Saturday, January 17, 2015

Week 33 - Jan 11th - 17th, 2015

Sunday, January 11th to Saturday, January 17th, 2015

The week began with us still up visiting for orientation at our new assignment with the Seshego Group of the Polokwane Branch about 200 miles north of Joburg.  It is a group of about 75-80 active members meeting in an old sort of run down primary school.  

An 11-year old proud to be a Primary boy and soon to be a Deacon in April.

Typical building at our group meeting place.

The adults are almost all first generation members and converts of not too many years experience in the Church so they are truly pioneers in their families and their country.  There are about 20-25 primary age children in the group and a fair number of young single adults.

It tends to be quite hot and sometimes quite humid in this part of South Africa.   They grow banana trees and there are monkeys running around wild and loose not far from here actually at one of the church houses in a town called Tzaneen.  

Can you spot the three monkeys?  This is in the Church parking lot at Tzaneen.

Sometimes you see the women carrying bundles and/or about anything on their heads.   This was sort of a parade of bush trimmings with these five women.

There are also hippos and crocodiles in some of the open waters in this area.  One of the group families that live in a village had a cobra near the place where they stay not too long ago.

With Bernard and Batserai Chiddoway at their village home in Seshego.  Bernard has suffered two strokes and has been unable to work since last February.  His wife does anything she can to earn a little money to help support and sustain their family.  They have a garden but for their family needs she has to go fetch water in 5-gallon buckets some distance away.  No running water in their humble home.  Thankfully, now she has a wheelbarrow to help make the water trip less of a struggle.

But this image is a little distorted because most of the area in the city of Polokwane where we will stay is quite urban and has a very nice mall with all of the things anyone would want or need to live comfortably, if only they can afford it, which most of the black Africans cannot.

Fancy malls with many floors and escalators and upscale retail stores like this one in Sandton are fairly common in the bigger cities of South Africa.  This one is adjacent to Mandela Square in Joburg.

We were hosted by a great Senior couple, the Harward's, whose place we will try to take when they go home on January 26th.  They have been working with this Seshego group all of their 18-month mission and have been very successful and loving and serving the members and supporting and training the leaders.

Harward's in the Chiddoway's living room.  Not much wiring or power available in their humble home, but like many others, they do have a TV hooked up.

As we returned back to Joburg for our last week here we are in the process of winding down our office duties as the Allred's have pretty much taken over the day to day things.  They will do a terrific job of keeping the mission running like clock-work.

We helped with our last MLC, Mission Leadership Council meeting this week with the President, the AP's, and the Zone Leaders.  We will truly miss being around so many of the different Elders and getting to know them and love them.

We were able to take one of our favorites, Elder Tumarae from Tahiti to a birthday dinner along with his three-some companions, Elder Tukia from Tonga, and Elder Watenka from Uganda.  Quite a diverse group we have in our mission and it is sort of amazing to see how they jell together from all the different countries around the world, over 30 are represented here in our mission.

Two for one birthday dinner actually means they each got two dinner plates full of food (notice the six plates on the Elders side of the table, two each) which they devoured rather quickly before we celebrated with some cake and ice cream.   Elder Tumarae - Tahiti, Elder Tukia - Tonga, and Elder Watenga - Uganda.  Food is pretty good here and especially if it is with the Senior couples, right Elders?

Friday we were happy to be able to attend the Joburg Temple with the Soweto Zone Elders.  It might be a while before we can do this again so it was really nice to go.   Afterwards we had lunch with Elder Ben and Sister Jill Jones at a restaurant near the Temple and Area offices where they work.

Since Sunday meeting times have changed we took the opportunity to call the family at home.   We enjoy the video calls so much.   It really makes it easier on us to deal with the separation from the family when we can use this wonderful technology to see them and talk with them half way around the world.  We love them and do miss them, but the time is passing by so very quickly we will have to work faster and better in our new assignment.

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