Saturday, July 18, 2015

Week 14

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since our last post so we will catch up on all the things that we have been doing since then.  The lunch for the Zone Training went very well.  The main course was pizza from a place called “Dagwoods.”  They are the closest thing to the type of pizza that we are used to eating back home.  Their pizza is baked in brick ovens and their sauce is more Italian than the other pizza places around here.  We ended up getting 6 large pizzas to feed everyone.  Sister Farnsworth made “Homemade” breadsticks; then we served a veggie tray, bottled water and Red Velvet Cake for dessert.  Everyone went away happy and filled.

Lately we have been very busy, involved with the everyday activities of our mission.  Sister Farnsworth, teaching keyboard and me teaching English, and the two of us working with the missionaries when we are available.  The keyboard students are progressing very well, and we have had a few more start learning from us.  The English class is a work in progress.  Between some sickness and a lot of funerals, I have ended up with only 1 student attending.  I do remember that the Lord has counseled us that with patience and long suffering we will be blessed in the end.  I am hoping that that applies to me trying to teach this weekly class.

On July 2nd and 3rd, we drove down to Grahamstown and Port Alfred for a “Senior Retreat.”  On Thursday, July 2nd, we attended an Arts Festival held annually in Grahamstown.  We walked around the vendors booths and had lunch.  I was able to pick up a nice walking stick that I can use when we do our daily walks.  Its basic use is to keep the stray dogs and any other creatures away from us when we are walking.  Some of the farmers around here use sticks like this to herd their cows, goats and sheep.  Mine is only for our walks.  We also toured the “St Michael and St George Church” in Grahamstown.  The construction of this church started in 1814, and picked up momentum in 1828, but because of money and other problems, it wasn’t finished until 1954 (yes, in the 20th Century).  The reason that they have two names attached to the church is because they couldn’t agree on which name to call it so they ended compromising and called it The St Michael and St George Church.

After the fair, we drove down to Port Alfred to the boarding of the Wheelers to finish out the day.  We had dinner and then Joined with President Merrill, our Mission President, for some discussion about the Mission.  The next morning, we had a pot-luck breakfast.  After breakfast we got together for pictures on the balcony of the Wheeler’s apartment and then had more discussion about the Mission and what was coming up in the future.  Afterwards we had a 3-hour drive back to Queenstown and crashed for the night.  A side note to this trip: on the way home, we saw a family of baboons running across the highway.  We couldn’t stop to take pictures but at least we got to see them.  One more item off of the bucket list.

On Father’s Day, I ended up having to give an impromptu talk in the Sada Ward.  The reason was because the main speaker for that meeting didn’t come to church that day.  I found out about my assignment just as the Sacrament meeting was beginning.  Talk about having to rely on the Spirit.  I survived, gave a 20-minute talk, and received many positive comments after the meeting.  This was a very humbling experience, but it helped me to grow a couple of inches taller that day.

We are working with two Less-Active Members in the Illinge Ward: Sister Ganelo and Brother Mase’.  We had a good initial visit with both of them at their homes and invited them to come out to church the following Sunday.  They both said that they would each attend but Brother Mase’ had one stipulation.  He said he would only come if Sister Farnsworth and I would be there because he wanted to attend church with the Prophet and his wife.  Our fellowshipper/interpreter, a young man named Junior, told us later that Brother Mase’ thought that I was the Prophet and Sister Farnsworth was the wife of the Prophet.  This was probably because the only missionaries that he had associated with were the Elders of the mission and was not aware that there were senior missionaries like us working alongside the Elders.  We rearranged our schedule to attend the Illinge Ward that Sunday, but Brother Mase’ ended up not coming.  On the other hand, Sister Ganelo did come to church that Sunday and bore her testimony as it was Fast Sunday, so there was a reward in our efforts after all.  The Bishop was very surprised to see her in attendance and asked us what we did to get her to come out.  We told him that we had just invited her to attend and that she said she would be there.  He thanked us and is happy that we are working with his ward.

We had to take another trip to East London last Monday to see the eye doctor for Sister Farnsworth.  Her right eye has been bothering her again and her vision in that eye has started to distort.  The doctor told us that she has a “macular pucker” and the only way to correct it and save her vision is to perform surgery.  This surgery will take place on Tuesday, July 28, in East London.  This is done as “Same Day Surgery.”  We will have a follow-up the next morning with the doctor in his office.  If all goes well, we will be headed back to Queenstown on Wednesday afternoon.

This coming Wednesday, July 22, is transfer day here in our mission.  In our Zone, we will be losing 4 elders and receiving only 2 in return.  One of our Zone Leaders will be returning home from his mission after serving 2 great years serving the Lord.  Another Elder, Elder Kjeldsen, is being transferred.  The two Queenstown Elders, Elder Mohale and Elder Ntuli, are being transferred and not being replaced.  The elders coming into the mission have slowed down right now, so President Merrill has had to trim down on 3 of the Zones to fill in where it is needed.  It is with sadness in our hearts that we say goodbye to these Elders, and it is with joy in our hearts that we welcome the two new Elders who are coming into our Zone.  This means that, in addition to our current responsibilities, we will probably be helping assist with the elders as we may be needed for the time being.  Exciting times in the Mission.

In previous posts, we have stated how cold it is in the Queenstown area right now, but to add a little more spice to the mixture, we had a few days of nice balmy weather followed by a major cold front which is over us right now.  Two nights ago we had a monsoon rain that lasted pretty much all night.  Yesterday coming back from Illinge, we noticed that in the top of the mountains surrounding outside of Queenstown, they were capped with a blanket of snow.  That’s right, real white snow.  I guess that causes havoc for the baboons…lol.  Now we are faced with south winds coming out of those same mountains which are very cold.  Can’t wait for October and December, let’s get our spring and summer coming.  Also, because of the cold, we haven’t been able to do our morning walks and our golf game is suffering as well.  Oh well, we will have to find something else to do for our “P-Days” until it gets warmer.

Until our next post, May the Lord Bless You and Keep you, and May Your Path Be On The Straight and Narrow Way.

Elder and Sister Farnsworth.