Words cannot express the blessings that come to us through service in this Church- Pres. James E. Faust

Sunday,

January 25, 2015

 Dear Family,

 Well, as Christian asked in his prayers the other day, today we “wrapped it up” and are more than a little emotionally spent. Oh, but what a week it was. Tender moments, lots of tears, and blessings from heaven.

 Bernard and family were so excited to see us this last Monday. Kutzie and Lucky came running and this week we even got kisses blown to us by Kutzie when we left. Mom checked Lucky’s schoolwork and then fussed over Batsarai’s new Sunday outfit. What a great, humble family. Our stay was not too long, because we were trying to get Jimmy to the Temple on Thursday and the week was filled to overflowing. We will really miss them. 

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As we taught Jimmy about the Temple, he had so much anxiety. But lots of gentle time, Monday, Tuesday, and also on Wednesday made a difference. Questions were answered, arrangement were made for transport, and even a member nurse to ride down with Jimmy to the Temple.   Without help from the Temple Assistance Fund to pay for the van and other expenses it would not have been possible. What a blessing this fund is for first time temple goers. It took a lot of help from many to make this all happen.

 The Temple workers were so kind and careful taking care of Jimmy’s every need. Watching Jimmy do his best to participate was a gift straight from heaven. Jimmy is completely helpless with the exception of slight movement in both his arms. I could tell that he was listening and watching everything. We cannot express in words the feelings we felt. I could not help but wonder if the angels mentioned in D&C 84:88 were some the earthly kind that surrounded Jimmy. 

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Today we went over to visit him after church to say our goodbyes. I put a little video of the temple trip together with some music to show on his TV. As he watched it, he told us that it brought all those wonderful feelings back. That was a hard good bye for all of us. We are so glad that Elder and Sister Hansen will be following up with everyone, to keep things moving.

 I had my last group training with President Mishishi and Brother Sefara this week. They are doing so well, and always anxious to learn. I wanted to make sure they got every ounce of training I could possibly give. 

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The Relief Society had a little surprise for us yesterday. We showed up and everyone danced out to greet us in their traditional clothing. As you can tell from the outfits, each tribe has a unique dress depending on where they come from. It was so fun. They entertained us with kind words and lots of dancing and singing. Everyone had put their money together to buy Mom and I our own Sepedi outfit. We felt really honored.

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We gave our farewell talks today and we followed up the block of meetings with a slide show of all our activities of the group since we arrived here. They sat and watched while eating some brownies and ice cream and loved it. Elder Dye helped me put the music behind the pictures and the computer did the rest. It was really powerful. Mom and I have been crying all week every time we watched it. We had hoped that the tears would be all gone by today, but not so. 

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 We thank our Heavenly Father for letting us be here and serve these wonderful people. Our lives will never be the same again.

 Well, I need to close for now. I need to go pack. We love you more than you will ever know. We are so excited to see everyone this week. See you soon.

 Love,

 MOM & DAD

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“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.” Romans 10:15

Sunday,

January 18, 2015

 Dear Family,

 What a great week. We made it out to see Patrick. He was gracious and he told us how much he has missed our visits. We showed Patrick the slideshow we have put together for our group to watch after our meeting next Sunday. It is real touching. I asked him what he liked about it after watching it. He said, “Everyone is happy and smiling.”

 I told Patrick that I wanted to share again the message we had come a long way to tell him…the Gospel of Jesus has been restored to the Earth. We watched a video on the Restoration and shared our testimonies. Without asking, he then shared his feelings and testimony. I asked him if he has any goals for the New Year. His response was prompt, “I need to come to church with my family”.

 He loves the restored Gospel and is patiently waiting as his wife and daughter learn more. He knows that their feelings are changing. They watch the Conference DVD’s and other videos we have given them.

 I noticed that Patrick has lost some weight, so I asked him about it. He told me it was from prayer and fasting. We have no doubt that he and his family will be members of the Church. It is only a matter of time.

