Monday, April 20, 2015

A few photos

Here are a few more photos that didn't quite make the deadline of yesterday... conveniently, ES forgot his cell phone as he left with the Jrs to teach out in Jerusalem. I'll caption these but I wanted to make excuses for some of the quality of the pix. As you know ES has two problems... His Vision and His Shaky Hands. Shhhh, don't tell him I mentioned it but I'll explain the photos so it should be fine.
I don't know who this is but it was such a nice photo... Could be Sister Grace, Sister Melody or Sister ???? Hmmm will check this out and get back to you...

This is Christine and Calisto's house with Simon in the back, Liny in yellow, their 3 children and Calisto with his head back. Christine is in the blue sweater.

Elder K, Elder L, Olgar, me and ES we are in front of Olgar's house. We just finished teaching her. I think she will want to be baptized. She is Zula and so beautiful and regal looking. All she needs is a crown.

ES took this in the dark relying on his night setting but... We are at the Masinga family home. I'll get a better photo next time.

The far right is Nolwazi, middle is Laheri and the left is Khetsewi at McDonalds. This is the very first time any of them had ever eaten at the Mac. I couldn't imagine there were teenagers who had never had a McDonalds... but there were all three. This was after Saturday Session of Conference.

We are teaching at Olgar's house (shack). I am sitting on her bed along with her. 
Elders reading and ES's selfie in the mirror! This gives you a better perspective of the size of her home. It is however, quite comfortable for a shack. She has electricity and a hot plate but no refrigerator.

This is a tuck shop. Just minutes after ES took this photo it opened for business selling colored popcorn, chips and sweets.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

chapter 33

 Chapter 33

We have officially passed our 8 month mark. Time is marching on.  Next month we will hit our “hump” day and will have been in mission ½ of our time or 9 months. We will speeding up our activity because time seems to speed up as you roll downhill.

This week has been filled with amazing events. I know, you say! Another amazing event! Sure! Well I’m not sorry to report but it has been another amazing week. The first of the week was spent trying to get ES back healthy again… Yes, again. This time it was a parasite. We bought some nuts from a street vendor a few weeks ago and apparently you should not do this. He got an intestinal parasite. Nasty buggers but easily killed with antibiotics. Thank Heavens for good drugs. So, he was doing a bit of resting and lots of feeling really lousy. He finally relented and went to the doctors after much nagging on my part. He has completed the course of meds and is completely cured…of both the parasite and of buying nuts from street vendors. Eish!

The rest of the week was spent teaching some pretty amazing people. We went to Lydenburg and taught Simon and Lindy and then when that amazing lesson was over we walked down the street and taught the Masinga family (I spelled it wrong in the last post) again and had dinner at their home. As the lesson concluded, each member bore their testimony about what they had been taught. We came out of there flying high on the Spirit.

The next day was Saturday so I taught Seminary with only 2 in attendance. It has been Easter vacation and that decimates schedules for everyone. But, two is better than none. Afterwards we took a detour to the mall to purchase pillows, blankets and a comforter for Calisto and Christine. When we were at the Masinga house they were both shivering from the cold. Esther was wrapped up nicely but I must admit it had gotten rather chilly. Neither Christine nor Calisto have much in the way of fat on them so their insulation level is rather sparse. They were freezing. Lydenburg is in the mountains and even occasionally snows. It had been raining off and on all day and the “shack” they live in was cold indeed. They had one cotton blanket to cover the bed and nothing else. So before our return, we bought them some warmer items.

Simon and Lindy have 3 children and are friends of Calisto and Christine. I am sure they are going to accept the challenge to be baptized in May. They have been to church several times and really understand the doctrine… so… we’re praying for them.

We didn’t get to Lydenburg until about 2 pm so we were only able to teach Christine who is anxious to be baptized on the 24th of April and then onto Margaret who is a friend of the Siguake family. She accepted the challenge to be ready for baptism on May 10th. We are excited for that one as well. She is a little quieter but when I first met her I thought she was already a member because of her comments in Relief Society. She has such a great spirit about her.

