President and Sister Dunn

Thursday, March 23, 2017

All good things must come to an end!

On our departing day we had the chance to say good-bye at the mission office for the very last time. Good-bye to our beloved missionaries, represneted by Elder Zitumane and Elder Campbell. Go well and know we love you all. Please look us up when you return home and know we will never ever forget you and are anxious to stay in touch!

President Dunn was so fortunate to have these two as great Assistants right to the end. They have the privilege of serving longer together than expected due to the earlier transition of the Dunn's and the Leavitts.

Good-bye hugs are always sweet to capture. They all get hugs from me after their missions!

We then said good-bye to President and Sister Leavitt
They are off to a great start and already have their first transfer underway.

Great to have Elder Campbell and Elder Zitumane join us. The Assistants will be such a help to the Leavitt's. It is great to leave it in such good fashion.

Good-bye to the Elder and Sister Larson. They also leave in a few weeks and are now training their replacement. We have loved working and serving with them and honor the way they have loved and socialized with so many wonderful members of their ward. They also have done such a great job with their office roles. They leave it all improved and are now training the Wagner's to take over. It is a great way to leave knowing everything is in such good hands.

Elder and Sister Wagner have arrived just as we go. They are a wonderful addition to the office staff and have arrived at the perfect time. They will take over for the Larson's in just a few weeks. It is a blessing for them to arrive right when the Leavitt's came. They will all start off together for a grand adventure. We wish them all well.

Last but not least!  Our dear friend Tyler has come to bid us farewell. Tyler and Lynne drove all the away from Centurion to see us off today. It reminds me of when they came to visit me at the mission home in September of 2014 just after I arrived. They have been the dearest friends and wonderful members to associate with. We love them dearly and will look forward to seeing them stateside when they come to visit. As you can see from Tyler's shirt- she plans to attend BYU and knows we will be together in the future.  They are family!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Final Departing Missionaries!

Elder Owen Masiya heads home today as our very last departing missionary.  He departs the day we also get transferred. We love this valiant missionary son. he is from Malawi and was converted by his uncle who is also the branch president.He is the only member in his immediate family. He has been such an obedient, diligent, consecrated missionary. We look forward to staying in touch with him.
See the departing video reflections here of Elder Masiya, Elder Irtakize and also us. We all are transitioning on this March 21st date. Elder Irakize actually flies out this Friday so we didn't get a chance to take his final pictures.

The SAJM mission pin is the last thing Elder Masiya gets before flying to Malawi. Go well!

Standing at the airport with Elder Masiya is very poignant. We have said good-bye to over 400 missionaries in this same place over the past 3 years. It is always bittersweet to stand here and know there mission is over, but their life is just beginning.
All the best Elder Masiya.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Welcome President and Sister Leavitt

On Friday Match 17, 2017, President and Sister Leavitt arrive at O.R. Tambo. We are so excited to welcome them to the
South Africa Johannesburg Mission.
Sunday March 18, 2017
Today was a special day s we introduced the Leavitt's to the temple, a few missionaries and the Johannesburg 2nd ward. 
Elder Wikaira and Elder Adams serve in Johannesburg 2nd ward, where we visited.
Elder Hamilton, the Africa SE Area President came to day to meet the Leavitt's.
Elder Kokotiko and Elder Eki also had the pleasure of meeting the Leavitt's. We also attended a baptism of their investigator after church today.

They also had the pleasure of meeting Sister Hlophe, the mother of our beloved Elder Hlophe. She moved to Johannesburg recently but luckily is not living where her son is serving.

 Later we took the Leavitt's to their new home at 21 Carnation Street. 
This home has been housing mission presidents for over 40 years. They are the 39th mission president couple to serve in this mission and the 13th to live in this home.

It was a beautiful day to show the Leavitt's all the amenities of this great mission home. The outdoor patio is one of our favorite places. Welcome to your new home for the next three years, Leavitt's!


Monday morning with the Leavitt's

On Friday March 17, 2017 President and Sister Leavitt arrived to begin their adventure leading the SAJM.
What a lot of effort went in for them to be here 90 days earlier. They are ready and prepared for such a time as this and we feel so blessed to hand the mission over to such loving and capable servants of the Lord.

On Monday March 20, 2017 we had one day together at the mission office. We tried to give them exposure to people and procedures as much as possible. It was a blessing due to their early arrival to actually spend a full day together and parts of Saturday and Sunday.

The Leavitt's meet the Robison's. They have friends in common in Southern Utah. 

Destined to be great friends.

Lots of training went on during our one full day together. They met President Ashton with the MTC and also the Facilities office group- Nomkle and Shelly.

President Dunn and I also shared lots of information with them in this one day.

