Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nothing but Pix

Here's the promised photos.
Decorations for ES Birthday

his B'day pie

going to Kruger for all the birthday boys... 2 jrs. & 2 Srs.

A Water Buck... first time seeing one of these beauties

Today's first siting of elephants

they kept on coming

or going as the case may be

giraffes a'plenty

more elephants... lots more

and more

and more

and more

but the cutest of them all. Mom kept trying to hide her baby

they turned their backs on us. Camera shy, maybe
water buffalo... saw a herd of these big guys...

a few cookies... made 119

wrapped 4 in a bag with a tag

28 packages at days end

going to be new members. From far left: Khetsewi, Pearl, Laheri, Evelyn, Peace (holding Elder K's photo) and Olgar... a Zulu princess.

Lindewi giving Laheri a hug... she will be baptized in July, Stephen is on the end

ES, baptized them all.

finally, all 8. Syabogna on the end. Along with Elder Edyouch
Elder L on the other end. My Ipad would not fit them all in.

The Nkosi girls. Charity, Khetsewi, Angeline, Laheri. Amazing how Khetsewi can make a baptismal jumpsuit look good. She wanted to be a model and was even approached by a company until we discouraged her... Not a good profession for a new member.

Charity was not ready for baptism but has now decided to be ready for July

Nelly: A cute girl from the Branch

this lizard was found trying to come into church. Lizard Man came and rescued him and us. They bite.

Bridget and the lizard...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

chapter 36 with a promise of more pictures to come

Chapter 36


It’s June and the locals were right. It is COLD! Well, not Utah winter cold but surely, California Cold. However, in Joburg last week it was 4⁰ Celsius which is cold in any reading. We are having 43⁰ nights and 63⁰ days which is perfect for me. I can wear my winter clothes! Yay! I was able to wear black tights, a winter dress with my black jacket and real shoes… like boots… today. But, it is kinda funny to watch my seminary girls come to class with snow-type clothing on. I tease them and they think I’m nuts not to be cold in 70⁰ weather. LOL!

It has been wonderful to actually be cold. We had to pull out this super fuzzy and cuddly warm blanket last night. ES even slept underneath it. Yay! Yay! Yippee! Yay!

I’m actually just trying to be an equal opportunity reporter here since I complained so much about the heat and the humidity I thought I’d mention the cold. Just saying.

Now, on to some really exciting news. We have 8 people committed for baptism on June 21st. Yup! 8. We are so excited. They need prayers so Satan doesn’t interfere with this plan. Those who are committed are two of the Nkosi girls—Khetsiwe and Laheri—the Masinga family: Mom, Peace, Pearl, and Siyabongna, Olgar and Steven who is one of our recent from Lydenburg. He is a great guy who just stumbled into one of our lessons in Christine’s yard.

Some more good news. Christine and Calisto have moved to a new neighborhood. Now, they have a larger place but still only one room. But, really it is much nicer and twice the size of their last place. But when we visited them Saturday, it was so cold in the place that they both had winter ski hats on, warm jackets and still shivered from the temperatures. Lydenburg is much colder than Nelspruit. I was glad I had worn real shoes, tights and a jacket. Next week, if it’s still cold, I’ll take my winter coat.

Also, Calisto blessed the sacrament for the first time today. We were so proud of him. He also bore his testimony. We had a marvelous testimony meeting today. The President had to stand and shut it down at ½ past 10 due to the many people who wanted to share their feelings. It was really a treat to hear the humble testimonies of so many of our members and newly converted friends—three non-members also offered their testimonies.

I’m fixing dinner for the Elders tonight. The branch invites them for dinner occasionally but sadly, sometimes when they do, they cancel which messes up their entire day. Last week, they left a meeting earlier than they wanted so they could go to a dinner appointment only to be half-way there and get a phone call canceling the DA. All their appointments canceled today. But, I will feed them and we will laugh and have fun.

