Monday, August 5, 2013

Mission Update

Dear President Wood,

I will begin by describing our work with the Perpetual Education Fund,

From January 1st to July 31, 2013 we graduated 23 "Planning for Success" students.  None applied for a PEF loan.  We have ten students currently enrolled in workshops at Cleary and at Kwmagxaki.  It remains to be seen if any of them will apply.  However Elder Stokoe and I have been successful in getting the teachers who were called and set apart in P.E. Stake to hold workshops.  None did so before we arrived here. 

Introducing PEF to workshop students

Concerns about Grahamstown  Branch

Elder Stokoe & Elder Chase visited Lional in mid July.  He had not been attending any meetings.  Partly because of his work schedule at the Fine Arts Festival.  Lional has lived a very hard live.  He has been a beggar.   He spent 16 years in prison and was selling newspaper when he met the Nyes who introduced him to the gospel.  

Lional gave a wonderful talk in sacrament meeting last January about how the gospel changed his life.  He invited several friends from his former church. They all came and stayed through the block.  Lional makes about 40 cents for each 5 rand newpaper he sells which is not nearly enough to live on.

He stayed in the Budhaza's garage until Sister Budhaza moved her brother in with him.  The man drank.  Lional said there was "big trouble" and moved out.  Now he lives in a tiny shack.  He had been existing on a little rice while waiting for the Art's Festival to open a bank account for him so he could be paid for ten days of part-time work at the Arts Festival.  

As his rent was over due Elder Stokoe took him next door and paid the rent.  Then he took him shopping for food.  We later learned that President Budhaza was in the grocery store at that time and saw them.  However he did not make any effort to come up and say "hello."  Lional attended church for two Sundays until President Budhaza assigned him to give a talk on "How to be Self Reliant."  He has not attended since.  

Primary President Zitsu with some of the children
Shortly there after, President Budhaza asked the Chases to cover the cost of the branche's temple trip.    When the Chase's refused, he replied,  "I'll call Elder Stokoe.  He has lots of money."    Sister Chases called to say we would be hearing from him.  When that call came through we were on the road and could not pick up and have heard nothing since.

When Elder Budhaza was called to be the branch president last January, he begged Alan Bamford to teach Elder's Quorum.  In In May Alan called his attention to the fact that he was getting short changed time wise.  Sacrament meeting always started late.  Sister Tesh Kambane continued to get 55 minutes to teach her Sunday School class.   Alan asked to be released and requested that the call him Brother Alan or Brother Bamford but to stop calling him "Brother Alan Peter Bamford" which he had started doing.   Evidently Budhaza has not honoured this request.  

After receiving the letter of resignation, President B. called him into his office.  When Alan asked why he was there, President Budhaza said, "pray."  "For what?" Alan asked.  "This is a worthiness interview," he explained and Alan walked out.    

Sister Chase is concerned about Sister Budhaza's remark,  "Grahamstown should be an all Xhosa branch." She fears that the Wiseman family, who are coloured, might be feeling somewhat excluded.  Also perplexing is a statement made by President Budhaza's at a recent correlational meeting, "I want you to focus reactivation.  We already have enough members."  (or words to that effect.)  Sister Chase's response, "Consult the hand book President.  It is the responsibility of the missionaries to bring everyone to Christ."  

Our Group at Motherwell

Bless President Neko for calling us to Motherwell.   I now see the wisdom of having the Chases in Grahamstown.  They do not enable people and they go by the book.  

Each Sunday Elder Zitsu reminds everyone that, "All the other branches begin there meetings at 8:00 or 9:00.  We are the only one in S.A. that starts at 10:00.  So there is no reason why any of you can't be on time.  As former school teachers we appreciate this. When we were in Grahamstown it was hard to get meetings to start on time.

Brother Zitsu has a wonderful sense of humor.  He always lifts and builds people.  We have enjoyed teaching follow up lessons to the newly baptised. We have five appointments scheduled tomorrow.  We have helped by buying cleaning supplies, washing windows, hanging curtains, securing book cases and organising the Ensigns and Liahonas donated by P.E. Ward.

In response to your call on Friday, Elder Zitsu has ordered the hymn books.  However the Distribution Center will not send any Books of Mormon nor Bibles for a branch library.  Perhaps because they might "walk off."  We lost a set of curtains from East London like that. 
Relief Society preparing for the Woman's Day program

Elder Stokoe and I talked to Elder George while doing flat inspections Saturday.  The Cleary Eders also have a problem getting enough.  They always promise their investigators a Book of Mormon but when they come in, they are only given two and are always short.   

Today Elder Myende gave me an envelope containing my Temple Recommend.  He said he was supposed to have given it to me months ago but he forgot. When he opened his suitcase while preparing for his transfer to Msanta, he discovered it in a pocket.  

We are looking forward to seeing you and Sister Wood on Friday.  Love, Sister Stokoe

President Wood's Reply,

I will discuss the Grahamstown concerns with Elder Boyce who goes there regularly.  Lionel has another problem according to the missionaries, he has a girlfriend.  I heard Alan was released because he would not teach the appropriate lesson from the priesthood manual. The Chases are right to insist that the branch do it according to the handbooks and they are right not to fund the temple trip.  It will take time for the branch to find its way under local leadership. The two recently returned missionaries will help.

 Note:  I'm reading Joseph Fielding Smith's, Doctrine's of Salvation, Vol. 11.  Under the heading, "Law of Personal Record Keeping" (page 203) I note that we all should be keeping a journal.  This is mine.
I value President Wood's  advise, "Get a firm grip on the obvious.  Then clarify the obvious."

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