November 1 – November 4

Our zone conference schedule continued with conferences in Soweto and Bedfordview. On Saturday I attended the satellite training broadcast on the new Handbook of Instructions. 


November 5 – November 11

Sunday we attended church in the Florida Ward.  That afternoon the Assistants and I began to work on transfers.  Because of the growth in the number of missionaries and my desire to reduce the amount of travel required of missionaries, I had made the decision to increase the number of zones from seven to nine.  This decision, of course, complicated this transfer.  Since each new zone requires two new zone leaders, four new zones leaders had to be selected in addition to the two needed to replace zone leaders going home.  With each leadership call there is a cascading impact requiring many changes of assignment.


The Pretoria zone conference was held on Tuesday which turned out to be a long day.  We left by 6:45 am to travel to Pretoria.  Following the zone conference we arrived back in Johannesburg just in time to attend a meeting with the Soweto Stake President.  Following a very fast dinner, I then traveled to Randburg for a meeting with the Johannesburg Stake President.  Wednesday was spent in the office. And on Friday we concluded this round of zone conferences with the conference in Benoni.


Friday night Jane and I spoke at a missionary fireside held by the Krugersdorp 1st Ward.  The topic for the evening was Gifts of the Spirit.  Saturday, we enjoyed our first full preparation day in almost a month.


November 12 – November 18

This Sunday we attended Church in the Carltonville Branch about 1 ˝ hours south of Johannesburg.  I was there to do a baptismal interview.  We stayed afterwards and enjoyed the wonderful baptism of another man.  He bore a strong and beautiful testimony following his baptism.


The first part of the week was spent working on transfers, planning our Christmas parties and catching up on things that had fallen behind during our zone conference schedule. 


Thursday through Saturday was the semi-annual Mission Presidents’ Seminar.  We were blessed to be trained by Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Didier.  The training was powerful and uplifting.  We also enjoyed our interaction with the other mission presidents and their wives.


Over the weekend we hosted a senior couple that had been serving in the Mozambique Mission.  She was in Johannesburg for medical evaluation. 


November 19 – November 25

On Sunday, we attended church in the Gold Reef Ward.  That evening we attended a fireside in Bedfordview.  Elder Didier and his wife were the speakers.  Wednesday was transfer day. We received eleven Elders and two Sisters from the Johannesburg MTC.  The Sisters were from Kenya and Connecticut; the Elders from Madagascar, Mauritius, England, Arkansas, Idaho, California and Utah . Two of our Elders with Scottish roots showed up to transfers in kilts.


Thursday was a long day with the first trip to the airport at 6 am and the second at 5 pm. We did not leave the airport until 8:30 pm because the check-in desk for the flight to Madagascar did not open until after 8:00.  As has become our habit on the evening of missionary departures, we stopped at Raj Thai, our favorite Thai restaurant.  This night we felt fortunate that it was still open when we arrived at 9:10 pm.



On Friday night we held a Thanksgiving Dinner at the mission home (one day late but better late than never).  Joining us were the office couples, the Assistants (Elder Parker and Elder Allen) and President and Sister Maycock.  The Maycocks preside over the D. R. Congo Mission.  They were temporarily residing in Johannesburg because of the political unrest in the Congo following the election.  Their visit was especially enjoyable for Elder Parker. President Maycock was previously Elder Parker’s stake president and Elder’s Parker’s father succeeded President Maycock as stake president.  We had a nice evening with turkey and all the trimmings.  The turkey was Brazilian and the sweet potatoes were white.


November 26 – November 30

Following Church on Sunday, Elder Himber and Elder Weiler and the Assistants joined us to decorate the Christmas tree in the Mission Home.  Elder Himber, being a convert from Judaism, had never decorated a Christmas tree.  He seemed to enjoy his first such experience immensely.  After decorating the tree, Jane fixed us her famous scones.  They were enjoyed by all.


On Wednesday, Cami, Robby and Owen arrived in Johannesburg.  We had looked forward with great anticipation for their arrival.  Owen was only four months old when we left and now he is almost two.  We had wondered how long it would take him to warm up to this unknown set of grandparents.  We were pleased that it didn’t take long at all.


Thursday, we took Cami, Robby and Owen to the Organic Market, Sandton Mall and finally to dinner at Adega.  Cami and Robby became immediately addicted to the wonder Portuguese prawns found at many restaurants here in South Africa.