Saturday, February 24, 2018

We just got home last night from Johannesburg, where we enjoyed getting together with all the other senior couples in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission.  Since we are four hours away we had not met two of the couples or spent much time with the others. We had a wonderful time! 

On our way there, we heard there was an S&I Conference going on in Boksburg, so we stopped at the Birchwood Hotel / OR Tambo Convention Center.  Bert Whimpey, who Bob taught with in CES (now S&I) in Mesa is now over S&I in Africa and he was attending the conference, so we wanted to surprise him and say "hi"!  We were pleasantly surprised to not only see Bro. Whimpey, but also Freddie Babeeyo from Uganda and Prince Omondi from Kenya who we became friends with when we served as CES missionaries in Ethiopia!! 
When we left our mission, we thought we would never see them again! We also got to visit 
with Jaime Massango, who was our S&I Coordinator until we were switched to the Johannesburg Area in January, and his cute wife, who are from Mozambique.  (We also saw our Area Director, Elder Tasara Makasi, who we have worked with in Ethiopia and also Swaziland, and Tirhani Ngomane who is now our Coordinator in Johannesburg. But those two had already gone to lunch when we took this picture... )

Left to right:  Freddie Babeeyo, Bert Whimpey, Bob, Prince Omondi,
Jaime Massango and his wife (who we learned is expecting in August)! 
We LOVE all of these WONDERFUL people!

The whole group of senior couples in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission
(Lto R:) Elder & Sister Boyer (Cedar City, UT), Elder & Sister Jensen (Provo, UT), Elder & Sister Duncan (Cameron, MO), Elder & Sister Fugal (Meridian, ID), Sister Willis & Sister Foxx (Grants Pass, OR), Elder & Sister Wagner (Washington), and President & Sister Leavitt (Cedar City, UT)

Sister Jensen surprised all the men with matching ties she 
made from African fabric and they all wore them all three days.  Ü 

On Wednesday, we started at 3:00 p.m. and had a meeting /discussion, then dinner at the mission home. Thursday morning, we went in two vans to Rosebank Mall to take the BIG RED BUS TOUR of the city of Johannesburg. It was very informative and fun to get to see all of Joburg.  We toured Constitution Hill and learned of the city's past and its transition to a democracy, then to the Apartheid Museum, which is across from the Gold Reef City Casino, Hotel and Amusement Park. 

Part of our group, just getting off the BIG RED BUS 
(We rode up on top in the front.)

It was a bit tricky to get good photos from the double decker 
bus....but here is a part of Johannesburg.

Traffic lights are called "robots", which is 
pronounced "row boats".

My favorite thing about Johannesburg is all 
of the tree-lined streets!  It is the "largest manmade
forest in the world" according to the tour guide.

There are SO many TREES!!!!

There are McDonald's and KFCs all over Johannesburg!

The Courthouse

There was a protest march going on the whole time we were there,
outside the old prison on Constitution Hill.

"A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest
citizens, but it's lowest ones..."

Inside a cell room....
(Very creative how they made inmates out of blankets!)

The outdoor restroom

What is left of the outdoor showers

The isolation area, also called the deep dark hole.

Their constitution and the eternal flame of democracy
(Apartheid lasted from 1948 to 1991.)

Outside what is like our Supreme Court in the United States

It was interesting to learn more about Nelson Mandela at the Apartheid Museum.

Ghandi Square and Ghandi Mall
Mahatma Ghandi spent time in Johannesburg and 
was imprisoned for a time in the old prison.

The tallest building in Johannesburg

The pretty Gold Reef Hotel, Casino and Amusement Park
(We didn't go in, but the BIG RED BUS had a stop there.)

More shots of Joburg....

Just before dinner at The Grillhouse, we went to the Arts and Crafts
Market near Rosebank Mall.  What a FUN place!  We could have 
spent another hour there easily!! 

I found these fun beaded African animals to go with my Zulu nativity! 
(I am still looking for an elephant and rhino and maybe a warthog too!)

Tonight, we were invited to dinner at Sister Ntshalintshali's home in Ncgewini ab out 30 min.
from Manzini.  They had a WONDERFUL dinner prepared for us.  Sister Ntshalintshali had three of her daughters there helping to prepare the meal.  It was SO nice.  We really enjoyed our visit and meeting and getting to know some of her family members better. Her daughter, Mabel was the FIRST baptized member in Swaziland in 1987.  She and her mother were interviewed in the video "Saints in Swaziland" in 2012.  We saw it at my brother, Bob's the night before we entered the MTC and my brother Rick has now put it on youtube! It's great! 