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This week was a week of travel. We needed to get up to Venda to see the kids before we leave. Mom taught about looking in the mirror and seeing what our Father in Heaven sees in each of us. The kids loved the message as each one held the mirror and said my name is Chaza (or their name) and “I am a child of God.” There is always a special feeling when we are teaching these children. All of the kids and Ruben have written something in our journal. The words are tender and pictures full of love. We will miss them and everything else, right down to the water bottle hanging on the out-house so you can wash your hands. Abbey and Savanna, I found you some sweet wheels.

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Piano lessons are winding down and this time we took some extra time to visit with the whole Molopo family, even Grandma. They are part of our family and we always love to visit with everyone. Check out the bathtub. Pretty impressive don’t you think?

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 Three of the Senior Couples are going home in the next couple of months, so we met for lunch, enjoyed each other’s company, and shared a few tears. 

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 We are having lots of rain, and as always, the sunsets are breathtaking. Want to know how big Africa really is? It is larger than the USA, China, India, Japan and all of Europe combined or larger than 3 times the size of the USA!

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 We dropped over to visit with Dikiledi, one of the sisters that work in the Primary with Mom. She had a hard time removing the smile off her face after receiving the pearls Mom gave her.

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TQ1_x4U_hSpOmY4mr6-e6rWp0pLLrUiPEhTsveogsc0In whatever extra time she can find, Mom has been crocheting sets of wash cloths for all of the sisters in the group. She has really come to love these sisters.

 We asked Batsirai if she wanted to earn a little extra money helping us clean up the flat for Elder and Sister Hansen. She jumped at the chance. Mom and her made a day of it with lunch out and a little shopping on the side. She works as hard as anyone I have ever met and our place looks great. We sent her home with our water container with a faucet. She was thrilled and she is always so appreciative. We just love her, Bernard, Luckymore and Kutzie. I think Mom is really tired here in this picture – – -it was a very long day! 

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 For Institute we are studying D&C this year. Elisabeth taught her first lesson this week and did very well. 

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 I think Kokie, Matshediso’s mom, is one of Mom’s kindred spirits. They act like they have known each other forever. She was taken back as Mom expressed her tender feelings towards her and how truly special she is. While the pearl earrings were wonderful, the feelings of love were even better.  Mom talked with her privately about baptism before we taught her a lesson and she said she was committed to finding out for herself if the things we were teaching were true. She told us she was so anxious to have us come, this was “her” time and she so looked forward to it. Wow, it is hard saying good-bye to everyone. 

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 Today we spoke at church in Polokwane. It was nice to have a chance to say good-bye to all the members who greeted us so warmly when we first arrived here in South Africa. Our very first missionary experience was at the school for abused children planting a garden.   It was so tender and I can still remember the lump in our throats as we walked out with kids swarming everywhere and hanging on to our legs.

After speaking, we hurried over to catch the last of church in Seshego. Batsirai told us that she was excited to look like the other women. Mom had fussed over her on Friday, before our work time cleaning the flat. Mom is very good at that. She always knows what is needed and does her best to fill that need. The look on Batsirai tells it all. 

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 Our week has been filled with sweet experiences and tearful good-byes. We are so happy to have full days and tired nights.

 When we left home, John and Chris Beesley bought each of us a pair of missionary shoes and inscribed the scripture reference Romans 10:15 inside.

  “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.”  

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 Oh, how we have loved being missionaries. Words cannot express our feelings as we approach the last week of our mission. However, we yearn for the loves and hugs waiting at home.

 We love you. Thank you for your support.

 Love,

MOM & DAD

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The job is not done until it’s done

Sunday,

January 11, 2015

Dear Family,

We had mixed feelings today in Sacrament meeting.  We had George, Priscilla and their kids show up to church today.  They came on their own and it was thrilling.  They have not come for almost 3 years. Everyone greeted them warmly and they seem happy to be back.  We have been working hard together with the Elders inviting everyone to come back, with lots of visits and teaching.  Maggy was able to be a church today and very happy to be there.  She has been working at her new job  which is out of town; there were lots of hugs, tears and tender feelings everywhere.  Maggy came over for lunch today so we could spend some one on one time with her.   Mom and her could talk for hours.

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We are running out of chairs again at church.  We had a record high of 79 today at Sacrament meeting.  “The field is white ready to harvest.”

