Saturday, August 31, 2013

Update on Members

Buzelwa/Mineka/Beautiful Day's old blind aunt told her she would accompany her to Human Affairs to testify in her behalf so she can finally get her national I.D. number.  So Tom drove out early Thursday morning to pick them up.  However the old woman refused to go.  There is still no word from her Uncle Cecil Rhodes. So Buzelwa has decided to contact a social worker who can insist that one of them testify in her behalf.  This has been going on far too long.  She has been working on this for seven years.  Hopefully it can be resolved before we leave South Africa.  
Elder Zitsu at Siya Willie's baptism on July 24th

Siya Willie is interested in her.  He has visited with the aunt  she lives with in order to find out more about her.  He has also had a serious discussion with Buzelwa about his intentions.   She would do well to consider him as he has a good job, is mature and also ambitious.  He is a veracious reader.  Siya's read everything in Brother Zitsu's library.  So when we were with him Tuesday, I gave him my copy of Mormon Doctrine, Vol 1.  I'm a lending library and often share my books.   

Siya Willie is the youngest of 12 children and now he lives with his brother's family in Motherwell.  He moved here after taking care of his ailing mother until her death late last year.   He left a good job in Cape Town and started a window replacement business in East London to support himself while taking care for her.  He came to Motherwell to began a new life and became interested in the church while attending Institute with his friend Bushle.   We taught three follow up lessons to several people on Tuesday.  Willie attended two of of them.  

Tomorrow the leaders will start interviewing the priesthood at 9:00 a.m. in order to select the branch presidency.  Of course Elder Zitsu, who started Motherwell Group, will be the branch president.   Elder Mdlele will likely be called as a councillor.  It's unfortunate that Siya Willie was confirmed and made a priest only last Sunday.  Otherwise he would likely be part of the  presidency.

Eighteen year old Sifundiso is now the branch mission leader.  He has never missed a meeting.  He goes out fellowshipping with the missionaries several times a week.  He held his first correlation meeting on Thursday afternoon.  Elder Zitsu asks him to brainstorm and talk to us about why some of the newly baptised are not attending their meetings.  We discussed Tomzana, a 15 year old boy, who has attention deficit disorder.  He is easily bored and often does not even join his family when the missionaries come to visit.  We asked Sifundiso if he could fellowship him since they are close in age.  The elders explained that Tomzana went to the bush when he was 17 while Sifundiso has never been to the bush.  So in Xhosa tradition Tomzana is a man. Sifundiso is still a boy.  Why would a man listen to a boy?
Tomzana's Baptism with Elder De Carvalho & Elder Wilde

Sifundiso graduates from high school soon.  He is an excellent student and turned down an opportunity to apply for a government scholarship since he wants to go on a mission.  He is the only member in his family and they are none too pleased with his decision.  Young Africans must pay their expenses to get ready including obtaining a pass port, having dental & medical exams and buying their own clothes.  After reporting to the MTC the church covers all their expenses.  So we will told Sifundiso that we will buy him a suit and give him some ties.  Perhaps we will also give him one of our suit case since we are limited to what we can take on our Holy Land trip.  We gave the big suitcase that Jan gave me to Bulelwa Kewuti, Aya's twin sister.  She will leave Grahamstown for her mission in the near future.    

Other problems related to inactivity includes Wendy Landu, a teen age girl who was baptised on May 4th.   According to the missionaries she was offended by one of the young women and has not been to church since.  She has been avoiding the missionaries.   Another new members has a job and must work on Sunday.  A third cannot afford the taxi fare to bring his family to church.  

It's very cold today and the elders have just stopped in to pick up their post.  Elder Ramshaba was wearing the new wool jacket I bought for him.  He also wears it to District meetings as there is no central heating it's rather cold in Walmar chapel.  His parents divorced when he was five. He was raised by his father who took him to San Francisco.  That family are all members.   He returned to live with his non-member mother in Johannesburg and was called to serve a mission in  Oakland.   However his mother put up such a fuss about his being so close to his Mormon father that he declined the call.   Then accepted another to the Cape Town, S.A. Mission, a year later.  I am often cold so relate to him.  There was only one black jacket that worked with missionary attire at Walmar Mall. 

I just sent an e-mail to all the senior couples about our September activity.  We are going to Daniell Cheetah Breeding Camp on September 16th where we will see cheetah's from several age groups up close.  We might even have an opportunity to pet one.  At noon we will go to a buffet lunch at Georgious, our favourite cafe in Uitenhage.  After that we plan to visit the Volkswagon plant provided the workers are not on strike and the plant is back in operation by then.

