Monday, October 21, 2013

October 21, 2013 Dung Beetle Safari

Even though the day was cloudy and rain was forecast we still decided to go ahead and go to Addo Elephant Park.  We have been told that the elephants are nowhere to be found when it is rainy and windy but you never know.  The skies were actually hopeful looking as we drove and then closer to PE the skies became darker and we got rain…quite a bit of it.  So we stopped at Nanaga Farm Stall and decided we would just go to PE and visit Makro and get lunch and head back to Port Alfred.   Then on the way…another decision…to turn around and go ahead and go to Addo.  When we stopped at the pay station they told us it would be R640 for the four of us to go in.   WHOA…way too much money!  Rick told them that we were considered to be residents because we have been in country for more than one year. After showing the copies of our passports they let us all in for R160. We then went to the gift shop and I picked up a dung beetle t-shirt for Rick.  We haven’t seen dung beetles any of the other times we have visited Addo and it was one of the things that Rick really wanted to see. He is weird that way, loves bugs and stuff. So I decided a t-shirt might be the only remembrance of the little critter he would ever get.  We then went to the next check-in gate and we were turned away and not allowed to enter  because the first gate put the wrong date on the slip…he called the gate and was told to send us back to them.   When we got there they were kind of confused as to what we needed. We finally got them to understand that we needed a new slip with the correct date on it so we could enter the park. All they did was change one number on the slip they first gave us with a pen  and sent us on our way.  The guy at the second gate looked at it and sent us through…I could have changed the date myself for all of the running around!!!  Anyway…we were on our way.  We drove quite a while and did see zebra, the ever present warthog, and a number of the deer like critters, a tortoise and a couple of mongoose playing. 

The tortoise  was a new sighting for us, however, through all of our driving we only saw one elephant.

                                    These are two different pictures taken minutes apart.

He was brown, alone, in the brush  and not moving.  We figured he had been rolling in the mud somewhere because all of the elephants we have seen in Addo before have definitely been grey.  Sister Chase thought he was a stuffed elephant planted there because all the other "REAL" elephants left!!!!   We kept driving and guess what??? It happened. I looked in the roadway and behold…a DUNG BEETLE !!!

Rick almost hit him, but I stopped him just in time….our first dung beetle.  Earlier Rick had offered R50 to whoever found a dung beetle…I won!!!  From there on we were in dung beetle heaven.  This was a Dung Beetle Safari!!!  We saw all that this amazing beetle does…forming the dung into a ball…pushing it to wherever it goes (backwards).  We even saw a small dung beetle war!!  Well, maybe a small fight, anyway!! 

When we were finished with our tour we had counted 68 “is beetles” (alive) and quite a few “was beetles” (dead)!  Not bad for our last day at the Addo Elephant Park!! 
After our dung beetle adventure, we stopped at the restaurant they have at the park and had a late lunch. 

We returned to Port Alfred around 6 and stopped at Super Spar to get rolls we needed for the zone conference tomorrow and then went back to our boarding. The Chases left shortly after that to go back to Grahamstown.
Maybe about a half an hour later, we received a call from Sister Chase that they had been in an accident.  She wasn’t sure where they were, except we knew they were on R67 which goes to Grahamstown.  We told her we were on our way to get them.  She was pretty shaken up but other than her hand, they were fine.  They had actually gotten about half way to Grahamstown where as they started into a curve and Elder Chase lost control of the car. They were tossed around a lot and finally stopped nose first into a tree.  A nice young man from a nearby farm heard the crash and  came to see if he could help. He stayed with them the whole time they were there.  I guess several people stopped before we got there but couldn’t help.  On our way Rick called Brother Moore who is a police officer for Bathurst, which has jurisdiction where the accident occurred.  Brother Moore called the officer on duty to make sure things were taken care of and that the Chases would be safe. They showed up not too long after we arrived.  A tow truck from Port Alfred had also been called by a person who had stopped earlier.  We brought the Chases back to our boarding and put them up for the night since we all had to be in East London on the next day.  We called President Boyce to make him aware of all that had happened, as this area is his responsibility as first councilor in the mission presidency.  The car was pretty badly damaged and not drivable at all.
What a day!!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 13, 2013 Another great Sunday

We had 60 people attending sacrament meeting today.  WOW!!!  We can count the Barris’s so that makes 62!!!  Not bad seeing what we have 63 members on the rolls for Port Alfred. All of the speakers were new members; including Sister Hola…yes…she gave a talk!! 
Our elders were here for dinner, and we again played Rummikub.  This time Elder Andersen won the third game.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October 9, 2013 Last day of seminary

Today is the last day of seminary.  For this special day I decided to show the movie The Testaments…the one shown in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building a number of years ago.  I think most of them were moved by it.  There was some crying happening at the end.  Also, our Elder Andersen knows the man who plays Jesus  in the movie, so he told a little about how he prepared to play the part.  He read ALL of the scriptures and studied Ensigns/Lihonas to really get to know Him.  He said He is a rock solid man in the gospel.   After the movie, we had a light meal and cookies.  