Sister and Elder French, as well as Dr. and Sister Jubber came to meet and introduce the physical and mental expertise they bring and assistance they give to the missions in South East Africa.
We discussed some of the parting items for missionaries that we have shared.
Both President and Sister Leavitt got help with getting their technology all set up with the help of Marc Jackson.
We had a nice lunch together with the help of Sister Vizzini and also Sister Wells and Sister Larson. We appreciated the time of Sister and Elder French to come and share about mental health and the help that is available.
Sister and Elder French 

They met Arthur, who is the security guard today. He is always so friendly when we come and go. He was baptized about a year ago and attends the Dobsonville ward.
Later in the day, the Leavitt's met Irene Tshabalala at the mission home. This was fun for everyone to be introduced. 
The day was full of meeting people, learning to drive on the left side of the road and also going over many procedures. But at the end of the day, the Leavitt's don't need lots of details- they will do great using their vast church experience and letting the spirit guide.

As this transfer ends.....

President Dunn's last words sent in his final letter to the missionaries:

As this transfer ends, it is also time for me to bid farewell. And while I am very much feeling the sadness of parting with you and our great work here in Africa, I have much joy as I think not only of our service together, but by envisioning the amazing miracles that will no doubt occur during the remainder of your ministry. And to keep you energized about the special and sacred opportunity it is to serve in Africa, I close with a few thoughts from some living prophets and their impressions of this land and its people—and the promise of the divine work being performed here by you:

“Africa has been held in reserve by the Lord.” —Jeffrey R. Holland

“The African people are a kind and patient people. They don’t have a lot of income or resources that allow them financially to do things, so they just do them out of sheer effort. They will walk miles and miles and miles to accomplish something that they are prompted to do by the Holy Ghost to further the work.”  —Elder Richard G. Scott

“Truly the Lord is hastening His work throughout the world. We saw evidence of that hastening in every country and city we visited in Africa. The devoted and faithful members of the Church on that continent are anxiously engaged in following the example of the Savior and establishing His gospel and Church. I am especially impressed by their diligent preparation to enter the house of the Lord worthily and receive the blessings to be had therein.” —David A. Bednar

“We are not here to teach you Western culture.  We are here to teach you about the gospel culture.  Gospel culture takes precedence over any other influence.” —David A. Bednar

“Many African traditions are consistent with the gospel culture and help our members keep the commandments of God. The strong African family culture is superior to that of many Western countries, where family values are disintegrating. We hope the examples of love and loyalty among members of African families will help us teach others these essential traditions in the gospel culture. Modesty is another African strength. We plead with youth elsewhere to be as modest as most of the young people we see in Africa.” —Dallin H. Oaks

“This is the next stage of pioneers. There were pioneers in the 1800’s in Salt Lake City. Africa can be the next phase of pioneers in the Church.”  —David A. Bednar

“We were impressed with the strength of the priesthood leadership and the unity of the members. They come from many countries with different languages and racial backgrounds, but they are united in living the culture of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” —Quentin L. Cook

“Africa’s one of those special places where you get to see the glory of the Lord, the wonder and the miracle of the Restoration just, quite literally, unfold before your eyes.” —Jeffrey R. Holland

“Most in the Africa Southeast Area have experienced and are dealing with life’s ongoing tragedies. Very few have escaped the loss of loved ones. Very few have escaped economic challenges. Very few have escaped societal conflict.  None have escaped all. The Book of Mormon prophet, Mormon, illustrates how Christ and His Atonement can bring the proper  perspective to life’s difficulties. In writing to his son Moroni, after detailing the destruction of their civilization and atrocities done by both sides of the conflict. Mormon said, ‘…may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever’.”—Dale G. Renland

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Last Sundayi

On our last Sunday before the Leavitt's arrive we found ourselves in Sebokeng for a second interview with Elder Sekholomi and Elder Samuel

Later that day we participated in a last bear talk in Protea Glen.

WE had every row filled for this last fireside.

Elder 'Ahonhe and Elder Allen and Elder Benson all were present because it was in their Zone and area.

One last time, President Dunn carries his AV equipment in and sets it up.

We brought a friend with us today to the fireside - Rinus  Britts and Elder Andrews got to visit with him and share the gospel and his own conversion story with him.

Look at this great father and son team. So happy to rub shoulders with great members.

Elder Jorgensen helped to make this entire fireside possible. He worked hard to advertise and get members and investigators to come. Thanks, Elder Jorgensen.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Farewell Events

In the last few weeks we have hosted many final events in the mission home and also been invited out to dinner with many dear friends from South Africa.  Some are our missionary couples that we will see again stateside, but most are our dear South African friends that we hope to see again when they travel stateside. We also plan to travel back this way and be with them again. We love them all dearly.
This was the  last day of interviews and our Vaal Zone singing the mission song one last time with us.

