Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Promised Photos

Here are the pictures I promised... Just a couple but I'll have more next official post.
This is the view from our stair landing. Take out the top of the car port and the fence and you'll see what we see. Notice the purple trees. Much prettier in person.

This is a shanty town on the way to Sabie. Sad how some people are forced to live.
However, the scenery is lovely.

The woman in the hat is Sister Jennifer, RS President of our branch. Sibusiso means Blessed in Zulu.
This is the family we taught. Neat people.
 The photo is blurry but Sibusiso is on the end, S. Jennifer, her granddaughter, Sibu's brother, his sister, Shpewe, his mother and some neighbor children. I think you can spot me!

Monday, October 20, 2014


Part 10 (no pix today...sorry)

Yesterday, Monday, which technically is our P day, we went to teach a lesson out in Hazy View. Now, the short route to Hazy View is torn up with construction which slows the trip down and sends us in an area where I would not like to be after dark so we go the scenic route through Sabie which takes us 2 hours. It was a beautiful day when we started. We left here at 2 pm, arrived at Sister Jennifer’s house about 10 minutes early. We picked her up along with her little granddaughter then drove another 30 minutes to Sibusiso’s home. Another young man named Sipiwe joined us. They are both members and friends of Melusi who is Jennifer’s son. Before we began Sibusiso’s entire family came in and I think a few neighborhood children even joined in. ES had prepared a Family Home Evening lesson on commandments and why we should obey the laws of Heavenly Father. First, ES began by explaining “why” we have FHE.  We sang a song accompanied by our I-Pad. Had a prayer by Sibusiso then ES gave a brief introduction about commandments then I went over 2 Nephi  2. The entire family participated and sang the songs. I know they felt the spirit. The oldest daughter who appeared to be about 20 really felt the spirit of the Holy Ghost. She told us that since the boys had started to go to church they were better boys. She even said she would accompany them to church this Sunday.

I have included a photo of where we were. One thing I have to caution is, do not confuse poverty with unhappiness. These are very happy people but sadly, they are also very poor. Notice the dirt floors and the cinderblock walls. There was no furniture in any of the rooms of the house. The kitchen was behind us and consisted of a few make-shift tables. The entire family was sitting on roughly hewn benches. There was no glass in any of the windows and there was no ceiling above our heads. The roof was littered with holes and I’m sure the rain came in freely. But, love abounded in that room.

I hope by our visit that we can teach an entire family the importance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just knowing that they have a loving Heavenly Father will help them rise up the level of how they live. What a blessing it was to be in their home.

Tuesday, we sent off Elder McClellan and the two KaNeymazane Elders and received an Elder Smith from West Jordan and two black Elders for KaNeymazane…one from Zimbabwe and one from Madagascar. Super Elders all. We had a welcome to Nelspruit dinner for them Tuesday night. The Swan’s provided a ham (which is called Gammon and not cooked like our hams are) and scalloped potatoes. I did rolls and salad. We had pumpkin pie for dessert. Sister Swan bought a pumpkin and cooked it so she could make pies. She also made an apple pie. Considering they do not sell anything like shortening here, they were really good.   

Today, Wednesday, we had our planning meeting and then off to President Manjate’s house for our weekly missionary coordination meeting.  They live in a really nice area of Nelspruit. It is quite beautiful filled with trees and flowering bushes at every turn. Our new Elder Smith, who is related to the Taylor Richards family in our home ward, was so impressed with the beauty. He has been serving in the city of Joburg which is like serving in Los Angeles and in the townships to the south of us which apparently is flat, brown and dry… kinda what I imagined all of South Africa to look like. He just kept saying, “This place is so beautiful. It is so hilly and green.” And it certainly is. Especially since we have had several rain storms… brown things turn green so quickly. It is very lush and the flowering trees are bright colors interspersed between thick green foliage—all very pleasing to the eye. We have one tree here that is covered in bright purple blossoms. It is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The one in the complex is losing its blossoms but you can look across the way and see these bright purple mounds dotting the various colors of green tree tops. This truly is the Garden of Eden spot in South Africa.

