Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Castle

New Castle is one hour from Ladysmith, but because of 67 speed bumps it take 1 1/2 hours to drive.  We went to meet Sister Nokuthula Zikalala our Public Affairs Director in the area.  She is a fireball! She loves the church and loves giving service.  She is anxious to connect members and the church to the community.  She also has her own non-profit organization where she developes projects to help empower women.

Sister Nokuthula
  It was an emotional, exhausting day so we were happy to go to the flat, retire early and prepare for our drive back to Durban on Tuesday.
I never get tired of the beautiful landscape of South Africa

Day 4 Ladysmith and New Castle

We arrived in Ladysmith Sunday evening and stayed in a senior couples flat that recently finished their assisgnment and left to go  home.  The mission home is not sure when a new couple will be arriving, so they keep paying rent so as not to lose the apartment because they are hard to find. WE NEED MORE SENIOR COUPLES! 
  Our purpose was to check on a story that we had heard from some missionaries.  We received permission from the family to come and hear their story.  We met at another members house in town.  Brother Kapenda was born in The Republic of Congo(French speaking)and Sister Kapenda(Lozi, English) was born in Zambia. Brother Kapenda's father sent him to Zambia to relatives to escape the war. The couple met and married in Zambia where Brother Kapenda was a barber. They moved to South Africa to improve their lives and find work. They settled in Ladysmith and have lived their since 2009 with their three children. 
  After Bro. and Sis Kapenda joined the church (that's a story all by itself), their neighbors told them that they joined the church of the devil.  The pastor of their church went around telling people that they were witches.  This was very upsetting to the little family who lost friendships because of their new faith.  The young couple remained strong because they felt the Holy Ghost guiding them and it was making a difference in their lives. Their son Joseph was very excited about being baptized.  His father taught him everyday about the gospel to prepare him.  Joseph loved to talk about the gospel to his friends and he often brought them to church. Unfortunately, once the pastor found out he would go to the friends house and tell the parents not to let their child play with Joseph.  Joseph remained a happy boy, getting good marks in school and he especially enjoyed having the missionaries over to his house. 
  Two days before his baptism he complained of a headache to his parents who kept him home from school and gave him medication.  The headache kept getting worse and finally the next night at 2:00am the father took him to the hospital.  A few hours later Joseph was gone.  The family was in shock. They had no idea why their son had died, to this day it is a mystery.  The ward members tried to comfort them and help them the best they could.  The pastor with such hate in his heart told all the neighbors that the reason their son died was because they belonged to the devils church. Brother Kapenda knows this pastor cannot be a man of God when he treats others who are suffering so cruely.
   Three months after Joseph's death Bro. & Sis. Kapenda and their  children went to the temple to seal their family for time and all eternity.   It was a beautiful day for them. Bro. Kapenda said he could feel Joseph there with them in the temple.      
   Elder Cinquini and I could feel the hurt in his voice as he told us the story, but he said he and his wife are finding peace and the temple has given them hope for the future.  They are so grateful for the love and concern of the church members.  It has been 5 months since eight year old Joseph passed away.  When I look at his picture I can see that God has a work for him to do. Perhaps not on this earth, but where is resides with his Father in Heaven.

Joseph Kapenda
eight years old



Kapenda Family with missionary
This was the last picture taken of Joseph

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Day Three

Day Three we returned to Phuthaditjhaba for a conference with both Phutha and Bethlehem branches.  It was soo hot in the chapel that President Z had us move our chairs into the hallway for our last meeting where there was a nice breeze coming from the open front door. That's what I love about small branches the flexibility of the people.

After all the meetings Elder Cinquini and I stayed for the baptism of three new members.   Then we started our three hour journey West to Ladysmith.
As you can see these are large hallways.  We were able to set up five chairs across and still have an aisle.  It was so much more comfortable then the chapel even with it's ceiling fans.  There is no heating or airconditioning in the building.

Elder and Sister Anderson the senior couple assigned to this area.  They will be going home in two weeks and there is no one to replace them.  The people here rely on them so much.  WE NEED MORE SENIOR COUPLES!

Members visiting after church


Missionaries serving in Phutha

Three people were Baptized on Sunday after church

I love this font because it is so different from what I'm use to seeing.

                               Good Bye Phuthaditjhaba!
 I wish I could post all by picture, but there are way too many.  The two young men and one sister that were baptized bore their testimonies of the gospel afterwards and I wish you could have heard them.  It was like no other testimonies from new converts that I have ever heard.  The tears were flowing freely and my heart was full. They will be a great addition to the branch. 

