Sisters On Sunday and Other Things

I almost forgot to put in some pictures from Sunday the 19th. After sacrament meeting the sisters watched the Women’s Conference while the men watched the Priesthood session. It was an interesting day for me because except for sacrament meeting president Kwaikwai had to go to work and the second counselor was at school so I was kept rather busy seeing things got set up, ran somewhat smoothly and then cleaned up. It was a time when I was grateful for great missionaries, a fine branch clerk and supportive members.

oct14 - Perez setting up Oct14 - Sister Brummer cleaning

The elders and others help set up the large classroom as our chapel. Sister Brummer has been a mainstay in the branch for many years and she pitches in and helps get the Relief Society room and chapel ready.

oct14 - PH meeting Oct14 - Lovely RS LadiesThe men enjoyed watching the Priesthood session. After the meeting I wanted a picture of all the sisters. Mary than reminded me that there were three young ladies who also watched but were not included in the picture.

oct14 - Friend, Shavonne, Dolly OCt14 - Our white rose bushThe young lady on the left was with us for the first time. She was invited by the Shavonne who is herself an investigator. The sister in pink was just baptized about a month ago. So you see the branch is growing through missionary work. Since there was space for one more picture I included one of the white roses in our backyard.

Richards Bay 2009-10

Through FaceBook we keep in touch with many of the people and missionaries that we have met and served with from around the world. This morning when I accessed our iPhoto gallery, it opened to pictures from our first mission to South Africa and each one brought back great memories but also some sadness.

Aug 2009 - Mary and Pres Malinga SA 2009-10 -Children at Creche

Mary with then president Malinga. You only have to look at that smile to know what kind of man he is. We had a great relationship. As I helped him learn his calling he started calling me coach. These children are from a creche that was renovated by Hafens and Bartholomews as they served in the area as senior missionaries.

Mary in Blue - So Africa 2010 Mary with Never Smiles Nlova girl - 2010

This is one of my favorite pictures of my beautiful companion and her great smile. The skirt and blouse she is wearing were made for her in Jakarta when we served there. Neither Mary nor the young lady are smiling. Mary was teaching an English lesson to her mother and sister. Unfortunately we learned that the mother died some time after we were released.

Aug 2009 - Mokopotsa and Bike Oct 2009 - Sis Nzama and grandchild who never smilesElder Mokopotsa got a lot of practice repairing the tires on his bike. The elders would ride along the small trails that were shortcuts between areas and were often covered with broken beer bottles which of course punctured the tires. I tried to get them to walk there bikes when they got to those trails and that would probably solve their problem. I am afraid it did not take.

The last picture is of the wonderful sister Nzama and her granddaughter who I never could get to smile. I must have a couple of dozen pictures with her in them and only one has even a hint of a smile. But sister Nzama’s smile made up for it. We were very sad when just days before we were to head home sister Nzama passed. We were able to offer condolences to the family but we were home before the funeral.

So those are the memories I relived this morning…a picture is worth a 1000 words.

 

Transfers Part 3 – The District, The Zone, Old Friends

Oct 14 - Trans - Perez, Liera - fuzzy Oct 14 - Trans - Mayende, Ramillarijaona

Oct 14 - Trans - Mukasa, Graham

Wouldn’t you know that the only fuzzy picture of the transfer slides would be our own elder Perez and his new companion elder Liera. Elder Perez is also our new district leader. I am not ever going to even make an attempt at pronouncing elder Mayende’s new companion. I was very happy to know that he is use to being called elder Rami! We have a number of missionaries from Madagascar serving here in South Africa and all of their names seem to be 10 letters or more. Elder Mukasa joins elder Graham in the Klerksdorp area.