Today, (Monday) the Assistants to the President stopped by. They were delivering a new car to our Elders. It is just like our car. I’m glad they have a white one or we’d have a hard time telling the difference. Anyway, while they were here, we plead our case for a full-fledged independent Branch in Lydenburg. They have the Priesthood leadership, they have the member base and all the missionary contacts are member referrals. That’s amazing in and of its own self. They heard our pleas and promised to discuss it with the President but apparently he’s not the problem…it’s the Area Presidency. So Pray for Softened Hearts… either theirs or ours. Theirs if it is to be and our understanding if it’s not what Heavenly Father wants right now. Sigh.

Two days in Lydenburg, Seminary, teaching on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, overcoming my ear infection and battling ES and his illness, making 3 batches of cookies and feeding Elders makes me a little tired come Sunday. We went to church, taught lessons and then came home and crashed. We barely moved until dinner time. We invited the elders and I made a chicken stir-fry that all could eat. It was pretty good. After dinner, we chatted with the Swans until about 9 pm. They are a fun couple to hang out with. They had arranged to take a couple of women from their Branch who have lived here all their lives and have never been to Kruger or seen wild animals. They have been gone all day. I’m excited to hear how it went.

Today is now Monday and ES and the Jrs. have gone off to teach Tulane who is Sister Lorraine’s husband. I was scheduled to cut the Jrs. hair but I was so tired and they really needed haircuts so I paid this new barber shop to cut their hair. Elder K. really liked his new hair style.

Our power was turned off about an hour ago and will probably be off for another hour. Crazy. But, I must be grateful because in KaNyamazane they turn off the power every day at 6 and do not turn it on again until 5 the next morning. They also turn off the water 3 days a week. Talk about mistreating the poor. But alas, I digress. I am very grateful for the blessings and miracles that we have been privileged to be involved in. I was reading about Ammon the other night and I read about his “boasting” of God. I could really relate to his reveling.

this is exactly how I feel.

“My brothers and my sisters, behold I say unto you, how great reason ES and I have to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Utah that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?

And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?

Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren and sisters, the Lydenburgites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.”

“Yeah, I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God!”

Read Alma 26 for the full account.

Still no monkeys but I saw a bunch the other day… one large baboon ran across the street right in front of our car. I had to slam on my brakes. Eish!


Another week has past and I’m just getting my blog written. Hopefully, I can also post this today. We have been busy but we’ve also managed to squeeze in a bit of relaxation in the way of studying and eating out a bit.

Today, Sunday, we watched General Conference as we also did Saturday. On Saturday we had only President Manjate, President Maleka, the Jr. Elders, ES and I and Khetsiwe and Laherie…our two investigators. But, it was a great spiritual meeting. Sunday, we had more members and more investigators… some of our Lydenburg people. Christine is set for baptism next Sunday and we are super excited. We even made sure she had clothes to fit for the ordinance.

It was a wonderful experience to see Conference through the eyes of someone who has never seen the prophet (even on television) or heard the choir or even knew about them. Khetsiwe sat captured as the choir sang. And what an amazing choir the YSA afternoon session choir was???? We were stunned at the arrangement of their last hymn. Wow. The Nkosi girls were still talking about it today. We introduced the Nkosi sisters to the Masinga kids and they bonded instantly. All the girls sing and Syabonga plays for them. When it was time for them to go home we discovered them in the Primary room singing and playing. Laheri, Charity and Khetsiwe have all announced that they would like to be baptized but not until June. I’m not sure why that particular month but it will work time wise as they must attend church for about 3 months since Mom is not being baptized. I only hope they can continue to attend after we leave as transport around here is such a problem. Hopefully, Mom will attend more regularly and drive them.