A bit of sadness. One of our members was playing rugby yesterday afternoon (Human Kruger who had serious hopes and consideration for playing professional—He’s a very large young man) when he was slammed in a scrum and had his shoulder seriously dislocated—like out of the socket and wrapped around his back dislocated! He was rushed to the hospital (an hour and ½ away) where his mom called his Home Teacher, ES, to come and give him a blessing.  We are all afraid that it will be the end of his aspirations. The team he was trying out for will not want the risk of another injury like that. But his mom was secretly overjoyed as she’s hoping this will turn his head and heart around to serving a mission. I hope so too. `

Today, Monday the 7th of June, we drove to Pilgrim’s Rest, an old mining town similar to the towns of Jamestown in California or really, really pre-success Park City, to pick up a table cloth I had made for me. Last January 1st, when Elders Ah Wong and Smith went with us on a road trip I talked to a woman by the name of Lucy about her beautiful tablecloths. I told her they were all too small for my table at home. She told me she would make one for me. Last Friday she called telling me that she had made me a 5 meter long tablecloth and if I would come out and look at it she would tell me how much it would be. Last January, I only told her the size and the colors of my kitchen/dining room at home.

So, today we drove out there—it’s about 1 ½ from us—and when I saw the cloth I was blown away! It is so beautiful. It is hand painted… stenciled actually. I love it. 5 meters is really long but I think it will be perfect for my table when it is fully extended with the addition added to it. I consider it a piece of art. The ride was worth it.

Not only did I get a beautiful tablecloth but we had a missionary discussion as well. Last January when we were there the Jrs. gave her a Book of Mormon. This time her husband was there with her. While I waited for Lucy to get the tablecloth her husband asked—ES was looking at the other vendors around the corner – “Are you the one who gave my wife that bible?”

I said yes, probably, but was it a Book of Mormon, maybe? He said it was. He went on to tell me that he had been reading it and had some questions. He asked who wrote it. Did prophets? Of course I told him they did. He asked about the name of the church and if we baptized by immersion. He asked when and where we met as a church. I don’t really expect to see them in Nelspruit but when Lydenburg is opened, we’ll go invite them to church.

Today is Thursday. Tomorrow is ES’s Birthday! He will be 67 years old. He’s kinda liking turning that age and for why we can’t figure out. He just likes the numbers. Just sounds old to me and wow did I feel my age yesterday.

But back to my day today. I baked another pumpkin pie—using my last 1/3 cup of shortening I might add. I also had to make my own pumpkin puree. Wow! We really don’t know how easy we have it. I at least did not. But, I’m out of the pumpkin puree business for a long time. The pies really taste great but I wonder? Are they really worth it?

Here’s what I did the day before that nearly took me to my knees feeling my age… oh, my aching back, feet and shoulders… well really all of me.

At about 11: am, Elder Swan called and wanted me to critic the paintings he had done for Sister Maleka. He painted from some poorly taken photos paintings of both Brother Maleka and Sister Maleka. He brought them down and after a few dozen oohs and ahhs, I had him make a few tiny corrections. She hadn’t had her eyebrows painted on when he took the photo of her but she always wears them—most always anyway. He left and I began making roll dough at about 12:00 right after the Elders left to teach people. I do not have a large enough bowl to hold dough beyond 5 cups so I decided to use 2 bowls making ½ the recipe in each bowl. While just beginning my project, Sister Maleka called asking if she could stop by. Sure. We just visited. It was after 1 when she left. I started making my roll dough again and while it was raising—in my bedroom where the sun shines quite nicely all day long—I pulled the chilled butternut squash from the refrigerator. I had cut it up into manageable sections and boiled it also in two pans as I do not have one pan large enough to do much—I guess they figure 2 Seniors—how much can they cook?—the night before. So, anyway, I began peeling the orange away from the green… yep, the pumpkins here are green. I have seen some small orange ones but only around Halloween time which they do not celebrate. I guess they import them for us Yanks. So, here I am cutting away this flesh from the green skin which is usually eaten along with the orange flesh ‘cause this is served almost at every meal and offered at every restaurant and, after about 30 minutes, I end up with a huge bowl of orange pumpkin. Now, at home I would put this in my Cuisinart and puree the stuff into pulp. Well, not having one of those here, I thought I’d just sieve it. Well, I don’t have a sieve either so I put my metal colander into a bowl, dumped a spoonful of pumpkin yuk into the colander and, using a ladle, I smushed it through the holes of the colander. After about 45 minutes and a lot of mess I had the pumpkin separated from the stuff with fibers in and the smooth puree just like you’d find in a can. And I had way more than I needed to make a pumpkin pie.

