Monthly Archives: October 2009

25 October 2009


25 October 2009 – Sunday

It was a good missionary day with us visiting 3 branches, one PEC meeting, one PH/RS meeting, two sacrament meetings, and feeding 10 hungry missionaries. We started at Esikhawini with a PEC meeting that was pretty well attended. It is always good to have President Malinga at these meetings.

Then we went to Port Durnford for sacrament. There were 37 in attendance, which is good for PD. Two of the youth had talks to give and had not prepared so they read – poorly I am afraid – parts of talks from the Liahona. We have to remember to find out who is speaking each week and try to help them learn how to prepare their talks. It was good to see Sandile Chirwa help pass the sacrament for the first time.

After sacrament we dashed over to the Bart’s boarding to pick up the bags of hymn books and scriptures they had. I decided we should have them along just in case the elders forgot to bring theirs. It turned out that they not only brought them, but they were the first ones there getting everything set up. Elders Otieno and Tsegula are excellent missionaries with a great desire to serve.

Elder Otieno told me that Elder Reeder has been very sick for a couple of days – running a 102 fever, vomiting, etc. I immediately called Elder Weaver to find out how his companion is doing and kind of bawled him out for not telling us. It turned out he did call Sister Mann and got instructions on what medicines to buy. His temperature is back to normal but he has a very upset stomach – I decided he had a some bad food.

There is an Assembly of God church that gets out just about the time the branch should start their meeting. As they break up, the leaders of the church line up and shake each member’s hand and say a little something to most of them. I noticed that our elders also got in line and shook hands with their members. Maybe when they are out contacting, some of the people will remember their warm handshake and smile.

 

The meeting started only 15 minutes late and there had 7 investigators –including one family – among the 67 people in attendance. The singing is always strong and full of spirit. President Vilane did a good job of conducting the meeting. I did learn I need to be careful about the announcements I prepared for him – on one of them I put a note for his attention and he read it to the congregation.

The youth leaders – Khulenkani and Nonhlahla (I may never learn to pronounce that name correctly) both gave well prepared talks. Nonhlahla included many excellent scriptures. After them Elder Tsegula spoke on Choosing the Right.

 She did not ask for any class participation at all. After the meeting Mary suggested that she actually ask the questions to the class and give them time to respond.

I went to PH where Khulenkani did an excellent job of teaching. He would teach a little bit of doctrine and then ask lots of questions. My inability to hear and understand much of what was going on is a real pain. I really do need to get my hearing aid fixed.

After the meeting one of the men asked me some questions and I realized it was a young man that Elder B introduced me to at the YSA activity. He is working with President Vilane on some things he needs to get cleared up. I am going to start teaching him about the Melchizedek Priesthood so he will be ready when the time comes that he can receive it.

We finally arrived home just before 3:00 and had some lunch before I dropped onto the bed for a nice long nap. I mentioned to Mary that perhaps we are getting a little too old for another mission and she said she did not think so. Maybe she is paying more attention to the promptings of the spirit in this matter than I am.

From 7:30 to 9:15 we fed the 10 elders 10 elders 8 pounds of meat loaf, 7 pounds of mashed potatoes with gravy, a large green salad, 3 + pounds of corn, a dozen large rolls, a plate of brownies, and 2 liters of ice cream + about 5 liters of soft drinks. Oh and since Elder Reeder was recovering from being very ill he only ate a little of the mashed potatoes and half a roll. However he did make himself a nice plate of food to take home so he could eat it as soon as his stomach stopped making noises.

While some of the missionaries were here I ran Elder Holland’s conference talk on the Book of Mormon. I think they got more of the power of the message as they were able to see him as well as hearing his words.

It is always a blessing to have the missionaries over but like with grandchildren, it is also nice to wave goodbye to the last car load as they leave to make it home to their boardings on time. After they left we cleaned up the kitchen – even using disposable plates and cups, there is plenty of things to wash.

