Parys on Tuesday…

On Tuesday we picked up the elders and drove up to Parys to visit with sister Swanepoel and Louis – Louis is her dog but we do not mention that when he is around because he thinks he is human. Elder Taylor worked on getting her computer and telephone to be nice to each other while elder Liera entertain Louis – or perhaps it was the other way around.

IMG_8021_2 IMG_8022 IMG_8024 IMG_8027

Sister Swanepoel was not happy with some remark made by elder Liera so she nailed him with a cushion. Afterwards he sought comfort by talking to Louis about the problem.

IMG_8028_2 IMG_8031_2Since it was elder Taylors last trip to Parys before heading home, sister Swanepoel decided to make him as uncomfortable as possible. Since she really is not all that keen on having her picture taken, it was unusual that she was willing to stand still for all of these.

 

Another Kind of Big Game at the YSA FHE

Monday Night is the time for the Potchefstroom branch Young Single Adults Family Home Evening. Tonight president Kwaikwai ended our month on the temple and genealogy by reviewing the temple recommend questions. He went through them one by one while explaining what they meant and how they needed to be answered. Those present got to ask any questions that they might have.

After the lesson the Big Game was on – Book of Mormon ‘Go Fish’ is one of their favorites. There are lots of smiles and laughter when they can tell some one to ‘Go Fish’ and some groans when someone must give up their cache of cards when some one asks for them.

The game got so intense that even though the power went out, they finished the game by the light of our iPads and a couple of cell phones!  Everyone went home with smiles on their faces and a some snacks to eat.

Brother and Sister Williams FHE and other activities. They joined in and seemed to have as much fun as the YSA members. We hope more YSA in the branch will join them on Monday evenings for a night of learning and fun.

IMG_8016 IMG_8017 IMG_8015 IMG_8014 IMG_8018

 

 

We Finally Make the Game Drive –

Well we finally made a game drive with elder and sister Dummer. Not only that but we got to see all the large animals in the small reserve. There are no elephants, hippos or any of the cats. But there are rhinos, wildebeests and other antelope. Also there are a large variety of birds.

Rhino 1 26Jan15 game drive - Rhino 2 26Jan15 game drive - rhino 3

 

Mary was the only one who spotted the rhinos tucked under the trees and lying on the ground. They were white rhinos – which is a strange name for animals who are brown or gray – and so we still have not seen the much rarer black rhino here in Africa. We had to go to Africa Safari in Florida to see the black rhino which is part of the big 5. Most people who think they have seen the big 5 while on a game drive in Africa would be surprised to know that they never actually saw the right rhino. It has to do with their snot – one is pointed and the other is broad.

26Jan15 game drive - young giraffe 2 26Jan15 game drive - giraffe eating 26Jan15 game drive - giraffe resting 2 26Jan15 game drive - two giraffes 26Jan15 game drive - old giraffe 3

 

Seeing giraffes is always fun. There were at least 3 of them with two being younger – the color of their spots are more tan tan dark brown – and one older. It is hard to really understand how tall they are by looking at photos because there is nothing to measure them against. But the one of the older one eating from the tree is stretched out at least 20 feet and probably taller.

I was surprised to see a giraffe sitting. We had been talking about this earlier and wondered if they had to sleep standing up or if they could sit or lie down. Well now we know they can sit. I would have loved to see how it got down or to have seen it get up. It can not be easy and it would seem to me to be dangerous. Of course with no predators in the reserve maybe they have become relaxed. I know that before they drink they look all around to see if there is any danger because they have to spread their legs so far apart there is no way they can get up and run quickly.

26Jan15 game drive - ostrich 26Jan15 game drive - ostrich tail

There were lots of ostriches on the reserve. Normally they do not hold much interest for me but when I saw the one with orange tail feathers I thought it was worth a picture. Later we saw a flock of them close to a herd of zebras.

26Jan15 game drive - flock of ostrich with Zebras 26Jan15 game drive - zebras 2 26Jan15 game drive - zebras 3 ZebrasZebras are another common animal that we do not get tired of seeing. They are just so unusual and interesting besides being photogenic.

26Jan15 game drive - waterbuck Waterbuck buck waterbuck doe

When we first saw this small herd of antelope I could not make out what they were. Then I saw the tell tail (that is a pun) white band around the tail and knew they were waterbuck. This was interesting because the fact sheet they put out does not list waterbuck as one of the animals that you would see on the drive. As we were leaving I asked the ranger about this and he was surprised to see that they had left it off because he knew they were there.

26Jan15 game drive - Gemsbok  herd 26Jan15 game drive - Gemsbok close looking at us

We saw this good size herd of antelope with the very long horns and I did not know what they were. When we got home I googled African antelope and found that they were Gemsbok. They among the largest African antelope and their horns average about 3 feet long.

