Sunday, February 20, 2011

Challenges Bring Forth Blessings

Goodness, can it be mid February and we don’t have our blog updated? Time is quickly passing, faster than we would like to believe. January started with a bang. Saturday morning, January 01, 2011 we received a phone call from Elder Hudson in Ladysmith asking if we had a burial kit. I told him we did but I would have to go to the chapel to get it. He indicated he would come and pick it up. Security had not been working on the building for some time and when I got into the building and opened the library (walk-in safe) everything was on the floor and I thought, “ what a mess in here” and then I glanced up and the ceiling had been kicked out. The building had been broken into and robbed. They gained entrance through the roof and cut the steel mesh and pulled it away and kicked in the ceiling. Later that day we had been invited over to the district president’s home for a braai (South African barbeque) and we had a wonderful time. The Baldwins are a wonderful family.
The pool built by President Baldwin and his sons.  It really looked  inviting!
During January there were two more burglary attempts on the building. On the second attempt the guard chased them off and the third attempt ended with the guard being sliced with a machete and then beaten by five men. He was able to set off the alarm which scared off the robbers. He had to be taken to the hospital to be stitched up. Now the guards are ordered to shoot to kill by the security company. We have had no more problems and the alarm system is now up and operational.

We assisted with transfers on January 11th and had to drive the bakkie (pick-up) down to Durban, to deliver Elder Rainibe and bikes and brought a brand new elder back, Elder Ngwenya, from Zimbabwe. He is doing great. The bakkie was a beast to drive in town (5 speed on the floor) and I had to shift with my left hand. Not fun. We were exhausted when we arrived home that evening.

Goodbye Elder Rainibe.  We will miss you!
Welcome Elder Ngweyna from Zimbabwe

Trainer, Elder Tualufo with his greenie.
January 13th we accompanied Elder Ndhlovu to court. He wanted our support, as he was run over by a hit and run driver back in November. The elders had been able to get the license number so the driver was caught. The judge came down hard on the man; some jail time, R6000 fine, and driver’s license revoked. No damages were awarded; I think because the elders had no idea of proper court decorum and were disruptive (talking among themselves) during the proceedings. Live and learn. A large part of our time is spent assisting the elders with their various needs. We love these young men and see them growing into great men of God.
Elders Nuzman, Mwita, Castleberry, Hall and Fisher
having lunch after DDM. at McDonalds!
    We had the opportunity to work with a family who was investigating the church, the Sunchaze’s. They are a father led family of four. The mother is a school teacher and has been battling cancer. They were baptized on January 16th and Elder Nuzman was able to perform his first baptisms in many years. He baptized the father and the son. We check on them as often as we can and have done a couple of family home evenings with them. We were blessed to be able to teach them the Eternal Marriage lesson. Such spiritual experiences.
The Sunchaze Family
Mellissah, Gugu,Shiangalah and Gabriel

The Sunchaze Family with the Elders who baptized them.

Family Home Evening with the Sunchaze family
 Yvonne had been feeling under the weather for a couple of weeks but just kept plugging away. She had been battling a fever off and on, headaches, body aches and then started breaking out. We had to go to Kosi Bay to visit a small group where we both spoke and visited less-actives. We stayed at a lodge overnight and Sister Nuzman asked me to check on a sore behind her knee, I recognized it as a tick bite. We couldn’t get her into a doctor until Monday. Sure enough that is what it was. She was put on a strong antibiotic, given a pain reliever and an antibiotic ointment. It has taken several weeks but she is much better but still doesn’t have the stamina as before. Since then three of the elders have had tick bites and the same symptoms.

January 26th we started our two seminary classes again after the summer break. We have some choice young people in our classes. We are trying to get them ready for a temple trip (Johannesburg) in late March. After seminary in Port Durnford we stopped in to visit Thandie Nzama’s grandmother, who lives next door to her. What a delightful lady! She is in her nineties. She only speaks Zulu but just kept hugging us and told Thandie that she really loved us. She supports herself by selling mats that she weaves while sitting on the ground. They use the mats to sit on and even sleep on. She insisted that we take a sack of lemons from her tree.
Sister Thandie Nzama, her grandmother and Sister Nuzman
We had the opportunity to visit the De Klerks (members of the Richards Bay Branch) at their farm, 2 ½ to 3 hours west of us, for our preparation day and we took an extra day. It was a great visit and what an operation they have! It is very remote and isolated. They are building a large home on top of high hill overlooking their huge tract of land thousand of hectors. We were able to go with them as they sold milk, bananas, mangos and other produce. They are a wonderful couple and have had two sons assisting them with this operation.
Driving across one of three rivers we had to cross

They literally see no neighbors. Their water supply comes from
springs from atop the mountains.

Paul and Susan De Klerk and Elder Nuzman sorting mangos

Want some bananas?

