Sunday, May 31, 2015

Week 52 - May 24th - 30th, 2015

Sunday, May 24th to Saturday, May 30th, 2015

Melanie was still struggling with some severe cold symptoms for a few days this week, but she's got a powerful attitude about getting this behind her so to speak.

Monday was our daughter Annie's birthday!  She has achieved much in the last year including a nice trip to Africa to see us and obtaining her MBA!  We love her, she's become a wonderful, kind, righteous and charitable woman second to no one.

We had some friends pass away this week who have touched our hearts in very different ways.   Rest in peace our friends.

Monday, Norm Steele of AFCU

Tuesday, P. Nyman Winn of Bonneville HS and early morning BB

Saturday, the beloved Apostle, Elder L. Tom Perry

And, on Thursday we took our Elder Roberts to Nguni's for a meal before he leaves for home Friday to have hip replacement surgery.  We are sad to lose him but wish him the very best and extend our love and prayers in his behalf.

As his replacement, and as Elder Menendez's companion, we welcomed another of our Elder friends to our Seshego Area, Elder Tumarae from Tahiti!  We are happy to have him working with us in this great Area.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Week 51 - May 17th - 23rd, 2015

Sunday, May 17th - Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

This Sunday started out with good meetings and wrapped up with an ordination for our recent young convert Navin Mnisi to Priest.  Then a special group Council meeting where Melanie and I tried to help them learn to focus and work together a little bit better to accomplish meaningful things to strengthen themselves and the members.  It went fairly well, but time will tell how it works.

We had a couple of good experiences placing Books of Mormon this week, one with a petrol station attendant who greeted us happily and said he was "glad to see you come back, where is my Bible?"

The other to an Afrikan banana farmer in Tzaneen while we were en route to complete an assignment for Pres. Dunn at the Lenyenye Branch with the Branch President Kekana.

The banana farmer, Donovan, I had to track down to repay him for two green bananas which my daughter Annie and I picked when she and Wendy were here in February.   

Took us a while to complete the 'confession and restitution' (R1.80 for fresh ripe yellow ones, and R1.80 for the green ones we picked), but we found him to be not only very surprised that we would attempt to find him but very willing to receive a Book of Mormon.   He knew of Mormons and SLC.  He knew of us having a congregation in Tzaneen and of our Elders.   I told him to talk to them about the B of M when he saw them next time.   A neat experience.

Pres. Kekana has a wonderful congregation and chapel in Lenyenye too.  He's working hard at growing the attendance and having some good success.

The latter part of the week Melanie came down with being 'snarfy', which is our family's definition of having flu-like symptoms without the fevers and bad aching, guess that makes it just a bad cold?   Anyway, that took us out of our temple trip to Joburg with the Branch since we didn't want anyone to be exposed.

We ate some good chicken soup for a couple of days which always works wonders and a great comfort food when you're not feeling great.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Week 50 - May 10th - 16th, 2015

Sunday, May 10th, Mother's Day to Saturday, May 16th, Mom's Birthday, 2015

This had to be one of those unique calendar weeks that in my life should be more appropriately renamed Mother's week since it contained both Mother's Day and my Mother's Birthday in the same week!  Special, special!

We did host our young Elders for Sunday dinner and helped them be able to video call their families for Mother's Day.  It was a special semi-annual time for them and fun for us as well.  And, as usual, the food Melanie fixed was great!

At church we watched both Saturday sessions of General Conference with our Group.   We will watch the Sunday sessions in two weeks on May 24th.  They have been such a spiritual lift for us all and we love the underlying 'family' theme too.  But, we are still searching for enough grass to 'keep off' of where we meet.

This Mother's Day was special for us, for the Elder's and for those at home who made do without us this year.  We did have the Elders over though for Sunday dinner and to provide for their semi-annual video calls home.  Topped it off with some very delicious raspberry topped chocolate parfaits Melanie made for us, yummmmmmm!

Melanie saw this little woodpecker in our back yard and had to put him in our blog.  There seem to be quite a few of these around here in South Africa and they're sort of colorful too.

We had two special events on Friday of this week.  The first was a special Aaronic Priesthood Commemoration activity and lunch at the local Chinese place, Yummy's.   Food was good and company was even better with these great Elders.

