February 1 – February 3

We finished the interview schedule in Benoni on Thursday.  That evening we had dinner with Elder Brown, a wonderful missionary from Ghana. He told us the story of how his parents joined the Church.  They were taught by Brother Johnson who had established unofficial branches of the Church years before the church arrived in Ghana.  These branches became the foundation of the church when it final came to Ghana.  On Friday, we took Elder Brown to the airport as he headed home to Ghana.


On the 3rd, we enjoyed a visit from a missionary who went home not long after we arrived.  James Lyon was vacationing in Africa with his wife.  We had a wonderful time reminiscing.


Later in the day, we attended the Saturday sessions of the Bedfordview Stake Conference.  I spoke in the priesthood leadership meeting, Jane spoke in the auxiliary training meeting and bore her testimony in the evening session.


February 4 – February 10

We attended the Sunday session of the Bedfordview Stake Conference where I was one of the speakers.  Most of the rest of the week was spent in the office, in various meetings, finishing transfer assignments and writing the Transfer News.  On the 8th, Elder Spere from the Madagascar Mission stayed in the mission home.  He came to Johannesburg for knee surgery. 


February 11 – February 17

On Sunday, we traveled to Springs to attend the Benoni Stake Conference.  As is common, I was asked to speak.


Valentine’s Day was also the 15th transfer of our mission.  We received eleven new Elders and one new Sister from the Johannesburg MTC.  Seven came from Utah, and one each from Idaho, Nevada, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Jordan.  We were very excited to get a missionary from Jordan.  Although, Elder Elyas speaks little English, he has an enthusiastic attitude and will make a wonderful missionary.  You can read more about Elder Elyas in the Inspiring Stories link.  That evening we hosted the ten missionaries returning home with dinner and a testimony meeting.


Very early the next morning, we drove to the airport with the missionaries returning to Kenya, Zambia and Madagascar.  The afternoon, we drove to the airport again with those returning to Utah, Idaho, Canada and Scotland.


On Saturday, we traveled to Centurion to attend the adult session of the Pretoria Stake Conference.  Both Jane and I spoke.


February 18 – February 24

We attended church in the Florida Ward.  That afternoon the Assistants and I finished plans for Tuesday’s Zone Leader Council. That evening Sister Hardin, who had been released on Thursday, brought her family to the mission home so we could meet them.  We enjoyed a delightful hour or so with them.


On Tuesday, we held Zone Leader Council.  Since we now have nine zones, the group included 18 Zone Leaders, plus the Assistants, and four Elders who serve as Presiding Elders.  We have Presiding Elders in four areas where branches have not yet been formed but the Church has been established.  These Elders not only handle a full load of missionary work and establishing the Church in new areas, but are also responsible for all church meetings and caring for the members. Two new Zone Leaders were introduced, both from South Africa.


Early Wednesday morning, we drove to the airport to pick up Elder and Sister Voda.  The Vodas will serve in the office and replace Elder and Sister Shirts who will return on 9 March.  The Vodas come to us from Hurricane.  This is their second mission.  Previously, they served in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission.  So, one could say, they earned the right to come to South Africa by serving a hardship mission first.  That evening Jane prepared a tasty dinner for the Vodas and the current office couples.


On Thursday, we drove to Pretoria where I interviewed and counseled a lady being taught by the missionaries.  On Friday, we spent part of the day looking for fabric for baptismal clothes.  We have found it difficult to find adequate and appropriate baptismal clothes and had decided to have some made for each of the mission units.  A man in Botswana agreed to sew the clothes for a very reasonable price.


Saturday, we traveled to Mafikeng and had dinner with the four Elders serving there. 


February 25 – February 28

On Sunday, we attended the Mafikeng Branch (well, it is not an officially a branch yet, but should be later this year.)  There were about 25 in attendance including us.  The missionaries have done an impressive work as they have established the Church in Mafikeng.  Jane and I spoke in Sacrament Meeting.  After the meetings, I interviewed 6 members of the unit, and issued Limited Use Recommends so they can attend the temple for baptisms.  The “branch” has planned a temple trip for March 17.  One member will also receive his endowment.


On Tuesday and Wednesday, we held the first two zone conferences of this round.  The subjects being covered include: Improving and increasing daily contacting, teaching investigators to pray, the importance of planning, increasing referrals received, and using questions to ensure understanding when teaching.