Oct 14 - Trans - George, Reese Oct 14 - Trans - Kankunen, Hentunen Oct 14 - Trans - Whitesides, Rogers Oct 14 - Trans - May StilgoeElder Reese joins elder George as the new Vaal zone leaders. Two Finns are now serving together in Sebokeng 2 – they were very excited when this was announced. The big surprise was elder Rogers was moved back into the Vaal Zone and will serve with elder Whitesides. Earlier I posted the picture of elder Stilgoe who will train elder May in Ennerdale.

Oct 14 - Trans - Koyle, Otieno Oct 14 - Trans - Larsen, Saunders

We were sorry to see elder Otieno leave but our loss is Springs gain where he will serve as a zone leader with elder Koyle. Ever smiling elder Larsen is now the district leader in the Diepkloof area. I talked to him about training his district in Prime Time, Walk-about, and of course street displays. All of these he knows works well as he tried them in Klerksdorp. Here is a transfer day picture of him and his new companion.

IMG_6373

So ends another transfer!

Transfers Part 2 – The New Missionaries and Their Trainers

As I mentioned in my other post about transfers I do not post transfer information until the missionaries have a chance to write home and tell their parents about who they have as a new companion, where they will serve, and any new calling they might have.

IMG_6281 IMG_6283 IMG_6284 IMG_6285 IMG_6286 IMG_6287 IMG_6288 IMG_6289

 

Above are the seven new elders with their trainers and where they will serve. Unfortunately none are coming our way. New missionaries tend to be assigned somewhat close to the mission home until they are trained and acclimatized.

 

Oct 14 - Trans - Asay, Bergman - Tsakane 1 Oct 14 - Trans - Manuma, Allen - GermistonOct 14 - Trans - Dunns, Manuma, Allen - GermistonOct 14 - Trans - May StilgoeOct 14 - Trans - Nicotra, Santoro - Roodepoort

 

Unfortunately I only got pictures of four of the new missionaries and their companions. But I am sure that President and Sister Dunn will soon have all seven of them on their blog.

 

 

Into Each Life…Saturday and Sunday

Saturday reminded us that there are days when nothing seems to work out the way you planned it. Every meeting, piano lesson, and visit fell through. I did manage to get some things done at the office while Mary was waiting for a piano student who did not show up. I found out on Sunday that he had gone to his father after agreeing to the lesson earlier in the day.

However Sunday made up for Saturday.

oct14 - Perez setting up Oct14 - Sister Brummer cleaning

 

oct14 - PH meeting

Three recently baptized men administered the sacrament and then two of them spoke. How wonderful it is to see how the gospel changes lives. Instead of Sunday School, Relief Society and Priesthood lessons, we showed the Priesthood and Women sessions of conference.

Oct14 - RS Ladies  oct14 - Friend, Shavonne, Dolly

After the meetings I felt that I wanted a picture of the great women – young and old – that faithfully come to their meetings each week. Mary pointed out that I had not included the three young women who also watched the session. The two on the right are not yet members and Dolly on the right was baptized just a short time ago.

In the evening I went out with president Kwaikwai and visited some sisters who we have missed lately in our meeting. Since I do not understand either Tswana or Xhosa I missed out on some of the conversation but we did talk some in English and I believe that they will start coming again. President Kwaikwai has only been a member for 4 years but has the wisdom  and the spirit of someone who has been in the Church for many more years. He also has a great love for the members and it shows when he speaks with and to them. It is a joy to serve with him and learn from him.

OCt14 - Our white rose bush a mal3

Whoever planted flowers in our compound had a great love for white roses. This is the large bush of them in our backyard. Elder Shane Webb is our grandson serving in  the Spain Malaga mission. The smile on his face comes from the love that he has for his mission, the people he teaches and for the Lord. He and our granddaughter, Sister McKay Pier. will both be home before Christmas. We are looking forward to seeing them both when we return in August of next year. Since we were on a mission when he got his call and left for Spain we will have not seen Shane for close to four years.

