President and Sister Dunn

Monday, August 31, 2015

In Appreciation of Women

Here in South Africa, National Women's Day is celebrated annually on August 9th. This National Holiday is impressive and it is referred to as Women's Month in August. So, on Monday August 31, 2015,  I invited wonderful women to the mission home to pause and appreciate the role of women.
Arriving first, were my co-hosts, Sister Allred and Sister Thompson. They helped me get everything ready. We gathered outside and then had everyone introduce the person next to them before we sat down for lunch.

In the year I have lived here I have interacted with wonderful women. Since our mission is one of the few that has only Elders (due to safety and security reasons) I feel energized by the chances I have to be with women.
Here is my kitchen helpers, Sister Thompson, Sister Allred, Sister Collins and Irene and I.:)
I couldn't have pulled it off without their help. What darling friends they are. I love them all!!

I am impressed by the ways the women love our missionaries. They have them over often for dinners and lunches and support them in every way.  This day was my chance to give back to them and also bring their great spirit into the mission home again!
We enjoyed 3 different kinds of quiche, cinnamon and orange roles, fruit skewers and congo bars.
We had over 25 women in attendance. They are all representatives of the many fine women that are pioneers here in South Africa, moving the church forward and loving and nurturing along the way.
My dear friends, Lynne Dallender and Debbie Boschoff traveled the furthest to attend, form Pretoria and Centurion, What a delight to have them with us!
The three darling sisters, Aurah,Fuhti & Lorraine
Shamiso Makisi, me and Jenny Cooke
Me and Debbie Mocke
Amy Krause and Cherene Hall

Are these two cute enough? Lorraine's little girl and Shamiso's little boy are only 1 month apart. They added sweetness to the occasion and a great reminder of the joy of being a mother, grandmother and nurturer of children!

Here are some quotes I shared at the table and also sent home with everyone.

Quotes for Women

“People are imperfect. Love them anyway.” ~Mother Theresa

“Do small things with great love.” ~Mother Theresa

“At times, we as women struggle to understand exactly who Christ is in our lives. We fail to comprehend the gifts He offers us as we strive to overcome the challenges we face. But Christ’s great message to us is that He has overcome the world-he has given women great gifts that empower us and help us realize we are not alone.”
~Helen B. Moore, from Christ’s Gifts to Women

“When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.”– Helen Keller

“Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.”– Margaret Thatcher

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”  Maya Angelou

“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”– Eleanor Roosevelt

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”– Oprah Winfrey

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”– Diane Mariechild

“We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”– Marie Curie

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”– Ayn Rand

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”– Maya Angelou

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”– Helen Keller

“Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.”– Rosalind Russell

“Sometime in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It is the journey to find yourself.”– Katherine Sharp

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.”– Elisabeth Kubler Ross

“God give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed; the courage to change the things that should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”– Reinhold Niebuhr

“I hold my families heart in mine and toast the weaving of our souls.”– Anais Nin

“Relationships create the fabric of our lives. They are the fibers that weave all things together.”– Eden Froust

“Hands to work, hearts to God.”– Shaker Axiom

“Our aspirations are our possibilities.”– Samuel Johnson

“Oh, it is delightful to have ambitions….And there never seems to be any end to them-that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still, It does make life so interesting. ~L.M. Montgomery

Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world will be drawn to the Church in large numbers.  This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the church are seen as distinct and different–in happy ways–from the women of the world. ”     ~President Spencer W. Kimball

“Emma was called “an elect lady.” That is, to use another line of scripture, she was a “chosen vessel of the Lord.”  Each of you is an elect lady. You have come out of the world as partakers of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. You have made your election, and if you are living worthy of it, the Lord will honor you in it and magnify you.”  ~Gordon B. Hinckley

We must have the courage to be imperfect while striving for perfection.” 
~Patricia T. Holland

“One kindness, one expression of love, one thoughtful gesture, one willing hand at a time.  But my message is not to those who receive such acts of charity but to all of us who must practice such holiness every day.”  ~Kathleen H. Hughes

“‘I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words…Go…[into] your homes…ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask…the Father…that ye may understand.’  (3 Ne. 17:2-3)  The Savior’s words were written for us.  It’s OK if we’re weak, as long as we don’t stay weak, as long as we do something about it.”    
~Carol B. Thomas 