Day Two

On day two we had another great breakfast (good thing because the rest of they day we barely ate).  We met Elder & Sister Anderson (the MLS couple) at Pick n Pay to pick up the fresh baked rolls to take to Phuthaditjhaba.  She asked them the day before to have them ready at 8:45am.  Well.... we waited and waited and waited and finally at 9:30am we discovered they were still rising and wouldn't be ready for another 50 minutes.  Elder Anderson said sorry we cant wait we were supoose to leave town at 9:00 am, so we picked up what bread they had already sitting out and went on our way. 

Once we arrived we were all busy setting up displays, video equipment and preparing food.  This building was once an old Super Market and the church remodeled the entire building which now has 8 classrooms, kitchen, clerks office, bishop's office, chapel and baptismal font.  The members were moving from place to place to hold there meetings and were so excited to finally have a place of their own.  Everyone was helping it was so nice to see the members so involved.

They calculated there was 80 to 90 guest who came throughout the day to tour the building.  The day was very successful and it lifted the Saints to be able to share there new meeting house with others.

Sister in the middle is an investigator who is being baptized on Sunday.
The Young Women on the right has been a member for two months. She loves the church and invited her mother to the Open House.
Khaya Zuma on the left was the first Branch President. When he started there were only eight members.  President SidneyThusi on the right, is the current Branch President with a membeship of 80 Saints. 

The children are lined up to get a treat from the kitchen.

Here we are with Dominic Tshabalala  the National Director of Public Affairs.  They drove from Joburg to be at the Open House.  We enjoyed meeting him and his family.


Ed and Dominic are enjoying a discussion and the baby is enjoying Ed's tie.

Mission President Zackrison is explaining the programs of the church to the principal of a school where the members once met for meetings.

We feel so blessed to be a part of this Open House event.


Day One of Our Five Day Journey

We are traveling to Bethlehem which is located North of the country Lesotho. Traveling time to Bethlehem was almost five hours. Then we go to Phuthaditjhaba, LadySmith and New Castle.

In Bethlehem we stayed in a Bread & Breakfast that had a marvelous breakfast and lovely gardens.  The room was only $55.00 a night.  Our purpose is to help with an Open House in Phutha that is located one hour away, but has limited shopping and no place to spend the night.

Monday, January 27, 2014

1000 Hills

This is called 1000 Hills and is located only 40 minutes from Durban.  Saturday, January 18th we went with two other missionary couples to explore the area.
The view was breath taking.  There are a lot of things to do and see, but we'll have to come back another day because we got a late start
These are some new friends, the Poelman's and the Andrus's.  They work in the area office. They are very good people and they help Elder Cinquini and I solve a lot of our problems.  They came one month before us.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Port Elizabeth


Public Affairs Council in Port Elizabeth

We’ve returned from our trip to Port Elizabeth and East London. We conducted Public Affairs training for a new Council and introduced ourselves to the PA Director and Stake Counsellor in East London.  It’s soo beautiful here.  Our hotel is two blocks from the beach. It's cool and breezy and I love it.  On Sunday we attended a Ward and a Branch, the Bishops in both wards were just under 30 years old, yet they had such a wonderful working knowledge of the church and the gospel.  
The Branch started with six members one year ago, by October there were 60, as of today there are 80! That's how fast it is growing.  The Gospel Essentials class was larger than the regular Sunday School class. During the opening song, “How Great Thou Art”, one sister was putting her own spin on the song, adding extra words as we were holding notes.  It was actually very nice and very african.  No pianos here, It’s all acapella.  They meet in a school where the church rents rooms for classes and sacrament meeting. There homes are very poor by our standards, but their Spirits are rich and beautiful. The Relief Society President was giving the lesson and told us how she is desperate for a job and a person had called her for an interview, she was so excited and hoped she could borrow R20 or $2.00 from her neighbour so she could take the bus to town. I think that tells you how poor they are here.  No fences for the cows, which wonder around the neighbourhood, so you have to drive carefully because they may be in the middle of the road.

 Andile & Bulelwa Khanti and their daughter Enzo. Enzo Kuhle's name means "good works"
Next we drove the three hour trip to East London to make contact with some other PA people.  They are planning three to four major activities this year so we wanted to make contact and see what we could do to help. 

 No duck crossings here, but we did see a boar crossing! We enjoyed the drive with its beautiful country side.
We stopped at a small town called Grahamstown because we heard about the Cathedrals, St. Michael and St. George and I wanted a picture.

We had a lovely dinner in East London with  Brother & Sister Human and Brother and Sister Flowerday.  Brother Human has been a seminary and institute teacher for  26 years and Brother Flowerday is a professor.

Boarding the plane for Durban.  It was only an hour flight, hence the small plane.
This is something you don't see in the States.  They wrap your luggage in plastic if you want to pay.   I like the idea, because you know no one can get into it.  They also don't have the 3oz. liquid in a plastic bag rule.  No signs of TSA here!