Sunday, July 26, 2015

Week 60 - July 19th - 25th, 2015

Week of Sunday, July 19th to Saturday, July 25th, 2015

Cody our youngest son's 36th birthday on the 20th, a happy day in our life!

We took our little Chevy in for 30K service.  It had about 4-5K on it when we took it over from the Tayor's, our trainers.

President Wilson's visit, meeting, and overnight stay.  Had a quick but good time with him.   Got him at the airport and took him to an interview at Seshego then back to the chapel for a Priesthood meeting and then to our flat overnight and then right back to the airport early the next morning.  Quick, but very enjoyable, for us at least.

This week we did quite a lot of office work, baking, and house rent and utilities payments and continuing to field calls about issues with the Elders, their cars, flats, and utilities, etc.

We got another ASUA laptop to better be able to handle the office work.  It turned out to be slower than acceptable so we took it in for more RAM to get it's speed up and that seemed to be a big help.

The Elder's invited us along with to meet them at the Mike's Kitchen restaurant for the Elder's All-you-can-eat night!  At least for three of them.   Elder Diogo from Uganda just wisely stuck with a chicken breat dinner.  Melanie and I didn't compete either and I shared my 'Jawbreaker' burger with Elder Van Heerden.  The three competitive Elders ate 15 burgers between them (about 1/3 lb. each one) 4, 5 and 6 as it turned out.

Our basketball community service activity at Seshego continues to be a success with fun and energy and friendly kids to deal with.  We are grateful that we have the four Elders to assist us now, we've been doing this for about six months and it's a task, a good service task, but a task.  Hopefully we're planting the right kind of seeds for the future for them.

We took a lot of the cookies Melanie baked to the Movie night at the chapel "Meet the Mormons".   It was great to see it again and be with some members and a few investigators as well.   The cookies were great and we didn't bring any home!

I met our neighbor while he was washing his car.  He is an Afrikaner Riaan, IT worker and has accountant wife that we haven't met yet.  He was quite friendly so I told him about what we are doing as missionaries and gave him a Faith in Christ DVD which he seemed very pleased to receive.

We found our friend Jimmy Letsoalo had been feeling the symptoms of a cold all week long and wasn't up to our usual longer visit.   So we cheered him up best we could about the bullfrog crossing sign across the road from the brewery, left him some food and prayed for him to get better.

While shopping we got this picture of a typical 'armored car'.  It is an amazing piece of work that appears not only indestructible but able to destroy anything in its path if need be.

While walking this week around our housing area we also noticed the continuing work on something that we really never see anywhere.  These guys are actually digging a basement for a home they are constructing.  Homes are usually just build on a slab of cement.  If you look close you might see why.  These guys hit bed rock down a couple of feet and have been using jack hammers and labor to throw the pieces of rock out and then a guy wheelbarrows it over a ways and dumps it on a pile.  Amazing!

While we were out shopping for baking stuff, I got pictures of some of these bags of maize, meal, etc.  I liked the 'African' packaging on some of them too.

And last, but not least.  We found a couple of hours on our p-day time to see this Minions movie.  Good, clean, family fun show.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Week 59 - Jul 12th - 18th, 2015

Sunday, July 12th to Saturday, July 18th, 2015

The week started off with a wonderful family at church.  Gpa and Gma Molepo accepted the invitation to come to church to see two of their grandsons, who happen to be brothers (Joyce's sons) administer the sacrament together, Mark and Thabo (sweater vests, back row).   We were so excited for them all.   They have become wonderful and special friends!

The senior couples got together for lunch on p-day.  This burger was more than tempting but I actually ended up eating a chicken salad with deep fried cheese sticks.

Friday at basketball was another fun day with about 25 kids.   They have taken an unholy interest in my bald head and my hat!

We assisted our good friend the Relief Society President Mary Lamola with making travel arrangements to SLC for the October General Conference.    Her first trip by air.   She is super excited and a little nervous too!

Mary's grandson Oratile was baptized this week, another wonderful family milestone for them.   His parents were just married and sealed in the Temple in June.  He's been staying with his 'Granny' and will do so until school is out in December, then he'll move on to be with his parents.

The Molepo family celebrated multiple family birthdays this week with a bounce house, a tent, many decorations, six cakes, a lot of food and a yard full of friends!   They really know how to do a party!  We only ate some of the cake.

We've been a little concerned this week to see some demolition and hopefully relocation taking place of many hundred tin shacks located on our way to Seshego.  Following is some before and after pictures of what's going on.

