There are so many blessings that missionary life brings. One of the sweetest is becoming acquainted with our brothers and sisters in the gospel all over the world. From Thanksgiving to New Years Eve, we have been able to enjoy so many of the good people in our church whose paths have crossed because of service to the Master.
November 20-22 we hosted "The Great Gobble Wobble" at our flat. Seven of the missionary couples from the Eastern Cape stayed with us. We ate, we laughed, we shared testimonies, we cried, and then we ate some more. Blatters, Silcocks, Kjars, Stapley's, Chase's, and Thomas's. Love them all. They serve with honor.
Nov. 21-27 was a visit from our daughter Loni and her husband Matt. Ahhhh…..the joy. The top picture is taken from our balcony and the bottom was a Christmas shot. I told them they should use it for their annual Christmas Card.
This is a bit out of order, but on Dec. 4-6 we had the Zone leaders come for a visit and to do exchanges with our Elders. All four of them stay with us for two nights and three days. I have learned from them so many things. They are valiant, they are smart, they REALLY know the gospel, and they eat A LOT!
Nov. 29 was just fun. Our Branch Christmas Party was a blast. Any time I can hang out with these wonderful Saints is a party to me.
Dec. 7th, the Young Women of our Branch #shared the gift on Facebook!
We experienced the "Bush" practice with four of the members of our Branch. Here two of our boys are pictured with Elder Branch and the little guy who is the runner for them. He delivers food and other commodities while they are away from home.
On December 15th we delivered nine of our youth to FSY….your EFY….in Port Elizabeth. Oh what a wonderful week they had as they associated with youth from all over South Africa. For two of our youth it was the first time they had seen another Mormon outside of Port Alfred. On their return, one of the girls said…"Sista Wheela….I know why you cry when you teach seminary. You feel the spirit. I cried Sista Wheela. I cried because I felt the spirit". Good times!!!!
December 19th…you know you are close to Zone Conference when you round the corner and see this fleet.
Our Christmas Zone Conference was a delight. Any time we can associate with these fine young men, the Mission President, and other couples we are thrilled. We were fed spiritually, and physically.
Dec. 20 - 21 was an extra special treat as we hosted Elder Carl B. and Lynette Cook, our area President in South Africa. We laughed, we talked, we shared, we ate, we were fed spiritually. An experience to be cherished by us and all of the Branch Members.
Dec. 21, 22 was a Christmas Open House at the Branch building. What can I say about it. "It was a successful failure". We have evaluated. We will change some things and try again.
Christmas morning on a walk through an area we had not yet visited we came across some Zebra. I am thinking that is our last Christmas morning that will be seeing Zebra. Only in Africa. We love it! I guess we can call the animals our brothers and sisters???
Christmas day was spent with President Paul Kruger of the Bellville Cape Town Stake. He has only been a member for 10 years and is now a Stake President. He came from Cape Town to pick up these three young men from FSY. They were delightful. Sister Helen Dell was also with us on Christmas Day. He prepared a wonderful stir fry for us and I prepared the side dishes and dessert. What a treat. I also loved that they like to play games. President Wheeler does not, so when I find…"fresh meat" I am delighted. Those of you who know me, are aware that I am not a bit competitive!!!…..and I NEVER cheat!!! They also graciously accepted an invitation to speak in Church on Sunday.
Our last wave of company came the day after Christmas, Dec. 26 - 28. I regret that I did not get a picture of the entire Wainwright family. Peter and Louise Wainwright (Louise is pictured above) and there two boys Seth and Nathaniel came for three days. Peter is the Patriarch in East London and Louise is the Stake RS President. We had a lovely time. Louise and I drove to Grahamstown on Saturday while the men went golfing. Our purpose was to go to a fabric store. It was closed, but we had a delightful visit. I realized this is the first time I had been with a "girl" friend alone in a car in the last fourteen months longer than 10 minutes. It was very fun to have some girl talk. On our drive we came across this patch of cactus in blossom.
The beauties of this country are around every bend. The greatest beauty lies in the members of the church who can be found wherever you travel in this world that God has given to us. We truly our brothers and sisters in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are so blessed to have each other. Happy New Year!