After a 19 hour flight we arrived in Johannesburg and were met by Bishop Fisuro Mintela who drove us to our hotel. The following morning he took us to the church complex in Jberg for training. That facility includes a missionary training center, a chapel and an employment center for the entire region. We met several other senior couples serving there including the Basso's from Hawaii who know Tom's family. We found it interesting that most of the employess in PEF and Employment Services are recent PEF graduates. Wednesday morning young Bishop Mintela took us back to the airport.
In Cape Town we were welcomed by Brother and Sister Henderson who drove us directly to a Zone Conference where were were asked to bear our testimonies along with the Richins. That evening we went to "Cumorah,' the Cape Town Mission home, and were given a tour of that beautiful facility. Sister Wood suggested that "The Nauvoo House" would have been a better name for their home as many visitors, general authorities and missionaries find lodging there. We would have stayed there had not President and Sister Wood been flying off to Namibia the next day. So we and the Richins were comfortably lodged in a Bed and Breakfast nearby.
"Cumorah" is a converted girls boarding school. It has six bedrooms. Sister Wood explained that they were expecting 23 missionaries for breakfast the next morning. The previous night someone had stolen the length of copper wire that delivered power to the mission home so half the building was without electricity. President and Sister Wood hosted a dinner for ourselves and the Richins at a Tai Restaurant that evening. On Friday we had training at the Cape Town Mission office under the direction of the two office couples, the Oldhams from Kaysville and Karl & Linda Henderson from Far West, Utah. The mission office is located on a large piece of property. Large enough to accommodate a temple at some future date. Since Saturday was P Day, Elder Henderson took us on a tour of Cape Town which included a bus tour of the city and surrounding areas.
It's late summer here in South Africa and as we were on the top deck, I got sun burned. The next day, Sunday, we went with the Hendersons to Mitchell's Plains. This is a rather small branch. There were only about 45 people in attendance. We attended "Gospel Essentials" taught by Joseph Smith, a recent convert along with 6 young elders and the Hendersons. The lesson was on service. A few minutes into the lesson a middle age black man in jeans with a back pack was escorted into our class. Sister Henderson said she thought the man was on drugs. He said he usually attended the church down the road but as they were not meeting that day, he decided to join us. After class he approached several explaining that he needed bus money to get to Cape Town to look for work. We had been told that anyone making such a request should be sent to the Branch President. So he was instructed to go to him. The Branch President did not give him any money.
I was very uncomfortable as the man had just sat through a lesson on service at a Mormon church and his request for help had been denied. He stayed through the block and approached several others without success. Finally at the end of our meetings Elder Henderson gave him the money he had been asking for. He said the man had a well marked Bible in his back pack. He too felt uncomfortable about turning him away empty handed. Evidently the Branch President has instructions only to assist church members. Welcome to Africa where those in need are legions! The Oldhams invited us to dinner after church. Then, together with the Richins, we went to the Hendersons for dessert. The Richins are stationed in George so we followed them down the N2 highway Monday morning and then drove on to Port Elizabeth. We arrived at 5:30 p.m. after a ten hour drive.