Mary started the latest 1500 piece Big Five puzzle. There is no helping graphics on the back so it is going to take a long time and lots of patience to finish. My main job on puzzles is to keep going through the pieces and put them in different bowls. I guess it is an age for specialties even fordoing puzzles.

I do not know if it was because of the long nap or the energy of the missionaries but I did not go to bed until about midnight. A late end for a good 2 mite day.

24 October 2009


24 October 2009 – Saturday

I must confess that today is going to be a difficult one for me. We can not seem to get started – at least not as far as getting out to any of our areas. I have done a couple of loads of laundry, we went out and shopped for the things we need to feed the elders tomorrow night, I washed the car – the line at the car wash was much too long, and I have caught up my blog. But my mind seems to go blank when I start to think of what we should do before we go to Esikhawini for a battery of lessons sessions.

While Mary taught conducting and piano lessons, I tried bleach on the mold in the bathroom with not great results. Then I gave Sister Khumalo a basic lesson on the computer and got her started on a typing program that was on an old computer that the Bs left behind. I let her take it home with her so she could practice typing and learn more about how to use Word.

After the lessons we drove to the RB mall where we had dinner with the Mickelsens. They are a fun couple to be with and I am glad we are going to have a chance to work with them. They will go to church tomorrow at Ngwelezane and then head back to Durban in the afternoon.

I am afraid today is hardly more than a one mite day when it comes to doing missionary work.

23 October 2009


 

23 October 2009 –  Friday

We had a very good day today. We got to spend the morning talking and studying with President Mann. He told us that a frustrated whale was obviously trying to mate with our house – See October 2 for why.

We left the house at about 9:00 and dropped the President off at the Richards Bay chapel for his meeting with the elders before picking up the Mickelsens for a morning of sight-seeing and orientation. They had never been to Esikhawini or Port Durnford so we gave them the grand tour – well at least a tour.

We took them out to see the beach – after a rather long detour we found it this time-which was quite beautiful and had absolutely no one on it – just miles of dunes, sandy beach and beautiful waves. We will go back some time when we can spend more time.

We introduced them to the Nzamas and the Chirwas – we wanted to let them get an idea of what the area was like and how the members lived. It turned out that the country was much like they experienced on their mission in rural Florida but of course the construction of the housing was different.

While we were at the Chriwas, Sister Mickelsen asked Elder Mickelsen to take a picture of some cattle that were grazing behind the homestead. He did not want to – he said they had enough cattle pictures – until he found that it was a herd that was going to be used for labola – that is the brides price – and then they became interesting. In fact he spent quite a bit of time talking to the young man who owned the cattle. He invited him to church and got his name for the elders. As we left, sister Chirwa started talking to him and perhaps he will actually come. At least we know he will be legally married and has enough income to be able to have a nice herd of cattle. Our last stop in Port Durnford was the chapel which they found interesting. I noticed the door was again falling off the toilet – I think it is a lost cause.

After a nice lunch at Spurs in the mall, we dropped them off at their boarding and came back to ours to get ready for youth. I hate to admit it but I fell asleep in a chair and if Mary had not woke me up I would have slept right through Enselini’s youth meeting.

When we got to the library there were a couple of young ladies waiting for us but most of the youth did not arrive until about 4:00. The Mickelsens came to meet with a couple of their PEF students – or perhaps hopeful PEF students. Much to our embarrassment we found that we had bunked President Vilane’s English lesson. I am not sure we had said we would be there but in any case he was and we were not. I promised him we would be there next week.

We had come prepared to share Elder Holland’s conference talk on the Book of Mormon but nothing else. Elder Tsugula taught a short lesson on Lehi’s dream and then I played the talk. I had forgotten that Elder Holland had started his talk with some comments about Lehi’s dream which made the transition from Elder Tsugula’s lesson perfect. During the talk I went out and got our bag that had the Book of Mormon Bingo – just in case they did not have any games planned. It turned out that they did but preferred to play Bingo. I think they had a lot of fun and we made sure everyone won something.

