President and Sister Dunn

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A South African Wedding

Friday February 27
Elder Zach Louw might take the record for quickest wedding after returning home. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa and returned home in October of 2014.

Tonight we attended their temple sealing in the Johannesburg Temple for the former Elder Zach Louw and his new wife to be, Amber. 

 It was amazing to see a missionary in the field just a few months ago, and now watch him make the big step into marriage.
I would normally say this is so quick, but in the case of Elder Louw, I think he is a very mature young man and he and Amber seem very prepared and right for each other.  Elder Louw exhibited great qualities and by his own admittance, matured a great deal on his mission. He knows what he wants in life and seems very ready to move forward.

We had so much fun meeting both families tonight and participating in the temple sealing.

The Olive and Plates restaurant was the location for a gathering after the sealing. The party and festivities were delightful. Tributes and toasts were had, great food was served and dancing went late into the evening. The newlyweds fled around 10 pm and so did we......

Elder Zach Louw was the first of many weddings we will be honored to be invited to. Unfortunately, we will not be so lucky to be living in the same city and able to participate as easily as we could in this one. Whether or not we can attend for other missionaires, we will have our thoughts and prayers focused on each missioanry as they move forward with their lives.

  It was also a very special evening because President Dunn was asked to pay a tribute at the wedding dinner. Besides, Elder Louw's father, President Dunn was the only other toast or tribute of Elder Louw. 
Quite an honor.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Counseling with our Council

Each transfer we prepare a new Council picture board for reference. It is helpful to glance and see who are the current zone leaders. Here is the newest zone leader roster for the transfer from February 17-March 31. We welcome these new Elders* to the group.                                       *Elder Hendersen, Elder Magrangqa,  Elder Mead, Elder Smith, Elder Van Heerden,  Elder Wood

Counseling with our Council
Thursday February 26, 2015

Every six weeks we have a meeting with our zone leaders to discuss the issues of most importance in the SAJ mission. This is known as the Mission Leadership Council (MLC). The best part of the meeting is the discussion that ensues on every topic. These Elders take their calling seriously and come with suggestions, ideas and questions. 
We start the meeting at noon with a lunch. This is a nice time to gather and visit before the lengthy meeting begins around 12:45. 
The office couples, Thompson’s and Allred’s really support and plan this lunch. We rotate the food and everyone brings something. It is a great way to start.

The MLC then heads into the meeting room and commences with a lengthy agenda. Today we covered reviewing the recent “Month of Miracles” and plans for zone conference, self-reliance issues, dress standards, a new messenger bag and many more topics.

Zones also submit topics they want to discuss.  We discussed many issues they brought to the table. It was a great meeting today, and every single zone leader participated with comments and questions.

We also ask Zone Leaders to conduct flat inspections of the missionaries in their zones. This is new, since senior couples have previously done this.  We spent a lot of time today discussing how this is going and how we can assist in this new process.  All in all, they are doing a great job assuming this important task of helping missionaries keep their living quarters clean and respecting the property.

This is a great group of Elders. It is wonderful how a mission gives missionaries so many opportunities to serve and experience leadership. Whether as a trainer, senior companion, district leader, zone leader or assistant, there is no shortage of opportunities to influence, motivate and lead your self and then others on a mission. I love that these assignments rotate and new Elders get the chance and those with experience return to serve after leadership opportunities. 

Mahala Madness

Mahala Monday
Monday February 23, 2015
(Elders, Kairu, Taylor, Smith, Mavundla, Deichman, Mwale, Ware, Wilkerson, Roybal and Richards)

On Monday’s around noon, we see Elders begin to converge around the mission office in their soccer, basketball and rugby attire.  

Today got the best of President Dunn and I found his office empty around 2 pm and his suit hanging on the hooks, so I knew he had been urged to join with the fun today.
(Elders Taylor, Smith, Malapula, Menendez, Kwaibasi, Brown and President Dunn) This was the soccer group today. They played their hearts out. Especially the one in the green jersey.

(Elders Kairu, Smith and Taylor)
So, I went out and found them finishing up and many participants in this day of sport.
Basketball and soccer were the play of the day.
This is a great relaxing diversion for our missionaries. They have already studied, cleaned, e-mailed and shopped, and then they get a few free (Mahala) hours to play and interact in a fun and different way.