The workers are always striking here for higher wages while the people who live in the townships are demonstrating for better "service delivery."  They want improved infrastructure including better sewage lines, clean water, electricity and regular garbage collection.    Here in Lorraine our garbage is collected every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. sharp.  This does not happen in Motherwell.   We have observed people picking up garbage along the road in blue plastic bag but the bags never seem to be picked up by the city.  We cleaned up at the school's grounds on Helping Hands Day and now that yard is a mess again with plastic bags and other debris being blown all over.  

On the way out to Uitenhage yesterday we noticed that people from the townships had dumped garbage on the highway in protest for lack of services.  While garbage is routinely collected in the white communities, townships seem to go for months without garbage being collected.  So much for "everyone is equally in this rainbow nation." 

Primary Activity

Sister Zitsu and Mineka 
 Today Elder Stokoe and I assisted Sister Zitsu and  Buzelwa/Mineka with a primary activity.  Luckily the Jo Burg Distribution Center was able to send out "Finding Faith in Christ, an awesome production made at their new studio in Goshen.  It's perfect for the Primary children, the youth and adults.  
A sheet works as a screen

I taught the children the words to "Love One Another" and told them that this was the message that Jesus Christ brought to earth.  He loved us so much that he died for us.

Leaders led the children in a game of "heads, shoulders, knees and toes."  Then they had lunch including Kentucky Fried Chicken, oranges, apples, chips and sweets.

Elder Stokoe -- the projectionist

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 24th & 25th

Brian and Dean Belov, Neil and David Stokoe at Seth's grave.
Thanks for keeping us up date with the work in the mission field. We attended Seth's funeral this weekend. I was asked by several members of the 3rd ward how you guys were doing and they wished you well. Although sad, it was a good experience spending time with the family. 

Neil and I went over to Steve's grave after the dedication of Seth's grave.   We had a very special moment together and felt Steve's spirit close. It felt like a small gift from God. Thanks for all you have done over the years and for your example to my kids. We look forward to seeing you in the fall and wish you the best!   Love, Dave 

While our sons represented us at Seth's funeral we continued our assignment by attending a baptism on Saturday:

Syabonga Willie is a single man who lives in Native Unit #2 and attends Motherwell Group.  The two ladies, Zwide & Kholiwe Zitshu attend Kwa Magxaki Ward.  Until Motherwell becomes a branch we are all in that ward.  We understand that our Group Leader has applied for Branch Status and we hope that Salt Lake approves his request before our Exit interview with President Wood in Cape Town Oct. 15th.  Then Motherwell will have a branch presidency and qualify for their own budget.

We gave Brother Zitsu two collages of photos which we took during "Helping Hands" last Saturday--one for Motherwell and the other for Mrs. Peter, the principal of Elufefeni Primary School where our group meets.

Every seat was filled as 60+ people attended Sacrament meeting today.  I gave a talk on Reverence.   The school's assembly hall is sorely needed for our Sacrament meetings.  Hopefully Mrs. Peter will be open to allowing us to rent that room in addition to the four class rooms which we currently occupy.

Today we attended Josiah Mosiah's "Planning for Success" class at Cleary Estates, brown (Indian) Ward.  The six students who graduated included Lerato Mpahlele (the male returned missionary standing on the right), Lezanne Ferreira, Soleil Twecu, Dimakatso Mpahlele, Beronique De Kierk, and Alfuwe Margumakazi.  Two qualify for government grants.  Two plan to apply for PEF loans.
Brother Mosiah, seated, is an excellent teacher.  His style is similar to what he used when he was a protestant preacher.  He relates everything to the stories in the bible.  Wish I could take him home with me to share with my Gospel Doctrine class.  They would certainly enjoy his animation and enthusiasm.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Leadership Training - August 23rd

 Excellent training from President Wood on Relationship problems.  Problems are usually the result of pride (or stubborness), disobedience, selfishness, laziness or poor communications.  Poor communications often leads us to have dark motives.

When dealing with a difficult problem it's useful to ask,  "May I have your permission to talk about this?"  Or one might say, "It bothers me when . . " You can ask, "What am I doing to cause this problem?"  The gospel teaches us correct principles.  We really are our "brother's keeper."  Always invite the spirit.  Bear your testimony, confirm your love and commit to to better.

Elder & Sister Sherbert, Elder & Sister Blatter & Sister Wood
We also heard a talk by Neil M. Maxwell about how we receive personal revelation.  Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost.  They speak the words of Christ.  Even Adam needed the Holy Ghost after he left the Garden of Eden.

Revelation comes in different ways:  It can come as a quiet voice.  Or as a comforting feeling.  As an answer to prayer or from words spoken by others.

