Happy to relate that both ES and I feel normal again. Yay!!!! Our 8 baptized people were all confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday last. It was a great meeting. ES confirmed all but two of them. He was really fatigued after the meeting as he also taught Gospel Principles class and the YM in Priesthood. We are really looking forward to these new members growing and excelling in the gospel.
Today, (Monday) was errand running and resting from the last week day. ES and the Jrs. have gone to teach Thulanie (Sister Lorraine’s husband.) He is committed for baptism on July 19. That will be another glorious day in Nelspruit Branch. He will stay in Nelspruit Branch as well uniting a family in the gospel and not disappear into Lydenburg when and if that Branch happens.
Big news hit our mission yesterday. Obviously, this change has been in the works for a long time because these things come from Salt Lake City. They split part of our mission off and put it in Botswana and Namibia Mission. We lost about 45 missionaries and 4 couples. It does not affect us at all other than make us the Northern most part of the mission. They could have taken the line straight across the top of the mission and it would have taken us. Whew. I’m glad it didn’t. So, now you really can’t get any higher in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission than our Branch and our mission district.
Another week has passed and the Elders are once again going to teach Thulanie tonight. He is still excited about his upcoming baptism. We have decided to split the 6 we have committed and do 3 on the 12th and 3 on the 19th. It will be another 2 glorious days! And 3 of the 6 will stay in Nelspruit even after, and if, Lydenburg splits off from us.
I’ve slowed down writing and posting on the blog because much is business as usual. We’ve been plugging along watching miracles surround us and move on by. We’re teaching yet another referral from Christine and so the work continues.
The 4th of July came and went without much to do. We were in Lydenburg listening to our recent converts teach us lessons! Wow! It was really amazing how much they have learned. Soon they will all be called teachers and put us out of a job.
Last night we went to Kamatipoort to have dinner with the Krugers. So far they have fed us kudu, (yum) pork roast like I have never had before and last night we had ox tail over rice. They feed us nearly every month but other than steaks and chicken I can’t remember the other things we’ve eaten at their table. The kudu and ox tail will forever be remembered. The kudu was really, really great especially how they fixed it and ox tail was pretty good. ES really liked the ox tail but it may have been due to his fasting condition.
Well, we seem to be coming up on another month here in South Africa. This month marks the Swan’s yearly and our 11 months out. It still seems as if we go to bed Monday night and wake up on Sunday ready for church. Its school holiday time so several families were absent from church yesterday. I have a two week vacation from Seminary—which I really missed going to on Saturday—and so things seem to be quiet here.
We saw several monkey’s on our way to Kamatipoort and several more on Saturday as we drove to Lydenburg which we have taken to be great omens (not really but it sounds fun) and so far all days in between are great. We love our mission. We love those we associate with and we love those we work with. We miss the norm but know this is the right place to be at this time in our lives.
I have decided I need to have something to fill in between teaching and studying to teach so I have returned to drawing. The first time I put pencil to paper was disastrous. Wow, am I rusty. So, I have begun at the beginning. I’m drawing parts. Eyes, ears, noses, and eyebrows… I must learn to train my hand to draw what my brain sees then move on to making my brain see what is really there. Who knows, maybe I’ll come home drawing again.
Still no monkey’s in my kitchen but at least I have running water and electricity. That’s not always the case so I feel quite fortunate at this moment.
I’m having trouble loading photos again… so lame and computers and their tiny friends, i.e. phones, iPads, etc., bug me. Must be my age. So if photos ever make it you will be amazed! And, so will I!
Anyway, I experienced something I wanted to share. We all went to Lydenburg yesterday to teach a few recent converts and finish teaching Simon and Lyndiwe who are scheduled to be baptized on the 19th of July due to work conflicts. While we were at Christine’s house, her little girl, Esther or Kwasie, if you prefer, was throwing temper tantrums… She has it down to a science. So, her mom, Christine, put a Primary CD into her laptop and began playing, “I Am a Child of God” to her. Christine was singing softly to Esther who immediately stopped crying and started listening to the music and looking at the screen. Curious as to what the screen showed that had captured Esther’s attention, I looked myself. It was nothing but some icons… no flashy photos or cartoons or kids or anything that moved… just these still icons from the CD. I realized Esther was listening to her mother’s soft voice telling her who she was.
Tears came to my eyes as I saw the future of this family. Calisto and Christine have been members for less than 6 months but before me was the power of Heavenly Father’s love manifest in the mom teaching the next generation the gospel of Jesus Christ. What a miracle to behold. I remember thinking when we were teaching Calisto that “he’s got it” when he said, he was joining the church not just for him but for his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren. I got to see that in person. What a great blessing that was for me to witness this pioneer family as they move on toward Eternity one baby at a time.
Another thing I feel impressed to tell about is when we took Elise McCarthy with us to Lydenburg last week. She is the organist at our branch. I know, it is really odd when a branch has an organist but we do. She’s really quite capable and has only been playing about 4 years. A senior couple taught her to play. Elise had heard about Siyabonga Masinga’s desire to play the keyboard. Some time ago, Elder Kankunnen had given Siyabonga the keyboard he had ordered from Distribution thinking he was going to have time on mission to learn to use it and then realized that he didn’t. We gave him books and How-To’s but he wasn’t progressing much, so Elise volunteered to go with us to teach Sia to play. Wow. She spent a few hours with him showing him the ropes and giving him homework assignments like practice, practice, practice…. She wants to set up a regular teaching schedule with him and us. It is such a marvelous thing to see members helping each other and offering service to someone who could not be taught otherwise. Most of the members in our branch are convert pioneers—they are not as familiar with serving one another as we long timers are. This is a huge step in growing our branch.
So, it’s now Wednesday and ES and the elders from Nelspruit and KaNyamazane are busy doing a service project at an investigators home. It should be Institute tonight but I heard from Laheri that they are in Penaire and will not be home until Friday. So, I will cancel for tonight.
Life is good and I stay busy with large and small items. One is how to post these photos to the blog… Oh well, I’ll have to ask someone younger than myself. Like an Elder. J
|Laheri's b'day dinner. We had chocolate chip pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream after our institute class|
|Our Kruger trip and lunch where I got food poisoning! Do not eat the salads in SA|
|a blurry photo of Steven and Christine at Lydenburg's Spur... ES of course as well|
|Kwazie Esther... growing up and getting dirty|
|Laheri all dressed for church|
|Simon in the glare and Lindy having a lesson in their home|
|Teaching Olgar a refresher or new member lesson. It was cold so she and I snuggled under her blanket|
|The "crew" at Nomdemdazo's house doing some repairs|
|I have no idea who this is... I'm sure ES doesn't go out taking photos of pretty women so it must be someone they are teaching but...|