December 8, 2013
Tony, thanks for the pictures of the snow. It looks really, really cold. I’m a little confused about the weather and Christmas here. This week our temperature has been around 75 – 80 degrees. We had a mix of sunshine, rain and a few clouds. With the exception of no water, two days this week, things have been busy, but nice.
We spent until late Sunday night helping Batsirai get ready with the 2 two kids to go to Zimbabwe, a long dangerous trip to visit, by bus and having to cross the border to visit her family. She will also be making arrangements to finish Bernard’s payment to her family for the Labola. They have paid 3,000 rand so far, she is taking with her 3,500 rand, and in a few days Bernard will leave and take the remaining 3,500 rand. It has taken them 7 years to save up this much money, a total of $1,000. Remember, I told you in a previous letter that their rent is 200 rand a month, or $20. You remember the story of the 8-cow wife. That is what this is all about. While you can get married, the family does not consider it done until the money is paid in full. As in the Book of Mormon, the traditions of our fathers, is really strong here in South Africa.
We got a call from Bernard a couple of days after she left. At the border she was robbed. A man took everything. All her money, her bag with all the clothes and there she sat on the curb of the bus stop near the border. She didn’t have any money for food and she didn’t have any money to put air-time on her phone to call for help. She told Bernard how desperate she felt. Lucky, her 6-year-old son, sat by her side and Kutzie who just turned 1, strapped to her back sleeping. She was afraid to go to sleep. She told Bernard, “ the only song she knew all the words to was “Come, Come, ye Saints.”
She sat there and sang the song all night long. “Come, come ye saints, no toil nor labor fear; But with joy wend your way. Though hard to you this journey may appear, Grace shall be as your day”… Next morning, she noticed a man on the corner selling some clothes. It was the clothing that had been stolen from her. She realized it was the man that had taken everything from her. She quickly found a police officer, told him her story. The police officer approached the man. Without any hesitation, the man confessed to the police officer that he had stolen her money and her bag. When searched, he had 17,000 rand on him. Batsiri was only one of his victims. To make a long story short, she got her money and everything back, and the thief went to jail. The Lord hears and answers our prayers. He will “go before your face…”
Member visits this week have been great. We are grateful for the warm welcomes we have received. We are having a third visit this week with George and Pricilla. They have not been active at church for a long, long time. They are pleasant, and all their church books are sitting out on the shelf. A little love goes a long way, because I don’t think it is just Mom’s Lions Cookies from last weeks “Daniel and the Lions Den” FHE lesson. George sent a text yesterday to let me know that Tuesday would be a good day for us to come see his family.
Training is going slow, but it is moving forward. We are looking at each organization, its needs and how long each leader has had the same calling.
We had another good discussion with Patrick and his family. He said he would continue to study and pray about the things he was learning. He is learning “line upon line” and we are focusing on those things he is anxious to learn about. He is now teaching his congregation out of the Book of Mormon. With his study and use of the footnotes, he noticed the abbreviation: TG, D&C and JS. After our explanation of the abbreviation, he is anxious to get a complete set of scriptures, with Topical Guide and Bible Dictionary. He is faithfully moving forward, asking lots of questions, looking for answers in the scriptures, and asking a loving Father in Heaven about the truthfulness of what we are teaching.
Elder Palmer, Elder Haynes, Mom and I, were starving after our hour drive home, so a trip to “The Dish” was a necessity. But, the real treat of the day was feeling the Spirit and sharing feelings with Patrick and the other Elders.
For Institute we shared our feelings about the Savior at this special time of year, and asked those who were in attendance to do the same. The time was well spent and the feelings of love for the Savior were evident. We shared the Mormon message “An Angel Foretells Christ’s Birth To Mary.”
The Branch Christmas party was really good. Mom got to hold President Thulani’s little boy and she sat next to Sister Winward, our new Senior Couple Sister. She has finally arrived, but will need to stay off her ankle for 6 weeks with absolutely no weight on it. The Winwards will be such help here in our area. They come from Idaho and are excited to be here.
Check out the cast for the Christmas play. I guess you can have women shepherds? Could not really see the shepherd’s beards, except up close. They did such a good job, with a sound track in the background.
We played Book of Mormon charades. Check out Samuel the Laminate standing up on the chair. The Bri (BBQ) was great. We had a tough time getting everything cooking.
It was for Maggy’s brother. If you don’t have room for the tent, just set it up in the road. No problem. Everyone was dancing. No restriction on age. Mom continues to bond with the children. Nolo, one of the members and mom hung out together. Martha, also a member helped in the kitchen. We loved the hat. When they have a party, everyone comes, so plan for extra people and kids.
Well, its time to go for now. Notice that the “flat” is all decorated and we are ready for Christmas. We love you all so much. Make the best of this Christmas season caring for others. We are anxious to hear about your gift of service this year.
MOM & DAD