March 1 – March 3
We started the month by traveling to
On Saturday, we attended the wedding of Alan and Babara Blom. The Bloms were a referral from Jim Lindahl and Phil Marriott, who serve as branch presidents at the Provo MTC. The Bloms had been well prepared by Jim and Phil. The Bloms were taught by the Assistants to the President (not by special assignment but because the Bloms live in their area). You can read the Bloms’ story under the Inspiring Stories link.
March 4 – March 10
On Sunday, we attended the Soweto Stake Conference. We arrived early for a new member
meeting. This was fortunate, because
there was a cycling race in
Following the conference we drove to Sandton for the baptism of Alan and Babara Blom. There was a wonderful spirit at the baptism. The Bloms will make powerful members of the Church.
Two more zone conferences occupied most of the remainder of
the week. On Thursday evening, we held a
going away dinner for Elder and Sister Shirts and on Friday we took them to the
airport and sent them on their way back to
On Saturday, we attended two sessions of the Roodepoort Stake Conference. Jane and I both trained during the leadership session and Jane spoke in the evening session. Elder Sitati presided. We learned that Elder and Sister Sitati have been assigned to the Nigeria Uyo Mission where he will be the mission president.
March 11 – March 17
Sunday, we attended the final session of the Roodepoort
Stake Conference, where I spoke. That
evening Elder and Sister Cox arrived from the Mozambique Mission and stayed in
the mission home while Elder Cox received medical care in
We traveled to three zone conferences during the week; the
When we checked into our hotel in Polokwane, we met a
husband and wife who are members of the Church from
Saturday was Elder Parker’s last day on mission and as an Assistant to the President. Elder Himber was called as the new Assistant and moved into the Assistant’s flat on Saturday morning. Elder Himber is a Jewish convert and the only member in his family. He has been a powerful missionary. While Elder Himber moved in the flat, we took Elder and Sister Cox to the Organic Market, where they bought some South African souvenirs and we bought some coriander and cashew mousse that we use to make our version of a “Café Rio” salad. For lunch, Jane fixed this special salad, one of our favorite meals. The Coxes, Elder Himber, Elder Allen and Elder Parker joined us for lunch. That afternoon, Elder Parker left to pick up his father at the airport. We will miss Elder Parker terribly. He has been an Assistant for nine months.
March 18 – March 24
Sunday, Elder and Sister Cox were able to return to
On the 19th, we were awakened right at 6:30 am by a loud rendition of “Happy Birthday.” It sounded like it was right outside our second story window. It was. The Assistants were standing on the top of our carport singing very loudly. Other than that and a cake from Sister Womack, my birthday was just another day in the mission field. Our very talented Sister Thurman drew me a wonderful birthday card in place of her weekly president's letter.
On the 21st, we had lunch with Elder Perry, who had served most recently as the Northeast Zone Leader and who was headed home. He needed to be home a week before the normal transfer date. That afternoon, we took him to the airport.
On Friday, we had a couples’ gathering in the mission home for dinner and a special project. Jane had previously bought enough fleece fabric to make over 100 blankets with money left over from our Christmas project. That evening each of the couples learned how to make simple blankets with strips cut along each edge and then every two strips tied in a knot. We divided the fabric among the couples. They will then use the missionaries near them and finish the blankets. Once completed, the missionaries will present the blankets to and orphanage in their area.
March 25 – March 31
Once again, we were serenaded with “Happy Birthday” by the Assistants – this time for Jane and accompanied by banging pots and pans. We attended Church in the Sandton Ward where I had been asked to speak. As is usually the case, they asked Jane to bear her testimony. We had dinner with the Assistants. They gave us a CD with a slideshow of pictures from our mission, a handmade coupon book good for their personal services and a very special custard cake like one we had previously enjoyed at the Blom’s home.
On Monday, we went to dinner at Founder’s Grill. I had been craving prawns prepared the
On the 28th, we received 15 new missionaries. Because of the large incoming group of missionaries, we picked up the missionaries from the MTC at 7:30 am and delayed the transfer meeting until 2:30 pm. This expanded schedule would allow
time for me to interview each of them, have an orientation meeting and a
training meeting and assign a trainer for each new missionary. Three of the 13 new Elders were from
Two Sisters and eight Elders were completing their missions. We held our traditional going away dinner and
testimony meeting that evening. The next
day we made two trips to the airport, taking the two African missionaries to
the airport in the morning and the American and Canadian missionaries in the
evening. We had arranged for Elder
Nyenyezi to return to
We watched the first session of General Conference on Saturday. It was shown live at 6 pm our time. The afternoon session and the Priesthood sessions will be shown delayed on Sunday along with the Sunday sessions.