Last night we met Brother and Sister Murdock, public relations missionaries, based in Durban. They arrived just seven days ago and are touring South Africa to help organize, promote and publicize the churches world- wide “Helping Hands Day” scheduled for August 18th,. Traditionally, the church has not widely publicized all their humanitarian efforts believing that “the right hand should not know what the left hand is doing.” However this policy has not served us well. For example: In his talk to the media the Mayor of New Orleans recognized the two groups who did the most to help his city after Hurricane Katrina - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and “Helping Hands Organization.” He did not realize they were the same. With Romney running for President and confusion in the press over whether or not Mormons are Christians, our General Authorities feel it’s time for a shift in policy. They want us to join hands with communities, civic leaders, and other denominations to build a better world, and believe these efforts should be publicized.
The Murdocks met Brother Wademan at Lorraine Ward, who also has responsibility for our PEF work. They were introduced to and shared information with the stake’s high council. It is their intent to get the public relations ball rolling here in P.E. The day designated for all the world wide Helping Hands project is coming soon. It’s August 18th. It was fun to get to know this energetic young couple. Sister Murdock is a dancer. She owned a dance studio in Pocatello for 13 years and has choreographed musicals. She has done “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” and would live to choreograph it again. When Brother Murdock learned that Tom had directed “Joseph” three times, he suggested that this musical could be put on in P.E. as an LDS sponsored community project. He asked Tom how long it would take to pull it all together. He suggested “Joseph” could go on tour with performances throughout South Africa just like the Young Ambassador did in April. We discussed the possibilities of several performances in P.E. in December. Both Sister Murdock and Tom are concerned with the logistics of such a huge undertaking. It would be important to include the artistic community, include local actors and members of other denominations.
A couple of weeks ago I met the Reverend Julie Power from Long Beach, California, who left Kenya after the political situation deteriorated. She is sponsored by several different relief organizations and is based in P.E. now. I’ll call her and get some ideas for Helping Hands. On Tuesday we had lunch at Jackie’s which is a Mexican Restaurant. While there we visited with a dozen young missionaries from the Church of Christ, based in Texas. It was pleasant to hear American accents and comprehend what they were saying. We introduced ourselves telling them that we were from the Church of Jesus Christ with headquarters in Salt Lake. They study the bible while traveling throughout Africa doing good works. They are funded by members of various Church of Christ congregations. These young people might be willing to help if we can contact them. Next week Brother S. And I are going to the Graham’s Town Arts Festival. Hope we can hook up with some of the local production people and actors that might be interested in helping.
We have a “PEF Fireside in Cleary Branch on Sunday and a meeting with young adults of P.E. Ward at institute. Then we have done pretty much all we can with PEF in the Port Elizabeth Stake. I’ll get Certificates of Completion for our students run off and handed out and then we will be traveling to some outlying areas. We will be traveling to Knysna, near George, to present a fireside on July 8th. After having all communications down for 11 days, I’ve finally got my blog updated and all the pictures posted. Bless Elder Acton who stopped by to pick up some supplies and showed me how to get all the smile boxes posted in my “layout” section. We have a mail run this afternoon, we can stop by “Jackies” and ask Corolla, who works there and is investigating the church, to get some contact information for the young Church of Christ missionary group. I really like the idea of partnering with civic leaders and co-operating with other denominations.