The rest of the day, I spent making cookies. I made snicker doodles, chocolate chip, brownies, and cowboy cookies. As we make deliveries and treat plates I’ll have to replenish but right now, my freezer is once again full.

Today is Thursday. It’s prepare lessons time. Catch up with things time and do a little visiting time. ES has some Bibles he’d like to drop off today so we’ll pick up a few things that we failed to get on our Tuesday grocery shopping trip and incorporate some “finding” along the way.

Friday has come and gone with Seminary and visits to Lydenburg for ES and the Jr. Elders. Great day and all was accomplished as planned.

Saturday and Sunday was the same. We had several missionary opportunities (as expected) and lots of fun times in between.

One South African observation: People of all colors say Yay-ses… I cannot even write it out phonetically but it’s a combination of Yeah and Yes… I really like how it sounds. Yay-ses… I’m going to incorporate that into my speech…it sounds so committed.

Our new Jr. Elder companionship have developed some new ideas on how to “Mesh anaries” with the Branch members so we can grow the Branch. We are giving each person “Snickers” when they pass out a Book of Mormon and/or set up a referral. ES had 8 investigators in his Gospel Essentials class on Sunday. Two of them are scheduled for baptism on November 2. We are really excited about this.

Meshanaries is a term our Mission President came up with to help us mesh with the branch members regarding missionary work. It’s quite a good idea and a great object lesson when you use it in connection with gears meshing together. Think about it.

Well, I’m glad I have facebook and can keep track of all the comings and goings of all my loved ones. I’m glad I have a computer that allows me to catalog all my comings and goings. We are always busy and always about the Lord’s errand. We are happy to be here and happy to be busy doing good things. We pray for you always and hope you remember us in your prayers.

Happy to report there are still no monkeys in my kitchen but we did see one run across the road and up a tree! Tootles.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Part 7

Part 7...sorry some of the pix didn't post.... donno why

Apparently, I need to proof read a little better… but in case I don’t, just do an auto-correct with your brain and put in or take out the missing letters…deal?

This week has been pretty amazing. We did get to the Temple in Johannesburg which was a marvelous experience. The temple is older than I thought. It was dedicated in 1985. It’s a very small temple and yet very nicely appointed. The grounds are lush and fitted with gardens full of small bridges, pathways and water features. I really wish my back yard could look like the grounds but then I’d have to move here permanently.

Elder Scott is finally starting to feel a little better. He’s down to a horrible cough and occasional moments of dragging. I expect a full recovery by tomorrow…really, he wants to start back to the gym so he’s anxious to get back to normal.

The drive to Johannesburg is quite long…4 & ½ hours, then add another 45 minutes to the mission office. About an hour into the drive, I was stopped by the police for crossing over a double solid line…who knew? It’s so interesting as the police drive small cars marked with green and yellow. They do not pull you over with lights and sirens—they park on the side of the road and flag you down by waving a clipboard at you. The officer was very nice and after we talked and told him about the church and where we were from and where we were going—to the temple—he let us go with a warning. That’s twice now…once on the way to Zone Conference and now on the way to the temple.

Church was wonderful today. If you’ve never had the opportunity to live in a small branch you should at least find one and attend once or twice. The Primary program was scheduled for today. Wow! Did they do a great job! Lots of little smiling faces who sang their hearts out. We only have about 14 children so they had to sing with gusto and they came through. It made me cry it was so sweet.

I taught Gospel Doctrine, Elder Scott taught the youth class and the missionaries taught Gospel Essentials class which is usually what ES teaches.

I think my class went well and I know ES’s did. We had two investigators: Combi and Violet.

