Sunday, September 27, 2015

Week 69 - Sep 20th - 26th, 2015

Sunday, September 20th - Saturday, September 26th, 2015

It is always nice to start our weeks off with a Sabbath Day.  We love to go to church with our Seshego brothers and sisters and worship and partake of the sacrament with them.

During the week we stopped while walking to talk to the crew building one of the many homes under construction in our housing area.  These guys were shoveling sand from the ground up to the top of the house to mix cement with shovels to pour a cement roof.  So many processes here are and will no doubt continue to be very labor intensive, but, it provides work and there are laws to protect these laborers.

But then I took a small rubber American football and we had a little fun with them playing catch and showing them how to hold it and throw it.

Thursday was a South Africa National Holiday, Heritage Day to celebrate the rich and broad diversity of this melting pot nation.

Also while walking this week we paused to watch more 'masked weaver birds building about twenty more nests in a tree close by the others.  It is sort of an amazing thing to watch them bring in a long strand of grass and watch them as they weave it right up into the nest very quickly.

We sort of got booted off the BB court this week due to a Heritage Day holiday tournament.  We were glad though to see a half dozen teams all suited up and trying to play ball.

Our regular Saturday visit to Brother Jimmy Letsoalo was a great surprise for us this week, his wife Rehab was there!  We didn't even know after eight months that he had a wife living.  Nice gal and friendly too.

For a timely, seasonal fall picture for you back home here's one I saved from a post which caught my attention.  A patriotic fishing eagle at autumn time on a beautiful mountain lake.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 68 - Sep 13th - 19th, 2015

Sunday, September 13th - Saturday, September 19th, 2015

Our Monday p-day was a little different today.  We met with the Winward's this morning to help them close their flat and lock it up as they finished loading their things.  Then we opened their security gate for them and bade them farewell as off they drove for Joburg and their trip back home to Idaho tomorrow.

The Winward's have become such good friends of ours here in Polokwane.  They have both served the Lord and the people here with all their hearts.  They are wonderful people and we will miss them!

Tuesday was transfer day for the Elders.  Elder Tumarae left Seshego for Polokwane where he will now serve as a Zone Leader.  Elder Lybe from Mokopane also left for Polokwane where he will also serve as a Zone Leader for the Tzaneen Zone with Elder Tumarae.

Elder Diogo in Seshego was joined by Elder McClellan (Washington, USA) where he started his mission and served here already for 7 months.  Elder Ndlovo in Mokopane was joined by Elder Novotny (Near Prague, CK), he had served a few months ago in Tzaneen.  Both these new Elders will finish their missions in these assignments and will return home late October at the end of this transfer.  Then we will have some more changes.

We had a lot of office support work associated with Elders moving around throughout the three Zones here and were kept quite busy all week long with it.  And another car crash in the Witbank Area, Elder Oldroyd got rear-ended in congested traffic, not his fault and no injuries, thankfully.

At our Mokopane District Meeting this week, Melanie gave a loving chastisement about obedience and observations we've made where the Elders could step it up a notch or two, it seemed well received.

Basketball was fun again with the kids and the new Elders that joined us, all wearing their badges this week!  We've been doing this service for the kids of Seshego for a little over 7 months now and have really come to love these kids and hope we have planted good gospel seeds along with the fun times on the BB court.

On Saturday we enjoyed a little something extra as we visited with Jimmy Letsoalo.  His new friend Simon joined us for the visit.  He is young and friendly and really seems to becoming attached to Jimmy.  We see that he makes Jimmy feel good too so that makes us happy as well.  At his request, we made Jimmy a 10 X 15 print of this collage of our senior's trip to Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Victoria Falls.  I joke with him about his many pictures on his walls and how he can tell stories of "a thousand words" with each one of them.   He laughs and is happy to agree with me.  He loves to be a story teller.  In all fairness, though, I did tell him which of these I took and which of these I found and pasted on the collage.  Can you guess which ones?

