September 1 – September 10
The first week and one-half of September was somewhat quiet. Since the Mission Tour was a week earlier than the normal schedule for Zone Conferences, we had this time to catch up on the many things that had been postponed due to our hectic schedule during the last weeks of August. We used the time to rewrite most of the materials that go to new missionaries. We had decided to make a booklet to give each new missionary rather than dozens of loose papers. The end result looks very nice and will give the missionaries something they can keep throughout their missions. Besides guidelines on finances, health, safety, vehicles, music and apartments (flats), we included other useful things like metric conversion charts and South African terminology.
On the 9th we held a temple trip and dinner for
all the senior couples serving in the
September 11—September 17
On Sunday the 11th, we attended the Soweto Stake Conference where I was one of the speakers. It was a wonderful conference – a sea of black faces with a few white faces sprinkled in. That evening both Jane and I spoke at the Seminary kick-off fireside for two of the local stakes. After we spoke, there was a scripture chase. We were amazed at how well these seminary students know their scriptures.
On the 16th we started on our journey to
September 18 –September 24
At on Sunday morning, I met with a brother who had been baptized in May, to interview him for advancement to the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordination as an Elder. I then called him to be the Elders’ Quorum President. Most of his training will be on the job training. I later learned he had arisen at to hitchhike the 100 kilometers from his home to the Church because he had no other means of transportation.
At , the Branch
met in President Tembo’s home for the Branch Conference. The living room was packed with a variety
of chairs. Including us, there were
36 in attendance, of which 6 were investigators. The branch choir had 10 members and sang
magnificently. Both Jane and I
spoke. Jane taught Relief Society in the
living room, Primary was in a bedroom. I
taught the Priesthood outside under a tree.
After the conference, the Branch
held a braai (BBQ) of boerwoers (African sausages) and steaks. There were no
plates or utensils. We ate the boerwoers and steaks in rolls. After the braai, we drove back to
The road between
On Wednesday, the 21st, we attended a luncheon to honor President Golden, the first African born Area President in the Church. Local government and religious leaders were in attendance as well as local stake presidents and the temple president. Our missionary choir provided the music, singing three songs. Elder Golden gave an inspiring talk telling the audience about the Church in a way that was uplifting without being offensive in anyway to the non-member guests.
On Friday, we held our second Zone Leaders’ Conference. The theme of the conference was “Building the Kingdom.” I spoke on the importance of retention and activation as an integral part of missionary work. Although the South Africa Johannesburg Mission has the highest level of retention in the Southeast Africa Area, there is still a critical need for holding on to more of our converts and strengthening the wards and branches through activation. A senior couple taught the Zone Leaders about the Legacy of Love program. This is a very successful program to get converts to the temple to do proxy baptisms within two or three months after baptism. The Assistants gave wonderful training on effective retention and activation techniques.
September 25 –September 30
Late in September the Jacaranda trees begin to bloom all
The last week of September was dominated by transfers. On the 28th we received 9 new Elders and 1 new Sister. We picked up the North American Elders from the airport and the others from the Johannesburg MTC. They came from