Monthly Archives: August 2009

31 August 2009

31 August 2009 – Monday

Another P-day that we did not do what was originally planned but we did what we should do which is more important.


Sister Tembe walking between the bars. I almost caught her determined look in the first picture. The picture of rooster is just to show the beauty of some of the roosters here. They are everywhere in the townships and countryside. This one was in sister Tembe’s yard but actually belongs to a neighbor. Everyone seems to know which chickens belong where.

We spent the morning taking sister Tembe of Esikhawini branch to the hospital so she could have some physical therapy and it turned out a new crutch. We took her on today because we forgot to take her on Friday. Sister Tembe was badly beaten in 2007 and it was thought she would never walk again. But thanks to her strong will and the help of the missionaries before us, she is now able to walk with crutches or by holding on to someone. She is determined to someday walk un-aided.

To collapse three hours into a couple of sentences, we got her to the hospital before her appointment time but it worked out fine. She did not have any actual therapy but she did walk between the parallel bars and up and down some steps until she was too tired to continue. She even took some steps un-aided between the bars but she is not ready to go very far this way. I could see the determination on her face as she walked.

The staff was friendly, helpful. As I have mentioned this is one of the best public hospitals I have seen on our missions. They provided a new aluminum arm crutch for R10 – that is about $1.25 US. I think they charge just to take care of the paperwork. When she had finished we took her back to her house and she walked from the car to the house using her two crutches.

By the time we had finished it was noon and so we decided to just spend the rest of the day around the house. While Mary picked up some fish and chips for lunch, I went to the grocery store for a few things. It seems that Coke has done something to drive Pepsi out of Spars so I am going to have to either switch stores or brands.

We found out that a number of the senior missionaries have come down with tick fever from our trip to Tembe Elephant Park. Later I called elder Mickelsen to see how he was and found that while it was rather nasty for a couple of days, it too passed. I told him I was too tough skinned for the ticks and he suggested that I was not sweet enough. Either way I am glad neither of us got it. We called the Bs to see what they were doing and they were on their way to St Lucia. It is great that sister B feels well enough for them to spend part of the day out and around.

Just after nine, Elders Weaver and Peterson showed up and returned the keyboard we loaned them yesterday. Elder Peterson also used out Vonage phone to try once again to get Zion Bank to take the hold off his credit card. You would think they would understand how important it is for missionaries to have access to funds from home when they are 10,000 miles away. Sometimes I think that commonsense is greatly lacking in the banking business.

I would call this a 1 ½ Mite Day.

So ended another month of my life – they are streaming past. Hopefully they are being spent doing what the Lord would have us do.

30 August 2009

30 August 2009 – Sunday

We got a call from Elder B saying that Doreen Mlondo had died. When we asked when, we found it was yesterday afternoon soon after I had left after dropping off President Machaka with the chicken for the HH group. I found that really strange since last night I had called someone who should know and asked that he call us if she died. Since at the time I called she had already been dead for 7 hours and he knew that I must say the new this morning was a great surprise.

I was with the missionaries when Elder Richey got the call to ask for a blessing on Doreen. He seemed a little puzzled and it turned out that they had earlier in her illness given her a blessing. I explained that he could either anoint or not as the spirit moved him and that he should only say what he was prompted to do. I am not sure what they said in the blessing because we arrived just as they were finishing but about an hour after they did, she stopped her struggled breathing and was at rest. The family then could start mourning and prepare for the funeral. I once read that funerals were not for the dead but for the living.

We went to Esikhawini for PEC and sacrament – it was great to see most of the PH leaders there for PEC and hopefully the more often they do this the better they will become. Two of the leaders spoke about going home teaching and since that is the first since we have been here, that is great.  Now if we can just get the number to increase each month that will be even better. President Nyawo later shared the spiritual experience he had doing his first HT visit. I told him he needed to share that as part of his testimony or in a talk.

One of the sisters who is going to the local university gave a wonderful talk on the need to keep the commandments so we can get blessings. Brother Percy – a resent convert gave a talk on Love. The elders had helped him by providing a PMG so he could use the Christ Like Attributes section on love as a basis for his talk.

