Daily Archives: December 14, 2009

13 December 2009

13 December 2009 – Sunday

Here is a good missionary story.

I have had a feeling for a number of weeks that Khulekani Mchunu from the Enselini branch should go on a mission. He himself and others had told me that his grandmother did not want him to go and even though he was 21, without her permission he would not go. I asked Khulekani what if thought it would be OK if I went and talked to his grandmother about him going and he said it should be OK.

So on Friday before youth, I asked Khulekani if he wanted to go with me to talk to his grandmother and he said he did not want to go. So I felt that I should take President Vilane who was also there. It is a good thing that I did because it turned out that the gogo did not really understand or speak English.

To make a rather long visit short, after President Vilane told her why we were there and explained about a mission, etc., she basically said that she did not think he could go because he was the only able bodied adult male around to help her with the younger children and a disabled man who also lived there. But she said she would talk to Khulekani’s uncles to see what they had to say about it. I have to confess that I went away not felling confident that everything would work out.

The next day, Saturday, after we went to the Enseleni Christmas party, Khulekani said he would like to talk to me, but since we were just getting in the car to rush to the next party in Port Durnford, he said it could wait until Sunday after church. I asked him if his grandmother was upset because we were trying to get him on a mission. He said no that it was OK.

Sunday right after sacrament meeting – he could not wait until after the second hour – we went out to our car and talked. He said that he needed to know what to do to go on a mission. He said that when he woke up on Saturday, his granny told him that his oldest uncle who lived in Joburg had felt that he should call and talk to her. His uncle is not a member of the Church but he felt that the spirit had urged him to call. When he called she told him about our conversation on Friday and he said that he thought Khulekani should ‘go teach the gospel.’

So now he has permission and all we need to do is get his papers completed and in as soon as possible. I told him he would have to cut off his dreadlocks before he could go and he said that was not a problem and is going to get them cut off soon so he will start looking and feeling like a missionary.

He is going to need some financial help to get ready but I am sure that is no problem. What he can not afford I am sure we can help him with. It is easy to see the Lord’s hand in many ways in this story. The rock cut out of the mountain will soon fill Africa as great young men like this go out and preach the gospel.

Needless to say this made my day, but it was really frosting on an already great cake. Our morning started with PEC meeting at Esikhawini. Since most of the people were late, President Nyawo and I got to talk about a number of things and arrange for us to get together on Tuesday for some training. We talked about his vision of having a real building to meet in and I told him it could happen but he will need to lead the branch upward before it will happen.

There were very few people there for the start of Sacrament meeting but eventually over 50 arrived which is good considering that it is the time when people start going back to their home areas for the holidays.

I tried to pay careful attention to the testimonies. Some of the thoughts I wrote down included: Thank God for our family, the only way to be saved in the last days is through the gospel, without the atonement I would not be here, the leadership of this church is ordained of got, etc. The highlight of the meeting was to watch sister Tembe walk to the pulpit to give her testimony. It is something she has wanted to do since he was crippled by a beating over 3 years ago. She bore her testimony through tears in Zulu. A funny part was when Sister Mathe started to bear her testimony in Zulu but first apologized to us in English. After her I took the opportunity to bear my testimony including that I knew that the new branch presidency was called of God.

After sacrament I talked to President Nyawo about interviewing Musa for the Melchezidek Priesthood and to be made an elder so he can start to prepare to go on a mission in 6 months or so. If he can get out and Solo Mthalane goes next year, the branch can have 3 missionaries out at one time. What a blessing that would be.

We then went to Enselini for their meetings. The other Church was a little late in getting out but that was OK because there was almost no one there by noon. But as soon as there was enough PH to bless the sacrament President Vilane started the meeting only 5 minutes late. Like at Esikhawini the people continued to come in and eventually there were over 30. There were a lot of regulars missing – including Baba Justice, sister Zulu, and a lot of the young people. Also there were only about 10 primary aged children instead of the usual 30 – they came for the party yesterday but stayed home today. The good thing was that a number of investigators came.

The testimonies at Enselini tended to be more ones of gratitude than ones of actually bearing testimony. Khulekani was an exception as he bore a strong testimony of the restoration of the Church in the last days. President Vilane included a suggestion that those who have been blessed share their abundance with others.

After Sacrament I had my meeting with Khulekani, I realized I was not feeling well. My stomach had become quite upset and since Mary had not been feeling very good either, I decided we should leave a little early for home.

The rest of the day was rather laid back. I went through lots of papers looking for what might be useful for training President Nyawo. I am going to be careful and not weigh him down with lots of things at first, but he already knows that he is going to be very busy.

