Monday, June 29, 2009

Namtibi Reserve June 29, 2009 #1

We had a wonderful morning on Namtibi Reserve that is divided into 2 parts. The animal we liked best were the Cheetahs.

I am not sure what the name of these beautiful animals are but I believe they are some type of large antelopes.

Namtibi Reserve - June 29, 2009

You all recognize this as a giraff. It was all by itself eating on an Acadia tree

We found this family of Rhinos (5 in all). In this picture three are in the water and one is on the shore. You can only see the tops of the heads of the rhino that are in the water just above the back on the one on the shore.

We found some Zebra and a stray Wildebeest (a young male that had left the herd but wasn't yet strong enough to stake out a territory.

Here are some Wildebeest that we saw. They migrate from place to place and the dominant male marks his territory but the herd moves from territory to territory.

We saw some Water Buffalo by the side of the road. Notice the thorns on the Acadia Tree that the Water Buffalo is eating under. The thorns get to be about 3 inches long and they are very sharp but they don't seem to bother the Water Buffalo.

Here are some of the Heart antelope (I believe that was their name) because of the shape of their horns.

Here is the vehicle that we were in during the ride through the Namtibi Reserve to give you a view of what it was like.

June 29, 2009

This is a picture of our children that came to see us off on June 8, 2009. Barbara wanted to include them on our blog so here is the picture of the family.

This has been a busy week for us. We had to take one of the missionaries to the Opthalmologist because of some problems that he was having due to an operation that he had on one eye in Tanzania back in 1998 when he got a thorn in his eye. They operated and put a lense in his eye and put stitches in but never removed the stitches and the lense that was inserted was much more than he needed so he became very near sighted and that eye couldn't focus and the muscles allowed the eye to wander. The opthalmologist was able to remove the stitches, identify the problem with the lense and clean the film that had grown over the lense and recommended that we take him to an optometrist to get a contact lense for the eye that had the lense of the wrong strength. When all of this is fixed he should have normal vision in that eye and be able to drive a car.

We are getting to know the people better and to help out in different ways. We were asked by the missionary couple work with the Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) to assess some classes put on by a private college here to determine if it would work for a deaf student that was applying for a loan. We visited a local university and the private college to make the assessment on the computer skills, classes, and instructors. It was interesting testing out their classes in Information Technology and making recommendations. We may be able to meet the needs with it costing much less and provide better training but we'll see.

The people here are so loving and kind even though many of them have so very little in the way of material things. It is evident that wealth doesn't buy happiness because they are as happy as any group that we have seen. We have much to learn from them.

The spirit of the Lord is being poured out upon the people throughout Africa and the Church is growing well. We are helping with a branch (more correctly referred to as a "twig" here) because it is so small in a small town, Dundee. We attend church in Newcastle and then drive to Dundee to attend there. The Mission President spoke at Sacrament Meeting and then interviewed all of the local men to get an idea of how to proceed with the organization of a branch. One of the men he spoke with was an investigator and in the interview the President challenged him to baptism and he accepted so the President conducted an interview for baptism. He will be baptized on Sunday...the missionaries were surprised to find out they would have a baptism this coming Sunday for their investigator.

We went out to dinner with the Mission President and the Klinglers, the other senior couple here and then visited with them for a while the next morning when Barb prepared breakfast. We also had 14 missionaries over for dinner on Sunday. We are staying very busy helping members, missionaries, and others. The plans that we make for the day seem to change as new opportunities for service come up each day, and we are fine with that as long as we are able to assist others.

