Monthly Archives: May 2015

Friday – Zone Meeting and Seminary…

Friday we drove once more to Vereeniging – this time for Zone Development meeting. We made great time and got there really early. I saw a man working in the yard putting in a sprinkler system so I walked over and started talking to him. Joseph had been working for this company for four years. I shared a couple of our cookings with him and after the meeting I introduced him to the missionaries from Orange Farms where he lives. Hopefully the Lord prepared him to be be ready to hear the gospel and the brief meeting with us will change his and his family lives for Eternity. The Sharpeville chapel is a good functional meeting house – we wish we had one in Ikageng.

Still while waiting for the elders to arrive I got to meet Jeffery – it is nice that they had names that I could both pronounce and spell. Jeffery has worked for the security company for about 18 months and is responsible for four areas in Sharpeville. He says that alarms going off keeps him busy. Unfortunately I did not get his phone number or address but I did give him a passalong card. We will see what kind of ground the seed will fall on.

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I took some photos before the meeting. Elder Rizk is with elder Rodgers who was transferred back into the Vaal Zone for the third time on his mission. He has served in Sharpeville and Ikageng but now he is serving in Ennerdale. The other companionship in the Orange Farm district is elders Nicotra and Yates – elder Yates in the district leader.

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I caught elder Savage smiling as he played the piano before the meeting and also elder Tukia one of the zone leaders.

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Elder Neuenschwander is in his last transfer and if you look carefully you can see Mary  in the chairs on the right side of the photo. Elder Tukia wrote a welcome message on the white board.IMG_0163  IMG_0168

The Ikageng district was the last to arrive about 10 minutes late. Elders Todd and Dye are the most noticeable in these photos. Elders Wild  and Turauskis are also visible but the bright light from the window kind of washed them out.

IMG_0164 IMG_0165Elder Mdletshe’s new mission bag  – he served in our district some 7 months ago. Elder Neuenschwander gave his testimony as this is the last zone meeting he will attend on his mission. Earlier he told how he and one of his companions set goals to find and teach father led families – they set a goal of talking to 5 fathers each day. I asked him if it worked and he said it did.

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Elder Dye also bore his final testimony to the zone. After the meeting everyone gathered around and made decisions on where to eat lunch together. We could not go with them because we need to hurry home so Mary could get ready for Seminary.IMG_0171  IMG_0172

I have waited until now to talk about my earlier experience of not listening to the spirit. I had gone out to get the car fueled, pick up some treats for ZDM and then went to the school to pick up a missionary application that I was going to give to the Klerksdorp elders to take to president Robbins. He will make some copies for his branch and for president Mogapi – they both have young men who want to go on missions. As I drove into the school parking lot I realized I did not have my keys with me. I had left them at home because I ignored an earlier prompting to find them and put them in my pocket as I would need them later. So two days in a row I was not sensitive to the spirit and in both cases I soon knew it.

However this time it just cost me an wasted trip to the school because after we got back from ZDM we got some lunch and went to school to eat it – this time I had my keys. I called the Klerksdorp elders, who were still in Vereeniging, and told them I needed to meet them as they drove past Ikageng to give them the applications. I kept in touch with them and when they stopped off at the Ikageng elder’s flat for a break – a game a chess and some reading – I went by and successfully gave them the application.

Since then I have been praying that I would be more sensitive to the spirit and its promptings. We will see in the future how it works.

IMG_0173 IMG_0174 - ZM endWhile I was running around doing errands Mary was holding seminary. Only 4 students showed up but their spirit was strong. Our changing to Friday afternoon should make it more available to the youth but some of them seem to always have something going on. I am proud of those who do come and also who have done the work so they can get credit for their work. After the lesson they played a really long game of Go Fish – which everyone loves – where Shavonne Kruger was the clear winner and Papa Thulo pulled in last. But there was lots of laugher and smiles all around the table. Apples and cookies were the welcomed treats for the trip back to their homes.

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Wednesday we Visit Parys – Thursday we Get Robbed in Vereeniging!

On Wednesday May 27 we drove up to Parys to visit Louis – the first picture on the left below and sister Bobbi Swanepoel  – the one with Louis on her lap. We always have a nice visit with this amazing sister who has been in the Church for years and remembers everything. She is also very talented and she is making a baby quilt from the blocks in the photo. She also paints and writes poetry. We are just sorry that she does not live a closer to Potch so we and others could visit her more often.