We live far beneath our revelatory privileges.  We need to rise to those privileges in order to receive personal revelation.

Revelation can help us connect our thoughts.  It always flows through proper channels.    Scripture always begets more scripture.  Joseph Smith was reading James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God. . ." just before he prayed to ask which church to join.  The Book of Mormon came as a result of this.  Much of the Doctrine of Covenants came as answers to questions.

We ended by singing the mission song:  "We stand as armored soldeirs in the service of our  Lord.  We are ready, willing, able to go forth and preach the Word.  Marching forward into battle, We are armed with shields of faith And there's nothing that can stop us as we go! . . ."

Hosting lunch after training
Saturday Morning - E-mail to Dean

I've been feeling sick since the day Seth died.  You are not the only empath in the family.  I can feel what they are going through.  I'm very sad about not being there to support them.   Wish I could come home.  Wednesday night I kept dreaming about doing some impossible tasks.  Without any success.   Likely a metaphor for all that we tried to do to help Seth.   I read some of the postings in the Deseret News this morning and cried.   Then got an impression to go to the mall and buy Sunflowers to remind me about all the happy times we shared with the Kents.  When is the funeral?   Please tape it for us.   Love, Mom

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Remembering Seth David Kent

We just received word that Laraine's 35 year old son, passed during the night.   Thirty-five years ago, between May 26 & June 23, Corinne, Laraine and I all had baby boys.  We decided to name each "David."  So we have David Dean Young,  David Thomas Stokoe and Seth David Kent.  Dear Seth, we love you and know you are in a better place.  With much love, from Tom and Diane

Erika, Laraine and Seth
After the wonderful, spiritually fed Tuesday, I did not know at the time the classes were preparing me for the sadness of early Wednesday morning. Our son, Seth, lost his battle against his demons, mental illness (OCD) and substance abuse. Seth passed away at 12:30 am, August 21. Our hearts and homes are being filled with love and support from family members and dear friends. We are grateful for the gospel and the knowledge he now is free from his earthly struggles...and we will be with him again.
Email from Dean "Tell Mom I'm Okay!"
It was still early here. I learned that Seth had died.  I was laying on the couch in the family room. It was Seth!  He was out of breath!  I need you to tell my mom that I am o.k. He said to me. Sure Seth! I will.  I assumed that was all.  He asked me again.  Yes, Seth!  I Will.   He was out of breath. Nervous Perhaps. He still would not leave.  He kept asking me and I assured him again and again.   I WAS NOW telling him to breath.''In. Out. Breath in!''.   He finally calmed down. He left.
  I later went over to visit the kents.  I delivered my message to the family.  Lariane said that she prayed and asked for a sign that Seth was OK.   She did wonder why he did not tell her himself.    Perhaps he will! Message delivered!

-- Sent from my HP TouchPad

His Obituary, written by Erika, appeared in the Deseret News: 
Seth David Kent, age 35, passed away in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 21, 2013 after losing his battle with mental illness and substance abuse.

Born June 23, 1978 in Wheatridge, Colorado to Ronald Gene and Laraine Johnson Kent.  Seth graduated from Brighton High School in 1996.  After graduation, he served as an LDS missionary in Boston, Massachusetts.  In 2002, Seth received an Associate of Science Degree from Salt Lake Community College.

Seth had a beautiful soul.  He loved the Gospel and his family with all of his heart.  He adored animals, especially dogs.  He was fun-loving and had an unique sense of humor.  All of these attributes are of the Seth we knew, some were carried through the years, while others seemed to fade.  But the quality that never left him was his perseverance.  Seth lived by a proclamation from his idol, Michael Jordan, "I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying."  He never gave up.  Seth had a firm testimony, which brought him courage to pick himself up, every time he fell.

He is survived by his parents; his siblings: Jeff (Shelley) Morrison, CO, Todd, Eryn, Michael (Ashlee) Gilbert, AZ, Mark (Kortnie) Twin Falls, ID, Erika; and eleven nephews and nieces.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, August 26th at 2:00pm, in the Willow Creek 3rd Ward LDS Chapel. . .  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Update from the Congo

