Sunday, November 23, 2008

2008 11 24 - Random Thoughts in the Middle of the Transfer Cycle

Dear Everyone except Joyce & Dan Jones, who came in last night to visit the Uffens and are here! (It is so fun to see familiar faces in unlikely places – feel free to drop in anytime.)

Our wonderful Elder & Sister Dibb left Tuesday – we are really going to miss them. The good news is a place to stay next time Hunter wants to go “home” to Atlanta – he did, after all spend his first four weeks of life there! the night before they left they took us to dinner at Roma – “One of the world’s 31 revolving restaurants, as it says on every table. It was beautiful watching the lights of Durban as they came one, but Steve’s favorite things was watching the end of a sailboat race in the harbor. We saw a store there that advertised nautical maps, so he’s going to get maps of the coast sometime. Probably in preparation for sailing home in 2010. Right. Maybe we can at least do a cruise/reunion with the couples one day.

Sister Sessions told me a bittersweet story about stake conference. Not to be subtle about it, any couples who sortofkindofmaybe are thinking of going on a mission, this is for you:

Since people in the townships can’t afford the taxi fare, they usually miss stake conference unless a bus is hired by the Church. Lots of members don’t get the word that stake conference is even happening, and of course the children who come alone to Church (and there are many in every branch) don’t know at all.

During stake conference and 8-year-old from KwaMashu Ward who was attending with her gogo found Sister Session and came to sit by her. She looked up at her for a moment, then asked, “Sister Sessions, who is going to teach Primary if you are here? The children are waiting for you.”

Sister Sessions explained that no one would be at the chapel today, as everyone was invited to stake conference, instead. The little girl then told here that as she and her gogo passed the church in their taxi, they saw the children waiting outside to gate to go in to Primary. “Who will teach them, Sister Sessions? They’re waiting for you!”
(Or maybe for you?)

OK, so that’s pretty dramatic, but you can’t help feeling it out here. It’s like this morning, driving home after taking the boys to school. Every day I pass dozens of people walking, and I wish I could give them all a ride. I’m sure there’s a missionary lesson in their somewhere – maybe D&C 63:4? Our (we’re so possessive about these missionaries!) Elder & Sister Patterson, after a year of civilian life, are heading out in January for another mission. They’ll be right next door, in the Zimbabwe mission. Hurrah for Israel!

So, enough guilt tips, on to a new subject. Hunter and Morgan are taking exams this week and next. It’s pretty tough, like taking tests in a foreign country. Oh wait, we ARE in a foreign country! Here’s an example of what adds to the challenge: In the States we would write four thousand, two hundred twenty seven and forty-six cents as 4,227.46. Here they write it 4.227,46. Try remembering to switch the period and comma while you are taking a timed test and struggling just to figure out the problems and get the arithmetic right! And even if the numbers in the answer are correct, if they don’t put the comma and period in the new order, the answer is wrong. And of course it’s rands instead of dollars.

And all the boys (not just mine) are also complaining that the new government exams are testing on things they didn’t cover in class. Oh, and during the EMS test on Friday (it’s kind of like accounting) the academic head came in two or three times as she looked over the exam (the exams are delivered each morning so no school can cheat) and found errors. So the students would have to re-do the spreadsheets, etc. because a plus sign was supposed to be a minus sign, or vice versa. (I’m kind of simple, but couldn’t they just have done it as written, since the whole country has the same exam paper?)

Now for more cheerful news: Hunter is back playing some basketball – his knee seems to be allowing it, so we’ll see how it goes. He’s much happier now that he can play again.

And on Saturday Elder Waterbohr had the unusual opportunity to be best man at a wedding in KwaDabeka. When the missionaries first met the bride and groom they were living together, but as they progressed in the lessons he moved out, and they were recently baptized. Now they are married, he will move back in! The groom’s name is Mafia, but he’s thinking of changing it to something more positive. I hope he chooses something like Ammon or Moroni... And, as a point of interest, members have to be married civilly first, so they have a week afterwards to get to the temple to be sealed, or they need to wait a year.

I saw a parable come to life this week. There are always men who appear to be loitering around the parking lots at the video store, and McDonald’s. On Saturday I was returning a video early in the morning, and a car pulled in behind me. The driver stepped out, and all the “loiterers” headed for him. He pointed to two of them, and they climbed in his car and off they went. The others went back to waiting. I don’t know if these labourers get a penny or a rand for the day, but it certainly made the scriptures come to life!

Mom/Grandma/Sue/Susan/Sister President Mann/Couple Missionary Recruiter

ps I spotted a couple of interesting hair salons this week: the one in Pinetown offers Hair Cuts, Braiding, and Human Hair. I didn't want to ask... On the other hand, you can always stop in Swaziland at the Anointed Hands Hair Care Saloon (sp). Elder Schlenker says we have a member who works there.

pps When I tell these stories, it is definitely not to poke fun at the wonderful people here: I'm sure they could find just as many funny things in Idaho! In fact, while I was growing up in Salt Lake, we did!

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