..mine angles round about you, to bear you up. D&C 84:88

Sunday,

December 7, 2014

Dear Family,

The Temple Wedding and Reception for Nigel and Nelly are all behind us now. At times we were not sure that we could really make this happen. We had to help the bride arrange Nails and Hair, and buying all the meat for Sister Ouma to cook for the reception. Here in South Africa, everyone expects to have the “full meal deal”.

The week has been full of “tender mercies” and as promised by the Lord, “mine 1ucfJ65-kYgtQwbKXorg8A97ohgKGAspZXNgh05bVoMangels round about you, to bear you up.” One of those angles was Andrea, our very good friend from “The Dish.” She did everything she could to help us. In this picture, she decided she could save Nelly some money and do her nails .

After a hectic week we finally got on our way on Thursday morning with only one stop at the florist to pick up the brides bouquet and then on our way to JoBerg. Surprise, the flowers were not even close to what Mom had ordered. With no time to correct things, we NZff0ZhU_FMGmN7bqTrf7bpjhCbcd4h68x2fdiOvPXctook what they had made up and Mom held the flowers in a container of water and watched the tips of the roses turn brown as we made the 3-hour journey. This happy day was not starting out so well.

Mom called Andrea to see if she could help us. Since the florist was Andrea’s friend at the very least we thought we could use the flowers we had for the Temple and buy a second one for the reception. Maybe even one that looked like the original one that had been ordered. To make a long story short, the florist got offended, and refused to finish any of the flowers that were supposed to be picked up on Saturday morning for the reception. Gee, this is a problem.

Since Sandton City Mall is about 15 minutes from the Temple, Mom wanted to get Nelly’s ring cleaned at one of the jewelers. The first one we tried said they only cleaned the rings that they had sold, but she told us there was a jeweler in the business tower at the mall that would probably do it for us. Her referral was inspired. As he cleaned and buffed the ring, two of the stones come out. I could tell, by the look on his face that something was wrong. – – -Panic – – – he had all the tools to reset the stones, polished everything and with the exception of a 20-minute wait to get the elevator, we still made it to our 2:15 appointment at the Temple. Well, barely.

Have you ever tried to herd cats? Well, that was what it was like to try to keep track of all our guests, all eleven of them in 3 different cars, get them fed, checked them into patron housing at the temple and be in the right place at the right time. Mom and I are just too old for this!

Our first missionary appointment here in South Africa was with Nelly. The Elders wanted to introduce her to us and have us help with the teaching.   The lesson was to be on Temple and Family History work. She had only been recently baptized. Because both her Mom and Dad were deceased, she had lots of questions and was anxious to try to help her parents if she could. She had planned to do just that.

Not only were Nigel and Nelly getting sealed, but by the time we went to the Temple, she had the work ready to also seal her parents, be sealed to them and have her mother’s parents, also sealed. Oh, by the way, Mom lost the pink temple card for Nelly’s mother’s work that Mom needed to finish up. She went up and down this hill three different times looking for the card that she had just had in the Distribution Center – – after praying for help they finally were able to reprint the card so Mom could finish her temple work so the sealing could take place the next day. Do you think that just maybe someone was trying to prevent this from taking place?

Nigel acted as proxy for Nellys’ father, and Mom acted as the proxy for Nellys’ mother. Mom said even though the day had not gone well, so far, the feelings in the Temple both Thursday and Friday were so emotional, that tears came easy and were uncontrollable. The problems of the day seemed to fade compared to the sacred feelings in the Temple.

Several temple workers that had been with Mom, each commented that they knew the person she was going through for was very special. One even waited to talk to Mom. They both shared tears and the strong feelings each had felt. The joining of families together is sacred. How wonderful it was to be a part of our Father in Heaven’s plan for Nelly’s family.

