August 1 – August 7
We finished our first round of Zone Conferences this week. We held the Roodepoort and Soweto Zone Conference on Monday and the Vereeniging Zone Conference on Wednesday. We had a wonderful experience meeting all the missionaries throughout the mission. We are now planning for our first Zone Leaders Conference.
On Saturday we took a real preparation day. We went
with one of the senior office couples to the Rhino and
The Lion’s area was very large and we had to hunt to find them. We found about 8 sleeping under a tree. I whistled and they woke up and began to move toward the waterhole. They walked right next to the car. The literature told us to stay 25 meters from the lions, but no one had told the lions. Of course we had to stay in the car and only roll down the window a few inches.
When we were in the wild dog area, the dogs attacked the car and ripped off the cover to the electrical plug by the trailer hitch and almost got the cover to the trailer hitch. The whole car shook. We were glad to be inside the car.
We really enjoyed the Park and especially the lions. We now feel like we are in
August 8 – August 14
This week was spent
planning for and holding our first Zone Leaders’ Conference. One of the main
purposes of the conference was to implement a modification to the organization
of the mission. I wanted zones to be as
congruent with stake boundaries as possible.
So we reduced the number of zones to eight from ten. Each zone now covers one stake with two
Attending the conference were all the Zone Leaders and my two Assistants plus the Assistant and Zone Leaders that would replace those going home the next week – 22 in total. We had a great time with these wonderful and dedicated young men. We started with some sports activities followed by a braai (African cookout) where I grilled 30 steaks. Then we followed with leadership training and testimonies. They all spent the night in the mission home. The next day was filled with more training. We finished right after lunch.
Later that day we
were visited by David Allman and his family. David is a friend and business associate from
On Sunday, we
traveled in three vehicles with the participants
in our missionary musical fireside to
August 15 – August 21
On Monday all
thirteen participants from the fireside plus most of the missionaries in
As we attempted to
cross the border from
On Wednesday, we received eleven new Elders and one senior couple and on Friday we said good-bye to eight Elders and three Sisters. Among those going home were four Zone Leaders and one Assistant. Even though we had known these young men and women for only seven weeks, it was difficult to see them go home.
On Saturday we spoke at the Priesthood Leadership and Auxiliary Training Meetings for the Pretoria Stake. On Sunday we spoke at the Bedfordview Stake Conference.
August 22 – August 28
On Monday we began our first Mission Tour, this one with Elder and Sister Parmley. Elder Parmley is a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy and a member of our Area Presidency. Monday we held a session in Sandton and Tuesday a session in Roodepoort. Thursday we traveled to Bloemfontein and held a session there on Friday. Saturday we spoke at the evening session of the Benoni Stake Conference and on Sunday we spoke in the Roodepoort Stake Conference.
August 29 – August 31
On Monday we traveled with the Parmleys to Botswana.
On Tuesday we held the last
session of the Mission Tour. We enjoyed the association with the Parmleys.
They gave wonderful and uplifting instruction to the missionaries. As we crossed the border on the way home, we couldn’t help remember the difficulties on our last trip home from