I was not surprised to find out that they did not know what most of the items on the Bingo card referred to. I asked if anyone knew what the “Urim and Thummim” was and no one had any idea. I told them it would good if they looked it up and came prepared to share next week.

There were 18 to 20 youth there and we only knew the name of two of them. It is going to take us quite a while to get to know them but hopefully the Lord will bless our memories and the youth will be understanding about our not remembering their names.

We got home just as the sun was setting. I tried to catch up this journal but my heart and mind was just not in it.

2 mite day!

22 October 2009



22 October 2009 – Thursday

Another busy day in Paradise – here is the real short version. We got the Mickelsens settled into their new house and then went back to the Richards Bay chapel for what President Mann called a mini-Zone Conference. He took an hour to tell us what he had learned at the leadership conference he and Sister Mann attended in Joburg this weekend. Elder Andersen of the 12 and other leaders taught them for three days.

We had lunch with the Mickelsens and then headed out to Port Durnford for English lessons and Youth. We arrived early so we decided to take a quick look at the Port Durnford beach that we have heard so much about. We of course did not find it – later we found out we were close but not quite there.

English and Youth went very well – we really love the Port Durnford Youth. Since none of them come from families with both parents we wish they had some strong leadership in the branch to watch over them.

In the evening there was supposed to be leadership training for the branch presidents. I had been in contact with each of them a number of times and assumed that they would all come. It turned out that none of them came. They had a wide variety of reasons but the root of course was that they did not feel that it was important enough to make the effort. I was of course disappointed but came to realize that I could not have done much more to get them there except pick each of them up myself and that is not going to help them learn to be reliable Priesthood holders.

My disappointment with the lack of branch presidents was kind of off-set by the youth leaders from Enseleni and Engwalazane coming to the go to the planning meeting for the Youth Conference to be held on November 27. Mary sat in on that meeting while I caught up the ordination and other paperwork with Calwyn Baldwin the district clerk.

After the meeting we drove the three young people from Enselini home. Enseleni lacks the streetlights that Esikhawini has so the back streets are much darker so careful driving is called for. Other than the pot hole I hit that felt like it might have broken the suspension and even with the GPS getting slightly lost while trying to get out of the township, there was no problems.

I forgot to mention that after the meeting the Mickelsens drove President Mann to our boarding so he was here when we got home.

It was a 2 mite day with 1 ½ mite result.

21 October 2009


21 October 2009 – Wednesday

We spent the morning organizing paperwork and making plans for the day before heading up to the DDM for the Empangeni District. Although it ran a little long, it was a good DDM. We got to know a little more about each of the elders , including why they decided to go on a mission. They set some interesting District goals including one to find each day until they found one new family to teach. It will be interesting to find out how they do in keeping that one.

The Empangeni elders are teaching 3 or 4 families at this time. In fact other than poor Port Durnford, all the areas are doing well. The main problem seems getting the investigators to come to church. I suggested in any family where there are youth, that they try to get them to the Youth activity so they can make friends and have fun. I also suggested that they take the RS President, Branch President and others with them when they go so they will get to know a number of people so they will feel more comfortable coming.

After the meeting the elders enjoyed the Chelsea buns we brought. Elder Maremela went first so he could give a demonstration on the correct way to eat one. He is a very funny young man. One of the things most of the elders mentioned was their favorite sport. Elder Maremela is a big man and you would guess he played basketball, soccer, or rugby. It turns out that he did not play any sports – he was just not interested. This is very surprising for any young man and even more so with someone his size and agility.

During the morning I got a call from the Mickelsens saying they would be coming to RB to start working with the Engwalazne branch. Since they had already arranged a meeting with President Mngadi for tomorrow, I cancelled the one I had scheduled with him for today. Instead we went back to Richards Bay had some lunch and picked up the two bikes that we had completely tuned up for Esikhawini elders. They had to almost rebuild them and this caused me to decide we would inspect the bike regularly to see that the missionaries were taking care of them.