While sitting in the sealing room, I looked in the mirrors that are hung opposite each other. Considering that we were there to witness the connecting of three generations, we felt overwhelmed with gratitude. Here are a few of the pictures I took at the Temple. (8-pix #3)

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While Mom was getting Nelly’s make-up on Friday morning before the sealing she had forgotten some hair spray. It seemed like a simple task at the time to go out in a city of 15 million and find some. Not so simple. At my fifth stop, I finally used my GPS and it guided me to a scary little store with bars everywhere, even around the one end were the cashier was with a few of those things that were easy to steal. I was so thrilled to find anything, 1LZUR0WD_HiNLBvhFdq7fBWgzJtU-PU4fnaIABJImb8and get back to our room. The can looked like hair spray, the label “Oil Sheen” did not seem to register until I tried some and then Mom used it and her hair turned from light and airy to limp, sad and oily. I mean really sad. Mom and I just looked at each other and started to laugh. What in the world had we put on our hair? I can best describe it as maybe buying a quart of Valvoline motor oil and dumping it on your head. So sorry about the dripping down your forehead. We didn’t have time to wash and redo our hair – – – so the whole day we went around with oil soaked hair!  I found out when I asked one of the sisters at church what this can of “Oil Sheen” was for. Everyone uses it to keep their hair shinny and moist. She was happy to accept my can of “Oil Sheen” as a gift.

With the Bride and Groom delivered to a hotel in Polokwane, now it’s time to see how we fix the flower issue. Andrea kept saying don’t worry. Ya Right. Oh, by the way, she could not find any florist that would help us for a reasonable price, so she decided to make up all the flowers herself.  She and her friends wanted to decorate. Mom was really worried about what the decorations would look like, but Mom is learning to adapt and be OK with whatever people do to try and help. She’s come along way in that department.

Did I mention that this week, one of the members had her mother pass away. With lots of pressure from her family, they decided to have the funeral on Saturday morning at 6:00 am – – – the same day the reception was to start at noon. Guess who was asked to speak. Me. They have lots and lots of funerals in South Africa. Most of them start at this time, with prayer meeting every night starting about Wednesday. You put up a big tent in your street, have lots of food prepared for everyone in the community to eat, the after party usually concludes on Sunday. It was a very nice service, just a little rushed along with everything else that was going on.

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Andrea had stayed up all night on Thursday night finishing up all the table decorations and spent all day Friday trying to find a florist. The plan was to meet her Saturday morning after the funeral at 7:30 am to decorate at the church. She had lost her phone, so she did not hear the frantic phone messages I sent up until 10:30 am Saturday morning. She had slept in. Mom just kept working on her cupcakes that were to be used for the wedding cake and covering the tables. Once Andrea got there she and MJ started decorating.   Check out their work.

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Mom sent me home at 11:00 am to pick up the wedding dress so she could go help Nelly get ready. There was only one problem. When I got home, the city power was off. The garage door opener would not work, and the only key I had to an outside door fit the slider that also had a dowel in the track to keep the bad guys out. OK, now what? I decided to climb over the wall leading to my back yard. I thought that perhaps I could get in somewhere in the back. Everything was locked tight. Wow, now what are we going to do. I said quietly, “Father, I need some help, and I need it quickly.” I climbed back over the wall and decided to try the garage door opener just one more time. The door slowly went up. Tender mercies were everywhere this week. Our Father in Heaven cares about everything we care about.

The reception turned out wonderful. Everyone had so much fun, even with the make shift music with no power for part of the time and a wedding march for the ring ceremony played from an iPhone. We planned on serving 60 – – – we had over 100 at the reception and I am not sure where all the food came from, but I can guess.

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We are so looking forward to your “Gift of Service” for our Christmas. Kids, please be sure to share the experience with us and the feelings you had of serving our Father in Heaven’s children.

We love you. God does hear and answer our prayers.

Love,

MOM & DAD

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Service in its many forms

Saturday,

November 29, 2014

Dear Family,

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.

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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.

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Mom had Nigel and Nelly do the carry across the threshold picture. They really laughed at  Spze3Awwhv4j-gSBqbwlu21FFgCE_7qQpXr4NIeULP8that 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.

 

 

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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
mlMV7KTZDllBIRpiwnu-5FyKiAW1vg9jKeqYxhv1-MIwas 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.IEFOrIeAQctqMRgGyNMZnw54wjwieIj7Qc9halQGLQM_9Ha0RmDrRyeBQWufh-5azDI5uK9bBWOq-YQeBKJMv4

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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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.

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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.

