September 23, 2013
Dear Family: It has been a whirlwind of a week and its time to share a little of our experiences. We started with FHE with Bernard and his little family that live out of town. Mom was in charge of the lesson and activities, and as always we all had a good time. Mom won the “being healthy” game. She was doing “sit ups”, (kind of) jumping jacks and all sorts of exercises as her turn comes around.
After our lesson, we had a tender prayer from Bernard and ended with lots of hugs. Wow, this is really good duty. I did some Elders Quorum training on Wednesday. Everyone seemed excited, but they are not sure how to get more Priesthood helping. I know the Lord will help them. They are such good men.
We met with Gloria on Friday afternoon. She was baptized a couple of years ago, but for the last year seemed to have lost her way. As Mom and I testified of the Saviors love for her, her eyes filled with tears. The Sprit was so strong. As we left, there was no doubt that we are not alone. We only have to do our best and open the door to the Savior. He will do the rest.
In her village, the kids seem happy and have a place to play.
One of the yards had the 1st large animal we have seen.
Our 5:00 appointment was more than an hour out of town, so we hurried to meet with Anastasia and her family. It was awesome. She had read the Introduction of the Book of Mormon, the Testimony of Joseph Smith and the Testimonies of Witnesses, as we had asked. She did not want to continue to read, because she did not understand it and the names were unfamiliar to her.
She said, “We have the Bible”, isn’t that enough. Mom was a champ. She said, let me tell you part of the story of Lehi and his family. As she listened to the story, you could see her countenance change. We then went to the words of Ezekiel and told about the stick of Joseph and Judah. I told her, God loves all his people, all over the world, and has provided prophets at different times and in different places to lead us. The Book of Mormon is just a record of prophets in another part of the world, teaching about the Savior.
Objections seemed to melt away and both she and her college age daughter, Itumeleng, were excited to continue. As we open our mouths, the words just seem to come. On the way home, we got a call to come to a birthday party. It was late, but we felt we needed to go. Sunday was a treat.
George is leaving on a mission in two weeks and he is the only one who plays the organ. He was late, so Sister Agnes says let’s sing hymn #197 “O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown”. The chorister said, “ I don’t know that song.” Agnes, said, “ sure you do” then she starts humming, loudly, the tune to “If you could Hie to Kolob”. We started singing words straight from the songbook to the tune of another hymn. By the end of the first verse, everyone has stopped singing, and I said, “What are we singing?” We were all watching a music train wreck.
George shows up, walks up to the front, starts playing another song, and we are saved. Wow, marching bands lasts week, with a mix of African drums and chanting background, this week, a whole new experience of the flexibility with music.
The Polokwane Branch President asked if we would go visit Brother Ruben. He had not been able to come to church or been visited since March. He lives in Venda, which is two hours north. He is the only High Priest in the Branch. With lots of directions and several phone calls back and forth, we found him sitting at the edge of the road on a large rock. He had walked almost 2 miles out from his village road to meet us. He got in the car and directed us to his little house. This road was more of a 4-wheeler road, with lots of sharp rocks. As we walked in, sitting around the table where his grandkids and a couple of their friends, waiting for us. There was Tshedza (15). Chantele (11), Aluwani (11), Rinae (7), Zwonaka (9), and Phintuloh (7). They were all so cute and so shy.
We thought the kids were older so we were not very well prepared. Mom told me later that she had felt twice that she should take Primary stuff for younger children, but I kept telling her they were older teenagers. Lesson learned: Listen to the Spirit.
And what a sweet experience we had in this clean little humble home. There sat all of the children, around the table sitting quietly waiting for us. As if they were waiting for a feast. We had one, a feast of the Spirit of a loving Father in Heaven and the Savior.
We watched “I am a Child of God” a Mormon Message, and then Mom helped them sing “I am a Child of God”. We told them the story about Nephi and watched part Book #1 of “The Illustrated Book of Mormon” that I had downloaded on my ipad. This is LarryMacfarlane’s digital masterpiece of the Illustrated Books of Mormon Stories sold in book form a long time ago. If you have not already downloaded this you need to. It was awesome!!! Click here to see the Illustrated Book of Mormon Grandpa Ruben and all the kids watched spellbound. We gave the kids who could read, a Book of Mormon, and set a time next week to return. The Spirit in that humble home was wonderful. We could not help but feel the love of the Savior, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, as he gathered up the children to bless them. We are humbled to have experienced and felt His love for this dear family. On Sunday we taught Institute in the Polokwane Branch. Only problem was, I prepared the same lesson they had been taught last Sunday. I told Mom today that as I taught, several times, different thoughts came to me. I expressed the thoughts as they came, but had no idea how I was going to tie all this together and get back to the foundation of the lesson. It was not just once, it was several times throughout the lesson that my mind just went blank. It was not me teaching, I am not that good. The Lord’s lesson plan was much better than the one I had prepared. That was really a good lesson. Don’t be fooled, the Lord is in charge. Thank you for all the notes we’ve received! We’re starting to cut back on reading the junk mail. Have a great week. We love you. Mom and Dad