And ending our week in a special moment, Cody posted this picture of our new grandson Henrik watching us as we had our video call on Saturday.   Made us feel so good.   We are excited to be able to hold him and play with him and hope he will connect more easily with us because of the video calls.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Week 67 - Sep 6th - 12th, 2015

Sunday, September 6th - Saturday, September 12th, 2015

It felt really good to us to return to our home flat from our Senior Retreat in Botswana and Zimbabwe.  It was a wonderful and fun time being with the other Senior Couples!

Monday was truly a catch-up day for us both personal preparations as well as mission office support (since I was without communications with the Elders while we were gone all last week).

Tuesday thru Thursday we headed back down to Joburg so Melanie could get her root-canal procedure completed.   She was blessed with meds and her Dentist's advice so we could have our senior retreat first though.  Her dentist trip went as well as could be expected too for which we feel blessed and are grateful.

After her first appointment we stopped by the McDonald's on the corner and got her a chocolate milkshake and some fries.   I found that they also had Filet-of-Fish so I partook!  In addition to their company taxi for shuttling staff to and from work, they had an interesting car display on their wall at the McD's too.

The hotel we stayed in was right close to the Dentist and very convenient and nice as we've stayed in since we've been here, also with a great breakfast (free, they say, but no additional charge I say).  They also had some nice flowers at their entrance which Melanie liked and I enjoyed as she did so.

While there we did some mission errands at the Area offices and then had a really good visit with our friends at the Joburg mission office, the Allred's and the Thompson's.  We were able to have lunch at the Porterhouse Restaurant which was a place we went to more than any other I suppose.   The food was good as usual and the visits were terrific!

Since Melanie's dentist, Dr. Raheema Suliman saved us one day between treatments, we were able to return to Polokwane a day early which was good because of the mission office work awaiting us along with preparations for the Branch farewell party for the Winward's.

Friday was the commemoration of 9/11 which is always a stark reminder of the perilous times we now live in.  This picture of the flag at the school where we hold church is tattered and torn and reminded me of the stars and stripes from the twin towers attack.

When we got home we had to shop for some groceries and some baking supplies.   Guess what we are beginning to see on the store shelves already?

We went to have BB with our kids after having missed a time while we were out of town.  It was fun to be with them once again.  We do enjoy them and hope we are planting seeds that will be harvested someday by other missionaries.

Melanie baked some really good brownie cakes and some banana items for the Branch party (I don't know what she calls them, but they were good).

On Saturday we first went to see Brother Jimmy and had a nice visit with him again as usual.   Then we headed out to the party at the Branch meeting place, the Peakanyo Primary School.   We were told noon, but things didn't really get moving until after 1:00 which is sort of typical for this type of thing.  We had a great time with them all and didn't get back home until after 5:00.

The missionaries including Elders Togiatomai, green, Van Heerden, blue, Tumarae, red, and Diogo, white long-sleeves.

Such very colorful traditional dress and the Branch even dressed up the Winward's too!

Some of the members that showed up for the party.



Food, including mostly African prepared dishes (no Mopane worms though).  No tables, nor covering, no napkins, primary was seated on the colored chairs and once they ate with their fingers they all went outside to chase each other.

Elder Van Heerden leaves on Tuesday to go home as well, just not as far since he will return to his family in Zambia now.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week 66 - Aug 30th - Sep 5th, 2015 - Start of month 16

Sunday, August 30th to Saturday, September 5th, 2015

We had another successful Seshego Branch Sacrament Meeting which makes two in a row now so we're on a roll and going strong!

Monday, Melanie and I and three other couples drove off to Botswana for a senior retreat where we were meeting up with President Wilson, Sister Wilson and three couples from over by Botswana.   

Wilson's, Gubler's, Butler's, Winward's, Campbell's, Alidi's, and Kirschbaum's.

We met up at Kasane and the Lesoma Valley Lodge, had a meeting and some nice visits along with a day of land and river game safari's together.

The four of us couples from Tzaneen stayed over another night so we could go into Zimbabwe to visit Victoria Falls.  It was wonderful and amazing and our timing was great to see it during the 'dry' season when you could actually see the falls and the canyon below instead of just thick mist of vapor.

We had a wonderful and busy and fast week together with our dear friends and returned home late Saturday to prepare for the Sabbath, a Fast Sunday, and another great week in South Africa!