Sunday, November 19, 2017

We had a wonderful Africa Southeast Area Conference broadcast today at 10 a.m. at our Ezulwini Branch.  Those who spoke were Elder Neil L. Anderson, Elder Tad R. Callister, Sister Bonnie Oscarson, Elder Kevin Hamilton (our Area Pres. and a former counselor in the ASEA Presidency) and Elder Carl B. Cook (who was the Area Pres. when we were in Ethiopia). We LOVED meeting both Elder Hamilton and Elder Cook in Ethiopia in 2014 and visiting with them. Great men! It was VERY good and just what the saints here needed to hear. Ü  (No photo...) 

counted 77 at Church today!! There were MANY less actives and investigators there! That is SO exciting for us!  (I gave all the Primary kids "Choose the Right" stickers that Julie sent to get them excited about their Primary Presentation next Sunday!)

We have visited a few craft shops this week to get some souvenirs for our family that we plan to send in a little Christmas package.  I had to take more photos! It's just SO much GREENER now and we are JUST beginning the rainy season!!

I just LOVE giraffes and these stools are SO cute! 
Wish I could fit one in my suitcase to take home...
They are at the "blue roof shops".

These are the "blue roof shops" as we call them. There are about 
120 shops that form a rectangle.  (The blue roofs are in the back 
and can be seen from the road.) It has taken us 3 or 4 visits in the
past 2 1/2 months to visit all of them.  They are pretty much all the
same, but have a few different things in different shops. The Swazi
people are VERY creative and make beautiful things!

Some scenery when we drove to Malkerns....

These just don't do it justice... : / 

A sight we see EVERYWHERE....clean clothes hanging on the line! 

Some homes in Malkerns...

I don't know what kind of trees these are but the monkeys
love them and they have the most interesting seed pods
hanging from them... They are at the Matenga shops.
(All of these shops are in Ezulwini not far from our flat!)

This cute shop owner at Matenga let me take a picture of her
fun braids! (The sides were even cooler...but they 
don't really show in the photo.)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What a BEAUTIFUL day in Ezulwini after a few days of rain!  I just couldn't get over how GREEN everything is!!  I just snapped these few photos as we drove home from Church today...

Also, the SWEETEST sight today was our darling, YSA Nkosingphile Mhlanga, who goes by "Cassie" to us, walking into Church with 12 Primary children!!  They live far and she brings them all to Church since their parents do not attend.  They LOVE Primary and are SO excited to be in the Primary Program on November 26th!  We had 23 there today! Ü

Cassie and kids next to our bakkie (truck)
after the block today 

Beautiful Ezulwini!!

Bouganvillea near the Church

This tree has BRIGHT red flowers but the color 
didn't come through taking it out the window.... 
Next to it was a purple jacaranda.  SO pretty!!
But it got cut out of the photo... : / 

I have tried and tried to get a picture of the HUGE Conference
Center that is being built on the main highway through Ezulwini,
not far from our Church.  This is from far away because it it SO
big it's impossible to get it ALL in from the main road!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

We went with our two new "Ezulwini 2"  Elders, Elder Samatanda (Zimbabwe) and Elder Pace (Farmington, UT)  to visit a family who have been investigating the Church for a LONG time. They are Constantia and Luisa and their two little girls are Imelda and Helena.  They met the missionaries last year and want to be baptized but they are from Mozambique and they are not married.  They come to Church EVERY week! They are working on getting the paperwork they need and saving money to go back to Mozambique to be married.  Hopefully, this will happen in January!  They are the CUTEST family and the HAPPIEST people I have ever met!! They are just SO grateful for the Church in their lives and feel SO blessed!  They LOVE the gospel and the Church and NEVER stop smiling! They insisted we stay and eat with them and piled our plates with rice, fish and salad!

We have been SO surprised to see Christmas decorations everywhere since about the middle of October! (You would think we were back home!)  In Ethiopia, Christmas is in January and it is not commercialized at all.  The few decorations we saw only appeared right before their Christmas.  This week, we finally gave in and bought a little tree and some decorations for our flat.  (I have NEVER decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving! : / But there is NO Thanksgiving here or even anything "Fall" or Halloween.... so we just decided to move on to the Christmas season!) Ü 

This little wreath was on an end cap at our 
grocery store the other day! I was just telling
Bob.... "I wish we had a little wreath." 

We found the angels at a little shop in Ngwenya by the glass factory 
and and the beaded trees in a shop by the Swazi Candle Factory 
in Malkerns.  The little beaded rhino on the left next to the angel 
has with it a little bag of frankincense and myrrh from Saudi
Arabia.  Sister Wagner in the mission office sent it 
to us with Sister Leavitt when she came for 
our last Zone Conference 

We found this unique hand carved and painted
nativity in a little shop.

I also liked this cute handmade nativity and 
JOY carved out of rock and the tiny handmade
Christmas card.

My favorite word at Christmas time is JOY.
I always LOVE it when this Khombi (taxi) is
in front of us and it reminds me to be "JOYFUL"!! 