We have enjoyed George & JoAnn Billings account of their mission in the Congo.   What a contrast to our experience here in Port Elizabeth.  This e-mail just arrived:  
Dear Family and Friends,
We have started our life in a new City.  In fact we are the first Anglo couple in the Church to ever live here in Kananga.  We arrived here last Monday and stayed in a small Guest House for three nights while final preparations were being made for our apartment.  We are now in the apartment but there are many more things we need to arrange to make it totally comfortable.  The Congolese man who has been working on the apartment has tried very hard to get things ready.  Many of the things we need are just not customary to the Congolese.  Shelves for things like dishes and places to hang our cloths are just a couple of examples.  The Church members here are very excited that we have arrived in their City. We will start training 10 of them tomorrow.  Just like the rest of the Congo, jobs are not plentiful.  The unemployment rate is around 90%. 
We are anxiously waiting for a truck to arrive from Lubumbashi.  It has to be flown in because there are no roads into Kananga from any of the other major Cities in the country.  Until it gets here we are on foot.  We had expected it to be here before we arrived but, just like everything else, hardly anything goes as expected.  We just have to deal with what happens when it happens. 
The weather here is hot and humid.  There is no air conditioning in our apartment but we do have fans when the electricity is on.  There is an electrical grid system but they only turn the power on between 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM.  We have a small generator that gives us enough power to run the fans the rest of the day.  Fuel is expensive.  It is over $2.00 per liter.  I haven’t done the calculation but I think that is over $10.00 per gallon. 
Food is going to be a challenge.  We still eat mostly American and European foods.  That may soon change.  We have found only one small store that carries our kinds of foods.  We have bought some things like frozen chicken and found that it is so poorly cared for that we can’t eat it.  There may be other stores.  We just haven’t found them yet.  We have walked the streets of the City looking for places to buy food.  We found one place that had peanut butter but it was long past expiration and the oil had separated from the paste.  There just isn’t much of a market for our kinds of foods.
This is really going to be an experience.  We have a little over five months left in our mission.  We should have many things to tell stories about when it is all done.  This morning, just after we woke up, we heard a congregation singing some African chants and songs.  It went on for a couple of hours.  It was interesting.  These people love to sing.  They do it with a lot of enthusiasm. 
Right now I am typing this email outside and I can smell the African foods that are being prepared for supper by the neighbors.  By the smell, I don’t think I am going to be too anxious to convert to their way of eating.  Everybody cooks outside over charcoal grills.  JoAnn says that she isn’t going to buy it when nations like this complain about America leaving more than its fair share of a carbon footprint.  The air is a constant haze.  There are 500,000 people here burning charcoal at the same time.  That has to contribute to the carbon footprint.
The City of Kananga was once a thriving place.  There are many old buildings that were obviously nice at one time.  Most of them are in an awful state of disrepair.  Many roofs are caved in.  Other roofs are just missing.  There is a large government building with most of the windows broken out.  They are still using part of it because the City is the Capitol of the Kasai Occidental Province.  Most of the nice old buildings in the downtown area have been converted to small shops.  When you go into these shops they sell a variety of everything.  You’ll find food, cloths, appliances, and roofing panels in the same store.  These shops are very small.  There once were some very nice houses.  In fact, the missionaries live in one of those next to our apartment.  Our apartment was once the servant quarters for the people who lived in that house.  The apartment is much nicer than the house now.  We are going to start teaching English to the Elders who live in the house.  The first lesson is tomorrow morning. The streets are also in a state of disrepair.  It is the dry season now so it isn’t bad to walk the half dirt half asphalt roads right now.  The wet season starts in a month.  I hope what we are doing here will begin to make a difference.  The Governor’s Mansion is very big and it is very nice. 
We haven’t begun to take pictures here yet.  When we do we will forward some to all of you. 
Hello Family and Friends:
George has been pretty skimpy with some of the details, so I will add a bit.  We do not have a water filter yet, so we are buying bottled water – good thing it is available.  Coke is also available, but where in the world is it not?  We bought two frozen chickens to bake only to discover that the head and feet had been chopped off and the feathers plucked, and then it was frozen.  After George got it cleaned out, we did cook them, but the taste was not good.  We won’t be buying any more of those.  There is a lot of dried fish here, but we have tried those before and just do not like them.  Little ones are dried, and when cooked, they feel stiff like eating toothpicks.  The larger ones are salted and dried, and have a very strong fish taste.  We can get good bananas and wonderful pineapples, but we have not seen other fruit.  We can get cabbage that is expensive because it has been shipped in from Lubumbashi.  There are avocados, and other green-leaf vegetables that we do not know what they are.  We can also get potatoes, rice, salad tomatoes, onions, garlic and dried beans.  We can buy eggs, canned tuna, and pasta sauce, and spaghetti.  I have found ingredients to make bread except for a pan to cook it in.  We bought a sieve so we can strain out the bugs.
The water we bathe in is tan and has little things that look like small ½ inch worms or leeches, not sure which.  We remove them from the water before bathing.  Bathing is with a bucket and cold water.  The toilet is flushed with a bucket of water.  There is no washing machine here, all washing is done by hand and hung on the line outside to dry.  We have a small fridge, ½ size, but it doesn’t keep food well because it is off all night, so food spoils.  We will adopt the Congolese habit of only cooking what we are going to consume.    We are told they will be furnishing us with a larger fridge.  If it has enough room to freeze bottles of water, we can use those overnight in the bottom section to preserve the food.  We will see how it goes.  We have been provided with a hot plate that has a small oven attached.  It does work off the generators, for which we are grateful.   Due to the electricity situation however, we will also buy a Congolese grille to cook food in over charcoal.
I have seen some beautiful Congolese fabric here, and will be buying some to make draperies for the apartment, as well as a bed cover, and some toss pillows.  Good thing I brought my sewing machine.  I also plan to bring some home to make a quilt out of, because it is just so bright and colorful, and like nothing else I have ever seen.  We have also seen some wood carvings and some beautiful baskets made by artisans here.  I am surprised because not many tourists come to Kananga.
The weather here is going to be a great challenge to me because I do not tolerate the heat very well, but I think in time I will adjust better.
To our family and friends, we have treasured your emails and hearing how you are.  To Amanda, we are so proud of you for accepting the Call to Serve.  God bless you and your family. . .

