Daily Archives: April 27, 2014

Catching Up #2 – First Sunday in Ikageng

Feb 2014 - sky view from backyard Feb 2014 - School Thembalidanisi Painting

Between storms this is our view from our backyard. The Ikageng branch meets in a very nice public school in the township. Ikageng is a township of about 250,000 and it continues to grow. Some time before we arrived a group came in and did a lot of painting at the school. This includes some murals as well as painting doors, bathrooms and such. From what elder Knowles told us it really improved the looks. Before the Knowles found this school and arranged for a rental agreement the branch met in another school that was really terrible. So we really are thankful that they worked so hard to get a better place to meet.

Feb 2014 - School - Color Ikageng Feb 2014 - Ikageng - what a smile

Another one of the murals – they show lots of talent. This charming young lady is Booboo – other than the fact that she has a hard time sitting still in church she is a true joy to behold.

Feb 2014 - Ikageng - Sister Thulo Feb 2014 - Ikageng - Sister Williams

Sister Thulo is on the left and sister Williams is on the right. Our first Sunday at the branch I took some pictures of the members so I hopefully would remember some of their names. When they asked us to speak and bear our testimony I warned the branch that while Mary would soon know all of their names, it would take months for me to do that. I really was not kidding – for some reason putting name with faces anywhere has never been something I do well. That was very embarrassing when I was bishop and after 8 years I still struggled with someone’s name.

Feb 2014 - Ikageng - Sis  Cindy Lekebe Feb 2014 - Ikageng - Johannes Xhego

Sister Cindy Lekebe and brother Johannes…sister Lekebe is in the RS presidency and brother Johannes is the SS president. I think brother Johannes has a suit for each week of the year – I am not sure I have ever seen him in the same suit twice.

Feb 2014 - Ikageng - Andres Louw Feb 2014 - Ikageng Elders Bird and Rogers

Brother Andres Louw is a fairly new convert and is a great addition to the branch. He saved us by being our audio/video specialist for the recent conference sessions we showed at the branch on Saturday and Sunday. The missionaries when who were serving in Potchefstroom when we got here were elder Bird and elder Rogers…elder Bird was the DL and was from Rexburg. When I mentioned we had served in the Fort Lauderdale mission he asked if we knew an elder Pearce. Of course we did and I could tell him we were at the airport when elder Pearce got home. Also that we had just seen him the Sunday before at our farewell! Small world. Elder Rogers is from Arizona and is going to freeze soon. Since this was taken elder Bird has made zone leader and elder Rogers now serves with elder Kelem from Kenya.

Feb 2014 - Birds - Magpie

Feb 2014 - A really Small Lizard Close up Feb 2014 - A really small lizard…

When we were in South Africa before we had monkeys, cows and lots of larger birds around our flats. here we have smaller birds and really small lizards. The lizard in the close up is one of those dots on the 16″ tiles. I think it has a hard time competing with the ants for food.

Feb 2014 -  Enter Bank one at a time


Banks here are really well protected. The entrance door is actually a glass enclosure where one person goes in, closes the outside door and then the inside door opens. I made the mistake of trying to join another patron in the enclosure – I was firmly told that was a no-no.

Catching Up #1 – We arrive in South Africa

Feb 2014 - We made the bed before we left Feb 2014 - Waiting in Salt Lake airport

Before we left for the airport one of the last things we did was make our bed – a picture to remind us there is a home sweet home between missions. Our iPads were kept busy during our trip to Joburg.

Feb 2014 - Sister Bishop fills us in Feb 2014 - The bishops and the elders

At the mission office on the 28th sister Bishop – the mission secretary among other things – gave us an orientation about the mission. Elder Bishop is in charge of the cars and E/S Bishop handle all the mission apartments. After our orientation elder Bishop took me out for a test drive to see how I would do driving  on the left side of the road. Since I had done this for 18 months the last time we were in South Africa it did not take long to at least feel like I would not have too many ‘oops’ moments until I was comfortable driving here. Being in the office and seeing missionaries coming and going made us remember our Fort Lauderdale mission. Since Potchefstroom is about 90 minutes away and there is only a small district of 6 elders serving within 50K of us, we will not get to know the missionaries like we did on our last mission.

We drove on the N12 – a 2 to 4 lane highway where high speed cars and low speed trucks share the road. In the areas where there are not four lanes and it is not divided there are passing areas where the slow vehicles move over – hopefully – so others may pass. We are told that there are many deadly accidents there – also there are speed traps where you go over a hill and on one side it 120K per hour and 80K per hour on the other side.  But we made it without any problems and picked up our keys to our new home away from home.