With our chapel full of investigators—we had 8 not counting the children—I was sure glad to see the world wide church represented during the conference sessions. It was great to see Elder Sitati who I am assuming is African. (He sure sounded like all the other Africans around here) And the Councilor in the Bishopric who was from France, Gerald Causse. Not to mention those who spoke Spanish and the Asian Brother who said the Benediction. I loved it. As I mentioned previously, it is amazing to me how the Spirit transcends the time, and the method of viewing so that even when we are watching conference 2 weeks later via DVDs, we can still feel the testimonies, hear the truths taught and witness the transformation of lives as we and they heed the voices of our leaders.  

I also learned something from my daughter Christy. Well, in truth I have learned TONS of stuff from her but I’m going to speak of something specific… I have been sending out this blog now for nearly 9 months and relating some of the marvelous experiences we have been involved in. Several posts ago after I told of a miracle Christy wrote and said, “gee wiz Mom. Why are you so complacent when you are involved in miracles?” I really should erase the quotes since I did paraphrase her but that is the message I received from her comment. I said in my head, “She’s right. The things that are happening are miracles. I’m going to start recognizing them as such and telling my “fans”—you guys—that they are really miracles.”

I was so happy when one of the speakers, I think it was Elder Anderson, talked about the hand of God in our lives. ES and I have been wrapped around by the Lord’s miracles. This is an amazing place filled with people ready to hear the gospel—prepared even. I can see it. I hope I express my gratitude enough—and even then I know I will still be unprofitable—to my Father in Heaven for allowing me this season of my life to see the guardianship of His hands in the lives of my brothers and sisters and to be on the borders of their miracles.

Still no monkeys in my kitchen. Oh, and I should mention, The WEATHER has cooled down considerably. I even wore shoes to church and a sweater.
Sorry... not head but it is Elder K. He and Elder L celebrated their hump day last week. I made them mini cakes with rubber camels on top.  Can't figure out how to turn this photo so I guess you have to turn your head.

This is Khetsiwe celebrating her 18th birthday. I made cupcakes for the entire class. I couldn't find any matches so she is faux blowing out her candle.

the rest of the class

this is Elder Pulley. He and Elder X made a flag then challenged the Nelspruit Elders to do the same. So far nothing on this end....

I have a few more photos but I'll just post them as soon as I can grab the phone from ES...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Misc Photos

Here are a few photos I left off the other posts. They are just a few misc. items that I'll caption. Nothing huge just some fun ones.

this is a vegetable. We were given two of them while we were at church. No one knew what they are called or what to do with them. I put the knife by them to show the size. I boiled it, everyone tasted it and promptly spit it out! It tasted like a very watery cucumber with a squash texture. Eish!
The inside of the uh? Don't know what?

The Swan's Hump Day Cake. The Swan is crystal and the cake was green like a Hill being crossed... Get it?

Easter Bunnies for the missionaries
Our District meeting and singing "Happy Hump Day to YOU!"

Happy Hump Day!


chapter 32?


Chapter 32?

I know I am super late in posting this and have now combined a few weeks of information into this one post and the post titled 31 but those of you who know me know that I do not procrastinate but I do prioritize and blogging seemed to be low on my priority list this week. Alas, I have been sick again but at least I now know why I have been under the weather—I’ve had an ear infection brewing for over a month and last week it came to a head…well, inside my head that is. It seems this infection was internal and was causing my eardrum to bulge. And, I must add, it felt like it as well. I would have sworn someone was inflating a balloon inside my head. The pressure kept building until I couldn’t stand the pain running from the top of my cheek bone down to my jaw bone so I went to the Drs. on Friday and after 4 prescriptions I am starting to see my way clear and to de-inflate that pesky balloon.

But, I couldn’t put this to press without telling you of the miracle I witnessed today…or at least the end of the miracle begun in the preceding chapter. When I say end, I don’t really mean end as it is really just the beginning.

Here goes—be prepared as it is lengthy and amazing all at the same time. The young woman who approached ES when he was leaving Calisto’s house last week had invited the missionaries over to their house and they went without us on Tuesday while we visited with the Bethels and the Weitsz in Sabie and discovered that the “group” isn’t so much a group as it is a family. The Masinger family consisting of Dad, Mom, 4 daughters and one son. Dad was at work when they went there but he called the Jrs. on the phone and told them he was happy to have them in his home to teach and looked forward to meeting with them as well.

