Friday, January 31, 2014

Art is telling...

When Notambiaque came to clean our flat this Friday, she brought these two notes from her daughter Bussi.  Bussi has Eczema.  Severe.  We have made several trips to the doctor/hospital with her to see if anything can be done.  If you are on government assisted medical coverage here, let me just say that it is sub-par and she still struggles.  I posted these pictures because (1)  Look at the color of President Wheeler.  We love that she sees us as one of them.  And he has quite a bit of hair!!!(2) I am not sure what she sees me as.  Maybe Roger Rabbit?
This is our poor little Bussi the day we took her to the hospital.  Be grateful.  Be very grateful for good medical coverage.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's only $0.03...

Just returned from a trip to the local grocery store.  We have two (that I trust).  Spar and Pick and Pay.  See these three bags that my groceries are in.  I have to pay for them.  It is only $0.03, but it makes me crazy.  Yes, I do have re-usable bags that are great if I remember to take them with me. I even usually fold a few of these disposable bags up (thank you Pinterest) and carry them with me in my purse.  Today I forgot my bags.  So the first question the checker always asks is "would you like plastic?"  I would like to say to her one time…"No thank you.  I will carry my 50 items of groceries out to my car one at a time.  Would you mind waiting?"  I never do.  I just think it.  And I know it is only $0.03, but REALLY!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Africa's version of Meadow Valley Contractors / Road Construction.

Sometimes I just want to post something that I think is interesting and I don't want to forget.  This is one of those posts, so just skip it if it does not interest you.  The roads here in Port Alfred are…well…can I just say POTHOLES!!!!    President Wheeler said that when they pave the roads here they only put down one inch of asphalt.  Thus the holes.  Now, my Father was a road builder, my brothers worked summers with him, and my son Jed is also a road builder, along Ryan who is very familiar with the road-building process.  I guess roads interest me.   We often see new roads being put down with these paving stones.  When finished, they have the look of a cobblestone road.  It is a thing of beauty to watch as they lay these brick.  They prep the surface and then form a line of workers and throw these pavers down the line and set them in place.  There is a rhythm to it.  I wish someone set music to it.  It really is beautiful to watch.  And it is beautiful when it is completed and lovely to drive on!

Preping the road using wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels and sweat…

The Paving Bricks all ready to go...


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Shall the Youth of Zion Falter…

Our Youth Sunday School Teacher was not able to be to church this Sunday, so I was able to fill in for her.  This is the group of kids I got to teach.  They are also my seminary students.   Each of these youth are 1st generation Mormons.  I wish I could magically transport all of you who are reading this blog to our building on a Sunday.  I get to sit on the stand during the sacrament meeting since I am now the branch organist.  There is a clock in our chapel.  It is so reverent during the sacrament that you can hear the ticking of the clock.  They are so very humble.

Most of you reading this are what they call here in South Africa, "from the factory".  Most of us are 3rd, 4th, 5th generation Mormon's.  I asked these kids today how many students were in their high school.  Some of them go to different schools.  Sonwambile (the boy in the red shirt) said there are 2000 students at his school.  Four of them are members of the church.  I read an interesting statistic on  In 2006, 64% of the members of the church were First Generation Mormons.  It is such an honor to rub shoulders with these modern-day Mormon Pioneers.  I would love to come back to Africa in ten years and see these very youth leading the church.  It will happen.  They truly our my heroes.  Their faith is strong.  Their hope in the Savior is bright.  They bare strong testimonies of the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and of the Savior Jesus Christ.  They ARE "True to The Faith".

Service Project!

This is our beautiful Motambiaque with two of her daughters.  Balli is the smallest and Busi is the tallest.  She has one more daughter that is 10 months old.  Baby Lilly.  She is a single Mommy raising these girls and doing a great job.  The Priesthood did a service project at her home.  They added a door to the outhouse in the back and also some much needed work on her electrical in her home.

This is a view of her home from the street!
 Brother Hola is working on the new door to her outhouse.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Meeting Mosiah!

