Monthly Archives: July 2014

A Day in the Life of a Senior Couple

When we first started this mission blog back in 2006 I would often post my daily journal and a few pictures. Over the years that has changed because I found that most people really did not want to read everything we did and thought each day so the blog became more a picture story of our mission. But I thought that I would post one day’s journal so anyone reading can get a better idea of what we do and how the Lord blesses us.

29Jul14 - Mary, Perez, Lohmann - lunch 29Jul14 - Lolo, Mary, GeorgeLunch with the elders – we finally get to eat street food in South Africa – it was very good. We also finally got to take a picture of Lolo and George together. George only has Tuesdays off and most of his free day is spent running errands for the orphanage. When we got there they had a group of local youth in their main room having a social meeting. George said they volunteer to help the group to keep them off the streets. If there were only many more like these two wonderful people the world would be a much better place.

bedroom set soweto2These two pictures are not from today. The one on the right comes from our mission to Indonesia and I just posted it on our FB page to show where there is a bike there is a way. The other is informal housing in Soweto. I posted it on FB to show how too many people have to live here. There were some good comments about the laundry and how with nothing but dirt around them the children manage to look clean and bright.

29 July 2014 – Tuesday

Slept very well and did not roll out of bed until after 7:00. We had a normal morning and then headed off for Ikageng. Tried to pick up the TV for the orphanage but the one they were going to sell me did not work. So they will either fix it or find another one. It turned out or the best because later when we went by the orphanage with the elders, no one was home. I almost forgot that while I was in the store a woman spoke to me and asked if I remembered her and I could not at first and then I remembered we met her outside of sister L’s house we gave her a card with the elder’s number but she could not remember or did not want to give us hers. But today she asked for another card and readily gave us hers. So while I did not get the TV, things must have worked out the way the Lord wanted it to.

We met the elders at the school and they followed us to Lo’s house. When we got there she told us that she was sorry but she did not have our number to cancel the appointment to paint her living room – she had to go into Potch to work. However we made an appointment to go back next Tuesday.

We took the elders to the orphanage but as I mentioned before there was no one there so we just left a lot of oranges on the porch. I hope they were there when someone got home.

The elders then invited us to have lunch with them. They took us to a small restaurant in  Ikageng where we finally found out what a Russian was and had a very fulfilling sandwich for a whole $1.10. It was certainly not a fast food place but it was good and filling. Besides we had plenty of time to talk to the elders about their families and other things.

We stopped by the school where we went through the elder’s keys and found those they will use almost every week. It took time because they had a lot of keys to go through but other than the woman’s bathroom key everything turned up. After this we parted with the elders and went into Potch where we stopped for some things at a store and then a trip to the key shop to get some keys made so I will have a set of keys when I give mine up to president Kwaikwai.

After a trip home for a short rest and nap we headed back to Ikageng where we visited the Thulo family, then went to the orphanage where we finally got to see George and Lolo together. Our stop was inspired because Lolo needed to visit a woman who’s children are going to be living at the orphanage because the mother drinks and neglects them. Lolo also told us that the man who was living with their mother molested the young woman.

Our last stop of the night was at Viona M who had a birthday yesterday. I wished her a belated BD and gave her a candy bar. She told us that the children really liked the meeting they went to last fast Sunday. She also asked us to ask the missionaries if they could come by Monday evening for FHE. She wants them to bring some DVDs. Since there are 3 non-LDS in the family I am sure hey will love to.

So all in all the evening was well spent doing the Lord’s work.

When I posted a picture of us and the missionaries eating lunch together, it was seen by Tom Turek who grew up with elder Perez in St. George. He tagged elder Perez which took the picture to his FB page where his mother and aunt saw it and commented. This led to a chat with elder Perez’s mother and we now are friends. It is amazing how FB brings people who never would have met together as friends. It also brings joy to a mother who knows her son is well and being watched over. Here was one of her comments…” That is amazing! I hope to serve one day. It is also a blessing for us moms to know that our missionaries have people to love and look after them. I mean I know that The Lord sends angels to look after them, I have never doubted that, but it’s so nice to see the angels.”

I almost forgot another tender mercy that the Lord blessed us with. As we were driving into Ikageng at about 4:30 I saw all these people streaming up the road on their way home and thought how this would be the perfect time to have our display set up. We would see a lot more people than we do on a Saturday. Also we would meet a lot of men and women who had jobs. So I called president KK and told him my thoughts and said it was a great idea. So we will talk about when would be the best time to try this.

Another wonderful day as Senior missionaries in South Africa.

