missionaries who we see only once a week or less. This District Meeting was great because the Zone Leaders came over for it. Elder Togiatomai and the new ZL elder Tekurio. Elders Barton and Alvial showed up with matching ties to show companionship unity.

IMG_9222 IMG_9223 IMG_9226 IMG_9229 IMG_9230 IMG_9233Elder Oldroyd continues to be enthusiastic in his calling as district leader and this weeks lesson was on how to help your companion regain the Greenie Fire. There was a good discussion about what a companion can do but most important was to love him.

IMG_9236 IMG_9238Since the zone leaders were there we took another  district photo or two. They love crazy pictures.

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After the meeting they devoured Mary’s brownies and then adjourned to the parking lot for handing out of mail. Elder DiRuscio got a large package from home and lots of letters. The Italians scored again.

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Later Mary held Seminary with a limited number of students. Hopefully now that the vacation time is over the class will return to normal size.