After I finished with my pumpkin mess… now mind you, I do not have hot water in my kitchen so I must carry hot water from my bathtub to my kitchen sink so I can do dishes… I checked my roll dough and it was wonderfully raised. I punched it down and kneaded it once. It was ready to raise again. At about 4:30, my friends, the Weitzs stopped by for a visit. I couldn’t stop what I was doing as I had begun rolling out the dough into shapes. They watched as I worked.

I had tried that Crazy Cake recipe from FB and it was really good (I baked that in between things) so we ate cake, talked and laughed until about 5:30… after which I finished baking the rolls (4 pans full) and got ready for Institute which starts an hour early now due to the winter weather and darkness of the time.

During all that time I had not sat down once. My feet were killing me. My back started to ache while I was teaching Institute—Jacob 5—and while we were watching an old Seminary DVD I downloaded from the church website. I highly recommend it if you have questions about the allegory of the olive vineyard.

ES brought home KFC for after class and wow was it a welcomed treat. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. After I teach class we always eat then take the girls home. We left about 8:30 and got home about 9. Really tired. I felt so old.

In fact as I began to get up from the couch to prepare to take the girls home, one of them asked, “So is it really true that as you get old you start to ache?” Ah, yeah! Eish. Pretty bad when these 19 year olds can see the bones jarring when I move.

So, today, I bought decorations and stuff for the RS enrichment lesson that we no longer call enrichment except here in South Africa that I must teach on Saturday immediately after I teach Seminary. I came home and began my pumpkin pie only to discover I do not have a recipe for the filling. I said to myself, no prob… I’ll look it up on the trusty internet… No dice. Down. All Day! So, trying to search my memory for my recipe in my very own computer brain I winged it. I nearly forgot the sugar. Would that have been awful? Eish.

But, I had so much pumpkin that I made the pie (which looks great btw) and pumpkin muffins after adapting a banana bread recipe I had, decorated with balloons and banners and streamers, did laundry, ate Chinese food at the only place in town while reading my Kindle and cleaned the house a bit.

Still no internet and that means no Netflix tonight. ES and the Jrs. are in Lydenburg. I expect them back in another hour. They left extra early so they could stop in Sabie as it is Sister Bethel’s birthday today. I sent them with cupcakes. Brother Bethel is not doing very well. I hope he lives until we go home. I don’t want to attend a funeral.

If I live through the next few days I’ll catch you up with all the events of the upcoming fun-filled Friday and Saturday.

Well, ES’s birthday was rather enjoyable and a great diversion from the responsibilities of a mission. Not that we really need one but change is often a refreshing alternative. We found him a new pair of running shoes…we looked all over for Adidas but not one of the 20 pairs he tried on fit him comfortably. He’s back in Asics. We took in a movie: Avengers—Rise of Ultron or something like that title. Really great flick. My kinda show. ES’s also. Then we ate at an Italian restaurant where ES had a 4 cheese pizza. Probably the best in SA.

The next week flicked on by with me being deathly ill. If I were in the states, I’d say I had a severe cold but here in SA it was termed the flu. Everything is the flu no matter what the symptoms or the severity. I never left the house until Saturday and that was to teach Seminary and then home again and back to bed. Sadly, ES now has it. He’s going to the doctors tomorrow due to his always turns into some kind of upper respiratory infection or another so he’ll recover rapidly after he’s on drugs.

But!!!! Here is the greatest news of all. Today, being Sunday and Father’s Day at that was the record setting baptismal event of Nelspruit. Yep! 8 new members as of today. 2 from Nelspruit and 6 from Lydenburg (still no word of the status of the Lydenburg Branch) with each one bearing their testimonies afterward. ES did a great job with all the names and the sizes of people. Olgar was the toughest as she panicked trying to get up. Then ES pronounced her name incorrectly so she had to do it again. She was so happy that she doesn’t have to do that again. I’m not sure we’ll see her signing up for Temple baptisms any too soon. She is deathly afraid of water… three of the girls were terrified but they all did great.

