Sunday, December 7, 2014

chapter 17... still no monkeys

Chapter 17:

We haven’t done to well in our resolve to take more snaps. We went to a swanky place for dinner last night and nary took a pix. What is wrong with us? This was a really above the cut lovely dining establishment with linen (at least white) table cloths and large cloth napkins… we call them serviettes in South Africa… candles on the table, complete with a real rose in a vase. The occasion was Sister Swan’s birthday. Elder Swan’s failure to plan actually turned out rather nice. He basically lucked out and the evening was a success with great food, great atmosphere and great company… Well, I’m bragging about being great company but we are a kinda fun couple to go to dinner with… just saying.

Here’s how the whole thing started:

Monday was a busy P-day with lots of errands to run and groceries to buy. We pay as we go around here so we had to buy power…yep, buy electricity. We have a meter on the wall and it shows how much power we have used. When it runs out we run out and nothing around here—runs. Every month we have to go to the management company and buy power and pay our water bill. We did both of those things, got some cash from an ATM and went grocery shopping. Never have I ever received anything from a grocery store because I’ve spent a lot of money…well, here every time I exceed a certain Rand amount, I get a sleeve of candy. We always give it away to one of the baggers but it’s kinda nice to get something free for spending money on food.  We also went to the largest mall in the area—it is really large—and bought a few things and paid our internet/landline bill. That’s one thing that is not cheap here. If I didn’t need it I wouldn’t have it but…

That evening (Monday) the Swans came down and we discussed our upcoming plans for zone conference, Sister Swan’s birthday celebration and a myriad of other nonsensical topics. Sister Swan wanted to go to a restaurant called the Nest.

Elder Swan got so busy doing whatever he did on Tuesday that he forgot to request a booking (reservation in US talk) but we drove out anyway taking a chance that it would not be filled. Sorry, they said, “We are booked.”

So, we drove through the back roads and hills and dales to another city called White River and after exploring the place settled on the Magnolia. They had plenty of room and really was lovely. I highly recommend it to anyone traveling in South Africa. I had Kudu again. I will say it was not a tastily prepared as the Kruger’s version but it was very good. ES had a cob salad, Elder Swan a prime rib (unlike any we’d ever seen) and Sister Swan had Yellow-tail tuna. The service was great, the food was great and we even had sparking red grape juice… We were enjoying ourselves!

And no photographs.

So today (Wednesday) has been a bit laid back. The Jr. Elder’s car died a horrible death yesterday afternoon. The camshaft belt broke so they called ES and said, “Help!” and of course, he did. Got the car towed to the Chevy dealer and they are fixing it but the Jr’s will be without a vehicle for a week or more. Now, this isn’t a place to be without a car. The Jr’s have no money for taxis or buses so they’ve been walking but we live a bit off the beaten track so that’s not even an easy thing to accomplish. ES left to help them keep some appointments this afternoon.

One of those appointments is with a family called Ngcosa. The mom and the children (6) are all interested in the lessons. They even rang up the elders asking when they could come over to teach them. There is just one little problem. Mom is married to a man with several wives. She may be the first wife but I don’t know if that gives her any additional standing here. It is not against the law and it is very traditional for Zulus to have several wives. Only problem is, they cannot be taught while living in this situation unless Mom is willing to divorce husband or kids can live on their own.

The Jrs. asked the Senior ES to go with them to ascertain what their interest and testimony level really is. It’s a sticky problem. The wife really married “one” man. It was the husband who married other women. They don’t all live together but he does provide for all of them and the kids know their dad has other children and they are brothers and sisters and … See what I mean. Wow. I’m glad I’m not in that meeting. I feel sorry for the family and the mom who was really interested.  But we all talked about it and decided that we could not be responsible for denying them the choice of salvation verses security. The husband does provide for his family so if Mom divorced him she’d be giving up a lot—security and the nice house they reside in—but there are many people who give up just as much once they know the gospel is true. The Elders were tempted to just drop them but after speaking together we all came to the conclusion that only the family can make that kind of decision.

So, I stayed home and did some mending for Elder Smith and a bit of baking. It’s a warm day but a nice breeze is blowing and cooling things off nicely.

The men came home and reported that the family that I mentioned above received the news very well and all 4 of them understood and asked to continue the lessons. The mom told them she was the second wife and even when she married him she somehow knew it was wrong in the eyes of God. The Elders came out of the lesson feeling great. All the kids and the mom have read the passages the Elders underlined for them and Mom has already read to 2 Nephi 13… They spent the first part of their lesson responding to questions they had written down regarding the Book of Mormon. This is a prepared family. The Jrs were pretty excited about being able to continue to teach them.

Thursday brings a new adventure as well. We’re going out to Sabie so I can teach Seminary again. The Elders are going with us and then over to the Bethels to see what help they can offer them. They are the ones who own the second hand store where I have purchased a lot of bric-n-brack and our A/C. Since they are without a car they’ve had to think outside the box and rearrange their schedule. We moved the lesson to today due to our 45th wedding anniversary which is Friday. We’re going to go play!