We had to chuckle when we saw Santa sitting in the
middle of a round about in the parking lot of our mini
"mall", The Gables, in Ezulwini! (He is fake of course.)

Inside the mall there are really PRETTY Christmas
trees already!  I think they decorate as early here as
they do in the U.S.!! 

As we were admiring the poinsettia tree, we heard baby birds 
and looked up above the MTN store.  There was a 
mother bird with a nest full of baby birds and she was
feeding them...INSIDE the mall! 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Yesterday, our zone had an activity at Mlilwane and hiked to the top of Execution Rock.  (Elder Wold picked up four elders in Manzini for the activity so there was no room for me in our truck. )  He took these awesome photos from the trailhead where he waited with the trucks.  It was a beautiful day and they had a GREAT time together! (I made Rice Krispie treats for them which were pink and strawberry flavored, because the only marshmallows here are pink and white.)  Ü

Some of the elders before the hike....

Execution Rock

Looking down on Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Part of Ezulwini Valley from the mountain

Group shot at the top!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Yesterday, we had Seminary & Institute Graduation in Manzini. The entire District Presidency was there, Pres. Ntshalintshali, Pres. Mahlalela and Pres. Sithole.  We had four branch presidents in attendance, Bro. Massango, (coordinator  from Mozambique), Pres. Wiseman Simelane (2nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency) and Bob and I. (Just four parents came...)  We had about 40 young people there and 35 got certificates.  (Our branch had three 12 year olds who participated this year, but technically shouldn't have been enrolled. We made them certificates recognizing their study of the New Testament and our Branch President gave them out in our Sacrament Meeting in the morning.) 

Yesterday, we had a Primary Presentation practice but the Primary President had to work last minute and I was there by myself with 26 children!  It went well and I had a YSA come in and help me, so that was great!  I gave out 12 more speaking parts so everyone could participate.  I was especially excited to see this cute 11 year old, Venus Msibi, show up!  We visited her family last week and we invited her  and her 17 year old sister Wendy to come to Church and they did!  They have not been there for maybe a few years!! Their father, Apollo, is deaf.  He lost his hearing after an illness 3 years ago and he and his wife are now divorced.  He was SUCH a nice, but such a sad man.... I wrote him a note before we left, telling him we would be back this week on Wednesday night and I would bring him Liahonas with the talks from General Conference in them.  His face lit up and he thanked me! They, like many others, live very far from the Church and cannot afford transportation. It's so sad... Venus LOVED Primary and has a part on the program.  I HOPE she can come back! (I just can't get over these kids eyes!  They are AMAZING!!

(We have been planning all along for the Primary Presentation to be on November 19th and just yesterday after graduation, Pres. Shongwe stopped me and said.  "We have a problem! Our Africa Southeast Area Conference is scheduled for November 19th! I just realized it! "  I had JUST made invitations and sent them home with all 26 children so their families would come to watch them!!  So I made more invitations last night with November 26th on them instead! Haha! We just roll with it!) 

We drove down to Nhlangano on Saturday for Seminary and Institute Graduation at 1:00 pm
and also inspected the Nhlangano Elders' flat for our Zone Leaders. 

Bro. Jaime Massango, our Coordinator for Swaziland, came from Mozambique for the Graduation and Pres. Mahlalela, a counselor to District President Ntshalintshali was also there.  Nhlangano Branch Pres. Fakudze conducted the graduation and I played the keyboard.  Bob and I were both also asked to give talks.  It went well, but only FOUR students could make it! : /   They were all Seminary students.  Their teacher couldn't come but the institute teacher, Djabulile Dlamini was there! She thought it started at 10 am and was there for 3 hours!!  None of her 7 students who got certificates could be there either! So sad.... Elder Francis and Elder Pulley were there to support the young people in their branch.  It was 35 minutes late starting, as we waited for more students to arrive.... but they didn't come.  (We sang LOTS of hymns while we waited! )

Elder Wold talking right to the four students. (All of the adults
were sitting on the other side of the chapel.)

Bro. Massango, the four students with their certificates, 
Pres. Mahlalela, Sister Djabulile Dlamini and Pres. Fakudze

It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the drive! It was much 
greener than last time we were down there!
I never get tired of this scenery!

We had to stop several times for cows walking in the middle 
of the road!! Goats too!  And there are speed bumps in the
most peculiar places!?!  

I took chocolate chip cookies and they LOVED them!! (I just happened to find 
chocolate chips at Spice World! Walnuts too! Ü  They look a little weird but actually
taste pretty good!!  I made these Halloween cupcakes for the elders 
last Tuesday. (You can see the weird shaped chocolate chips on top.)

I found a GIANT cupcake pan so this is what we're doing for each elder on his birthday.  We had four
elders with birthdays in November so I made these and we delivered them to Manzini and Mbabane when we went there. The guys were SO excited! They even have a corkscrew candle in the top!  (We will also call and sing on their actual birthday!)  It wasn't easy finding cellophane, curly ribbon
OR small birthday plates... We looked all over the place and finally found them!!)