After sacrament we went to Port Durnford so we could pay our respects to the family. As we were driving along the PD road we saw everyone was out with barrels, buckets and anything else that could hold water. We had seen this before in areas where they did not have running water but since PD does have it we were surprised. We came across a water truck with lots of people around it getting all their containers filled. I decided that maybe there were sections that did not have running water and we just had never been in the area on the right day or at the right time. Later we found that the water to PD had been cut off for a couple of days due to some repairs and the water trucks would come until it was back on.

The effect of the water cut off, the death of a member, and the Helping Hands project yesterday really got to the attendance at Port Durnford. They had a total of 13 and that might have included the missionaries. We paid our respects and I had a chance to talk to Ayanda for a while. She seems to be doing OK but she is of course very sad because of losing her mother.

I am going to keep the rest of the day really short. We took President Machaka with us to Esikhawini so we could later take him to Richards Bay for the audit that was scheduled. Mary taught one piano student while I took President Nyawo home – he was going with a group to PD to pay their respects. It turns out that he was with the elders when they first knocked on the Mlondo family door so he feels very close to them.

We then took Presidents Machhaka and Malinga to Richards Bay and dropped them off. Next we took some important papers to the mall and delivered them to one of the Nzama daughters who had left them at home. I took Mary home, had a quick meal, packed up a few things to take to our presidents who had no chance to eat any lunch, Elder B and I held a 2 ½ hour audit with all the branch presidents and the district clerks. It went pretty smooth but there are some things we need to get cleared up before we turn in the audit. I am just glad I had elder B to guide me – he had held two of these with Elder Hafen so had a pretty good idea of what needed to be done. I think the branch presidents really learned a lot as we went through the audit items one by one. They realized that they needed to be extra careful while dealing with the Lord’s money and keep good records of expenses. All of them are humble men who continue to grow into their callings. They face great challenges because of lack of Priesthood, trained leaders, and many problems. But none of them complain, they just try to do their best with what they have. Someday they will be awesome PH leaders of stakes and wards.

After the audit I ran our two presidents back to Esikhawini. President Machaka took a taxi back to PD and I took President Malinga to his house. Then it was finally home where I relaxed for 15 minutes before starting to help Mary get everything ready for the missionaries coming to dinner. We had 10 missionaries – 3 of them were new – and the Bartholomews for dinner. We were really happy to have Sister B with us for the first time in 3 weeks. She is feeling better but is still taking it easy. She looked great and I noticed that she could stand to put on her glasses – something that she has not been able to do for a long time. They are such great people and wonderful, caring missionaries – they deserve to have a peaceful and spiritual end to their mission.


Here are the three new missionaries – at least new to Richards Bay – and their companions. On the left is Elders Peterson and Weaver. In the middle are the Zone leaders Elder Richey and Elder Maremela. On the right are Elders Muthoka and Otieno. The latter pair had a hard time finding our house. It did not help that they first went to the Bartholomews before learning that dinner was at our boarding.


These are the companionships that did not change. On the left Elders Babeeyo and Mholo. On the right out Mutt and Jeff pair, Elders Mokopotsa and Musemare.

The elders seem to enjoy the BBQ beef – elder Weaver, one of the new transfers from Swaziland, loved it. He had not had any BBQ since he left Texas. Elder Otieno, another new one, wolfed down a huge plate that I had warmed up for him and his companion – all by himself. Luckily there was some left for elder Mathoka. BBQ Beef, corn, rolls, green salad, fruit salad, chocolate cake – it was elder Mokopotsa’s birthday party – and ice cream was consumed in large quantities. Elder Weaver said he lost 20 pounds or so while serving in Swaziland. He aims to gain it back while serving in Richards Bay.

Before they had to leave, we took some pictures of the new missionaries and of each companionship. We cleaned up Elder Peterson’s memory stick – he had a ugly virus on it – and he was able to get some of our pictures that he wanted.

Once they were gone we finished cleaning up and I started on writing today in the journal. It was a sad day, it was a good day, it was a day of service, and it was a day of growing. Only as a senior couple could we possibly have the experiences and the great blessings of this day.

29 August 2009

29 August 2009 – Saturday

Since elder Koelliker’s admonition to read and ponder conference talks regularly, I have been trying to keep his counsel but as usual with me I falter from time to time. I have a lot of really good excuses but few meaningful reasons other than I let other things become more important. This ties in nicely with the theme of President Uchtdorf’s talk “We are doing a great work and cannot come down.”