We then took the bikes to the Esikhawini chapel where we met with the missionaries. They were very happy to get them because they have been walking everywhere and sometimes it was a long distance between appointments.

As we were leaving the chapel, we got a call from a non-member woman who we have been trying to help get a job without and success. She has great qualification and is probably too qualified for many jobs and too old for others. She said they had no food but since none of her family are members I could not direct her to branch president for help. We try not to just give people food or money but we also could not let a family we know go hungry so we bought a pretty good selection of basic foods and took them to the homestead. Along the way I thought of a way we could help but also let them feel like they are no beggars. They were very happy to accept our suggestion for re-payment and insisted on giving us a head of lettuce from their small garden.

By the time we finished there it was a little late to do anything else so we drove towards home. We used a sand road that was quicker and smoother than the main paved road. We will not use it after a major rain but for a while it is a good short-cut between Esikhawini and Port Durnford.

We did make a short detour to Meer n See and the Barts boarding to tell Hans that some people would be using it from Thursday through Sunday so he could have the beds made, etc. I also picked up the surge protector/back-up battery unit that Elder B said we could have. Now at least there is a hope that if there is a lightening strike our computers will not be toast.

All in all a good day – close to 2 mites.

20 October 2009


20 October 2009 – Tuesday

Of course this morning the sky is clear and the bright sunlight woke me before 5:30.

I spent much of the morning going through the things Elder B left me about the two branches and other things. Thank goodness he is so thorough about his paper work – we have about everything we need to know about their two branches to do our work.

We spent the day with President Vilane. First sat and talked about the branch and then went through about one half the branch list name by name so he could tell us a little about the members. Then we took him with us as we went around and visited – or tried to visit – a number of homes. We got to meet mama Zulu, sister Rose (who is not a member but should be), and others. During our visiting we managed to make two contacts – at least one is a family and the other one may be. We got their names and phone numbers and gave them a picture of Christ with our names and phone number. We enjoyed meeting the members, introducing ourselves and leaving a prayer in each home. They are wonderful people and we are already in love with them. Enselini is tiny compared to Esikhawini and compact compared to Port Durnford. The missionaries should be able to visit almost every home in the township in one or two cycles. Just three or four families would make a great difference to the strength of the branch.

One of our biggest challenges will be communicating with President Vilane is that his English is as weak as his spirit is strong. He and she are used interchangeably so until I am sure of the member’s names and gender I am going to have to check the branch list to affirm if it is a male or female we are talking about. But in the end, the spirit will help us understand him and him understand us. I can only imagine how hard it is for those members who really do not have a good grasp of English to really understand the gospel. That is why it is so important for the young men to go on missions. Not only do they really learn the gospel so they can teach it to their own family and to others in the branches.  Also they are often with US, English or white SA elders who can help them with their English.

As we were dropping President Vilane off at his house, he noticed that we had a nail in our front passenger side tire. He checked and it showed a very slow leak. I decided that I needed to get it fixed but that it could wait until after we had our rather late lunch. McDonalds is always our first choice for a quick lunch – we can be in and out in 20 minutes or less. After lunch we went get the tire fixed before the place closed – the service is excellent and the price reasonable.

A busy but only a 1 ½ mite day…

19 October 2009


19 October 2009 – Monday

I believe that there is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven that says it has to rain every Monday because it is P-day.   

With coming of the rain, our plans for going somewhere for the day got washed away. But the day turned out to be a good one for us. Laundry, shopping, and many errands are now out of way. I now own a new white shirt, socks and some handkerchiefs. We also have a new 1500 piece puzzle that we are going to do from the front only even if it takes the rest of our mission – which it very well might.

