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.

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