Sunday, September 21, 2008

2008 09 21 - Helping Hands Rained Out!!

Dear Everyone:

In a very disappointing twist, many of our Africa Service Day plans had to be postponed for a week – it rained over practically the whole mission Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Even Hunter and Morgan were going to go help fix up Mbadula School – and take a few friends. I don’t imagine we’ll get them geared back up next Saturday... it’s the start of their 1-week holiday between terms, and they’re planning every minute already.

On the good news side, Nykaniso, who has gone to Church a few times with us, showed up today with his whole family and some cousins! And the missionaries haven’t even been to teach them yet! Very cool.

This was a rather “medical” week – my fault for noticing we hadn’t had many medical bills lately. Never comment out loud on things that are going well...
On Monday, an elder who finally called after 2 days of a fever of 103 went to Dr. John and found it was caused by a tick bite, and ended up on antibiotics. They call it tick bite fever, but it’s nothing like Lyme disease, so nobody panic.
In addition, an elder ended up at Richards Bay Hospital for stitches in his knee, after he threw a brick at a tree and it bounced back and hit him!
On Tuesday an elder went to Dr. John with some mysterious, starting-to-recur-more-frequently headaches, and ended up at Westville Hospital for an MRI. Diagnosis: complicated migraines (?) and a pill every day for 6 months.
Also Tuesday, another elder went to Dr. John (he gets a LOT of business from us!) with kidney pains, and ended up at Entabeni Hospital and a laproscopic appendectomy. That’s our second since we got here.
Add to that two elders with toothaches needing to see a dentist, and Hunter home for 3 days with a sore throat and head congestion, and you kind of get the picture. Steve and I and the Sessions were zigzagging between hospitals, faxing “We will pay all fees” letters to various doctors, dentists, and x-ray labs, organizing cars and a “floating” companion. Never a dull moment!

The good news is, that everyone is fine. Which is good, because this is transfer week, and we have 13 new elders coming in on Wednesday. I’m actually better prepared than usual: I have all their bedding bought and labelled, except a few of the pillows. Their Plan of Salvation visuals have been printed and laminated, and Margie has dinner all scheduled. (Have I mentioned how impressive I find the mission president wives who cook for every transfer? Sister Gaya in Madagascar even finds out a favorite food for every missionary, and fixes it when he leaves!) We’ll have to have orientation in the mission home, as the office conference room is being expanded into what used to be a kitchen. Elder Nkele, Elder Terry, and the Sessions have been VERY good sports working through jackhammers, drills, and having the electricity turned off. As you can see from the picture, we’re not talking about punching through sheetrock here: the wall was solid brick. I noticed that Steve and the assistants were away most of the week, doing district meetings and interviews. Very clever...

For some mysterious reason, our new elder from Germany has been at the Provo MTC, so he will arrive later in the day than the rest of the elders, and exhausted. Which is too bad, because Germany is only about an hour off our time zone, I think. Oh well – it was probably fun for him, seeing yet another country!

Sister Bartholomew and Sister Hafen found a new vendor right on my doorstep – at Essenwood Market in Durban. He painted the red bowl pictured above – check out the personal touches, especially the missionaries. It took him awhile to get them right: the missionaries on Sister Hafen’s bowl had blond hair and wore polo shirts, and the chapel had a cross on top! But he’s learning – and he even painted a bus for Westville Boys High School.

In addition to planning transfers, Steve has been working on the theme for the zone conferences Sept. 30-Oct. 4. With so many new missionaries over the past few transfers, and so many REALLY young trainers, it’s mostly a reaffirmation of all the things we’ve been encouraging over the last year. By the time these missionaries go home, no one will recognize them, they’ll be such amazing leaders, and so good at setting and achieving goals. To say nothing of their scripture knowledge and spiritual depth. I’ll encourage Steve to give them the famous mission president’s “Now it’s time to find an eternal companion and start a family” speech, so it won’t all be wasted.

We’re looking forward to conference – we get the morning sessions at 6pm, and the afternoon sessions at 10pm. Usually they show the a session at 6pm on Saturday at the church, then video the later one to show Sunday morning. Luckily we have access to the sessions at the mission home, so we can see them all (live and late, or on tape). The area presidency goes to conference, then 2 days after they get back we have the Mission Presidents’ Seminar in Johannesburg. Hope they can stay awake!

Have a great week, and don’t forget to watch conference!

Love, Mom/Grandma/Susan/Sue/Sister President Mann/Nurse Jane

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