Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Merry Christmas" 2011

We begin this blog by going back to the middle of November.  We really miss Seminary!  The new year for Seminary will begin the middle of January.  The director wants Seminary to be held daily which means we will have to give up one of our classes.  We can't put that many kilometers on our car as the classes are about 45 minutes away in different townships. 

Clyde did an amazing job speaking on "being truly converted" in District Conference.  Relief Society Conference was a success.  Our theme was President Uchtdorf's talk "Forget Me Not".  It rained so very hard that day and that limited the attendance.  The luncheon was perfect.  I served Ranch Dressing, which they don't have here, and everyone wants the recipe.  Unfortunately I used mixes  from home and I don't have a recipe, but everywhere I go people ask me for it.  As a take-home gift from the RS Conference I had made a bookmark for each sister and gave them each a package of Forget-me-not seeds.  We went to every store in this area to find seeds.  Very few places carried them.  We managed to pick up about 50 packets of seeds, one or two packages at a time, which turned out about right.  But we have to chuckle as every store now carries them.  I guess they thought there was a real market for them.  They will probably still be on the racks long after we are gone!

We had our ten stripling warriors here for Thanksgiving.  We started cooking on Tuesday as the turkeys were so small that we had to roast one of them ahead of time.  Also our oven doesn't accommodate much at a time.  We only have one oven rack, but I'm just so grateful to have electricity and a stove!  We had two turkeys, each 5.8 kilos (12 pounds) which cost $25 each.  We baked our own seasond bread to make stuffing, as stuffing cubes aren't available.  We baked four pumpkin pies with real Libby's pumpkin sent to us by Clyde's brother and sister-in-law, Ron and Karla,  along with Crisco to make the pie crust.  Then we baked six dozen rolls.  Clyde made his traditional yams and apples (used sweet potatoes) and we had mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, peas and carrots, a delicious fruit salad brought by the elders, Russians (a sausage/hot dog) and rolls brought by another set of elders and soft drinks and even wassail brought by another set of elders.  We had a wonderful time!!  When it was over, the elders moved all the furniture back and helped clean up.  We have the greatest elders!

Our table set for twelve.  The beautiful roses were brought to us  by Rose,
our property manager, who had never heard about Thanksgiving
before and wanted to contribute.  We wish she could have joined us!

One of our turkeys.  The African elders had never seen a roasted
turkey before and several of them had their pictures taken holding it!

Elders Shipp and Tidwell and their amazing fruit salad!

Enjoying the feast . . .

Elder Shawarira discovered what turkey does to you . . .

On Friday after Thanksgiving I took a pumpkin pie to my English class.  They had never heard of using pumpkin in a pie but they loved it!  They were so cute about it.  I just love them.

Getting to English class is sometimes a challenge.  Our students just
took off their sandals and waded through.  This is common after the
heavy "rains in Africa"
On December 8th we had a zone conference and mission Christmas party.  We had the priviledge of
having Elder Carl B. Cook and Sister Cook along with President and Sister Von Stetten teach us.  Elder Cook is from the area where we live in Utah.  He went to Weber High and now has a home in Liberty.  But as a member of the 1st Quorum of Seventy he is a counsellor in the Africa Southeast Area Presidency here and now resides in Johannesburg.  He is an amazing teacher and we were truly inspired by him, his wife and the Von Stettens.  We had a beautiful dinner and the elders each received a new tie, which was presented kind of like a white elephant gift exchange where they could choose to take another elder's tie before opening the one they were given.  I think everyone had a lot of fun.
While we were at the zone conference our car was repaired (from the encounter with the bus) and we no longer drive a car that resembles old Bill Moser's Ford (inside story that only family will understand).  Teddy, who does the body work for the mission vehicles is amazing.  He even tightened all the rattles we continue to get from all the horrible roads with potholes where we have to drive.

