Friday, October 24, 2008

2008 10 26 - Once Upon a Time...

Dear Family & Friends:

This week I have a few stories to tell you - life is so interesting!

We had an interesting form of opposition to a baptism a few weeks ago. A mother, a teen and two younger children were all preparing to be baptized. On the Sunday in question, the gogo (grandmother) "kidnapped" the two younger children to "save" them from baptism. The mother and older child were baptized, and I believe things were sorted so the other baptisms took place this week.

Elder Ta'aga and Elder Maneno have been using the Suzuki bakkie while we're waiting for cars to be repaired. They locked the keys inside the other night, in the ignition. (Note: I must admit, I did that once, only with the ignition running, and Torry in her car seat, but let's not go there...) Anyway, Elder & Sister Sessions got the spare key and went to Umlazi, to the rescue. They tried, in the rain, for 2 1/2 hours to get that thing open! The key wouldn't unlock the driver door, and although the lock moved up and down on the passenger door, it wouldn't open either. They called the vehicle emergency people, who took the info, and wanted the VIN #. "Do you have a flashlight?" asked Elder Sessions, on the cellphone. "Yes," responded the young woman. "May I borrow it?" he asked. "Yes," she said. "And how do I get it?" They finally got the first few numbers for her using cellphone lights. Tough job; Sister Sessions now has a tiny flashlight in her bag. The young woman said they would respond "Just now". (That can mean anytime between now and Christmas.) Elder Sessions asked specifically, "Do you mean now, now now, or just now?" Unfortunately, the answer was "just now". They called a tow truck, to try to get into the bakkie, but the guy couldn't do any better with what was at hand than the missionaries. And he kept calling his friend to come help ("He can do it in a minute!") but the friend was afraid it was a set-up by the police. Now what kind of individual would be able to break into cars, and worry about a sting...?

So the end of the story: since someone would have broken into the car and stolen it if they'd left it there, Elder Ta'aga got to break out the rear window, climb in and drive the bakkie back. Turns out it wasn't some fancy security issue: the handle on the passenger door and the lock on the driver door just both decided to die at the same time. Maybe the elders have been climbing through the windows for months, and didn't think to mention it!

A sister in KwaMashu went into labor one evening, and she and her husband started walking to catch a taxi to the hospital. They were held up, and when she told the guys she was in labor, they just said "So what?" She and her husband took off running for their lives, and managed to get away and to a taxi and the hospital, and the baby was delivered safely.

A group of missionaries visited a local mosque on a preparation day, where they were shown around and introduced to Islam. Then they were ushered into a room where the "tour guide" proceeded to show an anti-Mormon movie and harass them on our beliefs. They left (politely) but a few days later the story and some photos showed up in small Islamic newspaper. Steve called the area public relations office, and was told that the head of Islam for South Africa (or maybe all of Africa) is a very good friend to the Church, and will doubtless respond to the incident in a very direct way. I should add that our elders have visited mosques before, and had a very good experience.

Good news from Elders Parry and John - the investigator I mentioned last week who wanted to know more about baptism? The family is now choosing a date for theirs. I love being part of this work!!

For those who may have missed it, our KZN provincial rugby team, the Sharks, won the national Currie Cup yesterday. They haven't won for 14 years, and they beat the Blue Bulls from Johannesburg, who beat us last year for the Cup. Morgan was at the game, and all of Durban was watching it on TV.

Later that night, Hunter heard "noises" in the attic above his room, so he decided to sleep in family room (did I mention that he and Morgan and their friends have been going to all the scary movies lately?). Well, a little later I heard thumping in the attic above my room, and when I mentioned it to the boys, Hunter said "Leave the lights on!" and Morgan immediately called Steve, over in the office. He laughingly informed us that there were fireworks going off in honor of the rugby win. But honestly, you would have sworn the thumps were in the attic... I guess the lights weren't UFOs, either.

We're feeling a lot calmer here, after hearing about people being harassed by protesters on the way to the Oakland Temple. The email I got made it sound like Lehi's dream, only everyone had come out of the great and spacious building and was standing on the sidewalks, and even in the street, yelling and waving signs. It will be nice when the elections are over and California is back to it's normal craziness.

This story is for sisters only: I went for a perm this week, and after being rolled up in rods that were held in place by something that looked like rubber bands, the rods were made more secure with toothpicks, then my head was wrapped in plastic wrap and covered by a towel. I felt like an hors d'oevre!

We visited The Workshop in downtown Durban on Saturday morning. I thought it would be full of African crafts, but it was just a mall. Hunter wanted to go, to find a t-shirt and sweatshirt in one of his favorite, hard-to-find, not-in-Idaho brands (there just isn't a lot of gangsta stuff available, is there?). We had 4 of the "bros" with us. Morgan and Hunter were both worried it would be "ghetto" and we wouldn't be safe there, but it was a very nice mall - probably the main one before Pavilion and Gateway were built. Anyway, the boys had prophesied that we'd be the only white people there, but no: we saw 11 others. I also got a great bargain on comforters for new missionaries at a sidewalk booth outside the mall. And yes, we found something for Hunter, very bling.

The school is getting ready for "controlled exams". It's part of a new curriculum that was put in place this year. Next year every class will require 7 "portfolios" of work, instead of the assignments and exams they've used in the past. I guess they're trying to make the work in different schools more comparable, or something? Anyway, Hunter and Morgan are actually studying (a little). The teachers have given them practice packets to fill out, which will be very helpful, as they throw all their notes everywhere and would probably not be too organized on their own. The matrics (grade 12) have finished their actual classes are are not "revising" for their end of school exams, which are really all that count out of the whole 4 years of high school. It's not like the U.S. where colleges look at all your grades.

Two of Hunter's friends were asking about the requirements for U.S. universities, so next year we may have our own "SAT preparation" class in the mission home. Maybe with some friends involved, our boys will pay more attention. I've got to find out where they can take the ACT or SAT here, anyway. Trying to coordinate the school system here, and the school sytem at home is tricky, to say the least.

Well, love to all, here goes another week!
Mom/Grandma/Sue/Susan/Sister President Mann

1 comment:

Philip said...

Just wanted to thank you for your mission updates. I am always fascinated by the current happenings back in KZN/SWZ and it's great to have that connection and update. I just hope the next Mission Pres couple do the same thing!

As for the Currie Cup, what a terrific match it was. Most of Little South Africa in London (we have a lot of Natalians here) was celebrating too!

All the best (see you in April!)

(Former Elder) Philip Siu!