Birds, Golden Trees, Children and District Meeting

The world around us is so interesting and often we are too busy to enjoy all the wonderful sights that the Lord has provided for us. Here are a few I took recently as we traveled around the area and while we were over in Klerksdorp for the first district meeting of this transfer.

Oct 14 - Trans - Red Bird 2 Oct 14 - Trans - Red Bird 3 RUFFLED

I have shown pictures of the red headed wren that visits our back yard. In the left hand one his neck and head feathers are laid back. In the right one the feathers are standing up signifying he is angry or disturbed.

oct14 - golden tree distance oct14 - golden tree oct14 - golden tree close oct14 - children

 

Outside of Klerksdorp chapel is these very large trees and Mary and I noticed the golden seed pods that at first made us think of a pine tree, but you can see from the green leaves around the pods or cones that it is regular flat leaf tree. In the bright sunshine they are quite beautiful. These three children were playing in a yard where president Kwaikwai went to visit. The little guy in the middle started crying when he first saw me. My guess he does not get to see too many white people. But after I gave them all a small treat I was accepted.

oct14 - Liera, Perez DM oct14 - DM activity 2

 

On Friday we went to district meeting. It was the first one for elder Perez as district leader and he did a fine job. He asked elder Liera, his new companion to lead the music. After the meeting elder Dummer had us do a trust activity. One person stands in the center of the rest of us, crosses his hands, and closes his eyes. Those in the circle push him around and if he moves his feet it means he did not trust the others to keep him from falling.

Oct14 - DM - activity Dummer, mukasa, Ramillarijaona, Liera, Perez, Graham, Mayende

 

I forgot to take a district picture but the one of the right has elders Dummer, Mukasa, Ramillarijaona, Liera, Perez (unfortunately mostly hidden but you can see him clearly in the picture on the left where he is in the middle of the circle), Graham, and Mayende.

After district meeting we went to the Pancake House for lunch. While E/S Dummer and ourselves set at one table the six elders had time to talk about missionary work, exchanges and other things before their food arrived.

Transfers and we say a final Goodbye to elder Lohmann

Tuesday was transfer day. I wish everyone could have a chance to attend a transfer meeting. It usually starts with either the arrival of those missionaries who are leaving or those who are arriving meeting with the mission president and his wife. In the Johannesburg mission most of the missionaries who are coming in are in the MTC which is on the same grounds as the Mission Office. So only occasionally are any arriving missionaries met at the airport. On Monday afternoon the departing missionaries come into Joburg and spend the evening at the mission home. President and sister Dunn’s blog (http://dunnsinjoburg.blogspot.com) has pictures and comments about the evening and it is worth visiting.

Oct 14 - Trans - Elder Thompson Oct 14 - Trans - Sis Allred Oct 14 - Trans - Elder Hansen Oct 14 - Trans - New Missionaries - everyone takes a picture

On Tuesday morning the new missionaries leave the MTC and spend a few hours getting oriented by the office staff and interviewed by President Dunn. It is only after these interviews are the final decisions about which of the elders who having been selected as trainers will train which missionary.

While this is going on the elders who are involved in transfers start to arrive from everywhere around the mission. Those who had to drive 4-5 hours probably came in last night and stayed with other missionaries.

Oct 14 - Trans - APS and others Oct 14 - Trans - Mayende, Otieno, froend

The APs are there early to welcome the new missionaries who are in getting oriented by the senior couples. Elder Mayende with elder Otieno and a friend. Elder Otieno is being transferred so elder Mayende will soon have a new companion.

Oct 14 - Trans - Hallamann, Rodgers Oct 14 - Trans - Johnson

 

Elder Hallman is much taller than our friend elder Rogers who served in Ikageng with elders Bird and Kelman. Once again elder Johnson showed up at transfer meeting. I have mentioned before that I think we have seen elder Johnson, with the great looking red hair, at just about every meeting we have gone to in Joburg. He was not being transferred or getting a new companion. He just needed to bring another elder in for some medical attention.