bottom row l to r :  Elders Shumway, Shawarira, Atoya, Nuzman,
Sister Nuzman Elder Cook, Sister Cook, Sister Von Stetten,
President Von Stetten, Elders Moxon, Shelton, and Tidwell
top row l to r:  Elders Masilela, Puso, Shipp. Ssenyonga,
Risley and Karabonyana
One of the great things about zone conferences is seeing elders who
have served with us previously.  Here Elder Nuzman reunites with
Elder Cunguara from Mozambique who will soon be going home.
On December 10th we attended the Richards Bay branch Christmas party which was a braai at the beach.  You see Christmas comes in the summer here.  It is hard for us to feel like it is Christmas as it is getting very hot and humid.  We had a lot of good food and fun fellowshipping with the branch.

Elder Nuzman watches as District Pres.Ted Baldwin
 sets up the braai.

Elders Moxon, Risley, Shelton and Ssenyonga wait for everyone to assemble.

Richard's Bay sisters are having fun visiting.
Sister duPlooy and Sister Nuzman
Michelle (an investigator), Pres. Baldwin, Calwyn Baldwin, and Mark Swartzberg
On December 11th we had our transfer news dinner (sometimes referred to as the last supper).  Elder Shawarira finished his mission and had to leave by bus before our dinner.  We will really miss him.  He is an outstanding young man; his parents are not members but his father says he wants to be baptised now that he is home.  We were hit hard by transfers with each companionship losing one member.  So we say goodbye to Elders Tidwell, Karabonyana, Ssenyonga, Risley and Shawarira and we welcome Elders Wark, Jallah, Bangeter, Sincreah and Banda.

Elder Nuzman has a hard time saying
goodbye to Elder Shawarira.
Moving on to other zones are Elders Karabonyana, Risley, Ssenyonga and Tidwell

Welcome Elders Wark from Scotland, Jallah from Liberia, and
Bangerter from Bountiful, UT.

Transfers were on December13th but we were not involved with transport so we celebrated Clyde's 66th birthday together.  We had a birthday cake on Sunday with the elders and so Clyde requested an apple pie for his birthday.  It was a beautiful day and  after we delivered a food order to a family in Nseleni we went out to dinner at one of Clyde's favorite places, Porkys at the Tuzi Gazi waterfront.

Happy Birthday to me?  Thanks Elders!

Sixty-six; it doesn't seem possible.
The following day we had to drive south to Ballito which is about 45 minutes north of Durban.  There we met the DeLaMares, one of the office couples, who brought us an order we had long been waiting for.  It rained so hard all day which was sad as you couldn't even see the ocean and we couldn't show the DeLaMares the beautiful coastline in that area.

On the way home we had to stop in Stanger to help a set of elders who were out of power.  We gave them R500 to fill their meter.  You buy power in advance and enter a code into your meter.  It really is a good system as the utility company doesn't have to collect on bad accounts.  And people are more cautious about wasting electricity as they don't want to use it up too quickly.

On December 18th we attended the Nseleni branch Christmas party. They asked us the day before to help.  So we made rice krispie treats for the children and purchased "Kinderjoys" (the South African version of the German Kinderegg).  We also made Toll House marble squares, a chocolate chip bar cookie, for everyone.  There were to be three speakers but Yvonne was the only one who came.  So Elder Banda introduced himself to the members. The program was very short, and I think everyone was pleased!  They had so much meat and not very many people, but it was fun.

Elders Sincreah, Shelton, and Banda, the braai specialists!
Elders Sincreah and Banda are from Malawi.

Tables all set for the Christmas party

We gave the Primary children their treats.

What did you get in your Kinderjoy?

President Vilane's youngest daughter, Nsipho
She is such a little doll!

Saturday evening, about 7:30 PM, a family in Port Durnford called and said they were completely out of food and asked if we could help them.  All stores close by 8 PM and there was no way we could get anything out to them.  Needless to say, we didn't sleep well all night.  So Sunday morning very early we gathered together enough food off of our shelves and freezer to last them a couple of days.  Clyde drove it out to them about 6:30 AM and told them to talk to their branch president and then he would call us and we could then deliver a food order to them. 

