Sunday, June 30, 2013

National Arts Festival - June 25 - 27th

We are in Grahamstown for the National Arts Festival
On Thursday we drove up to Grahamstown to attend the Fine Arts Festival.  We stayed with Elder and Sister Chase who replaced us on March 3rd. It was fun comparing experiences.

Sister Chase, having raised nine children, is perfect for that assignment.  She does not believe in creating dependence and refuses to enable them.  Sister Chase has a "no nonsense" attitude about providing food for any and all occasions as we did when we were serving in Grahamstown.  Sister C. insists that all the money for branch activities must come out of church funds allocated for the various units.  Now that Grahamstown branch has an all black presidency Sister Chase feels that the branch must become self sustaining and should not expect the white member support missionaries to provide treats and always feed the black membership!

Of the five Grahamstown missionaries Elder Ndlela returned from Kenya this month.   He is on fire with enthusiasm and has been taking the Chases' to visit every member in Grahamstown branch.  Elder Sibalwe Ngqoyiya will be released in mid-July rather than late August so he can see his non member father who is on dialysis before he dies.  He is not expected to live much longer.  Elder Masixoli and Elder Aya, who we sent off during the holidays, are both doing well.  However Aya's mom, Sister Kewuti, expected the Chase's to cover all Aya's twin sister's expenses for her upcoming mission.   They have paid for Bulella's pass port and her medical and dental exams.  But Sister Chase told Sister Kewuti that either Bulella or her family must cover the balance of her expenses.  Last year both Aya and Maxixoli made muffins with the help of Sister Nye and sold them at the festival to earn money for their missions.  The rules dictate that every missionary or the family cover expenses incurred while preparing for the mission.  Then the church takes over when the elder or sister leaves for the MTC.

We already have the tickets for most of the productions Tom wants to see.  Grahmastown is a community made up mostly of boarding schools and several universities.   The students and/or boarders are currently enjoying winter recess so their rooms are rented out to theater goers and the auditoriums are used for the various venues.
College and boarding school students wear uniforms and they all look very nice.  Many youth from outlying areas are bussed into Grahamstown to attend the festival.  Elder Stokoe and I attended two outstanding plays: "Madonna of Excelsior" and "Blood Brothers" Thursday and on Friday.  The scripts were brilliant and the acting was suburb.

Vendors offer all kinds of goods for sale.  I bought these.

We enjoyed seeing "Bitter Sweet" a dance concert, put on by the Cape Academy of Performing Arts.

I like biographies but Tom does not care for one man shows.  So I attended, "My Name is Rachel Corrie" about a 23 year old American peace activist from Olympai, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer on 16 March 2003, while undertaking nonviolent direct action to protect the home of a Palestine family from demolition.  This year, 2013,  marks the 10th anniversary of of her death.  That play was outstanding.

The following day I saw "Zulu," which was also a one man show.  Mbongeni Ngema, a popular and well known black actor, shared his great grandmother's stories about how his ancestors defeated the British in the Zulu War of 1879.  Both of these productions were sold out.  But I managed to manifest tickets by using Matrix Energetics.  So I saw these shows while Tom attended some native dances.    We returned to P.E. last night to cover our Motherwell assignments today.  However as I was coming down with a cold, Tom taught my Sunday School class today while I stayed in bed and/or caught up on face book, my e-mail & the blog.  Hopefully  I will be well enough to return to Grahamstown tomorrow morning.

Elder & Sister Chase hosted us for 3 days in Grahamstown

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunday June 23rd - 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

At the baptism we learned that  Buzelwa Norongo is finally able to get her national identification number.  She has been without it all of her life and consequently has been unable to prove that she is a South African citizen.

Buzelwa's parents were unmarried and very young when she was born.  She was raised by her paternal grandmother until her father was murdered.  She then went to live with her mom's sister who is blind and has no children.  Evidently her birth certificate was lost by this aunt--essentially making Buzelwa a "non person."    I do not know how she got thru school without it.  However but she did.  Now that will all have to be sorted out.  When the I.D. number arrives she can get a job and medical services.  The number is like a pass port and a social security number in the U.S.  When Buzelwas was baptised on May 4th Brother Zitsu asked if we could help her.  So after fasting we went with her and Brother Mdledle,  to visit her aunt.  Evidently Buzelwa had been there before but with no success. However when her aunt discovered that Brother Mdledle was a member of her clan,  she co-operated and gave Buzelwa the information she needed including where she was born and where her mother was buried.  She made two trips to Port Elizabeth (we covered the 40 rand taxi fare) and walked to the cemetery.  Now she can get a job and have a future.

