Part 2 This is really long... Read it in sections unless you have tons of time.
We moved! Yay!
Our Friday date was a bit iffy right up until the hour we got a telephone call from Pieter the realtor who is handling the transaction of renting this flat. It seems that the complex where we live is comprised of Condos and some owners rent their property out. I’ve no idea the percentage of tenant verses owner but our unit has been rented for some time.
We had to wait for the occupants to be moved out before we could move in. And the new renters of our previous temporary flat were anxious to move in ours as well. Friday came and finally at 4 pm we were able to move. Fortunately, we had 6 missionaries to help us which can be good or bad.
Friday and Saturday was spent digging out of the stuff and finding places for it all along with shopping for the rest of the STUFF we need to exist. I really should say WANT since most of it was just to help us feel settled and comfortable in our new surroundings.
Sunday morning dawned to a most unusual sound. It was the squeaking of our mop.
Jumping out of bed I discovered Elder Scott mopping up an entire room of water! The bathroom sink leaked and flooded the bathroom and second bedroom. I sent a text (called SMS here) to our landlord Pieter and informed him of our dilemma. We got ready for church a bit rushed.
We drove to the Branch following the Jr. Elders again. Elder Scott spoke and I was asked to bear my testimony. The Branch President spoke lastly. What a great talk. He is from Mozambique, very slight of build. I probably outweigh him by 75 pounds… if not more. I’m 3 inches taller than him but his spirit is huge and matches his smile. He spoke about being a cabeca de coco or Coconut Head. Roughly translated he was referring to being stubborn about keeping the standards of the church…being immovable when it comes to living the commandments. It was an awesome talk. I am trying to be a cabeca de coco when it comes to doing what I have been set apart to do. So everyone needs to be a coconut head!
Immediately afterwards, we had a baptism of Nelly who is the 15 year old daughter of a recently reactivated sister whose husband is not a member. It was a great baptism and Nelly has lots of friends to help her stay active. Her mom even gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. I think Nelly will keep her mom active.
After the baptism we had a going away party for the former Branch President and family. They are moving to Johannesburg. It was a great party with lots of food. I made meat balls and gravy for the event. Kinda strange trying to cook without much in my pantry and no recipes. I left my cookbook home…sadly.
After church we came home and settled in a bit more. We went to dinner at the Swans. They have been very kind to us.
Monday brought new surprises. Woke up feeling a bit rugged then topped it off by discovering that we had an invasion of ants all over the bathroom and bedroom and then the dining room (using the term loosely.)
Elder Scott has joined a gym and I’ve gone a few times. I didn’t go on Monday. We had so much to do. I spent most of the day unpacking and writing lists of things we need… okay want.
The need is food. I haven’t bought much since we were waiting to move and so now I can stock up with things to make meals from.
One story: While we were in a great store a little bit from us… Super Spar… a grocery store. I was looking for bread crumbs… this had to be on Saturday before we moved cause I needed bread crumbs to make meatballs. (I hope I haven’t told this story) Anyway, while we were in the aisle a woman was looking at things across from where the bread crumbs were. Now, this grocery store is like none other I have ever seen. It is amazing. The outside edges are filled with deli cases of all varieties. They have bakery items, ready-made items, packaged meats, cut to order meats, cut to order cooked chicken, cut to order fresh chicken, jerky cases and salad cases. The regular foods are all in very organized aisles coming out like a spoke toward the cashiers who are kind of free standing at the front. It is quite modern and very well stocked with everything except for dryer sheets… oh well. I’m sure my description is inadequate. I really like shopping there.
But, I digress. While looking at the bread crumbs, Elder Scott comes up the aisle. He’d been dawdling behind me as usual. I noticed the woman turned from looking at what she was and did a double-take then said, “Oh, hi!” She looked directly at Elder Scott’s name tag and said, “Are you Americans?”
Of course we said yes. To which she replied, “So am I.”
We found out that her husband and her work at the American Embassy in Mozambique and she drives here to get away and to shop as shopping is very difficult in Mozambique. We spoke for quite a while. She is from Florida and sounded just like Cathy Walker… said you’all and the whole southern thing.
She asked about our mission and then said, “I’ve been looking for a church to attend but there are not very many left in Mozambique.”
We said, “We know we have branches there and missionaries as well.”
She was so excited and said, “There is a couple in the State Department who are Mormons. I’ll ask them where they attend. Maybe we can go with them.”
We gave her the mission’s number in SA and said they could help her find a branch also. We wished her well and were ever so grateful that we had worn our name tags. We asked how she recognized that we were Americans and she said by the name of your church. “Everyone in the States knows who the Mormons are.” Cool huh?
Another fun thing that happened this week happened at another shopping center. We had just parked our car with the help of one of the parker guys and as we exited he saw our name tags and said, “Pastor! Pastor! “ to Elder Scott. “Give me a blessing! Please give me a blessing from God!”
So PASTOR Scott said, “Right here?”
“Yes. Please Pastor.” (You have to read this with a sweet native accent.)
So Pastor Scott put his hands on this young man’s shoulders, touched his forehead to the man’s forehead and gave him a blessing, asking Heavenly Father to watch over this man and keep him safe while he worked.
It was a sweet and yet unusual experience.
OK. Back to my week.