Sunday was the Nseleni Branch Conference.  It should have been in October but had to be postponed.  Very few people attended as school is out for the summer and people are gone for the Christmas holiday. 
The day was very warm and the District speakers
put this little boy right to sleep!

Sunday evening we joined the Richard's Bay branch to watch the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional.  We had watched it live in the wee hours of the morning via the internet the first weekend of December, but I think we actually enjoyed it even more the second time.  What tremendous men they are!

We delivered the food order to Port Durnford today and also dropped off some Christmas gammons (hams) to a few families we know won't have much of a Christmas this year.  We aren't exchanging gifts as anything we accumulate we have to carry home in a few months.  Our greatest gifts to each other are the opportunities we have daily to be of service in some small way to the very needy people here that we see every day out in the townships.  You don't see Christmas lights, Christmas trees and wrapped presents in the homes we visit.  The severe poverty is hard for us sometimes, but how we have been blessed to have enough to share with those around us.  We sometimes get taken advantage of but we listen to the promptings of the Spirit and we feel we can usually discern what we are to do.

We are taking our elders to breakfast Christmas Eve morning and will give them each a stocking that we have had so much fun filling.  This way they can spend Christmas Sunday with the people with whom they serve who all want to have the elders come to their homes.

The elders stockings
We love all of you and appreciate the tremendous support you continue to give as we serve.  We know the gospel is true and we know that Jesus Christ lives and continues to inspire our leaders around the world. 

Have a very joyous Christmas and make 2012 your best year yet!

Colorful nativity from Swaziland

Zulu nativity with beaded animals

Friday, November 4, 2011

Just in case you've been wondering . . . here is what we've been up to.

My, it is way past time to update the blog.  Some evenings after we get home and have a late dinner it is too late to start writing.  A lot has taken place and we hope that we can remember it all.  Our blog is basically our journal, so it is important to us. 
     Today is our preparation day and I believe we left off just as we had moved into our new boarding, the end of July, the first part of August.  We are well settled now and it is working out well.  We are approaching summer and it is heating up but is interspersed with rain, sometimes very heavy rain storms, accompanied by high winds.  We are in fact expecting rain tomorrow that is expected to last most of the week.  Our house is, perhaps, less than a kilometer from the beach but there is also a stretch of bush that separates us from the rugged cliffs.  There isn’t much to slow the winds down during a storm.  We can hear the ocean in the evenings, which we enjoy, and the southern skies as well as the constellations are breath taking here.

        The African Weavers, beautiful yellow birds, are busy getting ready to nest.  I can look out the window in front of me and see them.  The males go to the palm trees and other trees and strip them of their long leaves and then weave very interesting nests, suspended from the trees for their mate.  If she doesn’t like it she rips it off and throws it to the ground and he has to start all over until he builds one she likes.  There must be something philosophical I can say about that but I guess I will leave that alone.

Here he is building the nest . . .
now the wait to see if it will pass inspection!
       Now we need to go back and catch up.  On August 20th it was Helping Hands Day in Africa.  Each of the branches was to do a service project for the community.  We helped the Nseleni  branch.  We were scheduled to clean up litter in the area surrounding the library where they meet.  When we met to begin the project we were informed that we couldn’t pick up litter because there was a garbage workers strike going on and we would be in violation of the union strike, so at the last moment we decided to scrub the chairs in the room where we hold meetings.  We had a good time together.
Nseleni Branch
Brother Sunchaze, in back, is now counselor to Pres. Vilane

These boys worked so hard!