Well, we were pretty happy to hear about this family but when the Jrs. told us of the next scheduled appointment we reminded them that we couldn’t go again because it conflicted with Seminary as it was at 12 on Saturday which is when Seminary ends…or there about and remember Lydenburg is about 2 hours away. We were both saddened by the news. But, as the week progressed and I got sicker we decided it was probably for the best.

But, on Saturday, as I was already feeling better, ES and I decided that after Seminary we would drive out and show Christine (Calisto’s wife) the video, “Families Can Be Together Forever.” When we had almost arrived at Lydenburg, ES called the Jrs. to see where they were and they were at the Masinger home which was just down the block from Calisto and Christine’s. So, we drove there just in time for the end of the lesson. After all the introductions were made, ES asked if they would like to see the video too. They said they did. It is really long for a missionary video but it held there attention and even made me cry a bit. It really made me miss my children and grandchildren… Oh well.

At this point, I think I will introduce the family. Evelyn is the Mom. Peace is the oldest daughter coming in at 20. Pearl is next and I believe about 17. Syabongna is the son and is 15, then there are two younger daughters whose names escape me but they are 7 and 6. Syabongna, which means “thank you” plays the keyboard for his sisters who sing amazingly.

Well, after the video, ES asked the family, one by one, what they thought of the video and Peace said, “I am at a loss for words. I am so excited that you have come into my life and the lives of my family. I believe we have found what we have been searching for.” Each person said something similar. Mom, Evelyn, added. “I have prayed for this all my life.”

The Holy Ghost was so strong in this humble room of cinder block and exposed beam ceiling while we sat on borrowed chairs testifying to each other about the truth of the gospel that you could almost reach out and touch Him. Then the girls sang while Syabongna played the beautiful accompaniment. Joy filled my heart as I saw the Savior and the important role he has played in this families lives.

But, before I leave this family, I must add a few details. As I walked into the room for the first time in my life, I was greeted by each person in the traditional African handshake but then Peace hugged me and said, “I love you already for bringing the truth into my life.”

So, ES asked Peace to tell the enlarged story of how we came to be there and what happened the day she approached ES. It seems that she was in the house studying with her sister when this restlessness overcame her. She said to Pearl, “I have to get out of here. Come with me to the shop to buy a soda.”

To get to the Tuck Shop (which is a weird version of NY’s bodegas and a super small 7-11) they had to pass Calisto’s. They first noticed the nice car parked in front of his house and wondered why a car with license plates from the Joburg area would be there but then walked on past toward the tuck shop. (All license plates have the Provence initials on the plates similar to our State designations.) On the way back with their sodas the girls were passing just as the Elders were leaving Calisto and Christine’s and a voice said, “go ask the old man to teach you.” She stopped for a second and notice the “old man” and the young men. She thought they were selling something or arranging for something so she said something to her sister about what she had heard but Pearl was more afraid than Peace was so they kept walking toward home. Peace however, was bothered by her choice to walk by so she stopped and the voice said, “Do not be afraid. Go and ask them to teach you.”

Telling her sister only made Pearl more afraid so she practically ran home but Peace gathered her courage and approached ES.

ES asked her today what she thought of the incident and she said, “God was directing me to find you so we could learn how we are supposed to live so we can live with Him again.”


One more detail. Evelyn told me they were coming to church tomorrow. All of them. They have no car but they have arranged for transport so they can attend church.

And just for ducks, one more miracle to report. Debbie who we have been teaching for some time now and has made no progress at all decided that she wanted to attend her church last Sunday and canceled her appointment with us for a lesson. We figured that would be the last time we would hear from her but while ES was in Spar on Tuesday, Debbie approached him and set an appointment for Thursday at 6. I had been feeling okay that day so it worked out well. It seems, so Debbie told us earlier that day, that when she went to church where she hadn’t been for over a year, she had the worst time ever! The sermon didn’t make any sense to her. She actually fell asleep (now I know that really doesn’t mean a lot but we won’t tell her that) and she came out of there feeling flat or dead as she related. All she could think of was, she should have keep her appointment with us. I have to say, it was the best lesson we have ever had with her and the Holy Ghost was finally with us while we taught.