My two engineering student who attend NMU-- Phuti Rukia and Peter Deng Galuak.  (Deng will be the only member of the church in South Sudan when he goes home at the end of this school year. ) Nicole Fourie, is a professional golfer. Her brother Neil Fourie was recently re baptised.  Erin Palmer attends Lorraine Ward and is not in the photo.
I got up at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday morning to go over my two lessons.  We arrive at Port Elizabeth Ward at 8:00 for Sacrament Meeting.  Brother Meyer caught us on the way out to ask if we would have Elder Zitsu announce the Young Adult Fireside at Kwanobushle for the young adults of the stake.   I assembled my Institute students in the foyer and had Elder Stokoe take this photo which I sent to them today to remind them that Institute will be held this Wednesday but not the following week as we will be in Grahamstown.

We attended Motherwell Group from 10:00 until 2:00.  Six young adults wanted to attend the stake fireside so Brother Zitsu asked if we could help with transport.  He would drive three in his car and we would drive three in ours.

We had just enough time between the meetings to drive out to Blue Water Bay, a resort community with lots of boating and fishing, where our Motherwell elder's stay.  They live in a nice flat with a loft which they keep clean and orderly.   Missionary flats are always located in secure areas and not in the townships.

Elder De Carvalho, Elder S. & Elder Wilde from Utah.
At 3:00 we returned to Motherwell to collect three young adults.  These people are so new in the gospel that it's fun to be around them and to answer their questions.  Sister Buzelwa asked if it's okay to "love a missionary."  I think she has a crush on Elder De Carvalho from Sierra Leone.  He has been in Motherwell since the area opened in February.  

I explained that the Elders are committed to serve God for two years. and they may not have any romantic attachments.  It distracts from the work.  If one became "too friendly with the natives" President Wood would initiate an E.T. -- emergency transfer to some other area.  So it's best not to become emotionally involved with any elder.  After the mission is over the missionary is released.  He is then encouraged to get a job, find a wife and marry in the temple.  

Young adults arriving in Kwaobushle for the fireside.
At 3:00 we returned to the school to collect our young adults.  These young people are so new in the church that it's fun to be with them and answer their questions.  Sister Buzelwa asked if it's okay to "love a missionary."  I'm thinking  she must have a crush on Elder De Carvalho from Sierra Leone who has been in Motherwell since February when the first elders where sent to Motherwell.  

I explained that missionaries are committed to serving God for a full two years.  If they get to be "too friendly with the natives" President Wood will initiate an E.T. --  emergency transfer.  Elders may not have any romantic attachments while serving.  After their release an elder become "fair game" and is encouraged to find a young woman to take to the temple.  

Nineteen year old Sifundiso Beja, (forefront in last photo) has attended Motherwell Group since March.  As a member of his school's rugby team, he along with his fellow players was on the beach a year ago when a huge wave swept everyone out to sea.  Six of his team mates drowned.  I asked Sifundiso if any whites were drowned.  He said that two survived as they were able to tread water until they were rescued.  Blacks never learn to swim.  It's dangerous for them to be in the water.  It was a miracle that Sifundiso survived.  He promised God that he would make the best of his life as he was saved.  He goes out with the missionaries working as a "fellow shipper."  Sifundiso often joins us as a translator when we visit the Xhosa speaking members.

Monday - P Day.  I was happy to have some down time.  Elder Stokoe spent the day driving Michael Touis around in an effort to find him a welding job.  He also visited Charlene's nursing school and resolved the same problem that she ran into before.  They wanted 160 rand in addition to the 3,000 PEF had already paid in order to allow her to take her final exam tomorrow.  Last night we talked to one PEF applicant who was not able to apply for a loan as his birthday was incorrect on the church records.  That problem has since been resolved.  So evidently of the 18 we graduated from "Planning for Success" classes since March, at least one will be applying for a loan.

