March 1 – March 8
Saturday, March 1st, we attended the adult session of the Soweto Stake Conference where Jane spoke. Before the meeting, we saw Lorenzo Nkombisa, a former South Africa Johannesburg missionary. He now lives in Carltonville. It was nice to see him again. The next day I spoke in the Sunday session. We saw another former missionary, Anathi Qinisile, and were thrilled to see him. Elder Grayson Lee was there with his family. He had completed his mission the week before.
On Monday, I attempted to turn on my laptop computer, but it
would not turn on. I tried a different
power supply. I tried taking the battery
out. All to no avail – it was dead. I was not too worried since I had an external
hard drive and had been using an automatic backup program. However, when I attached my old computer to
the hard drive, I found out the automatic backup program had stopped working a
few months before. Now I was worried! We spent most of the day trying to locate
someone who could fix my computer. One
company agreed to look at it and give me an estimate. I removed the hard drive and then tried to
find a cable to attach it to my old computer.
Such could not be found in
That evening we hosted a program and dinner for all of our
senior couples. Clive Nichols, a local
expert on the history of the Church in
The next day we held a leadership conference for all district leaders and zone leaders and young missionaries serving as branch presidents and presiding elders. Instruction was provided on leadership skills, baptismal interviews, recordkeeping, district meetings, zone conferences and branch leadership responsibilities.
On Friday, we decided to visit the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. This park is only 20 minutes from the mission home. We had meant to go for many months. The centerpiece of the gardens is a nice waterfall. The gardens contain a wide variety of plants, flowers and trees. We ate lunch at the restaurant located within the gardens.
March 9 – March 15
On Sunday the 9th, we attended the Roodepoort Stake Conference. I spoke by assignment in both the new member meeting and the general session. Jane was called on to speak in both meetings without prior warning. She gave wonderful talks.
After the Roodepoort Conference, we traveled to
On Monday we began another round of zone conferences starting
with the Botswana Zone. During the workshops, Jane left long enough to retrieve a quilt that she had had made at Kalahari Quilts. The quilt was made in
Our second zone conference was in Roodepoort. In addition to the members of the Roodepoort
Zone, three missionaries from other missions attended the conference. All three are in
On Friday, we held the zone conference in
On Saturday, we held the Northeast Zone Conference in Polokwane and then drove to Mokopane so I could interview all the priesthood brethren and call a new branch presidency. We were pleased to see Samuel Mahumani, a former missionary in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission now living in Mokopane. I also conducted temple and priesthood advancement interviews.
March 16 – March 22
On Sunday, I reorganized the Mokopane Branch Presidency. Victor Udokwu was sustained and set apart as the new branch president. Following the meetings in Mokopane, we drove back to Polokwane so I could set apart the new counselor in the branch presidency and the new elders’ quorum president.
We then drove to the Phalaborwa Gate of the
We spent the next day driving south through
The day was quite fruitful in terms of wildlife and plant life. We saw a wide variety of birds, antelope, baboons, terrapins, tortoises and other animals. Some of the most interesting were: seven terrapins in formation, very large ants crossing the road, a side-striped jackal, a bateleur, a ground hornbill eating a praying mantis, two klipspringers resting on a rock, two nice baobab trees, a baby hippo playing beside its mother in the water, an African jacana walking on lily pads, some water lilies and two elephants fighting.
That night we stayed at the camp at
The 19th was my 60th birthday. Both the mission home and the mission office had been decorated, mostly in black, to remind me how old I had become. The assistants to the president gave me a treasure map that I had to follow to find my birthday present.
Holly Groberg, a former missionary, had returned with her husband, parents and brothers for a short visit to where she had served her mission. The Grobergs had arranged to take us to lunch that day. When we arrived at the restaurant the power was out, but the restaurant said they could still fix pizza and salads. Just as we finished ordering, the power came back on so we all changed our orders. That night there was no power at the mission home from 7 to 9 pm. Power outages, or as they say here “load shedding,” has become increasing common.
Thursday we held the Soweto Zone Conference. We also met with Mr. Hnatiuk. He had journeyed from
The Bedfordview Zone Conference was held on Friday. Friday was Human Rights Day, a holiday in
March 23 – March 29
On Easter we attended the Sebokeng
Branch, which is about 1 ˝ hours south of
Monday we traveled to Benoni for another zone
conference. Since this was another
holiday, the traffic once again was very light.
Oh, that it would be so light all of the time. After the zone conference, we traveled to the
The 25th was Jane’s birthday. Since she is younger than I, there were no black decorations. We enjoyed a quiet birthday dinner that evening at one of our favorite restaurants.
On Friday, we participated in training for a new internet-based mission operating system called iMOS. Our mission is one of the beta test sites.
March 30 – March 31
We arose very early on Sunday morning and drove three hours
to Welkom arriving in time for Sacrament Meeting. Along the way, we enjoyed seeing the vast fields of corn, sorghum and sunflowers. One sister told us it had been almost 20
years since they had been visited by a mission president. We were treated like royalty. Speaking of royalty, one of the members of the branch is a great grandson of King Moshoeshoe, the founder and first
On the last day of March, we held the Bloemfontein Zone
Conference. Because the Bloemfontein
Zone is so large, interviews lasted until almost 5 pm. I also interviewed a young man from