November 29, 2014
Before the crazy week ahead gets going, I need to get you caught up on all the latest. We had a really good Regional Conference on DVD from President Uchtdorf, Elder Bednar, Elder Gay of the Seventy and Sister Stevens. It was watched over all of Africa and was mainly about putting the Lord first in our lives and sorting out some of the traditions that are not in line with the Gospel. They deal mainly with the birth of children, marriage (Labola – bride price), and some traditions dealing with death. It was powerful. The bottom line was…when the Lord gives us a commandment, He provides a way. Always.
Our Branch party was well attended and was really fun. Can’t get much better than food, dancing, and good, good friends. The Elders had two flat tires that morning, but even after helping them, the party went on forever. After Mom and I left, about 4:00, the dancing went on till about 6:00. No one wanted to leave. Church really is their social life.
Nigel came from Zim a day early, so we had the “all night” wait to make sure he was not waiting out at the taxi stand for too long in the dark. The planned 10:00 pm pick up time ended up at just before 5:00 am Wednesday morning. Sleeping with one eye open is really not my idea of sleeping. As always, either the delay is a delay at the boarder, or a late taxi pick up. This time it was the later. How about 4 hours late.
Everyone has been killing themselves, to get the flat ready so Nigel could sleep there when he arrived. Well, we almost made it. Cleaning started on Monday, and on Wednesday we were still at it. It probably would have been better to just let the builder get done, and then do it, but, oh well. The flat turned out great. We gave Nigel and Nelly a lot of things that we would be leaving when we come home, and of course Mom added the final touches. We are glad that is over with.
Mom had Nigel and Nelly do the carry across the threshold picture. They really laughed at that tradition. Nelly had never seen the place until it was finished. Both she and Nigel could hardly talk as they saw it for the first time. It is small but cozy. They have some real extras: hot water, a shower, and an inside toilet. I’m serious. They were thrilled and so were we.
We got two new Elders this transfer, so I needed to spend some time with them showing them around. They have no clue where to start. Elder Dye, from Idaho Falls, just got released as a Zone Leader, and is excited to be back to work as a regular missionary. Elder Bua is his companion. He is from Uganda and has been out for about a year. They are doing great and are excited to be here. Mom has really filled them up with some “missionary food”, so they are good to go.
While we were finishing the flat, the party preparation for Johanna’s daughters’ birthday
was is full swing. When they have a party here, it is a real party. If you need to work, just strap on your youngest on your back and keep working. Mom had a little surprise when she was repairing one of the drapes. She turned around and saw the meat for the party just sitting there. She jumped and tried not look at it. She decided it was best to just hurry to finish the hemming of the drapes.
Their idea of any party always includes a full scale meal, with barbequed pork, full blown sound system, of course tents and in this case a theme. How about “Mickey Mouse”. I stopped Johanna and Ouma (who are sisters) and their Mom for a quick picture.
For Thanksgiving, we went with two of the other Senior Couples to a resort called “The Ranches” for dinner. It was Ok. Not anything like we saw when we talked to you on “Face Time.” Thank you for staying close and getting together. There is nothing like family. We love and miss you always, and not just on the holidays.
In between all this, we had some good visits, piano lessons and last, but not least, “Girl’s late night, with Sister Harward”. NoLo, Ti Ti, and Tumi have been looking forward to this for months. Some things don’t change. This party was complete with pizza, Uno, a movie, “Frozen” with Carmel popcorn, nail painting for each of the girls all in the comfort of your very best PJ’s. That sounds like a party at home. However, unlike at home, I found no popcorn in my bed. Thank you very much.
I think this week was a warm up for next week the “Wedding Week.” Mom and I are both a little numb, but I know we can do it. Thursday drive to JoBerg and Nelly’s endowments. Friday, the sealing at the Temple, not just for Nigel and Nelly – – they will seal her parents, seal her to them and then seal her grandparents together as well. What a wonderful day for her family!! Saturday is the Reception back in Polokwane. Where is the wedding planner when you need one? We will be so excited when the wedding things are all completed. I guess nothing that is worth anything comes easy.
We are so thankful to be serving here in South Africa. Thank you for your love, support, and prayers. We know the Lord is looking after each one of you and us. We can hardly wait to give each of you a big hug.
MOM & DAD