Wednesday, February 12, 2014


This is an absolutely terrible picture.  I tried to fix the zombie eyes but couldn't figure it out.  Just imagine the most beautiful dark eyes you have ever looked in to, and adjust this pix in your mind.  This is our seminary group.  Fourteen were there last night.  Yea!

It is nearly 11:00 pm, which for me is way past bedtime, but I have to get this off my mind and on paper so I can sleep.  The "subject" of this e-mail could be "I'm dreaming of a Stake Center" or "It's all in the perspective".  Let me just share with you my Seminary experience from this evening.  

Let me begin by sharing with you an experience I had while I was serving as a missionary for the 12-step program.  Each Tuesday evening we met at the Stake Center in the Primary Room which was also used as a seminary room.  Every Tuesday when we would go to set up, there was a note from the seminary teacher that "encouraged" us to leave the room exactly as we found it.  We did the best we could, but evidently it was never quite up to par because the note kept appearing each week.  Let me tell you about my night in Seminary as compared to the "Wasatch Front" Seminary classes. 

We hold our seminary each Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m.  There are thirteen students enrolled.  We meet in a member's home (the Mgadi's) in the township.  The room we meet in is about as big as a nice size master bath in America.  In that room is a LARGE sofa, love seat, two arm chairs, a coffee table, a TV and a bookcase.  Each student brings with them a tote bag that has their scriptures, seminary manual, and scripture journals.  I bring a whiteboard, posters, laptop, speakers, manuals, binders, handouts, and other paraphernalia.  Now the real fun begins.  Since seminary starts at 6:00 pm, we leave home at 5:00 pm since we are the taxi to get all of the students to the Mgadi home.  There are NO teenage drivers in South Africa.  There are only four members that even own cars in the branch, and one of those cars only works if we push it backwards to start it.  Some of the students can walk to the Mgadi's.  The rest we pick up.  Now, keep in mind that the car we drive is small. It is similar to a Chevy Sonic.   No soccer Mom vans in this mission.  We make two runs to get everyone there.  The first run had four in the backseat, President Wheeler was driving, I was shotgun with one student on my lap.  He dropped us all off and then made a second run.  

We arrive at the Mgadi's and the house is locked.  We wait for a few minutes and consider holding seminary in the driveway, when at 6:15 someone shows up to let us in.  By then three of the girls have walked down the road to try and get another investigator to see if he is coming.  We also had someone out front playing Regae music while we are trying to sing Scripture Power.  At 6:30, all the students are finally there.  Only nine show up.  I am re-outlining my lesson in my head to try and get the most important things in, at which point, from comments from the students, I realize they are not grasping the roll of "home-study".  So I chuck the lesson and review with them how the scripture journals work and what their roll is in studying at home each week.  I look at the clock and it is 6:55.  The Mgadi's are now home after working a 12-hour day and looking at us like, "Are you done yet".  I summarize Nephi 1-4 in five minutes, quickly give them a challenge to start Scripture Mastery, and tell them to start on Unit three for next week.  Since they did not understand what they were supposed to do for Unit One and Two, I would just give them credit for those two units and let them start with three. This is what they say to me, "Oh no Sister Wheeler.  We want to do all of the units."  I look at them and say…"I just love you guys" and with tears in my eyes we say a closing prayer and hug.  

President Wheeler shows up and begins the taxi process of driving kids home.  I wait with the second batch of kids and visit with the wonderful Mgadi family who is probably wondering if we will ever leave.  

So tonight I am dreaming about the Primary/Seminary room at the Stake Center.  I picture the lovely little tables, with the names of the students on them and their scriptures and hymnbooks stacked nicely on each place. Oh, and the whiteboard.  I would kill for a full-size whiteboard. Students who just have to walk across the street and have "Released Time".  I think of the piano in the corner and the hymnbooks and the lovely charts and posters and displays of prophets, apostles, the tree of life and other Pinteresty things on the wall and I say to myself…Really…the chairs are not put back correctly.  Perspective.  I am gaining a greater one.

1 comment:

  1. I think you should send this to whomever wrote and left the note back home in the seminary room - really!! It's so wonderful for the students to learn from you and I'm sure they are gaining so much from each of you. But I do love that you are learning from them too - it's wonderful to travel the world and see what is important to people who have so little. I learned from people in Taiwan and Tahiti that material possessions rank far below personal relationships. They truly have it figured out.

    I love you both - I just read all your recent posts to mom. She'd like to hear a play-by-play of one of your days there from morning to bedtime. She'd like to picture what it is you do all day. Might take you more than a day to write it all down as busy as you are!!! Hugs and love from across the sea! Kaye