When we were in Indonesia we found that there was yellow watermelon. We also saw them in South Africa. But the otherday we found orange colored watermelon in our local Spaars. It taste great but has many more seeds than the other two.
12 February 2010 Ã¢Â€Â“ Friday
We had a really nice call from the Bartholomews. We brought them up to date on many of the things that were going on in the mission and how they might help. They are itching to get back to South Africa so they can work with the people here. Sister B said for me to ask President Mann if they could come back every other month and serve in Richards Bay. I guess it could be like a service mission at home where you serve a couple of days a week while living at home.
In the morning we went to Engwelezane to meet with President Mngadi about the temple trip planned for the end of the month. There are some logistics that must be worked out to get those who have not been to the temple interviewed by President Mann. He is so busy that we probably will have to drive them down to Durban for the interviews.
While we were in the area we stopped by the two Empangeni boardings and met some of the new missionaries in the district. I imagine we will meet them all over the weekend or if not for sure at the Zone Development Meeting on Tuesday.
Our afternoon got wiped out when President Vilane could not come to our English class and then we got the good news that we could get our car out of the panel beaters late in the day. Lucky for us the Richards Bay elders did not have any appointments so they were able to help us get the rental car returned and then take us to the panel beaters to pick up our repaired car.
The paint shop was one of the cleanest garages I have ever been in. The whole floor was not only tiled but pretty much spotless. I complimented the owner on the quality of his work and the looks of his place of business.
It was a nice way to end the week with both my wonderful companion and our car both out of the Ã¢Â€Â˜shop.Ã¢Â€Â™ It had not been the best 2 Ã‚Â½ weeks of our mission.
10 February 2010 – Wednesday
After breakfasting with the couples, we packed our bags and said goodbye to the Wilsons and Knudsens. The Coxes were picked up by the Markums and headed off to learn what they would be doing for the next 18 months. We will see them again next week and then for couples conference in early March.
We drove home to Richards Bay. I am glad that I was trying hard to stay within the speed limit because there were at least three places where the police were taking pictures.
When we got home Mary was very tired so we did not do much the rest of the day.
11 February 2010 Ã¢Â€Â“ Thursday
Mary had half of her stitches taken out and the rest get removed on Tuesday. In the afternoon we went to Port Durnford to hold Seminary and Youth.
After Youth, Mary had a first piano lesson with Lugani – he is taking some music course in school and wants to learn. It would be a real blessing to the branch if he could play some of the hymns.Â It was good to get back into the work but I was worried that Mary did too much.On the way home we stopped at Bongamusa’s home to say hello to him and his mother. He told me that he is really enjoying school this year. He is one of the most positive young men that I have met in South Africa. Hopefully some day he will want to join the church.
09 February 2010 Ã¢Â€Â“ Tuesday
We woke to a wonderfully soft morning. There was enough overcast that it was cool and peaceful. Vic and I sat out on the patio and just talked before breakfast. Mary spent the morning resting up for the afternoon activities. After the sun burned away the cool morning, I spent a short time trying to get my pure white body a little tan. I had to be careful because you can quickly burn under the South African sun.
After lunch the Swazi and Ladysmith Wilson arrived and we sat around discussing what was going on in our areas. It is always a lot of fun to share experiences that have happened since we last got together.
We all went to the mission home where everyone rushed to find out what transfers were going to take place on Thursday. It is going to be a busy week for the office and especially President Mann. The Coxes are coming in tonight and 11 new missionaries are coming in tomorrow. On Thursday every companionship except for 7 in the original mission area will be changed. It should almost be like an All-Zone meeting!
We then held a presidency meeting where we talked about a number of things that are going on in the mission. It is amazing how quickly 2 Â½ hours fly by. While the men are working, the sisters get to sit and talk about families, mission experiences, and what ever else they find to talk about.
After the meeting we all went to the Butcher Boy restaurant for dinner. We were joined by the Markums and the Mickelsens so that all the couples were there except for the Griesmers. The Markums are leaving for home on Saturday morning. We had a nice dinner Ã¢Â€Â“ I chose steak and ribs Ã¢Â€Â“and lots of good conversation.
After dinner, the Markums and Manns left for the airport to pick up the Coxes and then the Markums brought them to Little Haven where they will stay until the Makrums head home. We stayed up to meet our old friends and welcome them to the mission. It has been years since we have seen them.Â They only live up in Taylorsville but we just never have gotten together. Perhaps when they get home in early 2012 we will socialize more.
08 February 2010 Ã¢Â€Â“ Monday
It is a very good day or at least morning Ã¢Â€Â“ Mary has been released from the hospitalÂ and is at home sitting on our couch. When I went to pay the bill, they said they will charge it to the mission and I can pay them. That works well because then we only have to pay a single bill and not each one separately. I still do not have any idea of what the total charge will be but I am sure it will be only about 20-25% of what it would have been in the US.
