Sunday, August 2, 2015


Chapter 38

Admittedly, I haven’t put pen to paper for several weeks—speaking metaphorically since we all know I just don’t write that way. I guess a better way to say it would be fingers to keyboard but that wouldn’t be entirely truthful since I have done other things on this keyboard—just not recorded anything for this BLOG.

But, repenting, I decided it was time to catch you up.

South Africa is not a kind place to live—at least not to ES and myself. He was battling another eye infection and asthma and prostatitis again. He is still on meds for that. Now me, I couldn’t seem to get well from what is called here a “running stomach.” Without going into details I’m sure you can understand what was going on with me. After 2 weeks of not getting better—even after being on antibiotics—I returned to the doctors. She actually did a test and discovered something perplexing in my entire digestive system including my mouth. I had successfully depleted all friendly bacteria and was only left with the bad guys—mostly yeast.  The doctor had no idea how that would happen especially since I take probiotics regularly. No wonder I was sick all the time. So, the doctor has me on another regiment trying to replace the bad guys with good guys. It must be working because I am feeling better and able to do a bit more work and trips.

Needless to say, I have been flat-bound for a few weeks only venturing out a few hours at a time. Fortunately, I was able to go to church but not out to Lydenburg or anywhere in between. ES did most of the shopping and cleaning as getting out of bed was a chore. Bless him for his attention to me.

Well, I’m doing better and eating better now so I believe I am on the road to recovery once again.

I am still off salads and tap water because who knows really how this happened and I don’t want a rerun of it. ES seems to be doing better as well. Only time will tell how long our good health will last.

Since my writing we have baptized all those from our teaching pool. We have 3 left who will be confirmed this next Sunday and then we must find some more to teach. We have kinda maxed out in Lydenburg as we’ve hit our transportation limit. We do have 5 more we are teaching but none of those are on date so we’ll see. One of those own a car so they may be able to help in transport if needed. It looks like we’ll be doing this for a while as the area has nixed our request for a Branch/Cluster. ????? Don’t know why but it will happen someday… Has too.

Seminary has been on a break but is now back in order on Saturdays. Institute starts again this Wednesday as the Nkosi girls have been away for their school holidays.

Tonight, the Dunns as in President and Sister Dunn are coming to Nelspruit for interviews. They will be at our flat tonight. Then tomorrow we are taking them to tour Lydenburg and meet the members there. So hope is still out there. Without hope one must be in despair and we are not… so we are hopeful.


Well, a long time has passed again without writing or posting… I hope you’ve noticed my absence but then again, maybe not.

Our trip to Lydenburg was successful. I have photos.

I am feeling a bit better most of the days but suddenly I get ill again and cannot get out of the house. But, oh well.

Tonight is Sunday’s farewell transfer time dinner and we are losing 3 of our four missionaries. Very Weird! Elder X is supposed to be leaving the mission and going home but he has asked for a 10 day extension so he could go home the same time as his cousin who is also serving somewhere in SA so he will delay his going home until August 10 but his companion, Elder Allen who is our newbie elder, has been transferred somewhere and Elder Lea Aytoea is being transferred to Soweto and will be a Zone Leader. We do not know who we will get but it will be 3 new ones. KaNyamazane will have 3 elders counting Elder X who will show them the ropes for his last 10 days.

Elder L asked for enchiladas, rice and chocolate cake… I’ve thrown in salad as well. I was home making and baking all day yesterday so I wouldn’t have to do much today. My plan worked. I am enjoying the Sabbath immensely. Enchiladas are better the second day, anyway.

Otherwise, it has been business as usual. I am teaching my normal classes and ES is teaching with the missionaries.

We have plans to spend the day with the Swans tomorrow showing them Lydenburg and doing a bit of sightseeing. Then maybe take in a movie. We don’t do this very often but it sounds like fun. Of course, I will be doing the driving. I hope I am well enough to go.

Now, I’m going to try to post photos from both the phone and the Ipad… If you see anything you know it worked.

Still no monkeys in the kitchen and for that I am always thankful.
Seminary class celebrating Nolwazi's 18th B'day

Mickey and Bear tucked in bed... ES's new blanket... Says Keep Calm and Count Sheep

My latest practice piece. Really interesting process
Service project at Nomtondazo's house

outside view

a real live inside potty!

Sister Elizabeth's luggage she carried on the train from Zimbabwe

Elder L and Elder Ed celebrating Elder L's transfer at Calisto and Christine's

Steven joined the party

Elder L's B'day... He wanted Chocolate Chip cookies

Burned a batch but they took them anyway!... That's a rooster on the cloth but almost looks like a lobster

3 new members

3 new more members

Lunch afterwards... These are our girls...