“Nehemiah refused to allow distractions to prevent him from doing what the Lord wanted him to do.”

“Our Heavenly Father seeks those who refuse to allow the trivial to hinder them in their pursuit of the eternal.”

“Our weakness is in failing to align our actions with our conscience.”

There are many thoughts there that apply to me more often than I would like to admit. He mentions that often the distractions that keeps us from doing ‘a great work’ are not bad – that is they are good excuses and not bad reasons – but they are still distractions from the greater work – the work the Lord and the Spirit is trying to tell me to do.

We had a difficult time getting out of the house today. Things kept coming up that we felt we needed to take care of. We were actually in the car with the motor started when we got a call from the RB elders about a problem. It did not help that I was almost out of air time. But we got that one at least started to be cleared up and got on our way. We stopped at the mall just long enough for me to buy airtime and some drinks while Mary bought rolls for tomorrow night.

We made it to Port Durnford about 45 minutes after they had started. There were four elders, President Machaka, the Chirwa family, and one other young man working. We were later joined by President Zondi who did a great job in helping dig a trash pit. To make a two hour story short, we did what we could with the mess that was there but as Elder Richey said it was rather like putting lipstick on a pig. But we swept out all but one of the rooms – one was beyond help, picked up a lot of trash and burned it, clean off a lot of graffiti, and washed the windows that were left. I am not sure anyone will really notice and even less that anyone will care, but it was good to see the young people working together. I have to say that elder Musemare is a real trooper. He took two rooms and actually turned them back into class rooms. He just kind of silently worked by himself and got it done.

After we did what we could do, we went over to the Mlondo’s to see sister Doreen who is in the last stages of dying. Her mother had called to ask the missionaries to give her a blessing that she might have peace. The family – at least the women – are gathering to watch with her mother and family. I had a chance to talk to her daughter Ayanda about her mother’s dying and how she would never be far from her. I shared my own loss of my parents and how when I thought of them I could often feel their presence. It is sad to see this vibrant young woman now reduced to skin and bones with each breath likely to be her last. It is going to be difficult to go to church there tomorrow.

President Machaka had promised a braai after the clean up was over but had not done anything about getting food for it. Elder Richey came up with the idea of getting some KFC so we took the president to KFC and bought a couple of buckets, some rolls and drinks. In this way at least he had to make the choice and help without completely relying on us. Before going back to PD we dropped Mary off at the Esikhawini chapel so she would be there if any one showed up for English class.

I ran the president and the food back to PD and then immediately went back to Esikhawini. It turned out that no one came for English class – we are going to stop them until we figure out how to get more people to come – or at least a few people to come – so we headed home so I could take a shower and a nap. Got the nap but never did get the shower because we ended up staying at our boarding the rest of the day.

I would like to say that we spent it all doing important mission work but the truth is that most of it was spent in idleness. I would call this a one mite day at best and it was all given at before 1 p.m.

28 August 2009

28 August 2009 – Friday

We were happy to hear that the Mickelsens slept well last night. Both commented that their bed here was better than the one they have in their own boarding. We told them we could tie it on the top of their car and they could take it with them to Swaziland and then home. After about 1 second of thought we decided that would not work.

We fed them some breakfast – Elder Mickelsen liked a cereal we had called Caribbean from Simply Cereal that Mary has been eating lately. She experiments with different cereals and this one has 30% fruit and nuts baked with oats that produce crispy clusters of cereal – it is quite good and a small amount if filling.

As the Mickelsen’s were driving out armed with a map that we hoped would get them to a road they knew, the gardening crew showed up and for the next couple of hours cleaned out the weeds and mowed the lawn. They were supposed to come last week but every three weeks works for me.

Once they were gone we headed out to run some errands including buying what we need to feed the elders on Sunday. We will break the news about the cut back in dinners when we see them. While I was waiting for the butcher to cut a brisket, I had a chance to talk to the manager about how they hired employees and what they were looking for. He mentioned that what he was looking for were employees that wanted to work hard and had an interest in the success of the store. He told about a security guard in Petoria that he felt really cared about the company so he helped him get promoted and today he is a manager in one of their stores. This is something we need to teach our young people about getting a head by doing more than just doing what they are expected to do;.