Love,

MOM & DAD

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Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together

Friday,

November 21, 2014

Dear Family,

Sunday I was assigned to speak in Sacrament meeting and sing in a quartet.   That was a bit of stretch. As always, the last speaker either has no time or all sorts of time. The time left to me was shorter than I had planned, so as I watch the clock tick away, my next question was where do I cut.

I went fasting and was anxious for this to be a time to be clear with the Savior’s message, but do it without offending. You know, no fist hammering, but not losing the message in fluff either.

Our members are young in the Gospel, and even those that have been members for a while, like all of us, have a lot to learn. I had been preparing thoughts, scriptures and stories for a couple of months. I wanted to compliment everyone on the things that were looking up, and maybe try to inspire them to work on some of the problem areas. Everyone is so anxious to become his or her own branch, so I used that as a springboard.

Mom said it turned out really well. Elder Bednar gave us counsel to get out of the way and let the Spirit do the teaching. I felt like that happened and I am grateful.

I watched “Glorious” by David Archuleta – Fan Supercut video on the internet. It is the theme song from “Meet the Mormons” the movie. Watching different people sing the song from different parts of the world is inspiring.

http://meetthemormons.com/post/100849783859/david-archuleta-glorious-fan-supercut-video

The month of December is real different here. School is out and everyone leaves and goes back to their home villages for the month. Our challenge is to make the time meaningful with visits, Christmas cookies and some Christmas carols. Mom is planning a get together for a few of the sisters to teach them some cooking at our place and of course lunch to follow.  Everyone who has tasted Mom’s cooking is anxious to learn how she does it.

In her spare time, Mom has written a script for our Christmas Sacrament meeting.  Those involved in the special musical numbers are busy learning their songs.  Mom and I go every week to the different houses to help them get ready. And to say the least, we are in full swing.

For those you that want some flavor of South African garden boutique ideas, check these out. This is where David, our hair dresser, has his shop, as well as a great dress shop, a nail place, and a nice place for lunch. If you are out of storage space, Adam and Trent, here is a new idea for storage of garden tools and almost everything.

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Next week is Thanksgiving and on Friday, Mom is having a little pajama party (just a late night) for 3 of the older primary girls with a movie, games, doing their nails, and treats. The girls are so excited, and I think Mom is too.

We have a couple of game reserve visits planned for two families who have never been. We have a great reserve here on the outskirts of Polokwane. We think they will have fun.

By the end of the 1st week of December the wedding and reception for Nigel and Nelly will be completed. We have a lot of people helping, and they seem to be excited. We are grateful for all the interest and help. It has been a bit overwhelming.

We had the 5 Elders in our District come on Wednesday and give us a little help with the LEweTzWK4JGJBwG3OtCSUAllgsSook8FcwpXFCoRCy8new flat (Nigel & Nelly’s). We were excited when we showed up to see that the painting was already done, so we spent our time cleaning everything, especially the windows and window frames. We bought the Elders lunch, so everyone was happy.

 

 

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Nigel will be here next Tuesday, so we are a little stressed. We want him to move directly vfzWIIZK4E0aS6qDrsjn1jWt5asTOwcM4KLlTr-0uy8into his own place. The builder has promised he will be finished with the remodel on time- – – we’ll wait and see. The standards here are more relaxed than at home. No one seems to mind, so Mom and I have had to tell ourselves that if they are OK, so are we. We are learning how to adapt.

 

 

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We have been leaving a special journal with each of the member families for a few days to write some thoughts about their experiences while we have served here. We wanted to start early, so they had enough time to think about what they wanted to write and not be rushed. We also thought that it might be easier to write now than later. We have read the completed ones. They are priceless.

We have made it through all the personal visits for the callings and releasing of the new District Presidency. Now, all I have left is to do is finish things up at church in 6 Branches. I will be working this week on saying the names of the 6 brethren the correct way so that everyone will know who I’m talking about.

I don’t want to be like the 2nd counselor in the first singles ward I served as counselor in the Bishopric. Every time it was his turn to conduct and he had sustaining and releases, he would mess up all the names so completely that you could watch from the stand and see everyone looking at each other trying to figure out who he was talking about. It always made me smile.