L-R Elder Compton, District Leader, Elder Henderson, Zone Leader, Elder Togiatomai, Zone Leader, Elder Roberts Seshego Area, Elder Menendez Seshego Area, Elder Lybe, Mokopane Area, Melanie and I.

The second Friday activity was our BB at Seshego with the kids which is so much fun.   They count on being with us each week.  Today we also had four Elders there to help with the 30+ kids.  Our ZL's joined with our Seshego Elders to assist.

The hit of the day was probably Melanie's Primary music with their pictures downloaded on the songs.   They sing along, they do actions, they swarm her, in short, they love her!

And to wrap it up, our visit to Jimmy on Saturday included a new picture collage of 'the hat' with him the centerpiece and star.  We added one more picture to go along with the elephant and the crocodile among other famous characters.  We put it on his wall and got him a small laser pointer so he could point one out and then tell a story of 1,000 words about each of them if he chooses.   He loved it and he laughs and he makes us feel happy and we love him.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 49 - May 3rd - 9th, 2015

Sunday, May 3rd - Saturday, May 9th, 2015

Navin Mnisi got baptized on Sunday, the third baptism for our Elders and our Group within a month.   Elder Dye and Elder Roberts are wonderful missionaries and are doing great work!

The little boy artist at the Polokwane Chapel, now 11 years old.  Quite a gifted and talented young man!

We had a very nice visit with Doreen Mpaka and her son Oliven and Nephew Phemelo.   She has a son George serving in the Durban mission until October of this year.   Such a faithful sister and mother!   She shared some oranges from her tree with us as well.

I had to get some items frozen from off the top of my pretty bald head this week so I found a new Dermatologist up here in Polokwane, Dr. Moosa, who is now my new Muslim friend.  After the procedure we talked for 20 minutes about religion and sharing truth.   He wanted to give me a Quran so I told him great, I had a Book of Mormon to give him in exchange and then we would both be beneficiaries of our visit today.   He said he wouldn't charge a 'man of God' for the procedure.  I thanked him sincerely and we both agreed that the most important part of our meeting today was not the procedure, but the discussion.   Such a nice experience with my new Muslim brother.

We had what is now becoming our regular and usual wonderful weekly experience with the children and youth of Seshego, none of them members.   We have fun with the BB and now Melanie is having fun with Primary action songs with some of the kids.   She is also teaching them that all of our Missionary black badges have the name of Jesus Christ on them and that when they see a Missionary with one of these badges they can know they are their friend and have a special message for them!

 Melanie is also taking pictures of some of the 'Dr. Seuss-like' trees bushes, etc. which we both find very wonderful and special.  Just wish we could grow some of them back home too!

This week we had a very beautiful and big African full moon.  We can hardly believe how large it seems as it rises in the evening.

On the other hand, we saw what must be one of the smallest, tiny, little lizards hitchhiking on a car we parked next to.  For perspective and scale see the window with the door lock button at the right.

The girls brought us some French's mustard when they came for their visit and we finally got up enough nerve to try having a 'hot-dog' along with some dill pickles Melanie made.   We actually liked it pretty well.

Lastly, I couldn't help but take a picture of this medicine on the shelf at the store while we were grocery shopping.  Sounds like something out of the 1800's, but could it be for a very, very large headache?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Week 48 - April 26th to May 2nd, 2015 - Start of month 12

Sunday, April 26th to Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

We started our week off at church followed by a leadership training session for Bro. Mashishi, the Group Leader, and Bro. Safara, his Assistant.   We reviewed how to help the Group Council function more productively and how to make the monthly meeting a little more on target to accomplish some worthy objectives to strengthen the individuals and their families.   We will test our training at the next meeting on May 17th.

We met with Pres. Dunn for a while this week and also got to visit with Sister Dunn while they were up here doing Zone interviews.  We enjoy seeing them now when we can, used to be about every day in the office, but no longer.

Had a couple of member visits arranged, but for some reason they fell thru so we'll have to reschedule.  We ended up helping 'save' the RS presidency while they were out on a shopping trip to prepare for their RS Birthday Party activity which turned out to be a nice success.

Then we got to experience some of a traditional Sepedi tribe South African wedding at the Lamola home.   Mary's daughter was married in a traditional affair which will be followed next month with a trip to the Johannesburg Temple for their sealing.

As usual we got to finish up our week with a visit to Jimmy Letsoalo at the care center.  Truly a spiritual and enjoyable part of our week.