While we were at the mall Spindile Kuene from Nselini walked up and said hello. We of course did not recognize her and told her she should introduce herself each time we meet until we do. It would be a major tender mercy from the Lord if we could remember the member’s names in the two branches. At CAN I talked to the two young ladies at the register and after telling them about services on Sunday I gave them each a picture of Christ so they might remember our conversation.

After we finished our shopping at the mall I went looking for somewhere to get a sign with the Church’s name on it for Nselini. Elder Tsegura wanted to paint one but I am going to see what a professional one will cost. If it is too expensive I will go back to plan B.

While I was visiting one store I was surprised to run in to President Vilane who was checking his e-mail. We talked for a short time and I asked if he would be available tomorrow to drive around and introduce us to some of the members. He said he would be happy to do that.

Back home I spent too much time working on the pictures from Saturday but there are some good ones from the funeral and a couple of them from the dance. I still am not getting the kind of pictures I would like to have and may end up getting a new camera for the last half of our mission.

We made a quick trip down to Meer N See to check our mail and pick up some cleaning. On the way back I mentioned that the B’s should be somewhere over the ocean but Mary said she did not think they left until after 5:00. For the fun of it I called their cell and was not surprised when no one answered. But a little later the Elder B called back and told me they were at the airport waiting for their plane. I mentioned we did not get a last hug and he said that they could not take any more of the pain of leaving. We talked about a few things and then I said goodbye for the last time to Elder B – the next time we talk he will be brother B. I have to say that I have a feeling of great loss when I think that they are gone. They have become very special to us and I will miss our daily chats and other contacts that we have grown use to. God be with you til we meet again Elder and Sister B. You leave the church in South Africa stronger than when you came – the Lord truly knew where you were needed most.

Our big p-day splurge was going to Spurs and taking advantage of their two for one burger special. We each get a double rib burger and bring home four nice slabs of great ribs. After dinner we drive to the Bs house – it will always be the Bs house to us – and decide what to bring to our boarding. We will leave a lot of the supplies for the new couple but we will take what we think we need and can use. Right now that is a working printer/copier/fax and a couple of boxes full of odds and ends. If no couple comes we will have to get bookcases for the garage or just box a lot of stuff up for storage.

We took the opportunity to watch an episode of an old Amazing Race that we think we first saw in Indonesia. Even though we think we know how it ends, we enjoy watching what is one of our favorite TV programs. It is the first TV we have watched in over 6 months – which goes to show you can actually live without it.

A 2 mite P-day

18 October 2009


18 October 2009 – Sunday

Woke at about 3:30 and could not go back to sleep so I sat up reading until I gave up and had breakfast.

We were out of the house by 6:50 and drove to Esikhawini to pick up President Nyawo and tried to picku up President Nkosi but he was not ready but made it to PEC anyway. Sne Mthalane joined us but the elders arrived 30 minutes late when we were almost done. I took some of the time trying to encourage them to do their home teaching.  After PEC Sne told me that he was applying for a PEF loan so he cango to a school in Durban that specializes in teaching cargo handling and paperwork. He feels it is a good specialty for South Africa and that it pays well. I think he is doing the right thing but the branch is really going to miss him. Mary met with sister Khumalo while I was at PEC as a District RS Presidency.

We then drove to Port Durnford for Sacrament meeting. It looked like almost no one was going to show up but by the time it started a half hour late, there was about 30 people in attendance. After sacrament we stayed long enough for President Machaka to ordain Lindani as a priest and give brother Chirwa – who was baptized two weeks ago – the priesthood and ordain him a priest.

We then stopped by home for a snack before going on to Enseleni for their branch conference. The Bs were there being busy as usual making sure everything was ready for Sacrament. We only talked to them for a minute before sitting down. We were surprised when President Baldwin stood at the beginning and announced that they would leave during the meeting to avoid a big goodbye scene. We were disappointed because we never really had said goodbye to them. During the meeting Elder B passed me the keys to their boarding and that was about it for parting. Like so many in the audience we really would have liked a parting hug and handshake before they left, but we understand their decision. Unlike the people here, at least we will get to see them again in about 9 months.