One thing I have not mentioned is how the Lord blessed President Nyawo at his work. Earlier I had asked him if he got the holiday season off like so many people do. He said that he did not because his magistrate worked through the holidays. When he got back to the court after being off to take his exams, he found that his magistrate had been transferred and he was assigned to another court. That court did take the month off – with pay – and he does not have to report to work until January 11th. This means he has almost a month to go out and meet with his members, study the manuals and be trained. It also means he can spend time with his wife and their new born daughter. The Lord does bless those who are willing to serve.

12 December 2009

12 December 2009 – Saturday

There were four Christmas socials today – Esikhawini, Enseleni, Port Durnford and Richards Bay. This led to us putting about 200K on the car and spending over 2 ½ hours driving. But before we could get started we spent part of the morning waiting for an e-mail that would contain the music that Elder Nare needed for accompany his song. After about 3 hours of frustration we gave up and he decided to sing a regular Christmas hymn at the two socials he was asked to participate in.

Our first stop was Esikhawini which was supposed to start at noon but when we got there at about one President Nyawo and a good size group of children were the only people there. By the time we left about and hour later, there still was nothing there for the party but people were starting to arrive.

We took the N2 to Enseleni and found that their social was in full swing so we were late. They had started right at one as advertised. Nonhlahla was conducting and almost the minute we walked in she announced that I was to speak. I had been warned I might be called on but I had not really prepared a talk. So I gave a short talk about how we needed to have traditions in our homes that focused the Christmas on Jesus’ birth. I suggested that they make a tradition of reading the Christmas story in their families. I don’t know if I convinced anyone – especially the children – that they should care more about remembering Jesus than the presents, trees, and ornaments, but maybe I got the idea across to some one.

After the program we had to almost immediately leave to get to Port Durnford for their social. Along the way we had to make a quick stop at our boarding to pick up the table cloths for Richards Bay. They had called after we had already left in the morning and we said we would drop them off sometime. When we got there President and Sister Van Thiel were busy getting things ready.

Since we were going through Esikhawini to get to Port Durnford, we stopped in at the chapel to see if the social ever got started. It had and the children were playing musical chairs, the adults were talking to each other, the elders were cooking the meat and a group of sisters were getting plates ready to feed the probably 60 – 70 people who were there. We made a quick circuit and said hello to everyone before heading out again.

When we arrive at Port Durnford about 45 minutes after they were to start we found that only a couple of people were there besides President Machaka. None of the supplies nor the braii had arrived but he assured us that things were on the way. We spent some time talking to who did arrive. When it was apparent that things would eventually get going, we bid them goodbye and went to Richards Bay.

They were supposed to start at 4:00 but were of course also late as people arrived over the a 90 minute interval. By the time the food was ready, there were over 50 people there including a good selection of investigators. What was interesting was how many stalwarts were not there. Kerrie Baldwin said that last Sunday some 60 people had said they would be there but over the week they kept calling and saying that other things had come up and they would not be coming. At least there was plenty of food for those who did come and everyone seemed to have a good time.

By the time we got home we were rather warn out from all the travelling and visiting. But it was a good day and we got to see a good portion of the members of the district at one time or another.

11 December 2009

11 December 2009 – Friday

I jumped out of bed, took a shower, got dressed and was getting ready to leave to get the car washed when Mary pointed out it was raining. I had not noticed at all – so much for washing the car. However since I was dressed I went down to Engen and got milk and scones so we could have breakfast.

We spent most of the morning doing errands including grocery shopping, getting cash from the ATM and other things that needed to be done. I did get the new simplified English program ordered for each branch – it took a little name dropping (President Koelliker) to get it accomplished but it worked. We also found out that we accidently took some things that should have gone with Knudsens to New Castle so we will either take it to them on Monday or drive back to Durban and let president Mann take it later in the week when he is going for interviews.

After lunch we went to Enseleni so Mary could have her English lesson with President Vilane. After the lesson Nonhlahla, Kulikani and one other young man showed up just to say hello. I got the young men to help clean up one of the rooms that some group had used and left in a mess.

Then while the three youth and Mary played Skip-Bo, President Vilane and I went to see Khulekani’s gogo about him going on a mission. It is a good thing that the president went with me because she did not speak much English so the two of them talked in Zulu and ever so often the president would fill me in a little. It ended up with the problem being that Khulekani is the only healthy male at the boarding who can help the gogo deal with the younger children and a handicapped man who lives there. But she said that she would talk to Khulikani’s two uncles and see what they think might be done.

When we got back to the library, Mary and the youth were just finishing up a game so we could pack everything up and head to Meerensee to return the keys to the Bs boarding to Bessie. She has someone moving in on the 15th and she wants to get everything ready for them. While Mary waited in the car I had a nice visit with Bessie and she took me all over the yard to show me some of plants. She is a wonderful gardener and in the couple of weeks she has been back from the UK she has whipped the place back in shape.

