Monday, September 22, 2014

Washday Blues...

Get rid of your membership to the gym, throw away the Yoga DVD's, no more biking or walking for exercise, all you need to do is your wash.  Best muscle building exercise I've had in a while.  As I have driven through the township and watched the women do their wash I have secretly wanted to help.  I got my chance on Saturday.  While the Elder's were helping build brother Hola's house I snuck over to see what Sister Hola was up to.  It was Wash Day.  "Put me to work" I said!

 She scrubbed, and scrubbed, and scrubbed….

 I was on rinse duty and wringing out duty….you should feel my biceps and the Yoga stretches were a killer!  Oh and the kiddos playing were dissecting grasshoppers and burying them.

It's a beautiful sight and smell.  All these linens hanging in the fresh air.  Ahhhhhhhh…...

Now here is a method employed by Sibongesini, one of my seminary students.  I dare you.  I double dare you to give a bucket of water to your teenagers, a little soap, and say go for it! Would they have as big a smile on their face???

"And who will help me build my house?" said Brother Hola?

Brother Hola is pictured here with one of his older sons.  The home that he is building is in the background.  He is working on some windows that will be placed once the walls go up.

"And who will help me build my house?" said Brother Hola and his family?
"WE WILL" said the missionaries!  I'm telling you, this is just so much fun.  I felt like I was eight years old again, living in Mapleton and playing on the ditch banks making mud pies!  What you do is get a few wheelbarrows of dirt from the road, dump it in the middle of the house structure, poor water all over it, mix it up with a spade and Wah Lah…the mud is ready.  We sometimes put large rocks or clumps of grass in for more stability.

Elder Prisbrey and I are the mud packers.  We were told that these homes are the best for insulation.  Cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  

Ready for the window.

Elder Branch had some helpers and ensued into a little mudpie war!  

This is one of the homes that is next door to where he is living.  Eventually, Brother Hola's home will be roofed and walled with corrugated tin.  Home Sweet Home!

Snakes Alive!

Monday.  September 15th.  Our 42nd wedding anniversary.  The Elders call and invite us to a snake farm.  We kindly declined, and as Elder Boyce would say, "We would rather have a root canal".  That, however, did not hinder our "Soldiers in the Army", and off they went to East London to a Python Park.  This outing was a sure sign that there are no sister missionaries serving here.  Who else would think a Snake Farm is great fun for a P-day???

Elder Prisbrey on the left and Elder Branch on the right.  Below is the entire Zone.  Obviously, our Elders did not get the memo about dressing in whites for this P-day.  Oops!

Nope.  Not in a million years or if offered a million dollars would you EVER see me in a picture with a snake wrapped around my neck.  Nope.  Nadda.  NEVER!!!  And they are smiling.   Don't you think that is strange?

What kind of snake is this you might ask.  My reply.  "Don't know, don't want to know, don't really care."  Do a google search!

I do have a story to tell about this picture.  As fearful as I am of snakes, my fears do not even come close to those of the blacks in South Africa.  Knowing this fact, a few months ago the Elder's in Port Alfred purchased a rubber snake and put it in the back window of their car with the intent that while they were tracking in the location, no one would try to break in to their car.  One Tuesday during Seminary I was talking to the youth about the challenges they faced as members of the church.  One girl said some women stopped her once and said that we worshiped snaked in our church because she saw the snake in the back of the Elder's car.  I promptly let the Elders know that the snake had to go.  This picture below depicts one very brave warrior.

This short little video shows the owner of the Python Park.  The Elder's were highly impressed with this man.  They could not remember his name, but they did leave information about the church with him.  He is a born again Christian and when he found out that they were Christian's he let all of the Elders in to the Park for free.  He is a reformed drug addict who now dedicates his life to God and snakes.  Hmmmmm.  Interesting.  Actually, he is quite famous in South Africa.  His snakes are used for movies and such.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Twu Wuv….

