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?

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