We have been in Africa for just over 2 weeks now. It has been an interesting 2 weeks for us. We left Salt Lake City on August 9th at about 11:00 A.M. and flew to Atlanta, Georgia. It was a 4 hour flight and was quite uncomfortable and so we were really beginning to dread the 16 hour flight to Johannesburg. We had a layover of about 3 hours which gave us a chance to stretch and get something to eat as the Johannesburg flight indicated that we would only have a dinner and we were afraid we would get hungry. Our flight itinerary indicated that we were to be sitting together but when we checked in they had us separated. I was concerned as both our seats were middle seats and Yvonne needed to be able to get out so she could walk around a little, with her leg problems. They changed us and then we were together but we were way in the rear of the plane which really concerned Yvonne. When we finally boarded about a ½ hour late, we were in the back but our seats were in a two seat row. How great is that? There was a young woman just behind with a toddler and an infant and the children were very restless but since there were only 2 seats she wanted to move to see if she could get to where there were 3 seats and she was able to make the move so now we were set. They did serve a dinner but they also served snacks several times and drinks so our fears were in vain. It was a long flight but actually less uncomfortable than the Atlanta flight. We only slept for short periods but we did fine. When morning came we looked out and we were just off the coast of West Africa and we were surprised to see the coast was actually a desert with little if any vegetation at all. We arrived in Johannesburg about 5:00 P.M. and were approached by a missionary couple waiting for a couple, who flew over with us who are on an auditing mission for all the southern half of Africa. They showed us how to get through customs and then we went to our gate for Durban. While Yvonne was in the restroom a young African lady approached me and asked if I was here for a conference. I told her we were going to be serving in the South Africa Durban Mission and I was just waiting for next flight. She explained that she worked at the airport and was a member of one of the Johannesburg wards. We boarded our last leg of the trip on South African Airways which was virtually empty and had a good flight and were fed a meal; we were well taken care of.
We were met by our Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Von Stetton. We stayed the night in the mission home. Were we exhausted! The next morning we had a wonderful breakfast prepared by Sister Von Stetton and then went to the mission office across the driveway and received some instruction by President Von Stetton, the mission Secretaries, Elder Cunguara and Elder Christopher and the office couple, Elder and Sister Davis. We went out to lunch with the Davis’ and headed out to Richards Bay about 2 ½ hours north of Durban, driving on the right side of the vehicle and on the left side of the road (scary). The Davis’ thankfully took us there, they led the way in their car.
We arrived at our boardings (house) about 4:00 P.M. and were met by the District President’s wife, Sister Baldwin and her mother who were making our bed. About that time we could have crashed right then. Everyone soon left and we were alone in a strange house in a strange country and we were tired and lonely. Now, what to do? Well, first we needed some electricity and here you buy your electricity before you use it. So we went down town (with our GPS) to buy electricity but the office was closed and now it was dark. The roadways were teaming with people just wandering around and we had dropped the GPS somewhere on the floor of the car and we couldn’t find it and we didn’t know how to get home. We couldn’t just stop and get out to look for the GPS; we began to panic. Finally, we found a lit place where there weren’t any people and we got out and found it, put our address in and went home and locked ourselves in and basically hid for the night. We went to bed and died.
|All locked in!|
|Brick walls surround all the homes with locked gates.|
|Our next door neighbors - the monkeys!|
We have gone down to the hospital to attempt to do volunteer work but we have to go back down and meet with the hospital admn. and show our ministerial certificates and passports and have an interview and then they will decide.
Being Senior Couple Missionaries isn’t a matter of just showing up and filling all the needs on the job description; we have to create the job. We had all 10 Elders over for dinner last Sunday and will continue to do this every other Sunday. What a great bunch of young men! Next week we will go out and visit all the Elders and do boarding and car inspections. I think that brings you up to date on us. Keep us in your prayers. Just returned from seeing Telkom (our internet provider) it won’t be hooked up until sometime next week they say. Oh well, we shall see. . .