Mary cutting the sweet treat we brought as a farewell gift. Our last picture with our good friend Sister Bobbi Swanepoel…we were sorry to hear of her passing about 6 months after we got home.
Anther Last for us…the last time we will meet with the YSA for FHE. Tonight after an opening hymn…here being sung by sisters Kwaikwai – young and older and sister Ratema, there was opening prayer, a spiritual thought on Alma 37:35-37 and then a short but excellent lesson on keeping the Sabbath Day Holy by President Kwaiikwai.
The it was time for some rousing games of Book of Mormon Bingo with lots of chocolate candy as prizes.
Everyone won some games except for president Kwaikwai who had these two cards that never gave him a bingo…he tried once to claim Bingo with three beans in a diagonal instead of the required four. We kept playing until he finally won. Everyone had a good laugh about that.
After we had cleaned up the game there was refreshments. Pinenut to drink and full size Bar One candy bars for everyone – even president Kwaikwai got one of them! So it was a night of learning, fellowshipping, laughter, and fun. Too bad there were not more YSA here to share it with us.
We wanted to take pictures with everyone. President Kwaikwai arrived on his bike which was taken over by their little one. Before the meeting we got to have one with Gomolemo and David.
After the meeting we took one with sister Meisie Ratema, David Lebona, the Kwaikwai family and even one of just the two of us. We shared our feeling of love for all of these great members of the Potchefstroom branch. We are certainly going to miss them…FHE with the Empty Nesters will be fun but not quite as much fun as we have had here.
Just as it is starting to warm up for spring here in Potchefstroom we are starting to pack up to leave for home. But today was one of those great, warm, sunny early spring Sabbaths that we remember from last year. Since we will only have one more Sunday here is South Africa and because some asked me why I did not post more photos on Facebook lately, I took lots of pictures and here are most of them.
Elder Hentunen was busy making an appointment with a young man who is going to school here but is from Bloomfontein. He could come because president Kwaikwai wrote a letter to his employer saying how important it was for him to have Sunday’s off and it worked. Sister Kwaikwai had her littlest one with her today as did brother Komatso.
President Kwaikwai joined in for a couple of family photos
Elder Wild and brother Gomolemo talked to sister Nthabiseng in the sunshine while sister Merriam in the yellow dress talked Lydia Mokate.
It was so nice outside that sister Thato Kujane moved her Sunday School class out into the playground. I was lucky to catch the Colour Ikageng sign as a backdrop. Notice the ‘u’ in color…British you know!
In Primary boys will be boys when a camera is aimed their way. Sister Lerato Kujane is cleaning the keyboard which she is learning to play.
Sister Mogapi has her hands full while sister Kea smiles for the camera
Adam Lebona taught the small YSA class while Dolly Ratema is taking her chair back to the class room after a warm lesson in the sun.
I am not sure what Adam was thinking about when I took his photo…he seems to be meditating. Sisters Thulo and Williams did not give me a smile in this photo but made up for it in others.
Nthabiseng talks to the elders and Sisters Kea and Williams give me a big smile with the elders in the background.
Brother Gomolemo gets his picture snapped while in the background sisters Neo, Ratema, and Kruger are talking. Their turn was next.
Sister Antoinette has a great smile and so does sister Ratema.
The young man seems more interested in his chip than the beautiful young lady in front of him. I wanted one photo of the the Priesthood today and so here they are.
Elder Wild is the designated keyboard player for PH…that is he starts the selected song when he is supposed to…the keyboard does the rest. The young man seems to have another chip – if it keeps him happy and quiet I am not going to complain.
President Kwaikwai thought sister Kujane’s idea was so good that he moved his Aaronic PH class outside. We wanted a photo with us and brother Sidney Robbins…hopefully we will get one with him and his wife next week. She had to work this one.
Sisters Dolly, Neo, Shavonne, and Kea were joined by elder Wild. There is that great Jacque smile again.
The elders with Mary and her new scarf. Brother David Rampai seems to be checking phone numbers with Shavonne Kruger while sister Kea’s attention is somewhere else.
Brother Gomolemo shows off the keys that he thought he had left in the chapel which was now locked up but I had moved them before locking everything up. Sister Thulo and her grandson on the way out to the parking lot. She still did not give me a big smile but he did.
