Sunday, November 7, 2010

Have we been here three months already?

On Monday, October 4th, we went on a game drive. Brother Killick from the Richards Bay Branch wanted to take us. He is an amazing man but that is a whole other story. It was a wonderful preparation day. He took us to the Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Game Park. Brother Killick has a LandRover and it can go anywhere; what an exciting day! We saw lots of wildlife as you can see from the pictures. We had a great lunch at the Lodge.

Capetown Buffalo

Pregnant zebra with bird on its back

Male Nyala

More nyalas seen out the window of the lodge

Male Vervet Monkey

Vervet Monkey


Young Zebras
Baby Giraffe

White Rhinos
White Rhino with baby

Warthogs have to kneel to eat off the ground
We have fought ants for some time, thousands and thousands of them coming from everywhere, walls , windows, tile floors and we were fighting a losing battle. We called an exterminator and had the place sprayed and it is so nice to be bug free.

October 9th we had the funeral of Thandeka Shandu, a young 22 year old sister, who passed away from TB. She was the only member in her family. Her adopted gogo (grandma) belongs to another faith but wanted the branch to handle the services with a few deviations. We let them know how we would need to handle it and they agreed. The services went well and afterward they did a few Zulu traditions that were very interesting. Clyde was privileged to dedicate the grave. After the grave dedication, men from the family, friends and neighbors lowered the casket into the hole which they had dug by hand previously. One of the men jumped down into the hole and started laying small logs side by side across the casket and then another layer across the other direction. When that was completed, he climbed out and they all took turns filling in the hole with the soil (mostly sand) until they made a large mound. As the men were doing this the women were singing beautiful Zulu hymns. The cemetery was very humble.

Nseleni Cemetery

The resting place of Thandeka Shandu
 October 16th Clyde transported two Branch Presidents and one of the counselors in the District Presidency to Durban, 2 ½ hours away, early in the morning. The Mission Presidency, the Stake and District Presidencies, Bishops and Branch Presidents from the whole mission met together with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder Steven E. Snow of the Seventy and Elder F. Michael Watson from the Africa SE Area Presidency for leadership training. What an experience it was to be taught by an Apostle of the Lord and other Church Authorities! Elder Holland shook hands and spoke with each person who attended.

Following the meeting, Clyde drove back to Richards Bay, dropping off his passengers along the way just in time to pick up Yvonne and drive all the way back to Durban in the pouring rain. By now it was dark and we had to find our way to a B&B, Little Haven, in Durban, a sprawling city of about six million. Our gps took us to the wrong area of the city, but after some tense moments, we finally found our way. Little Haven is very charming and Grace Rawlings is a gracious hostess but when we arrived she informed us that her husband, Brother Vic Rawlings, had passed away unexpectedly two days before. Her children were there helping her keep things going.

"Little Haven" Bed and Breakfast

Clyde and Grace Rawlings' dog
The amazing African Weaver building a nest
Sunday morning all the missionaries had an early morning meeting with Elder Holland. As the missionaries say, “He spoke with fire”! Again Elder Holland shook hands and spoke to everyone present. He reached up and stroked my cheek and said how appreciative the Brethren are for the service of the Senior Missionaries. I was touched. We later attended a Stake Conference in Durban, where we listened to him again.

We stayed another night and the weather was beautiful so we spent our preparation day seeing some of Durban, Sea World aquarium and dolphinarium. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend!

Durban on the Indian Ocean
Yvonne at Ushaka Beach
Can you tell it is a little windy?
Beautiful fish at the aquarium
Large sea turtle

Great dolphin show
Tuesday we were back in the saddle, doing boarding inspections and car inspections for all ten Elders before transfer day. We had to say good-bye to Elder Skinner and we welcomed Elder Hall, a greenie from Pretoria, SA.

Saying good-bye to Elder Skinner who was transferred to Durban
Saturday, October 23rd we had a braai (SA version of a barbecue) with the Port Durnford Branch. About seventy people attended. It was the first time we have ever eaten steak, beef sausage and salad without utensils or napkins. The food was delicious! We made two batches of brownies and three loaves of banana bread and it was gone in a flash.

Some of the children of the Port Durnford Branch
Branch President Vezi preparing the beef sausage

Clyde, Sister Chirwa and Sister Vezi
Our boarding is often being used for district and zone development meetings. Sometimes we order pizza (10 large for all 10 Elders) for lunch following the meetings.

On Halloween Sunday we had the Elders for dinner. We couldn’t really party but we had the African Elders experience trick-or-treating to various rooms in our house where the American Elders handed out the treats. It was fun for everyone.

