Category Archives: Mission – South Africa

St Lucia – Last Visit

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I thought that it should read – Offenders will be eaten!

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This is the granddaddy of the area – over 10 meters long and weighs in over a ton. At least that is what the guide said.

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This is just a little guy who was about 2 meters long. We were able to get within about 10 feet of him without his blinking an eye.

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This is the same little croc but oh what big teeth it has.


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Best shot of hippos during the trip – notice the different size young ones. The smallest is less than 3 months old.

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Five birds – four different varieties. I enjoyed seeing so many beautiful water birds as much as I did the hippos and crocodiles.

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We saw lots of red duikers on our last two trips to St Lucia but this was the only one that stayed still long enough to get a picture. The duiker is a very small antelope and this one was about 2 feet tall – smallest we have seen. As soon as I tried to move closer it was instantly gone.

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No trip is complete without a picture of a herd of zebras.

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This female kudu posed for us just about where a male did the last time we were in St. Lucia. They are beautiful and majestic animals and, other than the Eland and the Wildebeest, is the largest antelope we have seen in South Africa.

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After the beautiful Kudu the stately but ugly Warthog!

28 June 2010

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Sister Mann posted this on her mission blog. They will be leaving 4 days before the Griesemers gohome and a week before we do. For some reason the same picture taken on the day we arrived does not come up in our arrival post. I guess it was censored so not to scare anyone thinking about coming here. Now it is safe because we are leaving.

 

28 June 2010 – Monday

We were up early so Mary could get her incision re-dressed before we headed off to St Lucia and the hippo boat ride. While she saw the nurse – they have become great friends – I got gas and some supplies to take with us. Although the sky looked threatening and the weather report said there was a good chance of rain the weather ended up being perfect – cool but not really cold.

Before we went for the ride we stopped and took pictures of the pod of rhinos that hang out near the boardwalk down to the beach. They were all in the water so I did not get any really good pictures but I did take a video that captured some of the sounds they make.

The boat ride was made more interesting by the fact that we had FIFA film crew along taking video of the attraction that will become part of a 10-15 minute clip that will be shown during half-time or between games later in the week.

The animals co-operated nicely with a number of crocodiles actually being out of the water. This was surprising to the skipper of the boat who said that since the water was warmer than the air, the crocs would probably not be found on land. We got to see a really big croc and a number of smaller ones. One of them was fully out of the water and just sat there while we happily took pictures from about 6-8 feet away.

The three hippo pods were all in the water of lumped together near the shore of islands. But we did get to see two hippos come out of the water but at a distance. The best part of the ride for me was the birds. We got to see a fish eagles – the main road that passes near our boarding is called Fish Eagle Flight – some Egyptian geese, and the best of all some small kingfishers. The kingfishers can hover almost like humming birds as they stare down into the water until they see something interesting and dive down and nab their prey. I tried to take some video but who knows what it will look like.

After the ride we went back to the boardwalk area and found almost all the hippos out of the water but on the other side of the lagoon. There was a really young hippo – probably less than 3 months old – that was fun to watch and hopefully the pictures will turn out.

After that we had lunch in St Lucia before going on our last game drive there. Although we did not see anything spectacular – none of the leopards that they swear are somewhere in the park – we did see red duiker, common reedbuck (not sure we ever saw these before), waterbuck, bushbuck, kudu, and of course blue wildebeest. So we saw a wider variety of antelope than we normally see. We also saw the normal zebras and warthogs. We did not see a single impala which was rather strange.

We stopped outside the gate and went to the crocodile exhibit where Mary bought a coffee table book on Africa to take home. Then we bid goodbye to lovely St Lucia and drove back to our boarding for the evening.

We had been trying to contact our replacements the Nuzmans by e-mail and I tried to call them on Saturday but without luck. Mary suggested I give it one more try so I called them and luckily caught them at the airport waiting to fly off to visit their daughter. We had a good talk and I answered some of their questions. I suggested they make a list of questions and call us when they had more time to talk. Hopefully we will be able to see them when they are in the MTC and have them over to our home some evening.

I worked on cleaning up the garage and making hard decisions on what to keep for the Nuzmans, what to give to others and what to throw away. When in doubt, I just left things so the Nuzmans can decide if they want it or not.

For some reason the day at the park pretty much wore Mary out so she was not up to doing much before going to bed. I am sure a good nights sleep will restore her to her healthy best.

27 June 2010


27 June 2010 – Sunday

We did our usual run to Esikhawini for PEC – the elders never did make it because they were late and then had to walk with some of their investigators. Unfortunately it drizzled and then rain fairly hard so those walking came early or late or when there was a break in the rain.

While we were waiting for sacrament to start, sister Manamela came and said that sister Nyawo needed a blessing so I got elder Musisi to help me. She was having some sharp pains in her chest and I told her that through her faith she would be made well and be able to take the sacrament. As we were finishing president Nyawo joined us…I should have gotten him out of his meeting but for some reason I did not.