“The home is usually the place where most of our faith is established and increased. … How sad, therefore, that some homes are merely a pit stop, when they should be a prep school for the celestial kingdom” ~Neal A. Maxwell

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ~Richard L. Evans

“My dear sisters, this is your day, this is your time. The holy scriptures adorn our bookshelves. Make certain they provide nourishment to our minds and guidance for our lives. Our goal, gain knowledge through study.”  ~Thomas S. Monson

“Let kindness, charity and love crown your work.”  (Joseph Smith)
“We are sometimes so anxious about our personal images, when it is His image we should have in our countenances.” ~Neal A. Maxwell

 “Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says: ‘Oh Crap, She’s up!'” ~Candace Salima, Radio Talk Show Host

“People wonder what we do for our women. I’ll tell you what we do. We get out of their way and look with wonder at what they’re accomplishing.” ~Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

“We don’t have to be perfect today. We don’t have to be better than someone else. All we have to do is to be the very best we can.”  ~Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

“The secret of a happy marriage is to serve God and each other. The goal of marriage is unity and oneness, as well as self-development. Paradoxically, the more we serve one another, the greater is our spiritual and emotional growth.”  ~Ezra Taft Benson

Ideals are stars to steer by; they are not sticks to beat ourselves with.”  ~Barbara B. Smith

“No matter what your past has been, you have a spotless future.”  ~Hugh B Brown

“Good homes are still the best source of good humans.”  ~Neal A. Maxwell

“Mother Teresa…spoke this profound truth: ‘If you judge people, you have no time to love them.’  The Savior has admonished, ‘This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.’  I ask: can we love one another, as the Savior has commanded, if we judge each other?  And I answer–with Mother Teresa: no, we cannot.”  ~Pres. Thomas S. Monson

“Lift where you stand.”   ~Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“One of our most precious possessions is our families. The domestic relations precede, and, in our present existence, are worth more than all other social ties. They give the first throb to the heart and unseal the deep fountains of its love. Home is the chief school of human virtues. Its responsibilities, joys, sorrows, smiles, tears, hopes, and solicitudes form the chief interests of human life.”  ~David O. McKay

“Christ did not just speak about love; he showed it each day of His life.  He did not remove Himself from the crowd.  Being amidst the people, Jesus reached out to the one.  He rescued the lost.  He didn’t just teach a class about reaching out in love and then delegate the actual work to others.  He not only taught but also showed us how to ‘succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.'”   ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“I believe it is by divine design that the role of motherhood emphasizes the nurturing and teaching of the next generation. We see so many challenges today from distracting and destructive influences intended to mislead God’s children…Too many of our Father in Heaven’s children are being overcome by worldly desires. The onslaught of wickedness against our children is at once more subtle and more brazen than it has ever been…God bless you wonderful mothers and fathers in Zion. He has entrusted to your care His eternal children.” ~Elder L. Tom Perry
“Without the wonderful work of the women I realize that the Church would have been a failure.” ~Heber J. Grant

“Popular culture today often makes women look silly, inconsequential, mindless, and powerless…With all my heart I urge you not to look to contemporary culture for your role models and mentors. Please look to your faithful mothers…No other person on earth loves you in the same way or is willing to sacrifice as much to encourage you and help you find happiness—in this life and forever.” ~M. Russell Ballard

“It is not for you to be led by the women of the world; it is for you to lead the…women of the world, in everything that is praiseworthy, everything that is God-like, everything that is uplifting and…purifying to the children of men.”  ~Joseph F. Smith

“Man is at his best when complemented by a good woman’s natural influence.” ~Ezra Taft Benson

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday in Sharpville

On Sunday August 30, 2015, we joined Elder Di Ruscio and Elder Mdletshe for Sunday service in Sharpville. We were impressed that these great Elders had organized a missionary fireside after the 3 hour block. We also had not visited this building before and were so impressed by the beauty of the building, the grounds and the strong branch.

Here they are with some members that like to go out and teach with the missionaries when they can. 

After the fireside, everyone enjoyed a light lunch with refreshments.

