Sunday, August 30, 2015

Week 65 - Aug 23rd - 29th, 2015

Sunday, August 23rd - Saturday, August 29th, 2015

A little more difficult start to this week since Melanie was dealing with a very bad and painful toothache.  She was trying to get relief from pain meds which didn't help a lot.  And, she was taking antibiotics to deal with the abscess and swelling.  Fortunately, sort of, we were able to arrange a quick trip down and back to Joburg on Monday to see her dentist.  She will need a return trip in a couple of weeks for a root canal procedure.  She was strong but sad.

Next we moved on to the birds and the bees, literally some fun observations while we walk for a little exercise in the mornings.

These are called masked weaver birds and the males weave the nests on the ends of small branches (that's to keep the snakes from getting to the eggs and chicks).  Then if the female likes it they use it, if not she snips it off and it drops to the ground and the male starts all over again.

These jumbo black african bumblebees are all around pollinating the blossoming box hedges that grow so easily and quickly around here.

This flock of Guinea Hens hangs out around the long-term care center where we go weekly to visit our member quadriplegic friend Jimmy Letsoalo.
Around the place where Melanie gets her hair done is an antique shop.  I was waiting for her to finish and happened to notice some sort of interesting things they have around.   The old cash register really caught my eye!
Since it's back to school time at home I thought I'd show you what the real students look like here in South Africa.  No matter the school, they all dress in uniforms and look good.   The high school age wear blazers and/or sweater vests even in the hottest of weather.  I like the idea of a school kid looking like a school kid and not just dressed so casual and in 'play' clothes all of the time.

On Thursday evening Melanie and I hosted the new Seshego Branch Presidency for some 'new leaders' training.  They are so excited and full of enthusiasm to help their new Branch to become strong and successful and to continue to grow.  Faithful and strong!

I got this most unusual picture while driving back to our flat from our weekly basketball at Seshego.  Notice the orange sun setting in west as you can see in the rear view mirror.  Also see the large moon, soon to be full, rising in the east as you will see just above the sign over the road lanes.
Last but not least, maybe it should be least.   A little something for those who just wonder how 'everything' works here in South Africa.  The first metal out-house is a typical fixture in shack towns everywhere and is also erected on new building lots by the contractors for their crew to use.  Notice this one is actually 'plumbed' into the sewer until the house is finished, then it is removed.
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This last one is just a collection of restroom icons that I keep adding to whenever we see one that is a little unique, different, or unexpected!  I will not mention the name of the beloved Mission President who is posing with the crown and the golden toilet brush in a teaching moment to impress upon the young Elders that taking care of your facilities is something all should be involved in.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week 64 - Aug 16th - 22nd, 2015 - New Seshego Branch Organized!

Sunday, August 16th - Saturday, August 22nd, 2015

This week started off in a most wonderful and terrific payday kind of way.  Our little group in Seshego, a part of the Polokwane Branch for over four years was officially organized as a new Branch, the Seshego Branch of the Tzaneen District of the Botswana/Namimbia Mission!  

The new Branch Presidency is Pres. Mashsishi with 1C Pres. Sefara, 2C Pres. Mogotha, Clerk is Bro Macheru and Elder's President is Pres. Chirinda, all of them are first generation members of the Church.   Pres. Chirinda is a returned missionary who actually served in this area while in the Joburg mission.  These brethren will do a great work!  It is a privilege to work with them.

After Sacrament Meeting we all went into the school courtyard for a picture of the new Branch.

Melanie and I met with Elder's Tumarae and Diogo after the District Leaders meeting in Botswana.   These Elders finished up their week Saturday evening giving Melanie a blessing for her serious toothache and pain.  Gratefully, it helped much!  She wanted Elder Diogo to seal the blessing because of his great spirituality and humility.

While at District Meeting we saw another really good chalk drawing by the young Primary boy Alexander of the Polokwane Branch.  The sun was shining through the window so without paying any attention I turned the board around to take a picture of it and not until I prepared it for posting did I realize the Church official picture on the wall just to the right side of the chalk drawing, coincidence?

Basketball had the whole Tzaneen Zone of 14 Elders for support and community service.  They had fun and enjoyed playing with the kids that showed up.  Another good BB day in Seshego.  The little man in the plaid shirt on the bottom couldn't even make a shot a month or two ago.  Today he won the competition by shooting best of all!

On Saturday, we held a special District street contacting blitz in the main shopping area of Seshego using the Book of Mormon.  In the course of less than the two hours we had there we gave out about 50 books to those who said they wanted one and 30 signed up their names and contact information so the Elders can go and teach them more.   This will be a good boost for our Seshego Elders who are already busy.

 While out and around walking in our housing area we stopped by to visit with the contractor who is building a mansion just up from us a little way.  This is the rendering of what it will look like when it is completed in six or eight months.   He said it is pre-sold but on the market it would go for about $1 million.  There are some nice places here but again they stand in stark contrast to the tin shacks built of their $10 sheets of corrugated metal which lie outside the township areas.

Melanie wanted a picture of this laborer girl who was working on a townhouse across from us.  She liked the green worker's garb covered with a brown skirt and the soft bucket hat covered by the hard hat.  Guess she's got the bases covered.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 63 - Aug 9th - 15th, 2015

Sunday, August 9th - Saturday, August 15th, 2015

This week was very, very busy, quite exciting as well.  First off, the Sacrament Meeting announcement that on the following Sunday, August 16th, the 'new Seshego Branch' of the Church would be organized.  A dream come true and answer to many prayers soon to happen, next week.  One of the Young Women dressed in a traditional 70's style dress to good to pass up a picture.

