Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week 17 - Sep 21st - 27th, 2014

Sunday, September 21st to Saturday, September 27th

After church we met the Keller's, he's a Dr. from Memphis, Missouri and she's the former Blanche Belliston from Ogden, UT and Ben Lomond HS.  I know her brothers.  They were here on a hunting safari and brought 3 large suitcases full of clothing for the missionaries who can't afford to buy for themselves.   So nice of them.

We are so happy for the video calls home to the kids and grandkids!  It helps a lot to make the re-connections each week.

We had a washing machine to replace on Monday on the east side of Joburg.  The used washer we took leaked very badly so we ended up having to locate a store to get a new one for the Elders.  They don't get dryers though, just drying racks or clotheslines.

Found the right store.  The prices are in Rand, just move the decimal one place to the left for approx US $ cost.

I'm getting so I can drive this outfit with trailer about anywhere now thanks to some practice and a lot of divine intervention.

Our loading crew of Elders, all from different countries.  Elder Tumare on the right is from Bora Bora of the Tahiti Islands.  He like to tease me and call me Grandma because I'm an old man not as strong as he is.

In the meantime, the Pres. got involved in some Rugby and Soccer with the Elders.  He's probably in better shape than most of them and had fun getting down with them.

We held a senior couple's FHE with dinner and enjoyed some great company and visiting with five other couples.  Next time in October is our turn to get it organized.

This week was special for us as our Grandson Bryan was baptized on Tuesday.  We are so happy for him and his family!

Jeremy, Bryan, Lilia, Liza

Give Bryan a couple more years and he just might be suited up too as an Elder and a Missionary!

Wednesday was a national holiday 'Heritage Day'.  Most everything was closed down, except the mission office of course.  We had a fairly normal day.  The CES staff invited us over for some culture celebration food.  Elder Khumbalani, an Area Seventy, horsed with me so I got him to dance with me in front of everyone.  "Ugga Bugga, Ugga Bugga, three times with hands waving and bums shaking and then, "Ongouwa" three times.   Then I asked him if he know what Ongouwa meant and he said no,  I told him it was what Tarzan called to get the animals moving.  Fun time with him.

Took a trip up to Pretoria with Melanie to scope out the housing so we can relocate four elders by November 1st to a new flat.  Some interesting places and history up there, now we just need to find a safe and appropriate place for them.

Saturday we helped one of our guards, 'Mike' celebrate his birthday by getting him and his co-worker guard some lunch.  Mike is a good friend and trusts us and is learning the gospel.  He's got quite a story about his life and growing up as an orphan and just struggling to survive day-to-day.

Mike on the left.  Arthur between us holding the scriptures.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week 16 - Sep 14th - 20th, 2014

Sunday, September 14th to Saturday, September 20th

Started the week on the road with Elder Allred as my helper to deliver some furniture out and around to a few missionary flats.  We looped south and west of Joburg on about a four hour trip.

While we were doing deliveries, Melanie and Sister Allred did some shopping for more household furnishings.

I met with a disaster recovery service to get a bid for a smoke residue cleanup in one of our larger 4-missionary 3 bedroom flats.  They left an iron on and it smoldered and smoked all day.  Cost estimate was Rand 11,000 for a two-day, eight person cleanup project which is about $1000.

It takes quite an effort to get new Vendors setup for payment in the Church's system so we can accomplish getting our work done.  Took a lot of my time and sort of tried my patience a bit, but we're making progress.  Also spent some time working on getting set up to make EFT emergency payments to assist Pres and Sister Dunn, that is no easy process.  Guess it needs to be tightly controlled, especially here in South Africa.

Got to move some duties to Elder and Sister Allred.  They will be handling the flat inspections and follow-up on issues now.  With over 100 flats to inspect and about that many maintenance and repair issues it will be a great help.  The Allreds, from Lindon, are a great new senior couple we have taken to very quickly.

On Thursday morning this week Melanie and I had a very special experience of taking one of our Elders, Elder Iairo of Kiribati,  to the airport so he could return home.  His two years were up a couple of weeks ago but due to some difficult travel arrangements, he had to be re-routed to where he could pass with just a passport.  