Meet Mosiah…and his family.  Who knew.  Joshua Mosiah, his lovely wife Selenah and their two beautiful daughters came to stay with us in Port Alfred Saturday, January 18th.  Joshua is on the High Council in the Port Elizabeth Stake.  He has been a member of the church for eight years.  President Wheeler had asked him to come and speak in our ward.  We had a lovely dinner prepared and then went for a walk on the beach.  The girls gathered seashells and said they were going to make jewelry out of them. I also got to do some "Art" with the girls.  It made me homesick for Jara and Tessa.   TheMosiah's have been members of the church for 10 years.  She is from the Xhosa Tribe here in Africa and he is aXuXutu (or was).  In his tribe his father and grandfather still practiced sacrificing animals.  He asked them both why they did animal sacrifices and neither of them could give a good reason.  It was confusing to him.  When he found the church he was relieved to find the "why" behind everything.  They were baptized and soon began working towards a temple marriage.  He sold his only means of transportation to fund the trip and they created an eternal family.  He spoke on that in our Sacrament meeting.  The spirit was VERY strong and tears were flowing.  I was sitting on the stand and could see in to the faces of the members.  

I was showing Tracy and Gloria some things on  Their mother, Selenah, has gone to college and received her degree in Sociology.  To help supplement their income she crochets shoes and handbags.  I have ordered some from her.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Zion is growing!

This is the logo for our mission.  SACTM.  South Africa Cape Town Mission.  Or, Serving Always Christ The Master.  When we were in East London with our friends the Blatters, she shared this story with us.  They are receiving a new couple missionary that has been assigned to the Motherwell Branch that is very close to East London.  The Motherwell Branch was formed in August with only eight members.  Today, that branch has 80 members.  The Blatters are PEF & Employment Missionaries.  THEY ARE BUSY!!!  They also supervise 16 missionaries.  They had an assignment in Motherwell and attended the new brach there.  She was chatting with one of the sisters there who was newly baptized.  Their conversation went something like this…
"Sister______, do you have a calling in the branch."
"Yes, Sister Blatter, I think I do."
"Can you tell me what it is?"  
"Well, I think I am a counselor."
"A counselor.  That is lovely.  Of what"
She looked at Sister Blatter with pleading eyes.  Sister Blatter started naming auxiliaries.  She got to the Relief Society and the Sister exclaimed…"Yes!  That is it.  It is the Relief Society."
These saints are humble, faithful, and loving.  They have so much to learn.  Everything is  new to them.  We love them all dearly.

Rhinos and Cheetahs and Warthogs….Oh My!

We finally found time to go to a Wild Animal Park.  The best way I can describe this is to sing the song "How Great Thou Art".  To see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat is breathtaking.

We saw most of these animals.  I am only posting a very few of the pictures we took.

The giraffe's were probably our favorite.  Majestic.  These were sitting in a field while….

This guy stood guard over them.

How can anything so ugly be so beautiful?

Bontebok.  This is one stunning animal.

Nyala (Male)

This guy was trying to hide from us.

Mama Warthog with her babies.

And this little guy just kinda makes you want to watch Swiss Family Robison.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The African Fruit Basket!

Sunday, January 12th, President Wheeler and I went to visit Delsie Mithembu.  Delsie is a single Mother with two little boys and one adorable little girl.  One of her sons has been diagnosed as "MR" and also has cerebal palsy.  He has been accepted in to a special school for high need children in Port Elizabeth.  During the school year, Delsie takes her son and moves to Port Elizabeth where she attends college working on her degree as a social worker.  We wanted to visit with her before she left.  When school is not in session she live with her mother in Port Alfred.  

While we were at Delsie's, her mother brought out this little plate of mini-bananas.  I mentioned I had not seen these in the grocery store.  She took me outside to their backyard and showed me the tree where the banana grew.  Who knew.  We see these trees all over in Port Alfred and I did not know they were banana trees.  If you have never eaten a fresh banana well let  me just say, yum, yum!  They are so sweet!

