Sunday, June 22, 2014

Week 4 - Jun 22nd - 28th, 2014

June 22-28 

First full week in South Africa.

This was a very busy week with some 10 and 12 hour days getting housing paid for over 100 flats along with their associated utilities.  Seems to always be some missionaries whose power has been shut off from one of the five or six different power utility companies.  Then, to complicate matters sometimes the missionaries run out of phone minutes and sadly my mission issued cell phone runs out too, then we're in for real delays in helping solve problems.

Melanie has been very busy helping obtain necessities for the Elders to pass out weekly when the Zone Leaders come in to get the things they need, ie. plungers, space heaters (there is no central heating or a/c), knives, frying pans, spoons, cleaning materials, sponges, brooms, mops, ironing board, dishtowels, etc.  This week it required that she place her life in the hands of her wonderful trainer, driver, and co-shopper Sister Taylor who along with her husband is serving her sixth mission.  After that experience Melanie said she seriously doubts whether she will ever have the nerve to drive here on the left side from the right side of the car.

All in all though, it's been a full week of hard work and continually getting to know more about our great group of about 200 Elders.  It's too dangerous here so Sister missionaries are not sent here.  Our missionaries here come from over 30 different countries including the US, Europe, South American, Asia, they come from everywhere.  Many come here from countries here in Africa too, but sometimes Visas are a problem to obtain like some other areas around the world.  These missionaries are baptizing around 100 per month and the work is exciting for all of us!

Next week we will get a new mission president, Pres. Michael Dunn and Sister Linda Dunn of SLC.  They should be wonderful to work with.

We had some special deep cleaning going on so we had a little free time to go learn about some African culture.  It was very interesting.  For me it was particularly unique as the following post describes.

Elder Hansen enjoyed eating a big fat mopane worm (caterpillar) along with some maize pap together with my native guide at the Lesesdi Cultural village where we learned about some different tribes and their way of life and customs. Yum Yum!!!
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  • Elder Larry LaVarr Hansen Gonimbrasia belina is a species of moth found in much of Southern Africa, whose large edible caterpillar, the mopani or mopane worm, is an important source of protein for millions of indigenous Southern Africans. Like many animals lower down on the food chain, the mopane worms and their eggs often fall prey to various predators as well as disease. Often, more than 40% of a mopane worm's eggs will be attacked by various parasites, and the caterpillars themselves are susceptible to infection from a virus that has a high mortality rate. The worms' main predators are various birds and humans, who rely on the caterpillars for sustenance.

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