Monday, October 4, 2010

Plugging Along in Service

It is now the 4tht day of October, so we have been in Africa two months. We hopefully have progressed and grown some. We have spoken at least once in every branch except Kosi Bay. We still haven’t been able to get up there as it is about 2 ½ hours north of here. Yvonne has been called as the councilor in the District Relief Society and I have been called to the District Council. We are teaching English out in the Port Durnford branch and help with seminary later the same day. Our English students are sweet humble women with strong testimonies, living lives uncluttered with the worldly things. The youth are amazing young people and we pray they will continue on the righteous road they are taking. We are attempting to help out in five Branches where we can. We end up doing a little of everything, from teaching classes to planning funerals.

Agnes Chirwa and granddaughter in front of their home

Elder Nuzman with Thobani Chirwa in front of his uncle's house.
Transfer Day was Thursday, September 9th. Every companionship in our zone was affected. So half of our Elders left and we welcomed five to our zone. We really love these Elders!

top l to r - Elders Ndhlovu, Shannon, Ssesanga, Skinner, Mwita, Jensen
bottom l to r - Elders Rainibe, Mutuku, Shumway and Meistre
September 15, 2010 we arose early, about 3:30 AM, to get ready and out the door and off to Durban to attend our session of the mission tour. Elder Dale Renlund of the 70 and Sister Renlund instructed us. President and Sister Von Stetten also gave us instruction. It was a super day. After the meetings we met with the Renlunds, Von Stettens and two additional senior couples for lunch at the Taco Zulu in Durban and were fed temporally as well as spiritually.

Saturday, September 18th, we did a presentation on food storage and “how to begin” for the Richards Bay Branch. We prepared several handouts and spoke to a group of about 15 people. It was fun but we had to qualify everything since all our materials were geared to food and people’s tastes in the U.S. We tried to show how they could adapt much of it. The District President’s wife prepared several dishes from food storage items to illustrate how bulk storage items could be used. The hot humid weather here creates a challenge for them as things go rancid and spoil very quickly. Metal cans rust and many people do not have air conditioning. Our theme was store what you eat and eat what you store. We felt it went well.

We have been asked to purchase and deliver Bishop’s (Branch President’s) food orders as needed. There are no Bishop’s store houses here so we have a standard list and we purchase the items and deliver the orders as well. The branches are not close to any stores and they do not have transportation to get to Richards Bay, so we do that. We delivered an order about 9 days ago to a very ill sister who was dying of TB. She was wrapped in a blanket on a couch and was just a little skeleton. She passed away yesterday. Her uncle died the day before in the same house. People in their 30’s and 40’s are mostly gone from disease; AIDS mostly; they will say cancer or TB and won’t admit to AIDS. There will be a missing generation. The gogos (grandma’s) are raising the children. You will see houses full of little children being raised by the gogo’s.

We were traveling out to one of the distant branches and on the way we looked into the cane field and there was a hippo grazing. My, what a huge animal, we knew they were large, but not as large as they are. We had to stop and take pictures. That was so fun. Last week we were taking an elder to Swaziland on a transfer swap and on the return trip we saw a small herd (about 8) of elephants down in the river drinking. That was a beautiful sight.

This hippo was as big as our car!

Elephants just south of Swaziland.
We do get lonely, as we don’t really have a chance to socialize much. We will see another couple perhaps at a conference but don’t have a chance to really visit. This week, however, the couple (the Blackburn’s) from up in Swaziland had to come to Durban and stayed with us overnight on Monday and then stopped for lunch on their return on Wednesday. That was a real treat. Elder Blackburn served in South Africa in about 1960 as did, I believe, my sister-in-laws brother, Dean Knight. Elder Blackburn had a companion named Elder Knight from Salt Lake. I am trying to see if there could be a link there. Wouldn’t that be something? Elder Knight passed away a few years ago.

Wasn’t conference great? We watched Saturday morning and afternoon sessions live on our computer; they came on here at 6 PM and 10 PM and could have (if I had known) watched the Priesthood session at 2 AM Sunday morning. I went to the church at 11 AM and watched Priesthood session and then we watched the Sunday morning and afternoon sessions on our computer live that evening. We had the missionaries over for dinner so they watched most of the Sunday morning session with us before we had dinner. We packed 10 Elders on chairs in the small room we use for an office and we watched from the doorway. It was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop as they listened intently to the prophet. It was a great weekend!

Elders watching and listening to the Prophet


  1. You are doing a great job...please tell Mama Rose that we are sorry for her loss.

  2. Love this! Love you!
    Melanie Greaves

  3. Dear Nuzmans,
    When I was serving in Berlin on my mission, we only had a direct telephone wire through which a little of General Conference could be received live from SLC to Berlin. I remember that the connection was so bad that everyone in the whole congregation who had met in the main chapel was exceptionally quiet just to catch most of the words - even in English since there was no German translation. When it was time for Pres. McKay to give his final message, the static and interference stopped!!! We all felt that that we had witnessed a miracle! We could all hear Pres. McKay's voice clearly! It was wonderful and I'll never forget it. I was tickled to see all those Elders gathered in your home enjoying the uplifting messages of Conference via computer!
    Blessings to you ALWAYS!
    Glen & Bonnie Dolberg

  4. Oh how you inspire me when I read your blog and look at your beautiful and humble pictures. Amazing! Such a great experience in a part of the world that most of us don't understand. Thanks so much for sharing this. I really look forward to your blog updates. It sounds as if you will be good at a little of everything when you return. So sad that they die at such young ages. I do hope and pray the youth of the church there can stay strong and have long and happy lives. YOu two are wonderful! Take care and know that you are loved.

  5. I love seeing your pictures and hearing about what you're doing. It was fun to see all the missionaries packed in to watch conference. It seems like life there is distilled down to the essentials.
    We all gathered around the computer about a week ago to look at and read your blog. The kids are really interested in and proud of what you're doing. Nick used a couple of pictures from your blog to do an assignment about his family for German.
    All the best always,