June 28, 2014
Sunday was Branch Conference over in the Polokwane chapel. Not sure how to act with not having to sweep, setting up everything, driving 30 minutes and praying for electricity. It was a nice change. All the members were so happy to see each other. The Branch was divided just 4 months before we came here. Mom had to play for all the Young Women to sing. The girls were scared to death but it all turned out really nice. They were in fact very, very good.
For P-Day, we drove with Elder and Sister Brammer to Bella Bella, about 2 hours away to check out Elephant Adventures. It included a fun instructional time and then we saddled up and went out in the wilds.
All of these elephants had been rescued from other places. Either the animals were out of control or needed some help. Elephants that are out of control can do a lot of damage to everything if they are not cared for.
The trainers showed us how smart they were. They are often trained to track poachers. Their eyesight is not great, but their sense of smell is 10 times the skills of a tracking dog.
The elephants passed a hat one to another with their trunks and followed all sorts of commands. We fed them some pellets. The suction through their nose was notable, or you can feed them the old fashion way and just throw it in their mouths.
Their feet have a soft pad on them, and each has his own footprint. If an elephant gets a sticker or thorn in their foot, within just a short distance the flexible material will work out the thorn for the elephant.
The skin was real loose. Mom said, “Oh, you poor thing you need to use more Oil of Olay.” The tail hairs are something like tie wire. Mom said, “look her eyelashes look just like SNUFFLEUPAGUS” my thoughts were, “sweetie, you really do need to stop using the cheap eyelash stuff – – they are looking a little clumped together.”
Mom got a big kiss on the cheek. I opted out. Dick and Jeanie Brammer got a little wet at the “let’s see how much they can drink” trick. It was fascinating to listen to all the interesting facts about the elephants. The day could not have been better. After all the information and picture time, it was time to take the elephants for a walk out in the wild.
I know all of you are anxious to ride your own elephant, so here we go. First of all, be sure to do some serious stretching and get limbered up to ride. You will also want to work on your straddle – – I wish I had before I set out to climb up on it. It was all I could do to get my legs across the elephants back. The truly sad part was that she wasn’t even the biggest of the 5 elephants that went out on the ride. Elder and Sister Brammer chose the largest one to ride. Go Dick!
A lady that was on another elephant said to me, “ hey, you sure had a hard time getting up didn’t you?’ Pardon me? Gee, I really did not know I was being scored. I was a little embarrassed after her comment. Oh, well, after all I did manage to get on it. Even though the elephant was on its knees; it was quite an awkward climb to get up and over.
The canvas saddle had some serious straps that you needed to hang on to. When the elephant stood up, front legs first, I felt like I was going to go right off the back end. As we walked, we were able to see wild life everywhere. With no straps to put my feet in, going downhill was a little scary keeping my balance. All in all it was a great day. It was a good day taking time to smell the roses, as advised.
Tuesday was a full day with the Elder’s flat inspection (very clean) and Missionary coordination meeting with the Elders. We got a little wedding shopping started with Nigel. It is a little more difficult without Sammy the tailor from Las Vegas.
We then took some time giving a little love and council to some of the members. After that, we then went over to Mary Lamola’s home for PEC and Council meeting to finish off the rest of the evening. I think our leaders are really getting it. Activities are being scheduled, presidency meetings are happening, and assignments being accepted and completed. Mom and I watched with amazement. We are very happy as we watch everyone growing and taking charge.
You can do your hair like this and it will stay in for a couple of months. They pull it so tight that your tears end up pooling in your ears (just kidding). You can’t itch your head, so just tap it a lot with the palm of your hand. It takes hours for these girls to get their hair done like this.
Tumi had her lesson on the Plan of Salvation this week. She is such a sweetie. Mom is doing it all. We have tried having the Elders teach the children. They have a really hard time putting everything down on a child’s level. Mom is the master teacher. The Elders loved kicking back in some soft chairs.
Mom asked them if they were all right after we went outside. They admitted they had been a little spaced out during the lesson. Hey Elders, the Spirit World, as you can see on the board, is for later, come back, come back . . . earth to Elders. I think a chance to sit and listen, for a change, was maybe a little too peaceful.
Tumi is so anxious to be baptized and is reading and praying just like we asked. She has a real good example in her grandmother, Christina.
We had a good discussion with Patrick this week. We talked about covenants and used Alma 23-24 for our text and watched the video “Only a Stonecutter.” The Spirit was strong. Being perfectly obedient and acting rather than being acted upon is what the Savior has asked of us. It is all coming together for Patrick. He is convinced that everything is moving forward. Key word is patience. Everyone please keep praying for Patrick and Mary.
Our trip to Venda today was nice. Some of the kids were gone because of a school break, but Mom taught about being “Fishers of Men.” She even had candy fish as a treat for a right answer. All went well and of course singing is always a favorite. Keeping in mind that most of the kids only speak English as a 2nd language, they know every word to every song in English from Mom’s Primary lessons. We thought you might like to hear the 1st Article of Faith.
After closing, we turned the car into a van and packed 6 of them in the rear seat to deliver them around the neighborhood.
They are so sweet and they get so excited to be able to ride in our car with us even if it is just a short distance.
Saturday is washday, so here is how they do it in Venda. Wait your turn, but enjoy visiting all the other ladies, and the best part is no hauling water.
It has been a fast week. We miss you all a ton and will be thinking about you this week of the 4th of July. We are so proud of our family. You are the best. Thank you for all each of you do and the goodness that you share with others.
We love you,
MOM & DAD