Monday, June 22, 2009

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

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