Our Ngwelezane Seminary class

Some members of our English class
Agnes Chirwa, and Thandile Nzama
 We are involved in missionary work in case you think all we do is party. We are now teaching Seminary in two branches, an English class and a temple prep class. We are often asked to speak in Sacrament meetings and teach Priesthood or Relief Society lessons, sometimes without prior notice. We are preparing three young men to go to the temple in December. We have been given permission to be their escorts. We are planning a second temple prep class and another English class in January. We sometimes are asked to help the Elders with discussions with their investigators. We are also constantly shopping for items for the Elders boardings, taking bikes to be repaired and paying for such things as driving lessons for which we are later reimbursed.

Time is now going very fast and we love every minute. We continue to be best friends forever!

Following are pictures you might find interesting:

Looking out over the pulp tree forests coming out of Nseleni.
These trees are cut down about every eight years and new ones are planted.
Sand roads in Port Durnford when it rains
You think you have seen potholes!
This was 4 PM in a rainstorm on our way home.

The Richards Bay Chapel
This is our Nissan Tiida.
A blue-headed lizzard on our gate.

Being on the east coast of Africa we don't have sunsets
over the Indian Ocean but we do have beautiful  sunsets.


  1. Thanks for sharing these wonderful moments. They bring back memories of the experiences we had in RB just a few months ago. It is great to see how the Port Durnford branch has blossomed under President Vezi and his family. May the Lord continue to bless you in your service.

  2. Dear Nuzmans,
    WOW! THANKS for the update. You need to know that simply doing the update is a BIG missionary blessing to many, many others too. We thrill with all the details and the pictures. You and all others who are seeking to serve mankind are constantly in our private and spoken prayers!!!! We pray that you will be guided to inspire, to edify, to lift up the spirits of those who need it - and that you will succeed handsomely in all your goals to bring about righteousness.
    From all the evidence that you have provided it seems that our prayers and the prayers of many others are being answered strongly in the affirmative! YIPPEE! Hoorah! YEA! YES!!!!
    May the Good Lord forever bless you with His Best.
    Always LOVE from the Dolbergs - Glen & Bonnie

  3. Hi Clyde and Yvonne,
    Wow......what beautiful pictures and great experiences you are having.
    We leave Thurs. for Guyana for 12 days to do Neonatal training there. Steve, you and us will be in three different continents doing missionary work. Isn't that exciting? We'll send you some pictures ASAP of our experiences.
    Love, Nancy and Dennis

  4. Unbelievable! I can not believe the work your doing and oh my, the beautiful country you are in! I just love this blog!

  5. Oh what an adventure and spiritual feast you are having. I love each picture. I had chills reading that Elder Holland stroked your cheek. I love that man so much. I can tell what a great influence you are on so many. What a blessing to have such loving "parents" to encourage and care for the elders. You are such a natural and experienced teacher. I am sure that your influence is eternal in every way. So happy for you and all you are accomplishing. You are amazing and so inspirational. Thanks for blogging. I always look forward to seeing your life in Africa. Love you very much and miss you much also!

  6. I love reading about the amazing work you are doing and some of the fun experiences you are having! Love you tons Aunt Yvone and Uncle Clyde.

  7. Greetings, you two "BFFs"! (How cute you are!) I echo Veronica's words above about Elder Holland. When I read about him stroking your cheek Yvonne, a smile and a laugh just burst right out of me! I think he is such a sweet and tender thing! His Sat morning talk at this last General Conference was one of my all-time favorites! Didn't you bawl when he recounted those personal stories of service from the Relief Society ladies, Priesthood quorem members and his parents? And the topper was when he publicly thanked his mom! Man, it gives me goosbumps and makes my eyes swim every time I think of it! Oh how I love him and the other marvelous church leaders we have!

    Another thing Veronica mentioned that I had also been thinking was how lucky the missionaries are to have your love and attention. When my son was on his mission, the love shown to him by the senior missionary couples and wonderful members is what got me through. Since I wasn't allowed to be there in person, it was comforting to know others were there "loving him up" in my absence! (If you want to make a friend for life, send an e-mail, letter or phone call to a missionary mom about her child!)

    Well, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this week! We all have much to be thankful for and I am especially grateful for this Gospel and for all of you missionaries. I pray daily for your safe-keeping and success. As you count your blessings there in beautiful South Africa, think about us at home who are being warned of an impending "arctic storm" that is due to arrive today with the possibility of 20 INCHES of snow! The low temp. is supposed to be between -5 and +5! You, in the meantime, can just smile and hum "Hakuna Matata" as you bask in the sun! Love you both!