Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sisfundiso and Paul

Patriarch Bundy Palmer with Sisfundiso who missed
his Saturday appointment as he was in leadership
training with Elder Cook and his cell was on silent.
We collected Sisfundiso and Paul from Motherwell and drove them to P.E. on Thursday.  Sisfundiso had his last dental appointment and Paul needed to check on a fire arms school as he wants to be a security guard.

I asked Sisfundisco if he was going to the Senior Prom thinking he might want to wear the new suit I bought him for his mission.  He said, "No, after high school  I'll be going to the bush in December!"  This concerned me.  So I asked if he could manage the alcohol initiates are given and the expectations about sex after he "becomes a man."  He assured me that he had promised to uphold church standards and will not allow anyone to draw him into such things.  He said President Zitsu and Elder Mdedle will visit him during the weeks he's in the bush.

I asked if antibiotics are available to initiates.  He said that herbs are used but initiates were expected to "man up" and never complain.  His younger brother will act as currier and bring his meals.  His grandmother has arranged everything.  Sisfundiso explained that the men of his family have gone to the bush since his great grandfather's time.  He must go in order to take leadership in the family.  Otherwise the opportunity will be lost.  After he returns his grandmother will butcher a goat and host a three days of celebration.  So no prom for Sisfundiso.  The money will go for his manhood training and the celebration that will follow.   He promises to send pictures.

I asked Sisfundiso if he knew what President Neku expected when he was called to be 2nd Counselor in the branch presidency.  He said, "No, but I am willing to do whatever the Lord wants me to do. " He also said that President Neku gave him a manual.  After his fifth and last dental appointment, we drove both Sisfundiso and Paul to the church so he could receive his patriarchal blessing.  He asked me how accurate these blessings are.  I said the patriarch will tell you what you promised in the pre existence, what pitfalls to avoid now and give you information about which tribe you descended from.  He did not know what that meant.  So I asked if he knew anything about the story of Joseph, in the Bible, who was sold into Egypt.  He did not. He said that in the church he used to attend there was not much talk about bible stories.  They just clapped and sing and then the pastor gives a talk.    Obviously he attended one of the "charismatic" or happy, clappy churches which appeal to most black Africans.

Fieda Palmer, Sisfundiso, Stake Patriarch,  Stake President Neko with Paul Qakamfana
We love the Palmers.  They live near us in Lorraine.  Sister Palmer is 1st counselor in the Lorraine Ward Relief Society and she helped with Everett's project to provide layettes for infants.  We invited them to dinner a few months ago. I promised to help her with their family history but with their many reponsibilitis and our Motherwell assignment we could never find the time.  Bundy was the temple president in Johannesburg.  Their son Leslie was stake president until he was released and President Neku callied.  I have their grand daughter Erin in my Institute class.  

The Bundy Palmers were converted when he was working as a mine executive near Johannesburg over forty years ago.  Initially he resisted.  He delighted in offering the elders coffee and always lit up a cigarette when they came to visit.  The Palmers gave a fireside for young marrieds and had everyone in stitches.  He said, "I deserve a medal for staying married for over fifty years."  Freida responded, "Well,  I deserve a monument."   (Wish I had recorded it.)  Frieda said that while watching a ballet on T.V. Bundy came in and said "I can do that!" He started pirouetting around the flat and injured himself.

While I was with Sisfundiso at the dentist, Elder Stokoe took Paul to a fire arms school and signed him up for the course he needs to be a guard.  Paul explained that he missed church on Sunday because his 23 year old brother had been robbed and beat up by five men.  He had no money but they stole his shoes and jacket.  Relatives took him to the hospital where he was stitched up.  They almost killed him.

Paul is twenty-seven, lives with his mother and is unemployed.  We discovered he was half way through the program he needs to be a security guard.   So Elder S. paid for his the fire arms class and took him to an agency in Walmer Mall that places security guards.  He protested saying it's much too far from Motherwell.  Elder S. pointed out he needs to go where the work is and that bus fare is cheep.  Paul cannot qualify for PEF until next summer when he will have been in the church for a year.  I explained that if he would like to be a policeman he could apply then and prepare to be an officer. Then he could hunt down the guys who beat up his little brother and throw them in jail.

After Sisfundiso's blessing we took both young men to lunch and then brought them to our flat where we showed the DVD of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat."  Then Tom read the story of Joseph from the bible.  Both were very interested.  I asked Paul if he had been to the bush.  He said yes.  I wanted to know if the government required parental approval before a young man could go to the bush.  Both said "yes" but explained that know one ever checked to be sure they had it.  President Wood told me that this practice is only about 100 years old.  It came into being as resistance against the apartheid government's many exclusions and controls.

Both Sisfundiso and Paul expressed appreciation for what we had done for them.  Sisfundiso could not qualify to go on a mission without his dental work being done and Paul could not qualify to be a security guard without the fire arms class.  Now if we can just get Boselwa her national I.D. number.  We had an appointment to go to home affairs with her on Wednesday but discovered that Wednesday was a public holiday--National Heritage Day--so the government offices would all be closed.

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