Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2009 02 23 - Many and Varied Experiences

Miss Scott, formerly known as Sister Scott, recently returned from the Toronto East Mission, where she served part of her time in Scarborough, as did her future mother-in-law. Other fascinating (to us) trivia:
Sara taught a Jamaican lady who returned to Jamaica and was baptized. Connection? Logan served his mission in Jamaica.
Sara met Sister Essma in the Provo MTC. Connection? Sister Essma was on her way to the South Africa Durban Mission, as part of our once-a-year group from the Provo MTC.
Sara became well-acquainted with Sister Sweeney in Scarborough. Connection? Sister Sweeney's grandson Elder Weaver is currently staying in the boarding on the back of the office (and was able to get our video system to work in the mission home).
I could go on and on... fortunately, I won't. The wedding is scheduled for June 18th, and I get to be there! We are all totally excited for them both, as we already love Sara and have been waiting (along with Logan) for 18 months to see if there would be a "happily ever after." And there will be!
Now, back to our regular programming:
Dear Everyone There:
We've had a few odd things Here.
Sister Sessions tells me that they had an angel visit the KwaMashu Branch one Sunday. A Zulu woman danced and twirled her way into the chapel as the branch president was speaking, flapping her "wings." The branch president tried to keep talking, but she announced that she was an angel and had a message for the congregation. It was that God loves us, which is a good message, but just at that moment. The strangest thing to me was that she spoke English to a congregation that was wholly Zulu except for a few missionaries. Gift of tongues, maybe?
A team of our elders played a basketball game against the Durban High School team on Monday. Elder Knowles has been trying to put something together his whole mission. Our guys played really well for old, out of shape, haven't practised together players! If the scoring had been kept correctly, we think we would have won by one point. As it is, we lost by 5 or 6. I should perhaps mention that the refs were both Durban coaches, and there were a vast amount of "questionable" calls. In fact, my job was to sit near the team, with some of the elders watching the game, and do damage control with those who started yelling at the refs. "Not one more word, elder!" and "Smile!" were two of the more common comments. The elders responded very well - and you've never seen basketball players with such giant smiles as our elders...especially after some of the more unusual calls.
Turns out that years ago there used to be a Mormon League (mostly missionaries) that played regularly with the Portugese League the Durban coach was involved with. We chatted with him after the game, and he let the elders pass out "Who are the Mormons?" pamphlets. The coach would be happy to have his team play the elders every week - no, THAT''S not going to happen! Durban has been the best team in KZN - so we probably gave them their best game of the season.
Hot weather hit hard this week - just in time to catch Steve out working with the elders. The elders don't wear their suit jackets, but he only likes long-sleeved shirts, so he's feeling what Morgan's friend Richard (Van Zyl) calls the "hectic hot". But it's OK, he's still having a great time. He would always rather be out with the missionaries. I find my "wash & wear" hairdo has one small problem: in the humidity, it takes hours to dry. The wet look is back. Morgan's friend Richard Van Zyl from Hillcrest calls it "hectic hot".
The hot weather and a malfunctioning aircon unit has created a problem for Elders Hartvigsen and Weaver. They are staying in the boarding on the back of the mission office while the Sessions find a new boarding in Durban North. All of their clothes and bedding and even books are starting to mold... They've been sleeping in the Assistants' office while we try to sort it out.
Elders Chafin, Stanger and Schlenker have found a new twist for the "Circles" we are using to encourage members to think of people they can share the gospel with. They asked a Nick, in Kloof how many close friends he has... "8 or 10, maybe." So, how about other friends you know? "If I count Facebook, about 325"(!) So now they're figuring out ways to approach Facebook acquaintances - for instance, a lot of the members in Kloof play rugby every Friday. So Nick might make a "group" out of the rugby players, and invite others to join them. We're getting pretty least in the neighborhoods with computers.
We had a great Sunday School lesson today - as you undoubtedly know, it was on the restoration of the priesthood. We heard some wonderful stories of priesthood blessings. The teacher herself was in a car accident as a young woman and newish membe of the Church. She was paralyzed and x-rays indicated her back and spine were broken. The doctors weren't sure she would even make it through the night.
She received a priesthood blessing in the x-ray lab, before her second set of x-rays. Those x-rays indicated no breaks. The doctors didn't know what to do now, with conflicting evidence of injury: they sent for a specialist from Cape Town, and put her in traction and tube feeding for a week. Finally her father asked what the doctors had decided to do, and they said they couldn't decide. So the dad said "Then let's go home!" She had to learn to walk, but everything got back to normal and she went on to marry and have children (something else the doctors said would be impossible.) Isn't priesthood authority great!
A young man running the cash register at Woolworth's gave me a great new missionary slogan this week. He saw my nametag, called me an "angel", and said as I was leaving, "Go there and tell them!" So we are.
Does this sound like South Africa, or what? Morgan called Langa to find out when his cricket game ends today - "When shall we fetch you?" - so we can go from there to pick up Richard after his water polo game so I can drop them all at the Sharks rugby game...
Many thanks to all those who have adopted our African elders! Please keep those emails and packages coming in. They love them. Anything sent through the post office can come to P.O. Box 1741, Wandsbeck 3631, South Africa. If you need a physical address, it's 8 Windsor Avenue, Westville 3630, South Africa. The office number is 031 267 0250.
If you get too busy to continue, please let me know so I can find a new contact for your elder. And if you know anyone else who would like to email a missionary, I'm at
Have a wonderful week!
Mom/Grandma/Sue/Susan/SisterPresidentMann/Soontobemotherinlawfor thesecondtime

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