We enjoyed General Conference and it seemed extra special
since we are so far away.We watched the
Saturday Morning Session live at
our time. The Priesthood Session was shown at the StakeCenter at Sunday on a delayed basis.We then watched the Saturday Afternoon
Session at on a delayed basis
and the Sunday Morning Session live at .Except for the Priesthood Session, we were
able to watch all sessions at the Mission Home since we have BYU TV.We recorded the Sunday Afternoon Session to
On Monday we drove to Nelspruit.
It is about 4 hours east northeast from Johannesburg.
We looked at new flats (apartments) for missionaries because we are adding two
missionaries to Nelspruit and the current flat can
only handle two. We found a nice apartment and then had dinner with the
missionaries. They are not closeby to any other missionaries, so they
were very happy to see us. We stayed overnight at Holiday Inn Express.Yes, you can find Holiday Inns in many places
in South Africa.
Since one of the entrances to KrugerNational Park is only about 36
miles from Nelspruit, we had decided to do a little
sightseeing. The next morning we entered KrugerNational Park at and stayed in the park until sunset
. Even at that we only saw about one-tenth of the park. The park
covers 7,580 square miles or about the size of Israel.It is unquestionably one of the best wildlife
sanctuaries in the world. We saw hundreds and hundreds of animals of all
kinds. We saw elephants,
herds of zebras,
hundreds of impalas,
a lone hyena
and one warthog. One of the exciting moments was as we were watching a
sleeping lion, it awoke and chased a herd of impalas at a nearby waterhole and
when it missed its prey. Another was when a giraffe was trying to drink
from a watering hole, but a hyena wouldn't let it. In fact the hyena just
sat in the middle of the watering hole so no other animals dared to drink. (All
of the pictures were taken from the car, since for your own safety you are not
allowed out of your car except at protected rest stops and camps.)Kruger was definitely the most exciting and
enjoyable non-missionary thing we have done while in South Africa.
We stayed overnight at Graskop
just outside of the park and then drove through the BlydeRiverCanyon area as we traveled
home. This area is magnificent and looks a lot like Colorado
Idaho -- evergreen forests, large
Not like I ever imagined in South Africa.
Thursday and Friday we made the final plans for the
next round of Zone Conferences. I also met with two of our senior
October 9 – October 16
Sunday we attended church in the Rynfield
Ward where I had an interview to do. Then we went to a missionary musical
fireside in Sandton. Since one of the Sisters that sang in the fireside
had completed her mission and gone home, Jane took her place in a quartet.
On Monday we traveled to Bloemfontein
for our first Zone Conference of this round.We had dinner with the Devenports.Since the Devenports
will be returning home in November, this was the last dinner we would have at
their flat.They have done such a magnificent job as missionaries and in caring for the missionaries in the Bloemfontein Zone.The Church in Africa
has been blessed to have them.We will
miss the Devenports and Sister Devenport’s wonderful
cooking.On Tuesday we held the
Bloemfontein Zone Conference.
Our Zone Conferences this round started at with interviews and workshops.While I interviewed the members of one
District, the other Districts attended one of two workshops.After about 40 minutes the Districts rotated
until everyone had been interviewed and each District had attended each
workshop.We then conducted the business
of the Zone Conference, provided training and had talks from two of the
missionaries.After lunch, we heard
testimonies from missionaries departing before the next Zone Conference.Then we had talks from my two Assistants:
Elder Plantin talked about the importance of ensuring that investigators have
solid testimonies before they are baptized and Elder Walshaw gave a powerful
talk on the Atonement.Jane spoke on
wise financial management both while on a mission and afterwards.I concluded with a talk on the Prophet Joseph
Smith. We end each conference by singing the new mission song that was written
by one of our talented missionaries at Jane’s suggestion.On the journey back to Johannesburg,
we had some car trouble with the mission combi (van)
and arrived home quite late, but safe.
On Thursday we traveled to Botswana.We took Elder and Sister Means, one of our
fine office couples, with us. We held Zone Conference on Friday. We also went to help some missionaries whose car wouldn't work. (This is one of their neighbors.)On Saturday we visited the two small villages
of Oodi and Mochudi. In Oodi we purchased a small woven table runner. On the way back we saw many large termite mounds and trees with weaver bird nests. Sunday we attended church in the Gaborone West Ward. We saw a group of young members on their way to Church in the back of a pickup. This Sunday was the Primary Presentation in Sacrament Meeting. What a wonderful experience. The children gave short talks and sang many songs -- all a cappella. They sang beautifully.The Gospel Essentials
Class was so large it had to be held in the chapel. There were about 40
people in attendance. The instructor was one of the best we have seen in Africa.
After the 3 hour block we attended the baptism of a young woman, age 20, named "Sunshine."Following the baptism, we drove the 5 ½ hours
back to Johannesburg.
October 17 – October 23
This week we held three Zone Conferences: Tuesday for the
Pretoria Zone; Thursday for the Soweto Zone and Friday for the Roodepoort and
Johannesburg Zones.On Sunday we
attended church in Carletonville, a gold mining town,
about 1 ½ hours south of Johannesburg.
There were about 50 in attendance at the Branch meetings. We were blessed to be
there on the Sunday of their Primary Presentation. The Branch has a piano, but
no one can play it.They used a CD
player for all of the music. That
evening, I attended the semi-annual Correlating Council Meeting with Elder
Young of the Area Presidency and Jane went with the missionaries to the musical
fireside at Roodepoort.
October 24 – October 31
During the last week of October we concluded the Zone Conferences of this transfer period (6 weeks) with meetings in Bedfordview and Benoni. On Sunday the 30th, we attended church in the Krugersdorp Ward where I interviewed a sister for baptism.That night we attended the last of the
musical firesides centered on the Fruits of Restoration.It was held in Daveyton,
a black township to the east of Johannesburg.We do not plan to have anymore missionary
musical firesides for at least six months.