The games begin out on the fields around the mission home. We are especially fortunate to be on such a great property with plenty of fields and space for fun. We even found Elder Ware driving his car to deliver a watermelon to his tired comrades. This is also where members park for church if it is a crowded day.

Elder Ware is always up for a funny face pic!

 (Elders Mwale, Mavundla, Deichman, Wilkerson, Richards)
 Taking a breather!
Basketball Junkies: Elder Christie and Edeyaoch
Elders Williams and Elder Lyon, standing about 6'8"  Our two tallest Elders came out to play a little B-ball-of course!
Room for everyone-welcoming Elder Taylor!

Hope this Mahalo Monday can continue.  It is a fun way to interact with Elders.

Zoning In with Bedfordview

Bedfordview Zoning In
Wednesday February 25

We were able to spend time today with Elders in the Vooslorous and Khutsong area of the Bedfordview Zone. These “Zoning In” days have been invaluable for us to get out into the areas of our mission and study and visit with our Elders. We can see what they are doing and spend time in their areas.  It has been so worthwhile for us.

Today the Bedfordview Zone Leaders set us up to go to the Voosloorus flat with our only threesome in the mission, Elder Rushton, (America)  Elder Watenga (Uganda) and Elder Maraetafau, (French Polynesia)  

What is unique about these three Elders, is that they are far from three different countries with the only thing in common, is their love of the gospel and their desire to serve a mission and spread the word.

We had an hour to study with them and loved hearing what they had been studying. We also read from the White Handbook and from "Preach My Gospel."
We also had a chance to see where the three of them sleep and also their study room and how clean their flat was. We gave them a thumbs up (and a green card) for flat cleanliness! They even gave us homemade peanut butter cookies. Impressive!

Later we met up with Elders Masoka and Cummings, as they were dropped off in their area to walk by Elder Packard and Majozi.
As we drove through the township of Khutsong, you cannot help but notice all the tuck shops, kota shops, hair salons and interesting sites.  It is quite the reminder that you are not at home.

We drove along way into their township area and then visited with Doris Linda, a member with her daughter. It is humbling and an honor to be invited into their homes and be able to get to know them and leave a spiritual thought.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Final Day-Soweto Tour

Soweto Tour-Final Day with Departing Dozen
Tuesday February 17, 2015

Following the transfer meeting, we loaded the departed elders into a taxi (actually the mission van) but we put all 12 into the back to resemble the taxi’s in South Africa. They took a 15 minute drive into the heart of Soweto, the largest township in South Africa for a final tour on their final day.
Loaded, and I mean loaded in the van. Three Elders had to ride in the very back. 

We invited Elder Mtetelele Sidzatane to join with us as our tour guide. 
Sidz is a returned missionary from the SAJM and actually married another fellow missionary (the SAJM had sister missionaries in days past) Sidz provided a great background and history of the area and events that paved the way for missionaries to be serving here today.

We stopped first at the Hector Pieterson museum to honor the past and the history that is part of this area. Elders had a chance to see for the final time the place they served in light of the history. Sidz did a great job tying this to the mission experience.

We came out of the museum and had a final “kota” which is a local sandwich made of a quarter of a loaf of bread, filled with all kinds of healthy and not so healthy foods, like salami, chips, egg, cheese, veggies, etc. Kota’s are filling and definitely apart of the mission experience here.

Next we visited the Nelson Mandela house and were reminded of his amazing struggles and successes here in South Africa. Madiba, as Mandela is known, is so beloved here. His Christlike attributes have really revered him to the people of South Africa and to the world. Desmond Tutu had a house right around the corner and offered advice and friendship to Mandela during their lifetimes.

Some of our missionaries continued to use these opportunities ot teach and find.

Nice to have President Dunn on the tour. He seemed to enjoy all the aspects, even the Kota!

We returned to the mission home and had a last Braai with burgers and pap and some chocolate chip cookies and then prepared for our airport run for 8 of the Elders heading to North America tonight.

It was nice to relax, eat a little something and then weigh bags and get ready for our first of three airport runs. Everyone goes along initially, because saying good-bye is a big deal!!
  We even had visitors show up at the house to say good-bye to our beloved Elders.

It was fun to try a new final day activity. We had previously gone to the Apartheid Museum on our way to the airport. So, this was fresh and relaxing to do something different. Elder Stephens appreciated I think, because he had been to Apartheid Museum too many times to count!:)  Thanks Sidz for making this tour and final day so meaningful.