On Tuesday, we were able to have a Family Home Evening with Simon, Ouma and their children.  Simon called me to let me know what day he had off.  We are always excited when we can teach the whole family. We knew this would probably our last FHE visit these next two weeks, so we were anxious to teach exactly what the Lord wanted. We had prepared a video of the group pictures with music including lots of pictures of their family.

We decided to show the group pictures first and then follow up with a video of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  After the pictures and the video, we shared our testimonies.   We told them that this is the message we came half way around the world to share.   Mom and I told them how much we loved them and our love for the Savior.  While Simon is not a member of the Church, he is a very good man.  The Spirit was strong, and he shared his feelings until his emotions got too close to the surface.  Ouma and Momie then followed with their love and testimonies of the Savior.  Khomotso shared his love silently, he was afraid he would cry.  Words cannot express the powerful feeling that filled the room.

Our week has been filled with finishing up piano lessons with both Sister Ruth and Wilmer, training Sister Martha, the new Primary president, and doing what we could to give  Elder and Sister Hansen, our replacement couple, a sneak peak at  Seshego and their new assignment.

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While Mom was teaching, it gave me a time to prepare for some training for the new District Presidency on Saturday in Tzaneen.  President Dunn is coming up and wanted me to help with the training.  My topic was “Leading the people with love”, and District Budgeting.”   You know the rules, dividing your wants from your needs and starting with the needs.

Nigel was having a terrible time getting registered for school, so two mornings early this week, we made our way down to stand in the long lines before 8:00 am at the university registration office.  I’m not sure why me being there helps, but it seems to.

We used our spare time both mornings to get some other things done so Nigel could head back to the Zim Embassy this week, to have his South African Temporary Residency permit processed and issued.  He was not too anxious to leave and Nelly had a hard time letting him go. Nigel gave her a blessing, and the crying stopped. The process of getting everything completed for this permit takes a couple of weeks, and he is anxious to get back from Zim before we leave.   We are keeping our fingers crossed that he makes it. It was hard giving him a hug knowing this might be our last, for now. We took this pix the day he left.

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Nigel and Nelly are so happy. They both talk openly about the many and on going blessings that have come from a loving Heavenly Father to them. They can’t really believe they are married and have each other to love and take care of.  It is wonderful to watch.

Sister Mary’s remodel turned out really nice. Mom helped her put some colors together, recover 3 chairs and get just the right rug to pull it all together. (However, I did put the kibosh on pillows!)  Mary was thrilled and Mom was pleased except she really did want some more pillows to finish it off.

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Everyone keeps asking us if we are “trunky.”  Are you kidding?  We don’t have time for that.  We still have a lot left to do, and not much time to do it in.  The job is not done, until it is done.  We want to get on that plane knowing that we have done everything we possibly could to show our South African friends the Savior’s love for them.

Our 3 days with the Hansen’s went great. During our training meeting, Mom and Sister Hansen sat in the other room watching the monkeys run along the church fences.  Sister Hansen said, “ I feel like I have been let out of a cage and have finally arrived in South Africa”.  Their first assignment was working in the mission office for their first 7 month.  After our training meeting, we stopped for lunch and then back to Seshego to introduce them to Bernard and Batsirai in the village. The Hansen’s were touched with the humility and faith they found.

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Seeing everyone greeting with hugs and smiles at church went a long way to calm Sister Hansen’s fears of the new assignment.  We told them, “all you have to do is love the people”. 2015-01-11 12.24.10 2015-01-11 12.25.02

Our mission has been 18 months of blessings and miracles.  If everyone just had a glimpse of our experiences, they would be fighting for the opportunity to serve right here in South Africa.

We love you all so much.  See ya soon.

Love,

MOM & DAD

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Which Way do You Face?

Sunday,

January 4, 2015

Dear Family,

Testimony meeting was powerful today. Sister Joyce Molopo, a member for only a couple of months invited the Spirit as she spoke. We were all taught the truth of the Restoration. Batsirai shared a tearful testimony of prayer and her gratitude to a loving Father in Heaven who hears our pleadings, loves us, and sends help.

