14 August 2015 – A Final Lunch with the Klerksdorp District

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.

IMG_1526 IMG_1527 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.

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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.

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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. IMG_1535 IMG_1536

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.

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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.

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If I remember correctly we had our last lunch with the Dummers at this same Bear Creek Spurs before they headed home. It is a good place to eat good food for a reasonable price.IMG_1546

13 August 2015 – Car Wash, Fire, Ishmael – getting things done

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.

IMG_1521_2 IMG_1520_2 IMG_1522_2 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.

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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! IMG_1525_2

Tuesday – Wednesday – We go to lunch and other things

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.IMG_1507_2 IMG_1508_2

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.

IMG_1513_2 IMG_1514_2  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. IMG_1515_2

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.

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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.IMG_1512_2 081015.chickens in a tree

One Bag Packed…is this what it means to be trunky?

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 Church – Monday Move – First Load

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.IMG_1488 IMG_1489

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.

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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.

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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!

IMG_1496 IMG_1497 IMG_1498 IMG_1499 IMG_1500 IMG_1501 IMG_1502 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.

08 August 2015 – A Branch Trip to the Temple

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.IMG_1481 IMG_1483 IMG_1484 IMG_1485

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.

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07 August 2015 – A Busy Friday…

Friday means that it District Development Meeting. This week was a little different because we held it at the Ikageng office instead of in Klerksdorp. This was due to sister Dunn asking us to take one of the elders to the doctor to have his blood tested. It seems he has not been well for a month or so and doctor Barton wants to make sure it is nothing serious.IMG_1465 IMG_1466

Before the meeting started elder Hentunen had us play a game using the Book of Mormon and elder Turauskis was clearly the champ as he won all but one of the games. The quote of the day was D&C 4 which I actually know. Mary, elders Bergman, Khwela and Wild.IMG_1467 IMG_1468 IMG_1469  IMG_1470 After the reports, the lesson and of course the brownies that Mary made for treats we went outside for a district photo.  From left to right elders Khwela, Turauskis, Hentunen, Wild, McCartney and Bergman – oh and o course Mary.
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After that the elders went to our favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch while we had shrimp from another shop in the center. Once they had eaten we took the elder and companion to the doctor and then to the clinic where he got his blood taken. The final step in this experience was to take them back to the Potch elders flat where they met up with the other companionship and headed back to the Jouberton/Klerksdorp flat.

Just as we were finishing this up we got a call from president Kwaikwai asking if we could please take care of a food order for a family in the branch. We of course were happy to help by picking up the mother and taking her to the store and then back to her home. The blessings of the fast offerings are one of the great programs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.


Thursday night we took President Kwaikwai to Klerksdorp for leadership training with president Dunn. I wanted a last picture of the branch presidents we have worked with and learned to love. Unfortunately president Mogapi was not able to attend so I only have this one of presidents Kwaikwai, Robbins and president Dunn.

04 September 2015 – Last Transfer – Departing Missionaries

22 awesome elders went home this transfer. They start the day by going across the parking lot to the MTC and bring those elders who are coming into the mission to the mission office so they can be interviewed and instructed by president and sister Dunn, the APs and the office staff of Elder and Sister Allred and the Thompsons.

Then they have time to go outside and say goodbye to the other elders as they arrive. After all the transfers have been shown the departing elders get hugged by president Dunn, pinned by sister Dunn and are given a plaque that is like the photo of their mission that is shown behind them. Finally they are given a chance to share thoughts, wisdom and testimony to the rest of the missionaries. It is a tender time for them and for the rest of us.

Then they all go to the mission home for a final lunch and some instructions and thoughts about what they should think about when they are home. There are too many returned missionaries who become inactive because they did have any plan for when they are released and are no longer serving the Lord 24/7.

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IMG_1447 IMG_1446IMG_1398 IMG_1399 IMG_1451 IMG_1448IMG_1402 IMG_1401 IMG_1453 IMG_1452 IMG_1454 After the last departing missionary speaks, all the missionaries stand and sing the mission song. I have yet to make it through the song without tearing up a little. There is just something about 150 plus dedicated missionaries singing together that with power and the spirit that reaches deep within me. This was the last time we would get to sing it with so many friends and fellow servants of the Lord.

If you like to get an idea of what it is like to hear this song go to the Dunn’s website: http://dunnsinjoburg.blogspot.com/2014/07/mission-song-new-favorite.html

Here are the Lyrics..

There’s a land we have all come to, chosen from on high to serve with our Lord’s guidance leaving all behind. Giving light to those who never knew the way. Bringing gifts restored in latter days.

We’ve been called to build the Kingdom in Johannesburg. We will serve the Lord with strength, love and faith. We shall go forth proclaiming with the Spirit of truth ’til all people learn the things we know are true.

Tumelo hunya kitebe, remember what we have. Hlanganani nonce in this land our banner stands. Giving light to those who never knew the way. Bringing gifts restored in latter days.

We’ve been called to build the Kingdom in Johannesburg. We will serve the Lord with strength, love and faith. We shall go forth proclaiming with the Spirit of truth ’til all people learn the things we know are true.

In this land of many colors with its transcendent past, uniting all God’s children with the plan of happiness. Giving light to those who never knew the way. Bringing gifts restored in latter days.

We’ve been called to build the Kingdom in Johannesburg. We will serve the Lord with strength, love and faith. We shall go forth proclaiming with the Spirit of truth ’til all people learn the things we know are true.



