It finally go cold! It was -3 C overnight at the youth convention (26 F), with no heat in the cottages. And here in Durban it's running around 15 C (59 F) at night, then warms up (usually) during the day - if it's not windy. I'm sure that sounds warm to you, however, when you've become acclimated, it feels chilly! Everyone is bundled up in hats and scarves and coats - but when you consider they often start walking at 4:30am, in an hour and a half of dark, to get to work, it's understandable. The homes are made of brick, and although they may have a little electric heater, they definitely hold the cold in winter, and the heat in summer. So appreciate your air conditioners and central heating!
Hunter did his 5-day-work-in-an-office-to-learn-about-careers school assignment this week. He was in the mission office, and among other things he attended office devotionals, filed paid bills, shredded old records, inventoried supplies, inspected boardings, picked up mail, went to the bank, labeled file folders, laminated, put together bedding packs, and prepared new missionary packets. He worked willingly, but he's not planning to major in office work, I can assure you.
Morgan will be working in the office after all, the last week of the holidays. Right now he's in Ballito (upscale, touristy beach town) with a friend's family for a few days. Hunter is loving being an only child.
We had a good example of kindness, and willingness to serve, and friendship - and the miracle of modern, instant communication - this week. Pearl Pillay, a matric (grade 12) in the Chatworth Ward, was selected to go to a conference in Washington DC and New York City. Her material, passport, and visa all came through very late, so the only avilable flights had her arriving a day before the conference, and leaving the day after. Her mother panicked, and called Sister Markum (CES missionary) who called me. I proceeded to call Hayley, who has best friends everywhere. Her friend Andi lives in DC, but is in Utah for the summer; she still put the need out on the ward's online bulletin board for us. I then called Robyn & Dave Chamberlain, from our home ward in Eagle. Their (beautiful & brilliant) daughter Melanie is teaching in DC. I then called Melanie, who agreed to pick Pearl up at Dulles Airport, an hour from her home, at 7 am on the 4th of July. This in spite of the fact she was returning from New York at 1 am that morning!
Next, the New York connection. Hayley also has a good friend there - and Elisabeth immediately agreed to pick Pearl up from her conference on the 18th and host her until her flight on the night of the 19th. Thank you, amazing women!
This whole process caused me to start thinking about my kids, and some of their "gifts". I would invite you (we don't "challenge" anymore) to try the same thing with your kids, siblings or roommates. Here's what I came up with - and it's only one each out of many.
Torry: can focus strongly on a goal or activity and give it her all until she completes it.
Hayley: makes deep, enduring friendships.
Logan: is steadfast in his commitment to right principles.
Parker: can imagine uninvented, undiscovered, undeveloped, wonderful things.
Morgan: enthuses everyone around him when he gets excited about something.
Hunter: inspires loyalty (and service!) in his friends.
I think I started thinking about this because the same day I called on Hayley for her help I had been reading Moroni 10, which describes a few of the many spiritual gifts we can seek after.
On the missionary front, Elder Nare called in with a reporting question: one of their investigators is expecting twins. "President, can I count them as progressing investigators?"
Elder Nkele is the envy of the mission. He recently had a birthday, and his "adopter" invited her friends to send him birthday cards. He now holds the record for most deliveries in a week. I've been very grateful for the people who have emailed recently offering to adopt an African missionary. Please be patient - they arrive every 6 weeks, and we do still get a few Americans, who seem to have lots of people writing them. I am keeping a list as emails arrive, and you will be waiting along with your elder for his mission to start. (And a reminder - the new Gospel Art Book is a wonderful gift for a missionary - they use them in their teaching.)
More and more missionaries are telling Steve he looks tired... it isn't slowing him down, though. I can't tell you how many times in the last two years he has said "Just a couple more days (or revisions, or meetings) and we'll be back to normal." Which is what, exactly? He has promised to take a week off when Logan and Sara come in December...we'll see. But Steve is like his mom - he'd rather wear out than rust out. And if she hasn't worn out yet, I guess he won't.
I couldn't find any sparklers for the 4th of July, although when I described them to Jubz he said they do have them here. I guess I should have gone to one of the Indian shopping areas - they have huge fireworks for their celebrations, and they must get them somewhere. I hope you all went to watch fireworks somewhere - I missed them.
ps Mysterious service #227: As you know, body repair shops are called panelbeaters here. I saw a panel truck this week with a similar type of logo: Boltt Grindrods. Any idea what THEY might do?
pps All the people headed for Ballito Friday night had to make a huge detour as part of the freeway was closed. A great big truck had dropped a load of potatoes on the road. (Anyone ever run across that problem in Idaho?) It happened around 6:30pm, and the freeway entrance was still closed at 10pm (I know this because I was doing Mall runs). I guess they were picking them up one at a time.