This is Delsie's Mother and our goofy Elders with Sonwambile (we call him Soso).

 Look at these tiny little critters.  I heard someone call them "cherry bananas"

 Evidently, if you hold a banana to your ear you receive communication from the great banana in the sky???

 I took this pix with my phone so it isn't real clear.  Can you see the bunch of bananas we are pointing to?

 We drove to Port Elizabeth on Monday to do some shopping and meet with another senior couple for some R & R.  Port Elizabeth is about an hour and 45 minutes from PA.  All along the highway we saw women sitting by the side of the road holding these little green things. I finally persuaded President Wheeler to stop and see what they were.  We pulled over and I asked this woman what she was holding.  She looked at me like I was cuckoo.  I pulled the "I am from America line" and then she told me they are Prickley Pears.  O.K. says I.  What are they?  She then took out a knife and sliced through the skin of one and it produced a fruit that looked a lot like a kiwi.  We took a bite and were quite impressed.  We bough a grocery bag full of them for $1.50.
Prickley pears are the fruit of a cactus.  They pick them and they have little sticker about a half inch long growing from each of the dots you see on them.  One of our branch members told me that the Xhosa women's hands become so callused that they can pick them without even the stickers bothering them.  They roll them in sand until the stickers fall out and then market them on the side of the highway.

This is what the fruit looks like when it is peeled.  Most just eat them like you would any fruit, but you can juice them or make jam out of them.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Brother Ncebazakhe Hola…

This is faithful Brother Hola.  He is the second counselor in the Branch Presidency.  Brother Hola is a pig farmer, a gardner, a painter, a father of nine children, a grandfather, and a valiant Priesthood holder.  Here he is working on the garden that he planted in the back yard of our church.  Growing in the garden is cabbage, carrots, beets, one volunteer tomato plant and I think some lettuce.  President Stumm, who we replaced worked very hard with Brother Hola and this garden.  Unfortunately, that is not one of President Wheeler's strong points, so he has turned over production completely to Brother Hola.  

Brother Hola spoke in sacrament meeting three weeks ago.  Among other things he said this.  "I am a man of many troubles, (and he is).  Jesus is a man of many troubles.  But I am a happy man because I know Jesus and he is my Savior."

Two weeks ago this good man laid his hands on my head and set me apart as the Seminary/Institute teacher in Port Alfred.  The spirit was strong.  The tears flowed freely.  He is one of our heroes here in South Africa.  It is an honor to know him.

His lovely wife's name is Cynthia.  I am supposed to be helping her with her English.  Instead, she is helping me learn the Xhosa language.  Unfortunately, she is quicker to pick up English than I am Xhosa.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Articles of Faith…We're In It To Win It!

We had a fun youth activity on January 2, 2014.  All the youth have been working on memorizing the Articles of Faith.  None of our youth were members of the church when they were Primary age and thus did not pass them off.  We mixed in some fun "Minute to Win It Games" scoring points for games won and also scoring points for progress on the A.O. F.

Nomvula won "Noodling Around"

Levonique won "Junk In My Trunk"

I am not sure who won the "Cheery Cheerio Stack".  I think there was some cheating going on here.

Our Scoreboard!  Artwork is courtesy of the missionaries and youth!

And then the Testosterone took over...

Sibongeseni and Sonwambile showing up the Elders.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


The party pooper...

The Boogie Down  Bunch...
The Auld Ang Syne Actors… 
And from the best missionaries in the Cape Town Mission
Elder Krieger
Elder Bohn!

Playground Equipment South African Style...

We have not found fancy playground equipment in South Africa.  There most likely is some in the larger cities, but this is very typical of what we find here.  Most of the Elementary Schools do not even have playground equipment unless it is similar to this.  They use their imagination and what they have.  Isn't it great!

This is my favorite.  Note the 12 foot ladder at the left of this picture.  It would be banned in America for safety reasons.