The children especially enjoy the gathering.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Zone Conference Continued

Wednesday August 26, 2015
Arriving early for
Zone Conference-Roodepoort Chapel
Zones in attendance: Roodepoort, Vaal and Soweto
Here are the zone leaders for today's groups:
Elder Rini, Elder Adjin, Elder Clegg, Elder Silvester, Elder Adjei and Elder Masoka
Soweto Zone with President Msani and senior couples (Scott's and Swan's) joining with us.
Roodepoort Zone
Vaal Zone 
Here is the opening schedule for the day. We had Elder Rini conducting and offered a keynote session and also 3 workshops. The keynote had a fun surprise. The Schulte's were recently baptized and they came and offered personal insights and experiences about their own journey. They shared how the missionaries helped them to make and keep commitments.

Vanessa and Jurgen Schulte: Special Guest Speakers

WE love these two and have been so honored to be part of their journey and look forward to sharing more to come as they work towards their temple endowment in a year.

Three workshops followed:

The Purification Challenge facilitated by Elder Olson and Elder Worton

The Elders really enjoyed this session and the program that it launches starting September 16th.

My session was focused on the temple and family history as a central part of missionary work. 

Elder Douglas Peterson is our area mental health expert. He offered a session on reducing stress and gave many great tips and skills.
Lunch reduces stress! Elder Masoka making a sandwich out of his lasagna and salad lunch!

This is always a nice time to visit and relax a bit. We all enjoy lunch and appreciate the help of our senior couples in putting it all together.

Elder Warr and Elder Manuma catch the camera!

Elder Randrianavalona is looking at the camera and it is actually his birthday today, August 26th! We highlight all the birthdays for three months, but his is actually today!

Elder Maraetefau, Elder Delahoy, Elder Olson and Elder Ahome'e

Elder Adjin, Elder Hepworth and Elder Taylor caught by the cameraman...President Dunn!

Elder Samuel, Elder Mazinyane and Elder Tima are all new Elders, just here three weeks. 

Elder Hentunen and Elder Clegg.

Elder Worton, Elder Smalley and Elder Pick-up!

Elder Savage and Elder Wegrowski

Elder Rini and Elder Dube

Elder Hepworth, Elder Taylor, Elder Ahome'e and Elder Wilombe

Elder Smalley and Elder Worton with a selfie!
Elder Natwijuka and Elder De La Cruz as they leave after a great day together at zone conference!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Zone Conference Time Again

Zone Conferences only come around 4 times a year. Each time, I marvel at what a great experience it is to be together with all of our great Elders. They come prepared, attentive and add so much to the day with their insights, teachings, questions and good, positive energy. I think we all just love being together and getting re-charged. 

With new mission boundaries, we are holding only 2 zone conferences this time around. On Tuesday August 24th we met at the Bedfordview Chapel with 4 zones. (Bedfordview, Benoni, Centurion, and Johannesburg.) Is a great day on every front.

Centurion Zone

Bedfordview Zone

Johannesburg Zone

Benoni Zone
Agenda for the day: Elder Smith from the centurion Zone conducted today.
8:15 am          Pre-Conference Study Session
9:00 am          Welcome and Announcements (Birthdays)
9:25                Elder Thompson Bike and Car Training
10:15             Snack Break
10:30              Keynote Session  (President Dunn)
11:35              Session #1 Purification Challenge: Assistants 
12:15              Lunch Break
1:00                The Temple as a Missionary Tool: Sister Dunn
1:45                Emotional Well-being: Elder and Sister Peterson, 
2:30                Evaluation, Questions, Answers, Raffle
3:00                Wrap-Up
3:15                Adjourn
Here is the agenda for the day!

Elder Worton, Elder Jackson and Elder Olson enjoying the snack break!

Elder Brown, Elder Bonifaz and Elder Tekurio in front during the snack break!
Elder Sibanda and Elder Gwaka

Elder Rushton, Henderson (hidden) Elder Alvial, Elder Nelson, Elder Jada

Elder Mamhere, with his trainee, Elder Malunga and also Elder Mugenyi.

Elder Mbiriwiri and Elder Muweesi talking to Elder Pier on his last day in the mission.

Elder Lea'aetou and Elder Quigley

President Dunn in the keynote presentation

Lunch break!

Serious about eating!

Thanks to senior couples for helping with the lunch

Delicious menu today: Chicken pot pie, salad, rolls and congo bars!

Service with a smile!

Elders Olson. Henderson, Broadhead, Jackson and Quigley!

Role playing in Sister Dunn's session!
These Elders are so good at articulating heartfelt messages about the temple and family history work.

Sharing ideas!