26Jan15 game drive - Wildebeests

Wildebeests are kind of like large impalas as far as interest goes. The first time you see them they are interesting but after a while you just say – oh there is another herd of wildebeests.26Jan15 game drive - Blacksmith Plover 26Jan15 game drive - long tail bird 2

A few of the birds in the reserve. We saw the Blacksmith Plover almost as soon as we drove through the gates. The long-tailed Widow bird is always a show stopper when it is flying. The tail seems to be twice as long as the body and there is red and white on it’s body that is only seen when it is flying. We saw one almost hovering in the air like it was a predator bird watching for its prey. I do not know the name of the other birds below.

26Jan15 game drive - pair birds 2 26Jan15 game drive - yellow bird

Another Beautiful Sabbath Day in Ikageng

There were 68 at church today! It seems that the new year along with the work of the elders and president Kwaikwai has raised the average from 45 to 65 for the new year. Hopefully it will continue to grow as more come to enjoy the fellowship of the branch.Unknown IMG_7945Primary was pretty full and the new primary presidency took charge. After this week they will be dividing into two groups after sharing time. This is the first time that there has been enough children and leaders to do this. Relief Society was also well attended.

IMG_7942 IMG_7946The young man shows up in many pictures because every sister likes to hold him. I thought the one with sister Merriam and him with his fun hat and blinky was one not to be passed up. He was a little tired when he was being held by his mother Lydia with sister Renny looking on.

IMG_7947 IMG_7948Two young people – Menzi and Thato chat after the meeting. Sister Mathapelo is busy at the RS podium.

IMG_7949

 

January 2915 – Vaal Zone Meeting

Once a transfer – that is once every 6 weeks – the zone gets together for instruction and planning.

23Jan15 - ZM - Before Taylor, Liera, McAllister, Di Ruscio 23Jan15 - ZM - Waiting Liera, Taylor, McAllister, Di Ruscio, Dummer

Usually after the meeting the ZLs give out all the supplies that they have gathered for the districts when they have visited the mission office the day before. But this time most of the missionaries got there early enough that they could distribute them before the meeting. Our district got lots of supplies so they could contact all those who signed up at the recent street display. Elders Liera, Taylor, McAllister and Di Ruscio along with elder Dummer make up 50% of the Ikageng district.

23Jan15 - ZM - Elders singing - Gray, Oldroyd, Liera 23Jan15 - ZM - Taylor, Mcallister, Dummers, Di Ruscio, Rami

The elders joined in for singing while elder Rami led and elder Di Ruscio played. Elder Rami had the benefit of all the training in leading that we have been having in district meeting each week.23Jan15 - ZM - Group - Taylor 23Jan15 - new planter

 

After the meeting the elders again gathered to discuss where to go for lunch. One of the zone meeting rituals that always occurs. There were lots of announcements this meeting but the one that affected us most was a change in flat inspections. The ZLs will be doing the flat inspections at least 2 out of 3 transfers and it seems the couples will do the other one. However the facts seem a little sketchy and when I wrote to get clarification I was told that a letter would be coming that would clear things up.

I got another urge to be a gardener so I bought a planter, some planting mix – it is much different here than at home – and a bunch of colorful flowers in pink, purple and white. They now sit out on our patio where we can see them while sitting on our couch or at the dining table.

 

 

The Parable of the Oranges…

A friend of ours posted a talk by brother Randall L. Ridd about how we needed to have real intent was we live and serve the Lord. In the talk he gave what he called ‘The Parable of the Oranges.” As I read it, I found that it is a perfect example of the difference in just serving in a calling and being fully committed to a calling. In the first we do just what is expected – one visit to our families as a home teacher or visiting teacher so we can mark if off on the roll. In the second we contact our families as often as needed. We know when they are in need so we can tell our branch president or bishop. We truly love them and they know that we do so when they do need something – physically or spiritually – they know they can contact us and we will be there to help. We serve them with joy and by doing this we are blessed.

I hope that you will enjoy reading this and will share it with others.

The Parable of the Oranges

Randall L. Ridd

I would like to share a modern-day parable that I will call “The Parable of the Oranges.” As you listen, consider what this story teaches you about the power of real intent.

There was a young man who had ambitions to work for a company because it paid very well and was very prestigious. He prepared his résumé and had several interviews. Eventually, he was given an entry-level position. Then he turned his ambition to his next goal—a supervisor position that would afford him even greater prestige and more pay. So he completed the tasks he was given. He came in early some mornings and stayed late so the boss would see him putting in long hours.

After five years a supervisor position became available. But, to the young man’s great dismay, another employee, who had only worked for the company for six months, was given the promotion. The young man was very angry, and he went to his boss and demanded an explanation.

The wise boss said, “Before I answer your questions, would you do a favor for me?”

“Yes, sure,” said the employee.

“Would you go to the store and buy some oranges? My wife needs them.”

The young man agreed and went to the store. When he returned, the boss asked, “What kind of oranges did you buy?”

“I don’t know,” the young man answered. “You just said to buy oranges, and these are oranges. Here they are.”

“How much did they cost?” the boss asked.

“Well, I’m not sure,” was the reply. “You gave me $30. Here is your receipt, and here is your change.”

“Thank you,” said the boss. “Now, please have a seat and pay careful attention.”

