I'm thinking this is probably about the 2nd day of Christmas? (Assuming it ends on the 25th.) So, how are your partridge and your turtle doves getting along?
I'm sad again - Elder and Sister Baum are heading for home. "People come and go so quickly here!" (for you movie buffs). I'm sure the miracles will continue as Elder & Sister Wilson take their place in Swaziland. It's really quite amazing how will our couples fit into the places they are assigned. And when a change is made, the people in the new branch are always SO happy and grateful to have them...With the latest transfers, Elder and Sister Klingler switched back from Newcastle to Madadeni, and it was like the branch was welcoming back a returning couple they had sent out on a mission!
You make such good friends with the other missionary couples, that it's hard to see them go - but it's also exciting to meet the incoming couple, and we're delighted with another set of dynamite Wilsons! I learned that they also have a sister and brother-in-law serving in Sierra Leone. The Elders Wilson have 11 siblings, so maybe we can get more! They are a very missionary minded family: their father was called on his mission by Heber J. Grant, and most of them served as young missionaries. Elder Wilson told us a wonderful family story about a great-great grandfather in Vermont who was studying to be a minister, but developed consumption and couldn't continue. He ended up travelling to Ohio, where he heard the "Joseph Smith" was a man who could heal people. He met the Prophet, and asked to be healed, and was handed a Book of Mormon. "Read it, and if it doesn't work for you, read it again!" He ended up being baptized by Oliver Cowdery, and the family still has that Book of Mormon. (Sorry if I muffed the details, Wilson family!)
Sister Baum's family also has an original Book of Mormon, as her great-great grandmother helped prepare the first editions. And speaking of Baums, if you read the last blog early in the week, you missed the sequel to the busload of investigators in Manzini. I just learned it. In one of their (constant) miracles, the Baums got up that morning to go to the Mbabane Branch, and as he started the car, Elder Baum said, "We need to go to Manzini. I don't know why, but we need to go to Manzini." And Sister Baum agreed, "Yes, we do." So they were there to sort out the classes and teach the first lesson to the 72 investigators. This is called "Praying for guidance, getting in the car, and going where the Spirit leads". It has worked very well for the Baums for 18 months...and 2 weeks.
With the hot weather, geckos are becoming more active. Sister Sessions really, really, REALLY doesn't like "critters" of any kind, but they have a very persistent gecko in their house. Elder Sessions learned of this the night he heard a scream from the bedroom and hurried in to rescue his wife from the gecko. Sister Sessions decided to keep it out for sure, so Elder Sessions "herded" it along the wall and outside. She then tucked a rug very securely across the bottom of the door, and set jars on it to hold it in place. When Elder Sessions pulled the rug out the next morning, the gecko had been sleeping in it, and immediately ran up the wall to start it's day. I think it likes them.
In case I misled anyone last blog, Elder Magwa has completed his mission, married, and returned to Richard's Bay to live. He wanted to live where people had known him as a missionary, not where old friends might expect him to be his "pre-mission" self. (Kind of like wanting to be your adult self instead of your high school self?) Anyway, I should have referred to the FORMER Elder Magwa's baby - sorry if I startled anyone!
The office and my dining room are packed with handouts, Christmas stockings, gifts, plates/napkins/cups/rolls of gold foil, snacks for breaks, chips for lunch...They're for the zone conference starting Wednesday. It's quite a logistics problem finding places for the more distant elders to stay: with Hunter and Morgan gone, we'll have the six new elders (arriving Tuesday) here at the mission home - the office is already booked! It's nice to be in a mission that is geographically small enough to get the elders all together - it's a real boost to everyone. The elders really like seeing each other, so they're very excited. (If they were girls, they'd be giggling.)
I'm writing up detailed instructions for the boys for their flight home. We even found a map of the Atlanta airport online for them. It's interesting to try to think of all the tiny details you need to know for checking in, finding gates, finding luggage, filling out customs forms... I'm trying to think of all the mistakes I've ever made travelling, so I can build the cautions in for them. Luckily, the Baums will be at the Jo'burg airport in case of any glitches at the start, and the Dibbs are in Atlanta, in case all the flights get cancelled there and they get stuck! I think I'll send the missionary department a list of cities I need backups in, so they can add that to the mix as they call senior couples for Durban! (Just kidding - they already know in heaven, anyway...)
Thanks again to everyone who is sending packages for missionaries - we'll hand out whatever has arrived at the zone conference, then deliver the rest by Christmas. And if any come after, they will be just as welcome: trust me!
Love you all!
Mom/Grandma/Susan/Sue/Sister President Mann/Santa's Helper
ps Two new South Africanisms: "I was pressurized into doing it" and "I was orientated for my new job today"