So, still no monkeys in my kitchen, but with all the miracles we been having I’d even take those if that is what it took.

The Masinga family plus Bro. Admire, Christine and Elder L

Elders with Olga, another Lydenburg investigator

Syabonga, who is 15, and plays by ear. I'm giving him a hymnal and hymns made easy books

Peace. She is the one who approached ES.

Pearl, she's reading a poem about the Savior

Christine, another of my newly adopted children and Esther... a new grandchild. Welcome to the family!

I'm going with Chapter 31... OK? good!

Chapter 31?

I’m starting this post off with a complaint and a gratitude expression. It is back to really hot again. And of course, Nelspruit and Tzaneen are the two hot spots of the mission. It is supposed to be in the high 80-91 all week long. It cools down to high 70’s at night but that’s not really cool to me. But, (now the gratitude part) we have our A/C on so our living room is pleasantly pleasant. You can’t hear anything because of the volume of the fan but I will put up with that in sake of coolness.

I baked cowboy cookies and rolls today so the kitchen is a bit hot but the living room is ok. I’ve been assigned to decorate the tables, make a salad, make rolls and make cowboy cookies for next Saturday’s RS birthday party. The cookies and the rolls went into the freezer. I still must make 1 more batch of rolls as I did not have enough yeast for a double batch and I do not have a bowl big enough to make a double batch. As it was, I had to use my large pasta/veggie sized pot to raise the dough.

ES wanted me to tell about an interesting experience he had the other day. Friday was our district meeting. Due to me being sick most of the week, we decided to eat breakfast at McDonalds. Since ES is on the rather restrictive diet he doesn’t do McDonalds so he ate at home and while we were eating he went across the parking lot to Mopani Pharmacy and Spar Grocery store to pick up a couple of things we needed. As he was walking out, pushing the trolley (cart for all you Yanks) he passed a man who was adjusting things in his own trolley as if he were going to leave it where he had stopped and just grab the few grocery bags he had and carry those. So, ES pushed his trolley beside the man and took his small bag from the trolley and started to walk away. Suddenly, ES heard this man yelling very loudly. He kept walking as he really couldn’t understand what the man was saying as he was yelling in Afrikaans. But, a few more feet away, ES decided that the man was yelling at him! He turned around and asked calmly, “Are you yelling at me?”

“Yes, I am you *!@#*! You blocked me in!” He was yelling so loudly that a crowd including the security team had gathered around him.

”Did I? I am so sorry,” ES said as he walked back toward the man. “Let me move my cart, then. I really apologize for being so inconsiderate. May I ask your forgiveness?”

The rather large man looked up at ES and then offered his hand. “No, I’m sorry. You really taught me something. I need to be more humble.”

They shook hands and ES moved the cart out of the man’s way.  The man repeated, “I have learned a valuable lesson today. I need to more humble.”


Truly amazing!

Another amazing thing happened the other day while the Elders were in Lydenburg. In case you didn’t know or you’ve just forgotten, Lydenburg is nearly 2 hours away from us. It is in our Branch boundaries but still, that’s a long way to drive. The entire trip takes about ½ of our day. So when we go there we like to teach as many as we can and lately, there’s been many to teach.

At first, you know, we were only teaching Calisto. There is no one as missionary minded (besides missionaries that is) as a recent convert and that is Calisto all the way! So, now that Calisto has been baptized we are teaching his wife, and his co-worker Olga, and his co-worker Simon and Simon’s wife Lindy … and then there is the nanny/housekeeper of the Sigauke’s, Margaret and Brother Sigauke’s work friend Piet and his wife, Portia who asked if a friend of theirs could sit in on the lesson as did Christine since she invited her neighbor… The list is just growing and we are soooooooo happyyyyyyy!