Sacrament went well with sister Nzuza – one of those we took for her blessing yesterday – gave a good but a little long talk on becoming Christ like. Since she is blind she did not take anything to the podium with her so everything was from her heart and mind.

After the meeting I ordained Sitimbiso to be an elder. It was good to complete the cycle from when I baptized him about 13 months ago. We have become good friends and I will miss his smiling face and warm hug.

We then went over to Richard Bay where I spent the next two hours working with Calwyn Baldwin on making sure all ordinances were recorded, asking for some records, and getting new lists to make up branch packages for the new couple when they come. I also got a check for some things I put in up to a couple of months ago.

Much of the afternoon was spent relaxing and I managed a short nap. Then it was time to get busy with putting everything together for the new couple so I spent more time than I like writing up procedures, making up branch books, etc. I am sure we will forget something important but it will only because we did not think about it and write it down.

I also spent part of the day working on pictures. I always seem to be playing catch up with them.

26 June 2010


26 June 2010 – Saturday

Up early so we can get to Esikhawini and pick up three members to take to get their patriarchal blessings. First we picked up Stimbesio, then sister Nzuza, then sister Tembe. Sister Nzuza is blind and sister Tembe was badly crippled by a beating but both have strong testimonies and strong spirits. Sister Tembe was told that she would never walk again but now walks with a cane and can even walk short distances without one.

The trip went quickly and was different from other trips we have made to patriarch Jabbas. Normally our passengers occasionally carry on a little quiet conversation at first and then either sit quietly or fall asleep for the rest of the journey. But this group carried on a spirited conversation almost the whole way. It also might have been spiritual but since they talked in Zulu we had no idea what was being said. However that was OK because it was good to hear them enjoy each other’s company.

While they got their blessings Mary and I did some shopping and then found a quiet place to sit and read. On one of our trips we found this very nice park like area where that gives us a view of the ocean. However that was not true today because the sky was full of smoke from the burning of cane fields. This was true all the way down and back. I can not imagine what this does to people with breathing problems…it reminded me of LA when we had smog alerts.

When we went back to pick them up I mentioned to the patriarch that he was going to have a busy day since the Griesimers were bringing a couple later in the afternoon from Engwelzane. The patriarch said that he did not have any appointments for later in the day so I got on the phone and called Elder Griesimer to find out who made the appointment. To make a long story short, the patriarch agreed to have them come at 3:00 as they had planned. It was a tender mercy that I mentioned them to the patriarch as I think they might have been gone when the Griesimers pulled up at 3:00.

Mary had three hours of piano lessons at Esikhawini when we got back. I talked to Percy Zibani, the elders, and others. I also read and took a short nap. I am sure I could have done something more construction but sister Malinga would not let me help her clean the church. She did let us drive her home when she and Mary finished at the same time.

So we had a good day and managed to be of service to some of the wonderful members here in Richards Bay.

25 June 2010


25 June 2010 – Friday

 For the first time since we have been in this boarding, a flock of 8 or 9 hadedahs landed in our backyard and started looking for their dinner. The rising sun reflected off their iridescent wings as they stately walked around the yard picking at whatever they were feasting on in the grass. I managed to open the glass door and get some good pictures before some major noise made them all fly away.

Rose our friendly realtor and leasing agent came over for a walk through and we showed her some things that we think they might want to fix before the new couple arrives. She was her usual bubbly self and in a rather strange way we will miss her.

We have made a pretty good list of information we need to leave for the Nuzmans if they are assigned here. One of them is to make sure that important locations are listed in the GPS.

We left home and did a number of errands before having lunch. After lunch we went met sister Baldwin at the RB chapel where we turned over to her the remaining table cloths and a lot of extra curriculum material that we and other couples had managed to accumulate. Most of it came from my cleaning out Port Durnford’s overstock, but there was a good supply from the couples.

We went to Esikhawini’s Youth and there was a good turnout. The numbers have really been going up each week. Musa, Solo and Sne have all been encouraging the Youth to come. I just hope that some one steps up when Musa and Solo leave for their missions.

They had a nice project of writing letters to their missionary, sister Nonkule. They had asked sister Baldwin to buy them supplies and we were happy to bring them with us. Musa had also asked us to bring some things but since most of it was duplicates, we only supplied some pens and stickers to the project. Mary made one for us. They were also going to show a part of the 2010 DVD but when Sne found out it was 30 minutes long he decided to wait until next week.

While the youth were busy with their project, Sne and I talked about some leadership ideas as well as talking about his future plans. Hopefully he will be able to help train the leaders of the organization to better fulfill their callings. Also I urged him to help President Nyawo hold good presidency, PEC and branch council meetings – and of course Home Teaching.

I have tried for over a year to get these all established in the branch with only limited success. Hopefully elder Nuzman will have more success.