In the middle of the week we got invited to awards night for NoLo at her school. She was as proud as can be winning the award for the most improved person in sports. x88ADuqxBFAsqKYTbTvmIMgmdBlNC1ZtlBJNF8B1_Dk n9EEelQ5L8OcQktAznMDGOqxn8zNuI9BoQoNj9Z_j0s

Today we spent some time with Jimmy. He was able to spend some time in his wheelchair Unknown-186today. It was nice visiting with him outside for a change. He has so much trouble with pressure sores that he isn’t able to be in his wheelchair very often. He is such a tender man and so thankful for every little thing. We always leave grateful for his example and love.

With the help of one of the Board of Directors’ of the care facility, an attorney, he has agreed to help Jimmy with some legal matters. The attorney is blind himself, and willing to help others that have disabilities. With the money in his accident trust, Jimmy pays the portion of his care that is not covered by the government. I have been working with the trustees for more than a year with no success. The trust has not paid any money to the care center for over a year now. The attorney will be able to help both Jimmy and the care facility. He another “tender mercy” provided by the Lord.

Just before our message today with Jimmy, Ranae, one of the older patients came over and sat down at the table, and joined in the discussion of sharing her blessings of the week. We listened for quite some time, and then Jimmy said he would give the prayer. After the amen, Ranae did not miss a beat, she said, “Oh, by the way, Lord I have a few things to say.”

She prayed, and prayed, and prayed, for about 15-20 minutes. During a pause, Jimmy opened his eyes and said in their language, wrap it up. Awkward, but after a while she concluded. I’m sure we would have still been there. Thanks, Jimmy.

Here is something you all need to watch. You will want to click on the link below.  A wonderful video just showed up on the LDS youth website!!!

https://www.lds.org/youth/activities/missionary-work/learn-about-and-experience-missionary-work/missionary-open-house?lang=eng

“Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him.”

President Thomas S. Monson

We hope you are all well and happy.  Be thankful for the bounteous blessings we all have.

Love,

MOM & DAD

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Are We Not All Beggars? (G.C. Oct. 2014 Elder Holland)

Wednesday

November 12, 2014

Dear Family,

The last 10 days have been kind of a blur. President Dunn asked me to take care of the calling of a new District Presidency. The brethren are scattered all over the providence of Limpopo. We called Elder and Sister Butler to make the appointments and drive us to the interviews. As you can see, we had to trade with the Elders for their bakkie and headed for the hills. We were in luck, the stream was down, and the roads were not muddy.   Just as we were returning, it started to rain. The stream usually turns into a raging river and the roads are almost impossible to travel on but we got down off the hill and everything turned out okay.

Everyone grows fruit. You can see the bananas and lemons everywhere. On the way out, a couple of lady’s were happy to stop for a picture. This is really the way they carry their stuff. What a beautiful valley. The homes were modest, but for the most part, well kept. It was fun seeing part of South Africa we had never visited. We got home late, but it was a wonderful day.

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We did have a little break on Monday with a trip to the bowling alley with the Brammers and the Winwards, both senior couples. Man could I have used my Monticello team bowling shirt and bowling ball. I am a little out of practice, but on a brighter side, I never once got my thumb stuck in the ball and had it drag me down the alley. You remember kids; I did that once on our annual Thanksgiving Day trip to the lanes. Sorry boys, I know that left you a little embarrassed.

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Nigel’s and Nelly’s flat is coming along, but not without the usual building snags. I think I oTQX5zhM4g0XdoAwSMbd789yd1-NoX0kvSOgBNw9mfQhave everyone happy right now, so in a couple of more weeks, it will be done. The Elders have agreed to help us paint next Wednesday, and it is turning out really nice, small, but nice. Johanna is pleased, so I took her picture in the back yard with the “gizzer” (hot water heater) behind her on the ground. I talked Jonny and his little sister to get in the picture with Mom in the kitchen. The big room is really the bedroom and living room all in one.

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Everyone that can build a little something behind his or her home tries to rent it out. Sometimes it is quite nice, like this flat; usually it is just a one-room shack.

We watched 4 hours of General Conference on Sunday. Try that out with a 30 minute break for a snack. Everyone loved it and only a few left before the end of the second session. As you can see, the school needs a little tender love and care. We have an assortment of broken windows and large portions of the soffit either completely missing, or just waiting to fall on your head. We have our own safely rules here, none.