Among the other things we did today was to buy cleaning supplies for Port Durnford’s Helping Hand project that is on for tomorrow and deliver them to President Machaka. Check with him that he had a place to stay in Joburg when they go to get married in December because elder B found out that there was no openings at temple housing. He said he had people there that they could stay with. We attended Esikhawini’s Youth meeting and found that brother Mathalane had it under control. While Mary watched the activity, I did some minor maintenance that needed doing. While I was doing that, I found the tool to open the soap dispensers – it had been in the supply locker the whole time we were trying to get them open. When I showed it to Elder Mokopotsa we both had a laugh because he had tried to figure it out also.

I also got to help the elders with a problem with one of the bikes, a question about driving lessons, and with Elder Richey how we were going to get two new converts up in Kosi Bay ordained to the priesthood. Elder Richey and his new companion Elder Maremela – we now have elders Maremela and Musemare which I know I will have a hard time remembering where the ‘mare’ goes – brought Mary two brand new keyboards for her students. A parting present from Sister Klingler. I would have been a little more effective this afternoon if I had not left the phone sitting on the counter at home. But we did manage to get quite a few things done without it.

I have been spending part of our time at home putting photo albums of pictures from our mission in Indonesia on Facebook. There are many Indonesian members and missionaries on Facebook and I think they will enjoy them. I ended up looking very quickly at most of the pictures we took on our mission and in that way kind of re-lived the experiences that they were a part of.

Visits to water projects, couple conferences, Intensive English Classes, District and Zone meetings, sight seeing trips, and visits in member’s sometime very humble homes all came flooding back into my mind as I viewed the pictures. Journals and photos allow those of us with very poor or very short memories – a problem I have always had – to have a way to recall the important spiritual as well as trivial moments. Hopefully they will allow children and grandchildren to share them also.

27 August 2009

27 August 2009 – Thursday

It was one of those days where things get changed but everything works out OK.

It was pretty much a normal morning around here – we did start neatening up the house because the Mickelsen’s were coming. Nothing major to be done, just putting away some (make that a lot) of the things that we tend to let stack up and getting out towels, etc.

While we were doing this, we got a call from Elder B asking if we could get together to do some planning. We thought this was a fine idea so we packed up the car for our day and then went to their boarding. It was great to see sister B out of the hospital but she still has not regained her strength. I think this will just take some time. The main thing we talked about was Sunday night dinners for the elders. We decided to cut them back to every other week – that is the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sunday of each cycle. After the B’s leave we may cut it back further but if we are the only couple here, we might like having the missionaries over that often just to feel their spirit. We also talked about what we would do with some of their stuff if no new couple came to RB. It is good we have a large 2 car garage. They gave us a braai that they only used once in the 23 months they were here. I think we will use it more often once summer comes.

After we left the B’s we went to lunch at the mall – as always I ate too much. We left from the mall to head out to Port Durnford to do English class and youth. We made a quick stop at president Machaka’s shop to get some information and then headed down the road to PD. Along the way we got a call from Thandi Nzama saying that her mother was getting out of the hospital but all her rides fell through. To keep it short, we spent the next two hours getting them home. Hopefully she will be able to eat and get well.

We had to cancel youth and it seems some of them did not get the message. We stopped by the chapel but they had all gone home. We did get to see Ayanda and told her that we can not have Youth next Thursday because we would be in Durban but we can have it on Wednesday. She said she would let the youth know about it. She had already memorized Psalms 100 but we told her she had to wait a week.

On our way home we stopped by Bungumuse’s and talked to him about doing a drawing for us. This is a way he can earn some money. He wanted to know all the details right then, but we had to tell him we did not have them yet. He is a very nice young man but strung just a little tight.

We then zipped home so I could grab something to eat before going to the RB chapel for District Council meeting. Before the meeting the Mickelsen’s gave the branch presidents – at least those who were there – a presentation about PEF. I knew most of what they presented but it was excellent for the presidents and those who did not understand the role of the PH leadership in the process. I am afraid that most of them just sign where indicated without fully interviewing the youth. I did not realize that one of the things that they had to certify was that the person seeking the loan was ambitious and was working at a job. I mentioned that I did not know a single South African high school or college student who worked. It is part of their culture that in most cases if you are going to school you should not have to work. Hopefully some day this will change because I think that is one of the strength of America. The work ethic is instilled in the youth from an early age.

