Well we made it through the first month of our mission to South Africa. Hopefully next week we will get our internet and I can keep this blog up as I would like to.
To me it feels like we have been here much longer than a month. I mean that in a good way. I feel comfortable driving on the left side of the road – at least most of the time – I can get to most places that we need to go to without getting too lost – but thank goodness for Lia our faithful GPS – and I can remember some part of the name of at least 25% of the branch members – sister or brother said with a smile works for those I do not.
I think the fact that we have served other missions combined with our experiences in the church, makes it easier for us to adjust to wherever we are called to serve.
Of course we miss out family – especially since we can not easily contact them until we get the internet in our boarding. Of course we still have some chances to get e-mails and can spend a little time on Facebook. I think it also helps that while on our first mission we found that our children are quite capable of taking care of themselves and that we miss our grandchildren more than they miss us. Besides the few years of our being on missions is less than a second if you look at it from an Eternal perspective. We hope that we are setting an example for our children and grandchildren and they take the opportunity to serve as many senior missions as they can.
We have heard recently that there are 52 missions that have no senior couples and that there are about 3000 requests from mission presidents for senior couples. Missionary work would go forward more rapidly if they could fill those requests so we hope that couples reading our blog or visiting us on Facebook will “counsel with the Lord” and tell their bishops that they are ready to serve and serve often.
Well we are slowly acclimatizing to the change in time zones and the weather. Like our other missions it is hot and humid here but we are not near the ocean. However the Moori River runs through the town so maybe that counts as being close to water.
Bill was sustained as the branch president of the Potchefstroom branch. It has about 40 active members and we meet in a nice school in the Ikagana township about 15 minutes from where we live.
More – including President Anderson’s letters – as soon as we get the internet at home.
Well we made it to South Africa and are now in an internet cafe in Potchefstroom which is where we are serving. I will post pictures once we have our own internet connection because it is not wise to put a thumb drive in this computer. I learned that the hard way on our first mission to South Africa.
We arrived on Thursday afternoon after about 24 hours of travel and were met by President and Sister Omer who kindly took us to the mission home for dinner and a welcome night sleep. The next day we went to the mission office where the Bishops and Hillams oriented us, gave us a phone and a car and we headed off to Potchefstroom. The Omers guided us out of Joburg until we were on N12 which goes right to Potch.
Our boarding is a lovely 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in a well gated community of nice houses. The Bishops did a wonderful job of providing us with furnishings and appliances as well as leaving us some food to eat.
On Sunday we went to church with the branch and met the elders in the area. Elder Bird is from Idaho and we found out that he is good friends with elder Pearce who just got home from the FFLM and was at our house to say goodbye just a week earlier. Another example of how small the kingdom is at times. Elder Rogers is from Mesa and we do not seem to know anyone he does.
The branch is small but the people are very strong. Unfortunately it will take weeks for me to remember people’s name unless the Lord grants me the gift of tongues and memory.
E/S Knowles have done a wonderful job of getting the branch settled in the new chapel which is in a school but where we have three rooms that are all ours and where we have a large room for a chapel. The elders set up and take down each Sunday and seem to really love the people and work hard.
We have spent most of our time getting to know the area, shopping for food and other things we need – we find new things each day. On Tuesday the 3rd we went out with the elders and started learning where some of the members live. We will start visiting with them later in the week or next week.
It is great to be back in Africa and lots of things are familiar. We grocery shop at Pick n Pay which we did in Richards Bay and it is about the same distance away. When we walked into the Mooi River mall we saw Mug and Bean, and other restaurants and stores which we had in RB. It is kind of a challenge at time to remember what side of the street to drive on. I find that especially true when I first pull out in the morning. But so far except for some stares I have managed to not do anything really bad.
Mary just told me that our friends the Taylors will be coming to the Joburg mission on the 10th and will serve here until they can get residency in Botswana. It will be good to see them again.
Well that is enough for now. Once we get our internal clocks set correctly we should be fine and I am sure more effective than we are now. It is good to be back in Africa serving the Lord.