Daily Archives: February 18, 2015

17 February 2015 – Transfers – Before and After Pictures

For at least an hour before and an hour after transfer meeting the parking lot is full of elders and others talking, hugging, and just enjoying each other’s company. There is a special energy and spirit in the air. Former companions catch up with what has been going on since they were transferred. After the meeting lots of luggage and other things are transferred from one car to another for the trip to their new areas. New district and zone leaders get some training for their new callings.

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In the picture on the left, elder and sister Hansen talk to some missionaries while two their daughters who are here for a visit watch and listen. On he left is the red headed elder Johnson – he is always easy to pick out and others.

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A closer look at the group in the background of the last picture show our good friend elder Taylor (in the suit) talking to elder Whitesides (blue tie). Elder Stephens – a former AP – appears to be writing on his thumb. The Hansens took the opportunity to get pictures taken with some of the elders. They are standing on the steps that lead up to the mission office where they served for most of their mission. I believe they go home at the end of March.

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Elder Segil wore his name tie. If you remember the last transfer I kidded him about not knowing who he was if he did not wear this tie. Notice all the clusters of elders behind the cars in the parking lot before the meeting.



I only took one picture of elder Clegg which is unusual since I have a good e-mail relationship with his mother. I try to take more pictures of elders who parents follow our blog or FaceBook accounts and let me know that their missionary is here in South Africa.

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After the meeting the elders go into the cultural hall where there are packages of materials, copies of the Liahona, mail, and the mission new letter ‘Cumorah Crest’ for each area. If a companionship is not here and no one picks up their package, the Zone Leaders will take them. Elder Compton’s – he was the District Leader for the Ikageng District  when we arrived – new companion elder Nonumwar – they will serve in the North Riding area.

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The piano playing elder Dutson with our good friend elder Graham. Sister Dunn tries to talk to as many of the missionaries as she can. She really is the mission mom!

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A last picture with elder Rami as he was transferred to the Pimville area where he will serve as senior companion to elder McCartney. Elder Oldroyd on the right tried on a friend’s pair of bright green glasses – they do not match his tie as well as they did his friend.

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With elder Taylor heading for home elder Liera has a new companion here in the Ikageng area – elder Alvial is from Chile so he and elder Liera can speak Spanish.

17 February 2015 – Departures

We never served with any of the 8 other departing missionaries but some of them we got to know from transfer and zone meetings. Below are pictures of them receiving their pins and giving their testimonies. In order they are elders Carpenter – we knew him from his service in the Vaal Zone – Lucking, Mthembu, Kewuti, Reed, Pedersen, Stephens – he was an AP for much of our mission and gave a very powerful testimony of how the mission changed his life, and Van Dalton,

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17 February 2015 – Arrivals and Departures – First Post

Transfer day is always an exciting one and we work it out so that we are in Johannesburg for each of them. Today 3 new elders were introduced and 5 more came in later in the evening.

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Elder Jada – on the left –  is from the Cape area of South Africa. Elder Paul is from Malawi and has a great smile. Below is elder Woniala from Uganda. They introduced themselves and bore their testimonies.

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Three of the twelve departing missionaries served with us as district leaders – actually they were our last three district leaders – and two served here in Potchefstroom branch. Elder Otieno – on the left – served in Jouberton. Elders Taylor and Perez of course served here with us. We will miss these three amazing missionaries but it is time for them to move on to the next life experience. Someone wrote on our Facebook pages asking if they were really this tall or were we shrinking. I could not figure out how to respond but probably should have said it was a little of both.

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There is a mission tradition that at the transfer meeting when they are released they receive from president Dunn a framed picture like the one shown on the screen behind them which includes all the areas they served and the companions they served with and a big hug. Then sister Dunn then gives them a pin of South Africa as a token of completing an honorable mission. After that they are asked to bear a last testimony to their fellow missionaries.

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Elder Johnson never served in the Ikageng district but he did serve in the Vaal Zone for a while. However from the very first group meeting we went to we always ran into him. Since he is the only red head in the mission at this time he was easy to spot and I got to know him pretty well. Also we made contact with his parents through our blog and e-mail. He was not great about sending home pictures so they were happy to see him through ours.

He gave one of the most spiritual testimonies that I have heard from a missionary and I am just glad we got to know him. Hopefully we will see him after we get home.

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When the meeting is ending, we all stand and sing the mission song. It is an amazing and spiritual experience to hear over 100 dedicated missionaries singing together. For those going home it is a special event and a number of them – including elder Johnson – used their cameras to make a video. I am gong to try to get a copy from him or elder Taylor.

Til we meet again elders Perez, Taylor, Otieno and Jonhson.

16 February 2015 – Hair Cut, Car Wash, Lunch with the Elders

It was a fairly busy P-day. I went to get my hair cut and who should appear while I was waiting but elders Liera and Taylor. This was elder Taylor’s last few hours in Potchefstroom and he came with his companion who needed a haircut before he appeared at transfer meeting tomorrow.

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After the haircut I spent the normal hour plus getting the car washed. It really need it and the local car wash was not too busy. As usual they did a great job and even with a tip it cost under $7.

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Since it was elder Taylor’s last day here, we took them to their favorite Chinese restaurant. We had actually introduced them to it earlier and elder Taylor discovered he really likes sushi. We will miss elder Taylor – we tend to miss all those we serve with but some make more of an impression than others. Elder Taylor is a true gentle giant – both physically and spiritually. I will always remember him when I put on the beaded African tie he made for me. We in turn gave him one our Big 5 African ties so he will remember us.

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15 February 2015 – Sunday, Sunday

It was a beautiful Sabbath day in Potchefstroom and 71 were at sacrament meeting. It was also elder Taylor’s last Sunday and somehow I failed to get  a single picture of him with members. He is not even in the background of a shot.

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Elder Liera found two pretty young ladies who wanted their picture take with him. Bongani Buti, our good friend and former 1st counselor in the branch presidency, got the weekend off from his work in Pretoria and came to our meetings. He is seen here with sister Kujane our RS president/

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He also posed with sister Lekebe. He says he really misses the branch and we know we miss him. Brother Menzi and sister Kea Seakgosing pose on the lawn – I hope Omphile does not get jealous.

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The final two pictures are of the Thulo family. From left to right we have Disney, Prudence, their mother Seipati and the son Papa. We are happy that Prudence will be attending the branch with her family even though she lives in Pretoria.


14 February 2015 – Valentine Day – Dance Practice

There is going to be a three branch dinner dance for the youth on 21 March and so today there was a dance practice led by Omphile Mokate and Kea Seakgosing. There were not a lot of youth there but everyone seems to have had a great time because there was a lot of smiles and laughter. Hopefully next week there will be more youth present.

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Kea and Omphile are an item and they really got into the swing of things. It is wonderful to see young couples in the church enjoy each other.


Mary and I had an unplanned romantic candlelight dinner. They are having a problem about the amount of electricity that can be produced and how much is needed. So throughout the country they have a program called load shedding where they shut off electricity to wide areas for 3 – 4 hours. Ours went off just before sunset and so we lit the candles and had dinner. Luckily we had already planned to have a tuna salad and that did not take any power to prepare.