They fixed chicken, squash, kale, potato salad, green salad,
beans and samp and beef and had cupcakes for dessert
along with the banana bread I took to them. Ü 

Sister Ntshalintshali with three of her daughters, Mabel,
Tilungile and a granddaughter, and great-grandchildren.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

This was a GREAT weekend!  This morning, we were up at 5:30 and left for Manzini at 6:30 a.m. to pick up Pres. Mahlalela.  His cousin (that he calls his sister, since they don't use the words cousin or nephew or niece here) Ncamsilie Gwebu and her two daughters, Lindelwa 15 and Sihlelelwe 8, were baptized in Nhlangano Branch at 8:30 a.m.  It was a wonderful baptism! What a neat family!  The son, Brian Gwebu is already a member and was there to baptize his two sisters. We know him from Mbabane Branch. Thando, the YSA who shopped, came up with the recipes and cooked the food yesterday, is Brian's good friend and is the Elders' Quorum President in Mbabane Branch, so he was also there for the baptism and confirmed Sister Ncamsile.  Pres. Mahlalela baptized her. We met this family first, visiting Mbabane Branch last month and then when we were in Nhlangano Branch in January and were so happy to get to be there for their baptism!

Pres. Solomon Enoch Mahlalela, Brian Gwebu, Ncamsile
Gwebu, Lindelwa Gwebu and Sihlelelwe Guebu

Elders Feliciana and Elder Smith taught the family.

Transfers are this Tuesday and Elder Smith is being transferred
to Ezulwini to be the new ZL in Elder Pulley's place. Elder Feliciana
finishes his mission in 6 weeks and returns home to Brazil.

I went to Primary the first hour and was SO pleased to see them using more
pictures and doing some things we trained on 2 weeks ago in our District 
Auxiliary Training for Primary! Ü  I also LOVED attending Relief Society and 
hearing the sisters bear testimony of what the Book of Mormon means to them
during our lesson on Pres. Nelson's talk from last General Conference,
"The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like Without It?"

Yesterday, we helped with the District YSA Valentine Activity/Dinner/Dance/Institute.  We helped the two groups of YSA reps, Amanda, Fezile, Thando and Skhulile, shop for the food at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., transported the food from Pick N Pay to the chapel, made two trips home to pick up extra things they needed, helped decorate, helped with a game, taught the Institute lesson and helped with serving the dinner.  They did a wonderful job with the food!  We had about 50 YSAs in attendance and they had a FUN afternoon. Because of everyone having to travel by khombi, it was held from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. so they could get home before dark. But with "Swazi time", most didn't arrive until 3:30 or even 4:30, and they were having SO much fun the last little while, we let it go until 6:30 p.m.  Ü

SWAZILAND DISTRICT YSAs from Mbabane, Ezulwini and Manzini

(Lots of them had already left, and others were in the building and didn't get in the photo. The guy who had my camera took the picture before we even knew it!? Haha!)

While we were shopping, we had to buy a dragon fruit since we have 
never seen them before!? It's good but kind of expensive!

When the activity got started (LATE.... "Swazi time") we had only 25 there
so we started with the games.  The first one was "speed dating" and they
loved it. We had 3 more guys than girls, so we rotated them into the game. 

Amanda did the next game and it was a fun one!  
They had to slap hands around the circle in a certain order....

"What is the condition of your heart?"

For our lesson, we put up 20 red 💗s with scripture references on them. The students
went and chose a heart and with a partner looked up the references.  We had the small white hearts around the chalkboard and they had to come up and find the kind of heart their scriptures talked about and put it on the big heart and stick it on the board.  Then we discussed the different "conditions" our hearts may be in and each decided what kind of 
heart we may personally need to work on.

Elder Gerald Lund said:

"Carefully assessing the condition of our hearts is one of the 
most essential things we can do in this life. "

Our district YSA reps did an excellent job on the dinner!
(They also had dessert but I didn't get a picture.)

We made 50 Rice Krispie 💗s too. Ü

Our YSAs LOVE to dance!!! 
The activity went an extra 30 minutes (until 6:30) because
they just didn't want to stop!! They had a blast!!
(They all travel in khombis and needed to be on their way
before dark...)

How we LOVE serving with the young people here in Swaziland!!