One of the frogs we met in the house.  They eat all the bugs!

Family compound where we sold fresh and sour milk and bananas

Holding out several Rand to pay for what she purchased

A beautiful view from the house

Some of the neighbors several kilometers from their house
We had to leave on Tuesday morning and on the way home we were nearly hit by a semi. It scared us more than anything. Luckily the only damage to the car was a scraped bumper and fender. The truck tried to pass us on the left as we were making a left turn and to top it off the truck driver left the scene. We had appointments we had to get back for and we were almost late. Never a dull moment. The worst part was having to call in the accident report as Elder Zweifel has been inundated lately with accidents by the elders. Having one of the couples in one, as well, I’m sure was no fun.
We were lucky this is all the damage we incurred.
We finally broke down and bought a tv. The elders like to come to our boardings for DDM (district development meeting) and we have been using our computer to view training DVDs. It would take us a day or so to get our computer back functioning each time. It gets very lonely in the evenings and we have resorted to talking to our geckos in our kitchen window for social interaction. We will now occasionally watch mission appropriate DVDs and we can use it for training also. We will leave it for the next couple when we leave.
One of our gecko friends.  See the eggs she is carrying in her abdomen?

Sometimes they come inside to see us.
Elder Nuzman preparing for a talk.

 We have a transfer session coming up and we anticipate being hit hard. We always are sad to say goodbye to the elders who have to move on. We grow so attached to them but we always know that there are some new great young men coming. In preparation for transfers we have to visit all the boardings and do inspections and also inspect their vehicles. The elders really did a great job this inspection!
Our Richards Bay District Elders came by to say goodbye.
Elders Hall and Mwita are leaving us.  Hope we can keep in touch.

From Empangeni District we say so long, Elder Jensen .

And God be with you, Elder Shannon
Following are some pictures we thought were interesting:
Watch out for hippos.  We see this sign on our way to the post office.

Watch out for cows.  They roam free here.

One of many beautiful trees.

Houses in Ngwelezane, a township.

This beach is about 15 minutes from our house.

A ship coming into the port of Richards Bay.

Ships waiting to come in.


  1. Dear Nuzmans,
    Several times in the past weeks we have checked on your blog only to find no updates. We were praying that you were OK. THANKS for this update. Our prayers have been answered.
    Also THANKS for the super inspiration that comes with each of your updates. We have some other friends who are also serving a mission. They are at the other end of the world literally. You might enjoy their insights = .
    Keep up the GREAT work. We pray for you always.
    LOVE from the Dolbergs (Glen & Bonnie)

  2. E/S Nuzman - Thanks for updating your blog. Almost every picture brings back great memories. It was especially wonderful to see Thandi Nzama and her grandmother. We hope you got to see her making one of her mats.

    Glad to hear they have finally decided to protect the RB chapel. It was broken into a couple of times when we were there.

    Talking to Geckos is something only other missionaries would understand. The problem will come when they start talking back.

    We do have one question...where did you get a bakkie? We tried to get one from the day we arrived in Swaziland without any success.

    You are doing a great service to the members of the RB district. We will continue to keep you in our prayers.

  3. Sure loved reading your mission news. We are really proud of you serving your mission. What adventures!! We pray for you.
    We go to Mongolia the first week in April for development for our mission. It is always exciting and interesting.
    We're all doing well.
    Love you, Nancy and Family

  4. Oh this is making me SO excited! We leave in 19 days! Love you both so much.

  5. Elder and Sister N, I enjoyed your update as usual, thanks for posting! Glad to hear your missionary endeavors continue to go well. I'm sorry however about the tick bite Yvonne. Horrible! I am glad that you figured out the root of the problem and are now on the road to a full recovery!

    I laughed about the geckos! :) It reminded me of that Tom Hanks movie "Castaway" where his only friend on the deserted island is the volleyball named Wilson! At least YOU both know you still have lots of human friends at home and that we haven't given you up yet for dead! A little gecko bonding can be a good thing. They have them in Hawaii and they are considered good luck.

    Well, wishing you continued success in the work and also good health. Hopefully you've now found some insect repellent spray over there that is effective on ticks. Stock up!! Continuing to pray for you always! J.

  6. Thanks again for your beautiful blog post. So hard to believe you are a world away and have so many amazing experiences. I am always inspired when reading of your mission. I am glad that Yvonne is feeling somewhat better. I hope that she continues to improve. Take care and God bless!

  7. You seem to find the "Beware of Hippo's" road warning sign, amusing? I had a work colleague who was on his way home after a work party (he is definitely not a member candidate!) - drunk - and he wrote his car off not far from the chapel, when he ran into a stray hippo in the middle of the road!

    I have even seen mosquitos at the chapel that have landing lights, they are so big! Talking to gheckos is not THAT crazy! When you statt to talk to the ticks, you have a problem!