Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Short and The Tall of the Mission

This is a perfect example of diversity in the mission field.  On the left is Elder Brimhall from Mississippi USA.  He is our new Zone Leader (6'7')  The Elder in the middle is a new elder from Madagascar, Elder Rokotomanana. He is closer to my 5' height.  Elder Rokotomanana has a great spirit about him and wears his hight well.   Elder Huls is the senior missionary on the right side.  

Three of the finest stifling warriors

Most everyone makes me feel short but I can walk under Elder
Brimhall's outstretched arms without even trying to miss them.  I so
identify with Elder Rokotomanana.  He is my new hero because he
has a giant spirit in a short body and yes he is taller than me but
 not by much.   He has such a positive attitude and a wonderful smile.

Bloemfontein District Activity

On February 2, 2015 we had a Mission District activity.  It is always fun when the younger missionaries include us in the District activities.  This is a great time to get to know the young missionaries and to spend some time in a less confined situation.  We have had some wonderful opportunities.  On this Monday which is preparation day and the day District and zone activities are usually help, we had the opportunity to go to the Cheetah Experience here in Bloemfontein.  We had the Elders from Bloemfontein, Rocklands, Blomanda, Kimberly, Botshebello, and Thaba Nchu with the senior couples Elder and Sister Huls and Elder Edington and I.

They had various kinds of wild cat in different cages.  It was
neat to be able to go right in with the animals.  I guess it is a bit
like a petting zoo back home but mostly for older folks.  It was
exciting to be up close and personal with "wild African Animals".

Ketse Dam

On January 22, 2015 we went with the other Senior couples to Ketse Dam in Lesotho.  Elder and Sister Huls and Elder Edington and I got up early and left Bloemfontein for Ficksburg to meet President Johns of the Durban Mission and Elder and Sister Bird who are in Bethlehem.  We met at President Johns house in Ficksburg and then travel across the boarder into Lesotho were we met the Parnels.  They are the senior missionary couple that live in Maseru which is in southern Lesotho.  We traveled together to Ketse Dam

It was fun to see the animals as we traveled.

The weather was beautiful and the landscape was amazing.  The skies were blue and the hillsides were green and water was everywhere.  We often saw sheep on the sides of the hills and more than once we saw a donkey on the side of the road carrying a heavy load.  The people were friendly and the village sparsely space.  The slow pace of the world around us gave us the feeling of a world gone by.

Elder Edington had planned to fill up the car when we crossed the boarder into Lesotho but they would not take a credit card so we continued on our journey only to find that it was a great deal farther than we thought and we were in grave need of fuel.  We asked around and were told there was a place to get fuel but that they were only open certain times of the day.  We went looking for the "Gas Station" or something that might look like a gas station but we could not see anything.  We asked several people and they kept indicating in was up this hill.  We started up and soon discovered the hill was barely passable for a four wheel drive or a side by side but we had little choice.  We had to get some gas.  Elder Huls offered to drive and Elder Edington gladly gave him the wheel.  The wind was blowing and it had started to rain some.  The cars scraped bottom more than once and I was sure we would high center or fall in a deep hole.  Elder Huls finally maneuvered the car up to what appeared to be a little store.  Behind the store and to the right was a small tin building in which we were told the fuel was kept.  There was no way were were going to try to get to the fuel so the man that was in charge of the fuel got a can and brought the fuel to use.  When we were fueled we paid an extra big tip and headed down the mountain.  I am not sure if it was worse going up or coming down.  I did not like either.  It was unbelievable and needles to say not my favorite part of the trip. 

By the time we finally made it to the dam the weather had turned colder and it was raining but it felt good after the heat we had been having.

To our disappointment the electricity was out so we could not go on the tour of the dam.  We enjoyed going through the visitors center and hearing about the dam but the electricity never did come back on so we finally had to leave.

We went to a nearby resort to eat.  There were o other options. (No Burger Kings or fast food joints of any kind.)  It was a lovely place with a beautiful view of the dam and the lake.

After we ate we headed back down the windy road, grateful for the beautiful scenery and grateful the even though the road was a bit narrow in places it was a well paved road.  We finally got back into South African after dark.  We had planned to stay in Ficksburg so we headed to the Imari Guest House for the night.  We were sure glad we did not try to go the nearly 3 hours it would have taken us to go home.  We were tired and a good nights rest sounded really good.

The next morning we had a leisurely drive home.  We stopped at two farm stalls. (Little touristy places) and really had a fun time. We found Old fashioned root beer that almost tasted like home.  We all really miss root beer.  We finally got home in the afternoon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New Year Teacher Training

January was a very busy month for us.  We put over 5 thousand kilometers on our car and visited every unit and almost every seminary and institute.  By the end of the month we did visit with every teacher.  Some weeks were hard and made us wonder what in the world we were thinking when we set up the visits.  It is always easier on paper than to actually do.  When we were not traveling we were preparing for training or contacting teachers about training.  It was a good and productive month but it was a hard month.  Glad it does not get that crazy every month.
This is a picture of a map of the Durban South Arican Mission.