Then the boss called in the employee who had received the promotion and asked him to do the same job. He readily agreed and went to the store.

When he returned, the boss asked, “What kind of oranges did you buy?”

“Well,” he replied, “the store had many varieties—there were navel oranges, Valencia oranges, blood oranges, tangerines, and many others, and I didn’t know which kind to buy. But I remembered you said your wife needed the oranges, so I called her. She said she was having a party and that she was going to make orange juice. So I asked the grocer which of all these oranges would make the best orange juice. He said the Valencia orange was full of very sweet juice, so that’s what I bought. I dropped them by your home on my way back to the office. Your wife was very pleased.”

“How much did they cost?” the boss asked.

“Well, that was another problem. I didn’t know how many to buy, so I once again called your wife and asked her how many guests she was expecting. She said 20. I asked the grocer how many oranges would be needed to make juice for 20 people, and it was a lot. So, I asked the grocer if he could give me a quantity discount, and he did! These oranges normally cost 75 cents each, but I paid only 50 cents. Here is your change and the receipt.”

The boss smiled and said, “Thank you; you may go.”

He looked over at the young man who had been watching. The young man stood up, slumped his shoulders and said, “I see what you mean,” as he walked dejectedly out of the office.

What was the difference between these two young men? They were both asked to buy oranges, and they did. You might say that one went the extra mile, or one was more efficient, or one paid more attention to detail. But the most important difference had to do with real intent rather than just going through the motions. The first young man was motivated by money, position, and prestige. The second young man was driven by an intense desire to please his employer and an inner commitment to be the best employee he could possibly be—and the outcome was obvious.

YSA Family Home Evening…

I almost forgot to post about the great YSA FHE that we had on Monday night. For once we had a pretty good balance between men and women. We also had a number of YSA join us for the first time so we had a total of 9 plus ourselves. In keeping with the month’s theme of temples and genealogy work, we showed the full length movie – The Mountain of the Lord about the building of the Salt Lake temple. After that there were a number of tense games of Book of Mormon bingo that everyone seems to really enjoy. The only thing we have to be careful of is that people do not eat too many of the mini-marshmellow that we use as markers.

IMG_7914   IMG_7911 IMG_7910 IMG_7912 IMG_7913

Visiting Members and an Unusual Side Trip

One of the things we really enjoy doing is meeting with the members in their homes. We see all kinds of homes – some are very nice and some are very humble. However no matter what the building itself may be like, the people are 99.9% of the time clean and happy. IMG_7915 IMG_7918

It is summer here and that means it is hot – really hot and humid. Few homes have air conditioning and many do not even have a fan. So people will sit outside in the shade and hope to catch a breeze that often blows at this time of the year. When we visited sister Mary’s home we found her and her two children lying under a very full tree enjoying the shade and trying to keep cool.

IMG_7919

As we went to turn around to head out from sister Mary’s we saw this fence full of laundry. They had run out of room on their clothes line and so used what ever was handy. It reminded us of our time in Indonesia when even the middle of Jakarta it was not unusual to see clothes drying on fences and once even on a divider fence in the middle of very busy highway. You just learn to make do with what you have available.

IMG_7921 IMG_7920

Now while there is truly little to see and do that is exciting around our area, I think we sunk to a new low today. Mary has wanted to take a road in Promosa that we often see but have never traveled. It promises that after traveling 5.4K we will come to the municipal dump. The road runs over gentle hills and is surrounded by beautiful summer green grass and lots of trees. At the end we found just as advertised the latest section of the landfill. While I can not recommend the trip to visitors, I do wish I had taken some pictures of the scenery along the way.

People at Church – 3 Branch Planning Meeting

There were 62 in attendance today – once again well above the average for last year. It seems that there is a special spirit of growth and rededication as a number of members who have been a way for a while have started to come back into the fold.IMG_7898 IMG_7899

Sister Maisie returned from her vacation and found a young man to hold. She does an excellent job as Primary president. Sister Merriam seems short when standing next to elder Taylor. She also serves in Primary where she loves to sing.

IMG_7900 IMG_7902

Sister Kujane is our faithful Relief Society president. I had to take this picture of brothers Xhego and williams in their contrasting white and black suits. Sister Merriam carefully placed herself so she would be in the picture.

IMG_7903 IMG_7904

These two pictures of the beautiful and funny Kujane girls with there pink sunglasses agains the multi-colored wall just shouted out as needed to be taken.

IMG_7905 IMG_7906

In the afternoon we took a group over to the Klerksdorp chapel for a planning meeting. In late March we are going to hold a three branch dinner dance for the YM and YW. President Mogapi of the Jouberton branch has a big as he holds his son. President Kwaikwai and brother Omphile join in with their smiles.

IMG_7907 IMG_7909President Robbins of the Klerksdorp branch is in the middle with elder and sister Dummer. The right hand picture includes the Mogapi family. I love the way the young sister is looking at me with a kind of worried look on her face. I get that a lot from young children – I am not sure if it is the camera or the white guy behind it that makes them kind of leery.