Saturday, January 31, 2009

2009 02 01 - Sweet (not!) Sixteen

Dear Everyone:

I am officially sending Morgan back to remedial math. Friday being their 16th birthday, we had a coed (!) party that night. Morgan had suggested 20 guests, I had countered with 12 and figured it would end up somewhere in the middle. By 9:30 we had about 50 - Steve thought it was 60, but they move around a schools of fish. The music was loud, the food ran out early, and no one cared the least bit. They talked, and a few danced, and played video games and generally chilled and seemed to have a great time. And several of our "frequent residents" made a point of cleaning things up afterwards.

Only one mother (of a girl) called to see if parents would be present, but Morgan may have told anyone who asked that we'd be there. Every 15 minutes or so Steve or I (actually, mostly me!) would do a circuit through and around the house to make sure everything was under control. My first circuit I stepped out on the front porch and asked the crowd there if there was any smoking or drinking or swearing going on. They assured me there wasn't...

Four older boys who had been drinking tried to crash the party, but Morgan, Sthembiso and Travis muscled them off the property. (Rugby players make very good club bouncers.) We did find a few empty bottles in the bushes this morning - Hunter is keeping the one that is "Hunter's" brand. ("Hunter's - Cooling Durbs one drink at a time") All in all it went very well, and the best thing is, since Morgan was at least four times over the guest limit, this counts as four parties, instead of one!

One other Hunter and Morgan note (not for the squeamish): At 6am in Fridays, the rugby team has "fitness" - mostly long runs or multiple sprints. The coach wasn't too pleased with their practices this week, so he told them (and I quote) "On Friday you will work so hard you will vomit blood, I promise you!" I am constantly amazed at what boys accept as perfectly normal, when their coaches are involved.

OK, on to the good stuff. I picked up Elder and Sister Pier, our newest couple, at the airport Saturday: Steve and the assistants and the Sessions were all in Richards Bay for district auxiliary/priesthood training. Their trip was 38 hours from start to finish. They'll be working in Swaziland with the SwaziWilsons for 3 months, then move into one of the other districts when we lose a few couples in April (I hate to even think about that).

We also gained four new elders this week, including Elder Ikahihifo, our first New Zealander (rugby player: right flank). Sadly, four of our experienced elders (well, actually, our most experienced, since they have been out two years...) left for home. Elder Gifford and Elder Hansell were picked up by their families, so it was nice to get a little acquainted with them. I couldn't help thinking of Elder Quinn's and Elder Beardsley's families at home- "I'll bet he's in Johannesburg now." "Do you think he's on the plane yet?" "I hope there aren't any delays because of the weather." "What time should we leave for the airport?" "I can't wait!!!"
Been there, done that.

I think the elders will be finished introducing "How Great Shall Be Your Joy" and the member missionary training in the last wards and branches by next Sunday. It's going over very well - in Umlazi BB Elder Schaupp and Elder Potter presented the segment on giving away a Book of Mormon, then had all the members write their testimony in one and take it with them. Several of the members are already asking for more copies to give away. Our favorite member comment after a missionary experience is "But that was so easy!"

Elders Terry, Syphrett, Hooser, Muhwezi & Kitili showed "How Great Shall Be Your Joy" at Pinetown Ward today, and introduced the Preach My Gospel Member program. They did a really good job. During the discussion section, Brother Veal told his conversion story: A girlfriend gave Sister Veal a Book of Mormon with a testimony in it, signed by an Allen Mason. They eventually joined the Church. 12 years later, at some kind of function, Brother Veal asked the name of a man he noticed, and was told "That's Allen Mason." He immediately asked to meet him, and thanked him for the Book of Mormon that influenced his life. A Book of Mormon you give to a friend may change hands many times before it reaches the person who is prepared for it - I don't think anyone can just throw them away!

Elder Kitili is being trained by Elder Terry to take over as general secretary. Elder Terry can hardly wait to get back into the field fulltime! 3 weeks, and counting...

Our car accidents seem to have slowed down (maybe because the drivers have?) but injuries and illnesses continue to poke along. I'm getting used to the explanation "It wasn't because I was playing soccer, it's just that during the game I something pulled in my knee." Like it would have happened no matter where he was? No matter what he was doing? I don't THINK so! But there's nothing serious, for which I am very grateful. And actually, the elders hate being sick or injured... it really slows down the work, and ties up two elders at a time at the doctor's, or the hospital, or the chemist's. On the other hand, we're helping the South African economy...

My favorite expression this week is "24 7 365." I saw it on a Globeflight truck, then the next day I heard it in one of Hunter's rap songs. I think it's the modern equivalent of Mosiah 4:30.

This week will be orienting Elder and Sister Pier, interviews and mini-training, then Thursday and Friday are the couples seminar in Swaziland.
It's been interesting working out the carpools for this one - it sounds like a math problem: How many cars do you need, if 4 couples are going up Wednesday, 2 couples are going up Thursday, one couple is coming in from Johannesburg Thursday, 1 sister is flying home Friday, 1 couple and their car are staying in Swaziland, 2 couples are coming home Saturday, 2 couples are coming home Sunday, 1 elder needs a ride to Durban on Sunday, 1 president is staying in Swaziland with the assistants and the Vito, and 1 couple doesn't care which day they come home?
Let me know by Wednesday if you figure it out.

Mom/Grandma/Susan/Sue/Sister President Mann

ps This week someone actually used the expression "Wait a mo".

pps Hunter is learning to simplify his writing. Try removing all redundancies from this (true) sentence: Tuesday it rained and poured continually, non-stop,all day without a single, solitary break.

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