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I could not help myself but take a picture of Judith with Mom. Judith is heading for the HBhNlOZLt3IqwUqOqiDq5JH8MJbRmxjfWCLpFClvQbMmission field in Atlanta. Wow, will that be a shock for her. She lives up in the hills where we were just at in the bakkie. I asked her about the “tracting shoes”, and she said they had to stay home. Is she tall or what.

Conference has been so good. The messages are powerful. I think we are starting to realize that we are coming home in the not to distant future. As we ask the members to write down some of their feeling for us, in our journal, we often get “I just can no do that right now”. The Lord has blessed us to be able to really get to know and love our South African friends. We do love them, and they really love us back. Mom and I just don’t think about that. It makes us cry.

Our week ended with a great temple trip. What a meaningful and spiritual experience. We had a total of 22 in the taxi and 5 more drove down from Polokwane and Seshego. The members were all prepared with family names, and so anxious to just even be on the Temple grounds. It is so peaceful there. The members leave at 3:00 am Saturday morning and get home about 8:00 pm Saturday night. We try to go every 3 months. Most of the members cannot save the $32.00 each quarter, but they go as often as they can.

We were thrilled that Bambi wanted to go. This was her first time and she was scared to death to do baptisms. She did great. She had prepared over 80 names ‘TEMPLE READY” of her immediate family and she did baptisms for 6 of them. She is in the picture with Mom and I. Nelly was able to get her Patriarchal Blessing while she was at the Temple. We will be going down with Nelly on December 4th for her and Nigel to get married. She is more than excited.

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We arrived at the Temple on Friday afternoon. On the way down, Mom got deathly sick. She had a terrible headache and could not keep anything down. She was a real trooper, but by evening, she was so sick she was flat in bed, and very disappointed to say the least.

We are not able to get to the Temple very often, and here we were, and unable to go. We count on our Father in Heaven daily to guide and protect us. This day was no exception. I gave her a blessing and we turned it over to the Lord. The night was long, but by morning, Mom was hungry and anxious to enter the House of the Lord. We were grateful to be able to enjoy the blessings of heaven. I know that our Father in Heaven hears our prayers. I know that He loves us. If we are concerned about something, so is He.

Watch this new “Bible Video”… “The Feeding of the 5,000”. The heading says “ALL THAT YOU NEED, CHRIST CAN PROVIDE”. I know that is true.

We love you, we pray for you and we think of you each day.

Love,

MOM & DAD

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Testimony

Sunday,

November 2, 2014

Dear Family,

Today’s Fast and Testimony meeting was really good, at times and at other times followed the guidelines mentioned in the second paragraph of Elder Dallin H. Oaks conference talk of some time ago. As we watched, we decided that maybe some more training was in order.

Testimony

ELDER DALLIN H. OAKS –Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

“A testimony of the gospel is a personal witness borne to our souls by the Holy Ghost that certain facts of eternal significance are true and that we know them to be true. Such facts include the nature of the Godhead and our relationship to its three members, the effectiveness of the Atonement, and the reality of the Restoration”.

 “A testimony of the gospel is not a travelogue, a health log, or an expression of love for family members. It is not a sermon. President Kimball taught that the moment we begin preaching to others, our testimony is ended”.

Sister Joyce Molopo saved our meeting. She was baptized just about a month ago. Her testimony was short, powerful, and full of the Spirit. Thank you, Joyce.

Mom and I have learned to conserve water like you can’t believe. This morning about 5:00 am we could hear the water coming back on. We have been without it for three day. As we all know, you must seize the moment when it comes.

Didn’t we have this same conversation just last week?

Sorry, back to the story. The big problem is having enough water to flush the toilets, so this time I filled the bathtub before the water run short. In a rush, the bathroom got cleaned, the washing complete, and just in time. This morning, we had no water. Oh well, today is the 4th day of our weekly campout. When the heating the water to take shower gets old, we can always head over to Elder and Sister Winwards’ flat. They live close and always make us feel welcome.

We had some really good Family Home Evenings this week. We use “Mormon Messages” that we have downloaded and Mom usually takes a treat.

Ouma, Simon and family really got into the 3-messages from Elder D. Todd Christofferson on “Daily Bread”.

