December 1 – December 8
Saturday we spent what we thought would be our last full day with Jeff, Augusta and James. We went, once again, to Organic Market; then finished decorating the Christmas tree. James only broke one ornament.
On Sunday, we took Jeff and family to the Florida Ward. Then they made final preparations to leave. Jeff went online to make certain their flight was on time only to discover that their flight had been cancelled. After a frustrating call with Delta Airlines, we were told they had to go to the airport to book a new flight. At the airport, there was a line of about 100 people waiting at the Delta service counter. The line was not moving at all. Finally, a Delta representative spoke to those in line. She said if the passengers did not need a hotel room, they should go home and Delta would automatically book them on a flight Tuesday morning. We left and returned to the mission home.
After returning home, Jeff once again called Delta. This time the representative was much more helpful. Jeff was able to get transferred to a South African Airline flight leaving Monday evening with a much better connection than the flights being automatically booked by Delta.
Monday, we returned to the airport hours before their new
flight was scheduled. Luckily we did, because things did not go smoothly at the
Delta counter. By the time we got to the
South African counters there was an extremely long line and little time for the
flight. Fortunately, one of the security
guards was a member of the Church and helped us avoid most of the line. We said goodbye and sent Jeff,
On Wednesday, we welcomed five new missionaries, four from
On Thursday, we made two trips to the airport. In the morning missionaries left for
On Friday we returned to the airport and bid farewell to
Elder Byamugisha as he headed home to
On Saturday, we traveled to
December 9 – December 15
On Sunday, we attended the branch conference for the
Upon returning home, we met Elder and Sister Moesser who had arrived earlier in the day from
On Monday, we held a wrapping party at the mission home to wrap the many gifts sent for our African missionaries from the families of our American missionaries. Joining us were the Moessers, the Vodas, the Womacks and the Assistants to the President. We are thankful for the generosity of those that made these gifts possible.
Tuesday we spent in final preparation for our annual Christmas parties.
The first of two Christmas parties was held on
Wednesday. This one for the Bedfordview,
On Thursday we held the second Christmas party. This one for the
That evening we arrived at the mission home very tired but satisfied that the missionaries had enjoyed a wonderful time together at the Christmas parties. As we entered the mission home, we found a note that the missionary department was trying to reach us.
Upon contacting the missionary department we learned that
the decision had been made to transfer all sister missionaries from
Friday, I called each of the sister missionaries who were leaving the mission to tell them of the decision. These were difficult calls and most of the sisters shed tears upon learning they would be leaving the mission.
Later that afternoon, I had the wonderful opportunity to
travel to the outskirts of the Randburg Ward to interview Liba for
baptism. Her brother, Leonard, had
recently been baptized. Both are from
Saturday, we enjoyed a visit by Peter Ransom, a former missionary, and his fiancée.
December 16 – December 22
We attend churched in the Soweto Ward. That afternoon four missionaries came to the mission home for their final interviews before going home. They were going home a couple of weeks early in order to accommodate their school schedules. Elder van Heerdens family came to pick him up to return to East London, South Africa and Elder Bradshaws family came to pick him up to return to Utah.
That evening all of the sister missionaries joined us in the mission home for a farewell dinner for the six sisters leaving for home or to other missions. After dinner, we sang
the mission song which brought tears to many of our eyes. We will miss the wonderful sisters who have
Early Monday morning we joined Elder and Sister Parmley and
Elder and Sister Young to travel to the Mala Mala Game Reserve in Sabie Sands near
On Friday we attended a session at the
December 23 – December 31
On Sunday, we attended the combined meetings of the Sandton, Randburg and Gold Reef Wards.
On Monday evening we enjoyed a quiet Christmas Eve dinner with the Assistants to the President. Christmas and the day after were also quiet.
On Thursday, we held Zone Leader Council. Elder Vellinga was introduced as the new Assistant to the President replacing Elder Urry. We reviewed the year and set goals for 2008. The mission did very well in 2007 with a significant increase in baptisms. We took a picture of the zone leaders, branch presidents and presiding elders. Following zone leader council, we took Elder Urry to airport to meet his parents. We then drove to Daveyton to conduct a baptismal interview.
On Saturday, the 29th, we drove four hours to
Prior to the Sunday meetings in Botshabelo, I interviewed two men to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. The conversion of Brother Mokgoetsi and his family is told in A Miserable Day in Inspiring Stories. We enjoyed the meetings in Botshabelo. The Spirit was strong and the people were wonderful.
From Botshabelo we drove to
On the 31st, we had lunch with Elder Urry, his parents and younger brother. We did not stay up to welcome in the New Year.