Sister Brummer really, really does not like me to take her picture but I told her I really need a good one before we left. She had me promise it would be the last one…I had my fingers crossed when I said yes!
We drove the Krugers home so Mary could give Jacque a piano lesson. I wanted a family photo and then brother Kruger took a picture with us and the rest of the family. It was a really good day for taking lots of pictures.
It was a busy Saturday afternoon at the chapel. When we arrived there for Mary to sit in on Seminary, sisters Viona Kruger and Georgina Mogapi were busy washing and waxing the floors. They were aided by the young Kujane children, as well as a couple of the PH brethren.
The seminary lesson was taught by Nasi Williams who did a great job. It has been wonderful to see how well the young men and women prepare to teach. Mary was really inspired to start this program in Seminary as they will soon be ready to teach any class.
After the lesson they played Book of Mormon “Go Fish,” another legacy that we leave behind when we head home. Mary created this and ‘Book of Mormon Bingo” that everyone seems to love to play. Go Fish gets some very serious playing but also lots of smiles and laughs. While this was going on the chapel got set up for tomorrow’s meeting.
Then it was time to take some pictures – sister Ratema joined the young sisters. Then we added Mary, next came the YM and those who were helping with getting the building ready for Sunday and finally a always required crazy one…I love sister Kruger hiding behind sister Williams as well as Gomolemo’s big blue purse.
Today we drove over to Klerksdorp to attend our last District Development meeting. We had some things to do before heading that way and they took much less time than we thought so we got to the chapel very early. I took a couple of photos of the car in the parking lot to remember what the building and grounds looked like.
Elder Hentunen conducted a tight but powerful meeting. The elders reported what was going on in their areas. Elder Bergman is the only new missionary in the district and his companion is elder McCartney from Scotland they serve in the Klerksdorp area.
It is a very European district with only elder Khwela who is from Durban being the only one not from there. I took this photo of elder Turauskis who is from Lithuania and went to the Provo MTC to improve his English. He and his companion elder Khwela serve in Jouberton.
Our elders Hentunen and Wild report about the Potch area while the visiting Zone Leaders elders Silvester and Masoka told us about about the work in the Vereeniging area. Elder Silvester just because one of the Vaal zone leaders at the last transfer.
Elder Bergman led the singing for the day and after the meeting everyone gathered around the ZL’s car to get supplies and hopefully some mail.
After the meeting we took the whole group to Spurs to have a final lunch with these wonderful missionaries. They were very surprised and very thankful as they got to eat something other than McDonalds. We will probably not see any of them except elders Wild and Hentunen again on this side of the veil but they will always be part of us and the great experience of serving here in the Johannesburg mission. Our waiter took a final photo of us – I will send it to any of the missionaries whose email address I have.
I got the car washed at the usual place and I have gone there often enough that the cashier had already rung up the wash before I came to the counter to pay for it and a liter of Coke Zero. They were very fast today – it took less than 40 minutes and I was the 5th car in line. While I was waiting for them to detail the car, I had a nice conversation with a man whose family has been in South Africa since before 1900 – I did not ask how long. His mother-in-law is 102 years old. He is a lawyer but mainly taught law instead of practicing it. It made the time go much more quickly.
Later Mary I went out to take care of some errands – there seems to be lots of them as we wind up this mission – and saw a very large cloud of smoke. We drove over to see what it was and found that one of the fields not far from our house was burning really well. We knew it was a serious fire because there were a couple of fire trucks on one side. This is only the second time we have seen them at a fire in the almost 18 months we have been here. As you can see in one of the photos, there was a herd of horses in the next field over and they decided it was time to move to a different area and they did quickly.
While Mary was in the stationary store buying some supplies, I noticed this man walking by with his load of brooms and feather dusters. We see men and women like this going along the streets around the neighborhood hoping to find a buyer for their wares. I stopped and asked him if I could take his photo and ask some questions. He seem a little nervous about this but said I could. It turned out his name is Ishmael and he has been making and selling these items for 2 years. He nets about 1000 rands a month profit for all his work – that is about $82 US for a month’s work or less than $1000 for the whole year. But with no education or skills, this is not unusual. When we were in Richards Bay we knew a man who worked security – Six 12 hours day a week for 1500 rand – $120 and he thought that was a great job. A McDonald’s burger flipper makes that much in an 8 hour shift!
