As you turn to spring, we turn to autumn, and we've actually had a few autumn-ish days, in between the really hot ones. They don't call it fall here, since nothing really falls off the trees, but we've had a few gray, windy, change-of-season feeling moments. Of course, there are still masses of things in bloom, which kind of spoils the effect...
The students are all having exams, so they get out of school early and drop by - for the rest of the day! My food bills are going back up again. They like to rent movies - mostly horror ones, especially if any girls are here. I prefer it when they're moaning and groaning over Daniel San fighting in Karate Kid, or cheering madly over March Madness (is that why Hunter is home-schooling?), or critiquing a rugby game - and there is LOTS of rugby on here. And throughout it all, they are, of course, texting.
The Mickelsens, already famous for having their car attacked by a watermelon (or jack fruit; it was never found) have now been attacked by a semi-truck tire tread. It was a dark piece of tire, on a dark road, on a dark (and stormy?) night, and we are just grateful that the bumper is the only thing that was lost. Good driving, Elder M!
The Davises officially took over the office Wednesday as the Johnsons took the Allreds up to (over to? across to?) Bloemfontein. Have I mentioned lately how much missions need couples? And how vital they are in the office? Marsha Maughan, tells me that many of the couples in Ghana are on their 2nd or 3rd or 4th missions - they go home for a year to spend time with their families, then off they go. Doesn't that sound like a great way to spend your twilight years?
I've seen two examples of bishops who care about their youth these last few weeks. In both cases (different units) a priest was having difficulty with the sacrament prayer - one because he didn't read English very well, and one because he is mentally handicapped (but sweet and faithful and eagerly progressing in the priesthood; he truly has the faith of a child). The bishop/branch president in each case simply slipped down and whispered the prayer into the priest's ear, phrase by phrase, then slipped quietly back to his seat afterwards. ("...by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.") Well done.
We visited Umbhedula Branch this Sunday. This is the branch that broke off from Pinetown Ward, and it's growing like crazy. They meet in a pre-primary school that Pinetown Ward refurbished (a lot!) for an African Helping Hands project. The speakers stand in front of a blackboard covered with counting flashcards and other teaching aids; there is no microphone; the first verse of each hymn is played on a boombox, which then turned off as the congregation continues singing; the floor is concrete; the chairs are plastic...and the spirit is powerful.
When "the mission president" visits a branch or ward he is always invited to say a few words - usually at the end. This time the branch president asked us both to speak, only it was in the middle, and I really regretted it, because we caused the sister who spoke last to lose some of her time. Her talk was based on faith in the Saviour, and prayer, and based on scriptural examples and quotes from the prophets. She added a lot more to the meeting than we did!
As we were heading back home we passed a sign that said: Welcome to Pinetown. Jesus is Lord. Read the Bible.
Torry tells me Eva is a chip off (her) old block: they went to ChuckECheese and Eva spent the whole time posing with the ChuckE figure in photos. Very deja vu! Morgan's spring break is this week, so he's going to visit them. And great news: he got his first quarter report card and did measurably better than his last report here. Thank you, Marilyn!
By the way, did you know eavesdropping can be a useful skill? Here are a few interesting things I have overheard:At Woolworth's: a mom on a cellphone to her child: "I'm at Woolly's picking up supper. I'll just pop home, then I'll run fetch you."
Rugby commentator: "It's a funny little game."
Wetu to Hunter: "Do you have any classical music?"
Hunter: "Yeah, I've got Tupac."
An elder to Hunter, about his friends: "Do they always revert to their native language when they're with you?"
Jubz: "Does that Murch guy (our current general secretary) know EVERYthing?"
After playing basketball with the elders at Berea:
"Elder Weaver schooled us." "Those tall Americans must play basketball every day, like we do soccer." "Elder Owen plays so quiet, then he just puts it in the basket. I don't know how he does that."
Dr. Fraser about Hunter's knee problem: "The kneecap was eccentric..."
Menu items (OK, they would be overheard if the waitron told us about them): Lamb Kleftico (sounds handicapped), Squid Heads with Chillinaise, Veal Funghi (I just gave a talk to the elders about cleaning that kind of stuff up!).
Well, I'll keep my ears open for any other good lines...
ps When I was working on my missionary wall I discovered that last year we got 5 elders together in a transfer, all of whose surnames start with the letter M. Just thought I would mention it...
pps Go see the movie Blind Side (it only just opened here).