After the presentation we had our meeting. Brother Mathalane finally reported on his mission. He talked about how he grew not only spiritually but also learned a lot about how to deal with people and their problems. It is excellent training for when he becomes a PH leader.

The rest of the meeting was used for taking care of district business including moving the District Youth activity until after the B’s go home. We talked about Helping Hands and other things. It is amazing how quickly an hour can go by. Since they did not know how to get to out house, the Mickelsens talked to the return missionary until we finished with the meeting.

When the meeting ended they followed me home and I had them park their car in the garage so it would be safe and not gather any more rain then it already had. Mary had hot chocolate and rusks waiting for us so we enjoyed them while we sat around and talked. I can not write too much about the Mickelsens on this blog because they read it so I will save all the good things we have learned about them for my personal journal.

Just kidding Mickelsens! The Mickelsens are fun to talk with – they served a mission in Florida and seem to have had some great experiences. This mission is quite different for them as is ours but that is one of the advantages of serving more than one mission as a couple. We would have never visited either Indonesia or South Africa if we had not been called to serve our missions there. Even if we had visited, we certainly would not have grown to know and love so many wonderful saints.

As I have often mentioned, one of the blessings of being on a mission is getting to know the other couples and the young missionaries. You share an experience with them that will continue to be a bond between you for the rest of your life. Elder Mickelsen offered our family prayer when we finally quit talking and headed off to bed.

While writing this I thought of King Benjamin’s “When you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God.”

26 August 2009

26 August 2009 – Wednesday

In the morning I went with Elder Bartholomew up to Enseleni to deliver a food order. After we delivered it, he took me on a quick drive around the township to show me where most of the members live. They almost live in clusters with a number of members along one street. He said that they have maps showing the location of all the members in both of their branches. That will really help after they leave. We have started to do that for Esikhawini but it is impossible for Port Durnford. He was hoping that his wife would be released from the hospital today. She has had two good nights in a row.


In the afternoon we drove to Esikhawini where we returned some painting tools and a new pitcher to the pre-school/crèche that we help paint on Saturday. They have about 150 children enrolled in the school and there seems to be about 5 staff to watch over them.

When we left there I felt that we should visit a family that has been struggling lately and had some health issues. Our timing was perfect and the brother opened up to tell us many of their problems. We listened and tried to build him up spiritually. I suggested that he needed to make an appointment for he and his wife to talk to president Malinga. He said he would do that and I hope he does.

Next we went to PEC meeting with President Machaka. As always there was no one there but him and the missionaries, but we had a pretty good meeting. The missionaries have a number of people ready for baptism in September and will coordinate it with a couple baptisms from Esikhawini. Now if we can just have decent weather and enough water to fill the font, everything will be great. Later Mary found out that they have set the wedding for December 12 – I think she was the first to find out the date.


After that we went to the Esikhawini chapel to see if the toilet had been fixed and to wait until it was time to meet with President Malinga. It was supposed to be time for seminary but the only person there was Lisa Mathe who was filling in for sister Khumalo. While we waited I tried to take pictures of some birds that are often at the chapel. I have tried a number of times but with poor results – this time was alittle better but not much. None of the students showed up. We ended up taking Lisa home before going to the Malingas.

We had a short meeting – it still went 30 minutes – with president Malinga. Mainly we talked about how his wife was – she was home and had gone to the salon – and some of the needs of the branch. He told us they are going to hold Presidency meeting on Friday. I gave him an outline on how they might plan socials without him needing to anything but follow up on assignments.

His wife came home so I took him out to the yard and told him that a couple was going to make an appointment with him to talk to him about their problems – financial and marital.  I could tell he was uneasy about this so I took some time to build up his confidence in himself, his calling, and God being available to help. He may be worried but he will do well. Given some time and training he will become a fine branch president. I reminded him that part of his calling was to train men to take his place when his period of service was up.

It was growing dark as we left the township, but there were no fields being burned so the sky was quite clear. There were few cars on the road – at least the way we were going – so it was a nice drive. We stopped at Spars to get a few things – including something for dinner.

We had a quiet evening at home. We did find that sister B had been released from the hospital. Hopefully she will continue to get better so she can finish their mission on a positive note. They are a very special couple who love the people they serve.