Mhpo watched “Spiritual Crocodiles” by Elder Packard. I asked her about the spiritual crocodiles in her life, and with the tears in her eyes, the Spirit took over from there, as we counseled her. That was a sweet experience.

This week we were able to go to a couple of birthday parties. The first one was for Kudzai with Bernard and Lucky. She is the magic 2 years old and a handful. The party was short, but very appreciated.

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The other party was in Venda. After Mom got done teaching 23 kids at Ruben’s place this week. Judy, one of the kids, said their mom wanted us to stop by their home. They had been waiting for us to start a party for her younger brothers birthday. We were real short of time because we had to drive 2 hours and teach Institute, but the 30 minutes we stayed was fun watching the kids all dance and the garage decorated for the real deal.

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Mom taught the kids about the scriptures and the importance of exercising spiritual strength daily. It was so hot in the little house, we took the games outside. The kids split into 3 groups and as Mom read their scripture, they had made up hand motion that went along. They had a lot of fun.

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Nigel’s remodel is coming along. A couple of misplaced doorways are being moved. Rough plumbing is in place, and the bathroom is starting to take shape.

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Our visits to Ouma and Simon were more than just FHE, early in the week. Khomotso made a little self- adjustment, which proved to be disastrous. A loose bolt allowed the derailer to almost fall off the bike. Khomotso is a big boy, and has lots of strength, so he tried with all his might to just peddle harder after the part had moved out of alignment.

The derailer ended up in the spokes and Khomotso ended up in the dirt. Not sure where we go from here on the bike. The bike is only about 3 weeks old. He was so sad and all his mom could to think to do was “call the Elders”. They responded as quickly as possible and showed up at the same time as we did.

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After seeing the very sad boy, we drove home, grabbed the first aid kit and the racecar set we had bought last year for the Elders to play at Christmas and headed back over. The bike still needs some help from the shop, but Dr. Mom fussed over him, patched up the big scarp on his leg and we put together the car racing set. A few smiles returned, so mission accomplished.

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For P-Day Sister Winward wanted to drive to Tzaneen, visit the Coach House for lunch and visit the candy factory. So, the Bramer’s came up, and two of the couples serving in the Tzaneen, the Campbell’s, and Heyen’s came to meet us. The candy looked wonderful. We bought a little, but are saving it for a special time. How do you like our sporty head nets.

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Wow, what a place. It looked inside like an old Irish pub and the views of the grounds and valley across the road were beautiful.

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Thanks for the all the pictures of Halloween. Our grandkids looked awesome. We know of the efforts that go into making everyone happy. We love you.

Well, best go. After our early house cleaning and church, it is time to go to bed. We love and miss you so much. Our prayers are full of the things we think you need. We hope that also includes also some of your wants. We are very aware of a loving Father in Heaven that is looking over you and us. We love Him.

 

Love,

MOM & DAD

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Lord, where can I be of most service?

Saturday,

October 25, 2014

Dear Family,

The week has been full of training our leaders. They are anxious to learn, so we started on Tuesday with the Relief Society, Sister Mary Lamola and her presidency, Wednesday with the Elders Quorum Presidency and finished up on Thursday with our Group Leaders. Some of the practices we take for granted, are new to them. When you tell them how to share the workload and multiply their efforts, they are so excited and enlightened.

I think Moses had a similar experience, until he asked for help and was told to call 70 Priesthood holders to help. As we look to the end of our mission experience, we are trying to work where we hope to bless the most people. I’m not sure they have ever had Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching Districts, printed lists and even lists to hand out to each of the companionships.

Most of the members do not have computers or printers. They have been using hand written lists. If they do not have a pen, they find a pencil somewhere. Their notes are in small school booklets like you would take to school. We don’t realize how good we have it.

Now we have everyone assigned, and printed lists, we can enter them on the computer at the church in Polokwane. Future changes can come from there where the church pays for the paper, has the equipment to keep things up to date, and provide printed lists.

