President and Sister Dunn

Monday, May 30, 2016

Service Sights!

Last week I had some amazing service opportunities. For the two years that I have been here in South Africa, I am always looking for ways to engage even more with the community. Well, this week some very special opportunities emerged and I am so glad that I got in the car and took advantage of the invitations.

The first one happened in Daveyton, a township in the Benoni Stake.
As I drove there, I hoped I could find the place.
Of course the GPS did not take me to the library where the women were meeting, but luckily I called and got driving directions that got me to the right place.
I found a room full of the most special women waiting. They gather every week and make crafts they can sell. Today was a celebration day for them to show their wares and give thanks for the funds they had received last year to help make their jewelry and crafts.

This group of women form Daveyton are trying to feed their families and be more independent. For many years they have been bringing new women to their group and empowering them with skills that can help them make a living. The donation allowed them to buy more supplies for their jewelry. So, today they wanted to show that it make a difference. They decorated the room they work in as though it was a wedding and they gave testimonials of how it had changed their lives.

Here is some of the needed hardware and tools they have been able to purchase.

Belwo are some of the beautiful items they are making and selling.

This is beautiful Desiree, the woman who helped to startt this empowering women's organization. She is also Ayanda's mother (pictures below) who came to on of our ladies luncheons and heard about the funds and knew it would be used wisely with her mother's organization.

I have been so fortunate to know Ayanda and her husband Mtetelele. They have come over for dinner a number of times and they have the distinction of both serving in the SAJM under President and Sister Poulsen. We love them and this new connection is so meaningful.
More beautiful crafts and jewelry.

A closer look at some of these darling women! I can't wait to go back on one of their work days and participate more with them. On Heritage day, September 22, 2016, they will be selling even more of their crafts and beautiful items.

Sister Martha Egan is the one that helped make all these connections happen. She and Elder Bob Egan met me there this day and we all marveled at the amazing things happening. They insisted on giving us some of the goods they have made. We ended up receiving twin black hats with bead work all over the edge.

Elder Egan received a beaded tie

They even organized refreshments for everyone. This was quite the celebration.

Before we left, Desiree showed us the car that has been donated to their organization. They are so appreciative of the many ways they are receiving encouragement to continue in their path to empower women and help them provide for their families.

And if that wasn't enough...
...the next day, on Thursday May 26, 2016, I was able to re-visit the Hospice in Alexandra Township with our Randburg Missionaries and member Wendy Malpage.
This is a weekly service site where food is being handed out and needs are being met. Her is my visiting friend, Courtney, meeting Mama Grace, the person who makes it all happen here.

Here is Wendy Malpage helping two young men get help getting their ID's so they can work.

She also provides about 30 meals each Thursday for the homeless that come off the streets. This quarter loaf of bread is filled with warm mince and stew.

Elder Maraetefau and Elder Warnock helped distribute the bread.
A few pictures follow in front of the Hospice. WE gathered in a number of different groups with Mama Grace. I can imagine Courtney partnering with Mama grace in the future and providing some interns for the Hospice from the University of Utah!

Alexandra is a great place to provide service. There is a branch here and I love having our missionaries get this experience as part of their weekly experience. Also, serving with a member is ideal and necessary to keep these projects sustainable 

Last service sight stop for the day!  The Ethembeni Home is an orphange in downtown Johannesburg.

This is Hannah Malpage, who is volunteering today. There are so many beautiful babies that love being held. It is against policy to take pictures of babies faces. 

Courtney and I were in heaven. 

Later Sister Wendy Malpage sent this picture explaining how happy these little children were to get attention and love. They were all clamoring for her lap.
There is not shortage of needs and great people out making a difference each and every day. It is such an opportunity to figure out how to use our missionary force to help int he right and more appropriate places.

This was a great day or two of amazing people and service.

Women Angels in our Midst!

 “Unseen Friends” by Kathleen Peterson. I love the way the angels are holding this woman up, lifting, buoying, and causing her to feel lighter. The way their arms intertwine speaks of unity and love. It almost speaks the words “We’re here. You’re okay now.” This is the power of heavenly and earthly angels.  I also love the hand on the woman’s head, as if to guide her straight ahead. 

 On Monday May 30, 2016 an amazing group of women gathered at the South Africa Johannesburg Mission Home to honor Nomthi Msane as she departs in a few weeks to preside with her husband over the Kenya Nairobi Mission.

Today's gathering had over 30 women and it filled the mission home with a wonderful spirit. They are angels as they serve, minister and love each other. This group of women are from all parts of Gauteng and a real cross section of women. Here are some excerpts from a handout that I shared with them. Nomthi spoke after lunch and shared a wonderful message about change. She reminded all of us that change is part of life and we actually grow and learn the most from change.

In between these quotes I am posting pictures from today's gathering.

Angels in our Midst
Whenever a group of righteous and light-filled women gather, it is cause to rejoice!
"I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind.”
                  ~Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
“And whose receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before you face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in our hearts, and thine angels round about you, to bear you up.”          ~D & C 84:88. 
“Let us hurry to love people, they depart so quickly.”
                        ~Jan Twardowski
I pray for angels, still, and often. They accompany me through stairwells of self doubt and wonder. I pray they will lift me when I lean into them. At times, I’m too earthly and worldly to feel the light they exude, but I keep reaching and drawing them in whenever my heart longs for heaven and home. 
We often hear the question, “What makes human life meaningful?” It is when, with as much light as we can generate, create the sort of inner illumination that will light someone else’s way. 
I love the verse in “Now Let Us Rejoice” where it says—“Then all that was promised, the saints will be given, and they will be crowned with the angels of heaven.” 

Martha Egan also shared a wonderful experience that came out of connections made at this luncheon last August. she was able to donate money given to her form a former missionary to a worthy cause.  It was really touching to hear about. More will be posted about this connection.

Sister Bonnie WinStanley and Michele Shaw are showing the hat and booties that can be knit for new born babies. For more information contact Michelle directly.

These FourWays Ward ladies brought great light and love to the luncheon:
Val, Glynn, Marilyn, Ann, Nomthi and Charnell