Friday, August 27, 2010

More Lessons Learned -gfh

Okay, I just have to write this post! It's actually a form of confession or at least letting everyone know that we aren't the PROs here in the office!
Last week Elder Henrichsen was having trouble with his computer keyboard. When he hit the shift key the z would be typed. Started off first just once in a while. Soon on a regular basis I could hear Elder H's expletives of "rats!" or "don't do that!" or his usual "you dumb machine!". Dudley the computer dude was called in. He sat down at the key board and said. "Oh, there is jam between the keys causing them to stick." (you see, Elder H and I eat lunch in his office and the regular fare is PB & J.)
Now that was one on him and here's one on me......
Yesterday was a long day. It was a Thursday and I was tired from the week and as the day went on I was wilting. Well, the last straw was when I was trying to do some "tidying up" of some jobs hanging over my head and the program wouldn't accept it! I may even have said "dumb machine"...I'm not sure. Took a couple of deep breaths and decided that I would call Dudley in the morning.
This morning I started back in to the project actually forgetting about the frustration of yesterday and I noticed my number keypad was locked. Oh well, just turn it on. And then I realised that my frustration yesterday had been caused by me inadvertently locking the keyboard and as a result the program wouldn't accept my numbers.
Ahhhhhh, the things Elder H and I are learning: 1. Don't eat around the computer (that's an old one) and 2. If the computer isn't working it's probably my fault. I understand they only do what they are told.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

YSA Adventure Challenge -gfh

I'm late posting this. The activity took place 24 July. It was a multi-stake YSA activity held on Hartebeespoorte Dam property that The Church owns out about 2 hours from Johannesburg in the hills. Very similar to other Church camp sites.
The activity was kind of a combination between The Great Race and Survivor. Elder Henrichsen and I were at one of the stations. It was called "Splat Rock". There was a huge monument of a rock at our site but the "splat" comes from the water balloons tossed and missed with towels. You'd think that would be easy and the scores would be high but not so. They had ten minutes to score a maximum of ten points but with only two balloons. The most points scored were 4 and that was far and away the most!
They'd come running hot and sweaty to our station trying to get their points and move on. We enjoyed watching the strategy of the teams as they would analyse and some practiced with rocks first. For some there was a special technique for holding the towels. However the team that did no planning, no practicing and no couching scored the 4 points!Oops! so much for planning and practicing!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

He Wowed'em! -gfh

"U-nite" is an activity that the missionaries plan so that the members can bring their non member friends and all enjoy an evening together...with refreshments OF COURSE! The elders in the Kagiso (pronouced Kaw Hee Sew) area invited Elder Henrichsen to present a finance/budget evening. Of course he is just the right man to ask! As some of his resources he used Elder Ashton's "One for the Money" pamphlet, quotes from the brethren on the importance of being out of debt and his own years of education and experience with $$$ and numbers! He had a fun relaxed way of presenting boring and intimidating information! It was a full house and HE WOWED'EM"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fashion Statement -gfh

About the only thing that the elders can use for a fashion statement is their ties. And right off I noticed that quite a number of the elders from the states have adopted the African way of wearing their ties. You know how the guys will tie and re-tie the tie to make sure that the tip of it is just about touching their belt? Well never mind that if you come to Africa! The Africans tie the tie short on purpose so it ends a little below the middle of their chest. One elder showed me how the little boys in his area tie the "grown up" tie so that it works for them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Behold A Royal Army! -gfh

The dust is settling from the largest transfer in this mission since President and Sister Poulsen began serving here two years ago! We had eleven elders come from the Provo MTC and three from the SAF MTC litterally next door and we had eighteen returning home. There is a great deal of planning, organizing, scheduling, that happens prior to our transfer days and then more of the same to get everything settled in for the normal routine of mission life. We actually a work for six weeks prior and after to make this happen. The missionaries usually come from the SAF MTC but this time all of the American missionaries came from Provo MTC because of the extremely exaggerated prices for flights coming to ZA during the World Cup Games.
Each one of us in the office has orientation that we need to do with each missionary as well as each missionary having a personal interview with the President. This involves forty minutes of time per missionary. OF course some of those minutes take place congruently but it still takes a lot of time and planning. This is all usually done in the morning before the group orientation, new trainer meeting, and then of course the BIG and WONDERFUL actualy Transfer meeting where each new missionary introduces himself and is introduced to his Trainer. Then each departing missionary has the opportunity to bear his testimony and give some words of advice and counsel as if he were sharing with his younger brother. The words of wisdom that these young men share as a result of the spiritual experiences and growth they have experienced are AMAZING! I write down the counsel from each departing missionary and know I would be a better person/missionary if I would use the counsel in my own life.

In this picture President Poulsen is giving the departing missionaries some final instructions before they give their words of counsel.
The chapel is filled with elders who are all dressed so sharply in their dark suits and have fresh new haircuts and the glow of servants of the Lord about them! We also end each transfer meeting with singing of the Mission Song! There hasn't been a meeting yet that hasn't brought tears to my eyes. The senior couples sit up in the front row and I just have to turn and look in to the faces of that Royal Army as they sing! There are really no words to describe the feeling and the power that is there! (I think I have a good picture of the chapel filled and I'll post it later)
This Transfer we had two families who were able to share in the experience with us. They had come to pick up their missionary sons. One family had come from California and the other family came from Madagascar. The mother from California had tears streaming down her checks nearly the entire time. I can imagine it felt a little like being taken up to Heaven for a brief visit. The family from Madagascar has a daughter that is terminally ill with a kidney disease and has just weeks to live. They have saved for a long time and received help from others to come at this time to be sealed as a family in the temple.

At the end of the Transfer Meeting the office is FILLED with missionaries coming in for supplies and last minute requests. We totally devote our time and attention to every missionary. Then the missionaries get all "sorted out" with their new companions, visit and get caught up with previous companions and depart to their new areas to do some good!"...going forth to conquer on life's great battlefield!"