June 26 - July 2
We arrived in
Tuesday afternoon we met with President Fitch, the outgoing
Wednesday we went to the mission office and met the wonderful couples working there.† These couples carry much of the administrative load of the mission.† They handle the renting and furnishing of flats for the missionaries, all missionary vehicles, help with medical needs, maintain financial records and one of the sisters serves as Jimís executive secretary.
Thursday and Friday were spent learning our way around, learning to drive on the left side of the road, meeting with customs officials and stocking our pantry.
Saturday we went on a short excursion to Hartbeespoort Dam.† There is an African market there where we purchased some baskets and a wall hanging to add a little decoration to a few of the bare walls of the mission home.† Most of the home accessories belonged to the previous mission president.
July 3 - July 9
Sunday we attended church in the Florida Ward.† It is the ward we reside in, however, this
was one of the few times we will attend this ward as our responsibilities will
take us to a different congregation almost ever week.† There are about 68 wards and branches in the
mission.† Sunday evening we attended a
wonderful young single adult fireside in Sandton in honor of the 200th
anniversary of Joseph Smithís birth.†
There were over 500 young single adults from the
On Monday, July 4th it became apparent that one
of our missionaries located in Witbank had appendicitis. We made arrangements
to have his appendix removed.† The
surgeon donated his services.† Also on
Monday final decisions on transfers of missionaries had to be made and new
leaders called.† Monday night we attend a Braai (a South African barbeque) with missionaries in the Roodepoort area. Tuesday, we held a breakfast
for all of the young sister missionaries except those located in
The mission home is nice.†
However, it has no central heat or air conditioning.† Some nights have been cold and we have relied
on a space heater.† We are fortunate in
that many people in
Wednesday morning at we went to the airport to pick up 5 new missionaries fresh from the missionary training center who arrived at .† Jane and one of the assistants took them to the mission office and then to the mission home.† Jim and the other assistant waited at the airport for a senior couple who arrived on a later flight.
After allowing the new missionaries to take a short nap, Jim interviewed each of them while Jane fixed dinner.† After a lovely dinner, we had a testimony meeting and let them go to bed early.
Thursday was a big day.† We provided some orientation for the new missionaries, took their pictures, held a mission leadership meeting, conducted a training meeting for new missionaries and their trainers and held a transfer meeting to introduce the new missionaries to their companions and honor the missionaries going home.† Prior to the transfer meeting, all 140 or so missionaries formed a single line outside the church to welcome us to the mission.† We were able to shake the hands of each of them.† It was quite a sight. We also took a picture of the whole group.† After the meeting, we took the 5 missionaries going home to the mission home where Jim interviewed each of them.† Jane fixed another delicious dinner.† We held another testimony dinner and sent them to bed.
On Friday we took two trips to the airport (a three-hour round trip); one for African missionaries leaving early in the morning and one for American and European missionaries in the evening.† Saturday we took a break and did some needed shopping.
July 10 - July 16
Sunday we attended the Germiston branch in the morning.† In the evening we attended a musical fireside
performed by some of our missionaries.†
The fireside was well done and very inspirational.† There was a large crowd even though many of
Monday we drove the new senior couple to their flat in
The rest of the week was devoted to planning zone
conferences and Jim spent time at the mission
office reading the weekly letters from missionaries and writing letters to
missionaries who will arrive in about four weeks.†† Wednesday we hosted a dinner for the senior
couples serving in the office.† We also
had an Elder
spend the night with us as he recuperated from an operation. Jim also made
contact with the senior couples serving in
July 17 - July 23
Sunday we attended the Johannesburg Ward. It is located in Hillbrow,
one of the worst sections of
July 24 - July 31
Sunday we traveled to Vereeniging, a town about one hour south of Johannesburg. We attended two Sacrament Meetings there, one in the Three Rivers Ward and one in the Vereeniging Ward. In both cases we were asked to speak.
On Monday we drove to
Crossing the border to
We stayed at a very nice hotel in Gabarone with a nice
view.† On Tuesday we held the
On Wednesday we picked up two new Elders from the Joberg
MTC.† We fed them lunch, gave them an
orientation and introduced them to their trainers and did trainer/trainee
training.† On Thursday, we held the
Pretoria Zone Conference.† On Friday we
went to the airport and picked up a new senior couple from
Sunday, we again attended the ward in downtown Joberg because Jim had a baptisimal
interview to conduct.† That evening we
attended a missionary musical fireside held in Daveyton,
a black township west of