Mom and I have been sitting here going through our mission pictures, putting them in picture file with music for a little farewell get-together on our last Sunday here. I have downloaded ”Glorious” by David Archuleta, from the movie “Meet the Mormons” to play as a background.

As we listened to the words and watched the smiles on everyone’s faces in all of the activities over the last 17 months, we’re not so sure that we will be able to do this. We have been crying for the last hour with gratitude for a gracious Heavenly Father who has given us such a wonderful missionary experience. It is all we can do to try to hold on to our emotions.

Everyone here loves to have their pictures taken and especially to see the pictures. We are using about 150 pictures that will repeat as everyone eats some hot fudge brownie cake with a little ice cream. We will work on our composure before then, but not sure that will help.

After this exercise, we promptly moved to the pictures of the family, and it made us so excited to see everyone. The tears dried and we are now focusing on those things that need to be done in the next 3 weeks. We are having Elder and Sister Hansen, our replacements, coming up on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We’ll show them the “flat” and the location of needed services. Hopefully this will help them feel a little more settled. For now, they will not be introduced as the new Senior Missionaries, just another senior couple passing through our area. I have all the records ready, GPS locations for each member, pictures and anything else that I think might be helpful. They are so excited to be transferred from the Mission Office and be able to work directly with the members. We know they will love it.

With New Years Eve and New Years Day in the middle of the week we had some adapting to do. The roads are not safe on those days, so mission rules requires us to limit our driving on those days, and no driving at night.

We had promised Lucky, Bernard and Batsirai’s son, that we would take him to a movie, so this week was a good time to do it. He had his cousin, Lovemore, staying with them for the holidays, so all four of us headed out with 3-D glasses in hand.

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We had a great time, especially the boys. Neither of the boys knew any thing about what 3-D was and Lucky had never been to a movie. The pizza afterwards with an ice cream cone from KFC made the day a success.

One of the things that make the roads so dangerous is that a lot of drivers stop anytime and anywhere they want. A car repair or even to chat in the middle of the road is really OK. Just turn on your flashing hazard lights.  FullSizeRender

Examples of the two worse were as follows: 1) someone really left their car jacked up at signal light removed the front tire and left to go get it fixed. No one was there when we drove by. 2) One night we were coming home late after dark from an appointment. We have to drive over the via-dock bridge coming from Seshego into Polokwane. I was more than a little surprised to find a pick up truck jacked up in my lane at the crown of the bridge with some guy under the truck and his legs sticking out from under the truck. SCARRY!

You like J-walkers? Through the middle of town, this is what it is like. There are people everywhere.

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I do everything I can to go the other way and avoid downtown.

I heard Mom and a couple of the sisters laughing really hard after church. Sister Mary said that the “Crickets” just scared her to death on New Years Eve. By the look on Mom’s face is was obvious that she had no clue what a cricket was. Sister Mary said she was praying over and over that they would stop. With some investigation, Mom found out that the “Crickets” were really fireworks. And yes, they were loud, but Mom has visions of them swarming the field followed by seagulls, you know, like the days of the pioneers.

We are trying to spend some time with each of the families in our group. On Saturday, we were able to take Gwen, Martha, and Joyce Molepo out for lunch. These great sisters, all with families, are now all active in church. We love them to death.

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As we start a new year, we hope each day we ask ourselves “Which Way do You Face?” Elder Lynn G. Robbins in the Saturday Morning Session of October Conference gives some great direction on putting the Lord first. Take the time to read the talk again. It is great.

Have a great week. Know that we love and miss you.

See you soon.

Love,

MOM & DAD

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Twas the night before Christmas…

Christmas Eve

December 24, 2014

Dear Family,

It’s Christmas Eve and I thought I would share some feelings of the day. The Elders came over to go with us to visit each of the members and take them some Christmas goodies.  The plate held a small loaf of banana bread, some candy and a photo of us with our home address information, and a gospel message.

