March 1, 2014
The week started off with a full Sunday at District Conference. Elder Bricknell, an Area Quorum Seventy, was visiting and of course, everyone was a little nervous, especially the leaders. In spite of the stress of making sure everything was ready, organized, and hoping the members of Polokwane, Mokopane, and Seshego all showed up, it was wonderful.
There was a 9:00 meeting for New Members and Investigators. During this time the choir members got together for the first time to practice the choir songs. This should be good? Mom and I were so nervous but no one seems to get too anxious about anything and they just seemed happy to see everyone from the other Branches. We were a little surprised with our choir; I think we had some Motab angels helping us out. Anyway, everyone raved about it afterward, so I guess that was a success. We were able to rent an auditorium in a private school north of town.
During the one hour break Mom had fixed Elder & Sister Bricknell, President & Sister Omer, and she and I a real nice lunch. It was very enjoyable to just sit and visit with these wonderful people. We had a few good laughs about how different we have to do things here.
Mom and Sister Brammer worked up a 2-hour sharing time meeting for the children for the last session of conference. After the first 3 hours of meetings and in some cases, 1 ½ bus ride, the children were really ready for a change. They loved going into Primary.
Brother Andries and Macheru were thrilled to be ordained Elders. We love them both and are thrilled to see them move forward. The day finished out with interviews and then transporting some of the members back home. I think it is good thing that Monday follows Sunday, a day of rest.
Mom and I are on the mend and are both feeling better. Today was full of sunshine, and it was nice to run a few errands and do something a little different. We are walking about 45 minutes each morning. We enjoy each other and starting the day off with a little exercise feels really good. I have the greatest companion ever. She is the best.
At each intersection, you can buy just about anything from street vendors. Or, with very little efforts you can run over a couple. I don’t know how many get killed in a year, but it has got to be a lot. These people walk in and out of the cars anytime and anywhere.
On Tuesday, we spent a good part of the day getting Bernard out of the Seshego Hospital. We were happy to get him out of there. I’m sure they are doing their best, but it was awful. It is a public hospital. Mom went in once, but that was enough for her. We got him home. I hope he gets the full use of his leg back. He has had two strokes over the last two weeks. We were out again on Wednesday, took them a few things, and taught them one of the Temple Prep. Classes. They are hoping to get sealed in the Temple in the near future. We want to make sure they are ready. They are such a good family, with so little. Mom has Luckmore doing extra reading with books she gets from library. She has made a chart and he gets to put stickers on each day that he reads to Batsirai or to Mom. He is improving so much in such a short period of time!
The drive over, through the mountains and looking out over the tree-lined plains was peaceful. Afterwards we had a bite to eat with Elder and Sister Brammer. They are always fun to be with.
Missionary coordination meeting went well. The Elders work so hard. Mom usually has a nice lunch for the Elders afterward. They always seem to enjoy whatever she fixes. Mom’s star piano students are all doing well. They keep asking when they can start playing for church. Actually, Mary, one of her students is going to play the Sacrament hymn this next week. Mom spends every week teaching piano and giving her students lots of love, she is good at that.
Our visit with Patrick was, as usual, pleasant. Mary is still pleasant, but does not join us. He and Mary will be at church this Sunday. With being fast and testimony meeting, I hope they will enjoy it. The Spirit usually comes upon invitation. We are hoping little by little, she will feel the joy the Spirit brings.
There are no short cuts to getting a testimony. If you don’t “ask God” and read, study, and ponder His words, you will not find the answers you need.
Often the neighbor kids are lined up outside Patrick’s home when we arrive each week. They are excited to see what Sister Harward has for them this week. No matter how many you plan on, you better double it. Today was sucker day. We always get big smiles and waves goodbye when we leave.
Today is Friday. District Meeting; visit Jimmy, and preparation for Institute Fireside. The Heyens are bringing down the area director of Institute for Fireside. Everyone seems excited and we are trying to get the word out for a big turn out.
Some time ago, we told you about Nto, Refilwe and Innocence, our neighbors who came to our flat and asked about our church. They moved into our complex just a little while before we got here. We had done some neighborly things like take in cookies, visited with them out in the courtyard and they recognized that we were one of the few, including themselves, that had not been broken into and robbed.
Nto, the mother, said she felt safe knowing we were close by.
Well, the lessons from the Elders and coming to church had been going very well up until a couple of weeks ago and for some reason, everything cooled off. The Elders found out that their old pastor was in town and was organizing a branch of his church here in Polokwane. He had been calling them constantly and asking them to be involved in setting up his new branch. Their old pastor knew they were studying with us and coming to our church, he really put on the pressure to come back to his church. The Elders were at a loss and asked Mom and I if we could come with them tonight and help teach. We were a little late getting there, because we had to pick up the entire institute YSA from Seshego and get them to church for the Fireside.
We had been praying that the Lord would direct us, put words into our mouth, and let the Spirit teach. After a few awkward moments, I felt impressed to go ahead. We all knew of the family was at a crossroads. Do they set aside all of the excitements and feeling they had experienced so far while investigating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or yield under the pressure of old ideas and comfortable surroundings in their old church.
I decided to show the Mormon Message “Choose This Day” with President Henry B. Eyring to start our meeting. I then read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the confusion of his quest to find the Church of Jesus Christ and his experience to follow the direction of James, an apostle of the Lord, found in James 1:4-5. His testimony is powerful. Each of us shared our testimony and love of the Savior, our love for them. Our invitation for them was to do the same as the young Joseph Smith had done. Ask God.
The feelings were powerful. I watched closely as each of the Elders shared exactly the words and feelings that the Lord needed taught. D & C 100:4-6 . . .“For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.” Mom shared her testimony and she had such a soft approach that really connected with the Mother. What a powerful and spiritual experience to see some of the confusion leave, as peace filled the room. They promised to do the things that James and Moroni both have taught, with the promise to know the truth from God through the Holy Ghost. Today the Elders thanked me for preparing the lesson. I thought to myself, I came with only a prayer in my heart; the lesson and the words that I gave were not mine. We can always count on the promises given to us by our loving Heavenly Father and the Savior.
Mom taught a lesson on “CHEWINGS” THE RIGHT in Primary. Nolo came up after and said, “ Oh, Sister Harward that looks just like me. Did you draw that of me? Mom stated to laugh – – – well, I guess so – – – do you see any similarities?
Todays visit to Venda to see Ruben, his grandchildren and most of the neighborhood children was fun as always. Their excitement as they sing, volunteer to pray and play games is so rewarding. I can’t help but think that there are smiles in heaven as they watched the kids learn about Alma the Younger and sing “Book of Mormon Stories,” actions and all.
Well, big day tomorrow, followed by Zone Conference Monday and Tuesday, and Temple trip at the end of the week for Maggy, Gwen, and Elizabeth.
We love each of you so much. We know the Lord is watching over you. We feel His love and are grateful for your prayers and support. We are so content and love the opportunity to serve here in South Africa.
We love you.
MOM & DAD