The highlight of the talks was President Vezi mentioning how a Book of Mormon that he found in a pile of magazines that he bought at a used book store. That ‘accident’ changed his life completely.

After sacrament we left to go back to Port Durnford so I could spend some time training Presidents Machaka and Zondi. President Zondi has only been a member for a year and is going to conduct his first sacrament meeting next week. I gave them a couple of suggestions and some homework from the 2004 WW Leadership meeting on Bishoprics. I think this will help them understand their callings and hopefully help President Zondi feel more confident.

We were going to make a couple of stops in Esikhawini but found out the people would not be home so we will do it on Tuesday or Wednesday. We finally got home at about 5:00 after a long and fruitful – I think – day. With the Bartholomews gone, I think we will have many very busy days – especially Sundays.

I was so tired that I almost immediately lay down and napped for two hours. Mary finally woke me because she was afraid I would never go to sleep tonight. I told her that I did not think that would be any problem. I spoke to sister Mickelsen for a few minutes about Elder Holland’s talk “Divine Companion.” Sister Mann has asked her to transcribe the talk from the DVD so the elders can all have a copy. She had read in my blog that I was making copies of it for the elders in the zone. She was hoping that I had access to the whole talk but I had to tell her all I had was the report in the Church News.

The rest of the evening was very quiet and restful. Mary’s knee gave her trouble through out the day but she did not let that slow her down. However she was glad to be able to put it up on the couch and let it heal.

1 7/8 mite day! Always room for improvement.

Note: I just realized that I did not mention that Saturday when we got home from Esihkhawini we had almost no water pressure. We thought that because we had forgotten to pay our water bill and so they reduced our pressure until we did. It is not legal for them to completely cut off the water so they leave enough for people to get some drinking water and if they are patient to get enough for washing up a little. But there is not enough for taking a shower or washing clothes. Since by the time we discovered this it was too late to go pay the bill, we were resigned to the fact that we would not get showers on Sunday or Monday morning.

However when we got home from the dance on Saturday night, lo and behold the water pressure was back up. It must have been a system problem for the whole area and they fixed it while we were gone. When I found this out, I said a prayer of thanks and I will pay the bill first thing Monday.

17 October 2009


17 October 2009 – Saturday

Another busy day in Paradise. Our day of service started with our going over to the Bartholomews to go through the house and make sure we knew what was the theirs or the church’s, talk about Enselini and its needs, and other last minute wisdom they might have.

Then we hurried to Port Durnford and arrived just as the funeral for sister Mhlongo was ending so we got to sing the closing song, go to the gravesite, fill in a couple of shovel fulls of dirt, and share a meal with the family and mourners. After the grave was filled and President Vesi was ready to close the graveside service, the tribal counselor who was there gave a talk in Zulu that at one point had everyone look at me. Later when I asked President Vesi what he had said he told me that the official had said it was good that the Church was in Port Durnford because he had never seen a white man take part in a funeral. He said that whites went to white funerals and blacks went to blacks but today we were all together. Perhaps this will help the elders when they are finding and teaching in the area.

After the funeral we went to the Esikhawini chapel where Mary had three students show up for piano lessons. All are at different levels but none are practicing as much as they should. While she was doing that I put some de-odorizing tablets in the men’s urinal and got the sound system tuned up. By the time we left it had started to drizzle. It had been over cast all morning but had not fallen at all at the funeral.

When we got home the RB elders came over so Mary could make a program for a baptism tomorrow. It will be very unusual for South Africa because it is a white woman and her son. After the elders left we had a quick dinner of macaroni and cheese – with real Kraft cheese thanks to Cindy – before heading off to the YSA dance at the RB chapel.

I could write pages about the dance but will just say that it was one of the best activities we have been to. Over 50 YSA came from all over the district and had a great time talking, eating and dancing. The credit for the success of the evening goes to Theunis de Klerk – a member of RB branch whose family drive 2 ½ hours each way from their farm to attend church and other activities.