Monday, August 19, 2013

P Day - August 19

At the dentist with the other two waiting for Elder Van Zyl's chipped tooth to be fixed

 Walmer Mall is right next door so we went shopping.  I bought Elder Ramshaba an over coat.

Elder Ramshaba just transferred from KwaNobushle where his companion was Elder Olyabo; one of our Grahamstown Elders.  While having their car serviced they decided to go tracting.  Two young men approached them.   They said they were Mormon missionaries and went on walking.  These men returned with two others and demanded their back packs.

"We arn't going to give you our back packs," they said.  Two men took out knives and held them against their throats.  The elders quickly complied.  They returned to pick up the car but had no money to pay for it saying they had just been robbed.  The service center trusted them and said they could take the car and pay later.  Elder Ramshaba took it in stride as people in Jo Berg are always getting robbed.  However Olyabo is from Uganda.  When people witness a robbery there they attack and beat up the assailants.  He did not understand why those witnessing the robbery did not come to their aid.  The Elders called President Wood who suggested that they take the rest of the day off.

Elder Lawson's found a store with English products
They went to the church and sat around for the rest of the day as Elder Olyabo was still traumatized.   Mob justice is the order of the day in Uganda.  He felt that those young hoodlums should have been  stoned.

Elder Lawson, from Yorkshire was delighted to find a store in Walmer Mall specialising in English products.  He recognise many of the products he finds at home including his favorite shampoo.  I purchased a few small items for him and we returned to the dentist's office to see how Elder Van Zyle was doing.

Then Elder Stokoe took us all to lunch at McDonalds.

This isn't going to hurt is it?

Lunch at Mc Donalds

Sunday in Sandy

Laraine's Email to Diane,

Dinner is mostly ready, I am waiting for Ron to arrive from his after
meeting counting activities, and Erika, Eryn and maybe Dean to arrive
about 5:00 pm.  I haven't seen Dean for a few weeks.  He has been
invited to come but hasn't.  Eryn has delivered his dinner to him.

We had a wonderful sacrament meeting, Sister Kaye Jackson and Elder
Eric Jackson, former mission president and wife who have served in the
Kampala Uganda Mission.  Prior to their three year stint as mission
president and wife, they served three years as International Affairs
for the church in South Africa.  Their main task was for other
churches in South Africa to accept our church.

During this time there was unrest in Kenya, riots, etc as the election
was being held.  They would get calls from other denominations asking
if they could be on our properties...they had come to realize they
were always a safe place to be.  However, we could not have 50,000
people on one property!

There was a very famous reporter who had won 27 awards world wide for
her articles.  Brother Jackson and wife arranged a time to be able to
meet with her.  They acknowledged her awards.  The ladies name was (I
think) something like Given Lister.   She said she writes "the exact
truth."  Brother Jackson said she had reported LDS is a polygamist
church, a cult, and is anti-Christ.

Brother Jackson asked where she had gotten this information and she
confessed she had copied it from an article written in the Washington

Brother Jackson then asked her if he could tell her who we are...going
on to explain to her that how we live our lives often causes
discomfort to those we tell and, the articles she had been writing
about our church were not true.

He began with The Family Proclamation, the Articles of Faith, etc.
She then cried.

Elder Jackson reported to her that during a terrible flood in their
part of the country the church were first to respond with 5,000 tents,
10,000 medical kits, 25,000 water bottles.  There were some 200 people
who worked cleaning up in the area for nine weeks...until the Red
Cross had come.  No one had reported this.

