Friday, July 26, 2013

Tickets & meeting Siba at the Air Port

Dear  Matt, 
    En route home we are touring the Holy Land for 18 days with "Fun For Less Tours" out of Draper.  We will join the Fun For Less group in Istanbul on October 18th where the tour begins.  On the 19th sightseeing gets under way. We have purchased our tickets from Cape Town to Istanbul.  The Isreal & Turkey tour ends in Tel Aviv on November 2nd and everyone flies home on Sunday, November 3rd. 

    However, being our leg of the journey begins in South Africa, and not with the Utah group.  Fun For Less was not able to book us on their special airline round trip rate.  So we have make our own flight arrangements. We have been looking at airlines and comparative fares.  

  Is there a chance you can locate the best deal and book tickets for us?  We note there are several flights leaving Tel Aviv on November 3rd and would prefer the best connections with the least stop over time.  The other people on the tour are flying out on November 3rd at 7:45 a.m.  

  We talked to our booking agent here who said the best rates from Tel Aviv to SLC are best purchased in the U.S. rather than purchasing them here in South Africa. Anyway, if this is a possibility let us know. 

     I went online to look for flights.  Booking at this time you will pay $1500.00 per seat for a one way ticket from Tel Aviv to Salt Lake City.. . the only way to save money is to book a round trip ticket from Tel Aviv to Salt Lake and a return flight and then not return . . .
 I ran a search on Kayak for a round trip ticket from Tel Aviv to Salt Lake Leaving on Nov. 3, 2013 and returning to Tel Aviv on Nov. 17th. The search automatically directed me to the Delta Site and I came up with this:  Delta Flight 269  (1 stop) departing Tel Aviv at 12:30 am Nov. 3, 2013 and arriving in SLC at 10:30 a.m. with a 1 hr 25 min layover at JFK in New York. (18 hour 15 minute total travel time) Return Flight (who cares?). . .  I can book these tickets for you, or if you have a computer with internet access, a credit card and 10 minutes you can book the exact same thing, let me know,    

Email to the family - Last night Matt booked Tel Aviv to SLC for us on Delta.  Trying to do it myself was making me crazy.  Melani at Pentravel booked Cape Town  to Istanbul   We begin our tour on October 18th and will fly back to SLC on Delta flight 1415 which lands at 10:30 a.m.  Dean will pick us up.   

Sometime there after we need to fly to Hawaii for a week as Grandma Stokoe will turn 98 on November 9th.  Who knows how long she will last?    We celebrated Pioneer Day with a dinner for our two Lorraine missionaries, David Pitt, our friend from the park and Sister Susan Rank.  Tom is busy practicing his talk for the baptism tomorrow.  The Van Sickles are holding an employment workshops at Motherwell Saturday and Sunday.  We would like to attend but Elder Zitsu asked us to at the baptism.  We visited six new members out there on Tuesday to give follow-up lessons.  It was very cold.  The wind was so strong it almost blew me away.  Winters here are rather strange.  Today it's warm and sunny. 

President Boyce called and asked us to pick up Sibabalwa Ngpoyiya who was returning from his mission in Uganda and drive him to his home in Grahamstown.  Later Sister Chase called to tell us that she was visiting with his mother and  that his sister would pick him up at P.E. International.  Still I felt impressed that we should be there.  He is one of the missionaries I wrote to when we were doing member service work in Grahamstown.  His father is on dialysis and as was not expected to live.  So Siba was released from his mission a month early.  

I'm glad he did not have to wait by himself until the others arrived.

We met him at the gate.  Lucky we were there as those who were supposed to pick him up arrived over an hour late.  All the other passengers had left the terminal. It would have been sad for Siba to wait there all by himself.  He used our cell phone to call his mother and sister who was coming to pick him up and drive him home. 

Elder Ngpoyiya said there are 80 zones in Uganda with a different dialect being is spoken in each zone.  Being transferred from one to another was difficult.  However most everyone there speaks English. Siba loved Uganda. But said it was good to be home.  His dad is doing much better.  He has been released from the hospital.  Siba will be such a blessing to the Branch. 

Elder Kani, who served in Uganda and was released to return to Grahamstown in June is on left.   Dumisani Pay, Grahamstown's ward clerk is next to him.  Siba with his sister are on the far right.

Grahamstown Branch hosted  a "Welcome Home party" on Saturday night.  Siba's mother wanted the party held at the family home rather than at church.  It was supposed to be a pot luck with the family and other women bringing food.  However only the Relief Society came through.   None of Siba's sisters helped.  Members of various churches, friends and neighbours all came including several pastors from their township.   Many speeches praising Siba for his service were delivered.  People sang and danced for seven hours.  Siba's parents were deeply touched by the outpouring of love from the branch. 

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