The whole crew!
     September 2nd we went to dinner for our 34th anniversary.  September 10th we helped with Youth Saturday and the District Social.  We had to leave prior the braai as we were scheduled to go to Kosi Bay (about 3 hours away) where we both spoke on Sunday. On September 8th we had zone conference in Durban.
Richards Bay Zone
top l to r: Elders Cunguara, Karabonyana, Risley, Ssenyonga, Nkambule,
bottom l ro r: Elder/Sister Nuzman.Elders Tidwell, Masilele AP, Mead,
 Pres/Sister Von Stetten, Elders Martin, Keeble, Mbongwe, and Swarrzberg AP

Elders Mead, Martin, Tidwell and Risley
     On Tuesday, September 13th we hosted closing zone development meeting (ZDM) at our home.  We had 3 elders who had finished their missions and were heading home. 

Farewell Elders Martin, Keeble and Mbongwe.
Thanks for a job well done.
      On Friday, September  16th we took our zone to breakfast at Mugg and Bean with Elder and Sister Blackburn as they had served with Elders Martin and Mbongwe in Swaziland.  In Nseleni Sister Seoka  hosted a braai for Elders Martin and Keeble.  On September 18th we had our “last supper” (our last dinner together before transfers.)
Breakfast with the Blackburns
Party at Sister Seoka's home
Loading up at the "last supper"
     Elders Shelton, Moxon and Shawarira replaced our elders who went home.  We also had Elder Shipp join us making a three-some in Esikhawini for a while.

Picking up Elder Shelton at the Petrolport.  Blackburns brought him
down from Swaziland.
Elder Shawarira and Elder Nuzman

Our new group last transfer:
l to r:  Elders Shipp, Risley, Moxon, Mead, Sis Nuzman, Elders Nuzman, Shelton
Cunguara, Karabonyana, Ssenyonga, Tidwell, Nkambule and Shawarira

     On Saturday, October 1st we watched General Conference via the internet with the elders.  It was 6 PM here. Of course, the announcement of the Durban, SA, temple was very exciting! Then we watched part of the afternoon session at 10 PM by ourselves.  We had to arise early Sunday morning to go to Kosi Bay again as they had no Priesthood there that day.  We had a very spiritual Fast and Testimony meeting.  Everyone, including investigators, bore testimonies.  We felt very privileged to be in attendance.  We hurried back to watch the Sunday morning session at 6 PM our time. 

Lots of cow "stops" on the way to Kosi Bay 

When your arms are full you cary the load of poles on your head.

African women are amazing!
     Later that evening Clyde went to reach for a coin on our bed and put his back out.  Ouch, and he fell to his knees.  He spent a few days in agony and then went to the Dr.  A shot and pain pills were administered but he grew worse.  We spoke in the Richards Bay branch the following Sunday, where he had to use a cane and had difficulty even getting to the pulpit. Finally, after an MRI revealed that his herniated disks were inflamed and the pain continued to grow worse, he was admitted to the hospital.  Bed rest, physiotherapy, a Priesthood blessing and intravenous pain medication, all combined, restored him back to health and he is once again going strong.
      On October 13th, while Clyde was in the hospital Greg, Amy and boys arrived for a week’s visit.  It was an enjoyable time and we packed a lot into the week they were with us.  Clyde got out the day after their arrival so he got to enjoy them as well.  They had to go home much too soon but then we did have work to do, so we were happy for the time we did have together.  The boys were troopers and we saw, rhinos, giraffe, buffalo, lions, hippos and many other African wildlife.  The weather cooperated nicely. 
Jonas, Isaac and Eli visit the Vilane children
Isaac makes a new friend in Nseleni
A beauty salon in Nseleni

Elders Risley and Shelton working in Nseleni
Our visit to the game park
Believe it or not, there are two lions in this tree!
If you click on this picture it will be a close up and you can see
one lion  in the crotch of the tree and one higher up on the left
with its paw hanging down.
Zebra up close!
The beautiful jungle!
Eli, Isaac, Jo and Amy

Amy and Greg outside Hilltop Lodge
This elephant came right up to our van.

Rhinos crossing the road in front of us
More elephants
Giraffe and zebra
     Greg spoke in Sacrament meetings at Richards Bay and Nseleni branches on Sunday, October 16th, and met with all our elders the next day at the beach for fish and chips and an inspirational talk. 

