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.