Some may think of "True Love" as gazing into the eyes of your sweetheart over a candlelit dinner while soft music is playing and roses are on the table.  HA!  Let me tell you what true love is…
  • Honeymoon with the in-laws
  • Head teller at Central Bank and trust
  • Truck driver for Hurst Sand & Gravel, Thorn Rock Products and Geneva Rock
  • Micro filming for the Utah State Government at the State Capitol at midnight
  • Re-capping tires at Purcell tires at midnight
  • Living out back in the cow-palace at Grandma and Grandpa Wheelers (there are many stories there!%&*+)
  • Blood clots after being pinned between two cement trucks and many trips to the hospital 
  • Having five perfect angel babies
  • Two amazing son-in-laws and two perfect daughter-in-laws
  • Having 15 and 1/3 grandchildren
  • Five Star Video
  • Beary Best Yogurt
  • Thousands of soccer, baseball, football, volleyball, golf, tennis, basketball games 
  • Thousands of miles logged on with sports trips (how else would we have met the Tonapah Muckers!)
  • Thousands of hours at Nevada Power
  • Lyon Middle School, (band concerts, 
  • Grant M. Bowler Elementary (May Day Dances, music programs, plays, parent teacher conferences)
  • Moapa Valley High School
  • Family vacations (my two favorites were Yellowstone and the motor home rental)
  • Broken legs, bloody heads, four-wheeler disasters, wolf-bites, diabetes, impetigo, warts, sprained ankles, braces
  • Raising kids in the best neighborhood ever
  • Rising flood waters
  • Countless operations
  • Three missions (well I guess four if you count ours)
  • High School Graduations, Seminary Graduations, University Graduations
  • Lake trips…ahhhhh
  • Having the police come to our front door
  • Fleet of cars (Opel, Pooh mobile, Ford Van, Ford Truck (2), Plymouth Savoy, Rambler, Mazda 929, Mazda MPV…most precious vehicle, Honda, Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon)
  • Wrecked cars
  • Teenager cars
  • Clark County Fair…pigs, fund-raising booths, etc.
  • Century Bike Rides
  • Quilts and quit trips
  • Great Gobble Wobbles
  • Kris Kringle Mingles 
  • Birthday Bashes
  • Serving in the church…everything from Nursery to Temple
  • Building two homes
  • Building three garages and an postage stamp quilt room
  • Camping trips
  • Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, and South Africa 
  • Two heart attacks and multiple surgeries
  • Retirement for two
  • Crying when children leave home but finding out that empty-nesting is a fallacy….Families are forever
  • Tending my perfect grandchildren
  • Binders of scrapbooks
  • Wheeler and Jensen Family Reunions
  • Gazillions of pictures and movies
  • Eternal memories
Forty-two years.  Now that is True Love!  Here's to eternity!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Music to my ears!

South Africa Cape Town Mission Song

I love this song.  The Elders from the East London Zone are singing it as they stand in a circle.  It was the final time they would sing it to President Mark I. Wood and his wife Kathleen before leaving the mission.

We stand as armored soldiers in the service of our Lord,
We are ready, willing able to go forth and preach the Word.
March forward into battle, we are armed with shields of faith
And there’s nothing that can stop us as we go!

Forward, marching forward, we will hold our banners high (as we go)
Forward, conquering forward, with the eagles we will fly.
We cannot be discouraged; we will not be turned away,
For the gospel in South Africa is here, forever to stay!

South Africa is where we have received our call to serve.
In this land of splendid beauty, we will march and never swerve.
Sharing further revelations, Bringing gospel truths to light,
Wielding swords of might and power, We fight for God!

When our call is at a finish and we leave the battle field,
Can we truly say it’s over? Do we dare lay down our shields?
Once as soldiers we’re enlisted In the army of our God,
It’s our duty; hold your head up, Carry on!

From the Factory...

In South Africa, among the Saints, when they find out where you are from, we often get the comment…"Oh, you are from the factory".  Once, an Elder from Botswana jokingly even fell to his knees and bowed when I told him that my Great, Great Grandfather was a companion to the Prophet Joseph.  In our amazing little branch in Port Alfred, we are far from what is considered Wasatch Front Mormons, but the spirit in Port Alfred is still very present and all of the gospel elements are there.

 This past weekend President Wheeler and I were able to attend a Saturday afternoon training in East London. We met at a Stake Center and were instructed by Elder Stanley G. Ellis of the First Quorum of the Seventy.  The Stake Center was full.   I have to admit that it had the "feel" of Wasatch Front.  It was the most Mormons I had seen in one place in 11 months.  It was really quite awesome.  We were all instructed to read three talks by General Authorities ( Power in the Priesthood, Neil L. Andersen, The Gospel Culture, Dallin H. Oaks, More Diligent and Concerned at Home, David A. Bednar) and an open discussion was held regarding the talks.  The members in South Africa thrive and are so very strong.

