Happy New Years!

Sunday,

January 5, 2014

Dear Family,

Well, the Holidays are over and in another week everyone will be back in town and the kids will be back in school.  That will be great.  This time of the year is hard to do regular missionary work.  Everyone leaves for the holidays for the full month of December and part of January.  During the Holidays there are lots of drunk drivers out on the roads.  All missionaries have some restrictions about being out on the roads even during the day.  

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We kept the Elders busy on both New Years Eve and New Years Day   playing games, having pizza and just staying busy.

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ElderPalmer goes home this week, so we

took the Elders out for ribs at his favorite place, “Nguni Grill.” We are certainly going to miss Elder Palmer, he is a great missionary.

2014-01-01 19.03.27We have been thinking about the coming year and how to make the biggest difference here in Seshego.  We have already been involved in lots of training, piano lessons, and lots of one on one with members, both active and some less active.  The response has always been warm and with a smile.  We are anxious to meet with and invite all those who are members of the church and invite them to come back and join us.

For all of the members of the Group Council, we have training one a month and then on the other three Tuesdays we train each of the different organizations.   We have put together some daily goals of how to obtain the Spirit and goals of service to others.   Each of us need the “life line” set up by the Lord to take care of one another.

We have come to recognize the value of Home and Visiting Teachers in a different light while serving here in the mission field.  We have a number of members that are less active.  In most cases, the “life line” was never really in place and the members were either offended, or have just drifted away.  No one cared enough to come by to reattach the “life line” and before long, they thought that no one cared.

We hope our goals for the New Year are well defined, so that each member of our group will get a clear picture of their responsibility, so as a team, working together, we can become our own “Branch.”  This will only happen if everyone is in tune with daily help from above and taking the initiative to help with the “Rescue.”   It seems real clear what needs to be done.  We hope we can share the excitement of this journey.

We have a few new hat and clothes styles for the New Year. (We know that Abbey, Savanna & Ceciley will really appreciate the “Heads Up” on the latest in fashion)  You will notice that one of the hats is unisex.  You decide what works for you.

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We also thought you could use new ideas of proper greetings. The people over here are so respectful – – they hold their own arm at the elbow and then curtsey as they greet you.  The children clap 2 or 3 times when they thank you and then you are supposed to kiss their little hands. 

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Yesterday I went with President Sethosa to extend some callings.  We are making some changes to give everyone a chance to serve and others to expand their calling experiences.  It was interesting to see the different responses.  They ranged from being completely flabbergasted, to “are you kidding me”, and even some with the excitement of Christmas Eve.

My favorite was the new calling to President Sethosa’s wife, Mary.  She was called to be the 1st counselor in the Primary.  I extended the calling, but she kept giving the evil eye to her husband.  I assured her that the call was from the Lord.  Later I asked President Sethosa if he was afraid to go home.  He assured me that he and Mary would spend some time on their knees and everything would be OK.

We went by to release a sister from the Relief Society Presidency, and while she has been inactive for quite some time, she still needed to be released in person prior to that happening in church.  Mom and I have had some good times with her family, and we were warmly greeted.  We visited for a while and I told Martha that we loved her and all the members missed her at church.  She told me that she missed them too.  I released her, and invited her to come back.  While she did not come to church today, I am confident that she will.  I know the Lord was not kidding when he told each of us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”  That was a sweet experience.

A not so sweet experience is driving on these lousy roads.  We counted 91 potholes in the road between our “flat” and the Polokwane chapel. (Which is about 5 blocks)  We are running out of places to drive and the dodging is getting more difficult, and that is not considering the speed bumps everywhere. I’m not sure we really need both.

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Mom took a picture of the tree that covers much of South Africa.  It is really a cool tree, flat top but has really long, sharp thorns. As you look over the open areas they are everywhere.  They are even the symbol on the road signs for rest areas.

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I think it’s time to show you a real ant hill.  They are everywhere.  You can probably guess the size of the ants.   The people over here love to fry up the ants for supper.  They are really termites.   Most everything in South Africa is supper sized.

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I just finished the Book of Mormon again.  I am always amazed and grateful for the feelings I have as I read.  We are excited this year teaching Institute to start over again studying the Book of Mormon.  We are just putting a schedule together so that we can be on track to read it one more time in 2014 with the Young Single Adults, and are going to make it part of our goals with the “Group” to do the same.   We know that it is God’s words and contains answers to our prayers.  We are always excited to go find those answers we need and have the feeling that come with knowing that God cares about us in His answers.

We are being extra careful locking things up at our “flat”. The police were over to a  “flat” in our same complex this week investigating a break-in during the night while the family was home sleeping. They took the TV and everything that was easy to take. This was the third break-in in our complex in the last month. The police got fingerprints, so we are hopeful they will put an end to the problem. In the meantime, we are doing all we can and then depending on the Lord. The landlord said he thought it was someone that actually lived in the complex.  We leave some lights on and have a second lock that keeps the sliding glass door secure. There are a few yard lights being replaced, so we will be fine.

We love you all so much.  All of the blessings promised us, as we were set apart as missionaries are being fulfilled.  We are grateful for your goodness and care for one another.  We are proud to be your parents and grandparents.

Love,

MOM & DAD

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