I did make one big mistake. Last night I told the elders that there would be boarding inspection this morning. I was not confident that the doctor would release Mary so I decided I should do something usefulÂ and this is the last P-day of the transfer. When Mary called to tell me that she could come home at about 9:00 I forgot to call the elders to tell them I would not be around. We were just leaving the hospital when Elder Wengert called and asked when I was coming by. I had to apologize for not calling and telling everyone that there would not be any inspection today.
However I did get a call from the Richards Bay elders asking us to stop by to pick up some things that President Vilane had given to Elder Nare. So while we were there, I did a quick check and found everything was good except Elders Reeder and LemmonÃ¢Â€Â™s fridge needed cleaning as did the floor of the shower. I will check them again next week to see if it was done.
We made a quick but safe trip to Durban and after a brief stop at the Mission office where we got to talk to sister Mann, we drove to Little Haven and checked into our room. It is always a treat to stay with the Rawlings who are so kind to all their guests but especially I think to the couples that stay there.
Mary was tired so except for going out to eat, we did not do much of anything else today. It is just wonderful to have my companion back and in good health.
Heat Notes Â Ã¢Â€Â“
Â Each day gets hotter. I do not see how the bike riding elders live in this. On Sunday night Elder Wengert mentioned that although it is hot outside, when they go into a house it is like walking into a furnace. He said that they felt like they needed to be wrung out after each visit. I am thankful that we now have air-conditioning at our boarding.
The Richards Bay boarding has air-con in just one bedroom and that was long ago claimed by the Enseleni elders because the boarding was originally their boarding and the RB elders moved in about 8 months ago. Elder Lemmon said he offered them R200 a month if they would switch but he go no where.
They said that when summer really hits, the breezes stop. So far that is not so but the breezes bring no relief. They are nothing but hot, moist air that actually makes you hotter than you would be without them.
If we park the car in the sun even for 10 minutes, when we come out it is like a furnace. At the branches, parking spots in the shade are like gold. Everyone wants one. Unfortunately at both Esikhawini and Engwelezane there is almost no shade. You can just see the waves of heat coming off the metal. And of course at Port Durnford there is not even a fan.
I look at the 2 feet of snow they got in Washington DC and think how nice it would be to have some of that here.
On Sunday night I was sitting around with the elders talking about how hot it has been. Elder Wengert – who will go home this week to a cool Arizona climate – was telling about his companion Elder Nkosi going from the heat of the day into a house where it was even hotter. He asked the investigator if they could turn off the heater and he was laughingly told that they did not have a heater.
07 February 2010 Ã¢Â€Â“ Sunday
One more day without my companionÃ¢Â€Â¦not fun at all.
I made the usual Sunday morning trip to Esikhawini to pick up President Nyawo and brother Nkosi for PEC. Sne was not going to come to PEC because he needed to be at the RB branch conference but I told him if he came to PEC I would drive him to RB.
President Nyawo still has not quite figured out how to use the PEC meeting but he is trying. I think I am going to ask PresidentÂ Baldwin to have President Van Thiel do a mock PEC at the next training meeting so the branch presidents can see how it should be done.
I talked to Sne about how he was doing and how Solo and Musa were coming on getting ready for their mission. We had a good visit and it was nice to get to know him better. I just wish we had three or four good returned missionaries such as him in each branch. But that will come in the future.
I decided to stay for the sacrament part of the branch conference and I am glad I did because a couple of the talks Ã¢Â€Â“ especially President Baldwin were very meaningful to me. Because I am a counselor in the mission presidency I was invited to sit on the stand Ã¢Â€Â“ I was glad I was wearing my coat.
After the meeting President Baldwin asked me to go back to Esikhawini and get some PEF papers he needed for one of the loans. So I made a quick trip back and got some paperwork but not what he wanted. A call to the Mickelsens got me the information that the loan was not far enough along for the form that he thought he needed. I went back to the RB chapel and told him the situation.
However it turned out that he promised to get me a copy of a Career Workshop certificate that was vital for the loan application to continue being processed so in the long run the LordÃ¢Â€Â™s work got done and the Mickelsens were happy to hear that we would bring the paperwork to Durban on Monday. Hopefully!
I almost slept through afternoon visiting hours at the hospital. It was the first nap I had taken since Mary went into the hospital almost 2 weeks ago. She looked fine, has stopped taking pain pills, and if she was not in a hospital room would be quite happy.
I fixed dinner for the elders. We had planned for it to be simple before we even knew Mary was not going to be here. Yesterday I bought everything we needed for sandwiches, chips, fruit salad, drinks and ice cream. About all the preparation I needed to do was slice tomatoes, separate the lettuce, and cut up the fruit.
The elders started arriving about 7:40 and continued coming over the next hour. Actually Elders Nare and Tsegula did not come at all but I sent food home for them. Since it is Elder NareÃ¢Â€Â™s last Sunday on his mission I would guess that he and his companion got fed all day.
I enlisted Elders Wengert and Nkosi to drop some clean clothes off at the hospital so Mary would have something to come home in tomorrowÃ¢Â€Â¦he says hopefully. It also gave me a chance to do the clean-up which mainly consisted of throwing away paper products and washing lots of forks and spoons. No pans and only one bowl Ã¢Â€Â“ it was very nice indeed.