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Thursday was rather exciting for us. We got up rather early and caught a brilliant orange sunrise photo. We drove the Louw family to Vereeniging so the could catch a bus to Durban to attend a funeral. The bus station and the train station are the same. This old – and not very well kept up – steam engine was on display. Since brother Louw worked on the railroad he knew all about it.

Unfortunately we were standing around the back of the car talking and not paying attention. So a young man opened the driver side door, crept in and took our GPS and Mary’s purse which had her iPad, Camera and of course her wallet. I saw him just as he was about out again but he was too fast for me.

Later I told Mary I was prompted to lock the doors but since her door and the boot was open it would not work and I did not follow up on the promptings. She then told me that she felt she should shut her door and the boot but again she did not follow up because some of their luggage was still in the boot. So we have no one to blame but ourselves as the Lord tried to help us but we ignored him. A couple of days later I was listening to some conference talks and the speaker mentioned that when we were prompted we needed to act…

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In the evening we drove over to Klerksdorp where the branch presidencies had a meeting with president Dunn. I did not get any pictures of the president but I did get one of elder Barton with president Kwaikwai. Elder Peterson with elder Wild. Elder Wild just came in to the area on Tuesday night on an emergency transfer. I then took a photo of elders Wild and Barton who will be serving together in the Ikageng area. Elder Wild is a real short timer and like elder Dye will probably die – that is be released – here.

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More Odds and Ends….

Woodsmoked Rindless Streaky Bacon! After 15 months here in Africa, we finally found a bacon that is almost as good as bacon at home. Most of what they call bacon here we would call ham and the flavor has never been right. But now we can enjoy this treat for the next three months. It is a little expensive at about $6 a pound but the taste is as the ad says…priceless!

IMG_0136 IMG_0137From bacon to an anniversary trip to Kruger. We have permission from president Dunn to take a few days and head up to Kruger National Park to celebrate our 55th anniversary next month. Near our home we often passed this sign for tours and safaris. After 15 months we finally contacted them and set up a visit. They were wonderful about getting us places to stay and game drives at amazingly low prices. We are staying 3 nights and four days for just about $500. That does not include meals but we should be able to keep everything under $1000 and that is a bargain as I thought we would need to spend two to three times that amount.

If anyone is thinking about coming to South Africa to pick up their elder or just want to go on a safari, fishing, hunting or just sightseeing here, I highly suggest you contact MAG  and let them make arrangements.

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While looking through photos I found this one from the summer of 2014 and it made me a little home sick for our yard. The same day I bought this great looking house plant so I could enjoy its beauty first hand. I think it was $4 well spent.

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On Saturday Mary taught piano to Lorato Kujane at home and then Jacque Kruger at his home. We are hoping that one of them will be able to play for primary after Mary leaves. They just need to practice more…the problem that most students have.IMG_8249 11169957_10205581464810421_4298240311554791207_n

While looking through Facebook I came across the picture on the right of former Elder Johnson who I have mentioned in this blog a number of times. The picture on the left was one I took on the day he left his mission for home. As you can see he has found a different life style after being home for a while. Although the clothes may be different I am sure that the heart, mind and soul are still focussed on the Savior.

Another Beautiful Day at the Potchefstroom Branch….

The sun was shining and so were the faces of the members of the branch as they came together to partake of the sacrament, share the gospel and fellowship with each other. President Kwaikwai had to work and Omphile – the second counselor had to go to school so I got to preside for the day and also teach the Priesthood lesson.

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Sister Brummer only lets me take her picture when I catch her without another sister – in this care sister Mary who is a counselor in the RS presidency. I could not pass up the purple jacket!IMG_0119  IMG_0121

I told Tinashe, Menzi and Jacque that I was going to call them the Sunshine Boys as they stood outside catching some rays between meetings. Sisters William and Thulo are two of my favorite teachers – sister Williams in Sunday School and sister Thulo in Relief Society.

IMG_0122 IMG_0123Sister Amos and Kea add beauty to the scene. Both go to the university. Menzi came today so I had to get a picture of him with a lovely lady. As I was taking this picture, Kea said she had to have one also – so Menzi got two lovely ladies with him. IMG_0124

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This is the only photos of Yvonne Gerber and Thato Kujane that I managed to take today – usually I get Thato in a number of shots. This one is far from my best of her. Brother Gomolemo is not bowing to elder Barton – they are playing some kind of game where they try to slap each others hands. Boys will be boys.