We went to Nambiti Conservancy (Reserve) today with 4 missionaries and the Klinglers and we had a wonderful time. We had to be there by 7:00 am so we got up at 4:30 am so we could drive there. It was quite cool (around 2 degrees Centigrade) so we had to bundle up and ride in a Land Rover (up high so we could see). I have included some of the pictures that we took so you could see the animals that we saw. We were able to get very close to them and the camera worked wonderfully.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Here is a picture of the car that we are driving. It is a Nissan Tiida and it works well. We drive on the left side of the road and that takes some getting use to. Barb helps me whenever I start to move to the wrong side of the road.
Here is a picture of the boarding (the 3 bedroom house that we are renting while we are here). It is really quite nice and is well equipped by previous couples that have lived here. Here is the phone number for the boarding: 034-318-3762 and the phone number for the cell phone that we are using is: 073-234-3854. You will need to add the international and country codes to it to be able to call us.

On June 8, 2009 we checked in to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah and began an intensive week of training. It was a wonderful experience and we enjoyed it very much. They had us working through the Preach My Gospel manual and we had to teach all of the lessons to some volunteers that came in each day. What a challenge and a great learning experience. We were part of a group of about 20 - 25 senior couples that we got to know and love and we hope to stay in contact with many of them. They were headed to places like: (Ukraine, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Lithuania, Canada, and some other places in the US. They were headed to all different types of missions.

Kaelynn came on Thursday night to celebrate her 7th birthday with all the Utah Family. That was a very special happening.

In the MTC they announced that they only had about 66% of the baseline needs being filled by the senior couples so there is plenty of need for additional couples to serve. We were separated from the junior missionaries because of the outbreak of the swine flu that the MTC was experiening. They had about 80 missionaries quarantined before we came and they had stopped sending the junior missionaries out to their locations until they were sure that none of them were sick. We had about 40 quarantined while were were there. We ate at a separate mess hall and had the devotional televised to us in another room so we didn't mix with the junior missionaries.

We were able to stay with our children on Friday and Saturday night when we finished with the MTC. We packed everything and Erika and Jared took us to the airport in Salt Lake City on Sunday morning, June 14, 2009, so that we could leave for Durban, South Africa. We left at 11:15 am and arrived in Durban at 9:20 pm on June 15, 2009. It was a long and tiring flight but we made it and so did all of our luggage. We were met by President Mann, the Mission President for the South Africa Durban Mission and he took us to a bed and breakfast to stay for the night. He met us the next morning and took us to the mission office for about an hour so we could take care of everything that we needed to do there prior to leaving for Newcastle, South Africa. President Mann took us to Ladysmith and a missionary followed in the car that we were given to use and then President Mann and the missionary returned to Durban and we were met by the zone leaders and we followed them to Newcastle.

We were able to do a number of things this past week including:

  • Visit less active members and found some that were moved

  • Went with the Elders to teach a couple about the word of wisdom so they can get baptized

  • Met with the Elders (from Kenya, South Africa, Germany, Zimbawa, and other US locations) They are the greatest missionaries.

  • Visited a family that lost one of their children and her family (husband, wife and two children) - the funeral will be held this week

  • Attended Church in Newcastle (branch) and spoke there as well as attended Church in Dundee (a new "twig") that they are starting up there. Mom had to lead the singing. Oops!

  • Another senior couple, the Klinglers, have been ever so helpful at introducing us to people and showing us places, and things that we will need to do. They go home in 3 months and we will most likely cover the areas that they are working with. What special friends they have become to us.

  • We met and had dinner with another senior couple who are serving a PEF (Perpetual Employment Fund) mission and had to be in Newcastle for the weekend.

  • We have visited with people in the townships

  • We have also moved into our boarding where Barb has re-arranged the furniture, gone through every closet and drawer re-organizing

  • Grocery shopping and trying to find things that we cook with.third world environment.

  • Hanging laundry on the concept.

How grateful we should be for all that we have been blessed with but it is clear to us that the people here are as happy or happier than the people back home. We are amazed how friendly, warm, and polite everyone is. It is wonderful working here.

We are adjusting but love it here and love the missionaries that we work with. There are currently 14 (2 senior couples..including us, and 5 sets of missionaries) in the Newcastle area. We love them and are anxious to know them better