But, here is another miracle.

I stayed home from Lydenburg because there was not enough room in the car for me. ES insisted on taking out 2 chairs for Calisto and Christine and they won’t fit in the trunk (boot). So I stayed home and worked on RS stuff, lesson stuff for our ad hoc institute and Seminary class and let the fourth seat go to the chairs. Well, just before the lesson, the Elders were standing outside when a young woman about 20 or so walked past them on the street. She turned around slowly and approached Elder Scott saying, “I wasn’t going to ask. In fact, I’m a little afraid but as I passed you I had the strongest feeling that I should stop and ask you a question. I belong to a group of people who are looking for a shepherd to teach about the scriptures and Jesus Christ. Would you be available to help us?” Well, ES couldn’t write her name and number down fast enough!

But, when the lesson was over, Calisto said: “I will go and check that girl out and see if we can help her!”

We haven’t heard yet what Calisto discovered but wouldn’t that be cool if we could teach an entire group of youth in Lydenburg. I promised them a group but I think I should have promised them a branch!

Today, (Thursday) ES and I went to our building and decorated for the RS birthday party. Our A/C unit stopped working in our building and due to our impending move, they are not fixing anything. It has been extremely hot here. 91⁰ but 120⁰ inside. The humidity was low until the cloud cover moved in and then boy did it heat up. Both ES and I were soaked with sweat! However, the tables looked nice when we were done.

We were so wet that when we stopped at Cicada for lunch, the servers were teasing me because I looked like I had put my head in water! Her words, not mine! I downed 2 classes of ice water and 2 sodas before I had lunch. Hot!

Praying for coolness! Should happen soon! Of course, I’ve been saying this all month and wowza! It got hotter! Supposed to be 63⁰ on Saturday. Yes!

On Saturday Nelspruit Branch celebrated our 173 Relief Society Birthday! It was a great day with lots of laughter, learning and food. Kinda like RS is supposed to be! Sadly, we had few in attendance but that never stops sisters from having a great time.

Afterwards, we cleaned the building. The great thing with it being our turn to clean was we had so many helpers who stayed after the event and cleaned. The building looked so nice when the event was over.

Of course, before the RS event, I taught Seminary. Always such a great joy for me to teach my Seminary girls. We learned about UNITY!  We learned that we must be one or we are not the Lords. We were able to put that lesson into practice when the Young Women were asked to do the dishes along with the Sisters. At first they didn’t want to (cause who really does want to wash dishes?) but then when I reminded them about being ONE and working together in Unity they quickly went in and helped wash and dry dishes.

Ah, the beauty of repentance. And sometimes, we just need to be reminded.

That’s why I’m so glad that this week is Easter week and conference week. We won’t watch conference as a Branch until we receive the CDs in the mail but ES and I will watch much of it on the internet. It still carries the same spirit and the same messages no matter where and no matter when we get to see it. So, yes, we are anxiously waiting to hear the messages from our leaders and to remember that He Lives!

Watch the video on Great presentation.

We did get a report from Calisto regarding the story of the girl who approached ES about wanting a shepherd. Calisto met with the group, (he didn’t say how many there were) but they had a song and a prayer and asked lots of questions of Calisto. He feels very confident that they would be very receptive to having missionaries. We are going to try to go out this week and visit with them to assess the circumstances. Wouldn’t that be cool to teach an entire group of people who are seeking? Sounds like some of the early pioneer stories… Oh yeah, this is kinda like those times… Just a different country. Wow! We are so blessed to be part of this great work.

Still happy and busy teaching.  Still no monkeys in my kitchen.

Elder Kankkunen and Elder Lea Atoea at McDonalds, of course

Christine and Esther in their home. She is committed to baptism on April 26
3 we are teaching

Tulane, who is Sister Lorraine's husband. She joined 2 years ago. We are teaching him now.

Calisto, Christine, Esther and their neighbor

An apartment in the Lydenburg Township
Relief Society Birthday Party decorations


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