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They loved it and each family was almost giddy as we sang a carol to them. We took Sister Ruth from the Relief Society with us as well.  The sisters had put together some food for a few of the families in the group.  As we visited Sister Joyce, she could hardly hold the tears back as Sister Ruth gave her the two bags of food. She has been out of work for some time now.  We know how it feels to have very little, especially at Christmas time. We walked away with a lump in our throats and grateful for so many blessings.

We then drove to Bernard’s family out in the village.  Bernard insisted that we come inside and stay long enough for a Christmas song.  Lucky had a favorite Primary song that he wanted to sing … “Christmas Bells are Ringing.” Mom had taught all the children in Primary to do a round with that song.   We proceeded to teach the rest of the family the song so we could then do it in a round.  They all had a great time.  What a sweet spirit filled the humble room and surroundings as we were all singing together.

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Bernard’s friend, Christophe, who is currently being taught by the Elders, was there and he wanted a blessing.  I asked Bernard to use his Priesthood and take charge. He grabbed his crutches, made his way over to the chairs where we had his friend seated.  Bernard gave a powerful blessing of hope and counsel.  Again, the Spirit was strong and noticeable.

No one had eaten lunch, so Mom suggested a lunch break at KFC.  Ruth had never been there so Mom helped her order what she wanted.  She was so excited to order a strawberry sundae for desert – – she said, “oh, now my Christmas has started.”  An ordinary experience for us turned out to be a very special time for her.  Mom asked her how long we could have her to go around with us.  Ruth replied, that she would like to go with us as long as we would have her.

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It is the little things that matter.  We sang Christmas songs as we drove from house to house all over the area.  It was nice feeling the Christmas spirit.  I could tell that everyone had a good time.

At Gwen Molopo’s house, everyone was outside sitting in the front yard under a large shade tree.  It was really hot outside, and even worse in the house. This was not the white Christmas, we have been used to at home.  Gwen was busy doing her washing in two big tubs.  What a great visit.  Even Grandma and Grandpa joined in the Christmas songs with us.  I know this was the Spirit of Christmas as we shared a little bit of love, with a few hugs thrown in on the side.

We did not think it was going to be so hard to leave South Africa, as we explained our contact information on the back of the picture that we handed out.  When we gave Gwen our journal to write in, she told us that she could not do it yet.  Even though we still have some time left, to her, writing in the journal meant she was saying good-bye.  Gee, here are those mission good-bye feelings again?  When we left home, with all of you standing on the front lawn, Mom and I could not even talk through the tears as we drove away.  It seems those same feelings are returning but we are now on the other side of the world.

Our visits had taken all day, since 9:30 this morning.  We were supposed to be at the Church to have our Christmas Eve party with President and Sister Dunn and all the Elders in our zone at 4:00 pm.  Why are we in such a hurry all the time?

Mom and Sister Brammer had made all the sloppy Joes and the other Senior Couples had brought the extra trimmings.

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President Dunn had been able to get a copy of the movie “Meet the Mormons.”  It made us proud to be part of such a wonderful work in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His love for us.

The night is not over yet. We told Nigel and Nelly that we would take them to the taxi area so they could leave to go to Zimbabwe. We picked them up and brought them to our flat. The taxi was supposed to leave Joburg at 4:00 pm but as of 8:00 pm they had not left yet.   Since we are about 4 hours from Joburg, this may be a long night.

As it turns out, Nigel and Nelly slept in our living room on whatever they could find.  I took them home at 8:00 am the next morning since Mom & I had to drive to Mokopane to have a brunch with the Elders.  The taxi did finally arrive after breaking down on the way here and picked them about noon on Christmas Day.  One thing you can always count on when going to Zim is . . . you get there when you get there.

Christmas day included having a brunch with Elder and Sister Brammer and the 6 Elders in our District. They loved the food and members provided a gift box for each of the Elders from the mission.  South Africa has had a mail strike for the last 5-6 months, so there was no mail or Christmas from home unless it came FedEx. The day finished up with a little ball for the Elders and of course some time on the phone talking with everyone at home.