Missionaries on the Go! - Saturday, June 22

 At 5:00 p.m. Saturday evening we met Sifudiso, our young Xhosa speaking fellow shipper, at Sister Sneke's house for a follow up lesson.  After securing the dogs, she and her son welcome us into her home in Motherwell.  She had invited three of her non member neighbors to join us.  Thankfully they all spoke English.  We discuss the gospel with these women one of which, Silvia, is the wife of a local preacher.  Sister Sneke was happy to have us share the gospel with her neighbours despite the fact that she herself can speak very little English.  At 6:30 the missionaries stop in to see how we are doing.  They discovered that they have acquired three more investigators.
Saturday morning we had four flats in Port Elizabeth to inspect between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. as transfers are Wednesday.
Prospect is a nice flat but too small for four elders.

(Update:   We bought two mirrors to replace the broken pieces of glass that the elders were using.  Elder's Martin and Zarbock were packing when we arrived as they fly home tomorrow.  As mirrors must be installed by each landlord, we called Neil Fourie over to represent his dad who is in England until mid July.  I made a list of the needed repairs which included hanging the new mirrors.  I told Neil that I had discussed this with his father several weeks ago but the molding has yet to be installed, the roof still leaks and the filter system had not been connected.  All these problems constitutes a health hazard. Neil promised to resolve the problems as soon as possible.  He was as good as his word,  They have been taken care of and the flat was in good order for the new incoming elders.)
We rented this flat in November and it has yet to be completed.

Elder Cossey must boil his water as the filter system there still has not been has installed.  Worse the pipes under the sink are leaking and mold is growing there.  Sealer was applied last time we visited to prevent water damage to the walls when it rains.  However the elders are still getting wet.

When we inspected this flat several weeks I brought Kevin Fourie, the landlord in is to see what was needed.  He said he was embarassed and promised to make the needed repairs.  However nothing has been done.  Brother Faurie is now on vacation.  I have his two children in Institute.  How do I resolve this without offending the him?  Kevin has many building projects going on at the same time in his complex.   He is a counselor in the bishopric and a nice guy but he has ADAH.  Evidently he did not remember what he promised to do for this flat.

At 10:00 a.m. we went next door to the church to meet with Elder and Sister Sherbert (standing) the S & I senior couple.  President Palmer teaches seminiary.  His oldest daughter Eryn is in my Institute class. Sister Pegal and the black women also teach seminary in Lorraine and P.E. wards.
Elder & Sister Sherbert, S & I missionaries.  President Palmert, who has five daughters, teaches seminary in Lorraine.  Eryn Palmer is in my Institute class.  Sister Pegal and the black sister also teach.

12:00 noon we attend a baptism in Kwana Magxaki Ward for five new members of Motherwell Group
Paul Zandile Qakamfanza, 28 year old male, Olonwabo & Sammy, 8 year old girls, Thozoma Kondle, 20 & Asisipho 14

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Youth Day in Motherwell & Zone Conference

Monday was Youth Day in South Africa. It's a national holiday.   We spent that day in Motherwell where these young men and their non-members friends played soccer.  Everyone enjoyed Elder Stokoe's refreshments.  I washed windows and instructed group leader Zitsu and young Sifundso in how to hang curtains.
Soccer and lunch activity in Motherwell 

Youth enjoying the lunch that Elder Stokoe prepared.

On Tuesday Elder S. and I shopped and cooked in preparation for Zone Conference.  Elder Bricknell of the area presidency and Sister Bricknell gave some wonderful, inspiring talks.  
Elder Baricknell is a member of the 3rd Quorum of 70.

Doctor Scott and Sister Scott with a Knysna Missionary

We spent Wednesday at Zone Conference where President and Sister Woods both talked.  The A.P.'s also did training.  Thirty-two young elders, ten senior missionaries and our four leaders were in attendance.   The Gardners are from Enterprise, Utah and are staying with us through tomorrow night. Last night we all had dinner at the Van Sickles.  The Gardners are the member support couple for George.  The Scotts have the same calling in Knysna Branch.  Dr. Scott is a medical doctor who taught at the University of Utah for years.  He and his wife were serving as humanitarian missionaries in Burndi, near the Democratic Republic of Congo, until Elder Scott was robbed, mugged, his money and all his I.D. was stolen.  So his mission president there thought it best to transfer them to S.A.