Now, this person is the #1 reported who is pro LDS!

He want onto tell of a supreme court justice who is close to Nelson
Mandella.  He loves the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  This too was so

Well...there was many other interesting things he told.  He reported
senior couples are blessed who serve missions, their families are
blessed and will be blessed through the eternities.  They loved their
missions, many miracles took place and continue to do so in that area.

We are thankful to you, Stokoes, for your service.

You continue to be in our prayers,

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Update from our Utah Family & our S.A. Family

Corrine, Annabelle Jane & Neil 
Thanks Corrine for sending InTune oil.  Hope it helps with our memory problems. Also thanks for all the cute photos of Annabelle Jane.  We are looking forward to meeting her.

We are also looking forward to Nikki and David's new baby daughter who will arrive at the end of November.  And of course our great grand baby.

Thanks Dean for sending "All are Alike Unto God" and "Nephi's Isaiah."  I just finished Mormon Doctrine Book 3 which was among those that Amazon sent to me in May.  We are very busy attending Planning for Success classes, teaching Institute and conducting the follow up lessons in Motherwell so these books should keep me going until we fly to Istanbul  on October 17th.

We enjoyed being part of "Helping Hands" from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 yesterday. Then we attended the baptism of Thandekile Ngaleka, a member of my Sunday School Class,  in the afternoon.  The elders complained that the water was darker than Elder Zitsu.  But he told them to go ahead with the baptism.  Likely a broken pipe accounted for the problem.  But the merkey water did not dampen Thandekile's spirit.  She was so excited.
The Zitsu twins,  Bahalwa & Nolubabeilo, are scheduled to be baptised at noon next Saturday
We have heard nothing from Buzelwa/Mineka's uncle.  Evidently the head of her father's family has no intention of honoring his commitment.  Mineka tells us that her uncle is a contractor with a wife in the area and children from various women all over the country.  Why try to help with her problems?  I asked about the money he said he had set aside for her education.  Mineka said he has no intention of doing anything for her.  However she hopes to get her blind aunt to go to Home Affairs with us.

Today we attended Sacrament meeting in P.E. at 8:00 a.m. and another in Motherwell at 10:00.  As President Wood wanted them to see a DVD during Sunday School we don't have to teach Sunday School for the next two weeks.  So it was off to Cleary to attend a "Planning for Success" class which started at 12:00 noon.  We finally have had one application for a loan.  However the application was not filled out properly so  Elder S. will have to sort that out.

It's windy and bitter cold here now.  We just returned from a dinner appointment with the Lorraine Elders at Sister Rank's house.  Elder Ramshaba, the black from Johannesburg, is freezing.  He has no over coat.  Just wears two sweaters and still can't keep warm.   So I told him to stop by and borrow my trench coat.  He needs it more than I do.

Helping Hands in the morning.  Getting baptised in the afternoon.


Helping Hands - August 17th

Members of Kwamagxaki Ward joined Motherwell Group on Saturday for "Helping Hands Day"

This Weed Whacker turned out to be a real lemon

Mrs. Peter,  Principal of Elufefeni Primary School
Painting the parking area & goal lines on the soccar field
Cutting and cleaning up grass

Cleaning all bathrooms
The school custodian, Mrs. Peter, Elder Zitsu (in orange)  flanked by two of our sisters who work at Elufefeni School

Update on Andrew & Quilts

Friday Andrew called to wish Grandpa a "Happy Birthday" and to tell us that he is a line coach for a little league football team in Lehi.  I took Andrew to lots of games when Elder Stokoe was announcing for Skyline's football team.  Andrew played for Highland and Alta so they have a lot in common.

He said that Luke Staley, former BYU player, is their running back/quater back coach. Chelsey's dad is head coach.  Chelsey and Andrew are expecting a new baby in February.   We are excited about having another great grandchild.   We are very proud of Andrew who works full time at Oil Well while taking classes at SLCC.

They closed on a three bedroom home in Lehi last April and got an amazing 3% interest rate.  I told Andrew that I wanted to send him something else besides the shoes that I had ordered.  They were made by a member in Namibia sight unseen and turned out to be a huge disappointment.  Partly my fault as I did not ask Elder Critchfield the name of the style he was wearing.  Nor I communicate clearly with Elder Smith who placed the order for me.

The natives here in Africa love beautiful shoes.  Men buy Addids and Neikes or European dress shoes.  The women wear the latest styles to church according to Mariam Clark, who has worked in a shoe store in Green Acres for twenty years.   Some white Afrikanners and/or their kids often go around bare foot.