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The first part of the week was all about helping our sweet Sister Mary get her home ready for a wedding party at her house.  She was already stressed trying to get ready, and then she got word that her Sister-in-Law passed away.  So, it was time to go to work.  She wanted a little paint face-lift for the living room and hallway.  The Elders agreed to help and with only a few minor problems, like Elder Reed stepping in the roller pan and Elder Olsen falling off the chair, everything turned out great. The green wall with yellow stripes is gone and the living room looks really nice.

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I will say that it was a challenge mixing your own colors with only 5-gallons of white paint, in one can, and 5 different little plastic bottles of color to add as you saw fit (3 brown, 1 yellow, and 1 black).  I know we had some major help coming up with the right shade of tan.  That was stressful.

The weather here as been hot, hot, hot, but cooling off at nights with lots of rain. Christmas seems to be a little misplaced with this kind of weather.  The sunsets are rated somewhere near fantastic at this time of year.

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Well, the big Wedding Party is over and what a party it was. The tent was set up, music in place, and lots of food for everyone.  Mom made a killer fruit salad and banana cake with frosting.  The guests don’t stop eating until the food is completely gone, and so it was. Mary’s sister finished up the fruit salad with the bowl in her lap and 3 lady’s surrounding her with spoons in hand.   As always everyone wants to know what Mom has brought and watches to see when it is brought out so they can make sure and get some.  Mom says, “it’s just because it’s new to them” yeah, right.

The wedding dances, dress, and traditions were so interesting to watch. It really is wonderful that they let us be part of all this great celebration.  Notice the bride starts out in a white, blue and pink traditional  “Sepedi” dress and they dance and sing in a procession and then the groom’s family takes her in and changes into the blue & black plaid traditional “Tswana” dress from his family.  Then they all sing and dance some more – – – it was such a fun afternoon to be among such a happy people.

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We have been leaving our journal with the members and asking them to write their feelings, their testimony and give us their contact information.  Last night we started reading some testimonies that we have gathered.  I’m not sure that was a good idea.  Wow, how tender and powerful they are.

Mom and Batsirai spent some time between classes at church today sharing some tender moments and a few tears.  How could we have been so blessed to be called to serve such a wonderful people? She started telling Mom all of her prayers that the Lord had answered and how she felt of His love. She said that she knew that we had been sent here for her and her family. We know of the Lord’s love for them. We have felt direction in our service to them.  We feel humbled to be a part of their lives. Mom shared how much we love them. We cannot help but think the blessing we have received have been far greater than those we have served.

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It was great talking to everyone on Christmas. We miss each of you more than you know. Thank your for the “Gifts of Service” we have received so far.  We are looking forward to the rest, so we, along with you can feel of the Spirit of Christmas.

We hope this family tradition of giving will last for generations.

We love you.

MOM & DAD

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Merry Christmas!

Sunday,

December 21, 2014

Dear Family,

With Christmas this week, today was our Christmas Sacrament meeting. Mom wrote the o-2oLbD3OV8XWMxBnSQUNGBmPKpycWsFdT_KfTQslwsscript for the two narrators’ and arranged the musical numbers. Our trunk was packed with costumes, food, and all the props, besides the keyboard, microphone and speaker and everything else necessary to make it all happen. Key to success. Set everything out the night before. The trip to church is about 25 minutes one way. From experience, we don’t have time to go home and get it.

It was a great meeting, mixed with music from our families, the Primary children, and even the Elders. Mom was so worried about how it would all turn out, but not to worry. It was a spiritual feast about our love for the Savior of the World. As we watched and listened to both the music and the words of prophets, feelings of love for the Son of God were very close to the surface.

We had a new high of 75 at our Sacrament Meeting, so lots of the members were there to enjoy those same feelings. It was just what we had hoped for. We are grateful that we were able feel the confirmations from the Spirit and know that the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes was indeed the promised Messiah as foretold by the prophets of old.

Without breaking tradition, the Primary after-party was very well attended and went off
7Jvpb_8pkGisOZYVuQJXlWdqECn8XiM4UioA9hJhY9Qas planned. Planning for 15 and expecting 25 was a good rule of thumb. Everyone wanted to play a part in the nativity, so Mom ran through it twice. Everyone got to participate and they were all so happy. The shepherds, in the picture, were a little stunned when the angel appeared, but gee who wouldn’t be. As always, what’s a party without a treat? Mom came home thrilled, as she had watched her faith over come fear.