Potchefstroom Gets a New Branch Presidency

About 5 months ago when I was called as branch president in Potchefstroom, both president Omer and his counselor president – now elder – Mdletshe took me aside and told me that my goal should be to train a local member to replace me with in 6 months. The provided someone in just 5.

Today President Dunn came to Ikageng and called, had sustained, and set apart a new branch presidency. He also kept busy doing lots of interviews that only a member of the mission president can do because we are a mission dependent branch.

IMG_5484 IMG_5486The new presidency of the Potchefstroom branch. Myself as 1st counselor, President Kwaikwai and brother Mokate as 2nd counselor. Brother Andries Louw is the new branch clerk.

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We took the opportunity to have our picture taken with President and Sister Dunn. This last picture did not come out well at all but it was the best of two where everyone including elder Lohmann in the front and tall elder Perez in the back joined the rest of us for a final group picture.

Scenes from the Week – Besides the Transfer Ones

They say that a picture is worth 1000 words. Well here are some of the pictures I took this week. Of course it does not include the 130 I took at transfers but it covers much of the rest of the week.

23Jul14 - Elders Loumann, Perez 23Jul14 - Us and Sis Florence

On Wednesday after transfers we met the new missionaries that will serve in Potchefstroom for a few months. Elder Loumann is from Germany and elder Perez – on the right – is from St. George. We took him to our office and showed them around the rooms we will use on Sunday. Then we took them to see sister Florence who requested we drop by and introduce them. Unfortunately she will be leaving the branch early in August and we will truly miss her and her ready smile and love. She has been a member for 20 years!

23Jul14 - The rabbit tree... 24jul14 - Mary's Birthday

We visited an orphanage and on the way home I spotted this tree that looked to me like a rabbit. It has been completely covered with either ivy or some other vine. It was Mary’s birthday on Thursday so we went out to a nice restaurant for dinner. When they found it was her birthday they gave her a bottle of wine with a sparkler instead of a candle. They also sung and danced for her. I think she would have preferred a nice piece of cake.

26jul14 - Nomsa cleaning! 26Jul14 - Wedding

 

Today – Saturday Nomsa – our great cleaning lady – did an extra good job because President and Sister Dunn will be coming to the branch tomorrow. The street scene is a wedding party in progress. Note the tent is all the way across the road and the road itself is blocked off. What is interesting is that last week there was a funeral in about the same location and the road was blocked off for that. Funerals and Weddings are not just a family affair here but the neighbors from blocks around come and get something to eat. Not just after the ceremony or burial but the day before also. Weddings expensive events – especially after the groom has had to pay labola!

So that was part of what was going on in our lives this week! It is great to be a senior couple serving in South Africa!

The New and Still Famous Ikageng District…

We went to the first district meeting of this transfer. With transfers comes change and this transfer really changed the Ikageng district. Only 2 of the elders who were here last Friday are still here. Potchefstroom was whitewashed – that means both elder were taken out – when Elders Kelem and Msangi departed for home after serving powerful missions. Elder Perkins was transferred out of Klerksdorp and elder Mdletshe was transferred out of Jouberton. So here is the new Ikageng District in all their glory…

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I know it is hard to tell the difference but the one on the left is the serious one while the one on the right is the crazy pose. From left to right in the pictures we have Elders Graham, Larsen – who serve in Klerksdorp, Fidl, Otieno – who serve in Jouberton, Loumann and Perez who serve in Ikageng.

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Elder Fidl wanted a picture with the senior couples so he joined us and E/S Dummer. Elder Fidl came out with two other elders from Rwanda – the first missionaries ever to serve from that country. What I found interesting is that he pronounces his country Wanda with a completely silent R. We talked for a little while and he said that in the 19 months he has been on his mission his ward has been divide 3 times. But he is concerned about what he will do for a living when he goes home – it is a problem that a majority of our great African missionaries face. Hopefully the new self-reliance program that two of our good friends are involved in will help solve this problem in the future.

Opps – I almost missed these important pictures

I went through the pictures that I had taken and downloaded on to iPhoto and noticed I missed using some. President and Sister Dunn spoke for just a few minutes each.

22jul14 - Pres Dunn Sister Dunn at pulpit 22jul14 - Going Home Elders... 22jul14 - Brown, Arthur

These departing missionaries sat on the stand through the meeting. As you can tell some of them seem to already be on their flights home – or at least dreaming about it. Elders Brown and Authur were kind enough to allow me to take their picture.

