Monday, January 12, 2015

Chapter 22. Officially we've been in mission 5 months!

Chapter 22:

It is now Wednesday. This blog will be short as I just posted week 21… Wow, the time is really flying. We received our new Elder last night. The Swan’s prepared a wonderful ham and cold salad dinner. It is back to being HOT and HUMID again although today has been cooler than the last 4 days with a nice wind blowing through the flat which cools things down considerably.

Our new Elder is from Finland. Yes, he’s a strapping Scandinavian in all regards. He actually makes ES and Elder Smith look tiny… okay, short at least. His name is Kankuunnen, (check spelling). Today has been what he deemed his “sponge” day. There is so much to learn when you are transferred to a new area. His old area was dry and brown compared to this lush green and wet area so he’s thrilled about his new scenery. We are looking forward to getting to love him better.

Certainly we miss Elder Ah Wong but that is the reality of the life of a missionary. We really never experienced this in New York with working part-time in the office we still saw the missionaries no matter where they served. Only when they went home did our heart strings get tugged to the point of breaking. The transfer of Elder Ah Wong has been a new experience for this old woman. L

I am focusing on Seminary now. I begin teaching January 17, 2015. It will be Doctrine and Covenants & Church History. A great course if it’s anything like the last time I taught it which was so long ago there must be new information that has come about by now!

It looks like I will have 5 students which seems like a small class until you consider that it is 5 more than they have ever had in Nelspruit. The class will only be once a week which means the students will have to do 4 days of home-study. These are sharp kids who will revel in this learning. I’m so looking forward to this.

ES and the Jrs. are out teaching. We have a lesson at our flat tonight at 8 pm with Portia, one of our students who went home to Bush Back Ridge for the holidays. I’m so excited that she has returned and wants to continue with the lessons. She has even been to church which is an established criterion for continuing to teach investigators: If you cannot commit to come to church while you’re learning about the gospel chances are you will not keep the covenants you’ve made if you are baptized… Just a fact of life.

OK! So I just listened to the Lone Peak Ward Christmas CD… NO, we haven’t received it in the mail…that might happen around Easter LOL but I was able to download it from the RS newsletter. It was wonderful.

We had a great lesson with Portia who also brought her roommate and friend. We were able to give her some council regarding her problem which turned out to be a misunderstanding only. I think it will resolve itself without too much ado. The lesson was an introduction for Portia’s friend whose Zulu name is quite long and which I’ve already forgotten.  She’s a cute girl with lots and lots of curly hair. Almost all of the women here wear their hair very short—even shaved and then wear braids with artificial hair or wigs in every variety conceivable. Portia has braids and I’m sure her friend had on a wig. Believe me; I’m tempted to shave my hair too but not wear a wig… By listening to Elder Kankkunnen teach we got to know him a bit better as well.

This afternoon we went grocery shopping for a few needed items. While we were there at Spar Debbie from the Mugg & Bean came up to us. She looked so much healthier and she was not wearing her patch. She hugged me and told us that she’d gone to a specialist who has helped her a great deal. She can see about 50% now. She said it was a miracle! Yay! I believe it was. So while speaking with her, she confirmed an appointment and then went on to ask a few questions. We answered them and basically had a 30 minute lesson in the grocery store.

It’s the oddest thing… the Mugg & Bean opens out into the check stands (tills) of the Spar Grocery Store. It’s not like being at Wal-Mart and walking into a Subway or a McDonalds… it’s an actual restaurant with separate entrances and the like whose back door is a railing that boarders the store. You can sit at your table and keep an eye on all the shoppers. It’s strange no matter how you look at it. We were, however, happy to see Debbie and happier still to teach her some things that will help her.

Saturday we are going to Lydenburg to visit with Calisto with a Sabie stop to do our home teaching. We have all the outlying people. Last week, our sister from Hazyview moved to Joburg. She lived in the house the elders stained for her if you remember seeing those photos. It was sad to see her go. I lost one of my Sunday school and Seminary students. We’ve a busy weekend so I’ll keep you posted with all of our investigators progress.

Our meeting with Calisto was amazing. Let’s just say that he is a Platinum investigator: he reads everything he can, prays always, sings songs of praise to Heavenly Father for finding the truth and has changed his life to align it with the Gospel of Christ. His work just prevents him from going to church enough times to qualify for baptism. He told us something appalling but quite realistic in this country where apartheid is still alive. Whenever we come and visit Calisto’s bosses assign him more work to do and longer hours because of “white people associating with a black man.” It was super noisy at the Spur and quite distracting with the TVs on and children running around and the normal hustle and bustle of a restaurant.  

Around 2:00 pm on Sunday after the smallest attended Sacrament meeting ever, we met with Debbie. She was really prepared and asked lots of questions. We, of course, had lots of answers. She left wondering if what we told her—cause what we told her, she said, was different than what any other minister or pastor has told her—just might be true. She wasn’t into absolute truth yet but she liked what we taught her—mostly the Plan of Salvation—and actually hoped it was true. Sound like Alma 32? Yeah, we thought so too.

But I have to say it is the first investigator lesson where I was asked if I could serve a cup of coffee. When I told her I did not have any and offered her Rooibos tea instead. She said, “No, but if I could have a cup of boiling water I can make my own.” She whipped out a little bag of coffee and some cream and made herself a cup. I daresay a missionary lesson has never smelled so good. I’m just glad we weren’t teaching the word of wisdom.

So, now it’s 400 degrees outside, my A/C is running noisily along and the Elders have all gone to teach a couple more lessons. We have one more single female lesson to teach here in our flat at 7 pm. I’ve got a chocolate cake in the oven and we are having ES’s favorite dinner… Mince (ground beef patties) mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. I’ll also add carrots and rolls then we’ll top it off with a chocolate cake with white glaze…

It has still not rained…all week we have been waiting for it…so the temperatures are pretty much Phoenix without stream but some humidity so thankfully the A/C is dropping the temps in my little flat. Otherwise, ES would not be getting a cake and his investigator wouldn’t have gotten cookies. Looking towards next week our schedule is filling up. I’m glad I have a new planner to keep my life orderly… oh, wait… I haven’t written anything down yet. I will do it Just Now… Remind me to explain that to you all…

Still no monkeys and finally, our ants are gone.


Calisto, Elders and me in front of the Pizza store where the Elders first bumped into Calisto. In case you've forgotten the story, ES went to buy pizza to take to a family but the Elders (Smith and Ah Wong) decided to go outside and contact passersby. Calisto was on his way to work and saw the Elders and said, "Hey I know your church. I want to start to learn again." He's been amazing ever since.

Elder Kankkunnen and Elder Smith sitting at the counter in our flat. Nice guy and pretty funny as well.

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