Since we’ve been here we have been blessed by visits from general and area authorities on a frequent basis. I think the first time was when I was at the Area Office for my usual weekly trip and I ran into Elder Koelliker, the Area President. He is a member of the First Quorum of Seventy and has been here for three years in this assignment. We talked for just a few seconds and I found out that he is a friend of the Jamesons, who are serving in the Congo right now. It seems he is a good friend of Lorraine’s older brother. He is a friendly and very personable guy – just like anybody you might meet on the street.
A few weeks later, Marlin K. Jensen, another of the Seventy, was in town and President Poulsen arranged for him to address the missionaries staying within an hour of the Sandton chapel. When he and his wife arrived, they shook hands and spent just a few seconds with each missionary as they circumnavigated the chapel. The old missionaries were treated just like the younger more energetic ones. We got to speak with them for just a few seconds. They then spoke from the stand for about two hours – what a treat.
We had a couples conference after that and one evening we all ate together at the mission home with Elder and Sister Koelliker as well as Elder and Sister Bricknell, an Area Seventy from South Africa. We were able to hear from the Koellikers and even though the setting was informal, the Spirit was strong and the advice was invaluable.
Two Sundays after General Conference, We were at the Ennerdale Branch for our regular Sunday meetings and I noticed someone talking to President Randall (our branch president) that I did not recognize. I went up to them hoping to meet this new member and was introduced to Elder Mkhabela. He had been sustained as an Area Seventy just two weeks before in General Conference. He had been the president of the Soweto Stake until shortly before his recent call. As he spoke to us in two of the meetings that day, it was apparent why he had received such an assignment from the Lord. His preaching is very powerful.
Just a few weeks after meeting Elder Mkhabela, President Randall told us during a Saturday activity at the Branch that Elder Koelliker would be visiting our branch the next day. He commented that we are very fortunate to have such visits and pointed out that in the USA, wards or branches can go decades without such visits from general and area authorities. How true, how true.
We were also able to hear from both the Mkhabelas and the Koellikers at our Stake conference. Such frequent contact with these brethren is just another blessing of serving here in ZA. We are fortunate to not only hear from them, but also to be able to shake their hands and talk with them one on one at various times.