We finally got home and had just finished dinner when Elder Nare called from Enseleni to say that there car would not start because the battery was dead. So we cleaned up the dinner dishes and headed back to Enseleni. Thanks to the jumper cables that elder B left us, we soon had them back in business. I left the cables with them so if they had the same problem, they could take care of it themselves.

What was interesting was that when we arrived at their car, President Vilane, Nonlhalha, Khulekani, and three or four other members were all there. I suggested that since we were all together we might as well have a meeting. Along the way back to our boarding we stopped for gas and some more scones for tomorrow’s breakfast. It was well after dark before we got home. It turned out to be a busier day than we thought it would be.

09 December 2009

09 December 2009 – Wednesday

All Zone continued. The morning meeting was a talk on the characteristics of Jesus by President Wilford. Sister and President Mann spoke about the mission. Elders went out to play sports while there was a short couples meeting with President Mann. Elders had a great time playing soccer – grass and sand – basketball and even a small rugby game.

The hamburgers for lunch did not show up so we got out the left over turkey and other things and the first half of the missionaries ate turkey on hot dog rolls so the missionaries from Swaziland and Newcastle could get going back to their areas. Of course this did not work as some of the missionaries had doctor’s appointments and some left their gear at the boardings where they were sleeping. So instead of getting away by 1:00 they were still there at 2:00.

When the hamburgers finally arrived, the missionaries who had not eaten were told they could eat as many hamburgers as they wanted. It was rather amazing to see how much food some elders could pack away. No, that is not true – we have had many experiences watching elders of our zone go through enough food to feed a family of 5 for a week in one meal.

I had to leave a little early because President Mann wanted to have a presidency meeting back at the office. One of the things we discussed was the Area Presidency’s desire to have the bishops and branch presidents work closely with their youth and YSA. They are to interview them regularly, visit the less active, and know what they are doing with their lives. They are to be encouraged to be married ASAP.

After the meeting I followed Elders Wilson and Knudsen back to our B&B where I enjoyed a nap before getting up to go to see ‘My Fair Lady.’ All the couples except the Manns went along with the Rawlings and another couple from the local ward. The tickets were a whole 80 rand – about $9.50 – for a very well done musical at a very beautiful old theatre. The only complaint I had was that the man who played Henry Higgins did not sing clearly all the time and did not project even though he was miked. But all in all it was a good production and a nice evening out.

It was a good day with the morning being centered on Christ and the evening on the power of love to over come all.

08 December 2009 – Tuesday

08 December 2009 – Tuesday

The first thing this morning we found the proofs of Taylor’s wedding pictures were available on the web. It was fun to look at her in her beautiful dress in front of the temple with all her family and friends. There were also family photos where almost everyone except us could be found.

In preparation for all zone, I read President Uchtdorf’s conference talk on Love. I had read it before but this morning for some reason it really got through. This is of course why I need to read and re-read the conference talks. Like the scriptures there is always something new that is noticed each time I read them.

All of the couples had breakfast together. Sister Rawlings presents a nice spread and even had her delicious fresh biscuits for us. We sat with the Knudsens and talked about what was going on in our different areas. After breakfast I walked around the yard and got a couple of good pictures of a beautiful little yellow bird that I had not seen before.

Everyone went to the Pinetown chapel for All Zone Conference. It is a wonderful time because all of the missionaries serving in the South Africa Durban Mission come together for two days of learning and fun. Elder Hill, the area authority 70, led a wonderful two hour discussion on the Atonement. He got great audience participation as he walked us through the scriptures.

After the morning session we helped serve lunch- sandwiches, chips, fruit, and muffins for dessert. The best part of helping is being able to very briefly talk to each of the elders as they come through. It is especially fun to talk to the missionaries we have served with but are now serving elsewhere.

I must say that it was a very hot and humid day. I thought I had forgotten to pack any handkerchiefs so I was using napkins to try and sop up some of the sweat. While that worked temporarily, I was glad to later find one handkerchief in my coat pocket – it worked much better. After lunch while the elders are going to training meetings we help start setting up for dinner. Mainly that meant setting up steam tables to keep the food warm before it was served.

Next on the agenda was the testimony meeting. I think about half the missionaries were able to give their testimony and if there had been time, probably 90% of them would. I was proud to see temporary elder Chirwa get up and bear his testimony. It is a real treat to sit and listen to 50 – 60 elders stand up and briefly talk about how their mission has touched them and bear testimony of the things they are teaching each day.