At our last Zone conference, the Assistants organized a final departing gift for us from all the missionaries. This personalized copy of the scriptures with a buffalo hide cover will be a Dunn family keepsake. Words cannot express how much we love it and each and every single missionary.
Again, a heartfelt thanks to Elder Zitumane and Elder Campbell for organizing such a timeless, meaningful gift. We will always treasure this.

 We loved welcoming Elder and Sister Hunt in the month before we departed. This was their first morning after they arrived. We hosted a breakfast and orientation meeting with them and the office senior couples.

We welcome this brave couple coming all the way to Johannesburg, South Africa from Oklahoma. They will be serving in an area called Sharpville for the next 18 months.
After we dropped them in Sharpville, we stopped for dinner in a great little town near them called Parys and had dinner by the Vaal River at a place called "O's." Great memory with my companion.

Dinner out with our dear friends, Tina and Bryan Jackson. They live in a very wonderful flat in Oakland. We loved finally seeing where they live and all the special ways they have decorated it- especially with Tina's decorating expertise and watercolor talent. We love the Jacksons and are excited to see them in Utah in the future.

We will miss spending P-Days with great local friends and our Bionic Bike Club. Here was one of our last road rides in Suikerbosrand. We love Keith and Josh Williams and Vic Brummer. We loved sharing the gospel and our mission with them over all our rides.
Sister Wenzile Radibe and her mother Grace Mbobo are in our hearts forever. We loved seeing them regularly in the temple on Fridays.  We cherish all our memories together with them in the mission home for FHE's, women conferences together, ladies luncheons and church meetings. Members don't get any better than this.

Farewell events always will hold some special visitors. We have been so blessed to share this amazing experience with friends and family. This last set of visitors were so special. We loved having the Clements, Foss' and the Bennett's with us in our final month or so. Having them with us at the temple with missionaries, at Stake Conference in Soweto and also the Summit Zone Conference was more than we could every ask for. Such a blessing to us and our missionaries.

An invitation to dinner at the Vizzini's was so special. After a delcious dinner (Better than any gourmet restaurant) we were treated to music played and sung by Gianfrance. It was a highlight for us in every way. Thanks dear friends.

Lynne and Theo have kept us culturally connected by planning theatre nights for us on our Preparation Days. We loved going one last time to the theatre and this time we had tickets for West Side Story. We love Lynne and Theo and so nurtured by their deep and meaningful friendship.
We were able to host a Sunday lunch with Veron, Lynne and Tyler before we left. Veron is in her late 80's and is so sharp and has such a great memory of the history of the Church and the mission in South Africa. 

She was joined by her lovely family and also sister Willis and Sister Foxx on this memorable last Sunday lunch with members in the mission home.

We loved having Elder and Sister Whyte come over and get acquainted before we leave. The Whyte's just arrived as senior missionaries serving in the Office of general Counsel with Bryan Jackson. The Whyte's are from Richmond Virginia and know our Jeff and Whitney. It was so fun to learn more about them and also about Richmond and the church there. We get to go back east upon arriving home and see Richmond for the first time before our son and his family move after graduate school.

Our next door neighbors, Lynn, Cecil and Pierre Van Breda have been so close and dear to us. We have exchanged many dinners and events together. We have gone out to restaurants with them, enjoyed the Young Ambassadors when they came to Johannesburg. We love this family and thank them for welcoming us to the neighborhood. This last dinner at their home was so special. We feel so blessed to have them as friends. Thanks Lynn for making such a delicious final dinner together.
......and for writing in our South Africa book and leaving some sentiments for us to take home.

It was a special memory to be with Richard and Kathy Black on our last trip to Nelspruit. After a day of interviews, teaching seminary, teaching with Elders in Nelspruit and KaNymazane, we grabbed dinner together at Zest and had a wonderful time reflecting on the amazing opportunity to serve here. We will see them next on Mt. Olympus Way. We feel blessed they are in our ward and our dear friends and neighbors

Another special memory was the  invite from the Jackson family to go out to dinner before we left for home. They treated us to a fun dinner at Hyde Park Corner at JB's Kitchen. What a special family we have come to know and love so much. After we had to finish off with an ice cream finale! Love to you- Jackson Family!

A special night out with Glenn and Mandy Holmes. Glenn is the Benoni Stake President and we love their family. We have been so blessed by their friendship and look forward to seeing them stateside at conference in the next year. 

One of my best buddies here. Lynne Dallnedar has made so much effort to be friends and I have been so blessed by her efforts to be together and bless our lives. Love to you my dear friend.