Saturday, July 18, 2009

2009 07 26 - School's Back in Session - Hurray!

Dear Everyone:
I am working at home this week while Steve and the Assistants do the interview/skills training loop. They're doing it faster than usual, as August has both a mission tour with Elder Koelliker, and a couples conference. And another zone conference. This means there are more interviews every day than usual, so Steve really gets worn out. Maybe he can take a break...after we go home?

The boys and their friends are using a new slang expression. With huge apologies to my son, and brother, and father, and grandfather, and great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather, and Steve's grandfather: Lately, when someone says something foolish, the boys all start laughing and say "That's George!" or possibly "That's making George!" Do you have that in America?
Sister Johnson has scheduled the recording session for Elder Nare, our opera singing missionary. He'll be doing six songs, ranging from sacred to opera to Christmas. The man who set it up for us at Sesalos Recordings has a blogspot (doesn't everyone?) and he mentions some of the companies he has worked with. Ready for a little irony? One of them is the infamous "Grindrod"! I expect next that Sister Sessions will be submitting a baptismal record for Boltt Njabulo Grindrod...

Today I had an actual missionary moment, thanks to Elders Summers and Swenson. Lucia, sister to Jubz' girlfriend Neli, called to ask for help with a school paper. They are writing on different cultures/religions and she chose the Mormon culture(!). I picked Neli and Lucia up in Kloof and met the elders at Hillcrest chapel. They gave the girls a tour, and taught them a lot of gospel principles. I don't often get to hear our missionaries in action; they did a wonderful job. Neli asked how someone her age learns more about the Church - that's a question we like! Hopefully the elders will get a chance to talk to her parents, and either teach the whole family or just the girls. I know our emphasis is rings and spears (families or potential priesthood) but when the young women are your kids' friends, you tend to lean towards an exception. Jubz has been reading the Book of Mormon, and goes to Youth (mutual) all the time. Who knows where all this may lead?

Also today Steve got a letter from Elder Machawe Shongwe, one of the missionaries out from our mission, serving in the Zimbabwe Harare Mission. Here is just a tiny piece of it: "Three months ago I was called as a zone leader and I felt that I was so inadequate...For me it was a surprise, and I took all my weakness to my Saviour...I asked the Lord for revelations because Nephi and Lehi were entitled to revelations daily (Helamen 11:23). I have had sleepless nights because revelations kept on coming..." There are wonderful missionaries serving in the Church these days. They know why they're here, and where to go for guidance. I feel like a new, inexperienced convert when I hear some of their experiences and testimonies.

Some of you may still be thinking of South Africa as a quiet, third-world country. Au contraire! I've been reading the signs they put up on the poles along the road, advertising events. These few months, among many other things, you could have attended the 55-mile Comrades Marathon, several surfing competitions, professional rugby and soccer games; a country fair, a White Elephant & Pre-Loved clothing Sale at the Presbyterian Church, a (very small) circus at Westwood Mall; productions such as Winnie-the-Pooh, Queens of Comedy, Salsa Sizzle, Boy Bands of the 60's; Boat & Lifestyle/Food & Good Wine/Eastern Bridal Fair events; Fundraising Concert for Islamic Service organization; Jazz at the Lake at the Botanical Garden, the Durban in July horse races, a lecture on self-enlightenment; a rally featuring President Jacob Zuma; AND the Richards Bay Roadshows, a Pioneer Day Satellite Broadcast, and a variety of Mormon Helping Hands service projects. We know how to party here in Africa.

I have learned a few things the last week or two - nothing eternal, like how to hie to Kolob - but interesting:
1. A tiny fuse can make a large, heavy gate stop moving - or start moving.
2. If Woolworth's is having trouble deciding on the price of Hershey's chocolate sauce, they won't sell it to you.
3. Paying a group of boys R10 each to take a survey does not ensure that the one boy you REALLY wanted to take the survey will take it.
4. Even though the runners for a sliding drawer are priced separately, you have to buy two.
5. Alternatively, a clerk in a camera store can be nice enough to let you take your 101 8x10 photos of the all-zone conference home with you with only a small cash downpayment, if her credit card machine isn't working.
6. Someone has determined that my ancestress Sarah Strait was actually the daughter of John Strait, and not Johan Streit. The men lived 5 miles apart, and Johan gave us some German heritage. Of course all the sealings were done long ago, and some of my family have even visited the graves of some of our (maybe) Streit ancestors. Not much I can do about it at the moment, but I'm looking forward even more to the millenium when our ancestors will hopefully be helping out the research a little.
7. And on the same subject, I looked up some of the family records when I got the news. You know, it's not very helpful when the death date for a person on your family group sheet just says "dead".
8. One set of escalators at Pavilion Mall runs backwards. At every other set of escalators, the one you would use is on the left. (Yours are probably on the right, like traffic flow.) But to go down to the movies in the basement, on level 0, you take the right hand escalator.
9. At St. Augustine's (aw-GUS-tun's) hospital, level 5 in the South Block means going five floors down instead of 5 floors up. The hospital is built on a hill (of course, this is Durban) and the top floor of South Block connects by a tunnel to the ground floor (level 0) of the main hospital.
10. When Zulu children count with their fingers, they start with their pinky finger as 1, and progress to the thumb as 5. This makes teaching fingering on a keyboard a little difficult, as it's all 1, 2, 3, etc. starting with the thumb.
11.. Pedestrians let the taxi drivers know where they are going through hand signals. For example, if you hold up your index finger and move it up and down, you are waiting for a taxi that is going to town. The drivers also make signals to explain where they are headed, by hanging their arms down out the window and making hand motions. I don't think any of the hand motions are only rude gestures, but then, my hands don't speak Zulu.
12. The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain. Oh wait! I knew that already!


ps I'm not sure I can fit my life, Steve's life, Hunter's life and Morgan's life all into one Saturday. Today it meant:
Mission Home -Pavilion - Mission Home
Mission Home - Pavilion - Mission Home
Mission Home - Pavilion - Pinetown - Pavilion - Mission Home
Mission Home - Pavilion - Mission Home
Mission Home - Kloof - wandering lost around Kloof in the dark - Mission Home
Mission Home - Pavilion - Mission Home
Steve drives longer distances, but I get to more places!

pps It snowed in Newcastle Friday night!

1 comment:

Julie said...

I love all the things you've learned. So random!