This is Dr. Scott's sixth mission.  It's a second mission for the Gardners.  They both served in the California mission.  Both couples arrived in May and this was their first Zone Conference in South Africa.

I asked Sister Wood if mission headquarters is still considering sending out some Sister Missionaries?  She replied that after this week she doubted that sister missionaries would come as two companionships were robbed at knife point.  Elders Martin & Washburn were stopped on the N2 by thieves who had thrown spikes on the highway which punctured their tires.  When they stopped these elders were robbed at gun point.  The Van Sickles also had another break in last week.  However their new alarm system scared off the would be robbers and they got nothing.  

We enjoyed excellent talks and a nice dinner which included KFC fried chicken, baked potatoes with different toppings, green salad and strawberry short cake.

Sisters Wood and Bicknell opposite their husbands at Old Austria Restaurant after Zone Conference.
We discovered that the Van Sickles had owned a construction business in Ferron. They know the Tomsicks, our son's in-laws.   Nikki was very young at the time so likely would not remember them.  Before returning to George we took  the Scotts and the Gardners on a game drive to Kargga Kamma Game Reserve just 15 minutes out of Port Elizabeth.
Elder & Sister Gardner 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Update - June 15 & Farley Cousins Photo

I spent yesterday getting the couch and chairs steam cleaned, washing bedding and getting the flat ready for the visitors who will arrive next Tuesday.  I could have had Jessica take care of this but I needed something to do as I've been laying around all week trying to stay warm.  We did not go to district meeting yesterday as the Van Sickles went to East London along with the Hendersons (who are introducing the 12 step program for those suffering from addictions all over our mission.) Tom had to switch out cars for Brother V as he drove ours to East London. Tom delivered up Elder V.'s old car yesterday in exchanged for a new one.  (It had sustained damage as he was rear ended in East London a few weeks ago.)  

The Van Sickles have just returned from their 36 year old son's wedding in the Manti temple to a 35 year old 4th grade teacher.  They will relocate in Texas where he has a job.  They reported that after living in Africa, Utah looked really good to them.  Brother & Sister Van Sickle are from Mappleton will be released in late August.  Brother & Sister Chase also returned to Utah for a May wedding.  The youngest daughter (of nine) married a young man she met just before they left for their mission in March.  They married in the Ogden Temple.  The Chases were so tired with all the wedding festivities and the long flight back to P.E. that they both fell asleep driving back to Grahamstown.  Their car wandered into the oncoming lane and crashed into a guard rail.  Luckily there was no oncoming traffic.  Neither were injured  but the car needed repairs.

Since Tom left our GPS under the front seat, we are without direction and so cannot go to Motherwell to meet with the newly baptised.    Elder S. spent two hours at Checkers yesterday buying tickets for the Grahamstown Arts Festival which opens at the end of the month and runs thru July 7th.  

Luckily the college students are out for winter break so I did not have to get a substitute for my Institute class.  President and Sister Wood will be here for Zone Conference on Wed.  I'll teach the following week and then take the week after off as we will be in Grahamstown.  Today I'm trying to round up several "For the Strength of Youth" pamphlets for my young women.   I may have to order some from Johannesburg.  We enjoyed a nice dinner with the Lorraine Missionaries at Sister Susan Ranks home last night.  She is a wonderful cook and has been very kind to us.  She divorced her doctor husband last fall.  Her daughter lives in Johannesburg and her son is leaving for Australia.    

We will be released from our mission in Cape Town exactly four months from today.  We will then fly to Istanbul to meet up with the "Fun For Less" tour of the Holy Land.  We should be back in SLC  November 4th or 5th.  Thanks Laraine for the photos of Wes's funeral.  It was fun seeing all my Farley cousins.  Love and Blessings, Sister S.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Medical Update

I've been suffering from a prolapsed uterus for some time so we were granted an early release date--Oct. 15th--to take care of it.  However the problem grew worse so I had a hysterectomy last week and I'm feeling much better now.  I should have had this vaginal procedure some months ago but what did I know?  I thought I would need extensive surgery.  The medical facilities here in Africa are as good or better than in the U.S. and I had excellent care.  The nurse who admitted me came back to verify my age.  The doctors were surprised to discover how old I am.  I told them "It's the result of clean living and good genes.'

