Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sunday, November 18th

    It’s nice to be back in P.E.  Last Sunday at this time we were driving back from Queenstown.  We were supposed to do PEF training for three teachers but only two showed up.  We attended the ward there at 9:00 a.m. and were finished at 12:00.  So went to the gas station and bought sandwiches to eat at a picnic table outside until our cell phone rang and we hurried back to church.  We ran into Sister Ganca our PEF teacher in Queenstown.  We found a room and went ahead with the training since she had two young children with her.    Sister Ganca  was very enthusiastic about the career workshop.  She said she the training to to start her catering business.  About the time that class ended, Brother Simanga arrived in a taxi with the other people from Sada.  That group were an hour late for the meetings.  Brother S.  joined the church a year ago.  He  has been called to be the Planning for Success teacher in Sada.  He is about 40 and unemployed.  He began working on a IT program but ran out of money so did not continue.  Brother Simange is unmarried but has two children who live with their mother.  He wondered if he might qualify for PEF to become an Internet Technician.  I told him that the we heard that PEF would soon be available to all worthy adults in Africa.  The teacher from Ilinge Branch never showed.   We don’t know if one has been called yet. 

 While we were in East London we attended District Meeting with the Young Elders on Friday and I borrowed a history from Gary Human to transcribe .  I'm trying to locate all the material I can find on the LDS Mission in South Africa.  I called Alan Bamford in Grahamstown before we left Gonubie to ask if he had anything I might be interested in.  Alan joined the church in 1987 and has been collecting church books ever since.  He said he had one so we stopped by on our way home.  Brother Bamford is 87 and as his only son is not a member, he is offering his entire collection for sale on the Internet.  I bought  Cumorah’s Souther Messenger – 1948-1951 for  L 60, British pounds and we had lunch in Grahamstown.  We could not get the car started so had to have it jumped  so we could get home.  We drove straight to Port Elizabeth and bought a new battery.

 Tuesday Tom drove the Toise’s around to finish up the paperwork for their PEF loans.  He discovered that neither had interviews with their bishop and stake presidents which will hold up the process so they may not be able to start school in January.  I spent the day updating my blog and now I'm current through Nov. 14th.  I have know idea why I can't post anything using Tom's lap top.  Perhaps it has a virus.    I felt so empowered  that I visited Incredible Connections where I bought my Apple and had an IT show me how to post photos.   

Tom went to Telcom to sort out phone bill problems.    Since arriving in P.E. eight months ago we have been getting mail addressed to Gary Human at the Senior Couple's Post Office box in Sunridge.   The night before we left for East London, Sister Shurbert collected the mail and brought over a letter addressed to Gary Human in East London.  When he opened it he was shocked to learn that he owed Telcom 1,000 rand for a land line with the same phone number  we had used when we lived at Turnburry.   Evidently the church set up the line for S & I several years ago in Gary's name.  1,000 rand is a lot of money for a South African and not paying the bill could destroy his credit.  The church is not responsible as he now has another line  So this matter, which is common here, had to be taken care of.

    Luckily the manager at Telcom is a recent convert so Tom went to him.  Turns out that Telcom has been billing Brother Human, Brother Van Sickles and us for the same Internet land line for many months.  Brother S. and V. each have their own line. Both have been paying their bills monthly.   While Brother H., who  lnow lives in East London, has not used that number for many years.  Yet records show it has never been cancelled and the bill continues to increase which is interesting since they cut our Internet if we are late with payments.

  Brother  Muchumo was able to get Gary Human’s line cut and his 1,000 rand bill cancelled.   Elders Stokoe and Van Sickle each paid a 700 Rand deposit to set up their separate land lines.  However, since then the only way we can access Internet is by connecting Tom's HP directly to the router and even then our Internet service is sporadic at best.   Our wireless system is completely gone.  Internet is an off again on again proposition.   Since we are going to Cape Town tomorrow, we hope it will be working when we return.  

  The best and worst thing about this mission is the technology.  We could not function without a GPS and a cell phone and we need the Internet to communicate with Jo Berge and to process PEF loans.  Given our limited ability to function in a technology drive world, we feel a lot of frustration.  But we are learning and the Lord continues to bless our efforts.   Somehow things seem to be working out.  But it's frustrating.

 Saturday was Stake Conference.   The Fowers drove here from East London to present their “Finding the Lost Sheep" Program to the priesthood leaders.   Tom set up our Eiki projector for their power point presentation while I was in the library typing up historical information.  Stake Conference began at 4;00 p.m. under the direction of our new Stake  President, a black brother from Kwa Magxaki Ward.  The theme was Faith.  President Neku said he felt very inadequate in this calling until he returned from training in Johannesburg and realised that the Lord had called him to the position.  President Neku followed President Palmer, a white Afrikanner, who had led Lorraine ward  for over 13 years.  

President Parker, who is a white Afrikanner, is his first counselor.  He talked about applying the scientific method in developing faith.  Just put the Lord to the test.  Live the commandments and you will be blessed.  President Wildskut, of Indian descent, talked about a movement among some Christians here in P.E. to discount the divinity of  Christ.  He encouraged us to stand up for our beliefs.

  Today we enjoyed the African Area Quarterly  Conference which was broadcast to 66 stakes and 59 district from SLC.  Craig A. Cardon of the Seventies encouraged the young Africans to get married.  He discouraged  parents from insisting on Lobolo or “bride price.”   THis discourages the young people from getting married as young men simply cannot come up with that kind of money.  Consequently many young couples just live together.  Young women have child out of wedlock with young men without jobs who often abandon them.

Interesting that President Zuma’s 35 year old son Edward just had his BMW and other personal items auctioned off to  pay the balance of what he owed for his expensive wedding including entertaining 500 guests at a game reserve last year.  Edward Zuma  said he thought he would be receiving “foreign money” to pay for the festivities.    Guess his foreign guests did not come through.    Mary N. Cook of the Young Women’s Presidency, encouraged  young women to “Arise and shine forth."   I am impressed to say that as difficult as technology is to learn it has certainly blessed the Saints throughout the world to enjoy messages from our leaders often in real time as when we were able to watch some sessions of General Conference.

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