Daily Archives: May 1, 2014

Catching Up #8 – Sister Bobbi and Parys

This post spans much of our mission so far. Sister Bobbi Swanepoel lives about 50K from Potchefstroom. Due to her health and lack of transportation she is not able to attend any meetings so once a month we travel up to Parys to visit with her and to bring her the sacrament. She is a lifetime member and was one of the 6 members present when the Soweto branch was formed soon after the revelation of the Priesthood. She is rich source of stores about the early days of the church there. For instance she was told by PH leaders that she could not visit in Soweto at night with a PH member as a companion. So she took her 12 year old deacon with her on all her visits.

March 2014 - Us and sister Bobbi April2014 - Mary and the Vaal River 3

Parys is a ranching and tourist town with the Vaal river running on the outskirts. The Vaal is one of the largest rivers in South Africa and is the largest tributary to the Orange river. We first saw it as we crossed over the highway bridge and both remarked how it was a real river. Sister Bobbi later pointed out that it was approaching winter and that it was actually quite low. In the Spring it often overflows it’s banks and floods parts of Parys.

April2014 - Mary and the Vaal River Bridge Apr2014 - Vaal River 2

Mary posed on a bridge over a small side stream of the river. Unfortunately the door on the other side it kept locked so we could not explore the island which is mainly a golf course.

Apr2014 - Vaal River 4 Apr2014 - Vaal River 7

This is a downstream shot and then an upstream shot from the bridge but neither can take in more that about 1/2 the width of the river at this point.

March 2014 - Us and cosmos


One of the wonderful experience of going to Parys is the kilometer after kilometer of cosmos that line the road. It stands about 4 feet high and reminded us of how much we enjoy cosmos when we are at home. It is mostly pink and white with only a few of the deep purple blooms we love so much. By the middle of April the cosmos has pretty much died out so we are glad elder Knowles took this picture when we went out in March.

Catching Up #7 – The Tlotleng’s Funeral

It has been said that a new bishop/branch president will have a funeral and a wedding in the first few months of their call. Unfortunately it proved true as I had the sad experience of presiding over a funeral for the 38 year old son of a faithful couple in our branch. Samuel Tlotleng died of massive kidney failure just hours after visiting his father.

I presided, my counselor Bongani Buti conducted – he needed the experience, Mary played the keyboard and lots of members helped with the meal afterwards. Funerals are big and expensive in South Africa. The family and friends cook most of the morning in preparation of the 100-150 family and friends who will attend. However brother Tlotleng had funeral insurance for all of his family so the cost of the service, plot, and tombstone was taken care of.

One positive note was that another of the Tlotleng’s sons said that he liked what he saw about the church, the members and the service that he wants to know more.

April 2014 - Tlotleng Funeral - MaryApril 2014 - Tlotleng Funeral - Tent and peopleApril 2014 - Tlotleng Funeral - Elders help with coffinApril 2014 - Tlotleng Funeral - peopleApril 2014 - Tlotleng Funeral - Filling grave eldersApril 2014 - Tlotleng Funeral - Big Cat April 2014 - Tlotleng Funeral - Tombstone