We had invited the elders and a few others to join us for this movie.  Elder Andersens mom sent us a package containing some very nice chocolate from Denmark.  

Thank you Brother and Sister Andersen for the wonderful treat.  Thank you for raising such a wonderful son.  We enjoy working with him in Port Alfred.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 6, 2013 A great Fast and Testimony meeting.

It is general conference weekend; however, we won’t show it at church until the 3rd week in October.  We had fast and testimony meeting and it was a great one.  Sister Hola, who was scared to even bear her testimony,, when she was baptized, bore hers today, it was amazing.  I wasn’t needed in primary or YW, so I went to the gospel essentials class.  There Elder Sanders was teaching and since I was there, he asked everyone to take a turn and say something to me since we are leaving in three weeks.  Nolanthando said she knew this was the church she should join after Rick and the missionaries were there doing service for her and her family even though she was not interested in taking the missionary discussions.  Oh…and she loved my cookies!!!  Sister Hola was the most humbling one for me.  She cried most of the time and said how much she appreciated my helping her learn English.  She also said we were like parents to her.  Both of her parents have passed away.  Sister Van Rensburg mentioned how grateful she was that I was proxy for her mother when she was sealed to her parents. (Of course, Rick was proxy for her father.)  It was all very humbling.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1, 2013 Golf Ball Parable

Not that I am counting down, however, we now leave Port Alfred in 26 days.  It seems kind of unreal.  We will certainly miss the people here.  Some want to vote that we can’t leave.  It kind of makes us feel good that they want us to stay, but sad, also. 
We are now trying to visit with each family and get pictures of everyone to put on the branch church site so the new president can connect names with faces.  Hopefully, it will make it a little easier for the new couple.  We had a hard time, at first, to put a name to a face.  Of course, now it is very easy!!!   Rick is also presenting his “Golf Ball Parable” to each family. First he starts with a jar which represents time. Then he fills it with golf balls representing the most important things in our lives, next pebbles are added representing the important things in our lives, but not quite as important as the golf balls and finally sand is added representing the extra stuff we could probably live without.  Then he asked them if he was to fill the jar with pebbles and sand first would you be able to put any golf balls in the jar? This is like life. If you make time for the important things in life, like family, God and the gospel then there is always room for the other things. It is being well received and the members can see the importance of making time for their family, reading scriptures, praying and doing their callings.

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013 Elephant Ride at the Kwantu Elephant Sanctuary

Being p-day we decided to go to Grahamstown to get some more water from the Grahamstown spring and spend some time with the Chases.  Sister Chase had wanted to ride an elephant we are celebrating early by going to the Kwantu Elephant Sanctuary and for R450 each, Rick and Sister Chase rode and fed elephants.  Elder Chase and I opted out and only watched. 
They totally enjoyed the ride and Sister Chase wants to do it again. 

After the ride they were able to feed the elephants some "Elephant Candy". If you wanted them to use their trunk to feed you said nothing but if you were brave and didn't mind a little slime then you would say "trunk up" and they would open their mouths and you could feed them direct.

We were also able to see the elephants roll around in a mud pond after the ride.  They do this to protect themselves from the sun and getting bitten by bugs.   

We also enjoyed a lunch at the sanctuary of mutton curry and rice, chicken, gem squash stuffed with sweet corn, and a couple of salads and a dessert.  It was a very nice p-day.

Later, we did a home evening with the Nteyi’s and shared with them the “ Parable of the Golf Balls” an adaption from something sent to Rick and changed into a Gospel teaching parable. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 29, 2013 "Life is good. The Gospel is true!!! Prayers are answered!!"

We are fasting today.  Rick said he would fast with the  young man who is taking the lessons and the missionaries are also fasting to help him in his progress.  After church was over, Rick decided our fast would be for all of those in the branch who need extra help.  A number are on the edge and maybe even a little over and need extra help.  Today seemed a little different.  A number of people came in later than usual and I think there were more visitors and investigators than members. After sacrament meeting, a number of the members left…kind of weird.  The elders were over for dinner and we served hamburgers. Because of the food and the fast, Elder Andersen simply said…"Life is good. The Gospel is true!!!  Prayers are answered!!" They were both happy with the food.  After dinner we played three games of Rummikub, which is Elder Andersen’s personal favorite, however, Elder Sanders said it gives him a headache!!!