We have a delightful addition to the family, born Tuesday, April 20, 2010. His name is Tate Christopher Moncivais; our son-in-law Chris explained:"We're hoping to teach patience, and hopefully not longsuffering as he bubbles in 24 letters on every standardized test he takes throughout life...if you figure an average of three of those a year over 12 years of public schooling, that's 864 bubbles...dang!" (This reminds me of the difficulties Tate's four uncles had to deal with; they are all known by their middle names. Ever try to fit "Hunter" or "Morgan" or "Logan" or "Parker" into one middle initial space _ ? )
People's attitudes don't change much. William Holmes Walker was one of the first missionaries to South Africa. In 1852, he struggled back across the country from Utah to New York City, and prepared to board ship for England, and then again to the Cape. He showed a Book of Mormon to the ship's captain, who offered a very familiar, and sad, response: "It seems to be a sharp book...but I can't worry about salvation now." (See Alma 33:34)
I was impressed with Elder Harmsworth on Monday when he gave a spiritual thought based on the story of Balaam (Numbers 22). It was a thoughtful message, but what really caught my attention was Elder Harmsworth's preface "I read this while I was preparing for next week's Sunday School lesson." Elder Harmsworth doesn't teach Sunday School, he attends the class like the rest of us. I prepare to teach ahead, but I rarely prepare to learn ahead. That was an even better lesson for me than Balaam.
(Remember the "dog that chewed our bumper"? Things have taken a turn for the worse.) When we arrived here, the mission home Peugeot had scratches on one of the door handles. I was told it was made by lions. Right. So, on preparation day a group of elders went to the Lion Park. There are a dozen or so lions there, and visitors drive through while the lions roam free. Instructions to drivers are clear: keep moving. Well, apparently the directions weren't quite clear enough: the elders stopped, not once, but several times, to "see the lions really close!" The lions took advantage of the situation to "see the elders really close!" and we now have a few "mauled" vehicles - serious scratches, even some holes. One scratch, on one car I could (maybe) understand...It makes me so cross!
However, there is a fatal flaw in my irateness (iratitude? irateousness? irativity?): I now have an overwhelming urge to go to the Lion Park and see what happens!
Which car story brings me to Elder Davis, our vehicle coordinator/car guru. He has really had a baptism by fire. During the few months he's been here he has dealt with practically everything, from a car hitting a cow, to a carjacking, to fender benders, to rolling into a wall(?), to a windshield hit so hard it bent far enough inside that it actually got a hole in it...to lion damage. And he's done a great job! It's amazing how the Lord can call someone to a position and help them do things well, that they've never done before. At least, I don't THINK Elder Davis had to deal with lions in any of the many places they have lived? Have to ask...
NEWSFLASH! The Tiida that was hijacked a few weeks ago has been recovered! This is very good...
As I was reading the talks from the priesthood session of conference, I found a very reassuring message from Elder Rasband. He told about sitting with Elder Eyring as he assigned missionaries to their missions, then said, "I had a further witness that morning that every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants." The italics are mine, because I was so struck that Elder Rasband included those words. When our sister missionaries were pulled out of the mission in December 2007, they were great about it, but I think it was very hard, initially, for them to feel these reassignments were as inspired as their initial calls. It's comforting to have this testimony from Elder Rasband that the Lord is in charge of all the calls, even when it doesn't seem like it. I hope all our sisters read his talk - it will re-confirm what I'm sure they've already learned.
Hunter has proven very difficult to bribe into doing things I want done: he just doesn't want anything badly enough to work hard! However, on Thursday I finally found at least one thing that works. He had to agree to work hard and finish his history essays and print them, in order to have me drive him to the Pavilion early enough to meet Wehtu (our South African Idol contestant) for a movie, and then pick him up in time to be back home before Zandi came over. Hey, it's better than nothing! Anyway, I encourage him to play the field: safety in numbers...
ps Did you know you can enter an ATM password with your thumb?pps Did you also know that if you forget to do the butter&flour thickening step, but put in lots of chicken, you get a very nice Chicken a la King Soup?