Happy Labor Day! We tried to talk "the Prez" into a 3-day weekend, but no go.
It was strange to have zone conferences again so soon after the set we had during President Koelliker's mission tour - but it's always nice to see the elders as often as possible. I got some more great stories for you - I wish I heard ALL the stories, but they are all over the mission, and there are so many!
Elder Crowther told about a man who lives in the same apartments where he does. Elder Crowther and Elder Katende always back each other out (well done!) and finally one day the baba asked why they did it ... was it a rule or something? And what were they doing in Pietermaritzburg, anyway?
They are now teaching the baba, and his family. And the baba, who is a fireman, is trying to get them down to the firehouse to teach his co-workers. Obedience works!
Elder Amerikau told of a driving school teacher who had been taught long ago, but never pursued his investigations. They got talking when Elder Maremela took his driving lessons. Turned out the teacher has an LDS girlfriend who talked him into coming to Church. The topic that day was temples, and he was very impressed and asked for a copy of Gospel Principles. He read it all night, then called the elders in the middle of the night, and arranged for a 6 am meeting. He said he knew our Church was true, and he had told his uncle.
Part 2 is the complication: his uncle is a pastor, and it's a family-owned church. Plus he had been baptized into that church the very week before. So now he's trying to figure out how to be baptized without being totally disowned by his family. The elders will just have to convert the whole congregation, I guess...
The efforts to negotiate lobola and get people married (so they can be baptized) continue apace. President Moloi took the train to Durban from Newcastle (many hours, in the wee small hours of the morning, and stops everywhere) to help a young return missionary in his branch. In this case it's the uncles who are being demanding. The young woman involved has said she will do whatever her fiance thinks is right - even if the family disowns her. But they want to try, first. The next step will be President Moloi, as the negotiator, coming on his own - with a fistful of dollars, and a "take it or leave it" approach. (I suggested using small bills so it looked like a lot more money.) This is so hard for our investigators - it's so accepted to raise a family without being married, that it's an uphill (but eventually winnable) fight. (Is winnable a word?)
It's reassuring to know that as these couples raise their families in the Church, the issue will at least go away for their children - if they look for other members to marry! Lobola is also being weakened by urbanization and young people moving away to cities to find work. And it needs to, if we're going to get the thousands of Young Single Adults in our Area to the temple!
Elder & Sister Sessions are training Elder & Sister Johnson in the office, as the Sessions' departure date draws near, and we have no new office couple in sight. The Johnsons have been workig in Umlazi, so we are very lucky they were close by. But we won't have them forever, either, so any of you out there who would like the amazing opportunity of working in the Durban Mission office, please get in touch!
The Sessions also work out in KwaMashu, and the branch will really miss them. Sister Sessions has run the huge Primary practically single-handed, but has finally trained a few sisters to carry on. Elder Sessions has been training the priesthood leadership, and together they have instituted a weekly Walkabout Family Home Evening. Each Monday night they meet at a member's house with some of their neighbors and have a lesson, or activities, or sometimes an evening of comfort when something especially troubling has occurred. In true "teach them to fish" style, they have encouraged a member of the branch to be in charge, so this will be able to continue when they're gone.
One of the huge worries our senior couples have as they go home is that their branches will lose ground when left on their own. And it's true - there will be people who stop coming, and activities that fall by the wayside, but with the training and example and love and encouragement the couples have given their members, the branches are so much stronger they can continue to progress. And when we are lucky enough to have new couples to continue working in those branches, the members get to see different approaches, and different styles, and learn that everyone has a place in the Kingdom. At least, that's true in our mission, as we get only the very best couples...
And speaking of the very best couples, we just said goodbye to one: Elder and Sister Klingler. They've been here almost as long as we have, and it was hard to see them go. They worked in Newcastle, and as things turned out, they served in all three branches: Newcastle, Madadeni 1 and Madadeni 2. That means there are three branches full of people who are missing them. They did wonderful things there, and I think they left part of their hearts in Newcastle when they left. We'll miss you, Klinglers!
Hunter stayed up late to follow the progress of the Boise State game on Thursday - good one! - and then we all enjoyed the internet coverage of the post-victory punch. (Probably the first time a duck has ever knocked down a mustang!) He can't wait to see a game in the enlarged stadium. It's nice to see the blue turf and the orange fans again! And, of course, we're all cheering for BYU - Kent and Darin went to the game: I'm sure it was their yelling that put BYU over the top!
Morgan was picked for the Durban area U16 club rugby team - he'll be spending a week in Blomfontein during the holidays, playing teams from all over South Africa. He was on the U15 team last year, but the tournament was here in Amanzimtoti. He's not really in it for the game, though: he LOVES the bags and the t-shirts and the track suits...and, of course, the glory! He's also continuing with the athletics team - he is apparently the captain, which may account for the shot put and the relay baton rolling around the boot of my car - and gets to wear a "captain's tie" to school on Wednesdays. Ah, that 15 minutes of fame.
Mom/Grandma/Sue/Susan/SisterPresidentMann/Newest member of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency, Durban Branch (see ps)
ps (DISCLAIMER: THIS IS TOTAL TRIVAI - FEEL FREE TO SKIP.)
Remember my obsession with the Boltt Grindrod Company? I was looking something up in the phonebook and ran across the following: Grindrod Bank, Grindrod Freight Investments, Grindrod Intermodal, Grindrod Logistics, Grondrod Holding Company, Grindrod Management Services, Grindrod Tank Terminals, and Grindrod Travel. So who in the world is Mr. Grindrod?
Well, let me till you! I found the Grindrod Limited website, and emailed to ask. They responded "check out the website section called About Us: History". So now I know! Captain John Edward Grindrod and Durban attorney Leon Renaud bought a disabled steamer called the Frontier and started shipping up and down the coast, and the rest is history.
And in case all this sleuthing sounds a bit ridiculous, you must remember I read a lot of Sherlock Holmes...and Miss Marple...and Hercule Poirot...and Lord Peter Wimsey...and Amelia Peabody Emerson...and Albert Campion...and Inspector Alleyn...and George Felse...and Brother Caedfael...and, of course, Precious Ramotswe!