Friday, December 25, 2009

Our Home in Newcastle

Pictures of our Boarding (home we rent).
After a number of requests from our children to see pictures of where we are staying in Newcastle, South Africa, we have finally taken some pictures to show them the house that we are renting. Previous missionaries have done much to purchase furniture and make this a very comfortable home. We feed 8 missionaries each week on Sunday evening around the dining room table (and occasionally many more) and have them drop in on us throughout the week.

Here is the living room (we still have our Christmas tree up)

This is the Dining Room which is open to the Living room.

Our kitchen faces north (the sunny side of the house) and where our backyard is located. We have a garden and are raising zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, and beets. We give this food away to those in need but most have never had zucchini before so we need to teach them how to cook it.

This is the other end of the kitchen

This is the bathroom with the smallest sink that we have ever seen. This has the shower, sink, and toilet in this room.

Bathroom with tub and sink only

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas 2009

Nativity set from Swaziland.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

What a wonderful time of year! The temperature is running around 95 degrees and high humidity but the feelings of the heart are the same. We have been very busy with all of the work that needs to be done. We have included just a few of the things that we have been involved with below. Our children wanted to share Christmas with the kids in Madadeni and Osizweni so they sent us some money and we purchased a number of small gifts to hand out after Primary and at the homes of some of the people. Here is an example of what was purchased. We can't begin to explain the joy that the children had in receiving a gift. Most of them don't receive any gifts for Christmas so this was a major surprise. We packaged them in small plastic bags and had the Elders hand them out. One young man was still carrying his bag around four hours after receiving it.

Our missionary tree has added a festive spirit to our boarding. It is decorated with little cars, mini hangernade water guns and gift tags.

Our entrance safety bars held our Merry Christmas sign and stocking. Notice our beautiful yard.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Temple Trip Dec. 19, 2009

We were able to go on a Temple trip to the Johannesburg Temple. We were asked by President Mann to take two Elders (brothers) with us and this is a picture of the Temple.
The two Elders received special permission to attend the Temple and do the work for their brother that passed away on October 7, 2009. Elder Sichinga the one on the right had been out for about a year and his brother, Elder Sichinga Jr., serving in Ladysmith both went to perform the work. Elder Sichinga Jr. had just been out in the field for 1 day when word came that his brother had passed away. Their brother had been preparing to go on a mission as well and this is why they received special permission to do the work for him. They also gave Barb the information so that were able to do the work for their grandparents. Barb, the Sichinga Elders, and I were the only people on the session but it was really special.

We were needed to perform baptisms and confirmations for all of the Madadeni and Osizweni saints that came to perform work that day. We had about 34 people in attendance to do baptismal work.

Elder Sichinga serving in Newcastle is in the middle and Elder Sichinga Jr. serving in Ladysmith is on the right.

This is a picture of the Elder's Quorum President for Madadeni 1 and his wife (Br. & Sis. Xaba). She received her endowments and they were sealed in the temple.
This is the bus that brought all of the people from Madadeni and Osizweni to the Temple. They left Madadeni at 5:00 am and didn't get home until about 8:30 pm. It is about a 5 hour bus ride in each direction. This is Sister Khumalo from Osizweni standing in front of the bus. We had about 60 people on the bus with about half performing baptisms and the other half performing endowments. A few came to just walk on the Temple grounds and prepare to go into the Temple next time.

Everyone that went to the Temple had tremendous spiritual experiences there and are anxious to go back. They have such closeness to the spirit and such strong testimonies. We are so privileged to be able to work with them.

This is a picture of President and Sister Moloi. President Moloi is the Branch President of Madadeni 1

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 6, 2009

On November 27, we were going to the Church in Madadeni to meet someone when we got a call from Lucky saying that he had a problem and asked if we could come to his home. We had to go to the Church first but as we got close to the township we saw white balls on the ground about the size of a tennis ball. When we got to the church we saw broken tile on the Church and on the neighboring homes and the lawn was filled with hail. A storm had moved through and smashed windows, windshields, dented cars and gone through roofs of homes. We spent all that afternoon until it was dark and the next week fixing roofs on houses and helping in any way that we could. As we would work on one home, a widow, or woman with children would come up and ask us if we could help them since they didn't have anyone else to help them so we moved from house to house working. All 8 missionary (Elders) and two sets of couples along with lots of members assisted in the work. These are just a few pictures to show the damage and what we were working with. We have many more pictures but this should give you an idea. Many of the homes we worked on (you can see them in the pictures were about 20 feet by 20 feet in size (one room and a small bathroom).
These are holes that the hail created in the ground...the hail had melted when the picture was taken.

Here is a picture of the hail that had come down and had melted for about 30 minutes so it is smaller than it was when it fell

Here are the holes left in the roof looking at the roof from inside the home.

This is in the middle of the work experience as we were moving the ladder from one house to another in order to set missionaries on each house to do repair work on each roof.

Here are the missionaries working on the roof of the house that they eventually fell through.

Here is the hole caused by the 3 missionaries falling through the roof.

Here is the inside of the house after the missionaries fell through. The missionary on his back was very sore that night but was back the next day working on roofs. The family took it well but we didn't finish the roof until the next afternoon.

This is the house after we had replaced about 3/4 of the roof on one side with galvanized steel to fix the hole that was caused when the 3 missionaries fell through. The picture is taken from inside the home.