Be thankful for your challenges


September 13, 2014

Dear Family,

Time is flying by and another week to recap. The week was full of teaching, training, Priesthood responsibilities, and some really good visits. If you really want to feel thankful for your own challenges, just forget about yourself and go see what you can do for someone else. Pretty sure you are not going to want to change places.

We had a good long visit with Bernard, Batsirai, Lucky and Kudzai. The shoe repair business is really slow and those shoes that are now ready to be paid for and picked up are still in the same pile that they were 3 months ago.

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I helped Bernard make a change in his policy on payment for shoe repairs. He now he is requiring at least a deposit, enough to pay for the material he uses. Still, that does not pay the rent, or put food on the table. With a stop by the Spars Food Market, Mom and I were able to add to the 5 small tomatoes, a few cups of meal, and about 4 tablespoons of peanut butter, they had on their empty shelves.

It makes us cry to see the humble acceptance of any help from others. It has been since February that Bernard had his stroke and left him on crutches permanently, and out of a job. When we first got here Bernard was walking to church, but now that is not possible for him. It is a long, long way to walk and on crutches impossible. The taxi ride to church costs $1 per person (10 rand) one way.

We were hoping that the hair cutting business with some shoe repair on the side would give them what little they needed. For now, that is not the case, but they know the Lord is helping them. In the mean time, the members are mindful of them and sharing what they have.

It always feels good to stay busy and at the end of the day be tired and ready for bed. We are thankful to be here. The Lord is mindful of each of us. I am sure He sheds tears as He watches us struggle, but thrilled as He sees us learn important lessons of life. Especially knowing that all He expects us to do is our very best. After that he wants us to turn it over to the Savior. We are grateful to be “yoked” along side the Savior. We know that He is often doing all the pulling.

For our P-Day we went with Elder and Sister Brammer, and Elder and Sister Winward up north to a manufacturing plant called Karos. They make hand embroidered things. Mom bought some place mats and then we spent some time watching the craftsman. The plant was located in the middle of an orange orchard, out in the middle of nowhere, about 1 ½ hour north of Polokwane. They had a peaceful place for lunch, and the day was wonderful. The sunshine was shinning and the smell of oranges was great. The change was nice.

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Wedding plans are moving forward for Nigel and Nelly. Mom has been helping with a little shopping and I have been helping Johanna get bids from a contractor to finish the “flat” where Nigel and Nelly plan to stay. Well, we are not there yet, but getting closer.

Service to others comes in different forms, so on Thursday we drove out to Ntsodi-Bambo School to teach a Cultural Arts class on music and ballroom dance for a group of 7th graders. Sister Ruth is one of mom’s piano students and teaches at this public school. 2014-09-11 10.12.18 She needed our help, so with only the name of the road driving out from Polokwane, and an estimated drive time of 45 minutes, we went on our way. I was worried that we would not be able to find this place. Mom and I have been known to be lost from time to time here in South Africa. We said a prayer in the car before we started and with a lot of faith we headed out. Mom told me, “ it will be OK,” so I just kept driving for a while, made a few turns and there we were.  2014-09-11 09.47.14

While we waited for the lunchtime break, we got acquainted with the gardener. He spoke enough English that we had some idea what he was saying. His five children were older and had moved away. His wife died last week and now he lives alone. He did not know why she died, but he doing all he can, just keep moving forward. It is hard to tell how old he is, but my guess is that he was a lot younger than we are. He was pleased when we told him what a beautiful garden he had and what a good gardener he was.

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I am pretty sure that when the kids got out for lunch, they must have thought that there were some really white aliens at their school. They swarmed and were really anxious to have their pictures taken. As you can see, we had lots of poses and everyone wanted to be in the pictures.

Mom asked the children to sing her a song. They chanted an African folk song and then they started to sing “Oh, Here We Are Together” and Mom joined in with them. 2014-09-11 10.33.49 They all giggled and were so happy. It brought such a warm feeling of love. Check out the favorite school recess toy. How about an old tire. 2014-09-11 10.20.05 Sorry, there are only a few, so you need to wait your turn rolling it around. How about the water fountain? The water was fresh and you can move the water bucket anywhere you want. How’s that for portable? 2014-09-11 10.25.49


There was no lunchroom smell. It is all outside. Meet the lunch ladies. No problem. They had lots of wood for the fire, a pot to cook in and even a serving area. We saw no complaints, everyone seemed happy.




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These kids were awesome. They were friendly, pleasant, and cute as can be. They just melt your heart. Well, lunchtime is over, and time to set up for a little Cultural Arts Class.

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2014-09-11 11.00.36We started with the singing class. How about “Come, Come ye Saints.” Good choice. Sister Ruth had already taught them the words but hadn’t had any accompaniment and now with the piano they thought they were great – – a real live performing choir!


They had been working on their “jive” to show us, so here is a little clip.

Everyone had a great time learning the Fox Trot and of course a little free dance time, you know, African style.

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I had a few more pictures, but something must be wrong with my camera. It continues to take pictures of me looking much older, so I deleted them.

The day was really fun. I know we helped Sister Ruth out and it was another great experience for Mom and I.

Thank you for serving each other. There is nothing like family. We love and miss each of you.



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2 Responses to Be thankful for your challenges

  1. Kevin & Judy says:

    Loved the post and the message was timely. South Africa agrees with the both of you. Love you.

  2. Angela Beesley says:

    We love this video! The kids keep watching it over and over! They loved seeing you dance too!!
    What a blessing you are to So. Africa!!! We love you and love seeing you have fun and work hard!!

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