Tuesday, August 14, 2012


When we arrived in Portland July 15,2011 the Morgan and Magnusson families and Alan and Jeanie were there to greet us with the traditional banners and balloons! It was a wonderfully exciting moment to share with loved ones as we completed another "best two years of our lives"!!

R & R in London -gfh

After departing from Johannesburg South Africa we made a stop in London for three days. It was a great opportunity for "R & R". To destress from the mission and prepare for rentry into a First world country, economy and life style. After making all the prominent tourist stops i.e. The Tower of London, Changing of the Palace Guard, the British Museum, riding the underground and a double decker bus, going to the longest running stage play "The Mouse Trap" and eating at delicious specialty restaurants, etc. We were ready and excited to get home to family.

Monday, August 13, 2012


It has now been a year since we returned from our South Africa Johannesburg mission. A phrase that comes to mind is "days seem like weeks, weeks seem like months and years seem like days". That applies to our eighteen months on our mission and also to the year since we've been home. There has been a longing for home. Not home in Waldport USA, but home in Johannesburg South Africa. Not so much that we would rather be there than here but that there are so many dear friends and people who remain there. There our hearts were opened, our testimonies confirmed and our understanding expanded. There we learned lessons that we never thought we needed to learn. We feel we have left a part of ourselves there but we have also taken so much home with us. Our blog didn't ever really come to closure or completion. The last entry was a month almost to the day before we left for home. Not only did the normal stress and hectic schedule continue but we tried to squeeze in the departure preparation without skipping a beat. We did however skip a blog entry or two. We'll try to make up for that.
This is our AMAZING Preident and Sister Poulsen at their departure dinner.
Elder and Sister Nichols arrived about two weeks before we left to replace Elder and Sister Henrichsen in the office.
This is our Ennerdale Branch Family. The picture was taken on our last Sunday
Our AWESOME YSA young people! Oh how we love them!
President and Sister Omer, SAJM president for two weeks! We were their first missionaries to depart.
Elder and Sister Henrichsen departing from Johannesburg airport July 10, 2011. Mission completed!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sweet Revenge! -gfh

Elder Watts is the Car Czar here in the mission. He has a great sense of humor and loves to joke and tease with the elders. They LOVE him! But this morning one of the assistants decided it was pay back time! When the time was just right Elder Gustin sneaked into Elder Watts' office and attacked him with silly string!

Ahhhhhhhhhh! Sweet Revenge! But look out Elder Gustin for Elder Watts' comeback. You can be sure it's going to be bigger and better!

It Is (Still) Good for Us to Be Here! -gfh

I have mentioned before how Ennerdale is "the frosting on our week".
Saturday morning we spent the day in the temple with a wonderful couple. I was Sister Norma's escort as she went through the temple for her first time. Later Sister Norma and Brother Richard were sealed for time and all eternity to their sweet family of three little boys: Ayanda Gift was just recently baptized and turning 9 next month. Lisani is five years old and the third little boy is a sweet angel who had died a couple of years ago. It is beyond words to describe the feelings as one witnesses such a sacred moment. Little boys who are normally busy, wiggly and noisy walk into the room dressed in white looking and behaving like angels. As they look in to the faces of their mommy and daddy there is such a look of love and trust. They KNOW that what they are doing is right! This is what the restoration of the Gospel is all about!

Then we were off to Ennerdale for a YSA activity. However, this is the first time that the activity fell through. The YSA young man representative had asked one of the sisters in the branch to teach the YSAs how to cook. She was all ready and had prepared special cakes but only two YSAs showed up. Elder H and I were very surprised! We reconnoitered and decided to do a mini lesson after our YSA Sunday School class.

In this picture are the two Ennerdale Elders, Sister Jillian and Barry the parents of Sister Laura (who is the cook for the activity), Laura's son Valentino and then two YSAs, Pride and Ntkozo with the phone at his ear.
This is Sister Jillian's mother and Valentino's great grandmother.She is 81 years old and is in charge of the vegetable stand. Her daughter calls her "The Commissioner of Finance".
We used our extra time to go visit a less active YSA and track down a "missing" sister.

Then on to Pimville in Soweto. It is now getting dark and the traffic is wild and crazy with taxis(which are actually vans) loaded to the gills hooting their horns, zipping in and out, stopping any old place. The doors open and the passengers take to the streets. This is scary and very disconcerting because the streets are not well lit and there are black skinned people mostly wearing black walking in the dark.....in front of you! We have a goal to make it home from our mission without being the cause of injury to one of these wonderful but unconcerned and perhaps imprudent people. Maybe they'd be more cautious if they knew there were two crazy Americans behind the wheel.

The reason we went to Pimville was for Elder H to do a baptismal second interview. When the President is out of town and his counselors are unavailable President has asked Elder H to conduct the interviews. This is the fourth one he has done and he feels it is a privilege and a sacred responsibility.

