President and Sister Dunn

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Zoning In....

In the New Year, President Dunn and I decided it is time we get out to each and every zone in our mission and spend a day letting them "show us around" in their respective areas.  We often have interviews or zone conferences, where the missionaries come together to the mission home or a Stake Center. So, it felt like time to be on their turf and touch down with each and every zone.

So, today we had our first "Zoning In" day with the "Centurion Zone". Elder Worton and Anderson, the Centurion Zone Leaders planned a great half day for us with Elders in their zone. We had the pleasure of getting to study with two companionship, go tracting in a mall with 2 others and end our time teaching with 2 Elders to an investigator in a township.

This is a great start to a fun new activity for us. 1 zone down, 9 zones to go!
We visited Elder Dube and Magrangqa in their flat in Birch Acres. Elder Magrangqa has been training Elder Dube and they are a great companionship. We also inspected their flat and were so impressed with the cleanliness, orderliness and maintenance. We are starting a new system of having Zone Leaders dropping in for flat inspections, with senior couples coming by to access the condition of the flats. We gave these Elders a green card for an acceptable flat. We even chose to post pictures of their cleanliness! We hope other Elders will follow their example. Their mother's should be proud!
Impressive- this is a flat their mothers would stay in!
We also spent time with the Tembisa 1 and Tembisa 2 Elders. They share a 4 man flat and we had time to have companionship study with Elder Garnica and Elder Perkins.  It was a valuable time to see their patterns and habits for studying. We enjoyed spending time and learning with them for an hour.
 Elder Adjei and Elder Thembu came down and visited before they left for appointments.  Great visit!
We loved spending time with Elder Widdison and Elder Larsen in the mall. What great missionaries these Elders are.  We made some good contacts and hopefully follow-ups will happen.
Our final activity for the day was with Elder Anslie and Todd in the township of Ebony. We loved hearing them teach their investigator. They even let us participate. They had 21 investigators at church this past Sunday. They are tearing it up. Don't miss that they wore their green ties today! President Dunn has a fetish for green ties, and only wears that color! It is rumored that he has over 40 in various shades!!

All in all, we got a better feel for the Centurion zone, it's boundaries, Elders and work that is going on. We will also be in the temple with this great zone of Elders on Friday morning.
We feel so lucky to be able to be out amongst our amazing Elders.

Food for Thought

Many people look at our blog and comment that ..."It sure looks like you cook a
lot of meals and eat with missionaries often!" is a great reason to gather and missionaries really love having food to relax around and have as part of our trainings. So, yes, we gather a lot around food. We loved that Emi arrived during a leadership lunch and meeting following. She got a "taste" for it right off the plane.  And then for the next 10 days...we planned many gatherings with "food and friends."
I made her favorite homemade whole wheat sweet rolls a few times.  Nothing quite like "tastes from home.."

Many meals out and about followed and it was a fun part of our time together.

Johannesburg is a melting pot and the places to eat are limitless.  Plus, the food is fresh, creative and healthy here. There are many things we will miss. Emi liked going to the grocery store and photographing the fruits and vegetables. Her dad also was an expert at cutting fresh mangoes and making smoothies!

 It was great to expose Emi to a few of the places and people we have loved in our first 7 months here.

Our very first night dinner, we took Emi to Wombles. This fun restaurant in Parktown was a great way to welcome Emi to South Africa, with a delicious meal and atmosphere. We all enjoyed a fillet, due to the fact that South Africa does meat better than anywhere we have ever been!

During our daughter's brief stay, we were able to invite many together to dine with us and to meet her. We appreciate the many new friends we have made that are willing to take the time and gather together with us to meet our daughter. They truly showed such love with their time and interest.
To start it off, our dear, dear friend Lynne van der Hover, from the Centurion Stake, invited Emi and I way in advance to save the date for a girls pedicure and lunch in Parktown. This was such a treat and of course, Lynne took us to the most fun places. We loved every minute and we love her.
She knows how to pick everything from food, to fun shops, to fun places!

