President and Sister Dunn

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Divide and Conquer!

As we travel to Pretoria today in anticipation of a BIG announcement, we wanted to post this and share as much information as we have.

Growth in the church and changing circumstances in countries has historically resulted in mission boundary changes. But when it happens in YOUR mission, it is suddenly very, very personal and impactful. In our 12 months here, this is the biggest news that has hit us and we are responding the best we know how. Below is excerpts from a letter President Dunn has just sent out to all the parents of our missionaries.  In a few hours this news will be announced to all impacted missionaries and then to all the SAJM. 

We have just hosted President and Sister Wilson overnight in the mission home and discussed details and logistics with them. It helps it feel better to be able to hand off these great missionaries to great people.

We are glad to have Elder Worton and Elder Olson to assist in this transition and be helpful at every turn.

President Dunn and I have spent the past few days visiting with all the senior couples in the impacted area, explaining all of it, so they can be on board and helpful to the junior missionaries.

Here is the letter sent out to parents:

I will post more pictures of the event later today:

On Sunday June 28, 2015, we have a historic milestone in the missionary work here in Africa which was announced this morning, and will take effect this coming week.
In a recent meeting of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, approval was given to realign the boundary between the Botswana/Namibia and South Africa Johannesburg Missions, and to transfer the Pretoria South Africa Stake and the Tzaneen South Africa District from the South Africa Johannesburg Mission to the Botswana/Namibia Mission. This change will be effective 1 July, 2015, and will affect 45 missionaries currently serving in the Pretoria, Sunnyside and Tzaneen Zones of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission.

This change in mission boundaries coincides with the splitting of the Pretoria Stake and the formation of the new, Mabopane Stake. Both the new stake and the adjustments to the mission boundaries were proposed and sustained by the members and missionaries in a special stake conference held this morning in Pretoria. The net effect of this move is that it transfers a stake and district from the South Africa Johannesburg Mission. It will also immediately bolster the compliment of missionaries in the Botswana/Namibia Mission which has struggled to get missionaries into those countries due to visa issues for the past 18 months. As a geography reminder, these two countries are adjacent to South Africa, and are located on its northern border. The affected zones from the South Africa Johannesburg Mission are the northernmost areas of our mission, and a logical addition to the Botswana/Namibia Mission.
Afterwards, we gathered all the missionaries that are now part of the new Botswana Namibia Mission. What a terrific, resilient group.

The missionaries officially reassigned to the Botswana/Namibia Mission are:
Elder Theodore Dandrick Barendse
Elder James Rex Bryner
Elder Kenneth Dylan Christie
Elder Duwayne Fernando DeSouza
Elder Peter Mpaulo Diogo
Elder Enoc Teancum Garnica
Elder Seth Alexander Going
Elder Afina Hunt
Elder Ray Hunt
Elder Teemu Samuel Kankkunen
Elder Ken Kobbina Kenyah
Elder Brian Kusi-Poku
Elder Daniel Liera
Elder Jarom Alexander Lybe
Elder Albert James May
Elder James Almon McAllister
Elder Kelly McClellan
Elder Jorden Paul McQueen
Elder Elisha Mugenyi
Elder Sicelo Falakhe Ndlovu
Elder Václav Novotný
Elder James D. McKay Oldroyd
Elder Felix Paul
Elder Aaron Leslie Reynolds
Elder Turner McKay Richards
Elder Jacob Blake Saunders
Elder Duke Malcolm Smith-Holley
Elder Joshua Alexander Stilgoe
Elder Simon Ssendege
Elder Jared Michael Cornelis Stomps
Elder Mose Johnny Togiatomai
Elder Andre Edward Daniel Thompson
Elder Teamakaia Louis Adolph Bonard Tumarae
Elder Andries Petrus Van Heerden
Elder Kayl Michael Williams
Elder Mitchell Allen Williams
Elder Gerald Woniala
Senior Couples: 
Elder Max Butler and Sister Janis Cardon Butler
Elder Steven Roy Campbell and Sister Loretta Evans Campbell
Elder Larry LaVarr Hansen and Sister Melanie Hansen
Elder Bryan Mark Winward and Sister Valerie Jean Winward
You can see all the missionaries now gathered with Elder and Sister Cook, as well as President and Sister Wilson and President and Sister Dunn, as well as President and Sister Chator, the Area Seventy.
While we are obviously saddened to part with these great missionaries whom we have come to know and love as sons (…along with four of the best senior couples to be found anywhere), it is inspiring—and in fact more accurately, dizzying—to see the hand of the Lord move the work forward on this African continent. In addition to strengthening the ability to handle the burgeoning work of building the kingdom in the north, this is a pioneering opportunity to stretch and grow which will bless the lives of all involved. Even though these missionaries will be adding and expanding their experience, they will always be a part of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission.
We are excited to introduce the new Mission President and Companion— President and Sister Wilson

We know President and Sister Wilson and they are
outstanding people and seasoned servants of God. They have already served two years of their three-year call in the Botswana Gaborone Mission, and so are experienced leaders of a mission. Their home is in West Jordan, Utah and they are the parents of five children. President Wilson, who was born in
Columbus, Ohio is steeped in church experience having served as a counselor in a stake presidency and is a former bishop, high councilor, elders quorum president, and Young Men president. Professionally he worked as an engineer with Ceramatec, Inc. Sister Wilson, who is from Payson, Utah, has also served in many callings including as a former ward Relief Society president, ward Primary president. Again, your  sons will love serving with this terrific couple.