04 August 2015 – Last Transfer – New Missionaries

It was a special transfer meeting in a number of ways. Not only was it the largest transfer for the mission – especially when you consider that 46 missionaries were recently transferred to the Botswana/Namibia mission – but it also introduced president Dunn’s new counselors. Presidents  Klintworth and Msane have just been approved and set apart – they will be a great help to President Dunn as they can do temple interviews and callings under his direction. They will be sustained in mission dependent branches.

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After the new counselors introduced themselves and bore their testimonies sister Dunn gave some counsel and then president Dunn spoke to the elders about being reverent and respectful in the chapel. He especially stressed the need for these attributes during transfer meeting when sometimes the elders get a little noisy and physical when some of the companionships show up on the screen. This had an immediate affect on the rest of the transfer meeting. There was still some sounds from the elders but not nearly as much as before.

Next came the time for the new missionaries to introduce themselves and then they were introduced to their trainers.

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Elder West – Australia

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Elder J.J. Ahome’e – American Samoa

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Elder Mbiriwiri – Zimbabwe

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Elder Ete – Samoa

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Elder Eki – Switzerland

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Elder Malunga – Zimbabwe

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Elder Matanga – Zimbabwe

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Elder Hlophe – South Africa

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Elder Derera – Zimbabwe

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Elder Gramu – Zimbabwe

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Elder Njovane – South Africa

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Elder Zitumane – South Africa

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Elder Muweesi – Uganda

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Elder  Randrianavalona – Madagascar

IMG_1318 Elder Valikoula – Tonga – came to the mission a few weeks ago and is being trained by elder Tukia the former Vaal Zone Leader.

04 August 2015 – Last Transfer – Before and After

Another Last Time experience as we went to Transfer Meeting. It was a huge transfer with 22 missionaries completing their missions and 15 coming in. All but 8 companionships were changed with lots of new zone and district leaders. I took 218 photos and will post them over the next few days. The hardest part of any transfer meeting is singing the mission song. To feel the spirit of 150 or so missionaries as some sing the song for the first time and some for the last time is an amazing experience. Sister Dunn and I seem to always end up with tears in our eyes.

All the missionaries were asked to come to the meeting even if they were not being transferred so a mission photo could be taken. The rules were you had to be on time and wearing a suit. I think all the missionaries were there except for the Scotts and Swans.

These are pictures I took before and after the meeting…

IMG_1233 I was surprised to find that the first and last photo I took were of elder Todd! Here is signing some missionary’s journal. Years from now the missionary can read this and remember the bright South African day and elder Todd. Elder Todd has a new calling as a zone leader.

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Over an hour before the meeting starts the elders start driving in so they can stand around talking to friends and former companions, signing journals and for 22 of them enjoying their last morning in South Africa. By this time tomorrow they will probably be in a plane or airport on their way home. Elder Kaufusi will be going home to Roosevelt Utah.

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Elder Yates on the left will be heading for Connecticut while our good friend elder Harris will be going to beautiful Tooele, Utah.

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The four photos above include sister Allred who is not only the mission secretary but also the official mission photographer. If you have a missionary serving here in the Joburg mission you will want to check the Allred’s blog on a regular basis.IMG_1247 IMG_1244

Elders Dlamini , Riley and Mavundla and us with elder Mayende. IMG_1248 IMG_1249 IMG_1250 IMG_1252

The Madagascar contingent gather together on the top left and the next two are just photos of groups in the lot. The bottom right photo above includes elders Rushton, Cummings, Hughes and our own elder Wild.

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Elder Stilgoe will soon be home in the UK – he had already packed his flag so I could not include a photo with him proudly showing the colors. Elder Graham, who now a district leader serving in North Riding, is having a tough time holding elder Stilgoe.IMG_1255


A final photo with elder Barton who is heading home to Farmington, Utah and his former companion here in the Potch area elder Alvial who is a new district leader while training elder Eki from Switzerland. They must be the tallest companionship in the mission. IMG_1260 IMG_1261 IMG_1262 IMG_1263 IMG_1264 IMG_1265 IMG_1266 IMG_1268

The missionaries gather for the mission photo. It was rather like herding cats to get them where they would all fit in the photo and be seen as more than a head of hair stuck between two other missionaries. We got to sit down while all this was going on.

IMG_1269 IMG_1271 President Collins of the MTC took the photo while standing on the ladder. I did not get a shot of him on the ladder and his faithful wife holding on to his legs to make sure he did not take a tumble. Talk about standing by your man.  Elder xx, sister Collins, sister Dunn and elder Collins are in the left photo while it is sister Dunn and the two new counselors to president Dunn – Klintworth and Msane with sister Msane between them.

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One last gathering photo and one of elder Wilkerson with his parents who came to pick him up so they can see part of South Africa before heading home St. Peters Missouri. They were also kind enough to bring us a package that sister Clegg had sent to them from Amazon. Senior couples are blessed in many small but important ways. IMG_1275 IMG_1455

Count down to the start of the meeting. After the meeting I only took a few photos because we had a lunch appointment with elder Mdletshe of the 70. He wanted to thank us for our service both to the Potchefstroom branch and the seminary program.  But I was able to get a photo of elder Clegg with his new companion and fellow zone leader elder Adjei.IMG_1456 IMG_1457

Elder Mayende with his new son elder Muweesi and elder Kwabaisi. A last couple of photos with elder Alvial who served with us in Potch before moving on to be a district leader and trainer.IMG_1458 IMG_1460

Elders Perkins and Graham are together in North Riding where elder Graham is the DL. Elder Perkins was serving in our district when we arrived here and then elder Graham came in to replace him when elder Perkins was transferred. It is good to see them together.

IMG_1461 As mentioned elder Todd gets the last photo in this group as he is shown here with his new fellow zone leader elder Jackson. They will serve in the Fourways area which is one of nicer areas of the mission.