We finally got everything arranged and the contractor is finally getting started on Vg0pPHxGyqSDE9LSNvvrI-wfjEUnk36suxSclDr9Uj0finishing Nigel and Nelly’s flat. Johanna is so excited. She is Ouma’s sister. I am sure you have seen Ouma in our letters.  You have seen pictures of her when we took her to the Temple, or had FHE with her family, or maybe you remember the pictures when we took them miniature golfing a couple of weeks ago. Johanna has three children. Her children include her son Jonny 19, No No, a daughter 16, and another daughter that is 5.

Johanna is a sweet sweet lady. Both Jonny and No No have been members of the Church for about 2 years. Johanna lost her husband in an auto accident this last May, so she is trying, as best she can, to bring up the kids by herself.

She is policeman on the riot squad. So, she is often called out to a trouble area and comes home only when things have calmed down and are under control. That could take her away for 4 or 5 weeks at a time. She really wants Nigel and Nelly to be like family and keep an eye on her family. Having them live almost in the same house will make that nice for everyone.

2ZfYaw5Cjr8yQlhLA9c4vjBgwsac80AjAiXM5M1DzlI-1Johanna has family in Seshego, but this will be even better. Nigel and Nelly’s flat is located right behind Johanna’s house, but completely self-contained. They had it built some time ago, but with the death of her husband, it never was completed.

We are all thrilled that this is working out. The finish work will take about 3-4 week. The finish comes complete with a “geezer” to give you hot water, a private bathroom with shower, and even a kitchen sink to wash your dishes. Nigel and Nelly really did not expect all the extras. The finish is not coming any to early.

c5S0k0cWsGQbBywixoUfdemgS15gjIdsaxQzklqw3XQNigel and Nelly will be getting married on December 5th, just a couple of weeks after the finish deadline, and that is if there are no problems. The Lord has His hands in all sorts of things. In this case, we are certainly sure about His help in this situation.  Their wedding date is coming quickly, so Moms finishing up a few of the important details.

 

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This week was Maggy’s birthday. If you remember a birthday here, everyone is thrilled peL2TqoGSeZc8Dt-XTJXTVacA0Fg2Ftn6EETlR4dENMand Maggy was just that.  No, Mom is not tracting. After going around back, Maggy sent us to the front door. In most cases, you never use the front door. They find is much safer to use the door around the back of the house. Often when you go inside, you find the family has furniture blocking the front door.

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Today the Young Single Adults wanted to get all the kids from Seshego, Polokwane and the University of Limpopo together for a party. They all belong to this Branch. Church activities are about the only social they have, so when they are able to pay for transport and get together, they have a great time.

We had pizza, they played a few board games and they played some games outside. It was great to watch them. They had a great time together. Mom and Sister played hostess of course.

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The YSA have not been willing to move those of the opposite sex out of the “friend zone”. They are so afraid of loosing their best friends, if they show a little interest in each other. Gee, sounds like the same old story, different country.

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We have been working with them for some time now, so I guess we will see if they take our advice and do something about what we have suggested.

I have been concerned about transportation when we get home. So, I have my eyes wide open just checking out the options. They other day I think I found it. It runs on 4 cylinders (kind of) and comes in different body styles. This one was the hard body.

c6OtnPYIH1pJKpNgzk_53cdvLpp35Iyku04vFIlgCjM r9V-eT355wn1L0uQiXylCSa9LI_pvHAowtNQUFvDJxA I watched a new Mormon Message they other day. Considering the early part of Paul’s life, check out his commitment to the Savior and assessment of his life as he had finished his time here on Earth. We pray that we will be able to say the same.

MORMON MESSAGE: “I Have Kept the Faith”

We love you all so much. We are proud to be part of your family.

Love,

MOM & DAD

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The Sprit of Elijah is alive and well

Saturday,

October 18, 2014

Dear Family,

Today was great. We started off with an early trip to the store for a few grocer2014-10-18 12.21.53ies 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.

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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.

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After the lesson and games, we quickly gathered up all Moms’ stuff. With no time to waste F4BnXTxSIgYD9TRdnRz1VVHQ32nq7_SoC4QO7TLrnAU,t4F41WG1RZmQsBDaaTjqzAIA7Gl_ZcW5udC_EItoDyIwe 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!

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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.

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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.

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The walk and tour was followed with a program – kind of like the Polynesian Cultural Center.

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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.

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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.

Love,

MOM & DAD

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