Getting to go out together another evening with Lynne and her great husband Theo  was a highlight of our time together.  They are such generous friends and picked the #1 rated restaurant in Johannesburg on trip advisor:
 -Cafe Del Sol- Botannical 

We enjoyed an afternoon lunch at "Second Cup" in Weltervreden Farm. These wonderful ladies have become such dear friends and it was lovely to connect Emi with them. Michele Stitt, Charnell de Kock and Jenny Cook.

We were invited to join the Klintworth family for dinner at their home. It was so fun to be together with them and let Emi meet this darling family that we have become so close with. We have common friends with the Klintworths back in the states and it has forged an instant friendship.

We entertained 12 senior couples and missionaries in the mission home while Emi was here as we bid farewell to many of them on their last night before they transitioned home or to another assignment. It was fun to have Emi see the  routine we go through when we have special departure dinners.  She got to sit by Elder Wadsworth who was leaving the next day.
A dinner together at Doppio Zero, where we enjoyed sweet chili chicken pizza, pasta and thai chicken salad. Our favorites and fun to share with Emi.
We also went to Soweto and experienced a Kota with our friend Mtetelele Sidzatane.  This is a township favorite, made with a quarter loaf of bread and filled with french fries, meat, cheese, egg, etc. It was good, but we cut one in thirds...too much food for us!  This is a food that many of our Elders eat often.
We loved our meal at Tasha's at Hyde Park.  The food below shows why it is one of our favorite places. Tessa greeted us and Emi did a feature on their food for her blog, The Well Traveled Wife.

No room for dessert after this amazing meal of Eggs Benedict, Coconut French Toast and Butternut Salad.

Our last night together was spent at Signature in Sandton. It was so delicious and a fun evening to plan our next time Emi would come and reflect on the amazing opportunity to have her come and be  with us and see first hand this amazing mission, Elders and South Africa.

We shared this last evening with our neighbor and friend Pierre van Breda.  He introduced us to Signature and we thought it would be fun to have him join with us this time. Pierre and I got our favorite dish here, Ostrich Fillet. Yum!!

The good part about sharing al the food and friends, is that EMi is already planning her next trip back here to share all of the great people and amazing food with her husband, Chase!  Chase is actually mpost excited about coming and meeting all the missionaries. He has requested all opportunities to be with them, teaching, tracting, studying, etc. He LOVED his mission in Alabama and can't wait to come to the SAJM!

P-Day with Emi

We were able to enjoy two of our P-days on Saturday with our daughter Emi. As we traveled on mission business, we were also able to carve out some time to see some animals and the wonders of nature. Below are a few of the amazing places and sights we saw in our brief time together.
Amazing Africa Sky!

God's Window and Mac Mac Falls on the Panaroma Route
Two different game reserves with safari drives!
Precious Time Together
The thrill of the safari jeep rides and trackers, Olaf and Steven
Besides the animal sightings, the views and vistas were spectacular!

Rest breaks!
Information about everything from plants, animals, weather and reserves!
Great animal sightings!
A visit to the Boma's (enclosures) after for a delicious traditional Braai...both nights!
A visit to Kruger National Park did not disappoint.  We saw many animals, but were most thrilled by our many sightings of many elephants..from small to large!
We loved how the elephants came out of the bush and more and more kept coming.....
Then they decided to walk right down the road for a bit, so we could see them for longer.......and then they disappeared into the bush. We felt like we were the only people in the Park that day!

A final visit to the Lion-Rhino Park gave us our feel fro up close and personal with the lions and giraffe's. We loved every minute being together and enjoying these amazing and awe-inspiring animals.  Notice, objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear!

We even got Emi up really early one morning and had her ride bikes with us on a  "Cradle of Humankind" loop. It was fun to show her a place we can safely ride our bikes...and how beautiful and wide open it is. You would never guess we were so close to a big city.

9 holes of golf at the Legends golf course by Entabeni rounded off our Saturday.  We felt like the only people on the course, but it was extra fun to have such a cute caddy and driver in Em!

Pretty fun to play in the shadow of Hanglip Mountain. Entabeni of mountains, and it is what makes this area so beautiful We had fun on this beautiful afternoon to spend time together and hit a few balls. I hit many more than my partner! :) But, I did get a birdie on a Par 3. First time for that, I believe! Lucky!!