I decided that a beautiful African quilt would be a nice gift for their new home.  I'm leaving the one we bought when we arrived last year for the couple who replaces us.   So I called Elizabeth who started a cottage industry in Africa to order a quilt for Andrew.  Her reply describes some problems the humanitarian missionaries who try to help set up home industries often run in to.

Hello sister Stokoe,
Thank you for your interest in our quilts. However  I have to update you on the situation. I moved back to the  USA last year and my project is limping along without supervision. Here are the options. I can pass the order on to the Ladies from Sweetwaters but I do not know what  they have in stock and what the quality is . The last I heard is that all the quilting machines are broken and they are looking for help from Rotary which is not going to happen. I left them a lot of fabrics but again who knows what is available.

I can make the quilt myself, but the price would be $250 for a queen and $300 for a king. I will not charge for shipping  
and I have all African fabrics  available. I am still in contact with several people from your church, as a mater of fact, the Hudsons are coming  to visit on Monday and bringing some quilt for quilting and picking up one that I finished for them.
So please let me know what you want to do.
Sincerely,  Elisabeth Baratta
This beautiful Africa quilt graces the bed in our guest room.  I can't bear to bring it home because it goes so well with the picture.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Elder Stokoe's Birthday & Zone Conference

The candles could not be blown out and kept relighting. 
Last night we celebrated Elder Stokoe's Birthday. When we went to a Zone Meeting today everyone thanked us again for all the food and a fun evening.  They had a blast.  Elder Dale said he could not eat breakfast because he was still full from last night.  All thirteen elders voted to present the same program to the patients and to work in the garden at the Lorraine Frail Care Center again this year.

I'm going to tell the directors that we will do the garden provided the elders can take home some of the produce.  Last year lots went to waste because none of the inmates nor any of staff watered nor did they harvest much.

We visited the Sherberts after the meeting today to collect the packages they had picked up for us at our Sunridge P.O Box.  Sister Sherbert said she was happy all day just thinking about the party last night.  We decided on what to serve at leadership training next Friday.  I made two carrot cakes for the party but we only ate one.   So I froze the second.  That plus ice cream will be the dessert.  The main dish will be backed potatoes with chili, cheese, and some other toppings.  We will assign Sister Blatter rolls and a fruit salad.

We gave the Lorraine Elders the rest of their supplies last night.  They are short blankets while the elders who stay at King Street had extras.  So we picked them up, brought them home and washed them.  When Elder Swacina stayed there he complained there were not enough blankets.  So we bought new ones and took them over when we repaired their broken window.  Shortly thereafter Swacina discovered two more packed away in a closet.  So those went to our three Lorainne elders.  When the desk arrives which the Blatters will bring from a flat in Dispatch, these young men will be all "set up."

Elder Van Zyl from S.A.  on the top bunk.  Elder Ramshaba (Johannesburg) & Elder Lawson (Yorkshire) below.

Elder George (Southern Utah) & Elder Burton (Burmingham)

The Blatters (Montana), Elder Carlson (P.G.) & Dale (SLC)

Two Kiwi's - Elder Arthur also did the Haka

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stake Conference & Farewell Van Sickles

Farewell Dinner at Yi Pin Chinese Restaurant on the Boardwalk

"I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you again for your hospitality for the event you planned for the Vansickles departure.  We really appreciate you letting us stay with you.  I loved hearing everyone's comments and testimonies.  The food was delicious the company great,  in all it was a fabulous evening.  Thank you so much for putting the evening together and including us.  We really appreciate you kindness.  Have a great day"

Sister Chase

Dessert & Testimony meeting for Senior Couples at our townhouse

 Elder S. sang "Now is the Hour,"  to end the evening.  Note that the last three days have been so busy I have developed red eye from stress.     I was up very early Friday a.m. to make a Texas Sheet Cake.  I had my hair done.  Then went to district meeting to meet our new missionaries and invite everyone to Elder Stokoe's birthday party.

Saturday we when shopping at Macro and found a table on sale that was just right for the Relief Society room.  We bought it and drove to Motherwell.  As Elder Zitsu was working we had to get keys from Sister Zitsu who was just leaving to catch a taxi for the leadership meeting in Port Elizabeth.

Then we went looking for a single bed for a third elder who was assigned to Lorraine.  We were surprised to find two sets of bunk beds at Smities used furniture store. We bought the best set and arranged to have it delivered.

Then we were off to Builder's Supply to make another set of keys so we don't have to bother the elders at Motherwell nor the Zitsus for their keys.

Next we went to the boarding at Kabeljous.  The three young men were just setting up beds.  Bunks were perfect as there was not enough room for three single beds and another desk in their flat.