Before going to bed I called Mary and made sure she got the care package. She sounded upbeat and we really think Dr. Kelling will let her out tomorrow.
During the day we got a nice long e-mail from the Bs that suggested that they might come back for a visit sometime in the next few months. I also got a call from Elder Greismer telling about their experience in Engwelezane today. It was all positive and it turned out they had 5 students for their temple prep class instead of 3.
I must say in reading the above, the day sounds busier than it really was.
06 February 2010 Ã¢Â€Â“ Saturday
Mary still in the hospitalÃ¢Â€Â¦probably will not get out until Monday at the earliest.
I met the Greismers at the KFC at Empangeni and took them to their B&B. They seemed to like it and thanks to some instruction from Elder Mickelsen I was able to put it in their GPS. I then showed them where the elders lived Ã¢Â€Â“ it was already in their GPS as the Bs boarding. I also took them to the nearby small store where they can get snacks and things if they want them. We put that in the GPS.
Then it was to Engwelezane where they were supposed to teach three members a temple prep class. There was also going to be a social where I thought they could meet some of the members. It turned out their students did not show up and the social did not start anywhere near on time. However they had a nice meeting with the elders and found out some of their concerns and how they might help. After that they went back to their room and took a nap.
The Elders cleaned out the font for a baptism tomorrow. Â It was very hot and the only thing that saved them was that they had a hose to keep them wet. Later it turned out that the child who was going to be baptized was 9 instead of 8 so she will need to be given the lessons and the baptism was put off until the 28th.
I met with President Nyawo about some things. He told me that he was glad that I had warned him a couple of weeks ago that he needed to know each of his YSA because the area is going to focus on them in the coming year. I did not know at the time that the training on Sunday would include the branch presidents going through the lists of their YSA and telling about them. Also because I was visiting Mary, I had not been at the training so it was all news to me. I am just glad he was prepared and I hope that President Vilane was also Ã¢Â€Â“ I had kind of talked to President Mngadi about this but can not remember if I really stressed the importance.
After I visited Mary from 3-4 I met the Greismers at the mall and we had dinner at Maxis. They told me about their day and we talked some about their work with Employment. They are a great couple and Elder Greismer and I have a great time giving each other a hard time. I found out that they are in their middle 70Ã¢Â€Â™s and they were home 5 years between their African missions. I think they will be a real help to the Engwelezane branch.
05 February 2010- Friday
Mary does not get released from the hospital so she wanted me to bring her real clothes so she can at least dress like a human and not a model for hospital gowns.
I had one of those spiritual experiences today that just kind of sneaks up on you. Elder and Sister Greismer needed a B&B for Saturday night and it made sense to find one near Engwelezane. I tried on line but did not see anything that looked interesting but remembered there was one on the road to the Empangeni elderâ€™s boarding and that would be convenient for the Greismers if they needed help.
It turned out that the Anchor B&B did not look well kept up â€“ there was green stuff growing in their pool â€“ but I had passed a sign for another B&B along the road and decided to give it a try. It turned out that that B&B was located somewhere out of sight on a dirt road that did not look too friendly so I decided not to even give it a look. But once again there was a sign for another couple of B&Bs â€“ I guess there are lots of them in Empangeni. The Panorama B&B was well kept, the pool was blue and the rooms were very nice. This was all shown to me by a very nice young man who looked familiar. When he called his mother to tell me the prices it turned out that they were members of the Richards Bay branch and I had actually seen the young man only a couple of days before as he was playing basketball at the chapel.
So the Lord led me to a nice B&B where the people know about missionaries, is just a few blocks from the elders and has easy access to the road to Engwelezane. Â
04 February 2010 â€“ Thursday
I must say that I did not really do much today. We expected Mary to be released from the hospital but it was not to be. She was crying when she called to tell me that she had woke with a small fever and the doctor had ordered some tests and a anti-biotic drip. I guess she was very upset when she was told this and was not all that nice to the doctor. At least this is what I got from my conversation with him later in the day. She said that she did not think she was like that but Mary does not realize how cutting she can sound when she is angry.
Since she was not released and needed me to comfort her at 3:00, once again I had to cancel Youth at Port Durnford. I really do not like to do that but until Mary is at least at home it seems the thing to do.
In the morning I was on Facebook andÂ came across my cousin Melissa Fernald Hoyt. We had a nice chat and I got caught up to date on what is going on in her life. I do not think I would have known her is I had ran into her some place but she is very happy being retired with her husband in Banning. She says Loren and Lea are still doing fine â€“ they must be in their early 80â€™s or so.
While I was visiting Mary during the afternoon hour, Elder Wengert and elder Nkosi came to visit and Mary asked them for a blessing. She decided that since this is a new problem, she could ask for one.
To end a less than perfect day I broke a piece off one of my front teeth. It had been lose forÂ a number of months and I should have gone to the dentist but didnâ€™t. Looks strange but does not hurt â€“ more work for Shauna when we get home.