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.

4 thoughts on “Catching Up #8 – Sister Bobbi and Parys

  1. Sandy Mickelsen

    Beautiful country and it sounds like adventures and wonderful experiences are happening in this new mission experience!

  2. Kent Allred

    Your blog is informative and interesting. We are scheduled to serve in the Johannesburg mission beginning in September, 2014; it is likely that we will meet. A few questions for you:
    1. Regarding physical security, is it a good idea to bring a laptop computer or a tablet device? What do you use for accessing the Internet?
    2. What type of camera do you suggest that we should bring – is a DSLR too exotic, also from a security standpoint?
    3. What arrangements have you made for cellular phone service during your mission? Did you acquire a phone and cellular service upon arrival in South Africa?
    4. We are advised to exchange some U.S. currency to African currency prior to arrival in the mission. Can you suggest an amount?

    We appreciate your valuable input.

    The Allreds

    1. Bill Post author

      Hello Allreds – we look forward to meeting you after you get here.

      1. We brought two iPads and two laptops – since this is our second mission to South Africa we knew they would be of use and safe as long as yuo do not leave them on the seat of your car or in your shopping basket in crowded stores. We have heard that if you serve in Joburg you have to be careful of purses on laps or backpacks on seats because they will break your window and snatch them. But we have only served in smaller towns and townships and never have felt threatened. You can get 3G from Vodacom for your iPads and phones – in your flat you will want to get Telkom ot put in a DSL phone line and wireless connection. All connections are slower and more expensive but you will not have any problem using FaceTime, Skype, etc. What you will not be able to do without some playing around with your ips address is use NetFlix or other streaming services from the US.

      2 & 30 – I carry a small Canon camera with me where ever I go so I can take a picture on a moments notice. Some of the senior missionaries here have iPhones – buy they unlocked in the US because are way more expensive here – and just switch out the sims card. They use them for taking pictures as well as a second phone. The mission will supply you with a cell phone and if you are to serve in the office they will even supply each of you with iPhones or at least they are now.

      4 – We exchanged $300 US – about Rand 3000 – before leaving. But there are ATMs everywhere and they are happy to take your debit card and spit out Rands.

      You wil have a wonderful time in South Africa and will be arrive just in time for all the great beds of sping flowers to come out.

      If you have any other questions we will be happy to try and answer them…


      Bill and Mary Pier

      1. Kent Allred

        Thank you, Bill & Mary for your very helpful advice. We will follow your blog and may touch base with you from time to time. We wish you the best of experiences on your mission and hope to meet you in the not-too-distant future.

        Kent & Sherrie Allred


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