Busy can't even describe the state that we've been in during the past two weeks! We held an emergency MLC this Monday to discuss a few items. We were also joined by our new ZL's out in Swaziland! Because they haven't received visas to allow them entrance to South Africa, they joined us via Skype.
Like previously mentioned, conducting workshops during interviews was a success. Here are the pictures as promised:
After the workshops, we hit a bittersweet note as we dropped off the Wells at the airport. Together they served valiantly in the battle against dust, cockroaches, leaks, and unmoved furniture. Elder Adams and I almost went them on their detour to Paris, but decided it would be better for us to stay because of the big week ahead.
The Blacks, another beloved senior couple, are leaving to return home. It was a highlight of my mission serving with them out in Mpumalanga. They treated us elders to zip-lining, elephant riding, Kruger National Park, self-hosted Pickleball Tournaments, and countless meals. They gave our four-man district a home when we were four hours from everyone else. I'll miss them kakhulu!
All the senior couples and office staff joined up at El Rosa, one of the only decent Mexican restaurants in South Africa, to celebrate their honorable release. (Also pictured in the restaurant are the Duncan's, a couple out in Klerksdorp. ¡Feliz cumpleaños Sister Duncan!) The food was almost as great as the people we were with. Sister Hunt (Mission Office Secretary) dared me to try the hottest salsa on the menu, which I boldly accepted. Little did I know that, after downing a hefty spoonful of liquid death, I would soon be spitting and sputtering and guzzling any drinks within my reach.
After conquering the salsa, I felt ready to take on another Zone Conference with the staff. This Zone Conference was one of the bigger hurdles to jump, especially since we've needed to add an extra day to accommodate the Swaziland/Mbombela Zone. Zone Conferences in the SAJM require a lot of preparation, but always turn out to be a highlight of the transfer. It was bittersweet hearing Elder Zitumane bear his departing testimony. What an awesome companion he was!
The morning following the two Zone Conferences in Roodeport, we began the long drive to Swaziland. If you haven't read from the previous weeks, Swaziland has been assigned to our mission. It was formerly in the Mozambique Maputo Mission (Portuguese speaking), but was given to the South Africa Johannesburg Mission (English speaking) on the account that two of Swaziland's most spoken languages are English and siSwathi (a relative of Zulu). After heaven's approval, Swaziland joined our borders and twelve elders joined our midst.
Four and a half hours later, we arrived at the Mbabane chapel for interviews. Pictured is Elder Feliciana, giving you a tour of the Employment Center and the Library.
One of the elders I had talked to over the phone prior to our arriving in Swaziland was Elder Alvarado. Earlier in his mission in Mozambique, while waiting for a new companion to arrive, a conflict between the government and rebels blocked anyone from entering his area, leaving him without a companion! He continued to teach his area with members for two and a half months until they could vacate him from the area. His father is Brazilian and his mother is Honduran, he speaks four languages, and loves telling scary stories.
While President got to know the new elders, the ZL's and I hurried to get some food for everyone. While waiting for the food, we played a contacting game, in which we each took turns approaching people in the mall with a specific word given to us by the other elders (such as elephant, banana, monkey, etc.) that we had to say within the first ten seconds of the conversation. If we successfully included the word and either handed out a card or gained a referral, a point would be earned. (For prospective elders/sisters: if you are to play this game, remember that the purpose of this game is to invite others to come unto Christ. Nothing should be done that would interfere with the Spirit of the work.)
After all was said and done, I came up short. Unfortunately the video is too large to share which shows what the ZL's decided to have me do for losing the game. Let's just say I wouldn't suggest drinking a raw egg to anyone after this encounter.
All the elders in the zone are either Brazilian or American, and all speak English and Portuguese. Elder Feliciana helped me to learn a lot of Portuguese this weekend, which was much easier due to my four years of Spanish in school. (¡Gracias Señora Dimas!) They're also photogenic!
Saturday's Zone Conference was very memorable with these elders. Their previous mission specifically told them not to bring suits on their mission, which explains all of the white shirts.
Elder Adams and I attended church with the ZL's at the Ezulwini Branch. I'll be the first to say that these saints know how to sing! (If you hear a monkey screeching in the background, don't be mistaken; it's me trying to sing.)
After the block meeting, we rejoined with the staff and began the long commute back to Roodeport. The wasn't so long as it was when we first drove in, mainly because I zonked out after crossing the border. I loved this weekend in Swaziland!
Pictured is E Brown, Mina, and E Feliciana
Other highlights of the week:
Birthday Package from Mom😊
Finding a Hidden Room in the Roodeport Chapel ('Adventure is out there!')
Dropping of Elder Eki at the Airport
Just Juice and Spot It👌
Cool Quote Wall in Swaziland
Showing President How To #selfie with a Selfie Stick😂