This is a fun picture because the woman has a 2 liter container of milk on her head. I have no idea how she kept it balanced perfectly  or why she chose to carry it on her head as it is not either heavy nor cumbersome. Maybe it is just for practice.

25 August 2009


Car wash from inside. Mukie Nzama’s daughter. Laundry on the fence and cow in the background – typical homestead shot


Mary, Gogo Nzama, Thandi Nzama at hospital. I was playing with filters. The nurse in the back soon came over and said taking pictures were not allowed. An interesting tree on the hospital grounds…no one knew its name. This is the Zondi’s house with the roof finished. It still needs to be plastered inside and out.


The Khiphikhono Baking Club out in the middle of no where on the Port Durnford road. We have never seen any activity at the club and someday we need to check it out.

25 August 2009 – Tuesday

Woke up at 4:00 and never got back to sleep. I gave up at a little after 5:00 and got my day started. Last night I decided that if it was not raining that I would get the car washed early today. It was not raining – but there were clouds – so I got ready and was the first one in line. It still took most of an hour but at least I did not have to wait in a line. As they were soaping the car I took some pictures through the windows. They did not come out great but they are rather interesting.

As I waited – you wait in the car until you get to the finishing station, I re-read two conference talks that have become very important to me. The first is by Elder Kevin Pearson and is “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” He mentions that faith is a gift of God that comes through obedience – a consistent pattern of obedient behavior and attitudes. He ends his talk by talking about what he calls “Six Destructive D’s.” The one that struck me is the third one – “Distraction.” It is the one area I really need to work on both while on our mission and at home. I tend to be distracted from doing what I should do for what I want to do. Not that I want to do what most people would consider ‘bad’ things, but many times I find that I am doing comfortable or things that I am interested in rather than giving service or fulfilling my calling the best I can. I put in way too many 1 mite days and not enough 2 mite days. By doing this I limit the blessings – including the blessing of faith – that God can give me. I am limiting my own spiritual growth by not being ‘exactly obedient.”

It is rather like a vegetable garden where the soil is good, the weather is good, but the gardener does not do the work needed to keep out the weeds, water regularly or spray for pest. If he does not do the work, he can not expect to get the bountiful harvest he could have had. I am afraid that at times there are too many weeds in my garden.

The other talk that I studied this morning was by Elder Allan F. Packer: “Finding Strength in Challenging Times.” He told a good story about hearing his coach in the middle of a game and related it to being able to hear the spirit in a busy world – we must become familiar with the promptings of the Holy Ghost so we will understand what we should be doing. He quoted Elder Oaks”Testimony is to know and to feel, conversion is to do and to become.”

He said; “This is a great time to be alive! The Lord needs each of us. This is our day; it is our time!” I think it is a good way to look beyond the trials of the times and understand that all of us are here on earth at this time because it is when we need to be and when we are needed. While it may seem that we are suffering trials that we do not have control over, if we are righteous and trust Christ we should have peace and comfort that will get us through the hard times.

We went out to Port Durnford to help one of the Zondi brothers update his CV so we could make copies for him to give out. When we got there I could not remember which one needed our help but they finally found the right one. It turned out that he did not need to change his CV, he only needed copies. So we told him we would make copies and return them on Thursday.

While we were there, we looked in his house that we watched being roofed a few weeks ago. It is large and roomy – all one room really – but he will not move in until he has plastered the walls. He has electricity but there is no plumbing of any kind.

As we were about to leave, I noticed a large pile of what I thought was dirt. I of course wondered where it came from and how much it cost to get it delivered. It turned out that it was dirt mixed with cow manure and they got it from a local dairy. It should have cost R50 but he got his for R25 by bargaining. I asked him to see if he could get a load that was 10 times as big delivered to Esikhawini for R250. If we can get it for that price, we will be able to use it as a basis for our gardens and it should really increase the production. He said he would see what he could do.

Since we were still early for picking up Thandi Nzama to go up to the hospital to see her mother, we took a quick trip out to see where the road went. It turned out that it went through down town Port Durnford – which contains about 6 buildings and a school – and then continued up to R102. This was the road we ended up on the day we got completely lost!