 

 

 

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We had arranged to take Christina over to the chapel in Polokwane, after church, and get some family history done. She was able to get 29 ordinances temple ready, including preparation for her to go to the Temple and be sealed to her deceased husband. She is such a faithful women. What a great day.

Mom wanted you hear the song they sang at church today, so we took a few minutes after KuW9FCMZiL237ScwFBTpKkL1GrOrs_BJFj46LAeG9e4church to record a part of the music. For now, however, a picture will have to do. The video was too big to send. Our Internet here is not very fast.

We love you and are grateful that you are being cared for by a loving Heavenly Father. He knows your deepest desires. He also knows your challenges. As your desires come in line with His, you will find your pathway easier. He, however, will not shortchange you by removing challenges which bring you closer to Him. We think about you and pray for you daily. We are so proud of you.

This week, we extended our P-Day a little and traveled down the Mpumalanga area with Elder and Sister Brammer. The Blyde River Canyon boasts, the Bourkes Luck Potholes, God’s Window and waterfalls everywhere.

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In Mpumalanga,if you have a day that is too foggy, which it often is, just make the short trip over to Kruger National Park and get close and personal with a Buffalo, or how about a king size elephant and family. If that does not do it for you, the giraffes and zebra’s are awesome. Everything was wonderful. We never get tired of seeing the beautiful creations of our Father in Heaven. The company was great, and a couple of days rest was appreciated. Mom even got a little shopping in at one of the stops.

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The week finished off with seeing our plans of helping Justice and Shylet Musonza be sealed in the Temple with their kids actually happen. They moved into our group last September and we have been teaching them about the temple since then. When we talked with them privately, they each told us they had dreamed about going to the temple, but never thought it would ever happen for them, even though they have been members for more than 15 years.

Their two children, Clayton, 15, and Judith, 12, both live with their grandma in Zimbabwe and go to school up there. With the temple closing for the Christmas season, we only had a 10-day window to pull everything together, before the kids had to return to Zim and to keep their passports in check.

The blessings and feelings of the temple cannot really be shared adequately. There are no shImk14XvZ-pt7Symr9RLF8xODrPN_zJHMRFnGAHSX8words to explain the blessings available to those who prepare themselves, live worthily, and then go and feel the spirit in the House of the Lord. What a thrill it was for all of us.

 

 

 

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SIDE NOTE:

Patron housing for the temple was full, so they made arrangements for us in a motel close to the temple. It was Ok. A little cozy but with some cool built in features for a room about 10 X 12 feet. Maybe I can use this set-up somewhere in a real estate project. Sorry, I am always looking. The upside was the price, $49. The down side, don’t leave the motel after 5:00 pm. I did not expect to have a beach view, but the streetscape was kind of scary. It would have been a little better if they would have had a chair in there, but the TV was OK, it was just a really long night. Lesson learned. “If you don’t bend, you break”.

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We love you. Keep each other close. Tell each other how much you love each other often. Give each of your kids a big love for us.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Christmas CardB

Love,

MOM & DAD

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What we serve we learn to love, and what we love takes our time, and what takes our time is what we love — Marvin J. Ashton

Sunday,

December 14, 2014

Dear Family,

Our week was full but not quite as crazy as last week. We had lots of wedding stuff that still had to be returned, but by the time P-Day ended, we had taken care of everything. We laughed when we re-read our letter from last week. We are trying to get more missionaries, especially the old guys like us, out in the mission field, not scare them away. Sorry about that. Being a Senior Missionary is the best experience you will have in your whole life.

Our efforts helping Nigel and Nelly were all worth it. As we drove by them walking to church, the smiles on their faces told it all. They are both so happy. You can see it in their faces.