Oct 14 - Trans - VB Game Oct 14 - Trans - New Guys

Then after the traditional volleyball game which was one for the first time ever by the arriving missionaries, everyone gathers in the chapel for the transfer meeting.

Oct 14 - Trans - The Board Oct 14 - Trans - Count DownAlthough only 4 missionaries were leaving and 7 coming in, 39 – I think that is right – companionships were involved in the transfer. This is because district leaders, zone leaders, and even APs are reassigned as the spirit works through the mission president. All of the presidents we have served under have mentioned how often that near transfer day in the middle of the night he would wake up and feel a need to change the transfer board – the board on the left is what the mission is like before the changes. Sometimes this happens just the night before the actual meeting. I remember one time when it looked like the board was ready to go and then the APs came back from a meeting with the president and put it back as it was before any transfers and the whole process started again from scratch.

The APs conduct the meeting. First of course comes the opening hymn, prayer and all the missionaries recite “My Purpose” as is written in PMG. It is an amazing experience to hear a chapel full of missionaries sing together “Ye Elders of Israel” and then together say “My Purpose.”

The arriving elders are given an opportunity to bear a short testimony.

Oct 14 - Trans - Avial - Chile Oct 14 - Trans - Bergman - Sweden

Elder Avial is from Chile and elder Bergman is from Sweden

Oct 14 - Trans - Di Ruscio - Italy Oct 14 - Trans - Manuma - Samoa

Elder Di Ruscio comes to South Africa from Italy, while elder Manuma is from beautiful Samoa.

Oct 14 - Trans - May - Us Oct 14 - Trans - Santoro - Italy

Elder May is the only new missionary from the United States. Elder Santoro is also from Italy.

Oct 14 - Trans - Tekurio Oct 14 - Trans - Tekurio

The final new missionary is elder Tekurio is from French Polynesia and knew no English when he arrived at the MTC three weeks ago. However he has a great spirit about him and I am sure the Lord will help him become proficient so he can share that spirit and testimony with those he teaches.

Oct 14 - Trans - Bird, Luthy IMG_6260 IMG_6333 IMG_6348

In the heading I mention that it is our final goodbye to elder Lohmann, but elder Benjamin Bird was serving in Ikageng when we arrived here and it was also time for him to be released. Before the meeting I took a picture of him with elder Luthy, another missionary who was being released. and then there is one final one of the two of us.

After all the new companionships are displayed, the departing missionaries get ‘pinned’ with a well earned South Africa pin by the mission mother and a hug from the mission president. Then a final farewell testimony before the mission song is sung the prayer given and the meeting is dismissed so the missionaries can move all their bedding and other gear from one car to another and after more pictures, hugs, etc. the leave for their new areas with new companions.

IMG_6337 IMG_6336 IMG_6338  IMG_6349 IMG_6353IMG_6374

These are the last pictures of elder Lohmann. He gets his pin and hug, shares his testimony, sings the mission song for the last time as a Johannesburg elder, and one final picture with us before giving him a big hug and wishing him God’s speed. We then got into our car and drove back to Potchefstroom filled with a special spirit that comes from spending about 4 hours with some amazing missionaries.

I will post the new companionships next Monday or Tuesday after the missionaries have a chance to write home to tell their families about the changes. I do not want to take any of the surprises – and there were some – away from the missionaries.

 

Oct 5 – 12, 2014 – 5 Crowns, Seminary, Flat Inspections, Conference and Elder Lohmann’s Last Week…

We had a good week that kept us busy most days. Our Monday p-day was topped off by inviting the Ikageng elders over for dinner and a rousing game of 5 Crowns. Since this is a game that we learned from the Ladysmith Wilson when we served with them in the Durban mission it was nice to play it again in South Africa. Mary even broke out a brand new deck for the occasion. Mary won the game, elder Lohmann is a serious game player, while elder Perez is the elder Perez who we love.

