Monthly Archives: February 2015

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.



February 2015 – This, That and Some Others…

Random pictures from this week . We finished another puzzle this week. The hard part – or at least the part we did last – was the wolf. Lots of different shades and they designed the cuts so that two pieces next to each other did not look like they could possibly go together. But that is what makes doing puzzles both frustrating and yet fun.

Load Shedding is the term they use here for rolling blackouts due to a shortage of electricity. It seems to be a big problem this year due to both demand and lack of capacity. The sign below is from Woolworths which although in a mall that sometimes goes dark has it’s own generator. The elders like to eat at a Chinese place near our flat that cooks with gas instead of electricity so they can provide hot food even when the lights go out.

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I continue to drop in at the Tembe webcam at least once a day. Usually I get rewarded with elephants and lots of antelope.  I like the bookend pair of elephants without any books. I was also happy to see a couple of waterbuck that do not show up very often. The lower right picture was from this morning and it has elephants, impalas and even two waterbuck. Now where are the lions and giraffes? Well as the game drive guides always say – you never know what you are going to see in a game reserve.

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You Never Know Who You will Meet in the Township

Last night we were in Ikageng sitting in our car waiting for the branch president to finish an interview. There was a number of young people gathered at our windows watching us play games on our iPads. A man walked up and started talking to me. I found out that he lived nearby, had four sons, and worked for a tire shop near our flat. I mentioned that one of our tires seemed to have a slow leak and he said that if I brought it in the next morning he would take care of it. I asked his name and he said – Just ask for Wonderboy.

So this morning I drove over to the shop and he came out to help me. After looking at the poor tread on the tire, I decided that it would be safer to buy a new tire instead of getting the current one fixed.

The last time I had a couple of tires replaced I had to sit around for almost 2 hours and they still did not get balanced. This time it took 20 minutes from the time I drove up until I drove out. Wonderboy and the rest of the staff were not only very friendly but also very efficient.

Now I just have to get the elders over to meet him and his family.

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District Meeting – Last Lunch – Seminary – a Busy Saturday

With transfers coming next Tuesday we attended the last district development meeting where this set of missionaries will be together. Elder Taylor conducted the meeting for the last time as he will head home next week. The only change in the meeting was that after the reports on how the areas were doing – elders Di Ruscio and McAllister are reporting about the Klerksdorp area in the picture on the left – is the traditional predictions of who is being transferred and who will be district leader when elder Taylor leaves.

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As to the famous predictions as shown below, I Just got the transfer information and found that only elder Di Ruscio – 6th one down – got it 100% correct.

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After the meeting comes the famous district pictures – one showing the missionary standard pose and one the way we really are. It is probably a good thing that elder Rami is leaving before elder Oldroyd chokes him to death. L-r back row – elders Oldroyd, Liera, Di Ruscio, Taylor, McAllister and me. From row elder Rami, the Dummers and Mary

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Always time for a little horseplay with elder McAllister getting bookended by elders Oldroyd and Taylor. After pictures and closing up the chapel it was time to go to McDonalds for the traditional Last Lunch. The Dummers and ourselves foot the bill – or at least the major part of it because some elders just can not stop eating. Below left – McAllister, Liera, and Rami. Below Right Oldroyd, Liera, Rami, Taylor, McAllister, DiRuscio. Elder McAllister is writing in elder Taylor’s journal to say goodbye.

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Elders Liera and Taylor deciding on what to eat. Elder Oldroyd adds his thoughts to the journal.

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After Seminary the youth activity was making valentines for their mothers. Mary came prepared with lots of things to use and attach. The youth showed lots of talent for designing and making their valentines – even the young men did well. I am sure their mothers will be delighted to have these mementos from their sons and daughters.

Trapped in the Office by a Gust of Wind!

I had an unusual adventure on Wednesday night. I went to the branch office to open it up for a training meeting. While I was waiting with another member a very strong gust of wind slammed the door closed. I did not think anything about it except it was loud until some other members arrived and could not get the door open. I tried from the inside with the same results. It seemed that the violence of the slamming had caused the lock to jam.

I tried everything I could think of – slipping a plastic card into the jam and even taking the lock apart as much as I could – to get it open but to no avail. I was to the point where I figured we either had to call a locksmith or kick the door open when president Lunga Ncapayi​ came along because his wife was part of the meeting. He figured out how to get the lock to release and let us out and others in so they could do the training.

While they were busy at that he took the lock apart and tried to fix it but again to no avail. He ended up taking out the latching part of the lock but was able to leave the dead-lock so the door could be locked. So while I could have done without this particular adventure, I consider having someone who could solve the problem without resorting to kicking open the door a true tender mercy from the Lord.

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The jammed door from inside and our rescuer working on getting the lock to work. There is never a dull moment when you are on a senior mission.

Summer Colds are No Fun…Even if You Can Spend it with Elephants

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