Bridget and the gang

A monument in Long Tom Pass which is on the way to Lydenburg

The Long Tom Cannon

Sister Lorraine in the striped shirt going to give her newly baptized husband his towel

Ruben's B'day celebration at Cicada. Sister Lorraine was our server

Ruben and Diane. They had a chocolate torte

Two Loraine's.... One spelled correctly the other not. I am eating a Smashed Pavlova... Yummy

Olgar's house with the Dunns and the Elders in Lydenburg. They took better photos then we did so if you want to track their visit check out Sister Dunn's blog on South Africa Johannesburg Mission

Masinga's house with the  Dunns

Saw an article about California burning. Sad. They purposely burn all the brush in the hills every year. Mountains are on fire every spring. Black ash falls everywhere

These are controlled burns that don't seem to hurt the trees. Strange how they do that

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Chapter 37... Time is moving along

Chapter 37

Happy to relate that both ES and I feel normal again. Yay!!!! Our 8 baptized people were all confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday last. It was a great meeting. ES confirmed all but two of them. He was really fatigued after the meeting as he also taught Gospel Principles class and the YM in Priesthood. We are really looking forward to these new members growing and excelling in the gospel.

Today, (Monday) was errand running and resting from the last week day. ES and the Jrs. have gone to teach Thulanie (Sister Lorraine’s husband.) He is committed for baptism on July 19. That will be another glorious day in Nelspruit Branch. He will stay in Nelspruit Branch as well uniting a family in the gospel and not disappear into Lydenburg when and if that Branch happens.

Big news hit our mission yesterday. Obviously, this change has been in the works for a long time because these things come from Salt Lake City. They split part of our mission off and put it in Botswana and Namibia Mission. We lost about 45 missionaries and 4 couples. It does not affect us at all other than make us the Northern most part of the mission. They could have taken the line straight across the top of the mission and it would have taken us. Whew. I’m glad it didn’t. So, now you really can’t get any higher in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission than our Branch and our mission district.

Another week has passed and the Elders are once again going to teach Thulanie tonight. He is still excited about his upcoming baptism. We have decided to split the 6 we have committed and do 3 on the 12th and 3 on the 19th. It will be another 2 glorious days! And 3 of the 6 will stay in Nelspruit even after, and if, Lydenburg splits off from us.

I’ve slowed down writing and posting on the blog because much is business as usual. We’ve been plugging along watching miracles surround us and move on by. We’re teaching yet another referral from Christine and so the work continues.

The 4th of July came and went without much to do. We were in Lydenburg listening to our recent converts teach us lessons! Wow! It was really amazing how much they have learned. Soon they will all be called teachers and put us out of a job.

Last night we went to Kamatipoort to have dinner with the Krugers. So far they have fed us kudu, (yum) pork roast like I have never had before and last night we had ox tail over rice. They feed us nearly every month but other than steaks and chicken I can’t remember the other things we’ve eaten at their table. The kudu and ox tail will forever be remembered. The kudu was really, really great especially how they fixed it and ox tail was pretty good. ES really liked the ox tail but it may have been due to his fasting condition.

Well, we seem to be coming up on another month here in South Africa. This month marks the Swan’s yearly and our 11 months out. It still seems as if we go to bed Monday night and wake up on Sunday ready for church. Its school holiday time so several families were absent from church yesterday. I have a two week vacation from Seminary—which I really missed going to on Saturday—and so things seem to be quiet here.

We saw several monkey’s on our way to Kamatipoort and several more on Saturday as we drove to Lydenburg which we have taken to be great omens (not really but it sounds fun) and so far all days in between are great. We love our mission. We love those we associate with and we love those we work with. We miss the norm but know this is the right place to be at this time in our lives.

I have decided I need to have something to fill in between teaching and studying to teach so I have returned to drawing. The first time I put pencil to paper was disastrous. Wow, am I rusty. So, I have begun at the beginning. I’m drawing parts. Eyes, ears, noses, and eyebrows… I must learn to train my hand to draw what my brain sees then move on to making my brain see what is really there. Who knows, maybe I’ll come home drawing again.

Still no monkey’s in my kitchen but at least I have running water and electricity. That’s not always the case so I feel quite fortunate at this moment.

I’m having trouble loading photos again… so lame and computers and their tiny friends, i.e. phones, iPads, etc., bug me. Must be my age. So if photos ever make it you will be amazed! And, so will I!