6oct14 - Mary cards 6oct14 - Lohmann cards 6oct14 -Perez Cards Orange Park KitchenTuesday and Wednesday were quiet days with Mary having piano lessons and getting her Seminary lesson ready for Thursday. Wednesday night we traveled to Klerksdorp where Mary and brother Omphile had a Seminary and Institute training meeting. I love elder Mdletshe because he plans his meetings to be just an hour long and then he is on his way back to Joburg.

On Thursday things started to get busier as we drove over an hour to Ennerdale to do 2 flat inspections. We have been instructed to take lots of pictures so at Zone Conferences the cleanest and the messiest flats can get ‘awards.’ The Orange Park flat was fairly neat but because they had exchanges the day before it was a little less organized than usual. Above is their kitchen which was neat and clean – including the fridge. I think we finally have the elders attention about keeping their freezers defrosted.

Orange Park Study DeskStilgoe, DutsonTheir study room and desk were about average. Elder Stilgoe from Ennerdale was on exchanges with elder Dutson of Orange Park.

Ennerdale Living room Ennerdale study desk

This is the Orange Park living room. Many of the flats have weights in them. Elder Stilgoe’s Orange Park study desk with the British flag proudly hangs. I have other pictures of elder Stilgoe and his flag.

Pius and Dlamini 9oct14 - Seminary

Elder Pius serves in Ennerdale with elder Stilgoe while elder Dlamini serves with elder Dutson. After our flat inspections we got back to Potchefstroom in time to get to the school to have Seminary. Mary had a record number of students and president Kwaikwai dropped in to be part of this historic occasion. Another great thing about this is that two of them are investigators and two of them are very recent converts. Hopefully the number will continue to grow.

9oct - Ikageng Flat - Lohmann - Tie9oct14 - Ikageng Flat - Perez Bed

On Friday we started the day inspecting the Ikageng elder’s flat. It was beautiful – the best I have ever seen. Since elder Lohmann will be leaving for home on Tuesday – that is he is dying here in Ikageng – we gave him a South African Big Five tie to remember us by. I think he told us how much he loved the tie every time he saw us. He also wore it for the next three days! He is a great missionary and we will really miss him but we are sure he will go back to Germany and help the Church grow.

10Oct14 DM - Sis Dummer Lead 210Oct14 DM - Perez, GrahamElder Otieno asked elder Lohmann to conduct and teach his last district meeting. He asked sister Dummer to lead the music and elders Perez and Graham joyfully joined in. Elder Lohmann taught about how to best use the First Vision in teaching investigators

10Oct14 DM - Us, Lohmann, Perez 10Oct14 DM - Us and Dist 3

One last picture with a great team of Ikageng missionaries – elders Lohmann and Perez. Some one mentioned that we are arranged from shortest to tallest. Then comes district pictures. Us in the back with elders Otieno, Larsen, and Perez while elders Graham, Lohmann and Mayende. It was elder Mayende’s birthday so he got the usual song and the Dummer’s brought ice cream bars for everyone. Not just any bars but Magnum ‘Death by Chocolate’ bars.

10Oct14 DM - the Dist - Dummers

Then it was the Dummer’s turn. On Sunday we learned that besides elder Lohmann going home, elder Otieno will become a zone leader and elder Larsen will be moved and become a district leader. Which means once again none of the companionships will be the same after transfer meeting. We will miss elders Otieno and Larsen but we know they will do a great job where ever they are called to serve.

10Oct14 DM - McDon - Miss10Oct14 DM - Graham, Larsen, Lohmann, Otieno

Of course the last district meeting means the traditional Last Lunch at McDonalds. E/S Dummer and ourselves treat the missionaries to lunch. It has become so much a tradition of the district that I am sure it will be with us until we leave. We are happy to share this meal with the great missionaries in the district and we know they appreciate it. However I am not sure they appreciate the pictures I take.

