OCT. 19, 2013
Well, the week is almost gone again. We get to go to the temple tomorrow in Joburg. We are so excited. I represented the Mission Presidency at a Public Affairs meeting on Saturday, from 9 to 3 pm so the trip will be a two for one.
Monday was a P-Day spectacular. We drove north about one hour and spent the afternoon on a series of zip lines crossing the canyon, streams and waterfalls on 11 different sections. Mom was a champ. She said that she was so scared her insides were shaking. It was magnificent. We went with 6 of the Elders and celebrated Elder Palmers 23rd Birthday. Mom made a cake and of course we had the candles and ice cream to go with. Everyone had the time of their lives. Mom wondered why in the world she got herself into doing such a thing but decided when it was all over she would definitely do it all over again.
Tuesday was another successful FHE. Everyone loved the story of the Hungry Hippo and eating healthy. The games were fun and bananas for treats were a hit. Shirley Papo and the kids said they would come to church. I think they were serious. The evening was filled with training some of the Priesthood leaders. The Handbook is awesome. I was told by one of our great leaders that the important thing about the Handbook is to open it, and then read it. He made me laugh. Novel idea.
It is thrilling to see everyone absorb everything, take notes, and ask questions. I have to remind myself that everyone here is new in the church. They are anxious to learn, but just don’t know how everything works.
Labola is a big problem to members of the Church. This is the story of the “Eight Cow Wife” all over again. The culture expects payment to uncles and family before the girls you can get permission from the family to get married. The cost is anywhere between $1,500 to $15,000. Payment in cash is preferred. I don’t think they take credit cards. Cows are Ok, but don’t try to bring a skinny one, they will reject it and give it back. They need it for the wedding feast. Since the new couple cannot afford this, they just live together until you can come up with the money, years later, if at all. While the culture accepts it, the Lord is not so happy about this arrangement. Satan is working the “traditions of the Fathers” angle in a big way.
Our days are filled with preparation for training of the leaders, getting ready for Primary, visits to new members, and any others that we think need some help.
Organ lessons are going full steam. It is really hard teaching others with no musical training at all. But, Mom is doing her best and we pray for the Lord to help.
Mom had her first experience where you show up and the investigator has invited their minister and another member of their congregation. They greeted us in the driveway. We had invited the Zone Leaders, to our appointment with Anastasia. They had their scripture all ready and it was like da ja voo for me; same questions, same scripture, same contention. I tried to teach the Restoration but the two men just kept interrupting. Then the two other Elders started to try to answer some of their comments.
I looked over at Mom’s face and she had this look of “I can’t believe this is happening look.” I could tell she was angry. The one man whose name was Patrick started laughing about the Book of Mormon and making all kinds of comments. That’s when Mom spoke up, called Patrick by name, and bore a strong testimony of what she knew to be true. I watched Mom’s face as she spoke. She was so calm. No stammering, just pure testimony. She was so direct, kind but very much to the point. At the end she said, “Patrick, until you have read this book you have no right to say the things you are saying. Don’t take our word about this book you need to read it for yourself and YOU ask God if it is true. Find out for yourself.
She later told me that at one point she had felt so much anger inside but then a warm feeling came from the top of her head to her feet, the anger left and she felt so calm and knew she needed to share her testimony. We felt bad for Anastasia. She had felt the Spirit on previous lessons but this time, contention made short work of the opportunity to really teach. We left on good terms, but it made us sad to know of the truth of the Restoration and not be able to really share it with them.
We fed the Elders at “The Dish” for their evenings work. It was late after the hour drive home and we were all hungry.
The drive to Joburg is about 3 ½ hours. It was a beautiful day and we made it to the 3:00 pm session. The grounds are wonderful, lots of gates and security. The session was full, about 23 of us. Wow, what a great experience to be back in the Temple. The feeling was peaceful. Want a couple of hours away from the pace of the world? Go to the Temple.
Pres. Omer suggested the Sunnyside Park Hotel, near the temple to stay. Nice place, pleasant stay.
My five-hour training meeting on Public Affairs was very insightful. We met Elder Hamilton of the Area Presidency, lots of area authorities plus Stake Presidencies. Everyone was real friendly and anxious to make us comfortable. We even got an invite to go with the International Director of the Public Affairs in May on a conservation effort he is involved in to help preserve Rhino’s. Three days, lots of work but lots of fun.
Well, we need to get to bed. Tomorrow is Sunday, the day of rest?
We love you all. Stay close to the Lord and each other. Go to the temple.
Mom and Dad