When we got to the Nzamas we found that Thandi was already at the hospital but her aunt – that is sister Nzama’s youngest sister – wanted to come with us. We said sure and Mary convinced me that it would be shorter and quicker to go the new way than to wind our way back through Esikhawini. It turned out to be a nice trip with new scenery and it might be quicker.

Sister Nzama has not been eating much so she is still not very strong. Thandi was at the hospital to take some lessons on how to take care of her mother when she is released. I got in trouble for taking pictures in the hospital – it is not allowed. I apologized and told them I would not do it again. After a short visit, we all left for home and hope that sister Nzama will be home by Thursday.

After dropping off the Nzama women, we went to see Bungumuse as arranged on last Thursday. It turned out that he thought he should get some money for painting the backdrop to our roadshow. I do not know where he got the idea – it was never mentioned before – but they obviously need money so I should not have been surprised. Now we have to figure out how to not pay him for the painting but to get them some money.

We did learn one interesting thing while at his homestead. When we were out driving on the main road, we came across a very nicely dressed woman carrying a beautiful umbrella walking down the road. I commented to Mary about how nice she looked to be walking. Later we saw her again, still walking along. I mentioned that if they could not afford transportation it was just natural for them to walk.

It turned out that it was Bungumuse’s mother who had walked to and from Port Durnford to drop off a CV to someone who might be able to help her get a job. We all had a pretty good laugh about this but I wish that we had recognized her and we would have given her a ride.

We talked to Thandi and her aunt about what it was like growing up in Port Durnford. It turns out that their family has lived here for generations. They talked about walking to Esikhawini every day to go to school – without having any shoes. They said that life was much simpler then – electricity did not get out to Port Durnford until the 1990’s – but life was good and they really did not feel that they were poor.

23 & 24 August 2009

23 August 2009 – Sunday


Missions are about people. I thought Elder Mokopotsa  looked sharp today. Thobani Chirwa also looked good. Later he would go with his younger nephew to the free clinic. The smiling face on the end is of our friend Thembe who has a baptism date set for the end of September and who often attends our English classes in Port Durnford.


Sunday night was our last supper and the elders had a great time eating, talking and sending in reports. But the day was long and they worked hard so elder Mokopotsa and elder Torgerson decided to get some rests.


We picked up the Esikhawini missionaries, picked up presidents Nyawo and Nkosi, attended PEC at Esikhawini, attended church in Port Durnford, took two of the Chirwa boys to the free clinic in Esikhawini, Mary taught piano at Esikhawini, came home to take a nap and prepare for the missionaries coming over for dinner, dinner with the missionaries except for elder Mbhiti who was heading for Durban, cleaned up the after dinner, and went to bed. It was a good Sabbath day. It would have been better if sister B was out of the hospital.

24 August 2009 – Monday


Monday’s gray, wet morning sky. We went to the Richards Bay boarding and found it clean and the elders settling in for a relaxing P-day. Elder Peterson shows off his Gordon B. Hinckley guitar and Elder Hoosier join him for a duet. Elder Torgerson is just going with the flow. Elder Muthoka decided to go into another room – was he being critical of the quality of playing?


Elder Muthoka on the exercise bike that is missing a pedal – that makes it interesting to ride for 30 minutes. The last pictures of the four together. At this time they had guessed that elder Hoosier and elder Torgerson would be leaving but I don’t think they realized they would both me made zone leaders. We will miss them here in Richards Bay.


Another rainy P-day but that was OK because we had things we needed to do around the house that we have kept putting off. But before we could start on them, we went and expected all three of the elder’s boardings. We do that the last Monday before transfers so those who will leave will have cleaned up any mess they helped to make. All of the boardings were fine except a couple of them needed to defrost their fridges. The Esikhawini one looked like they were trying to get enough ice to make a snow man – I am sorry I did not get a picture of it.

After we had finished with the inspections we went to the Barts boarding to deliver some mail. Sister B is still in the hospital and elder B is doing a good job of being a bachelor until she can come home. We then went to the mall so we could have some lunch, pay some bills, and do a little grocery shopping.

As I said at first, the day was then devoted to periods of house cleaning, going through piles of accumulated pages of church related material – we truly are pack rats when it comes to some things- and general house cleaning. When not doing that we were taking care of e-mail – I sent out a letter about our week. We enjoy getting them from other missionaries so I am going to try to send them on a regular basis.