During the baptism service, our car was victimized. Yep, burglarized right in the church parking lot. This is still our old building which is not in the best of areas but still. The thieves will really be surprised with their take. The Nkosi girls went downstairs to change… they took their bags and stuff and put it in our car. The thieves (there were 2 of them according to Sister Louise who saw them hanging around the car) must have watched them place their backpacks in the car and waited until they had gone into the alley way where the bathrooms are located. One kept watch and the other smashed in the window with his foot. The glass was not broken just smashed in. All they took was Khetsewi’s bags. It had her lotion and a clean pair of underpants along with her scripture bag. Maybe they will repent when they discover their haul. LOL!

I called the police and after 2 hours and the end of the meeting we left. We’ll just get the window replaced tomorrow (hopefully) and carry on. We are so excited about our new building. It has fences with gates and such all around the grounds. So much of a better area.

We had a great luncheon and Father’s Day Celebration. I made bags filled with cowboy cookies for all the Dads, and two of the other Sisters made photo cubes for all the Dads. Really nice day. I also made 72 cupcakes and a large potato salad. We had lots of food and lots of people. Our average attendance the last few months has been in the 80s. Of course, this will taper off a lot when Lydenburg leaves us but this is just the beginning of the growth of Nelspruit Branch.

Feeling particularly blessed today. I have never been called an angel before and both ES and I were likened to angels. Kinda nice.

Just another little side note… You know how people tease those in Seattle about having one day of summer? Well, I think that’s winter in Nelspruit. I am wearing tights and more wintery clothing but the cold has gone and it’s just CA nice weather. Oh well. At least it is not hot.

The power has been off for just minutes shy of 2 hours. I had just started to cook dinner when they shut it off. I’m ready to cook and eat now. Not much of a Father’s Day dinner for those of us who didn’t prepare cold foods.  Yay! Power just powered on! Gotta Go Cook! And eat!


Was already to post this to my blog when the power turned off again. 5 o’clock on the dot. So I’ll try again tomorrow. Still sick after one day of being well. Went to the doctors today and discovered that I have contracted a parasite most likely from eating a salad at the restaurant in Kruger. Will NEVER eat a salad again while on mission. ES got food poisoning from one and I’ve been trying to die all week long because of one! Lesson learned. No more restaurant salads.

ES also went to the doctors regarding his stuffy nose and he has 3 infections: an eye infection, an upper respiratory infection and prostatitis again. What a sad state of affairs. We are both just sick enough that we don’t want to do anything about anything. Hopefully, the wonderful medicines we have begun taking will edge us out of this blah.

Still had the most marvelous day yesterday watching 8 people’s lives change. So very blessed to see great things transpire. Despite the power outages, the toxic salads, the water outages, (I have hot water again thanks to Elder Swan and ES) the short winter and the car burglaries (which I personally know happen in the best of areas) I am happy to be serving the Lord and being included in these miracles. After all, what’s a miracle if it’s not someone being baptized? I rest my case.

teaching Stephen in his house. He was one of the 8 baptized

teaching at Stephen's with Lindy and children

my tablecloth

Elders teaching Prosperity

Our little Birthday party for ES

ES's Birthday Chicken Cake!

his gift

says "W Scott Dad of the year"

The Bethels... Poor Derrek

cleaning our flower gardens at our new church building

our  smashed window at our  old building

Friday, June 5, 2015

Published! At last!!!!!

Chapter 35 but this week is our HUMP day…May 11th! YAY! But boo hoo too

We’ve made it one day past our hump day and lived to write about it. Also, it was transfer time. We lost Elder Kankkunen to a place near Pretoria. He is now a District Leader there. Elder L is still our DL and he has a new companion who is from Micronesia… Wherever that is. At this point we have yet to meet him.

Elder Scott and I did our usual shopping and out to lunch yesterday to celebrate our eventful day… In other words it was pretty much business as usual. It seems awfully quiet without the Jrs. around. They left yesterday afternoon to make the 4 hour drive to Johannesburg. They will return this evening expecting a ham dinner. Elder Swan called us about 4 pm and said, “Guess what? The power is off so I can’t cook dinner until it comes back on.” It is usually off for 2 hours. So I will cook the ham for him when it comes on and we will eat at 7 ish. I am positive the Elders will be starved by then.