At church in Nseleni

Jonas makes a friend
playing in the sand at the Richards Bay beach

eating fish and chips and russians with the elders

Greg talking to the elders
one of many monkeys at the beach
          The Sunchaze family invited us to a braai at their home for Family Home Evening. 
  The next day we went to St. Lucia. It was very windy but we did see hippos.

A South African braai

Family Home Evening with the Sunchaze family and Greg and Amy
On the boat at St. Lucia

Check out those teeth!
Now guys, these are the rules for rugby!

Three little monnkeys sitting in a tree . . .

      The day before Greg and Amy flew home, we went to Durban and spent the night.  We went shopping at the Victorian craft mall and the Indian market.   
The Victorian Craft Mall

The Indian Market in Durban

Saying good-bye to Grace our hostess at Little Haven
      Sunday night, October 30th, was another last supper, the Sunday dinner with all the elders in the Richard Bay Zone; the evening when they find out who is being transferred, where they are going and who is coming to replace those who leave.  It was a full Sunday, with our church meetings, three baptisms and then coming home to prepare a dinner for twelve and clean-up when it is all over.  It is so fun to have them all here, however, and we look forward to it.  They are wonderful young men and a joy to be associated with.  Elder Nkambule finished his mission and Elders Mead and Conguara were transferred.
Elders Shipp, Ssenyonga and Karabonyana pose for a picture.

Yes, Elder Mead, you will be leaving us.  We will miss you!
We welcome Elder Atoya and Elder Puso.

top l to r:  Elders Risley, Moxon, Shipp, Mead, Shawarira, Tidwell
bottom l to r:  Elders Karabonyana, Ssenyonga and Shelton
This was our group before transfers.
Our new group!
top row l to r:  Elders Shawarira, Atoya ZL, Ssenyonga, Nuzman,
Sister Nuzman, Elders Moxon, Karabonyona, Tidwell ZL, Risley
bottom row l to r:  Elders Shipp DL, Shelton DL, and Puso
         Clyde is now preparing for district conference on November 13th, where he has a speaking assignment; we generally have at least one speaking assignment a week.  Yvonne is preparing for the district women’s conference on November 19th where she is for the most part doing it all, or at least worrying about it all.
     Approximately, 10 months ago in our blog we reported getting hit by a semi in our car.  About a month ago we were on our way to find the Ngwelezane elders and as we were entering Empangeni  we had to come to a stop.  A large bus was in front of us.  Suddenly he started backing up.  We hooted our horn but he just kept coming.  We couldn’t back up because there was a car stopped behind us.  Well, he just backed up over our bonnet (hood) and put a good sized dent and scrape on it.  It was an experience to get the police there and the bus driver wanted to leave but the police arrived first.  We were to both report to the police station but he never showed up and law enforcement is very loose.  We will get the car repaired in December when we have to spend a few days in Durban on an assignment.  The bonnet still opens and closes it so it will be fine until then.  So we have now had our second accident and we don’t choose to deal with small vehicles, we choose big ones to tangle with.
    Since our company left it has been rainy.  The temperatures are starting to increase and the humidity is building as well.  We may not be as blessed with the mild weather conditions as last year.      
     Hopefully, we can update our blog more frequently.  It is hard to remember everything when we wait so long.  We love what we are doing but we have moments when we really miss our family.  On November 1st, William Roman Cantwell, was born.  He is the son of Jenny and Dave.  This is our 24th grandchild and the third one to be born since we have been here.
Welcome little Will!
       We feel very blessed to be able to see these beautiful little ones via Skype.  But we look forward to seeing them in real life.  Little Eleanor, Natalie and Mike’s little girl, only knows us by Skype.  So when they turn on the computer and she hears the Skype sound she comes running, saying “Hi Grandma and Grandpa”.  Thanks for all your prayers; they keep us going and safe!