Six elders from Kenya were sent here last week for fear of violence during that countries elections.  One is staying with
our elders so the bunk bed was perfect.  One of the single beds was falling apart.  The elders were using neck ties to hold it together.  We did not have to haul it away as they can use it for fire wood.

We had lunch and then it was off to the leadership meeting and the Saturday session of stake conference.  As Buzelwa/Minieka/Beautiful Day wanted to meet Deng,  I introduced them.  Deng was on his way up the isle to sing with the P.E. ward choir.  He looked very handsome in his dark suit, white shirt and red tie.

When the meeting was over we took Minieka and Dang to dinner at Spurs so they could get better acquainted. Then we drove her home to Motherwell and dropped Deng off on our way back to Lorraine. They seemed to hit it off.  They exchanged phone numbers.   He asked a lot  of questions about her while driving home.  He liked the fact that she is rather tall and that she's left handed.

Common sight in S.A. when money is being transported
Institute Class - Nicole, Neil, Deng & Putti with Erin seated.
The theme for Stake Conference was:  "Now is the time for labor," he said.  "Let the fire of the covenant which you made in the House of the Lord, burn in your hearts, like flame unquenchable."   It's a quote taken from the "Journal History of the Church. . . " 28 September, 1846.    It was first used by M. Russell Ballard in a 1999 General Conference address.  Those singing or giving talks wore red.  The ladies of the Kwanobuchle choir wore red blouses and the men wore red ties.  Most of the speakers in both sessions wore combinations of red and black to emphasise this theme.

 Sister Futshane, an elderly black woman who returned from a temple mission, bore a strong testimony of senior service.   She said that when she told her bishop she wanted to go on a mission he said, "But you are not educated and you don't speak English.  What could you do?"

"I don't know why my father never sent me to school but I love the gospel and I want to go.
So I go to that long (tall) Stake President and I say:  "Palmer.  I want to go on a mission.  Send me."  She enjoyed her three years of service in the Johannesburg temple.

Elder Giddy,  former President of the Cape Town Stake and now a members of the Seventies also talked.  He described a letter sent to President Monson from a woman who asked him to pray for her.   She felt her prayers were not answered.  She and her husband had been struggling with phonography for nine years.  This is a serious problem among our members all over the world.  The 12 Step Program, recently introduced in our stake can help members overcome addictions.

He warned everyone that we are in the last days and Satan's minions have ramped up efforts to destroy us,  especially the youth.  Battle lines have been drawn and technology is their prime weapons.  The youth must stand together and resist evil.   Satan always uses some truth to ensnare us.  He tells us that we are free.  We can choose.  We can have whatever we want.  So why not try drugs, alcohol and sex. It's no big deal.  But these things can destroy our souls.  Eventually we will have to pay the consequents.  Safety lies in  keeping the commandments and honoring the covenants we have made with God.

Reading the scriptures, attending our meetings, praying and keeping the commandments are like drops of oil in the lamp.  This kind of spiritual oil will enable us to meeting the bride groom and not be unprepared as were the foolish virgins of scripture were who, lacking oil missed the marriage feast.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Woman's Day/Relief Society Conference

On August 9, 1956 hundreds of women marched to their union buildings to demand their rights.  Now it's a national holiday and the month of August has been set aside as "Women's Month."  P.E. Stake celebrates by holding a Relief Society Conference each year.   The sisters all wear their colorful native costumes.  They sing tribal songs along with the hymns and listen to several talks about the role of LDS women today.  This year Bishop Bray hosted the conference in Uitenhage Ward.  Since this ward has no cultural hall,  the chapel served and we were allowed to take pictures.  We all had a wonderful time.
Stake Relief Society President Sister Cosa greeted each sister

Sanilisewe Ntsehe Delepu

Motherwell women singing along with other groups

Sister Meleka, P.E. Ward was the key note speaker

Anele Kondile 
I drove the three other senior missionary sisters to Uitenhage for this two hour party/conference.  We did not stay for refreshments as we were going out to dinner with the Woods.   The plan was that we would go directly to the Board Walk. However Sister Blader needed to go back to Laraine to meet Dr. Blader to tell him to wear his suit coat.  

Sister Sherbert and Sister Van Sickley further delayed us as both had to call husbands to open their compounds gates.    I  returned just as Tom and the Chases were driving out of our gated community to go to the farewell dinner in town.  Don't know what I would have done if they had left without me.  This was one of those tender mercies as I don't like driving and parking in town at night.  We enjoyed our dinner with President and Sister Woods, the Sherberts, the Chases (from Grahamstown,) President and Sister Stums (from Port Alfred)   The Bladders  had just arrived.  They are the new senior couple who will  replace the Van Sickles.