March 1 – March 4
Scott, Tiffany, Tyler and Brooke arrived on an early morning
On Thursday, we took them to the Organic Market, one of our
favorite places to buy African things.
Friday, we went to the temple with Scott and Tiffany while the Christoffersens, one of our wonderful senior couples,
tended Brooke and Tyler. Saturday, we
went to the Rhino and
March 5 – March 11
Sunday, we attended the general session of the Soweto Stake
Conference where I was one of the speakers.
Scott and Tiffany got to experience church in
Monday, we left for Pilanesberg, an
National animal reserve about 3 hours from the Mission Home. After checking
into our lodge, we took an evening drive through the lower part of the
Thursday, I went into the office in an effort to make up for
the time taken off to be with Scott and his family. Tyler enjoyed wandering around the Mission Home grounds and visiting the Assistants flat. Friday, we went to the
March 12 – March 18
Sunday, we attended the Roodepoort Stake Conference. President Bester was released and Michael Hall from Krugersdorp was called as the new Stake President. President Bester has been called to be the new Mission President for the Harare Zimbabwe Mission.
On Thursday, we picked up two new North American Elders at the airport. Unfortunately, they arrived without their luggage. Jane took them to the Mission Home so they could at least shower, while I went to the Mission Office to greet five more new missionaries, including the first North American missionaries to attend the Johannesburg MTC. All young missionaries assigned to our mission will attend the Johannesburg MTC from now on. I interviewed each new missionary and we provided orientation followed by training for the new missionaries and those that would be their trainers. After lunch we held our transfer meeting where we introduced the new missionaries to their trainers and we recognized the missionaries going home. Those leaving then came to the Mission Home for their farewell dinner and testimony meeting. Thursday entailed two trips to the airport to meet the various flight schedules of those returning home.
Saturday, we left at 9 am for
March 19 – March 25
Sunday, which by the way was my birthday, we attended and
spoke at the general session of the Stake Conference and then headed back to
On Tuesday morning, Jane went downstairs to find a large covered box on the kitchen table, plus a large poster with signatures of all of the missionaries wishing both of us happy birthday. The box, which was for Jane, had a note saying she should not open it until joined by the Assistants. When called, the Assistants rushed from their flat to the kitchen, cameras in hand. When Jane uncovered the box, she found a live guinea fowl. Jane likes guinea fowl and has collected a few carvings and pictures of guinea fowl, so the Assistants thought a gift of a live one would be funny. We took some pictures of Jane with her guinea fowl, including one where she was holding the neck a little too tight. But alas, she couldn’t keep it and it was returned to its home.
Friday, we traveled to
Saturday was Jane’s birthday; so we had spent my birthday in
March 26 – March 31
On Sunday, we attended Church in the Maseru Branch. Jane and I both spoke. After Sacrament Meeting, we traveled to Masianokeng and attended a small dependent branch held there in a very humble school. The road to the school was muddy, rutted and rocky. About 20 people were in attendance not including our group.
Following Church, we went to the Insured Salvation Orphanage
to deliver fleece blankets, hats and white shirts and ties that had been
donated by the previous Mission President’s home ward. It was both a heart-rending and heart-warming
experience. There were 67 orphans, ranging in age from 2 months to about 18 years.
They were in a simple room with a concrete floor. As we came in, they welcomed us with a lively Christian song accompanied by drums and an electric
keyboard. Elder Means gave a short introduction of why we were there and then we passed out the blankets, caps and shirts and some candy to the children.
They were very appreciative and sang for us again. We concluded with us singing, “As I Have
Loved You.” I
gave a few remarks and a closing prayer.
We then drove back to
Monday, we held the Bloemfontein Zone Conference. The Zone Leaders gave excellent training and
the Assistants gave powerful talks. Jane
spoke on the proper language of prayer.
I spoke on unity using the Great Intercessory Prayer as the basis. We always enjoy being with the
missionaries. I especially enjoy my
opportunity to meet in an interview with each of them. They are such stalwart and faithful servants
On Thursday, we held the Bedfordview Zone Conference and on Friday we held the Pretoria Zone Conference. March had finally ended. It had been a one of our busiest, but most enjoyable months.