It seems Australia wouldn't let him pass through so by the time the Church got his itinerary set he was routed from here to Hong Kong and from there to Fiji where he had to stay over night with the Fiji mission and then from there he had to catch one of two weekly flights in to his little island nation, the Republic of Kiribati which lies about 1,000 miles south of Hawaii.  

Pres. and Sister Dunn usually take the Elders, but they were tied up and asked us to take him.  It was wonderful, but emotional for us as well as for him.  He said he was anxious to see family and friends and to fish for tuna and lobster and swim in the large seas that surround his tiny island.

On Friday I took a couple of mattresses out to a flat where the Elders said they needed them.  One was a bigger guy who also wanted to use his old one for a place to put his exercise weights because they have an 'all tile' flat' and we have warned the Elders about breaking tiles with their weights.  These Elders have no car and no bikes so they walk 5 K each way to and from their township daily.  Guess I have to give them credit for their hard work.  They are good missionaries working hard and enjoying success.

Saturday we joined Pres. and Sister Dunn and a few other couples along with a young man neighbor of theirs whom they had engaged in a project to prepare and orientation slide show of Joburg.  He is a professional photographer and seems like a nice young man.

We met at the mission home and drove to a train station where we caught a subway train, the Gautrain, in to the heart of Joburg.  This train is sort of a high-speed, light-rail commuter train, very modern and quick.  It travels up to 160 K per hour.

Then we boarded a fun sightseeing bus for a trip around and through the city where we could get off and on at different points to see and experience the city in a group and in a safe way.

It was really a 'fun' bus ride with lots to see.

We had fun, it was a great sunny day, glad to have my hat!

Another landmark for me, a shareholder and patron, complete with a drive-up as well.

Another happy shareholder picture, note the skyscraper in the background above the street signs too.

This one is dedicated to our son, Jimmy, who happens to be a 'killer' fisherman.  None escape him.

We couldn't pass up this African representation at their historic site of 'Constitution Hill' where both Mandela and Gandhi had been held as prisoners at different times.

One stop was at the tallest skyscraper in the city, 50 stories high where we were able to get a few pictures of the city from the 'Top of Africa' as they call it.  It was a fun day and nice to see what's here although we don't actually get in to the city much.  We're out about 12-15 miles from the city in what's still one of many surrounding busy heavily populated suburbs.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 15 - Sep 7th - 13th, 2014

Sunday, September 7th to Saturday, September 13th

We started the week off with two special birthdays, our son-in-law Jake and brother LaMont both celebrated on the 7th.  We wished them both a happy birthday wish from halfway around the world.

After our Fast Sunday we returned later in the afternoon for a baptism, a mother and her two teenagers, son and daughter.  It was great and very well attended and supported by the Ward.

Video calls home are something we enjoy so much and look forward to every Sunday afternoon, our time.  Great to see those we can and speak with them while the connection stays good.  We are so thankful for the technology that allows us such a blessing.

This turned out to be a very, very busy, 60 + hours week for many of us.  We had three Zone Conferences to assist with during the week, which included for Melanie getting food there and serving about 200 over the three days at different locations around Joburg.
This was our first experience with Zone Conferences along with most of these Senior couples pictured below as well as Pres. and Sister Dunn.

The Spirit was strong, the sessions were great teaching and training for the Elders, but at meal time it goes from something like this:

To something like this (just slightly less frenzied than a school of hungry piranhas, but Sister Dunn does well teaching manners and etiquette):

With a lot of this to calm them down:

Very hungry and yes grateful Elders who say thank you, some because Sister Dunn told them to tell Sister Hansen thank you, some because they learned manners at home.

We are so grateful to have a new additional senior couple here to provide some relief and assistance to the other couple and ourselves, the Allred's from Lindon, UT.  They are great people and a very big help and lift to our spirits and performance.

The Allred's from Lindon, Ut; the Thompson's from Brigham City, UT; the Swan's from BC, Canada; the Scott's from L.A.; and front right, the Hansen's from Riverdale, UT.  And, yes after three Zone Conferences this week most of us can still conjure up a smile.  It is true that many hands do make for light work, a burden shared is a burden lightened.

Melanie and I still had regular duties to attend to on top of the travel to and from Zone Conferences and serving there.   Sort of loaded things up a bit this week, but that's why we're here.

