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!