IMG_0127 IMG_0128Sister Mary again but this time with sister Antoinette. Her husband Simon was standing between brothers David and Johannes.

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I almost got a picture of sister Gerber with her son Joshua and elder Barton but she had her head turned. I just noticed that sister Mary got in another photo. Sisters Neo, Lorato, and Kea pose for this one – sister Lorato Kujane kind of slide in while I was getting ready to take the picture.

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Sister Amos’ phone kind of matched her purse – or is that a saddle bag? Here we have ElderBarton, Andrian Gerber, elder Alvial – we did not know at the time it would be the last photo of elder Alvial with branch members as he had an emergency transfer on Tuesday, brothers Gomolemo, and Lebona with Joshua Gerber in the front with a baby. IMG_0135

As we were locking up to leave I took this photo of Adam Lebona outside the gate. We wanted him to know how it would feel if he ever got locked up in jail.

A Busy Friday – DDM and Seminary

Most Fridays we drive over to Klerksdorp to attend district development meeting with the elders. It gives us a chance to inter-act with the elders, share their spirit and learn. It also lets us share some of the successful ideas to improve their teaching and finding that we have learned on our other missions. 
IMG_0099 IMG_0100 IMG_0101 IMG_0102Elder Barton is the district leader and serves with us in Ikageng and Potch. Elders Peterson and Dye serve the Klerksdorp area while elders Todd and Turauskis serve in Jouberton. These last two missionaries were a little late to the meeting because they were getting their car washed. It seems that they almost got stuck in a large mud puddle – there are lots of those in their area – and their spinning wheels threw mud every where – including all over elder Turauskis left arm and shirt. They were lucky because they managed to get out of the mess without having to push the car. If they had to do that there would have been mud all over their shoes and clothes.IMG_0103 IMG_0105

As usual they gave their area reports and there are a lot of people on date for baptism in the district in the coming month. Elder Barton led a lesson on the parable of the sower and he used elder Oaks talk on the subject as well as the scripture in Mark. IMG_0106 IMG_0098

Following the meeting they enjoyed the rice krispy treats Mary made yesterday. The pink marshmallows give a rather festive look to them. Mary let me lick the spoon – or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I gnawed the spoon since licking did not work well.

Later in the afternoon Mary held Seminary. She is having the students take turn teaching the lesson and they have been doing a good job. Sister Shavonne Kruger taught this week and from what she wrote on  the board I would say it was an excellent one. While Mary was teaching I went out visiting some members but made it back in time to help out with the activity part of the afternoon.

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There are always miscellaneous photos…

We are having a quiet week and we seem to have needed it. Mary fought through a sore throat – nagging more than anything else and we were both tired. Here are some of our experiences for the last 3 days…

When we drive out of our complex and stop at a 4-way corner we often find the man standing in the middle of the intersection selling newspapers. Since we do not read Afrikaans we smile at him or wave and go on through. Today I stopped and talked to him for a while to find out more about him and his job. Gladwin’s wife passed last year leaving him with two daughters 8 and 13. He has been selling newspapers for a living for 15 years.  He sells papers 4 days a week – Thursday through Sunday and makes between 170 and 220 rand a day – that comes out to about 300 US dollars a month on which to raise a family. That is pretty good wages for four days of work when many men and women get that for six days work.

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The car wash I go to has a senior – or here we are pensioners – discount Monday through Thursday. They completely clean the outside and inside of the car for about $2.60 – 300 rand. The place is usually very busy and it takes about an hour. It is not an experience for an impatient person because there is no way to speed things up. It gets a through washing – first with a power cleaner and then hand soaped over every inch at least twice. Then a crew of 4 or 5 people wipes up and cleans up inside and out. They even clean the hinges on the boot. IMG_0085 IMG_0089 IMG_0087 IMG_0091 Besides the standard carwash they have a detailing area where – if possible – they take the seats out of the cars and clean the underside of them. Many of the car dealerships bring their used cars here to get them ready for the sales lot. One of these days I am going to talk to one of the people who work there and find out how long they work and how much they are paid.

