We had a good week that kept us busy most days. Our Monday p-day was topped off by inviting the Ikageng elders over for dinner and a rousing game of 5 Crowns. Since this is a game that we learned from the Ladysmith Wilson when we served with them in the Durban mission it was nice to play it again in South Africa. Mary even broke out a brand new deck for the occasion. Mary won the game, elder Lohmann is a serious game player, while elder Perez is the elder Perez who we love.
Â Tuesday and Wednesday were quiet days with Mary having piano lessons and getting her Seminary lesson ready for Thursday. Wednesday night we traveled to Klerksdorp where Mary and brother Omphile had a Seminary and Institute training meeting. I love elder Mdletshe because he plans his meetings to be just an hour long and then he is on his way back to Joburg.
On Thursday things started to get busier as we drove over an hour to Ennerdale to do 2 flat inspections. We have been instructed to take lots of pictures so at Zone Conferences the cleanest and the messiest flats can get ‘awards.’ The Orange Park flat was fairly neat but because they had exchanges the day before it was a little less organized than usual. Above is their kitchen which was neat and clean – including the fridge. I think we finally have the elders attention about keeping their freezers defrosted.
This is the Orange Park living room. Many of the flats have weights in them. Elder Stilgoe’s Orange Park study desk with the British flag proudly hangs. I have other pictures of elder Stilgoe and his flag.
Elder Pius serves in Ennerdale with elder Stilgoe while elder Dlamini serves with elder Dutson. After our flat inspections we got back to Potchefstroom in time to get to the school to have Seminary. Mary had a record number of students and president Kwaikwai dropped in to be part of this historic occasion. Another great thing about this is that two of them are investigators and two of them are very recent converts. Hopefully the number will continue to grow.
On Friday we started the day inspecting the Ikageng elder’s flat. It was beautiful – the best I have ever seen. Since elder Lohmann will be leaving for home on Tuesday – that is he is dying here in Ikageng – we gave him a South African Big Five tie to remember us by. I think he told us how much he loved the tie every time he saw us. He also wore it for the next three days! He is a great missionary and we will really miss him but we are sure he will go back to Germany and help the Church grow.
Elder Otieno asked elder Lohmann to conduct and teach his last district meeting. He asked sister Dummer to lead the music and elders Perez and Graham joyfully joined in. Elder Lohmann taught about how to best use the First Vision in teaching investigators
One last picture with a great team of Ikageng missionaries – elders Lohmann and Perez. Some one mentioned that we are arranged from shortest to tallest. Then comes district pictures. Us in the back with elders Otieno, Larsen, and Perez while elders Graham, Lohmann and Mayende. It was elder Mayende’s birthday so he got the usual song and the Dummer’s brought ice cream bars for everyone. Not just any bars but Magnum ‘Death by Chocolate’ bars.
Then it was the Dummer’s turn. On Sunday we learned that besides elder Lohmann going home, elder Otieno will become a zone leader and elder Larsen will be moved and become a district leader. Which means once again none of the companionships will be the same after transfer meeting. We will miss elders Otieno and Larsen but we know they will do a great job where ever they are called to serve.
Of course the last district meeting means the traditional Last Lunch at McDonalds. E/S Dummer and ourselves treat the missionaries to lunch. It has become so much a tradition of the district that I am sure it will be with us until we leave. We are happy to share this meal with the great missionaries in the district and we know they appreciate it. However I am not sure they appreciate the pictures I take.
We kidded elder Perez because he ordered a happy meal! When I mentioned it to his mother via FaceBook she said that he usually orders 2 or 3 happy meals.
This Saturday and Sunday we showed the four main sessions of Conference. These two pictures show the elders and brother Andries setting up for the meeting. Elder Perez became #84 as he tried to hide a nail that made everyone look like Frankenstein. We had about 30 in attendance for the Saturday meetings.Â In April there were only 13 for the Saturday session and 4 of those were missionaries.
The red bird did not come to conference or help set up but helped make our day a little brighter. On Sunday we had 39 for the morning session and about 30 for the afternoon session.
Both days between sessions the YSA and Relief Society prepared a light snack – sandwich, cookies, an orange and a drink – to keep everyone going.
The picture on the right document elder Lohmann’s last exit from the gate before he goes home to Germany on Tuesday. The branch and the Piers will really miss him and his great spirit. But we know it it is time for him to move on to the next chapter in his life. We hope to keep in contact with him for many years to come.
In the evening sister Riekert invited the missionaries and ourselves over for a last dinner appointment for elder Lohmann. Sister Riekert was baptized in Germany and she and elder Lohmann speak German to each over. She decorated with the German flag and serviettes. She also cooked a delicious true South African dinner which was delicious.
Sister Riekert with elders Lohmann and Perez for a last picture. Speaking of pictures the Riekert’s son is a very accomplished artist. His drawing of a very famous photo is amazing as well as striking.
Lately he has started working with drawing on leather with the grain of the leather adding to the beauty of the work. On Monday for P-day we drove about 90 minutes to theÂ Suikerbosrand Game Reserve. We had tried to go there before but due to a fire it had been closed. Almost as soon as we drove in to the reserve we saw a small herd of antelope and thought it was going to be a very productive day of game watching.
We were mistaken! While there was lots of great view points, the only game we saw was near the end Â of our 65K drive when in the distance – too far for a picture – we saw a dozen wildebeests and about the same zebras. We were very disappointed because we can see these and other animals in game ranches along the road when we travel to Parys. We may try it again after the rains come and the grasses are green and long.
So that was pretty much our week. We are happy to say our health is good, the work is going forward, and we know we are where the Lord needs us and where we need to be.