President and Sister Dunn

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's All About the Women!

The South Africa Johannesburg Mission only has "Elders" serving. No "Sister Missionaries" in this mission due to safety concerns.  However, that doesn't mean we don't have plenty of amazing women we get to be among.

I was thrilled to be invited to a Women's Conference in a little community called Modjadjie.  It is about 4 hours from our mission home and  we were already in the area. The Women came from about one hour away in all directions. They had planned this event for months and taxi's were ordered and rides arranged so that women could attend and be together. Over 80 women came and I was honored to be in their midst. The talks were so inspiring and the women are just inspiring all by themselves.
When I was preparing to come to South Africa, a good high school friend of mine, Linda Bentley Johnson told me of a visit she and her husband had made to South Africa. After visiting Robben Island where Mandela had been imprisioned, the tour guide passionalty explained that the forgivenss of this counrty and the healing that is all because of the mothers! The women taught their children to forgive after Apartheid ended and move forward. I can feel that energy alive in the hearts of the women I meet. It is indescribable, but felt and I am honored to be learning from them.

My dear friend Leslie Lords Robbins sent me some sweet ,lines about the role of women...that I want to include here. She knows I have been asked to speak at a Women's Confrence coming up in early August and I appreciate her love and sharing of great thoughts each week.  (she is good at that!):)
“All of us as sisters in the gospel have the responsibility and privilege to support and nourish one another. We have all committed to be disciples of Jesus Christ and this discipleship should be at the heart of all that we do. Each of us is in a different place in our spiritual journey. Some may struggle with testimony. Some have questions or wrestle with the pressures and trials of life. Those who are struggling for whatever reason should be able to find within our sisterhood a spirit of warmth, inclusion, and love.”  

“Occasionally, some of our brothers and sisters may find themselves away from the fold because of personal choices. Without condoning those choices it is important to remember the Savior’s message of leaving the ninety and nine safely in the fold and reaching out with love, with kindness and with compassion to the one. We can demonstrate that compassion by ensuring that our communications with one another are respectful and kind.” ~Bonnie Oscarson, General Young Women President

How can we as women nourish one another? Simple things like a hand-written note, building one another up with inspiration and compliments, knowing one another’s hearts, taking a genuine interest—this is everything you do for me, my sister friend. So in August, when you speak and teach with the Spirit to these women, you have all of the credibility in the world with this topic! I will continue to look and send anything that might inspire and enlighten your mind and heart.  (Thanks, Leslie!!!)
The church building where the conference was held was in a stand alone portable building like the ones we put at schools  when we need more classroom space. These women all dressed up and then were so happy to sit on the grass and socialize afterwards.  The sister on the bottom right just received her mission call in the white envelope.  Her name is Judith Magopa. I was lucky enough to be able to deliver it to her.  She was so excited and later opened it with her family and found out she is going to Atlanta, Georgia. She has never been out of South Africa and is so excited. She is pictured here with her friends and Sister Campbell who just arrived as a senior missionary from Vancouver Canada.
No one wanted to go home after the conference. The senior couples in the area provided a tasty lunch for everyone. What I loved most was that the men made the food, especially Elder Butler, pictured below on the left. Notice the wrap on his wrist.  He told me he needed an ace bandage after straining his wrist to cut up over 20 head of cabbage for his famous oriental salad.
I just keep meeting such great people that are sacrificing so much to make their lives and others better. The Senior Missionaries serving in this part of the mission are the Heyens, the Butlers, the Campbells, the Meldrums (partly pictured) and also the Brammers, Harwoods and Winwards (not at this event, but still serving in the larger area.) They all give so much of themselves and we love them.

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