22jul14 - Brown. Johnson 22jul14 - Warton, KairuAnother brother Brown with our red-headed friend elder Johnson. And last but not least elders Warton and Kairu get their picture in our blog this transfer meeting. Goodbye to transfers until September…

 

Transfer Meeting – The New Missionaries

 

Transfer meeting was held in the chapel with Elder Bodily conducting. Each new missionary was invited to come up and quickly introduce themselves and bear a very short testimony. Unfortunately I either missed getting some of them or the picture came out so bad I could not stand to post it. I apologize for those I missed but I may have caught some after the meeting with their new companion. The rest of the pictures have the names of the missionaries, who will be their trainer and where they will serve.

Bodily KufoalorElder Bodily, one of the APs, conducted the meeting. I found out after the meeting that he would be going home between transfers in just 4 weeks so he can get into school. Elder Kufoalor is from Ghana.

McQueen Wong

Elder McQueen comes to the mission from New Zealand but most recently Australia. Elder Won is also from New Zealand and related his very mixed ethnic background that should make his genealogy really interesting.

Garnica Smith-Holley

Elder Garnica is from Mexico and proud of it as he told the group that he was a real Mexican! Elder Smith-Holley is  the third New Zealand missionary in this group.

Clegg McCartney

Elder Clegg is one of three elders from Utah – in his case Lehi. Next to him is elder McCartney who is from Scotland.

ReavelyTaylorElder Reavely is from Utah as is elder Taylor who is from Lindon.  I am sorry that I missed getting elder Etiang from Uganda picture while he was on the stand. The terrible thing is I also missed his companionship picture.

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The New Missionaries…Interviews, Instruction, Volleyball?

Before the transfer meeting starts the new elders have about 3 hours of training. President Dunn uses this time to interview each of the new elders and then prayerfully considers who should be their trainer and the area they should be born in…that is where they start their mission.

I took some pictures before going in to the training meeting – we were only there for the last hour. After the training, President Dunn had the arriving missionaries play the departing missionaries in quick – 15 – 20 minutes – game of volleyball. In this first ever event, the powerful departing missionaries beat the arriving missionaries. Maybe it is because they have learned to work together as Unity was one of the subjects president Omer taught.

22jul14 -  Stomps, Johnson 22jul14 - Brackett, Rako, McClelan, Richards

Elders Stomp and Johnson were two of the first elders I caught. They were closely followed by  EldersBrackett, Rako, McClelan, Richards

Mukarti, Haynes, Nherera XX, Rakotorimanana, Nherera

Elders Mukarti, Haynes, and Nherera – I think elder Nherera followed me around and jumped in when ever I was taking a picture. It is a good thing he is photogenic. Elders Rakotorimanana, and Nherera are to the right of an elder i do not know and could not read his name tag. If anyone knows who it is please let me know. I hate to not tag a missionary in a picture.

Ryan and me Elder Dummer teaching..

I have only known elder Ryan for a few weeks but I have been impressed by his testimony and hard work as he served as a Vaal zone leader with elder Flynn. He is now home in England and we hope to keep in touch. Elder Dummer instructing the new missionaries on finances.

Sister Hansen and Taylor training Sister Taylor with new elders

Sisters Hansen and Taylor give instructions on how to take care of their flats. Like washing dishes, defrosting freezers, occasionally cleaning the floors, toilet, etc. This usually gets done at least once a transfer when the senior couple comes around for inspection. However we have been to a couple of flats when we were not expected that looked pretty good. But it is the exception to the rule.

Elder Hansen Elder Clegg

Elder Hansen sits and listens. He has already told them about how to report problems with their flats and how to take care of their phones. He has a really big job because there are 60 plus flats to keep under repair. He and sister Hansen also are responsible for any moving of flats and of course finding new flats when there is a need and then seeing that it is completely stocked. I caught elder Clegg as he was getting ready to take off his coat and go play volleyball.

Transfer Volleyball Transfer Spectators

This the first official transfer day volleyball game between the departing and arriving missionaries. It only last 15-20 minutes but drew a good crowd who were probably mostly cheering for the departing missionaries who they had served with or at least knew.

Transfers – Post #1

Tuesday the 22nd was the first transfer day for President and Sister Dunn. It was done differently than when President Omer was presiding. Since President Dunn has a background in visual presentation it was not unexpected that he would use some for transfers. All of the missionaries – the ones that were heading home, the new missionaries, trainers, and those who were just changing companions and areas all gathered in the chapel. It looked to me like well over 1/2 the mission was there.

I took over 130 pictures and I will probably post two more sets of pictures. These first pictures are those that have special meaning to us.