10Oct14 DM - Otieno, MPerez Happy Meal

We kidded elder Perez because he ordered a happy meal! When I mentioned it to his mother via FaceBook she said that he usually orders 2 or 3 happy meals.

11oct14 - Perez back11oct14 - setting up

This Saturday and Sunday we showed the four main sessions of Conference. These two pictures show the elders and brother Andries setting up for the meeting. Elder Perez became #84 as he tried to hide a nail that made everyone look like Frankenstein. We had about 30 in attendance for the Saturday meetings. In April there were only 13 for the Saturday session and 4 of those were missionaries.

11oct14- red bird 12oct14 - Sunday Conference group

The red bird did not come to conference or help set up but helped make our day a little brighter. On Sunday we had 39 for the morning session and about 30 for the afternoon session.

12oct14 - Snack Mary 12oct14 - Snack Perez

Both days between sessions the YSA and Relief Society prepared a light snack – sandwich, cookies, an orange and a drink – to keep everyone going.

12oct14 - Snack Renny 12oct14 - Lohmann, last time through gate

The picture on the right document elder Lohmann’s last exit from the gate before he goes home to Germany on Tuesday. The branch and the Piers will really miss him and his great spirit. But we know it it is time for him to move on to the next chapter in his life. We hope to keep in contact with him for many years to come.

12oct14 - Lohmann, flag 12oct14 - Lohmann, Perez, Flag

In the evening sister Riekert invited the missionaries and ourselves over for a last dinner appointment for elder Lohmann. Sister Riekert was baptized in Germany and she and elder Lohmann speak German to each over. She decorated with the German flag and serviettes. She also cooked a delicious true South African dinner which was delicious.

12oct14 - Riekert, lohmann, Perez 12oct14 - girl print

Sister Riekert with elders Lohmann and Perez for a last picture. Speaking of pictures the Riekert’s son is a very accomplished artist. His drawing of a very famous photo is amazing as well as striking.

12oct14 - on leather 13oct14 - antelope

Lately he has started working with drawing on leather with the grain of the leather adding to the beauty of the work. On Monday for P-day we drove about 90 minutes to the Suikerbosrand Game Reserve. We had tried to go there before but due to a fire it had been closed. Almost as soon as we drove in to the reserve we saw a small herd of antelope and thought it was going to be a very productive day of game watching.

13oct14 - view 13oct14 - blue flower

 

We were mistaken! While there was lots of great view points, the only game we saw was near the end  of our 65K drive when in the distance – too far for a picture – we saw a dozen wildebeests and about the same zebras. We were very disappointed because we can see these and other animals in game ranches along the road when we travel to Parys. We may try it again after the rains come and the grasses are green and long.

So that was pretty much our week. We are happy to say our health is good, the work is going forward, and we know we are where the Lord needs us and where we need to be.

We get to Travel – Joburg, Parys, Klerksdorp – 3 times, Jouberton

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.

Mary - Nkosi Sept14 - Temple Koi close

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.

3Oct14 - Perez eating at Williams

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.

Oct14 - Lohmann - computer 2 Oct14 - Bobbi, Perez, Mary 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.

Oct 14 - Perez - salad Oct14 - Bobbi Food

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.

3Oct14 - DM - Larsen Leading 3Oct14 - DM - Otieno, Dummers

 

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.

Oct 14 -Andries, Mary, KK Oct 14 -Antoinette, Simon, Johannes

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.

Oct 14 -sis Thulo, Williams tri- Potchestroom taxi

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.

Oct 14 -Dunns, Dummers getting food Oct 14 -Lots of food

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.

Oct 14 -Pres Dunn taking picture Oct14 - Thato, Mazie, Renny 2

 

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.

Couples with Dunns Oct14 - KK and chicken

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.

IMG_6142 IMG_6145

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.

Sept14 - white roses Sept14 - Yellow Flower closeup Sept14 - Yellow Flowers Walk - Sept14 - House Church

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.