Sunday, June 19, 2011

May and June - the beginning of Winter

Today is Fathers’ Day and it is winter here in South Africa but winter here is a piece of cake.  It has cooled down, but it is very pleasant so far and is generally between 65 and 75 degrees.  We have had a fair amount of rain and when it rains it pours, but much of the rain is at night.   People have gardens growing all year round.  It gets light late in the morning and dark by 5:15 PM, so the days are short.  With the change in seasons we both came down with the flu and colds and this has gone on for about 5 weeks but we think we are on the winning end right now.
The first week in May we traveled to Durban to say
good-bye to Elder Shadrack Mwita who returned to Tansania.

Elder Kamara and Elder Fisher brought flowers for Mother's Day

Sister Chirwa and Sister Nzama bundle up for a temple prep class.
It is just after 5 PM.  It is so dark we have to use this flashlight.

This is how dark it really is!  (We turned off the flash on the camara.)

We lost some very special elders on the 17th of May, due to transfers. It was difficult to see them go. Elders Castleberry, Tualufo, Fisher, and Adams all moved on. We again received some great elders to take their places. We welcomed Elders Mashiloane, Nkambule, Keeble and Martin. Now it is time for transfers again. We will find out Sunday, June 26th who will be leaving.
Our transfer news dinner where we found out who would be leaving.
left to right: Elders Armstrong, Shokane, Fokuo, Tualufo, Castleberry, Kamara,
Mead, Ngwenya, Fisher and Adams.

Elders Nkambule, Keeble, Mashiloane, and Martin tranfered to our zone.

Elders Castleberry, Tualufo Adams and Fisher got calls to leave us.

May continued to be a busy month as we had to prepare for our District Conference.  We were blessed to have a General Authority, Elder Watson of the 1st Quorum of the 70.  President Von Stetten asked that we entertain the Watsons and the Von Stettens on the Saturday afternoon prior to the Sunday conference and take them to dinner that evening.  (Elder Nuzman being the social butterfly that he is was not looking forward to it.)  We had visited all the branches to publicize the Conference and obtained commitments to attend.   The branches are anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 ½ hours out of Richards Bay and very few members have any transport.  The district agreed to pay for the transport (taxi’s) to bring them into Richards Bay.  Sister Nuzman wanted to do something special for the Watsons  and the Von Stettens .  She created beautiful gift baskets with a traditional African basket, an African Nativity, Swazi soap, boxes of African cookies and maps and brochures of Richards Bay, all beautifully wrapped.  They were a hit.  We went to an African basket weaving village to obtain the baskets and nativities.  When Saturday arrived we met them at their hotel and took them to the beach first and then to the mouth of the port.  The port at Richards Bay is the largest port in South Africa.  The weather was beautiful and the Watsons were delightful and very easy to be around as were the Von Stettens.  We all went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Jack’s Corner, which turned out nicely as well.  What was even nicer, is that Elder Watson picked up the tab, bless his heart.  It was a wonderful day and Elder Nuzman’s stress was unfounded.  Conference was well attended and it was a spiritual feast.  We were very pleased with the way everything went and hope everyone else was pleased as well.
Ilala Basket Weavers on the way to Kosi Bay
We got the Zulu baskets and nativities here.

Elder Nuzman, Elder Watson and President Von Stetten
walking on top of the jetty at Richards Bay

Sister Watson and Sister Von Stetten checking out their cameras

Here we are at the lookout point on the jetty.
President Von Stetten took the picture.
The next weekend was the Father and Sons, Priesthood Commemoration.  All the priesthood, from the district, gathered at the Richards Bay Chapel on Friday afternoon for activities, dinner, spiritual talks, movies, and a sleepover.  The next morning there was a breakfast and a service project.  It was another success.  Elder Nuuzman opted out of the sleepover and went home to his bed and returned early the next morning to cook breakfast.  Not only did sleeping on a hard floor not appeal to him but Sister Nuzman was concerned about staying alone.  We are more cautious since our robbery.
At Zone Conference in Durban at the Berea Chapel
June 9th we had a Zone Conference in Durban.  Our zone and two other zones met together.  It was very spiritually uplifting.  The bar continues to be raised as zone goals are set.  Our Elders are working so hard!  Last P Day they did a service project at a school for orphaned (due to HIV) and vulnerable children.  They actually suited up in special gear and cleaned the pit toilets.  After completing the project they played games with all the children.  Those running the facility were so impressed with these “sons of Helaman”.
Elders Martin, Nkambule, Shokane, Armstrong and Mead suiting up.

