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.