Out of Africa Adventure
We aren't sure what was in the bucket, but she had to steady it for the photo. She didn't need to steady it while walking though.
Opah Shai is a wonderful member of the Church and very intelligent. He is so intelligent that he graduated at the top of his class and won an all-expenses scholarship to attend medical school here. He and his brother are the only members in their family, and even though his brother went on a mission, Opah's parents didn't want him to go because of the scholarship. They expected him to become a doctor and then he could help the family out financially. But Opah wanted to serve a mission, and insisted on doing it even if it meant giving up his scholarship. So his parents kicked him out of the house and he has been living with the District President for the past three months, awaiting his mission call. We believe this young man is truly converted to the gospel!
"And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: ... And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
Through the miracle of internet we were able watch all of general conference live in our flat, the first session from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm and the second session from 10:00 pm to midnight on our time. (I didn't watch the Priesthood session, which would have been 2:00 am to 4:00 am)!
Then one week later the entire branch was able to watch rebroadcasts at the chapel via satellite. They met on Saturday from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, then from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, then the Priesthood session from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. On Sunday they watched from 9:00 am to 11:00 am and from noon to 2:00 pm. The attendance wasn't great, but those who came were spiritually blessed. It was not probably obvious to those in America, but to us Africans several things stood out: Elder Hallstrom spoke of visiting Liberia with Elder Bednar, and 4100 people came by foot or "inconvenient transportation." He said the atmosphere was "electric." He spoke of the choir singing verse 7 of How Firm a Foundation, with a 14 year old young man at the keyboard, and felt "a level of conviction I have never felt before in a congregational hymn." "One of the most remarkable, profound spiritual events of my life." The people have "little materially, but everything spiritually... Sons and Daughters of God who know it." Elder and Sister Hall just nod our heads in agreement - until you have experienced it, it is difficult to describe.
After President Monson finished his closing remarks at the end of the Priesthood session, everyone stayed in their seats. They didn't get up and leave until after the closing hymn and prayer: Weird!
YSA FHE Group
Youth and YSA Activity
We held an activity for all youth and young single adults in an attempt to get them to bond, and come to seminary and institute.
They enjoyed playing our childhood game of Pick-up Sticks.
Also, cut the flour, but don't drop the coin or else you have to retrieve it with your mouth, no hands!
The Young Women probably need a lesson on modest dress, but hey, this is Africa!
Back row standing: Humphrey, Chris, Judas
Middle row sitting: Nico (our blind investigator)
Desmond, John, Esther, Sophie , Hazel
Front row floor: Fortunate, Elder Going, Elder Bagoole
First Authentic African Meal
|Sister Tumelo and Family|
We don't recall ever hearing a more sincere, humble, yet direct prayer than the one she offered with us recently.
She, her mother and friend fixed us our first authentic African dinner consisting of Pap (pronounced "Pop" - a very finely ground corn -maze- cooked in a large pot and stirred almost constantly), fried chicken with sauce, and vegetables. It was very good tasting. We used spoons but they eat with their fingers. The ladies spend a lot of time fixing their hair in a variety of ways.
To The Rescue
Over time the place has become too small for the 100 children that she is providing this service for, and when she applied for funding from the government she was told that she can't have funding unless she gets a place of her own. They were able to secure some acreage in a beautiful little valley just outside Lenyenye. Having no funding, they spent what they could of their own money to construct this wooden structure shown above.
|All Volunteer Labor Force|
I challenged their method of construction, predicting that it isn't going to last very long. In reply they told me the structures are only temporary, a place to house the children until they can get funding to build a proper structure made of brick. That funding is at least a couple years away, if it ever comes at all. The building they need will cost a half million South African Rand, an overwhelming amount for them. This translates into roughly $35,000 American Dollars at the current exchange rate. We wonder if there are any Americans who would like to sponsor a project to raise $35,000 for a worthy, charitable cause?
|Site of the future Lenyenye Orphanage - $35,000 needed|
Some of the kids in the orphanage receiving coloring books donated from a ward in the States (left) and then singing to us as we visited (right).
Three of these children are LDS who have no parents. They sang along with us as we sang "I am a Child of God" to the rest of them.
Sister Hall says I have to publish this blog TODAY. But I have so much more to report: Opah's happy ending, the work progressing in the Motupa branch, the District Youth Conference, temple work, and us being attacked by wild animals... Please check back in a couple weeks for more updates. We love you all!