The elders with the Peace Corp volunteer and the children at the school
On June 11th we headed to Kosi Bay for our assigned visit. We were excited to see that they are now
meeting in the new building they built themselves. Their spirits are high as they endeavor to find investigators.

Zamokuhle prepared a lovely dinner for us on Saturday
which she prepared in her one-room dwelling.

Elder Nuzman and Sipho Ngubane outside the new building in Kosi Bay

Setting up for church in Kosi Bay.  We were the speakers for
Sacrament Meeting and then Clyde taught the combined adult class.

On our way home we checked out Sodwana Bay.

These signs at Sodwana Bay were interesting.  We especially enjoyed:
"Missing visitors must be reported at the main gate."
We were notified by our property manager that the owner of our rented house wants to take possession of the house as soon as possible.  The owner’s sister has married and they want her and her new husband to live in the house.  We started looking immediately. Most places that are available are town houses with stairs and are in bad condition.  We were getting discouraged but finally found another house (bigger than we needed) out in an area called Meerensee.  It is further out than we wanted, but it is nice and looks safer than where we now live.  The rent was considerably higher than we wanted to pay, but our property manager negotiated it down to what we are currently paying so we took it.  It has been a hassle getting the lease drawn up and now we get the great opportunity to pack this place up, clean it, and get settled in a new place.  We are going through everything and getting rid of a lot, so there won’t be a lot of outdated and needless clutter.  We move on June 24th.

Just a few days after deciding to move to Meerensee, it was reported that a lioness was spotted in our new neighborhood just roaming around.  Comforting, don’t you think?  There is a stretch of open bush between us and the beach where she can hide.  It is believed she has wandered here from a game reserve about 90 kilometers (55 miles) northwest of here.   Interestingly, a couple of months ago after a meeting with all the branch presidents in the district, at Richards Bay, Elder Nuzman was asked to take two of the branch presidents back to their townships.  It was quite late and he took one to Nseleni and dropped him off and then proceeded to take the other branch president home and got on the highway (N2) to eSikhawini and not long after, he saw (or thought he saw) the hind quarters of a very large cat going into the bush.  He asked President Nyawo if there were lions in the area and he said he didn’t think so.  Perhaps his eyes weren’t deceiving him after all. They still haven’t been able to catch her.

Our family at home just keeps growing and doing great without us.  We had a new granddaughter arrive in April and we have a new grandson expected in November.  Our oldest grandson, Ethan, graduated from high school and received a full ride scholarship to the University of Delaware.    Christian, Ethan’s brother, is in Chile for the summer immersing himself in Spanish.  Alcy, our oldest granddaughter, just completed her first year of college at Utah State and is in Arizona working for the summer.  Greg, our son, is moving to Washington D.C. for a few months on a special assignment at the National Guard Readiness Center.  He does get to have his family come with him.  You can see we are not really needed at home; everything is just going on fine without us.  We have been asked to extend our mission here in Africa, so we will be staying until July, 2012.

We are teaching two seminary classes, one English class and one temple preparation class.  We have two sisters going to the temple for the first time this month.  We are very excited for them, they are such special ladies.  The Johannesburg Temple is close to eight hours away and that presents a challenge for these wonderful women of humble means.  We are grateful for our small part in helping them get there. 
Waiting for temple recommend interviews with President Von Stetten:
Sisters Mlondo, Chirwa, Mntungwa and Nzama
Today, President Vilane, who is back with us after another stay in the hospital, spoke in Sacrament Meeting.  He gave a very interesting analogy.  He said we need to be more like snails as we go through life.  A snail leaves a mark as it travels.  You can see where it is coming from and it moves steadily along its path.  Likewise, we can influence others as we travel through life.  Others can see our Christian attributes and watch us as we move toward our goal to return to our Heavenly Father.  President Vilane is such a special man.  He loves the members of the Nseleni Branch and it shows.  Today we had sixty people in attendance.  Several were investigators.
Relief Society in Nseleni Branch
It may be a while until we write again as it will take several weeks to get our DSL line at our new place.  Please know that our testimonies continue to grow as we serve these special people.  We love you and thank you for all your prayers in our behalf.   
This is the moon shining above one of the factories here in Richards Bay.