Daily Archives: November 15, 2009

15 November 2009

15 November 2009 – Sunday

Sunday morning is always hectic as we try to make sure that everything we need is packed in the car. This morning we had a small crisis come up. As we were just driving away from our boarding we got a call saying the Engwalezane elders saying they were out of sacrament cups. Since we had some in the back of our car and the Mickelsens were going to attend the branch meetings we ran over to their boarding and dropped off enough cups to get them through the day. Hopefully the elders will re-load before next Sunday or President Mngadi will order some from Joburg.

Even with that delay we made it to the Esikhawini PEC meeting in time. President Thusi picked up President Nyawo and the elders also came. We had a good PEC meeting with Elders Musemare and Dishon giving the branch a very well thought out report on new converts, investigators and in-actives that they were working with and how the branch can help them in fellowshipping, home teaching, etc. Hopefully the leadership will use the report and in that way help the activity grow.

Because the Primary was supposed to put on the sacrament program, we stayed at Esikhawini for sacrament. Unfortunately the rain kept most of the children away or they came very late so they had to go to plan B which was to have Elders Maremela, Dishon and Pier speak. As I could see the lack of primary aged children in the audience – I think there was one when sacrament started – I was pretty much prepared for this before we were asked.

Both elders gave excellent talks and I was especially edified by elder Maremela’s as he spoke about how the Lord qualifies us for the work ahead. He gave examples of how Nephi and others were tempered – my word, not his – to prepare them for the tasks He had for them in the future. He said we also are qualified by the Lord for the work we have to do. Elder Dishon talk was on prayer and it was also filled with the spirit.

I spoke on four things that families needed to do to enjoy all the blessings that God has for us. I used Elder Maremela’s idea that we needed to be qualified for the work and the blessings. The four things I spoke on were: Family Prayer, Family Scripture Study, FHE and Tithing. I pointed out how Prophets had promised us if we did these things our family would be strengthened, we would not lose our children, and the family’s needs would be available.

I felt that I needed to keep my voice slow, quiet and calm – I tend to go into a Fire and Brimstone mode at times. But today I let the spirit do the burning and I think it went well. Most people stayed awake and as I looked out at the audience I could see that most of them were following me. I really felt the Lord blessed me so I could get this important message out to the members. It is something I have wanted to talk about for a few months and today the Lord gave me the chance to use the theme.

After the meeting President Nyawo said that he felt sometimes the Lord had different ideas on what needed to be shared than we may have planned for. He also said something that shows how it is only when we have the spirit with us that we really touch people’s lives. He said that today he felt the same spirit that he felt when he first started coming to Church. 

We left Esikhawini and after a brief stop by our boarding we went to Enseleni for their meetings. We were happy to find that a new church that was to start today and run from 10 – 12 had not used our part of the Library. However the rain really hit the attendance, which ended up under 30, as none of the usual supply of non-member primary aged children came. In fact since there were only 10 people – and four of them were missionaries – I suggested to President Vilane that he not start the meeting until 12:15. It felt strange to ask the meeting not start on time, but it was the right thing to do.

All of the speakers came but one had not prepared a talk and got up and apologized. That meant that even starting 15 minutes late, the meeting got over early.  Instead of breaking into groups, the three primary aged children and their teacher went out and the rest stayed together and were taught about the sacrament by Elder Tsegula.

After the meeting I had a good conversation with one of the investigators and bore him my testimony that the Church was true. I also spoke to President Vilane and suggested that he hold a special meeting of what they call PEC but is really Branch Council Meeting to see how the plans for the Branch Christmas Social was doing. This is important because with District Conference coming on the first weekend in December they do not have many chances to meet before then.

When we drove away from Enseleni at 2:30 I felt very good about the day and what we had accomplished. It is just too bad that when it rains so many of our members who have to walk to church tend to stay home. But it was encouraging that out of an attendance of less then 25 – not counting missionaries – 7 of them were investigators.

When we reached our boarding we had a light lunch and then I took a way too long nap. I did not have any idea I was that tired and it certainly blew the afternoon. We discussed how we really needed to come up with a plan to use Sunday afternoons and evenings more productively.

