Thursday, June 25, 2015

Week 11

It’s been a good week this past week.  On Monday, June 15 it was our usual “P” day.  We cleaned the apartment as usual, got cleaned up and dressed and went to a restaurant called “Spurs” for lunch.  We try to make this where we have a late lunch/dinner on Mondays because we can get the “Monday Special”, a ¼ lb. cheese burger, fries, (they call them chips), and deep fried shredded onions.  The nice thing about this special is that on Mondays is buy one and get one free.  Just a chance to save some money.

Usually when we arrive on Mondays it is usually just after the lunch rush and it’s not too crowded.  But today it was really busy.  We didn’t know why but found out later that all the schools were closed, and all the families decided to go to Spurs for lunch.  Also everyone was ordering the same thing “The Monday Special”.  Luckily, Spurs had anticipated this and we were able to get our usual without any problem.

Tuesday was a National Holiday, “Youth Day.”  I guess that the schools were closed on Monday so that everyone could have a 4-day weekend.  There were different celebrations going on all around South Africa in celebration of this holiday.  One of the celebrations here in Queenstown was a lot of soccer games happening around town. In one of the games the local Methodist Church challenged the Mormons to a soccer match, for bragging rights I guess.  The game was played in the morning and included four of the missionaries here in Queenstown.  It was a hard fought game but the Mormons came out on top and won the game.  So they now have the bragging rights for the next year.

All of the missionaries here in Queenstown, including Sister Farnsworth and myself, were invited to Sister Peter’s home for a special lunch.  Sister Peter is a member of the Queenstown ward and usually works during the week, but with the holiday she had a day off.  She wanted to feed the missionaries.  She feels that they have sacrificed so much to give up their time to serve the Lord and leave their homes and families to help others find the gospel.  She said this one way she can say thank you to them. The meal was very good.  It was chicken wings with rice which had a special cheese sauce on it.  Dessert was bananas. 

On Wednesday we made our weekly journey to Sada to teach our keyboard students.  After keyboard we met with Brother Jaantjie so that we could go with him for home teaching.  Our home teaching family was with a less active sister, Sister Noconda.  I guess one of the reasons that she is less active is because of her husband.  Her husband is a Jehovah’s Witness and does not want us to teach his family, who are all members of the LDS Church, in his home.  He said he doesn’t force his religion on them and doesn’t want us to preach to him. 

We honored his request and made an appointment with Sister Noconda to meet with her on the following Wednesday to home teach her and her daughters.  We told her we could meet with her at the church or at Brother Jaantjie’s home, whichever was more convenient.  We were able to meet with her yesterday, Wednesday, June 24, at Brother Jaantjie’s home.  We had a good lesson on enduring to the end.  Also we were asked if we could help one of her daughters to learn to play the piano.

Friday of last week was our normal keyboard and English class in Illinge.   Saturday Sister Farnsworth taught keyboard in Queenstown and I was able to attend the Stake Priesthood meeting in the same building.  The meeting was being sent to Queenstown by internet from East London.  The priesthood meeting was very good; the speakers focused on home teaching and missionary work.  The Stake President, President Bell, spoke on both points.  What was special was when he talked about missionary work he talked about the need for young elders and sisters but about the need for senior missionaries to serve the Lord.  The challenge he made for senior couples to consider and plan to serve were almost exactly what Sister Farnsworth and I heard in or own Stake Conference almost 3 years ago. 

Tomorrow, Friday, is Zone Training for the Elders in the Queenstown Zone.  President Merrill has assigned the Zone Leaders to take charge of the training this time and teach the Elders.  This is a lot of responsibility for these young men but I know they are up to the challenge.  The part we will play in this effort is to provide lunch for 18 missionaries.  This is our first large meal like this but it will be done with style.  We have most of it already put together as I am typing this blog.  Pictures to follow.
Tonight, we have been invited to eat dinner at Bishop Vali’s again; we have been told that the menu might include Ox Tail.  That will be interesting.

Elder and Sister Farnsworth

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Week 10

I apologize to those following our blog.  There’s been a lot going on since our last post and we haven’t had time to sit down and give an update.  I guess that’s to be expected while serving the Lord.  I do have some time now so I’ll give an update now. 

From here on out, our post titles will be the week number that we are serving in the mission.  This is not so much as to what happened this week, rather the week number that we are able to write in the blog.  I’ll start out by reporting by the name of the area as we have worked in them. 

The first area is Sada.  We are starting to make some progress with understanding the language a little more than at first; we have picked up some Xhosa words here and there, and the English that the people speak is a little easier to understand.  I guess that we are slowly being blessed in our efforts.  Sister Farnsworth is teaching keyboard lessons to 7 students in this area, 4 of them are brothers or cousins who all live in the same home with their grandmother and aunt.  They are all showing great progress.

In the Sada Ward, Sister Farnsworth is helping to teach in the Young Women’s, and I have been asked to home teach with the High Priest Group leader.  Those in the ward who speak in Sacrament meeting and teach in the classes speak in Xhosa and use very little English.  It seems to help us understand the lessons better if we can study the lessons during the week; at least it brings the spirit into our hearts and helps.

On Saturday, June 13, the young women in Sada had an activity on self-reliance.  Sister Farnsworth helped with this activity.  The young women were taught how to knit a scarf.

In the Illinge Ward, Sister Farnsworth is still teaching keyboard lessons.  At the lesson this past week, two of her students finished all their lessons and will receive a certificates of completion.  She also had a new student begin last week; so, keyboard will continue in Illinge.

I have begun teaching an English-speaking class to three members in Illinge.  I have taught only two classes so far, but I see the joy in the faces of the students and the determination they have in their hearts to learn.   I also can feel the Lord's spirit in the classroom.  This is an experience that I didn't expect with this class.   Like it has been said, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Both the Sada and Illinge Wards have continued to have baptisms.  The gospel is growing in these areas, and I can feel the Spirit of the Lord working daily and continuing to bless the lives of the members here in South Africa.

On May 31st, we attended the Queenstown Ward.  In the months which have 5 Sundays, the Queenstown Ward has the missionaries take charge of the Sacrament meeting.  As a result, Sister Farnsworth gave the opening prayer and I gave a talk.  It centered on Member Missionary work.   I also issued a challenge to the ward members to become involved in finding referrals for the missionaries to teach.  It was very well received.

Another activity we had with the Queenstown Ward was during a family home evening to which we were invited with the Elder missionaries.  The family fed us dinner; then built a fire in their backyard.  We allowed the fire to die down and, along with the Elders, we introduced everyone there to the art of making S’mores.  They were really excited to learn this American art.

The winter weather is settling in now.  We experienced a solid week of very cold temperatures.  We would awaken in the mornings to Temps of 28 to 30 degrees F.  The highs were ranging around 49 to 55 degrees F.  This past Sunday, driving to Sada, we noticed ice had formed around the edge of some of the farm ponds near the road.  Needless to say, Elder and Sister Farnsworth now have new coats.

Please remember us in your prayers and thank you for your support.  Elder and Sister Farnsworth.