Once the young people got started dancing – and it took the efforts of both couples to get them off the walls – they hardly stopped. The DJ knew just what to play and the natural love of dancing that the people have – including the older ones – took over. They do not really dance as couples but they often formed a circle and danced to the beat while one or two of them either jumped or was pushed into the center to do a short dance. It was great to watch and after a while I even forgot the headache I had when I came.

It was kind of a last hurrah for the Bartholomews as they will leave tomorrow during the Enseleni branch conference. They love the young people and have spent much of their time and talents building them up in a way we could never have. Our challenge will be keeping them moving on the path they have started them on. Everyone had a great time and I think that they would have danced all night if we had not pulled the plug at about 10:00 so they could get back to their homes and get some sleep before getting up for church tomorrow.

We and the Bartholomews did most of the clean-up and tucked all the youth into their cars or taxis before heading home ourselves at about 10:45. It was a much better night than I expected and we did have fun. Unfortunately Mary had managed to twist her trick knee earlier in the day so she spent most of the time sitting on the sidelines or trying to get everyone involved.

It was a very busy but rewarding day. We will miss the Bartholomews greatly.

1 ¾ mites

16 October 2009

16-oct-2009-gabi.JPG16-oct-2009-gabis-niece.JPG

Gabi Mhlongo and her niece who’s name I did not get. If it was not for the African homes in the back, the niece could be in Los Angeles in the spring.


16 October 2009 – Friday

I was awake in the middle of the night for a couple of hours so I slept in until 7:00. We then needed to hurry somewhat because we have a lot to do today. But the Lord really blessed us and what seemed at first like problems were quickly solved.

We thought we had a problem with getting all the clothing for Sister Mhlongo but had worked out a ‘make do’ solution. But once we had done that we were prompted to see if there was a chance that there was clothing we did not know about and after a number of calls we found out there was a complete set so Sister Mhlongo could be properly clothed. Oh – and Mary found out that she was expected to help dress the body. Something of course she has never done before.

We bought two food orders for families in Port Durnford – we are getting good at filling basic food orders. There was almost no one in the store and we were able to check out quickly. Our next stop was the bank to cash the checks I got last night. Often there is a long line and then the teller must double and triple check everything before she can give me the money. Today I walked right up to a teller who I had dealt with before and she quickly cashed the checks. Another tender mercy I believe.

We went to Port Durnford where we delivered the food orders before going up to the Mhlongo’s homestead to pick up the daughters and take them shopping. We thought that we would just go to Spars in Esikhawini but they said it was too expensive so it was back to Richards Bay and Shoprite. Mary went shopping with the three young ladies – Manini, Gabi and their niece who I think is older than either of the others. We made one stop at Pick N Pay so they could get meat and headed back to Port Durnford.

After dropping off the food and the young women at the homestead, we picked up Sister Chirwa and Sister Mlondo so we could go to the funeral parlor in Empangini. I must say that a funeral parlor in South Africa – at least this one – is nothing like the ones in the US. There is no fancy building, there is no peaceful surroundings, and in fact it kind of reminded me of the Social Security office in Provo but not as clean. However Mary told me that the people were very helpful and respectful of what the sisters were doing. Since I could not help, I waited in the car and got a short nap until they were finished.

Then it was once again back to Port Durnford so we could drop off the sisters. Sister Chirwa said that she would go up to the Mhlongo’s homestead later and spend the night there so she could help them prepare for tomorrow. The love that the people have for each other and the service they give is wonderful and humbling to see.

By the time we had done all of this it was too late to go to youth in Esikhawini or Enselini so we drove to the mall and had a nice dinner. Lunch had been a couple of rusks and a drink that we consumed as we drove from one place to another. We are beginning to use rusks as a trail food. With no other couple serving full time here, I would guess that a number of our lunches will consist of rusks and a drink.

1 7/8 Mites