Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Sacred Sunday...

May 25, 2014 was indeed a Sacred Sunday.  

After renewing our covenants in  Sacrament meeting, the Kondile Family reported on their experience of being sealed as a Forever Family in the Johannesburg Temple in June.  Unfortunately, Brother Kondile was called out to work at the last minute.  President Wheeler and I filled in for him.  I shared my feelings of my angel mother and her legacy of covenants that has and continues to have a ripple effect.  President bore his testimony and called on two other members to offer their testimony.

After the three hour block, we held a baptism for FIVE.  

This group is flanked by Elder Tonge on the left, Soso Magawu third from the left, Elder Stratton on the right with President Wheeler.  The other five are new members of our branch.  From left to right is Nonzame Kafritjie, Bouso Thiam, Chwyita Bokana, Aphiwe Saki, and Busi Lawu.  

Bouso and Chwyita have been taking the lessons for quite some time.  They have been waiting for parental permission.  We were thrilled that both of their mothers were there on Sunday and stayed for the entire three hour block.  

Busi Lawu is our sweet little eight year old.  She is standing with her sister Bali, and her mother Ntombiyakhe.  They brought a cousin with them.  She is going to take the lessons. She even came to seminary last night.  Ntombiyakhe is so excited to have another member of her family join the church.  

Aphiwe took the lessons about one year ago.  He started again a few months ago and committed to baptism.  No one from his family was there, and Ntombiyakhe is his neighbor, so she stood in as his family.  He now has a new family of Latter-Day-Saints.

Nonzame Kafritjie began lessons just six weeks ago.  The Elders called her "golden".  She truly is.  I wrote about her in a previous post.  She is the single mother of these four children who when the need came for them to have a house, she simply built one for them.  The Elders will now begin to teach Nonzame's four children.

So many of our wonderful branch members stayed to share this day and welcome new members in.  The Relief Society Sisters prepared a lovely light lunch and I furnished a gazillion cookies.

Oh yes…it was a good day…a day of good "feelings", a sacred day that
 I would like to share with you.

Can you think of just one good day
That you wish you had again
The one that was so perfect
That you hoped would never end

Now take that day and share it
With someone that you know
Give to them just one good day
And let the feeling grow.

Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate…South African Style!

 Last Saturday, President Wheeler and I were able to attend a soccer game at Port Alfred High School.  Sonwambile (we call him SoSo) is a member of our branch and plays on the team.  After watching this game, it was determined that Football is for sissies.  This sport is BRUTAL.  The position he plays is full-back wing.  He is always in the "scrum".  If you don't know what a scrum is, well then be glad.  This is not a gentlemen's sport!  Soso is playing with a concussion and a dislocated shoulder and he is lucky that is all.

But here was the absolutely best part of the day.  The Glee Club.  If this video works, I will get some kind of award for figuring out how to post it without calling someone for help.  With that said, well, this is probably just not something you would see in the stands at an American High School.  Set aside the amazing voices you will hear.  Set aside the great participation of the youth who show up on a Saturday in their uniforms.  Just listen to this amazing group as they sing in Xhosa and then I will tell you what they are saying.

This is what you hear:  "Ah men Nkosiah"
This is what it means:  "Amen. Dear Lord"

Yup…They are praying for their team in front of the public.  When is the last time you heard that in a Public American School.  I love this country!

Friday, May 9, 2014

After School Playhouse...

After school playtime involves a washtub and scrubbing.  Uniforms must be clean and ready for the next day.  Wash, scrub, and rinse!

 Who needs skateboards, bikes, scooters, big wheels etc. when you have an old backpack with wheels on for entertainment!

Making beards from the suds.  Hours of fun!

Diary of a NON-Wimpy African Woman…or the Mother of the Year Award goes to….

 Amazing.  Astonishing.  Adept.  Artistic.
These are just a few adjectives that tell of African woman.  These women are NOT Wimps.    Let me share with you the story of one.  Nonzame Kafritijie.
Nonzame is a single mother with four children to support.  She is living in circumstances that are not favorable to her children.  At present there are eight people living in their small home.  Looking for a solution to give them some privacy, she decides she will build a house so that they can have some privacy.  Did I mention there was no man.  She is building the house.  Yes.  You read this correctly.  She is building a house with her own two hands and with little or no money.

 Step 1.  Go to the jungle/forrest and gather wood.  Also, scavenge the area for cardboard, broken bricks and corrugated tin.

 Step two.  Put together a structure similar to this one using wire, and nails if you can find them.  If you look closely you can see that the sticks are placed horizontally on the outside of the structure with a pole in the middle and more horizontal poles on the inside to enable insulation to be placed in between.

 Step 3. (See the picture below this one) Make mud.  Mix with grass and broken up bricks, rock, and clumps of grass.  Pat the mud in between the sticks on the structure.  Once the walls have been filled in with the mud mixture it is time to level the floor.  Call the missionaries.  Preferably Elder Tonge who has had previous experience in hauling dirt for his Dad in his landscaping business.  Recruit the kids to shovel and fill the wheelbarrow and it is time to level the floor.

Step 4.  Whistle while you work.  That is when you need Elder Stratton who is a kid magnet and makes everything he does seem fun.  Notice the mud that Nonzame packed the walls with.  

 Step 5.  Rake and smooth while the children run around chanting their math facts and tromping down the dirt.  1+1 is two.  2+2 is four and so on.  Even at their young age it is a joy to hear their rich voices.  This picture also shows all of the cardboard that is used for insulation.

I regret that I did not get a picture of Nonzame.  I will.  She will be baptized on May 25th.  I have had many women in my life that I admire and emulate.  I add the name of Nonzame Kafritijie to that list and nominate her for "Mother of the Year".  

Friday, May 2, 2014

Finding Froddo...

Although the British claim J.R.R. Tolkien as there own, he was actually born in Bloemfontain, South Africa.  He moved to England in his youth.  This jungle/forrest, of which he roamed as a boy, is said to be the inspiration for some of the settings in his LORD Of THE RINGS series.  Especially the talking trees segments.  
For Paul's 63rd birthday celebration we met with Elder and Sister Boyce to hike through the Hogsback.  No picture can do this countryside justice.  It is amazing.

At the trailhead, someone built this ledge and placed a bathtub on it.  You can actually fill it with hot water and enjoy a soak in the tub while looking out.  Elder and Sister Boyce did not bite.  If you are afraid of heights…this is not the place for you to bathe! 

 Can't you just imagine Elves and Dwarves and Frodo and Sam and wizards!

Could this be his inspiration for the talking tree?   It is actually called "Big Tree".  And, yes it is VERY big.  See stats on the sign below.

 After hiking for two and one half hours we came to "Madonna and Child Falls"  We literally stood in amazement.  The rock formation on the right hand side forms the Madonna with a child balanced on her shoulder.
We didn't find Frodo, but we did enjoy some sights never to be forgotten.  

The streamlet flower and sod bespeak the works of God;
And all combine, and all combine,
With most transporting grace, His handiwork to trace,
Thru nature's smiling face, in art divine.