July 13, 2014
Well, another week has gone by and we’re really not sure where the time goes. Nigel has gone back to Zim for now, but we spent our P-Day up the canyon in Mom’s well-planned engagement day. It was hard to hide and still take pictures. Thank goodness for the “zoom” on my camera. Nellie was so taken with the beautiful surroundings, all the waterfalls that she didn’t even notice that mom and I had left. Nelly hugged Nigel really tight. We didn’t think she would ever let him go.
We caught her in a pose that we have seen before. You know the one; the brides big hug while looking over the shoulder to check out the ring. Mom and I did our best on the picture taking. We quietly hiked back to our car to go have our lunch at a little artsy town nearby. We left them with a picnic lunch, killer waterfalls and a couple of hours to be by themselves.
Oh, by the way, she said YES and the plans are in the works for their marriage in the Johannesburg Temple on December 5, 2014. Everyone is thrilled, including us.
As it turned out, Nigel had to spend most of his last week doing odds and ends by himself this. President Dunn called and asked us to drive to the Mission Home and pick up Elder and Sister Campbell. They are the new senior couple from Arizona. They are wonderful, soft spoken and anxious to go to work. Elder Campbell will be serving as the new Branch President in Tzaneen just one hour up the canyon from us. Their jet lag was really bad. As their eyes started slamming shut, we stopped telling them war stories, and encouraged them to forget about what time it was and just get a little shuteye.
The Zone Leaders were a little concerned that the old guy (me, even though I know I look young in the pictures) would be able to drive their manual transmission. It was about the same, just shifting with the other hand.
We drove to Johannesburg with the Zone leaders so they could go to a Zone Council meeting. We then drove the Campbell’s back to Polokwane in their car. It was a good idea to come down and help them get used to driving on the left side of the road, and negotiate the intersections. We filled the time with helping out with lunch set up at Zone Council meeting. We ate some pizza with the Elders and got to know some of the other couples a little better both there at the mission home and going out for a bite later that evening.
We had a great dinner with President and Sister Dunn, Elder and Sister Campbell, and 4 for the Elders our first night there. It was great a great evening and the company was even better.
Our down and back the next day turned into a two night stay at the mission home. Six of the senior couples passports, including the Campbell’s, were stamped at the airport, but never signed or dated with the right expiration day. Needless to say, they wanted us to stay put and let them get everything corrected so we could deliver corrected passports to some of the other couples here in the north end of the mission.
Friday morning we made it back to Polokwane just in time to say amen at District Meeting and introduce the Campbell’s to everyone. Gee, I remember those first few weeks wondering where I was and why in the world would I could choose to be a missionary. Looking back, this has been an amazing time. Our mission has been a time of miracles and growth. Never in million years could we have ever thought of all of the experiences and blessing that would come as a result of our decision to serve the Lord. This really has been a “not knowing before hand experience” for us, just like Nephi as he is getting ready to make his final journey to get the Brass plates.
We were at the grocery store the other day and I saw this lady in front of me. I thought, is it just me or do you think she must have just been coming from a kid’s birthday party where they had convinced her to be a part of their “ring toss” game.
The unexpected trip to Joberg put a bit of a bite on my preparation for teaching Institute Friday night, speaking in Church as the only speaker and conducting a funeral for our friends from “The Dish” right after Sacrament Meeting. I had to attend a 6 hour training meeting put on by the District on Saturday, so with the travel time my prep time for today was not what I had hoped for but, looking back, with the Lord’s help, everything turned out fine.
Karen, the owner of “The Dish”, just lost her X-Husband and father of her four children. We have got to know her and all her family well since we have been here. As we visited with her, we offered our condolences and asked if there was anything we could do?
As we visited, she told us that she has been going to his place and taking care of him every day, since their divorce. He has been sick with lung cancer for almost 20 years.
About a week later, we returned to have lunch. She came over and asked if I could help her with the funeral. He had requested to be cremated and wanted his ashes scattered up in Haenertsburg. There is a cemetery on the top of the hill overlooking the small village where he would often sit, and paint. I helped her with the things I could, and she handled the details of everything else.
Mom had the Primary children sing “I Will Follow Gods Plan” in Sacrament Meeting today. They did so well. Mom and I had to hurry to gather up Mom’s piano stuff and head up to the funeral right after Sacrament meeting. Everything turned out so nice and we arrived with 2 minutes to spare!
Karen invited us over for dinner in a week and accepted our request to help them better understand where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. She invited all of her children to come and listen too. Missionary opportunities are all around us. We feel blessed as we invite others to come unto Christ.
It has been a very busy week. I suspect that President Dunn will keep us busy. We will just have to rearrange some of our routines so everything gets done.
We visited Jimmy this afternoon. He is always so appreciative of everything we do for him. We feel so blessed to have him as our friend. The day was warm and beautiful. I took a picture of a bird on the lawn and the complex where Jimmy stays.
Thank you for your love and prayers for Grandpa. We hope that he will get his medication regulated soon, so he can feel better. He will be in a care facility for about 30 days so they can help with that. Grandma can let you know if he can have visits.
We are so sorry to hear about Mike McGarry’s passing. He is such a good man.
We love and miss you so much. We are doing everything we know how. Keep doing all you can and turn the rest over to the Lord. You don’t have to do it all alone.
MOM & DAD