When we moved in on Friday we checked our electric meter and found we had only 134 units of “power.” Let me explain. In apartments or flats you pay as you go. There is a meter on the wall that tells you how much electricity the unit has. Like right now I have 825.4 units. Which is a lot. We just bought it last Monday. 134 is not very much. So we had to turn off our Geezer (the hot water heater) and only turn on one light at a time so we would not waste power as the power office was closed until Monday morning at 9: am. By Sunday we were taking very cool showers but we survived.
So to sum up what Monday was like… We had .4 of power left. We could not use our bathroom sink. We had ants at every turn and I found out as I went to bake brownies that the oven has no bottom heating element. (We had already discovered that the ceiling fan in the bedroom doesn’t work, the security door is thrashed (and everyone has bars and security doors on everything) and the handles on several windows won’t latch.) When I found out that I was going to have to broil everything—even cookies—I kinda lost it.
We went to teach a FHE lesson to a less active and his non-member wife and afterwards I was better.
By the end of the week, the door was almost repaired. The plumbing was repaired. We bought lots of power (a month’s supply) and the ant lady came and killed all our ants, and Niels, the best internet installer on the planet, installed our internet. I am back in touch with the world and I do not have ants crawling all over my dining room table. YUK!
But you know the story of the man with no shoes meeting the man with no feet????
Well, I’ve been trying to keep a stiff-upper-lip through all this and only had a small melt down on Monday but after getting the internet and checking my emails… I’m the one with no shoes. One of the MTC couples who went to Durbin sent us an email. She said she really liked Durbin and had a really nice house with lots of modern conveniences but every morning they wake up to monkeys in their kitchen. The little buggers know how to open their windows and invade their refrigerator and steal their food!
So, now what I say is: at least I don’t have monkeys in my kitchen.
I took lots of pictures but still no clue of how to load them onto here. I took them with the IPad when we drove with the Jr. Elders to visit some members who live miles and miles or kilometers and kilometers away. The first one lives in Hazyview. Beautiful place and I have a photo of the view from her home.
Sister Jennifer is the Relief Society President. She is very petite and I feel as if I might break her when I give her a hug. She lives in very humble surroundings in a most beautiful mountainous area… maybe hill area. The mountains here are really only hills compared to CA or Utah mountains but it is still amazingly beautiful. Nothing like I would imagine Africa to look like.
While in Hazyview we got lost and when asking directions we also bought a hand woven basket which I’m taking home with me and two bags of avocados—very huge ones-which I will not be taking home with me. They are really delicious here and used in everything. We visited with Sister Jennifer for about an hour. She takes in kids who are not treated nicely at home. She has lots of them. To earn money she bakes these delicious bread thingys… I have no idea what they are called but they are basically scone dough with meat inside and rolled into a ball and deep fried. Very de-lish. I must learn to make them and the name of them, of course.
After a brief lesson from the missionaries, we drove another hour the other way to Sabie to visit the Weitze family. Sabie is green and lush and is known for their water falls. Sister Weitze (pronounced Vitz) is the gospel doctrine teacher and her husband, Ruben, is the YM President. They have 4 children from 17 down to 7. They are English.
From there to home and out to dinner. The Elders appointment canceled on them so we took them to the Westend (the area we live in) Spur restaurant. This is the most unusual place you’ve ever seen.
The Spur is a chain of restaurants all over South Africa. They have an American Indian Chief in full feather headdress as their logo. Each of the restaurants is named after one of our states. The Westend one is called the Arkansas Spur. The place is decorated with tomahawks, and stained glass lampshades with a feather motive. They have Indian feathers printed on the backs of their western cowboy cut shirts that they wear for uniforms and right in the middle of the room hanging on a center column is an Eskimo totem pole. Apparently, they are all decorated the same as everyone from the States has commented on the totem and Indian mix.
Last night they played country western music and danced in the aisles. It was really fun and I wanted to join them but thought my husband and the Jr. Elders would be a bit embarrassed.
Today, was a great day at church. Our 3rd week at the branch.
I was sustained as a Sunday School teacher (a sub for when people can’t make it) and Elder Scott was sustained as Sunday School President. The teacher for the youth class (who is a doctor) was called in to work this morning so I was able to teach that class. I’m so very glad I had been teaching the 13-14 year olds as I had to jump in and teach “Commandments” to a group of 12-17 year olds… 15 of them. There was no electricity in the entire area so we were in the dark and without organ music or a speaker system. We do not have a piano… so we sang acapella and really off-key. Wow. And not in a good way.
Apparently, Nelspruit turn off the power on Sundays so they can fix something or another. They post it in the newspapers but big-deal… the power is still off for us ‘cause unlike some of the other churches in the area who canceled, we won’t cancel due to power issues.
Our organist has an amazing story. Three years ago, she was taught by a senior couple. Her mother-in-law was a member and her husband but he was less-active. His father was not a member. Well, she joined, her husband was reactivated and her father-in-law joined. The branch had an organ but no one to play it so she volunteered to learn. The senior sister taught her the basics of playing and arranged for the church’s organ course. She proceeded to teach herself the entire Hymn book. She’s really good and plays as if she’d been playing all her life. I thought it was one of those organs like we had in Bushwick where you just push buttons. Then I saw her really playing. She is amazing. Totally impressed.
Now I am caught up. As are you, dear reader!
I’m driving better. I’m learning how to spell these funny names and how to pronounce the names in our branch. We haven’t mastered Zulu and doggonit…it has that clicking sound in many of the words… But, we are happy and, hopefully, doing good works here.
I miss you all and am so glad that I have internet and running water staying where it is supposed to stay. And no monkeys in my kitchen.