January 18, 2014
Sorry about the missing letter last week. We were so tired by the time Sunday night came that we really had nothing left and we just plopped into bed. The work has been full and rewarding. The harder we work, the more we see things that really need some attention. I guess it is not so much finding something to do, as it is what is most important and where to start.
With approval from the Group Council, we put together our 2014 goals, and I presented them in Sacrament last week. Each family got a copy to put on their refrigerator along with a reading schedule for our group to read together the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. I hope the vision of where we are going and what we need to do daily to get there is a bit clearer now.
We have eight people ready to come to the Temple Prep class, which we are starting tomorrow. We are having a hard time keeping up with all the “tender mercies’ that keep dropping into our laps as we serve. We really hope and pray that by the end of the year our little group will be a branch, with our own Branch President, and a new place to hold church. Modest is OK, run-down is another story.
Last week, our neighbor here in the complex came by our flat. She and her two teen-age children live in unit #3. We have taken cookies down to her a couple of times and we’ve talked briefly to her and her family.
She said that they had not found a church to go to and wondered where we go to church. We gave her the address of the church here in Polokwane and told her the time church started. The Elders just happened to be here at our flat so we introduced them to each other and the Elders said they would watch for them. Our neighbors will attend the church here in Polokwane and we will still have to attend our meetings out in Seshego.
The two kids came last Sunday and they told us they received a warm welcome. The mom had split open her lip at the gym and did not come. After church a sister from the Polokwane Branch came over to see if the Mom was OK and meet her. As it turned out, they all spoke Zulu and were thrilled to meet each other. The Lord had put everyone together to love, teach and take care of each other. The Elders were over again tonight for their third lesson in 2 weeks. Refilawe, the 21-year-old daughter, went to Institute with us last night. Tender Mercies are not by accident. The Lord always knows what He is doing as He puts all the pieces together. Our part is to be patient, open our mouths, and be obedient.
This morning, another neighbor came over as we were putting all our stuff in the car to drive to Venda. She said, “can I ask you some questions about your church.” We said sure – – and then we proceeded to visit and we ended with letting her know the time church started and the location of the church. If you don’t think everyone is watching, you are wrong.
Mom and I and Elder and Sister Brammer, played a few holes of Golf last Monday at a place called The Ranch. It was supposed to be only about 20 minutes away, but with the use of the GPS, our drive was lengthened out to about an hour and a half. Just one of the clues was loosing a telephone signal and the GPS calling for us to turn on roads that did not actually exist. Yes, we were lost. Well, after a rocky start, golf was fun and a good break for all of us.
Our teaching experience and preparation has been stretched a bit over the last 2 weeks. We have about 5 different lessons to prepare each week for different group things and this does not include member lessons, FHE lessons, or messages we share with the less active.
Do you remember Mom’s fear about chickens and her dreams about the chickens pecking her on the head while being trapped in a large cage? Every time we drive past a corner with these people selling chickens Mom just about turns inside out. You can see people all the time walking down the street, holding live chickens hanging upside down that they have just bought from the corner chicken cages.
Patrick continues to be faithful and reading everything he can get his hands on. Next big obstacle, getting to church. He lives about 1 hour west of town. His car is very old and the fuel here is very expensive. We were thrilled with his comments about his love for all the scriptures, and especially grateful for the direction and council from living prophets. He concluded our lesson with his testimony and told us how important it was to go to church. (Aren’t we supposed to be finishing up the lesson and sharing our testimonies? He really is amazing!)
As we visited members this week, I noticed some doors coming off the hinges. Well, a finish carpenter I am not, but I gave it my best shot. After a few adjustments, a cordless drill and a few grabber screws, everything actually worked.
I think when it comes to common sense, just use your head. I have a few pictures to give you some ideas of what can be accomplished when you just give it a try.
A while back Mom taught the Primary children just exactly what a testimony was. She prepared a hand cutout showing on each finger those things that were important and that we needed to share. Lucky told his dad that he wanted to share his testimony during the next Fast Sunday. Bernard told Lucky it was okay as long as he really knew that the things he was saying were true. He told him. “You know Lucky you don’t just go up so you can talk in the microphone. Lucky said okay and nothing more was said.
About a week later, Lucky told his dad that he had a dream. Upon inquiry, Lucky said that in his dream, Sister Harward and Sister Betty were sharing stories in Primary. Bernard asked, “So Lucky, what does that mean?” He said, “Dad it means that the stories that they have been teaching are true.” With that said, Bernard told Lucky he was ready to share with others the things he knew.
Today was full with a 2-hour trip to Rubens and getting the 4 children ready for baptism on the 9th of February. Mom did a review on Faith, Repentance, Baptism and the Holy Ghost. As Mom taught the gospel, the kids were captivated. I guess I was captivated too as I listened to her share truths from our Heavenly Father. How grateful I am to be a missionary and to have the sweetest companion ever. Her “enough” is more than “enough”.
I added a picture of Rubens determined corn as it makes it way up through the rocks. The people of South Africa seem to grow with that same determination. They do whatever it takes and expect very little.
We finished off the day with an appointment out to see Gilbert January and his family. He lives way out of town in a one-room apartment with his wife and 3-year-old daughter. He was out on the dirt road looking for us, since we only knew about where he had moved. They were baptized about 3 years ago and have had little contact with the church for the last 2 years.
He led us through the gate around to the back of a home where there was a freestanding apartment. It was just one room. The bed filled most of the room. There was a small TV, a table with a hot plate and a few storage bins for their clothes. There was one chair and so Mom and Gilbert sat on the edge of the bed. I noticed his scriptures on the bed and a copy of the Priesthood manual open that we gave him last week at church. We shared a message together with an invite to come again to church. He will come. It may take some time for his wife because she is going to another church, but the Lord wants them back. He wants all his children back. What a thrill it is for us to be just a small part of the gathering.
We love you. We are proud of all you do. We know life is not without its challenges but there so many opportunities to grow. Work hard. Love the Lord. Go about serving.
MOM & DAD