To help with the full turkey dinner I go to serve the rice. Once again I was able to share a few words with many of the missionaries – actually all of them since everyone stopped to get rice. One elder said ‘You have served me all day’ and I replied that it was a privilege to serve and wasn’t that that is what the Savior did. The caterer fixed rice instead of mashed potatoes and most of the elders loved it – especially the African elders. However we found that almost no one took any green peas – there are some foods that most young men throughout the world seem to not enjoy.

After Dinner came the talent show. It is almost impossible to say anything about this part of Christmas All Zone. First each zone put on a skit or sang some hymn. The two hits of the night was Swaziland’s ‘frog singing’ and another zone’s ‘placing a Book of Moron skit. In the BoM skit the elders try to place one with no success – the different ‘types’ of people who turned them down each brought a laugh from the other on-lookers. At the end they were mugged by two men who took everything they had including their ties, shoes, socks, etc. After the muggers left with all their goods, the elders realized they also took the BoM and were thrilled that they had finally placed one.

After the skits came a lot of different elders sharing their talents – mainly singing and other musical numbers. There were a number of guitar numbers with Elders Hoosier and O’Brian’s getting the most applause.

The final event of the night was the annual slide show that included shots of elders doing many things through out the year. Of course each picture brought some comments from those watching. After the slide show I helped empty the warming trays – they had been trying to drain them into pitchers. I got two strong elders to just carry a whole tray out to the front lawn and dump it. We were done in less than 5 minutes.

With that done, we got into our car and headed home – one of the last cars out of the parking lot. Luckily we had heard the code for keypad during the day so we could get the gate open. We were in bed soon after we got home. It was a long but wonderful day.

07 December 2009

07 December 2009 – Monday

A traveling day. Pack for Durban trip. Stop at Esikhawini chapel so Mary can give a piano lesson to Sazi. Stop at Ballito to look for Dr. Pepper but do not find any – do find regular Bugles. Have lunch in a grassy area over looking the sea- but can not see it because of fog.

Stop at mission office and then to Little Haven. The Wilsons and the Knudsens come later in the afternoon. We sit around and talk for a couple of hours before going to dinner at the mall. Get a suggestion from an employee and have an excellent dinner. Get Bernadette’s contact number. Home and to bed.

06 December 2009 – Sunday

To come later!

05 December 2009

05 December 2009 – Saturday

It was a busy but wonderful day for us. We spent the time before the Manns came to finish getting things ready for the lunch we thought we would serve. However it turned out that because Elder Koelliker wanted to meet with President Vezi alone, the meetings would start 30 minutes earlier leaving no time for lunch.

The Manns picked up Elder and Sister Koelliker at the Richards Bay airport – which is less than 5 minutes away – and brought them back to our boarding until it was time to go the RB chapel to start conference.

All the sessions of conference went off with out a hitch. I got to preside at the Women’s session. We thought Mary was going to conduct but Sister Khumalo cancelled her trip to a funeral – her mother said it was OK because someone else was representing the family – so she could conduct. Mary did play for Elder Nare when he sang in the PH leadership meeting that was at the same time.

The main part of the session was training by sisters Mann and Koelliker about how to teach. Also they taught about how to use scriptures, visual aids, etc and not just reading from the manual. One of the things they emphasized was taking the time to prepare lessons.

Sister Koelliker asked me to give a short message and I ended up talking to them about the importance of getting the Conference issue in to the home of each of the members. Other than that I just got to sit and listen to the excellent advice about improving teaching skills.

The sisters then joined the brethren for instruction by Elder Koelliker. He stressed the need to support your spouse so that they can fulfill their calls.

The first general adult meeting was full of wonderful talks. President Moloi asked if we wanted to be worthy in the eyes of God or in the eyes of man – to be worthy in the eyes of God we must remain worthy.

Sister Khumalo continued much in the same line by sharing 2 Nephi 5:1 where Nephi is told to separate from his brothers so that he and his followers could live righteously. Our lives can not be like those of the world – we must be careful of ‘Lamanites’ in our own family.

Sister Mann spoke about Heleman 26 where the Gadianton Robbers were converted by the gospel being taught to them. We can change the world by sharing the gospel.

President Mann gave five points that he felt important to developing full faith in Christ

1.       Study. Ponder, pray about Christ

2.       Talk with God regularly through prayer. Pray for what we want to know.

3.       Do Christ like things – Ask ‘What would Jesus do?”

4.       Pay Tithing –

5.       Love one another.

Sister Koelliker – told a cute story about a time when she was listening to a talk on you should pay attention to your children and one of her children tried to get her attention…she asked them to be quiet so she could listen to the talk.

Elder Koelliker spoke about strengthening our faith in Jesus Christ and our families.  He suggest that we read our Patriarchal Blessing. I am afraid I do not read mine once a year.