On Wednesday, Mom and I drove with Elder and Sister Brammer to Bolahlakgoma, about y3CCpDWoHwZXV0d3I6lJRY2Muz-jCJ6zEIeLm0pCz_02 hours from here. Sister Kekana, a member of the Mokopane Branch is anxious to be sealed to her deceased husband in the Temple this next week. President Brammer had prepared a short Sacrament meeting and then we finished with the needed interviews. She had her own sacrament tray and songbooks out and ready for our arrival. Dressed in her Sunday best we were greeted warmly and invited into her simple but comfortable home. What an angel lady. The Spirit was strong and her prayer humble and heartfelt. It continued as Elder Brammer prepared, blessed and passed the sacrament. This was a wonderful experience.

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Most of our members have never been to any game reserve or even seen the animals here k1BchIhZpiStgWFo3doeenRdaPYOyzIe2Zc0iDZeeB0,roSyugChGkI9AgbDnJ2q4VWwBwELBQzf8yY5q9PWiRgin South Africa.   We had promised Ouma, Mommie, and Khomotso, that we would take them for a short outing to the game reserve just outside of town. It had rained the day before, so everything seemed clean and fresh. Mom had a prepared a small “Brunch Box” for each of us, and it was really fun. We saw everything we had planned except the Rhino. We even went for a walk on the marked trail, but no luck this time. They had a good time, and we got back in time for training.

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On Friday it was Jimmy’s’ birthday. President Winward sent messages out to the TX-3_bCMWgP_Xx6bfF4-FKVpAnuIvRzvnSGaC-TBrEU,swDN7yt4wLv-dGiTgQ0hdZwG150lb3xkEUB5JgN33A8members, so with the invites, and the other patients who stay in the complex, the birthday
party was, a success. Jimmy was so happy. This was his day.  It was nice to see the kindness shown to Jimmy on this special day. We sure love him. We can’t even think about leaving, and he won’t talk about it.

 

 

 

 

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I am not sure why, but I even got that special look from Mom during the party. I know you have seen it before. Most of the time when I get that look, I spend some time in “Time UuWbFXFCWEUwmos7jJwVLCRFpcYMnCKdfg7LUzmDo2cout.” I was lucky this time. It was just a warning.

 

 

Yesterday we spent the day in Tzaneen at Zone Conference. President and Sister Dunn were touring the mission with Elder and Sister Carl B. Cook, the Area President of East Africa and member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Cook is so down to earth and inspiring. His instruction was directed by the Spirit and easy to understand. We were grateful to be there. After the meetings, all seven couples that serve in this area had diner with President and Sister Dunn, and Elder and Sister Cook. We spent about two hours visiting and getting to know everyone better. What a great day.

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Today was an interesting Sunday. Our main speaker did not show up. When our Assistant Group leader, who was conducting, noticed, the look in his eyes was one of sheer panic. He leaned over and asked if I would please take the balance of the time. I had a “not knowing beforehand” experience, just like Nephi. I took the 2 minutes after learning that I was the next speaker, quickly pieced together thoughts from Zone Conference, stood up and just opened my mouth. The Lord did not let me down. I felt directed and guided by the Spirit, and calm as I spoke for the next 30 minutes.

Mom had lots of extra time on her hands with some of the leaders not showing up to teach LquGkF_p4Bno7PZt-QDIBemZZft0jfmBcjObAwie9Gotheir lessons in Primary. As always, Mom was prepared with extra teaching materials. She explained how the Wise Men followed the star to seek the Savior. She gave them stars that had certain scriptures written on them. They had to “search” around the room for the correct picture of Christ that went with the scripture. The children went home that day having learned much about their Savior. Your Mom is amazing.

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I have added some pictures of some of the members after church. Kudzai is always giving her Mom, Batsirai a run for her money, and another picture of Tshediso, one of our RM’s, giving NoLo a hug. Most of the members are not afraid of showing their love for one another.

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Our heart goes out to Ann with the loss of her Grandmother and a best friend. Ann, we love you. You and your family are in our prayers.

Thank you for your continued love and care for Grandpa and Grandma. Thank you for your short visits. We hope to be there soon, so we can do the same.

As you love and care for each other, know how much we love and miss you. May this special time of Christmas help each of us remember the Savior and share His Gift of love with others.

“WHAT SHALL WE GIVE? – CHRISTMAS MUSIC VIDEO

LOVE,

MOM & DAD

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