Elders Weaver and Reeder showed up unexpectedly to pick up a new cell phone – elder Weaver laundered their last one – and some mail. As they were leaving Elder Reeder asked if he could have an ice cream – I thought that it was great that he felt he could ask so I gave them both one for the road.

It is fun to read the other Durban mission blogs –especially that now with the Mickelsens coming up a number of times a month. Sister Mann’s main mission blog is always filled with news from the mission and great pictures – especially of strange signs. This week she had visitors and gave them a tour of the game parks including St. Lucia and Umfolozi which are among our favorites.

Other sites that we love to visit is the Church News and Mormon Times sites where there are always uplifting stories about LDS members as well as reports on talks by General Authorities at the Church Colleges, CES, etc. We also read where it is snowing in Utah – I wonder what it would be like if they got 6 inches of snow in Richards Bay – pure chaos I am sure.

It has been an excellent Sabbath with the Lords hand clearly seen in a number of ways.

14 November 2009 – Pictures


While Mary was teaching piano to Zama and other, Sister Ndlovu and her son showed up to clean the buildings for Sunday services. We are going to start holding English classes at her house on Wednesdays.


As I was locking up the chapel after Mary’s lessons I noticed this on the board. It seems the Esikhawini youth were discussing the Youth Convention that is coming up in just 2 weeks. The Torch is the symbol and I think the list on the right must be the activities they are planning to hold.


As we were leaving Zinhle’s homestead on a little used pair of ruts through a field, I noticed this single beautiful lily growing out in the middle of all the grass. I walked out through the wet grass to take a close up. As we were driving away we discussed how that bulb got out in the field. There were no other ones around and it certainly was not planted there on purpose. However it got there, it was a treat for us to see.

The last picture is of the Esikhawini/Port Durnford elders. Perhaps the last picture of all four together in their suits at Esikhawini. Elders Wengert, Musemare, Dishon and Melamare – good elders who are working hard to build up the branches.

14 November 2009

14 November 2009 – Saturday

The morning again slipped away quickly. We had originally planned to go to the soccer game in PD between the elders and the branch but that was postponed because four of the elders could not be there. The RB elders went out to the deKlerk’s farm and the Empangeni elders had a service project. So instead we ran errands including getting pictures of the Enseleni youth printed, getting ink for the printer – where are the re-fillers in South Afrcia – and going to the pharmacy for some of Mary’s meds.

Sister Khumalo SMS us that she would not be able to come for her computer lesson but 3 out of 4 of Mary’s piano students said they would come. So while she was busy teaching piano I got to take a nap in the car. Before we were through dear sister Ndlovo came to clean the chapel. It was a good thing we were there because she did not have keys to get in so I opened everything up for her.

While Mary was teaching, it had started drizzling a little harder so we drove Zama – her last student – to her house. We then drove out to Port Durnford where we recovered the missing bag of games from the chapel – they were under the pulpit – and then drove to the Kanyile homestead to give them the picture of their family we had printed today. We did not think anyone was home but as we were leaving the son came out and so we were able to complete our task. The father seemed very pleased to have the picture and I was very careful not to mention anything about the church while we were there. Hopefully by showing them our love they will someday be open to hearing the missionaries.

As we drove pass Bungumuse’s house, we saw the elder’s car was out in front but we did not stop because we did not want to interfere with their teaching. Then about 30 yards further down the street we saw his mother and stopped to say hello to her. She is a very nice woman and we need to do more to help her get a job.

On the way out of Esikhawini we stopped to make sure the chapel was locked up – we had arranged for Sazi Mthalane to come over and do that – and drove up just as sister Ndlovo and her son were leaving. It had started to be quite wet so we picked them up and drove them home.

By the time we had finished it was still an hour before we were to meet the Mickelsen’s at the harbor for dinner. This gave us time to do our little bit of grocery shopping and still be on time. We had dinner at a Thai restaurant that the Bs introduced us to. We ended up taking almost 2 hours to eat and talk. It did not seem anything like that long because the company was so good.

We talked about the branches, some of the problems that needed to be worked on, stories about our first missions – theirs to Florida and ours to Indonesia – and we did some planning for our trip down to Durban on Monday.

Back at the boarding we had a couple of quiet hours before heading off to bed. Looking back I am not sure how much we accomplished in furthering the Lord’s work.