We had a couple of 'young Elder's' issues come up this week.  The first was an inspection of the fire and smoke damage to their flat which was probably caused by an iron left on the ironing board.  This will require a 'disaster clean-up' service to be hired.  Smoke and residue was all over the flat walls, ceiling, cupboards, etc. 

The second was an assessment of relocation for a pair of Elders whose flat was robbed for the second time which they attributed to an in-side job involving the guards.  We'll have to make certain that they are safe and secure, that's the top priority.  We've got them covered with another flat close by with another pair of Elders until we get a permanent solution worked out.

The third was a call on a Saturday morning that a set of Elder's flat had the electricity shut-off when they came home Friday night after a long day.  Their food was spoiled but we did manage to get their power back on before the day was over which was certainly devine intervention to bless them since nothing much can happen on the weekend on something like that.

Saturday afternoon Melanie and I did some shopping for some clothing for one of our Elders that got transferred here from Sierra Leone because of the Ebola problem.  In the course of his travel he lost baggage which created a need for some replacements.  The sad part was he lost a years' worth of his mission journal which can't be replaced.  After we got him some shirts, ties, and shoes we stopped at an Italian place in the large mall close by and had a very nice meal for the day, Ciao Baby, it is called.

Her breaded veal was about a 6 or 7, my minestrone and spagetti was about the same, pretty good!

I love my companion with all my heart and wouldn't want to be anywhere else nor doing anything else at this time in our lives together.

The Hansen's

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week 14 - Aug 31st - Sep 6th, 2014 - Start of Month 4

Sunday, August 31st to Saturday, September 6th

A busy week shown with pictures.

No more need for breaks, just need to leave the workstation to drive the truck and deliver furniture etc. and then head home in the evening.

The old Brown Hat makes it's rounds:

Elder Stephens, Roy, UT, 2nd Assistant to the President

Elder Davies, Australia, 1st Assistant to the President.

Elder Dthembu, Durban, S. Africa

Elder Xalabile, South Africa.

Elder Dzowa, Malawi.

Elder Nicotra, Italy.

Even Melanie couldn't resist the force of the old Brown hat.

Happy Elder Hansen's moving crew.

My new special summer edition hat takes a turn as well.

New Senior Couple arrived on Wednesday, 3 September, Elder and Sister Allred from Lindon, UT.

Elder Allred's turn.

Sister Dunn celebrating her Birthday, special little hammer too!  (She and I share a touch of this strong trait, 'When you're a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail, so hit it!')

The first senior couple flat Melanie and I prepared was for the Allred's who just arrived this week.  This is a fairly typical flat for a senior couple.

Living room area.

Kitchen also includes the washer and dryer, but no dishwasher, we do those by hand here.

They actually have a counter along with their table.

Queen beds, closets are in a hall adjacent to the bedroom.

Nice bathroom, but the tub/shower only covers part of the area so like many flats water on the floor gets to be an issue.

Another transfer day, they are both wonderfully exiting and can also get a little wild.

Who's going with who and we meet up again, gets exciting for them each six weeks.

My four Madagascar Elder friends (Elder second from left is South African).  Two shorter ones are going home today.  Elder in white sweater converted four years ago at 19 as the only member from his family, great strong testimony and missionary.

Two new Elders today,  Elder Broadhead, St. George, UT. and Elder Heaps, Kaysville, UT.

Not sure where he got this bow and arrow, but he's happy to show me how it works, sorry about the flat tire Elders!

Finally after three months we got a chance for a temple trip so we took our new Senior Couple with us and enjoyed a wonderful time at the Johannesburg Temple.

Same fellow, Moroni here too.

Temple dedicated in 1985 is just north of the central business district in a nice part of this large urban city.

Melanie with Sister Allred.

On a terrace overlooking the beautiful Temple grounds.

Happy little missionary couple.

Such a nice and creative landscaping area.

Some of Melanie's favorites:

Beautiful Sister Missionary and a nice large palm tree.

She got the bee in the Lily.

A little color as well.

Some young Dr. Seuss Lorax trees in the making.

Koi pond at the bottom of the stream that flows across part of the Temple grounds towards the Area offices.