Loveless, Kelem, Loumann Mdletshe, Harris, Bird, PerkinsElders Loveless, Kelem, and Loumann are old friends. Of course elder Kelem served with us inIkageng for 4 1/2 months and it turned out elder Loumann was transferred into our area along with elder Perez so we will see a lot of him. We were also privileged to serve with elders Mdletshe, Harris, Bird and Perkins in the Ikageng area or district.

22jul14 - Johnson,  Harris 22jul14 - Larsen, GrahamElder Johnson is elder Harris’ new companion. Elder Larsen stayed in Klerksdorp but has elder Graham as his new companion. Elder Larsen decided to almost shave his hair so he does not have to get a haircut for the 6 weeks of this transfer.

22jul14 - Dlamini, Perkins - Matupa area Cummings, Heki

Elder Dlamini is our good friend elder Perkins new companion and they will serve in the Matupa area. Elder Cummings leaves the Orange Farm area and joins his new companion elder Heki in the Modjadji area.

22Jul14 - Smith-Holley, Olson 22jul14 - Garnica, Loveless

Elder Smith-Holley is a new elder from New Zealand – we have 3 new missionaries from there – and he will be trained by elder Olson. Elder Olson is the brother of a young lady that one of our missionaries from Fort Lauderdale is dating. Elder Garnica is being trained by elder Loveless. When he introduced himself in the transfer meeting elder Granica said that he was a real Mexican! You could tell he was proud to be able to say that.

22jul14 - Sis Dunn taking pictures 22jul14 - Us, Taylors

 

Sister Dunn was also taking lots of pictures. I asked her about her blog posts that seemed to have stopped after a great start and she said that she just has not had time to write. I guess being a new mission mom takes a little adjustment time. After transfer meeting we went to lunch with our very good friends E/S Taylor who are now officially in the Botswana mission. They can not live in Botswana in fact they can only visit there for 87 more days unless their visas are finally approved. But we know the Lord wants them to be there so somehow they will get their resident visas.

22Jul14 - Ramiliarijona, Lyon 22Jul14 - Rakotomalala, Rakotorimanana, Ramiaramanana, Nherera

Elder Ramiliarijona has one of the longest names and yet is one of the shortest elders. He is now companions with elder Lyon who is one the tallest. This last picture is of three elders from Madagascar – Rakotomalala, Rakotorimanana, Ramiaramanana and their friend elder Nherera. I believe elder Ramiaramanana holds the title for the longest name. Imagine fitting all of that on a name tag or for that matter pronouncing it correctly.

 

Flat Inspections and our Last Saturday with the Ikageng Elders

This morning we had a hour’s drive to the town of Ennerdale where inspected two boardings or flats. It is always a pleasure to spend some time with elders that we do not know or do not know well. It is also a pleasure to inspect flats that are well kept up as these two were. We check to see if they have all the furnishings and equipment that they are supposed to have, check to see if they have any major problems with the flat, and check to see how well they are keeping things up. Of course they know we are coming so we probably see the flats at their best but a couple of times we have caught a companionship that had not prepared for us. One was a disaster but the other one was amazingly clean for two young men.

19Jul14 - HI - elders Carpenter, B. Pedersen 19Jul14 - HI - Ennerdale boardingElders Carpenter and Pedersen serve in the Ennerdale area and this is their flat. Elder Carpenter has two guitars and elder Pedersen is into health and exercise. Their flat was in good shape but there are always ways to improve.

19Jul14 - HI - Apt. Complex 19Jul14 - HI - Elders Plus, CummingsThis is what the complex looks like – actually that is not true because only a few of the buildings are two stories. Most are single story like the ones the elders live in. Elder Pius and Cummings serve in the Orange Farm area – at least they did until elder Cummings was transferred this week. Their flat was one of the best kept up that we have inspected.

19Jul14 - HI - Orange Farm Boarding 19Jul14 - HI - The neat bookcase

This is the entrance to their flat. I was immediately struck by how neat their bookcase was arranged. Most of the time they are just kind of jumbled up – I know ours is. Also they had the cleanest toilet bowl I have ever seen. It almost sparkled.

19Jul14 - HI - Signs 219Jul14 - HI - signs 

The Daily Sun is the Johannesburg sensationalist newspaper and so their front pages often have headlines like these that the elders used as pinups over their study desks.

19Jul2014 - Us, Kelem, Msangi19Jul2014 - Kelem, KK, Omphile, Regie, Msangi in front.Our last pictures with elders Kelem and Msangi before they headed home. In the last picture brother Kwaikwai and sister Reghina joined us.

19Jul2014 - What is that thing?

The structure that you can see between the two trucks is one of many that can be found around the city. I have yet to learn what they are for but I am guessing they are cell phone repeaters. If not some artist sold the city many copies of the same sculpture.