In our RS and Priesthood meetings as they cover the teachings of Pres Benson we are both getting a new and interesting perspective on these 'pioneer' members take on the doctrines that we've become accustomed to taking for granted.   Today's was on the priceless temple blessings.    Last week's was on the Holy Ghost.   Wonderful people with humble hearts and willing to learn and learn and do what's right.   We truly love them.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Week 58 - Jul 5th - 11th, 2015

Sunday, July 5th to Saturday, July 11th, 2015

Our week started out the best way one could for missionaries, Dinah Shalathe Ramogale's baptism.   Melanie and I helped Elder's Dye and Roberts, Olson and Henderson do a service project at her house back in April.  She only lives about 1K from our church/school meeting place.

She has two little kids and was living with a guy, John.  The Elders were going to drop her and told her they would have to.  Including Elder Menendez, she had five different Elders teach her.  She told John she would choose God over him and she told him to move out.   That was enough for him so he asked her to marry him then.   She did.   She has a good testimony.  Elder Tumarae baptized her.

At the baptism Melanie's little friend Christina Sefara wanted a picture taken.    Like some small girls here, her parents keep her hair cut very, very short.

On Monday we celebrated a delayed 4th of July with the other three senior couples, the Winward's, the Butler's, and the Campbell's.  We had a nice little trip out to Motupa, one of the congregation group areas over in Tzaneen.   Then we had a really good cookout, steaks and chicken.   We really enjoyed a nice time and a good visit with these special friends!

Our Botswana/Namibia Mission President called and asked us to pick up mission office support work for the three zones over here in this part of S. Africa.   So, Melanie and I will put forth our best efforts to deal once again with flats, fleet cars, phones, utilities, etc.  Very exciting!

We had a couple of visits worth noting this week.  One to the Molepo family to drop off a little gift for the baby Thato who turned 1.  While there I had a really good conversation with the Gpa Nelson Molepo about two of his grandsons Mark and Thabo who were going to be administering the sacrament this Sunday.  I told him how important this ordinance was and that his boys hold the Aaronic Priesthood, ie. John the Baptist.   Asked if he would like to bring his wife Gma Evaline and see his gsons do this.   He said they would come so I said I would save them a seat.

We also dropped by to see Justice Musonza.  Justice is a former Branch President of Nelspruit area.  He is here working as a mechanic.   His wife Shylet and their two kids are up in Zimbabwe where she is trying to finish some schooling in computers.  He misses them but it seems to be quite common among the people here to live apart for different reasons at different times.

On Friday Pres and Sis Wilson came up from Pretoria to District meeting and then to interview and be with the Elders.   That evening we and the Winward's went to dinner with them at Nguni's and visited some.   Then we went back to the chapel and saw most of Pres. Packer's funeral together.

Afterwards, we drove Pres and Sis W back to their B&B, Marlot Inn where Melanie and I have stayed a couple of times last January.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Week 57 - Jun 28th - Jul 4th, 2015 - Start of month 14 - Reassigned to Botswana/Namibia Mission

Sunday, June 28th - Saturday, July 4th, 2015

This week started off with a shocker!  On Sunday we were invited down to Pretoria for a special conference where new wards were created a new stake was created and our Johannesburg Mission was divided up with part moving into the Botswana/Namibia Mission.

Our part!   As of Wednesday, July 1st we officially became part of this change over along with three other senior couples 

Sis (Pres) Wilson, the Campbells, us, the Butlers, the Winwards

and over 30 of the young Elders.   Amazing, and all still part of the Lord's work moving forward, pressing forward!  

Our mission now in three countries.



South Africa

On Saturday the 4th we were met with the bittersweet news of July 3rd reporting that another beloved Apostle Elder Boyd K. Packer had passed away.   We loved him.  He was always forthright and direct with clarity in his teachings and guidance.   We will miss him as well as the many others who have now passed along to their eternal rewards.

We are loving the kids of Seshego as we meet with many of them each week at basketball.  It's still going great.

We were happy to video with the family back home as they celebrated another 4th of July without us.   They had a great time together.   We will defer until next Monday and cookout with our other three senior couples.

In spite of all the happiness, sadness, and changes, Melanie still reminds me to take time to smell the flowers as we walk around our housing area!

Yes, I look at trees, and flowers. Larry stops to watch a big garbage truck, then to watch some men using a jack hammer to break through the bedrock where they are building a house, next he found a big termite mound that had been killed and he looks down the hole then finds a broken brick to drop in it. He likes to talk to workers and gardeners along the way on our morning walks. He's curious