Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Port Elizabeth

         The biggest problem has been getting all our technology up and running.  I've posted three smileboxes to Face Book since our arrival but have not been unable to transfer any of them to my blog. Please "Friend" me if you want to see the photos that go along with this text.  I have some great pictures of Cape Town, some local missionaries, (we delivered their mail on Friday) the Relief Society Birthday party (on Saturday) and a baptism (on Sunday.)   Our "on again off again" GPS has a short and cuts out frequently.   Our cell phone is so tiny it's often lost in my purse which contains our keys, daily planner, cameras, and items.  By the time I've retrieved it the caller has hung up.  Elder Van Sickel came by last night to go over the list of number's on our cell  phone and demonstrate how to use it.  It was on lock for three days. Consequently he was unable to call us before bringing bishop Mahaluba and his family over for a visit on Sunday night. Luckily Tom had just returned from a driving lesson with Elder Taylor before they arrived.  Good news,  Johannesburg just called!  PEF has approved the purchase of a new GPS. Now we can find the missionaries apartments that we are scheduled to inspect tomorrow.

     This morning Elder Taylor brought over the files of six PEF applicants.  Everything that has been submitted since the LaPrays left has been approved but the application of Bishop Mahaluba.  He does not yet have his letter from the Stake President signed.    I am so impressed with Unathi Mahaluba who serves as bishop of the Kwa Nobuhie Ward with 698 members.  He has 20 young men getting ready to go on missions.  Ten hope to submit their papers next month.  However each must earn 2,000 Rand (about $250) before they can do so.   Brother Van Sickles has hired some to paint chairs for the church to help them earn money.

         Unathi is just 28 years old.  He was called as bishop at that age of 24,  after returning from his mission to Johannesburg.  He and wife Mihle are the parents of two children, a daughter Athayanda, who is  five years old and a son, Nathikhaya, who is two.  Mihle works nights so she can take care of Nathikhaya during the day while Athayanda is at preschool.  Unathi is in the process of applying for a PEF loan to become a computer programmer.  It will take him several years.  He will need to borrow 28,000 Rand and continue working full time while attending  school in stages.  All this while serving as the bishop of a growing but very needy Xhosa ward.

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