This has been a great week. We held zone conferences in Berea, Hillcrest and Newcastle, focused on Elder Tad Callister's MTC talk on Becoming a Consecrated Missionary. When I first read it I thought it was almost overwhelming, but then, consecration IS overwhelming. It's overwhelming selfishness, and laziness, and the temporal man, and all kinds of things.
The elders were given a copy of the talk last week, so they could read it before zone conference. Tuesday we met with Richards Bay, Umlazi (with their "folks away from home", the Johnsons), and Durban Zones. Elder and Sister Hafen gave terrific talks on sacrifice, consecration, and sanctification. We are really going to miss them in April when they go home - they are our one couple who was called to come on a mission, rather than putting in their papers. Sister Hafen told the elders how unhappy she was when she arrived, and how unhappy she is now...to be leaving the people she loves so much! They wouldn't have missed this experience for the world. And their attitude about the people here must have made an impression on their family at home: a son and daughter came out to visit this month, for only four days. They didn't care about the sights and the safaris: they just wanted to meet the people. The Bartholomews may go into a decline when the Hafens leave: the four of them have been a great team up in Richards Bay.
Wednesday we met with Hillcrest and Pietermaritzburg Zones. Elder Sessions gave the talk there, and as usual it was like being at general conference. His talks are always very thoughtful, and full of great quotes. We invited the Mickelsens, Markums and Griesemers to this conference, as these are two zones without any couple missionaries. The elders like being around the couples whenever they can - and it's fun for the couples, too. Their assignments with CES, PEF & welfare/employment require them to travel, so although they meet (and help!) lots of different people, they don't have much time with the fulltime missionaries.
After zone conference we drove up to Newcastle and had dinner at the Black Pepper - the restaurant with our favorite round table - with the (Swazi)Wilsons, Piers, Uffens, Klinglers and (Ladysmith)Wilsons. We're losing the Uffens in April, too, very reluctantly, but they just helped us to a new couple, so it is easing the pain a little. This may be the new requirement for leaving: providing your own replacements! Elder (Swazi)Wilson gave the talk there - totally different from the others, and once again wonderful. He shared some family stories about his pioneer ancestors, and what they gave for the faith. I'm sorry you miss all these great experiences. Reading a little about them is just not the same. Of course, those of you entering your "twilight" years (what an awful expression, especially if you've seen the movie) could join us and experience it all first hand...
We got back Thursday night just in time to take the boys and their friends to Mutual (the kids call it "Youth" here, due to peer group pressure). Friday we got word that Steve's beloved Vito was going to be replaced on Saturday. Morgan and five other rugby players were the last to ride in it: to and from Ciao Italia for carbo-loading for Saturday's matches against Hilton. The new Vivaro came in - less pickup, less leg room, a little easier to drive, seats nine instead of eight, and easier to pack lots of stuff in. Life is full of trade-offs!
And now, this week's rugby update...
Josh, the #3 prop on the U16A team, was caught on film (though not by the ref) stepping on the head of a Michaelhouse player. There were, apparently, some hard words being thrown about on the field, and Josh had finally had enough. It can't have been too bad, as the stepped-on-player continued playing with no pause for a run-on-field by the medical folks. Anyway, the Michaelhouse headmaster spotted it while watching the game film, immediately called the Westville headmaster, who immediately called in Josh, who has been suspended from rugby for three games and had to write an apology letter to the Michaelhouse headmaster. Whew.
Why this long story, do you ask? I will tell you, whether you ask or not! This moves Morgan up (at least for three games) to the A team, and the jersey and bag with a big white #3. Is he happy? Were all the Utah teams eliminated during the first round of March Madness? So today he played (hard! he wants to keep the spot) with the A team, and they beat Hilton 22-5. There were several minor injuries, including a mild concussion that Ste ("stee") suffered, and a Hilton player being taken off in an ambulance. (Rugby is way more physical than football, guys.) The 1st team also won, 13-9. Once again, Westville is bragging freely and walking proud. Well, walking slowly, with very sore muscles...
So there you have it: a typical week for mission president's wife. Which is to say, every mission president's wife has her own totally different weeks. I enjoy reading blogspots from Albania and the DRC and other missions that are so different from mine. If you want to check some out, just google the mission name you're interested in. They're all pretty interesting!
So happy spring, to those of you in the northern hemisphere. We are heading into fall, although you don't see too much to prove it. Once in awhile there's a gray day with the wind blowing, and a few trees lose leaves or turn a little yellow, but things are still blooming, and there's lots of green, so not much has changed. I hope you all get some nice warm weather soon, and that none of the blossoms freeze. And that Grandma Mann can find geraniums soon! That's the real sign of spring...
ps Grandma Wilford taught her teenage Sunday School class combined with our adult class today. It's lovely to be called on by a teacher with "Yes, my sweetheart?" and finish with "Well, my darlings, that's my lesson for today."