On Tuesday we were invited to have lunch with sister Renny Motha at a restaurant we did not even know existed. It was a wonderful experience to sit and talk to this lovely sister and enjoy some good food. We are going to miss her and the other members of the branch.
On Wednesday we invited the elders to go to lunch with us at Largos – a street food restaurant in Ikageng that we have not been to in a long time. It turned out that elder Wild did not know about Largos and the big meals you can get for about 25R – which comes out to about $1.65 US. Since he was on an exchange with elder Khwela we had a chance to get know him a little better. Elder Wild went for the half loaf sandwich which is a half loaf of white bread stuffed with good things to eat – and he ate it all. This brought on a discussion of foods we have had while serving here and which we liked and did not like.
Largos had moved since the last time we were there. In the old location they had a back room where there could prep the food…now it seems that they do it in the yard behind the main kitchen. This would probably not pass the food inspectors in the US.
While we were eating some interesting people went by. I could not get a good photo of the two women walking by – one with some long dusters balanced on her head. But a man with two adorable children in a ‘stroller’ was happy to stop and let me take their picture. They did not appear to be wearing their seatbelts.
This morning I looked out in the back yard and saw among the smaller birds was a large hadedah eating the remains of a piece of bread I had left for the birds. I managed to get this good picture of it and its beautiful iridescent wings. Yesterday Tanner Todd posted a photo to his parents and said that it showed chickens roosting in a tree. The original photo was so dark that I thought he was joking about large weaver’s nests but when I did some editing I found it clearly shows that it is full of chickens. It may be how the keep away from predators.
After the Allreds left, I got the itch to pack one of our bags with some souvenirs and clothes that I will not need for the rest of the mission. We are allowed 2 bags each weighing not more than 23 kilos which comes out about 50 pounds. After stuffing this bag with lots of stuff, it still came up about 7 pounds light so I am pretty sure we can make it home without paying extra. I did find out that we can up grade a bag from 50 to 70 pounds by paying a flat rate of $50 which is cheaper than sending it home almost any other way.
Sunday was quite normal except I think we had the lowest attendance – 39 – since we have been here. I am sure it was the combination of a three day weekend and the cold. When we started the meeting there was only about 20 in the congregation. However on the positive side some members who have been less active for a while came and that made us feel good.
The morning breakfast crowd included a bright yellow weaver male who has only been coming for a few days now. Before the meeting president Kwaikwai talked to Mary about the programmed hymns that can be played on the organ. This is important because there will be no one who can play once we have gone home.
The photo below shows a good portion of those in attendance when the meeting started. Shavonne and Viona Kruger and David Rampai. I took the photo of the big tree in the courtyard just because it looked like it should be taken – the big green tree against the very blue sky.
For some reason I did not take very many pictures on Sunday. Sisters Robbins, Williams and Kujane looked beautiful as ever while trying to look warm. Before Priesthood brothers Johannes, Philip and Robbins are facing the camera while president Kwaikwai was walking out. the final Sunday photo shows a little one enjoying the comfort of her father and mother. She had her eyes wide open when I started to take the pictures but I was not fast enough to capture them.
Monday morning elder and sister Allred drove over from Joburg to take the first load of furniture back to the mission office. Elders Wild and Hentunen came over to help. We had cleaned everything out of that which was going on this load and I had moved it near the garage door so it only took about 30 minutes to get it all loaded up. It hard to believe that in just two weeks they will be back to take the rest of it away and we will shut and lock the door for the last time!
After the trailer was packed the elders changed into their missionary clothes so they could look good when sending their email for the week. Notice that sister Allred usually has a camera in her hands. She is the official – unofficial photographer for the mission. Between our blog, the Allreds and the Dunn’s there are lots of photographers for mothers with sons serving here to look through to see their son.
We were able to go to the temple today and meet up with some of the branch members. Two of the members were able to take out their endowments, others were baptized for their ancestors, and some just came to enjoy the fellowship of the saints and the beauty of the temple. I did not take a lot of photos but this series just kept growing as members joined in.
While we were there we saw a number of missionaries from the mission including elder Cummings, Barton, Wild, Hentunen and others. It was a nice experience to find just released elder Wilkerson and his parents at the temple where I was able to take some photos for them and one for myself. The beauty and peace that is found at the temple is enhanced by this beautiful stream that runs down a part of the landscaping into a lovely koi pond. There are places to sit and just absorb the special feeling that is there.