July 13th - July 19th 2014
The Sounds of Africa.
In the early mornings when we walk to the Mission Office, we hear the birds in the trees, flying by and on the ground. The birds in Africa sound different.
When we walk back to our flat in the evenings, the crickets sound different.
The Saints in Africa sound different to our ears too.
The sounds are different, but each sound testifies to us of Jesus Christ.
Monday and Wednesday I took Elder Rami to the hospital for his last lab work and a visit to the Doctor. He is doing really well following his open heart surgery. He said he had gained 9 kilograms, about 20 lbs, in the last two months. He still seems quite slender, only weighs about 120lbs now. He goes home to Madagascar next week after filling his mission honorably. He told me that he wanted to be able to return with honor.
Tuesday I had quite an experience, one of those first-time type. I had to go out to a township which was a giant community of very poor people who live in conditions worse than anything I've ever seen in my life. The township is bordered all around by 'shanty towns' which are one step worse than the townships. No utilities. Corrugated tin and lean-to type huts, etc. We took the truck and a trailer to pick up three washing machines which one of the church members living there 'fixed' for us. We got lost and I was driving and got stuck down a dead-end narrow lane which is not advisable under the best of circumstances. Somehow we got turned around and eventually met up with our member and set the GPS for the mission home and made it back. The Elder I was with said there were probably a million people living in this area of Soweto called Dobsonville.
Melanie and I did some serious shopping for missionary items, furnishings, etc. this week. We finally got our mission VISA card so we no longer have to put up our own money to get the things which is not all bad since they give us credit for it against what we would get charged anyway for the use of the car and truck and gas. We went to some stores that were sort of like Sam's and WalMart, in fact WalMart may have some ownership interest in them anyway, they are called Makro and Checkers Hyper (super) here.
After getting the truck dirty I took it to the local car wash where I had a couple of good missionary experiences and discussions with both patrons and employees. They use a hose to spray some but most of the wash is hand rubbed and cleaned. A great job and it only cost $9 including the tip.
On Friday, Melanie and I helped a local Branch President and his helper load up their truck and trailer with a bunch of things from our storage that we would have thrown away otherwise. These brothers were from a different township so they were thrilled to get a broken refigerator, two microwaves that didn't work, two stained twin mattresses and a bunch of household goods that Melanie pulled out of her storage bunker.
Saturday we did get to have a more normal p-day but still had to deal with a couple of emergencies which sadly are becoming more and more like routine issues for us but are real desperate situations for the Elders, ie. power shut-offs just before the weekend, full gas tank at the station with a fleet card that doesn't work to pay for it and no cash on hand etc.
Anyway, it has been another really busy week, but a good week, we are learning more and more and know enough now to struggle by. Our trainers the Taylor's are leaving for good next week for their original assignment to the Botswana mission. We will miss them, we've grown to love them.