Combi (I promised I would let you know regarding her progress) is enjoying attending and was really welcomed today by everyone. She’s going to Swaziland on Tuesday so the Elders are going to sacrifice a bit of their P-day to teach her a lesson before she leaves. She told us today that she wants to return before Sunday so she can attend church again.

Violet is the daughter or another investigator, Ezra, who started bringing his granddaughter to Primary when he started to attend a few months ago. The granddaughter loves Primary and was in the program today. Violet wanted to see the Primary program and to attend church. She told the missionaries that she knows the Book of Mormon is true and at last week’s lesson, she bore her testimony to her father about prayer and the Book of Mormon. During Relief Society, I shared an experience I had in the temple when Christy and Will (my kids) were sealed. The RS President had asked me to share some experiences about the temple and it just came into my mind. It’s one thing to share with endowed members…or just members who know about Priesthood blessings and etc…but it’s a totally different thing to have to explain those things to investigators. I chose my words very carefully. After RS, Sister Violet told Elder Scott that what I had shared really moved her. She felt very different as I was relating what happened to me. Then she asked him, “What must I do to go to the temple?” Is this person golden, or what?

Earlier in the week we went to the pharmacy (our favorite Mopani) and while there asking a pharmacy tech a question about medicines, she asked us if we were “the Hunts replacements?” We told her we were. She then told us how wonderful they were and how happy she was to see us that day. She then explained to us that she was having a problem with trying to decide whether she should stay the course on her new decision or not. She said she’d changed her employment recently and given up a high paying job due to having to work on Sundays and be away from her husband so much. She’d decided that she needed to pay more attention to “God and doing what he wants me to do instead of pursuing wealth and fame.”

Well, we were in complete agreement but didn’t have any Pass-along cards with us…oddly as we always have stacks of them so we told her we’d be back with something just for her.

We spoke for about five minutes and then she said, “I am so glad you came in today and spoke to me. I am committed to do what I’ve resolved. I know God sent you to me to help me with this decision.”

So, this week we are going back to drop-off home baked cookies and a Pass-along card about the family.

When you wear name badges missionary work is easy.

While in Joburg, we picked up a new car…not a New car…just a new to us car. It’s really nice and I can almost guarantee that no Jr. Missionary ever drove that car. It’s a 2004 Nissan something or other. Happy campers here.

That’s about it from South Africa. It has been a great week…rather a short one and rather a quick one.

However, while at the temple yesterday and watching the Primary children sing today I found another reason to rejoice over the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Speaking for myself—one who has never been out the States before coming here—I forget sometimes how diverse the world is and how select we think we are. Truly, white people are the minority in South Africa…it’s not that there are not any because actually, there are quite a few—but in the temple yesterday when there were only four pale faced people among an entire session of chocolate colored people it puts it into proper prospective. The Gospel of Jesus Christ levels all fields. With everyone wearing white clothing and participating individually in their own salvation it is evident that no one is superior and no one is inferior. Sadly, there are still a lot of whites here who treat the blacks as their servants. But in the temple and in that wonderful Primary Presentation there is no difference in Heavenly Fathers children. It makes me weep tears of joy for the truth of the Plan of Salvation and how it can work in each and every one of us. I know that we are all from the same Eternal Father and I could not love these brothers and sisters here more than if they were my own by mortal blood. I hope you will one day get the chance to love the people of South Africa as they are very special children of Heavenly Father.
And there are still no monkey's in my kitchen.

This is Elder Swan fixing Alfredo's roof in KaNyamazone

This is a view from Alfredo's home

Another view

This is another view of their house. Alfredo and his wife built this by hand with items they found around the Township. However the roof leaked quite badly so Elder Scott, Elder Swan and President Banta went to help Alfredo fix his roof.

NYC: Murder Brooklyn Style

NYC: Murder Brooklyn Style
Dang this copyrighted stuff! Couldn't get rid of the red face!

NYC: A Mission To Die For

NYC: A Mission To Die For