Saturday, March 26, 2016


The Work in Motupa, March 2016

There is a wonderful member of the Church in Motupa whose  English name is Julia.  She has a son named Stephen who was born with Cerebral Palsy.  He is now 22 years old and has always been bed-ridden.  She has cared for him all these years, and then she took on her sister's son, Poncho, after her sister passed away a few years ago.
She told us she has always wondered why her son was so handicapped while other mothers were able to have healthy children. We told her it was because both she and her son are going to the Celestial Kingdom!

John 9:1-3
"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."

I wished I had the power to say: "Rise, take up thy bed and walk!"

Most of the people we work with "stay" in very modest houses (in Africa we say "Where do you stay" not "Where do you live.") They bring their water in containers from "bore holes" - more on that later. Julia is fortunate to have two refrigerators.  Most people have one plus an electric stove, and a few electric lights. All of the toilets are outside. The houses are made of brick; most people make their own from clay. Then they, eventually, put stucco over the brick to keep the brick from melting away. They all have corrugated tin roofs.  Some of the more affluent put tiles over the tin. They can't use wood because of all of the huge termites here.

In spite of the humble building methods and materials, these people are very clean - they are constantly sweeping and cleaning - they even sweep the dirt in front of their homes. They are always washing clothes - hanging them out to dry in the heat of the day.
Elder Reynolds (Vernal), Elder Tuschi (South Africa), Elder Going (New Zealand)
Julia has a three room house - the kitchen and two bedrooms. She shares the bedroom with Stephen and I guess Poncho is in the other one.  The missionaries in the district decided to build a third bedroom so Stephen and Julia could have their own rooms.  That's the way they build - add a room as resources become available.
Elder Bagoole (Uganda), Elder Hamilton (Washington), Elder Going (New Zealand) Elder Tuschi (South Africa) Not Pictured: Elder Smith-Halley (New Zealand)
The Elders are encouraged to do 4 hours of service per week.  This room will take some time! They could use a good cement man.

Motupa Church

The chapel in Motupa is humble. But it is a step up from meeting in a home, which is how it was before these buildings were built.  The main chapel is for Sacrament Meeting and buildings behind are used for classrooms.

Elder Renlund as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy at that time visited here. The original group leader has a photo of him with Elder Renlund.

Seminary -Home Study

The seminary-aged kids in Motupa take a home study course and meet once a week at Church for a formal lesson. They are fantastic! Excuse the photo bombing clown - Sister Hall's idea.

Johannesburg Temple

On March 11 and 12 we attended the Johannesburg Temple with Elder and Sister Campbell and 9 members from Tzaneen and Motupa.  One sister was receiving her own endowment and the others were performing work for their own ancestors. 
This temple is 30 years old and must have been one of the first of the smaller temples. It serves all of the southern part of Africa.

The Work in Lenyenye, March 2016

It is very typical to see women balancing large bundles on their heads as they walk- this has, of course, been going on for hundreds of years.  Fairly new, though, is motorized vehicles, called Bakkie's (not trucks) where as many as are able hop into the back for a free ride.


A sister of one of the members just had a new baby, and then another, and then another!  Triplets. They claim their is no history of twins in their genealogy. Members of family from older to younger all pitch in and help.

Sister Hall was delighted to hold them - they were one month old at the time of the photo.

We have visited them three or four times, and they claim to have been active in the church, even though we hadn't seen them, but in any case those who are members in the family have attended the past two weeks so we are grateful.

Getting Water

 In most households water is obtained by taking large jugs or other containers, usually in an old wheel barrow, down to the local "Bore Hole." The containers are filled at this place, which is usually a hole drilled down to the aquifer, and then the water is carted back to the house. When we went to visit one member family we interrupted this process, and one of the children, not more than 8 years old, was handling the wheel barrow.

South Africa has been in a major draught for at least a couple years. They haven't had rain here since December, and the rainy season has passed. But during the last two weeks there have been heavy rains, which were so badly needed. But the rains have rutted and nearly ruined a lot of the dirt roads that we have to travel on in our car.  Sometimes I wish we had a Bakkie, but they are manual transmission with left-handed shift sticks.  I'm having enough trouble remembering to drive on the left side of the road!

John 4:13-14
"Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Noah's Ark Orphanage

Some ward from America sent coloring books and crayons to be given to an orphanage, so we contacted a local orphanage in Tzaneen called "Noah's Ark" and presented them with the gifts.
A member works at a local newspaper and they covered the event for an article including photographs.  It was the first positive article about the church in the local news for quite a while according to one member.

Of course this fulfills Sister Hall's "vision" that she had as a 19 year old nursing student at BYU where she saw a poster of a nurse helping little black children and she visualized herself doing this someday. (Thus our call to serve in South Africa).

To The Rescue

Much of the work we do is "rescuing" those members who have become less active in the church.
It is easy to love these people. So far we have helped to rescue 5 brothers and sisters who have begun attending church again.

Branch Missionary Kebelo with Kebelo II
Tebogo with Kebelo

Branch Activity

Sister Hall suggested and organized a Branch activity to help get the members more involved with fellowshipping. The primary kids had a blast playing Red Rover and other games, while the youth were fascinated with Elder Hall's "magic" game.

Zone Conference

Zone Conference is held once every 3 months. We just had our Limpopo conference in Tzaneen on March 13.
Front Row: Elder Hall, Sister Hall, Elder Campbell, Sister Campbell, Sister Gubler, Elder Gubler
Back: Elder May, Elder Going, Elder Burgess, ElderThusi, Elder Hamilton, Elder Dixon, Sister Wilson, President Wilson, Elder Saiah, Elder Madonsela, Elder Bagoole, Edler Basima, Elder Rantika, Elder Smith-Holley

1 comment:

  1. Love you two so much! It's fun to see the pics and stories.