I was having some problems uploading pictures to the blog but it seems Jim fixed it so now I need to do a little catching up. Last Friday we inspected the Klerksdorp/Jouberton flat. It is a very nice stand alone house with lots of bedrooms, a big kitchen, and a large living room/dining room. For the most part the elders did a great job cleaning up for us. After the inspection we went to district meeting and for some reason I did not take a single picture. However as usual it was a spiritual experience as we discussed mission work in the district and how to improve member lessons so they want to be more involved in helping the missionaries.
The kitchen is much larger than ours as is the living room. Our flat is considered the nicest one in the mission but this has it beat for size. It helps that it owned by a member who lives next door.
Elder Otieno looks over the equipment list while Mary starts inspecting. Almost any flat we go into has lots of white shirts on racks being dried or ironed. The house is big enough that they can devote a complete room for this
The elders take their shoes off while inside. They can do this because much of the floor is carpeted. This is the main bathroom which also has a shower.
After district meeting we went to the Sandwich Baron for lunch. The Drummers could not join us because they had to go to an appointment in Jouberton. The food was very good and they had strips of bacon on the breakfast sandwich. I commented to the manager that we had never seen bacon in strips in any store. He told us that they got it special from a supplier in Joburg. As we were leaving I had to take a picture of the motorcycle used for delivery. It reminded me of the hundreds of them that we saw almost every day on our mission to Indonesia.
During the day we went visiting and at one of the homes we met this man with the great looking hat and smile. The person we were looking for was not home and the man did not speak very good English but he loved the picture I took. In the evening we were invited to have dinner with the Dummers. They came over to Potchefstroom and we went to an Ocean Basket restaurant that had delicious Kingsklip. Near the end of the meal they told us that this was their 46th anniversary! We were happy that we got to share it with them. During the day
On Thursday we made another trip up to Parys to help sister Bobbi with the last of her moving to her new flat and on the way home I saw this herd of Bontebok and took a picture. What I did not realize was that there was a nice looking Springbok lying in the grass who stood up just before I took the shot. We love to see the birds come to eat from the feeder and I was able to catch this beautiful yellow bird catching a little snack.
During the week Elders Perez, Lohmann and ourselves made the 30 mile trip up to the city of Parys (Parr – is) to help sister Bobbi move to her new flat. You can see how excited she was to have her picture taken.
The elders, myself and a young lady who works for sister Bobbi did most of the work because she is not well and of course still insists on helping. The elders took down her computer at the old flat and got it back running in the new one. I was very glad to let them do this because they have known computers all their lives and I think of them as tools.
I think the same about cellphones which is why I was very happy when elder Perez figured out how to make it so I get audio notices when a SMS comes in. I have had a number of people – including elder Lohmann try with out success. But in just minutes elder Perez had it happily chiming away. If you look at the elder’s legs you can see that they do not get a lot of time to lie around in the sun getting tans.
Of course when sister Bobbi moved her pug-nosed dog Louis came along. Louis thinks he is a human – only better – and sister Bobbi treats him that way. At the back of this picture you can see Paulina – sister Bobbi’s helper for the last 6 years. I told her she deserved a number of gold stars for lasting that long. Sister Bobbi laughed and agreed. Mary was happy to sit with and talk while the elders got some of the boxes emptied. BTW so was I.
One of the things we try to do is wish members happy birthday. We do not always manage to do this on the right day, but in sister Thulo’s case we did. I had to show a picture of our new hose pipe. Here you can get them cut to length and then you put on connectors. In this case it is 3/4″ in diameter and 25 meters long. I can not water the plants and lawn in our backyard and when we have a baptism I will take it to fill up the font!
After showing you all the birds we get, I decided to get a bird feeder so that we could have them all the time. Yes I put the top on crooked but I have since fixed that problem.
District Meetings are always enjoyable to go to and share some time and learning with the elders.
Elder Otieno has my respect because he always starts the meeting on time no matter how many are there. In this case the elders Flynn and Menendez, the Zone Leaders were just a couple of minutes late. Since they had to drive about 140K to get to the meeting that is not bad.
Elder Larsen was asked to lead the music and he did a very credible job. Later in the meeting he and elder Graham, his companion, gave an excellent lesson on having the right member present at teaching opportunities. After the meeting there is the parting ritual. Elder Perez is shaking hands with elder Menendez. They went to school together in Southern Utah. The always smiling elder Otieno is seen in the background.