ES and I had a memorable anniversary. I even remembered to take a few snaps of where we spent most of the afternoon. The place is called Casteridge Village or something like that but it reminded me of Gardner Village out in Midvale or that area at least. The shops were high end with lots of art galleries and specialty stores filled with handcrafted goods. There was even a chocolate maker who specialized in Belgium chocolate. We spent a bit of time there, as you can imagine. They have a thing called a “chocolate shot.” They have chocolate cups about 1” tall and 1/2” around that they fill with melted milk chocolate dripping from the huge chocolate fountain they have bubbling over with sweet goodness. Too bad it wasn’t dark chocolate but oh well, it tasted divine. Yeah, I had one. But only one.

We ate at a great restaurant called the Gum Treez and enjoyed an amazingly loud lightning storm and then walked in the rain to our car. It was a really romantic day—just like a 45th wedding anniversary ought to be.

Before we started our celebration we had District Meeting and I fixed breakfast. ES brought me home roses. They are super, super beautiful and unlike so many florist roses, these actually have some fragrance. Hmmm. I have pix.

I made crockpot breakfast casserole—the recipe from FaceBook and everyone but me loved it. I didn’t like my choice of Beef Sausage. It was GROSS… But everyone else enjoyed it and even went back for seconds. I had an entire crockpot left over—I made two. One big and one small as I never can judge how much one of those will serve so the small one went home with the Elders.  I even made chocolate and bran muffins—24 of each so there were even some of those left.

Saturday (today as I’m writing) we were surprised by the Elders who had a gift for us. Watch the video and you’ll see what they did. Needless to say, I cried and ES cried. He got to hug them and thank them… I can’t…boo hoo. But, I hugged them in my heart. These Jrs. are as close to my heart as any two men ever could be. I knew I was going on a mission but I didn’t know I was going to adopt two boys as well. Move over kids and make room for two more brothers! Trust me, you’ll love them as much as I do. Thanks MOMs for sharing your sons with US.

We are heading to Lydenburg to teach Calisto. He’s sharing his lunch break with us. He wants to be taught. He just came back from visiting his wife and baby. I hope we find all is well with him and his family.

After reading Facebook I learned that several of my friends and family need prayers sent their way or in behalf of others. Know this: we are praying for all of you and especially for those who need a bit extra sent their way. We only ask in return that you include us in your prayers. We really need to grow this branch. That is our goal. We need an entire congregation to join. Ones that will stay in Nelspruit and make our branch strong so this will be a Ward someday. With united prayers from us in South Africa and you in the States (or wherever you are) we can find those who are seeking… especially Father-lead families who will garner generations of righteous Africans to build up this part of the vineyard. It is ripe and ready to harvest and we are thrusting in our sickles but we need to do more. We need to hasten our work and run and not be weary…

Next week will be filled with the same busy schedule, I’m sure. On the 12th is Zone Conference so we’re leaving town on the 11th and staying at that great B&B we stayed before. I’ll keep everyone posted.

As you all count down towards Christmas, remember “The Gift” and think of Jesus Christ and how blessed we are. I hope all of you have running water and plenty of electricity. Right now, we only have electricity and it just came back on. This early morning we had scalding hot water in all our taps and even in the toilet… kinda interesting Sauna experience. Such a funny place.

When we arrived home after our very productive visit to Lydenburg (I even saw Baboons but we had no place to stop along the roadside so we could take pix and when we did the Baboons were gone) because we visited Caroline as well as Calisto. I got to hold a 3 month old baby girl. Really neat.

We got home in time for the Elders to go to a DA and for us to relax and to discover that we still had no water. After a few phone calls the caretaker came down and discovered that some unknown prankster had turned off our main… Yeah, it’s right out there at the bottom of our stairs out in the open so anyone could mess with it…  And I guess anyone did. Eeeeshhhh.

Sunday…We ended up sick with colds I’m sure curtesy of Elder Pulley… Yesterday we tried to fight them off but we both just got worse and worse as the day went on. We stayed home from church we feel so rugged. I’m posting this AS IS so I hope it’s okay… Enjoy.

 E’ya later.   (P.S. No monkeys and I have water)

This is the box that tells us how much electricity we have. We purchase how much we think we'll need then they give us a receipt with numbers on it. We go home and punch in those numbers... Yeah, for real

This (and sorry for the underlining and the blue can't figure out how to change it and yes, I've tried) is my table be
The above would not let me edit anymore... but my table before the meeting. With the plant the Weitsz gave us for our 45th anniversary.
Rapt attention to Elder Smith
/Elders teaching Brother and Sister Bethel. He has Alzheimers and is getting really bad. They are going to have to sell their store and move in with children... Sister Bethel is having a really hard time with that option. Great people. Strong members.

Here is a view of the strip mall we wondered around. It was raining while ES was taking this pix

Another view

The center of the Riverside Mall.  It is the largest mall in the area. That's a bear in that yellow ball. A tree!

I'm looking at Native American CD's I've heard this guy before selling his captivating music. I asked what a Native American Indian was doing in South Africa and he replied "selling my music" He sounded more Northern Mexico to me and his music sounded Inca or Aztec or Peruvian... Oh well. I left since he didn't want to conversate..


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