Anyway, I experienced something I wanted to share. We all went to Lydenburg yesterday to teach a few recent converts and finish teaching Simon and Lyndiwe who are scheduled to be baptized on the 19th of July due to work conflicts. While we were at Christine’s house, her little girl, Esther or Kwasie, if you prefer, was throwing temper tantrums… She has it down to a science. So, her mom, Christine, put a Primary CD into her laptop and began playing, “I Am a Child of God” to her. Christine was singing softly to Esther who immediately stopped crying and started listening to the music and looking at the screen. Curious as to what the screen showed that had captured Esther’s attention, I looked myself. It was nothing but some icons… no flashy photos or cartoons or kids or anything that moved… just these still icons from the CD. I realized Esther was listening to her mother’s soft voice telling her who she was.

Tears came to my eyes as I saw the future of this family. Calisto and Christine have been members for less than 6 months but before me was the power of Heavenly Father’s love manifest in the mom teaching the next generation the gospel of Jesus Christ. What a miracle to behold. I remember thinking when we were teaching Calisto that “he’s got it” when he said, he was joining the church not just for him but for his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren. I got to see that in person. What a great blessing that was for me to witness this pioneer family as they move on toward Eternity one baby at a time.

Another thing I feel impressed to tell about is when we took Elise McCarthy with us to Lydenburg last week. She is the organist at our branch. I know, it is really odd when a branch has an organist but we do. She’s really quite capable and has only been playing about 4 years. A senior couple taught her to play. Elise had heard about Siyabonga Masinga’s desire to play the keyboard. Some time ago, Elder Kankunnen had given Siyabonga the keyboard he had ordered from Distribution thinking he was going to have time on mission to learn to use it and then realized that he didn’t. We gave him books and How-To’s but he wasn’t progressing much, so Elise volunteered to go with us to teach Sia to play. Wow. She spent a few hours with him showing him the ropes and giving him homework assignments like practice, practice, practice…. She wants to set up a regular teaching schedule with him and us. It is such a marvelous thing to see members helping each other and offering service to someone who could not be taught otherwise. Most of the members in our branch are convert pioneers—they are not as familiar with serving one another as we long timers are. This is a huge step in growing our branch.

So, it’s now Wednesday and ES and the elders from Nelspruit and KaNyamazane are busy doing a service project at an investigators home. It should be Institute tonight but I heard from Laheri that they are in Penaire and will not be home until Friday. So, I will cancel for tonight.

Life is good and I stay busy with large and small items. One is how to post these photos to the blog… Oh well, I’ll have to ask someone younger than myself. Like an Elder. J
Laheri's b'day dinner. We had chocolate chip pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream after our institute class

Our Kruger trip and lunch where I got food poisoning! Do not eat the salads in SA

a blurry photo of Steven and Christine at Lydenburg's Spur... ES of course as well

Kwazie Esther... growing up and getting dirty

Laheri all dressed for church

Simon in the glare and Lindy having a lesson in their home

Teaching Olgar a refresher or new member lesson. It was cold so she and I snuggled under her blanket

The "crew" at Nomdemdazo's house doing some repairs

I have no idea who this is... I'm sure ES doesn't go out taking photos of pretty women so it must be someone they are teaching but...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nothing but Pix

Here's the promised photos.
Decorations for ES Birthday

his B'day pie

going to Kruger for all the birthday boys... 2 jrs. & 2 Srs.

A Water Buck... first time seeing one of these beauties

Today's first siting of elephants

they kept on coming

or going as the case may be

giraffes a'plenty

more elephants... lots more

and more

and more

and more

but the cutest of them all. Mom kept trying to hide her baby

they turned their backs on us. Camera shy, maybe
water buffalo... saw a herd of these big guys...

a few cookies... made 119

wrapped 4 in a bag with a tag

28 packages at days end

going to be new members. From far left: Khetsewi, Pearl, Laheri, Evelyn, Peace (holding Elder K's photo) and Olgar... a Zulu princess.

Lindewi giving Laheri a hug... she will be baptized in July, Stephen is on the end

ES, baptized them all.

finally, all 8. Syabogna on the end. Along with Elder Edyouch
Elder L on the other end. My Ipad would not fit them all in.

The Nkosi girls. Charity, Khetsewi, Angeline, Laheri. Amazing how Khetsewi can make a baptismal jumpsuit look good. She wanted to be a model and was even approached by a company until we discouraged her... Not a good profession for a new member.

Charity was not ready for baptism but has now decided to be ready for July

Nelly: A cute girl from the Branch

this lizard was found trying to come into church. Lizard Man came and rescued him and us. They bite.

Bridget and the lizard...

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