October 18, 2014
Today was great. We started off with an early trip to the store for a few groceries for the snack in between the two conference sessions tomorrow at church. After that, we were off to teach the Venda kids and Ruben. It always makes us feel good to see the kids run out of their homes to greet us. “Koko” (the Grandma) was sitting under the mango tree, to the side of the home, where she spends a lot of her time.
Mom taught about “Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy”. She had great stories, and a recap of stories from lessons past. The day was full of music, games, and of course treats for those who had completed coloring and drawing in their “Blessing Books” of the things they were thankful for. You should have seen the books. They were tattered and torn, but they had completed each page with lots of love. Mom looked carefully at each one of them and told them how good they were. It was really quite tender to see the drawings and the things that meant so much to each one of these children.
As Mom and I looked into the eyes of the children, they looked like angels. They are as sweet as can be. What a treat to feel the Spirit of the Lord and the love our Father in Heaven has for all of His children.
As Mom tells the stories, they are glued to her every word. As far as singing the songs, forget about them needing help with the words… they know them all. They sing loud, strong, and all in English. Considering that most of the younger kids don’t really speak English, that is really something.
I went outside to get some things out of the trunk and as I walked back to the house, I stopped for a minute. I could hear singing coming from the house. The words rang clearly, “I am a child of God.” I could not help but look over the landscape of the valley near Ruben’s humble home. What a wonderful place to be. What a wonderful message, in the most humble of places.
After the lesson and games, we quickly gathered up all Moms’ stuff. With no time to waste we headed quickly for home. We did however stop for a minute to snap a picture of a women carrying her firewood home on her head. With conference downloaded on my laptop, our drive both up and back was nice as we listened to the conference talks.
We made it just in time to set up the school for conference tomorrow. We had to put up the black plastic garbage bags blocking out the sunlight from the east windows, hurried to swept the floors and had the chairs set up just in time for Institute to start!
President Winward gave a great lesson on the Savior’s visit to the Americas found in 3 Nephi. The tenderness of that visit with the people, one by one, is remarkable. If you want to feel the Spirit quickly, take a few minutes, close your eyes, and place yourself among the crowd. Examine your feelings as it was now your turn to feel the nail prints in the Savior’s hands and feet, listen to the Savior pray, watch the miracles of healing among those that you gathered when He asked you to bring “any sick among you” to come and be healed, and finally to watch Him bless and love your children. It is wonderful to be taught through the Spirit about the Savior of the World.
With winter over, the beautiful sunsets are starting to return. This week we had our first big rain storm accompanied with lightning that fills the sky and thunder closer than you have ever felt. The Jacaranda trees are starting to come out with their beautiful purple blossoms and the incredible fragrance!
In our spare time, we squeezed in some wedding preparations, dinner with President and Sister Dunn, some “group” training, and a few piano lessons. Busy is good.
After the big Primary Program, we welcomed a P-Day that was extraordinary. We drove with the Brammer’s to the Lesedi Cultural Village, a couple of hours south of Polokwane. The village was complete with a walking tour of the 5 main tribes in Africa, with their dress, traditions and how about a main dish still used widely today.
I could not believe Mom said she had to try Mopani Worms before coming home! She said, “I’ll never have this experience again!” I, however, did not cave into the peer pressure. She said they were a little crunchy and tasted like cardboard, and the after taste was not so hot. However, they are high in protein. Thank goodness Elder Brammer had some tic-tacs in his pocket.
The walk and tour was followed with a program – kind of like the Polynesian Cultural Center.
We had dinner at the Village and then with some shopping at a place called Chameleon Village the day was a success. (Notice the one native in the kaki pants and orange shirt – – with the scary mask – – can you tell its Grandpa?)
Before District Meeting, we headed over to visit Jimmy for a few minutes. Elder and Sister Winward met us there. Jimmy needed some pictures taken for an article that is being written about him in a magazine. Mom was doing her fussing thing – – you know how she is when taking pictures. But Jimmy was glad to have the help making sure he looked just so! He is such a good man. We are going to miss him, but we have made an agreement just not to talk about that. It makes us all cry.
A little success story this week. We got an e-mail from the Area Family History Center, you remember, their director that told us that there was no way they could spare a computer and they were pretty sure having any kind of Family History Center just would not work here in Polokwane. Wrong answer.
Here is the note we got from Elder Jarvi, a senior missionary that came up and helped do some Family History training. “…love all that you accomplish, did you know that the Polokwane Branch, including the Seshego Group is submitting Temple work at a rate of 10.4% of listed members, while the church average is 3% and the all Africa number is 2.8%.” We are only proud in a good sort of way. The Sprit of Elijah is alive and well here in Polokwane.
We love you. We miss you.
MOM & DAD