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We are going to go to Kruger National Park for our anniversary next month so we went to a local business that specializes in Safaris – sightseeing and  hunting  – as well as other tours around the area or about anywhere in Africa you would like to go. They arrange drive yourself tours but specialize in ones where they drive. We are doing our own driving. In their yard are four big char pei were very friendly and a Russell that was not. This big boy was resting on the patio as we came out of the house. He is an orphan they rescued. IMG_0095

Game Drive Part 4 – Anything that is left

Here are the pictures that did not fit in the other posts about the drive.18may15 - drive - helmeted guinea fowl 18may15 - drive - helmeted guinea 18may15 - drive - warthog family 18may15 - drive - Warthogs

I have a fond affection for guinea fowl and warthogs. Mary took the photos of this great looking helmeted guinea fowl – they do not have crested guinea fowl in the park. There were warthogs all over the park – remember the one that greeted us at the gate. They often travel in family groups with only large males seen alone.

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At the first body of water we stopped at the dead trees were filled with birds that were either nesting or just enjoying the sun. We never did figure out but at least one is probably a comorant. Mary took this great shot of three crocs enjoying the warm sun and sand. She caught a white egret either taking off or landing and a tree that is just dripping with weaver’s nests.18may15 - drive - hippos lazy 18may15 - drive - chacma baboons

Besides the hippo we saw earlier in the water we found this pile of very lazy hippos out sun bathing which is unusual because they seem to prefer the water in daytime. Maybe the water was too cold. Along this dam there was a family of Chacma baboons.18may15 - drive - Monkey baby 18may15 - drive - monkey family

When we stopped at a small commercial center in the park I got photos of a family of vervet monkeys that stayed around the restaurant area in hopes of getting handouts. Some were brave enough to jump up on the tables to grab anything left behind. The management was not happy about this but the monkeys are very fast.

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Unfortunately I did not take many pictures of the landscape which was a mistake it was much different from what we have seen elsewhere. There are a small dams and one rather large one, lots of plains and mountains. Mary took this picture of what looks like something a giant farmer might stack up as he cleared his fields of rocks. She also took this photo of the grass – she was trying to snap one of the giraffes but her camera kept focusing on the grass just a short ways from her window. As we were leaving we said goodbye to our friend Lucky….

Game Drive Part 3 – Zebras and Giraffes

Zebras are one of the animals that we never get tired of seeing. On this drive we either saw them far away or really up close and personal as they wandered along the road. I like to think of the first picture on the left below as bookend zebras. The photo of the zebra neck and head was taken at a distance of about 5 feet through an open window. I asked Mary if she would like to pet it’s rump but she declined. The two zebras standing side by side in the road were not in any hurry to move out of our way. I finally got close enough that they got the message and slowly moved out of our way. In Swaziland they call cattle standing in the road – Swazi Stop Signs. I guess this is South Africa’s version. Both are very effective stop signs.

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We were on way to the gate to leave the park when I mentioned we had not seen any giraffes. This is unusual because while there are not usually a lot of them around, they are easy to spot. Just about the time I said this, the first one showed up as the side of the road having a snack. If you look closely at the front of the photo you can just pick out a rather large warthog that we did not notice at first. A few more kilometers down the road we saw our second giraffe. Both appear to be female – their horns are not worn down through fighting. However the one on the left was rather young so it could be a male who has not tried to fight for a mate.

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Game Drive Part 2 – The Antelope….

I do not think we have been on a game drive where we have not seen wildebeests and impalas. There are about 1800 blue wildebeests and 3000 impalas in the reserve. 18may15 - drive - wildebeest 18may15 - drive - wildebeests 18may15 - drive - wildebeest herd

Impala males often travel in small groups and separate from the females. They are graceful animals and one of the favorite foods for lions. Notice the last picture in this group with the beautiful, graceful looking doe. Just to the right of her you can see the rear of another one with the very noticeable three dark stripes that look like the for an ‘m.’ The guides love to tell their passengers that this stands for McDonalds as far as the lions are concerned. 18may15 - drive - Impala buck drinking 18may15 - drive - impala bucks 18may15 - drive - Impala doe - McDonalds

Then to the other antelopes we encountered on our drive.

18may15 - drive - Nyala female 18may15 - drive - Springbok 18may15 - drive - Tsessebe - fastest antelope 18may15 - drive - waterbuckTop left is a nyala doe. The top right are two springbok. The bottom picture on the left is a not often seen – at least not by us on our drives – Tsessebe which is said to be the fast African antelope. This one was just about 30 feet from us and I tried to get it to stand up for a better photo but it would not cooperate. As we were leaving we saw this beautiful waterbuck male. Notice the white stripe on its rump. It goes all the way around and it is the only antelope with that marking.