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.
Elder Jada – on the left – Â 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.