Daily Archives: April 1, 2009

Elephants

hlane-elephants1.JPGmkhaya-royal-park-swaziland-march-2009-our-hut-elephants-big-one-best-shot.JPGmkhaya-elephants3.JPG

The picture on the left is the elephants we saw at Hlane who were in the bush and did not seem to want to come and say hello. The other two are from Mkhaya and they passed right in front of us. In fact our driver was being very careful because a couple of weeks before a group got between a mother and her child



Animals we met on our drives

hlane-rhinos10.JPGhlane-baby-rhinos-face-off.JPGmkhaya-royal-park-swaziland-march-2009-major-rhino-stop-sign_1.JPG

We probably saw more white rhinos than any animal other than antelope. The big guy on the right – a real Swazi stop sign – finally moved out of our way. The other two are of a group that was happily rolling around in a large mud hole. The one in the middle I call – “My mother is bigger than your mother.” In the other they are playing follow the leader.



Pictures –

hlane-ostrich-with-bill.JPGhlane-royal-national-park-march-2009-ostrich-with-mary.JPGhlane-royal-national-park-march-2009-mary-with-smiling-entrance-attendants.JPGmary-with-nathi-who-is-in-formal-dress-march-2009.JPG

At Hlane we got to know a friendly ostrich and two nice young ladies at the reception desk. The one on the right had attended at the Manzini chapel when she lived there but did not seem to be a member. The far right picture is Mary with our friend Nathi in traditional dress that was bought for him by his mother who has since passed.



Another Great Week in Swaziland

Blog 30 March 2009

As our days in Swaziland are counting down, we are mixing missionary work with pleasure. The three major events of the week were the coming of MLS – Members and Leaders Services – to Swaziland, helping the elders in the district become more focused on missionary work, and spending a day at Mkhaya game preserve.

On Friday and Saturday Phillip Moatihodi, who is the area membership records manager, set up two computers and trained the branch presidents and clerks on how to use the MLS program to keep the records. This is going to be a great blessing for the district because for some reason the membership records have not been kept up for almost two years. But now the branches can clean up their records, make sure everyone has the right priesthood office, and that those who died 5 years ago are removed from the branch. Part of the training was to input the information we gathered on PH ordinations so we got to see some of the fruits of our labors.

On Monday I was thinking about President Mann’s desire to have the missionaries become consecrated to the work. I felt that I should teach my ‘Two Mite’ lesson at DDM on Wednesday and as part of it I designed a poster that said “I Will Diligently Strive to Make Today a Two Mite Day.” We had them printed on Tuesday and glued two 5 cent pieces on each poster.

On Wednesday at DDM I told them why it was important in the parable that the widow had two mites to donate and not just one. With one mite she only had the choice between giving it or nothing but with two mites she had three choices and she chose to give her all. I challenged the elders to strive to make each day a two mite day and to keep record of how many two mite days they had and we would report on next Wednesday. I will not ask each missionary to report but I will ask them to turn in an anonymous slip. It goes back to the one we had each student of our intensive English class turn in each morning about how well they did speaking only English.

Later in the week Elder Wilson mentioned that one of the missionaries told him that DDM was really good because of the lesson and on Sunday another elder mentioned that it was helping his companionship because they looked at the poster each morning and then talked about their day when they got home. Hopefully it will help the work here in Swaziland and help the missionaries become more consecrated for the work.

Right after DDM we left to go to Mkhaya Game Park to spend a day there. President Mann had approved our taking the extra P-Day because he wants the couples to see the country. Mhkaya is a private preserve where they have been working to build up the population of some of the species that were either completely wiped out in Swaziland or were at dangerous levels. They have had great success in re-introducing species and they have helped bring back the population of white rhinos from near extinction.

We spent 24 hours at the park. We were able to go on three 2 hour guided drives and a couple of shorter ones. We got to see white rhinos, African buffalo, elephants, giraffes, lots of different antelope, warthogs, and some very playful hippos.

We had delicious dinner, breakfast and lunch served out in the open, slept in an isolated ‘hut’ with walls that were only about waist high, and read our books before going to sleep by the light of kerosene lanterns. And in the morning we got to see monkeys and nyala feeding right outside our hut. All in all it was a great experience and one that we will treasure the rest of our lives and all of this is just over an hour from our boarding in Ezulwini.

I thought the meetings on Sunday were especially good. The Mbabane branch is working hard at improving their home and visiting teaching. Much of PEC was spent with the leaders reporting their own teaching. They are determined to become shepherds and not be sheep herders. I think the new computer membership program will help them become even more organized and they will be able to see who is not assigned home teachers. They are particularly interested in making sure new converts have good home teachers.

Since it was the 5th Sunday, they had a joint RS and PH meeting and two members of the branch presidency held discussions. One was on humility and what the members could do to improve it. I think they are better than they think they are but I was glad to see the members join in with lots of comments. The second part was on how to improve branch unity. Once again it was done with great taste and the members participated with excellent comment. It was as good of a 5th Sunday meeting as I have attended at home.

In the literacy class one of the students did the teaching and Mary said she did quite well. I just wish we had about 2 more months for Mary to work with them. I think we will ask Elder Wright to take over the class when we leave. He comes from a family of teachers and has taught the class in other areas. It will take him out of the Gospel Principles class for a few weeks so I guess I should get President Mann’s approval. He will be here on the 8th so we can ask him then.

I should mention that when the elders report about their investigators at DDM the list of progressive investigators and those who have set baptism dates continues to be quite long. We also hear that the work is doing well in the other branches in Swaziland. On Sunday there were 213 in attendance at Mbabane. This is the largest number we have seen since we have been here. This is just a few under the number in attendance at District Conference just 18 months ago. The work is really moving forward in Swaziland.

Saturday we read in the Johannesburg newspaper about a flood in Jakarta. We e-mailed Elder Subandriyo to find out if it affected any of the members of the Church. We believe it may have been part of the area of the Tangerang One branch where we served and got to know a lot of the members. We hope none of them were severely affected. We are waiting to here back from him.