September 29, 2013
Dear Family & Friends:
What a weekend. Friday we went back out to Venda, 2 hours north. Brother Ruben and his sweet little grand kids were all waiting just like last week. This time, however, Mom was ready. She felt like she should bring extra treats just in case. The pied piper is packing them in. The word is out and we had extra 3 children. (GOOD THING MOM BROUGHT EXTRA OF EVERYTHING) Primary sharing time here we come. It was awesome. I sat back proud as can be as Mom taught Scriptures on Service, told stories, Primary songs, including “popcorn”. They loved it, actions and all.
Those who could read had done as we asked. The pamphlets, we had given those that could not read, with the pictures of the Savior were almost worn out from carrying them around. You would have thought that what they carried was more precious than gold. It really was to them.
At the end of Mom’s lesson, games and singing, I could see Aluwani (all wan) (11 years old) softly taking to her grandpa…”tell him Grandpa, tell him. She really wants to be baptized with her cousin Chantele, also 11, Ruben said. The previous senior missionaries who left in March of this year have taught them all. I told them we would teach them more and look forward to their baptism.
The stuffed giraffe, wall hanging and some the furniture was fun to look at. The hotel had a very old museum on the Anglo Bora War that lasted 100 years.
By the time we got home it was dark and always scary to drive in the dark with narrow roads, only a few lane markings, and no road lighting. We had a wonderful day. The look in the children’s eyes was no less than excitement and bewilderment all mixed together.
Saturday started with youth conference from 3 of the branches, here at Polokwane. I was really impressed. Over 100 kids were bused in, and all excited to visit, eat and have fun. The remarks were wonderful, especially from the youth.
After Youth Conference we had planned on going visiting less active members, but Mom wanted to drop off some brownies and say we are proud of you serving the Lord, turned out to be a whole afternoon experience at Brother George Mphaka’s Mission Farewell Party. He is the young man who has been playing the organ that Mom is replacing. He is going to serve as a missionary in another part of Africa. Unlike anything we have ever seen. The set up was outside their small house. It looked like a wedding, head table and all. The DJ was George’s uncle, a self-made Christian preacher. So much food prepared and lots of African music. This was the real deal.
As each of the speakers come up to talk, the music would be cranked up and the custom is to do your cool little dance with a partner, as you walked to the front. Wow, these folk have sole to their toes. Even those representing the Church did their little thing on the way up to talk. It was fun to watch. As invited guests, we were asked to do our little thing to the front as well. Don’t be shy, being a missionary is sometimes a real stretch Mom and I did our little thing. You would have been proud.
The DJ keep saying in English and Sepedi (their African language) that he was not sure why we were even having this party, with a few other jabs a the Church along the way. He made a big mistake. Brother Mashishi spent the next 30 minutes setting the record straight about the Lords Church, prophet of God, the Priesthood and anything we may not want to be roasted on. I smiled from ear to ear. I thought I had just seen the African version of Abinidi. No Kidding. The DJ left the Church alone after that. George, his mother and sister followed by bearing strong testimony about the Savior of the World and His Church.
Just to keep up the pace of the week end, we started Sunday out with Mom playing the organ then we both had to speak in Church, Mom went off to teach both sharing time and singing time in Primary, I had been asked at the Missionary party by the Branch President to teach the 5th Sunday lesson. I told him that we were speaking in Sacrament Meeting and that they might be tired of listening to me. He said, “No we would still like to teach.” So after we finished at the Seshego Group we headed off to teach institute (I had to teach the New Testament Lesson and Mom was going to teach the Eternal Marriage Lesson) and after institute I had to audit the Polokwane Branch.
In spite of a little stress, the day turned out very well. The Spirit was strong, and the Lord filled in the gaps. Mom came home from church, made cookies, and we went out visiting. Both of the families had not been coming to church because of the gossiping of other members. This one man was the Elders Quorum Pres. before he stopped coming. He had tears in his eyes as he told his home teacher, Brother Mishishi, our South African Abinidi, and our companion for the day how much he loved him and his ongoing effort to heal the wounds and invite him back to church. That was powerful. He promised us he would come next Sunday.
The other sister, a good friend of Brother Mishishi and his wife Betty, opened her home to us warmly, but it will take some time to make the decision to come back. She also left because of someone in the Branch having too much to say.
As we were traveling to and from, Mom kept making me stop for some pictures of all the beautiful blossoms that are popping out all over. The spring here is beautiful and we’ve enjoyed seeing all the new varieties of blossoms.
We love it here. We’ve had a great week. We love you all.
Below is “Brenda Fassie- Vulinlela” some great African music that we often hear while we are trying to have our Sacrament Meeting.
Elder & Sister Harward