 I testify to you that God is indeed in charge. And that this is but one more evidence of the hastening of the work. As the Book of Mormon asserts, “But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men…” (1 Nephi 9:6). Elder Neal Maxwell also reminds us that all things do work together for our good. “Trust in the Lord as He leads you along,” said Elder Maxwell. “He has things for you to do that
you won't know about now but that will unfold later. If you stay close to Him, You will have some great adventures. The Lord will unfold your future bit by bit.”

One thing is for sure, it will be an adventure! And we feel so blessed to be a part of this historic and inspired move forward. Below are pictures from the meeting today. It was so impressive to see how the Elders rose to the occasion.
After the announcement and sustaining in the general stake conference meeting, Elder Carl B. Cook had all the missionaries gathered after for a special meeting. All the senior couples joined with us. It was nice to see the immediate reaction of the Elders. They seemed excited to be part of an exciting new opportunity.

We took lots of pictures together with many Elders. We love each and every one of them. Elder Lybe stays in Tzaneen for now. He has a great attitude and is excited about the opportunities ahead. 
The Butlers and all the senior couples are a huge part of helping this transition roll forward smoothly. Elder Saunders leaves in 6 weeks and is excited about the changes he gets to experience before heading home.
Of course we had to offer a meal to these Elders who were detained due to all the extra meetings and interviews planned for the day. So, we planned a sloppy joe lunch and everyone appreciated the time to relax and eat.
Above, Elders Smith-Holley, Kankunen, McClellan and Bryner

Elders Thompson, Stomps, Going, Tumarae, Olson, Reynolds, Williams and Togaitomai

Elders May, Stilgoe, McCallister, Oldroyd and our newest Elder DeSouza. 
Elders Paul, Kusi Poku, Novotny, Van Heerdan, Barendse, Williams and Woniala
Elders A. Hunt, R. Hunt, McQueen, Garnica, Diogo, Kenyah and Christie
Chatting with Elder Smith-Holley (above)
and Elder Garnica (below)

This group of Elders are known as the Tzaneen Gang. They all served together with the Campbells over the past few months. They will forever have this bond.
After lunch, President and Sister Wilson met with all the missionaries and shared more information about themselves, their family of five children and also about their service in Botswana and Namibia. They answered any questions and shared their plans to come soon and visit with each and every missionary.

This awesome group of senior couples are also moving into the new mission boundaries. We have LOVED serving with each and every one of them and feel the Lord's hand is in this change. The Wilson;s are so lucky to get these great people to help support and embrace the missionaries. We love them all so much.
L to R- Campbells, Hansens, Butlers and Winwards.

Senior Couples Pictured with Sister Wilson:
She and President Wilson are so lucky to get to work with these wonderful people. They currently have 1 senior couple in their entire mission, so this addition will be a great boon to their work.

Elders A. Hunt, Kenyah and Oldroyd pausing to visit before we all leave.
It is good to see the camaraderie among these Elders who will be staying together.
Elder Olson, Elder R. Hunt and Elder Stilgoe
Elder Richards, Going, Stomps, Christie, Williams and Thompson

Sisters in Zion: Hansen, Winward, Dunn, Butler and Campbell

Elders Richards, Christie, A. Hunt, Kenyah and Kusi Poku

Elders Paul, Going, Thompson, Togiatomai, Stomps and Van Heerdan

We love each and every Elder so much. Here is Elder Kusi Poku!

Leaving Sister Wilson at the Pretoria Chapel. She and President Wilson have a large task ahead...but they are up for it. We send our love and support to them and are available to help in anyway we can.
We are all moving on! We send our love and support to each and every missionary.


  1. Hi Linda! I love reading your posts. Coincidentally, I went to high school with some of the Wilson family! They had me over for dinner a few times many years ago. They are great folks!

    1. Alice,
      I am so happy to hear this. They are great people, but now I love them know. It is so sweet knowing that they are friends we have in common. Sending my love your way....

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  3. Major change!! Love seeing the update and positivity in each photo! Ps I want one of those sloppy joes made with the special SA sauce! :)

    1. You got it sister. I will make all my SA favorites when you come.

  4. Thank you for this post, with all of the details and pictures. We will be praying for Elder McClellan and all of the other missionaries as they make this transition! What an exciting time to be serving!

    1. We will be following these great Elders and pray for their success!

  5. Well done southern Africa i can not wait to see and feel the wonderful changes and good luck to all the missionaries just know which ever side of the line you end up that's where the Lord wants you to be we love you elders and hopefully in the near future we will be graced with the presents of sister missionaries too .