24 June 2010


24 June 2010 – Thursday

The whole morning was cleaning up paperwork that seems to be breeding. Mary had to catch up on the bookkeeping and I went through stacks of papers for the third or fourth time. I also made lists of things we needed to get in writing for the new couple – the Nuzmans from Ogden – so they do not have to start from scratch. I got their phone number from Elder Davis and will try to call them to see if they have any questions and if we can meet them while they are at the MTC. They will arrive exactly one month after we leave.

We worked until lunch time – there are still stacks of papers everywhere because I can not make a decision about where to put things. After lunch – McDonalds today – we had three easy errands to get done before we headed for Port Durnford.

Mary had only two students for English – I spent the time making lists and telephone calls. Youth went well with Mary and I giving a good lesson on Enos and then having them play some games before giving them snacks. We mentioned that next week will be our last one with them but we should be there for testimony meeting on the 4th of July.

As we were driving home we could see another field of cane being burned off. The flames must have been at least 30 feet high. It is an amazing thing to see flames and hear the crackling of the fire. Too bad it also means the sky is filled with smoke and haze.

A special mission call….

While in Swaziland, we got to help teach and become friends with Nathi – sister Wilson’s pineapple conversion. He is a very special young man with a great spirit and really wanted to go on a mission. The Wilsons helped him get his papers turned in but do to some technical difficulties they had to go home before he received his call.

We got a real surprise when on Tuesday night – the 22nd – we got a call from Nathi saying that he had received his call and he was going to the Joburg mission in September. He wanted to tell us and thank us for what we did to help him with his business.

I immediately sent an e-mail to tell the Wilsons and then remembered I could call them on our Vonage phone. I got sister Wilson and shared with her the good news.  What a blessing came from her stopping to buy a pineapple from a crude little shop on the side of the road.

24 June 2010

24 June 2010 – Thursday

I have not been keeping up a full journal for over a week. I have written notes to help me remember what we did but basically we have just been doing what we have done for the days and months before. I wish I could say that I have not had the time to write but that is not so – I just do not have much desire to do it.

The highlight of the past 9 – 10 days were two trips to Durban for a last meeting with all the couples and the Manns and then our last Zone Conference.  I was remarking to Mary that we are once again in our ‘last period’ like the we experienced in Indonesia. We also talked about how leaving this mission is different from Indonesia because we have become much closer to more members and non-members than we did there. I think this is going to be harder in someways because of how well we know the  area, the people, the homes, and the branches. We are also closer to the missionaries and it is going to be strange not to meet with them regularly. Trunky? Probably some but only because each day we are shutting down parts of our lives where we have lived for almost 15 months.

Will we miss South Africa in general and Richards Bay in particular? Sure we will. Will they miss us – certainly for a while but then time will pass and other couples will come, serve and be loved. We will become pictures on their walls to be remembered from time to time – hopefully with a smile on their faces.

I think I am getting a little morbid … the main thing is that We are Winning!

15 June 2010


15 June 2010 – Tuesday

Today was a strange but good day for me. It was great because Mary finally got to come home. It was strange because I only left the house to pick her up and to get some dinner from McDonalds. Other than that I tried to keep busy here.

Early on I go a call from a sister in Port Durnford that needed a food order. I called president Vezi and arranged for him to take care of it. He came over to get a list of food and advanced him the money to buy the food and some fuel for his truck. Hopefully by Thursday he will be able to have a checking account so he can take care of this himself. I figured he needed to learn how to fill food orders because there is not going to be any couple here for at least 6 weeks and possibly longer.

It was great to have Mary home but obviously she is weaker than she seems because I think she slept for 6 hours during the day. But she should soon regain most of her strength even if she is not 100% by the time we head home.

I continued to clean up and throw out things. We are going to have E/S Blackburn here on Wednesday afternoon until Thursday morning and then we will have the Coxes here Sunday and Monday night. In between we will be going to Durban for our final meeting with President Mann.

So it was a very quiet day for us – tomorrow should be busier but Mary still will not be ready to go out to the branches. That will have to wait until we get back – hopefully she will be able to do piano practice on Saturday.

Pictures for the Week

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Mary waiting to be operated on – notice how worried she looks. In South Africa you never know what you are going to find on your lawn when you back out. This good size slab of beef and 5 or 6 other of his friends were trimming the grass in the dark. Another sight I do not expect see when we get home are monkeys sitting on signs. This sign is for the new high school they are building just a couple of blocks away. Can you find the monkey?

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Sunrises and sunsets are very beautiful at this time of the year because of all the particles in the air from the burning of cane fields and wood lots. Patriarch Jabba with the Nyawo family and YaYa Mathe – at least most of them look happy about getting their blessing. This nice lady and others push their ice cream carts through the streets day after day. I talked to her about how long has she been doing this and she told me 21 years. She started in Durban. I imagine she pushes her cart many Ks each day to make a living for her family. She sells the best ice cream we have found – Walls Magnum Bars only here they are just called Magnum Bars.