Elder Larsen poses for camera while elder Otieno smiles for me. All the elders in the district plus the ZLs are in the last picture.
There are some amazing gates and fences in the townships. Some day I am just going to go around and take pictures of them and doors on homes. When I got to looking at this one I decided it is really a sculpture of an angry owl…do you see it. From angry owl to love birds sitting on our back fence. I thought they made a great picture.
Last week we talked to E/S Dummers about going to a game preserve that is about 2 hours from our house. I had checked and they opened at 7 every day of the week. So E/S early Monday morning they arrived at our house and we loaded up the car and headed off for a P-day adventure. We were excited because about the only wild animals we had seen were the guinea fowls that are sometimes along the road.
We had planned to go to the Suikerbosrand game reserve. I had called earlier in the week to find what time they opened and that they were open on Mondays. As we were making the abur two hour drive I kiddingly said that it would be just our luck to arrive to find that it was some kind of holiday and the park would be closed. I should have kept my mouth shut because when we got to the gate we were told that due to a large fire over the weekend the were closed until it was cleaned up. We did not even get to see a single animal!
Elder Dummer got on his GPS and found that about 30 minutes away was a bird sanctuary. Not wild animals but it sounded OK. When we got there it turned out the sanctuary closed a long time ago and it was now a housing development. However the lake was still there and a few birds but not worth the trip. Strike 2
We then decided to go see the famous dome outside of Parys where 2 billion years – give or take a few – ago a meteor hit and changed the landscape for hundreds of miles and put dust in the air that changed the climate for years afterwards. On the way we stopped to have lunch at a park we knew about along the Vaal river. That went well and it was nice to sit in the sun and enjoy a quiet lunch.
The river is very low – notice the white lines on the rock. In january it will be as high as the top of these stairs or higher. It floods part of the town each year.
We got to share the area with a couple of dogs who obviously know where to go for some lunch. The bridge in the background use to allow you to cross over onto an island but the island end has been blocked off but you can still go to the middle of bridge and take some nice pictures.
We shared part of our lunch with a stranger who was near the bridge. i gave him a Faith in Christ passalong card which he seemed to be as happy to get as he was the sandwich. We then left to go to the dome and along the way saw some antelope on a ranch that raises them to sell to other parks and to places who offer exotic meals. We had never seen either the Springbok above or the Bontebok below on any of our many trips to game parks on our first mission to Africa.
While we were in Parys we stopped at the local tourist information center and asked about the road to the dome entrance. We were told it was 15K of good road and we could make 60 to 80K per hour. When we actually got to the road we found that it was terrible. A really rough, washboard that limited travel in our car to about 10K per hour. As we did not want to spend 90 minutes or more bouncing all over the place we turned around and made for home.
So we did not get to see any of the attractions we tried for but we had a great day with E/S Dummer, a lovely lunch along the river and we even saw a couple of antelope species we had never seen before. So it was a matter of counting our blessings instead of counting animals!
On Sunday we had a baptism here Potchefstroom. Audrey, a very special young man who elders Kelem and Rodgers found near the church, was baptized by President Kwaikwai and confirmed by brother Omphile to become the newest member of the branch. The baptism and confirmation was help right after the block so there were a number of investigators present to feel the great spirit that was there.
However there was some trials. The only hose that we had was very small and leaked so it looked like the font would not be filled by the end of the meetings. So we started a bucket brigade with elders Lohmann and Perez on the buckets. Then we found that there was a big tear in the liner and President Kwaikwai went in to try and do some kind of repair to slow the leak. I am pretty sure that the church handbook of instruction does not have much on the subject of how to repair leaking fonts.
The picture on the left shows the elders helping the president out of the font after his repairs. Audrey does not look all that happy in this first picture but I am sure that it was because of all the thoughts going through his head.
Here you can see him smiling with his arm around president Kwaikwai. Elder Lohmann is on the left and elder Perez on the right. Audrey is back to his serious pose.
As you can see this is an outside font that is filled with water from the tap. There is no hot water available and it is still on the edge of winter here so the water is cold. I think president Kwaikwai is standing on his tip-toes so he can adjust a bit to the water. However the spirit was strong and I think warmed both him and Audrey. The witnesses gave the thumbs up so the ordinance did not have to be done over.
On Friday the 8th we rode with the Dummers up to Vereeniging for the second zone meeting of the Vaal Zone. The elders from Klerksdorp and Jouberton followed us because they had not been there before. Along the way they had a problem with their bumper that caused it to scrape against one of the drive belts.