We arrived home about 8:30 safe and sound and feeling warmed by The Spirit.
It is good for us to be here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Embrace the Cold" gfh

Winter is back! It arrived in South Africa this week and we have a new motto: "Embrace the cold" yeeeeesh! The above picture is Elder H trying to get his "motor running" on a cold crisp FREEZING South Africa morning while he waits for the thermostat to click in. WAIT!! There's no thermostat!!
Here I am all ready to go to the office and brushing my teeth by the heater. I'll shed the bathrobe at the last possible minute for my winter coat, gloves and scarf!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It is good for us to be here . . . rh

Well, it was a fabulous Sunday, today. It was stake conference yesterday and today and we were well fed by the speakers. Both the temple matron and president spoke to us last light and brought up some thought provoking things. Sister Armstrong quoted Elder Kikuchi thusly, “As you firmly grasp the iron rod, it will lead you to the open doors of the temple.” This is a confirmation of the thoughts that Georgia and I have that getting new converts to the temple is the real objective of missionary work. We are told in Sec. 109 of the Doctrine and Covenants that we can receive an endowment of POWER by going to the temple for ourselves. Surely, this power will convert into greater activity among the saints and new and growing leadership as they return from the temple and become “beacons” in their wards and branches. It is especially important in Ennerdale since relatively few members are endowed.

President Armstrong said that President Hinckley told the saints that “Every time we go to the temple, we leave as a better son or daughter of God.” What could be more inviting than to realize that each temple visit makes us stronger and more useful in the kingdom. Georgia and I both feel that there should be more emphasis on the saints receiving their own endowments and then returning often to the temple – whether it be in South Africa, Oregon, Utah, Nebraska or anywhere else in the world.

President Molema (Stake President) spoke on the fall and atonement and made a statement that struck me particularly. He said that just as Naaman had to wash seven times in the Jordan or he would not be cured, we must do exactly as the Lord has commanded to receive salvation. This is a point that is brought to the missionaries constantly as “exact obedience” just like the stripling warriors of Helaman in the Book of Mormon – they served in the stressful conditions of battle exactly as they were directed and were spared from death.

This morning, President Wrench (1st Counselor) told us of a brother who was searching for a secretary in his stake calling. He proposed a dozen men to the Lord and never received confirmation. He then was inspired to propose another brother who was thought by many to be a less than desirable member of the kingdom. He received strong confirmation that this man was to be the secretary needed in this stake organization. He had to convince the Stake President that his decision had been confirmed by the Lord. Pres. Wrench said that this points out the need of being persistent in search of inspiration. When we hit on the right answer, we will know it.

We then heard three powerful testimonies from returned missionaries – two brothers and one sister. President Msane (2nd Counselor) followed, pointing out that life is an open book test. Open book does not equate to easy – he said that we must be familiar with the material (scriptures, commandments, words of living prophets, etc.) and realize that there is a time limit. In life’s case, we are not given the exact time limit – it is different for each of us. This is a great lesson in not procrastinating the day of our repentance.

Sister Poulsen spoke next and posed the question – Did I promise in the pre-existence to find certain people and expose them to the gospel in this life? Wow, what have I/we done about this? How many times have I ignored a prompting to share the word and ignored it? Coupling Pres. Msane’s talk urging me to realize that there is a time limit and Sister Poulsen’s question gets me to thinking that I must do better than I have done.

President Poulsen then gave us a powerful message about being a missionary. I will just share one thought that he gave. He said that EVERYONE we meet already knows that the gospel is true, but that the veil has been drawn over their memory, so that they may find out for themselves in this life. This again relates to the pre-earth life – every person who is on the earth accepted the Savior’s plan, so they know it to be the truth. The point being that we should not exclude anyone from being exposed to the gospel – the Holy Ghost will bear witness that we are telling the truth.

President Molema then taught a powerful lesson in being where we ought to be when we ought to be there. He related a story (which I recall hearing) that President Packer told about getting to a remote Pacific island. The way through the treacherous reef surrounding the island was to be found by lining up two lights – one high on the mountain and the other at the water level. Due to storms at sea, their arrival was delayed and the keeper of the light at water’s edge had given up and gone home to sleep. It was a major problem for them to safely reach the landing area. Pres Molema pointed out that YOU and I are the keepers of that lower light and it is our job to be there for investigators and members alike.

The real payoff of the day actually came after the meetings as three brethren from our branch were given the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained elders. One of them will soon go to the temple, be endowed, sealed to his wife and have his daughter sealed to both of them. The other two have been members a bit less than a year. They both have the desire to serve as missionaries and I’m sure they will do just that and be good at it. I could not control the tears of happiness as I stood in the circle as these last two were ordained.

After the elation of the ordinations, we shared more joy with a sister from Ennerdale who had just received her Patriarchal Blessing. In the one year plus that we have been in the branch, she has grown tremendously. She will be a powerhouse among the saints, not only in Ennerdale, but in the stake and throughout South Africa. The three men who received the Melchidezek Priesthood will also be great leaders in the years to come.

All in all, it has been a wonderful day. “It is good for us to be here.”