Monday was a holiday, Women's Day they call it here to show love and respect and honor to the women who make almost everything worthwhile happen that happens here in South Africa.

Melanie and I took a brief road trip up to the north by the Zimbabwe border to see the famous baobab trees along the way.  They are sometimes called 'upside down' trees because it looks like their roots are in the air.  Sort of interesting to see them and the baboons and the other stuff along the road trip.

How to load a little pickup truck to move your household.

Monday night we had two serious, and thank God, non-injury car crashes involving four Elders in two different cities.  Both cars were totaled though.  So began a new experience for me to try to be of some assistance in the process of dealing with the Elder's while communicating with the President and the Area fleet manager.

On Thursday, Pres and Sister Wilson arrived to begin some interviews prior to and before the callings started for the organization of our new Seshego Branch presidency along with the reorganization of the Branch presidency of the existing Polokwane Branch since Elder Winward will be leaving for home next month.

After the interviews we met the Wilson's at the Cape Town Fish Market for all-you-can-eat sushi (he went on a mission to Japan).  Melanie and I had some chicken noodle salad dish.   But we did have a nice visit with them.

Friday morning we all met with our local Mokopane District for their weekly meeting.

Friday night the Pres was involved in issuing the rest of the callings so things would be ready for the Sunday meetings.  Melanie then hosted them for dinner at our flat.  She fixed a crock-pot full of chicken pot pie kind of stuff, all edible though.   It was good.    She does some great service of all types here.   We all enjoyed it and then visited about some mission operations support issues that needed some attention.

Saturday they headed over to Tzaneen to train some Melchizedek Priesthood leaders and we went to visit Jimmy at the care center.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Week 62 - Aug 2nd - 8th, 2015 - Start of month 15

Sunday, August 2nd to Saturday, August 8th, 2015

Not in any particular order this week.  But we've managed to keep busy again with both office support and MLS duties.  The time does pass by so quickly though from one week to the next.  It just flies by.

Our Grandson Noah celebrated his sixth birthday on the 7th.  He'll be in the 1st Grade this school year and he just got done 'bustin muttin' at the Rodeo at Bear Lake.  Good boy, Noah!

We attended Tzaneen District semi-annual conference last Sunday and enjoyed being with members from many of the Branches in the District.  And a very lovely YW Choir sang too.

We had to put up one more sign in our flat.   This one is for the 'Mission Kitchen', South Africa Branch of the Botswana/Namibia Mission.  Melanie does quite a lot of baking and cooking for members, Elders, etc. (me).

Our Afrikaner contractor friend's crew is now building up the basement structure of the servant's quarters in the mansion up the hill a bit from us.  We've been watching this go up from the dirt.  It'll be the equivalent of a multi-million dollar mansion if it were located in the USA.  They dug and jack-hammered for weeks to get this small area excavated so they could begin to build their way out to the top-side.

Melanie decided it was my turn to pose with some of her favorite trees, shrubs, bushes, flowers, and in this case a nice healthy cactus plant.  It's healthier than I am for sure and blooming too.

While we were down to the care center visiting our friend Jimmy we saw this group walking outside.  Notice the little girl carrying a baby which is wrapped around her back.  Just like the mother's do it!

This has become one of my favorite meals now.  Chicken ramen noodles with a boiled egg and some chicken breast pieces along with some chopped green onions.  Yummmm!

Each morning we love to go on a walk together in our gated secured and guarded community.  Here's sort of a series of pictures of some of the homes and things we see as we walk around the area.  No doubt it will mean more to us than to you, but at the end we enjoy a brief time on the porch visiting and talking about the day or whatever.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Week 61 - Jul 26th - Aug 1st, 2015

Sunday, July 26th - Saturday, August 1st, 2015

We think we might have hit the cold spot of the winter as shown by our flat thermometer.  It gets cold at night, we put on the space heaters to warm up in the morning.

A great day this Sunday for another baptism, this time Sister Comfort Ama Doe from Ghana.   She was very happy!  As were the Elders Tumarae and Diogo.

The mornings are still great for walking together.   Melanie liked this blooming cactus type plant but it had some sharp edges on it that snagged her arm as she posed.  (Arm healed after a few days)

We had to shop for some things to help with a Zone Conference meal.  While there I thought I'd include this check-out queue used commonly at many stores, especially grocery type stores.  Everyone gets the next available checker and while in line they get a giant row of impulse items to choose from.   It works many ways believe me.  Wonder if I've seen this at home?  This store Makro is like Sam's Club or Costco.

Our Tzaneen Zone Conference was great.  Our first one with Pres and Sis Wilson.  Good meetings and instruction.   Good visits.   Some good food, sloppy joes, etc.  Good time together!

We had to leave Zone Conference just before it ended to get to Seshego for the Friday community service basketball activity.   Good we left, this time we had a record number there, about 50 not including the 6 Elders that thankfully showed up after their meeting ended.  We had more teenage boys today that they Elders played with.  One or more that they are teaching too!   Melanie and I stuck around with all of the younger ones on another adjacent court and had another good time with them.   We love them!

Saturday we headed over the mountain to Tzaneen for our semi-annual District Conference weekend.  We enjoyed an evening meal with the seniors to help celebrate Sister Campbell's birthday and the Wilson's 35th anniversary.   Great time, good food and wonderful company.  Too bad it was a bad picture, I was messing around with a panoramic mode that didn't work well and I didn't recognize it for a retake or a couple of better pictures.  Oh well.