23 August 2009

23 August 2009 – Sunday

We picked up the Esikhawini missionaries, picked up presidents Nyawo and Nkosi, attended PEC at Esikhawini, attended church in Port Durnford, took two of the Chirwa boys to the free clinic in Esikhawini, Mary taught piano at Esikhawini, came home to take a nap and prepare for the missionaries coming over for dinner, dinner with the missionaries except for elder Mbhiti who was heading for Durban, cleaned up the after dinner, and went to bed. It was a good Sabbath day. It would have been better if sister B was out of the hospital.

22 August 2009


The creche where we painted – one of the rooms before and after painting.


Mary and Sister Kumhalo painting. The missionaries (Elder Babeeyo) and young men (Sazi) worked hard. This is the kitchen after those two had painted and the sisters had cleaned the floor.


The sisters really know how to mop and clean. President Nyawo was in charge and worked hard. He was tall enough to get the top of the walls.



22 August 2009 – Saturday

Up early so we could get ready to go to Esikhawini to work on the Helping Hands project. We were of course the first to arrive. The staff had done a pretty good job getting things to the middle of the rooms and they continued to work until it was fairly easy for us to paint. The members arrived in little groups and when president Nyawo arrived we had prayer and got to work. I was kind of the organizer as to where to start but once they got going they did not really need me. They had all painted before and in less than 2 ½ hours we had painted the two class rooms, the kitchen and even the toilets which were not on the plans.

Sister Mathe arrived a little late but once she was there she was a powerhouse. She and sister Kumhalo mopped the floors and got rid of all the spilled paint and drops. They gathered up all the trash and by the time the last wall was painted and the tools somewhat cleaned they were done.

It turned out that the braai was not really organized. I suggested that they postpone it until next Saturday but president Nyawo and sister Kumhalo decided it would be better today. The one problem was no one had enough cash except me so I took president Nyawo to the grocery store and the butchery so he could get what they needed. Sister Kumhalo got the braai and everyone met at the church.

While we were working we found that sister Malinga had gone into the Richards Bay hospital last night. We decided that we would skip the braai and head home so we could clean up the equipment and me and then go the hospital to see sister Malinga and sister B. I have to admit that I think I got more paint on me than I did on the wall I painted. I am not a neat painter.

I ended up cleaning most of the rollers, brushes and pans in the shower. It seemed like the best place and I could get clean at the same time. While I was doing that Mary took a nap. Then I took a nap while she did a baptismal program for tomorrow. By the time all this was done and we were ready to leave, there was not a lot of time left in the visiting hour – they are only 1 hour at a time and visitors are strictly restricted. Even elder B is kicked out of the room when the hour is up. If they want to talk more, they have to bring her out to the foyer.

Sister Malinga felt a lot better and hopes to go home tomorrow. The doctors have not found out what was wrong. Sister B is not improving and they also do not know what is causing her headaches. As we left the hospital I prayed to ask that sister B would get well so she could continue her mission. I kept getting the message that I had to trust the Lord and be patient. So I guess that is what I should be doing.

Our next stop was the grocery store when Mary picked up the last few things we will need for the Last Supper tomorrow night. We then went by the RB chapel and dropped off the programs so they will have them tomorrow. Sister Wilson was there alone cleaning the chapel. Her daughter was visiting somewhere. She had been wise enough to lock herself in. She said my arrival was fortuitous because she did not have a key to library and she needed to empty the trash basket. I told her the Lord doth provide even in small things.

While waiting for Mary to visit sister B and then get groceries I started to read through the Missionary Handbook and decided there are things we need to do better so to be more spiritually and physically prepared to serve our mission. We need to do more planning in advance – something we tend to not do and will really need to do if the Bs leave and no couple comes to replace them. I am not worried because I know we will handle it but we will need better organization than we now have. Also after reading some advice in the Handbook I went back and edited one of the recent pages on the blog.


We got the word tonight that our eldest granddaughter Taylor Pier is going to be married in the Salt Lake Temple to Spenser Taylor on December 3, 2009. So her name will be Taylor Taylor but she has decided that she will be Taylor Pier Taylor to kind of break it up. We of course will not be there but our hearts will be. Here is the happy couple showing off the ring and of course posting the news of their engagement on Facebook…at least that is my guess.