So we went back and while elder Dummer and some of the elders tried to make temporary repairs the other two took the opportunity to get some pictures taken. Elder Graham wanted to have one of him standing in the tall grass along the highway.
I caught elder Fidl taking a selfie of the sign pointing to him. Once we were there elders Flynn and Menendez conducted a very well organized and informative meeting. It was the first Zone Meeting for elder Menendez who took the recently released elder Ryan’s place.
The zone leaders called upon elder Raymond to lead the music. A task he accepted even though he was not sure how to lead. The picture on the right has 4 of the 6 elders serving in the Ikageng district. Elder Fidl is at the back with elders Lohmann, Perez and a friend in the middle and elder Jensen just about to sit down.
After the meeting and testimonies we took a couple of group pictures. It was not until later that I realized that I had my glasses pushed up on my forehead instead of them being in my pocket.
After the pictures were taken the meeting broke up with the elders talking to each other. On the right elder Perez is talking to elder Flynn who happened to go to school with him down in the St. George area. I think elder Perez went to school with half of the elders in the mission as elder Menendez mentioned he had also been at a school with him.
Anytime a group of elders have a little time a ball comes out and gets kicked around. I have seen it here in Africa but also in Indonesia. As we were going out I saw elder Whitesides talking to elder Stilhoe and found out that it was their hump day. That means that one year ago they both came to the Joburg MTC to start their mission. They also were companions in the MTC. Now they are not comps but are in the same zone.
While in Indonesia I took many, many pictures of motorcycle and bicycle loaded with just about anything you can think of. Sometimes it would be people – someone told me they once saw 8 on one motorcycle but I never saw more than 6. I can not find one of my favorite pictures – a motorcycle carrying live chickens hanging off the back fender. I also missed a great one when one went pass carrying 2 five foot rattan sofas on the back.
Here is just a small sampling of what you would find everyday traveling down the streets of Jakarta and other cities in lovely Indonesia.
Notice how many motorcycles there are in the first picture. Not only is one being used to deliver an extra wide load but there is another half dozen or so in this single shot. When we were in Solo we rode in a becak – that is a bicycle driven taxi. They are everywhere in smaller towns – they are not allowed in Jakarta.
I love this first picture because it shows four types of transportation…car, bikes, small taxi call bjaja, and motorcycle. Notice he is carrying a ladder over his shoulders. If there had been a regular taxi in the picture it would have included just about every way people get some where without walking. The next picture was taken in Bali. One side of the narrow street is packed with parked motorcycles and the other half is jammed with trucks trying to deliver produce and flowers.
Green eggs and ham anyone. This motorcycle passed us and a little later we found it parked so I could get a picture of real green eggs. Maybe he is buying the ham? Can you imagine the mess if he happened to have an accident. The right hand picture shows the Indonesian version of a portable TV. I never did figure out just what the other bike was delivering in the old oil cans.
I shot this picture out the window of our van and missed the top. But as you can see the driver is almost buried under his load. If you look closely you will see he even has more load sitting on his lap. Not an inch of wasted space. The last picture is two on a bike with three big baskets of something. I always have wondered if the hot exhaust pipe ever set the basket or what is inside of it on fire.
The Potchefstroom branch and the elders held a very successful 3 hour missionary street display today. Our great elders – Perez and Lohmann – along with 7 members of the branch had 50 plus people sign up to receive a free Book of Mormon or a DVD. The elders and branch missionaries will now have to get busy and deliver these requests and hopefully get an appointment to teach a gospel lesson.
This shows the elders and 5 of their 7 helpers at the display
Elder Perez is from Southern Utah and claimed to be freezing when we met at 9:30 in the morning to start setting up the display. The rest of us thought it was rather warm for that time of the morning in what is winter here. The young man on the left of the next picture is an investigator who has a baptism date set or the 10th. What a wonderful way to share his testimony!
The man on the extreme left in this first picture is about to sign up for a free Book of Mormon. By 1:00 pm elder Perez has shed his coat but still has on his sweater. The big sign can be seen but cars coming from one direction. We may get another one for the other side.
It was time to take down the shade – the picture of Christ lets everyone know who we believe in.
We set up at one of the three robots – traffic lights – in Ikageng this allows the people who are stopped to take in our display and hopefully stop and ask for more information. However most inquires come from people walking by on their way to or from a store down the street. After the display the elders bought pizza for the volunteer crew. This is a three layer pizza – kind of like the club sandwich of pizza.