We just heard that Sister Swan is not doing too well. We pray for her all the time. She is having such bad ear issues. She has lost all the hearing in her right ear and now she has ringing in her left. It is so bad that it also affecting her vision. It started with her balance but that has gotten a little better but she is compensating so much for it we’re not sure if she is better or just used to being dizzy. It is very sad and we do not know what we will do if they need to send the Swans home.

Last Sunday, Mother’s Day, we had 15 investigators at church. Some of them were even from Nelspruit area. We are working hard to grow our Branch before they separate it off with Lydenburg. I am still working on the proposal and I cannot finish it until I get the last names… or surnames as they say here…from Elder L who collected them all last week. Hopefully, the proposal will be ready to submit by the end of this week. Then we all must pray very hard to help ease the burdens of these great people.

Today, ES and I drove to Sabie to see Sister Bethel. We were hoping to see both Derek and Maree but Derek was in Joburg at the doctors. He had to see a specialist for his Alzheimer’s. We and Maree are hoping against hope that they can do something to help him. He is really advanced now and has lost a great deal of weight. We spent about an hour with Maree just chatting and helping her with the customers who came into the shop. She is a really an amazing pioneer woman.

I’m not sure if I told you Maree and Derek’s story but they were both born in Rhodesia, then a British Colony. They were famers who were tracked into. They instantly knew the Church was true. They started one of the first official Branches in Rhodesia with only a dozen or so members. After the Blacks overthrew the government and kicked all the whites out of Rhodesia, renaming it Zimbabwe, the Bethels sold their 500 acres for $6,000. 00. They moved to South Africa and have been here ever since. Derek is now 80 and Maree is 78. They are really wonderful people and I really like visiting with them. Only, like I said, it was only Maree today and I’m awfully glad we went as Derek has been away for about 10 days already. He should be home in 2 more but it is actually easier work wise on Maree when he is gone, but she is incredibly lonely. They have been married 55 years.

Well, our power just came on after being off only an hour. Miracle of miracles. So, Elder and Sister Swan can cook dinner and I can cook the ham.

Will write more and show off our new Elders…

Our new Elder has arrived and we are so happy with him. He’s just downright perfect. Except for his name. Wow! Really can’t pronounce it at all. He is from Palou, an island of 20K people. They speak English, use dollars, inches and pounds and drive on the right side of the road. The US basically conquered them while liberating them from the Japanese and it’s been free ever since. ‘

I’ll try to spell his name as far as pronouncing it you’re on your own. Edeyoch… the ch is silent. So its basically Ed-e-ou… Nice Elder and very funny.

So another week has passed. We had 16 investigators at church last Sunday. 8 have baptismal dates. 8 are still in the learning stages but all are what is deemed “progressing investigators”. We’ve lost a few of them in Nelspruit… sorta fallen off the map but the work is still going forward.

Last week, while we were teaching Simon in Christine’s yard, a youngish man (almost everyone seems that way to us now) approached looking for Christine. She had gone down the street for a minute. He said his name was Stephen. He joined the lesson. Attended church on Sunday and asked for more lessons. Turns out he is Calisto’s half-brother. We taught him the first lesson on the Godhead yesterday. Normally, when first lesson people are asked if God is a Spirit they say yes. Stephen said, “No, he is a man.” Whoa. Well, we were excited. He described the Savior correctly and the Holy Ghost. He has been prepared. He then told us that he does not have an African name because he was named after the New Testament Stephen who was stoned. So, he’s now entered our teaching pool with a huge leap off the diving board and into the deep end. You should feel the joy that fills the area as we sit in the sun on black plastic chairs teaching two men who cannot wipe the smiles off their faces because they have finally found peace… Simon told us yesterday that his entire life has changed since the first day he attended church. He lost his job a year ago and has never wanted to look for a job. He never wanted to go to church and only went once a year because his mother wanted him to. Now, he said, he cannot wait for Sunday to come so he can attend church. He has been 3 times already. He said he has never attended a church more than once as he found nothing there. Now, he is looking for a job, reading the assignments, looking forward to being taught and smiling all the time.

I asked Simon what it was about going to our church that he liked. He said, “I like the feeling that I had when I walked in. I was welcomed so much by everyone. I felt loved. I felt peace in my heart and like I belonged with everyone. I love to hear the talks and Elder Scott’s lesson. I have a happy feeling in my heart when I am there.”