A nurse came by every hour to check my blood pressure and give me pain medication which they insisted I take but I did not need.  I had a priesthood blessing the night before and was told that things would go well and I'd recover quickly. The cleaning women were always on the job and I enjoy their singing in the morning.  Two or three gospel songs to start the day.  It was a good time to be out of commission as there isn't much happening with PEF. We graduated 18  "Planning for Success" students in April and May and not one has applied for a PEF loan as yet.

My mother's little brother, Weston Legrand Farley, died last week and his funeral is today (June 12th.)   I've been recalling the cruises we went on with my Farley relatives -- to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, to the Mediterranean and another through the Panama Canal.  Several were paid for by my Uncle Merrill Farley.  What a blessing it has been to have had such loving caring relatives.   I spent last weekend just lying around and reading "Doctrines of Salvation" which I ordered through  I did not know they would ship to Africa until Jan sent me five books via Amazon last month.  I felt good enough to teach my Sunday School class and the Young Women last Sunday.  It is such a blessing to have these two teaching assignments and be able to share gospel to those who "know not God nor the purpose for which they are here on earth." 

My June 9th Sunday School Class included Asanda Mdledle, age 17; Asisipho Kondlo, a 14 year old non member; Sinesipho Robiyana, 16.  She has been a member for two years so I asked her to be the class president.  (Which may have been a mistake as she called upon Jama to pray and he did not know how to.) Sinozo Flekie, holding her little brother, is 16. Fourteen year old Sola Jama on the end is an investigator.
Wendy Lamdu, age 17, was baptised on May 4th but has not been attending.  The missionaries will visit her this week.

 I enjoyed talking to Matt on his birthday (June 10) and hearing about the expansionof Oil Well.  They expect to move into the new building on July 1st.    We went to dinner to celebrate Elder Van Sickles birthday on Monday night-- at a Chinese Restaurant on the Boardwalk in down town Port Elizabeth.  Yesterday Tom drove up to Grahamstown to collect Alan Bamford and we saw "Sounds of South End" The musical (about Port Elizabeth) at the Savoy Theatre.  There was lots of music from the 60's which we thoroughly enjoyed.  Today Tom is driving Alan back to Grahamstown.  He will stop at Motherwell on his way home for correlation meeting at 3:00 p.m.   I'm teaching Institute tonight at 7:00 p.m. and there is lots to cover as Tom only got thru Chapter 29 last week.   We are getting a substitute for Institute next week as it's Zone Conference and we are meeting with the Woods and the other Senior couples that evening.

Elder S. with some friends from Motherwell Township

P. S. Alan reported that Grahamstown Branch has fallen back into old habits of starting late.  The four missionaries have been sleeping in and have been arriving late.  Even President Budaza has not been getting there in time to start the meeting at 9:00 a.m.  This distresses Alan Bamford, a proper Englishman, and the only white man in the branch.   President Wood called everyone to task last week and told the missionaries to get there early enough to prepare the sacrament and start the meeting on time even if the branch president has not arrived.  Grahamstown is the only place I know of that has this

Our four P.E. ward missionaries are always out greeting people before out 8:00 a.m. meeting begins.   We attend two sacrament meetings every Sunday.  Our Motherwell Elders are always standing in the parking lot welcoming people when we arrive.    Motherwell Group Leader Zitsu always starts the meeting at 10:00 a.m. and admonishes the people to be on time.  Although many were late last Sunday due to the weather.  June 1st is the beginning of winter and it lasts through the end of August.  With no central heating it's very cold at night.  However, the days are usually warm and sunny. We use blankets and space heaters to stay comfortable.  September marks the beginning of spring but it's so cold in the mornings that everyone must "layer up" to keep warm during the meetings.  The brethren of P.E. Ward all wear dark sweaters under their suit coats which make them look like the pastors since the only  white you looks like a cleric collar.