Feb 2014 - #7 Home sweet home Feb 2014 -  #7 Neighbors planting

We live in a very nice 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse that has a very large garage and is in a fully walled set of 12 homes. We are told that it is very safe here but even so every door and window has steel protection just in case. Our neighbors have beautiful plants by their entry way. All the floors are tile and the Bishops did a wonderful job furnishing it for us. Sister Bishop had asked what colors we liked and so we have wonderful grays, blues, purples and pinks through out the house. I will take some pictures of everything some day and post them here.

Feb 2014 - #7 Backyard Feb 2014 - #7 And it rained cats and dogs

We have a nice patio and a cute backyard. The yard has not been taken care of for months so the grass was about 10-12 inches deep and everything else was overgrown. Soon after we arrived it started raining – not just raining but pouring. In fact 12 of the first 14 days were here it rained. According to all those we talked to this was highly unusual for this area. At the time I hoped this did not mean we brought the bad weather with us. Of course here it is just starting to be Autumn where at home it is just starting to be spring. It will be about 18 months between our springs but we are use to that!

Feb 2014 - First Shopping trip Feb 2014 - The exploding light cover


One of the first things we did after unloading our bags was to go shopping. There is a very nice mall not 5 minutes away from our house and lots of grocery stores all over the place. The first night we were here was interesting because there was a loud noise that woke us up and then another loud crash that followed. It turned out to be two un-related events. We think the first was a neighbor’s cat that managed to climb in through one of the small ventilation windows that we left open. I tried to catch it but it managed to escape back through another window. The crash was the result of one of the glass light covers somehow working loose and crashing to the tile floor. It shattered in a million pieces and after 2 months I still find a small piece now and then. So that was our first day and part in the South Africa Johannesburg mission. We know this is where the Lord wants us to be for 18 months – now we just have to figure out what He wants us to do.

President Anderson’s Letter 27 April 2014

After giving details about going to the dedication of the temple and instruction that they had received during the week from Elder Holland and other general authorities he shared these missionary experiences…

“No matter how busy we may be, obedience will always produce the miracles:

“We weren’t going to transfers, but we still knew miracles could happen. We made sure, even with other things going on, that we were going to get 8 blessings by Wednesday. We went to the temple, then harvested, and then we had a baptism! This family was unsure if they should be baptized, but as we took them to the open house the Friday before, they had an enormous confirmation that they needed to be baptized. And it happened on transfer day! It went amazingly and it was for our obedience and making sure we still had 8 blessings that it happened. And the best part to top it off, the wife turned to me as we went to say good bye and said, ‘You’re coming back in a year for our sealing, right?’”

Being obedient with our pure testimony of The Book of Mormon will always pierce their hearts:

“We went and taught [our investigator] and then we were walking out of the lesson and we heard a neighbor yell to us and asked us if we had any of our church literature that she could have. Of course we went over there and gave her a Book Of Mormon and taught her a short lesson about it. She was really excited to learn and to read about it. The next day we went by and she said that it wasn’t for her and gave us the book back. She was scared because it was different from the Bible. We testified to her for a few minutes and then she asked ‘can I actually have that book back?’ It was amazing and the next day she had read 10 chapters already and was talking about how she couldn’t wait to get baptized! She has continued to read and is excepting everything we teach her. When she gets tired of reading she gets on Mormon.organd talks with missionaries online! She is so elect. She came to stake conference yesterday and loved it and says that she has finally found the faith in which she belongs! She will be getting baptized this Sunday!!”

Even our investigators will recognize our obedience and trust us because of it:

“We had just finished harvesting for the day, and were riding back to be picked up at our apartment by our members. We noticed a man sitting down, smoking a cigarette behind his car. We stopped and offered to leave a blessing with him. He seemed very depressed and down, but he agreed. When we asked what he would like us to include in the prayer, the only thing he wanted was for God to help him get rid of cigarettes in his life. It was my turn to say the prayer, but before I started, he said, ‘Thanks for being obedient.’ I was confused at what he meant by that, but I said the prayer, we recognized the spirit, and invited him to be baptized. He agreed to a date on the 11th (mother’s day). Before we left, I asked him why he had said that before. He told me that we had been obedient to the spirit by coming to pray with him. He said that he believed that many times, the things we think we do by ourselves are actually prompted by the spirit, and we would not have stopped to pray with him if we hadn’t been obedient and willing to listen.”