I told him that feeling was the Holy Ghost and that is the same feeling he should look for when he hears the lessons. I told him the Holy Ghost will testify to him regarding truth. He understood.

I finished the Lydenburg proposal, pushed the button to send it off on Monday night and have been anxiously checking for a “got it,” or something like that from President Dunn. Keep your fingers crossed and your prayers going upwards in our behalf.

And, I’m sure many of my Facebook friends know, our upstairs tenants have given notice and are moving out. I’m so grateful to my children who have matters in hand so I do not have to spend time worrying about or paying someone to take care of this issue. They are making it easy to stay here and complete what Heavenly Father has charged us with. For that we owe a HUGE thanks to Andrew and Rabecca. We could not be part of these miracles without them.

So THANKS! Andrew and Rabecca and by extension all those others who help them, like their families!

Just a quick update: Sister Swan seems to be doing better but she still needs our prayers. Derek Bethel has severe dementia and Alzheimer’s… no surprise there but they gave him some additional meds. And we are happy to be well. We can’t say that too loudly or I’m sure the curse will follow… I’m not sure what the curse is but this is the first time ES has been without something sense we have been here.

So as soon as I have photos, I’ll post this blog.

Saw a baboon yesterday but not much else. No monkey’s in my kitchen but plenty in my heart as ES saw a bunch sitting in trees outside of the Barberton Hospital when the Elders went to visit Ronny who is ill. I’ll include those snaps as well so you’ll believe we really do have them hanging around like most have feral cats! Really!


Another quick update. President Dunn has forwarded our request on to the Area Presidency. He liked the proposal and assured us of his support. He said, “hopefully they will see the sense this makes.”

So all else is well and we are both well. Just missing all the normal things in my life but loving the people we are with in South Africa.

We’ve moved on beyond our hump day and in another day it will be June. We went to dinner at a swanky restaurant last night. Just for the heck of it and we were comparing how long we and the Swans have left here… they are going home early due to Christmas holiday times but they have 6 ½ months and we have just over 8… wow. Time really does fly when you’re having lots of spiritual experiences and stay really really busy… so I think that equals FUN! 

Yeah, I know. It’s been a really long time getting this to a published stage.

It is now June 5, 2015. We have had Zone Conference in Pretoria. A few snaps are from there… we had District Meeting and I made breakfast burritos for everyone and the Elders are out teaching more people. While at Zone conference we ran into some Elders we used to serve with—Elder McLellen and Elder Kankkunen. When Elder Mc heard about all our successes here in Nelspruit he was amazed. Now truth be told he actually contacted a few of those we are teaching currently but he was amazed and remarked that when he was here the area was pretty dead! We just committed one more for baptism on June 21. That will be a remarkable day.

We also get to move into our new building. I will remember to take photos of that historic day. 15 years at least in the making… It will be another miracle to have our own church building. YAY!

On with the show!
The last dinner of the last transfer. Elder Pulley enjoying seconds on enchiladas

Elder K skyping with his mom in Finland on Mother's Day

dinner scraps

pumpkin pie... yum was it ever good...

needs no caption

blurry but the old group

we have strange plants in SA

but none as strange as the eyeball plant... Is someone watching me?

view out our back window

Elder L and Elder Edeouch ... the ch is silent

the two new ones. Elder Allen is from Texas and this is his first area

Zone conference... and no Elder Richards is not doing what it looks like he's doing...

President Dunn (Hey Dad took all these snaps)
what a cutie... and the baby isn't bad either

the B&B where we stayed in Pretoria

our shower in our room

blurry but it gives you an idea of the room... the bathroom at least

our own garden... its winter here

packing to leave for Zone Conference

Dolls I made for a couple of cute kids

teaching Simon and Steven

Simon and the Elders

there's monkeys in the trees .... somewhere

Seminary girls... this is the outside of our current church location.

Mother's Day brunch at the building

the view from the Nkosi's house... Like the green fence? the house is the same color

Diane's B'day party at Jock's... I made a cupcake cake.  Our server is a member who joined the photo op.

a typical tow truck... cute huh?

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