We had to take this picture with Elder and Sister Ellis.  They are members of the ward that our daughter Lisa and Mark live in in Centerville.  We had a great time chatting about the Astling family.  He has recently been assigned to the South Africa Area Presidency.

The following day we attended Fast and Testimony in one of the wards in Amalinda.  What a treat.  After the member of the Bishopric stood to open the Testimony portion of the meeting, thirty members walked to the stand and filled the choir seats in hopes of having the opportunity to bear their testimony.  The meeting went 15 minutes over.  It was a spiritual feast!  I am thinking that before long, Africa will have it's own "factory".  These members are AMAZING.  Below is a picture of the sisters after RS in a real RS room.  Actually, I have learned that it really does not matter where you meet, as long as two or more are "gathered" in my name.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Day Paul Wheeler was Saved!

 We attended our first Xhosa funeral.  We love learning about the traditions of the Xhosa people.  

If you recall from an earlier post on my blog we attended the women's portion of the funeral for the father of our RS President, but not the actual church service.  We had heard that some of the services go for four hours, so we hesitated, but went ahead anyway.  

The service was held in a church in the Location for the sister-in-law of one of our members, Sister Mgadi.  The hall was about the size of the cultural hall of a small LDS chapel.    We were a little late, and when we came, it was PACKED.  Out of courtesy, the men were outside to allow the women inside to have seats.  When they saw us come, they kicked a couple of people out of their chairs so we would have a place to sit. 

 We were the ONLY two white people in the congregation.  Have you ever seen 500 heads turn at the same time and look.   It was great!  We walked in and started to sit down, after we apologized to the people who had been ousted from their chairs, as we noticed Sister Mgadi motioning for us to go sit on the stand with the other ministers.  "Not me" said I.  Dad reluctantly marched up to the stand and took a seat with a dozen or so other Ministers and Pastors.  It was great.  One shining bald white man amongst hundreds of blacks. 

 Now, this service was all you have ever imagined.  Hallelujahs, Amens, Hands up to Heaven, Singing, Dancing, clapping, and preaching.  Oh the preaching.  We made it through five speakers who presented their sermons in Xhosa.  In between each speaker, was more singing, dancing, and hallelujahs.  I loved it.  Even though I did not understand a word, those voices when they sing are heavenly. The Pastor that was conducting announced that we had the privilege of having a Prophet to preach to the congregation that day.  I am looking around for President Monson, but instead a fine looking man with a sweaty forehead and beard moves to the podium.  He spoke in English and then had someone translate for him in Xhosa.  His sermon started with a slow and low pace.  He used a microphone.  Gradually, his voice got louder and louder and louder as he gained momentum and prepared us all to be saved. 

 The service took on the feel of a revival.  The women were standing in the aisles praising God.  I am looking at Dad on the stand.  He has, at this point, plugged his ears because the preacher is now screaming in to the microphone.  And then came the words of the "prophet".

"Do you believe in Jesus?  Raise your hand"  I look at Paul Wheeler and his hand is up.  Of course he believes in Jesus!
"Do you want to be saved?  Raise your hand"  I look at Paul Wheeler and his hand is up.  Of course he wants to be saved.
"Then hallelujah!  You have been saved".  There you go.  The day that Paul Wheeler was saved.  Easy breezy done!

It's not over yet.  The prophet finishes his sermon.  The Pastor stands and holds up a white towel and explains that if you want to put some money where your mouth is he will lay the towel at the foot of the casket and you can come up and place money on the towel.  Paul Wheeler is the first one to march up and put money down.  Several others then proceed to donate money.  By now the band is playing, the congregation is singing, and the family is dancing around the casket.  This good woman got a great Xhosa send off.  

Hallelujah Brother!  I just hope Paul Wheeler will pull me through!  

I just must say that I love this mission.  It is a surprise a minute.  We found out this morning that Brother Hola's brother passed away.  We get to go to another funeral in two weeks.  I won't miss it.