Thursday, August 20, 2009

Greetings from South Africa

Greetings to one and all from South Africa. In some ways, we don’t think it has really sunk in that we are back in Africa, although we come closer to reality when we are stuck in stop-and-go traffic! We had almost forgotten how defensive one must drive here. We need eyes on the side and back of our heads.

We traveled from St. George by way of Salt Lake City and Atlanta, Georgia, arriving in Johannesburg, South Africa, 33 ½ hours later. We stayed in the Johannesburg Mission President’s home the first night, with orientation at the Mission Office the next morning. From there, we had two days of training in the Area Office on the Perpetual Education Fund. It took us an hour and a half to fight the traffic into the Area Office from our flat (apartment). We hope we do not have to drive to the office very frequently. One of the problems with the traffic currently is the construction all around of widening the freeways to accommodate the expected traffic during the 2010 World Games Soccer matches.

We were given another Nissan - a better one than we drove on the last mission. At least we roughly know our way around on the streets, but that still does not keep us from getting turned around frequently. We have a GPS, but it is notorious for giving the wrong directions, so we are back to the issue of trusting the darn thing. We have a small two bedroom flat. One of the rooms is used for our office. We were given a Church Dell laptop computer, printer, and desk with a four drawer file cabinet. We also brought our new laptop with us. It appears we will work out of our home office quite a bit as soon as they can get us connected to the internet and with a phone line. But we also will be traveling to all of the various units in the three assigned stakes and the one district which covers an area about six hour drives north and south of our flat. We will travel long distances to reach those young people who live way out away from here. This means staying overnight from time to time as we will need to make sure that all those needing our assistance will have that opportunity.

We attended the Johannesburg Temple last Friday night with two other couples. One of those couples is the Whittwer’s, also from St. George. An interesting little note about our arrival here; the couples who work in the Mission Office were told to, "take good care of ‘the little old couple when they arrive’!" Not sure yet who gave that directive, but it is most interesting to say the least.

We have recognized and visited with quite a number of people we previously knew here. They remember us also. As we look around and see all that needs to be done, and how much more work could be done, and more lives blessed with more willing senior couple missionaries serving missions, we wonder why are there not more couples willing and desirous to serve?

The gospel rings true here. It is good to hear the prayers, talks, and singing which brings back great memories. The Church is growing here and the young missionaries are a delight to be around. There is a very intense drive we feel from each of them, both the native African missionaries and the ones who come from other environs of the world. These great people, members (and yet to be members) are so easy to love, they are so receptive and willing to learn and grow.

Know of our love for each of you, and that we think of you often. You are in our prayers.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Adams Say Aloha

On Sunday, July 26, Dave and Bonnie Adams stepped from their SkyWest flight and into the loving arms of four of their five children, all 13 of their grandchildren and several friends from the Bloomington 7th Ward concluding an 18-month mission to the Hawaii Honolulu Mission.

Since January 2008 when Elder and Sister Adams arrived on the island of Oahu, their main assignment at the world renowned Polynesian Cultural Center involved overseeing the home and chapel at the Mission Settlement. The Mission Settlement is comprised of three buildings, including the mission home, the chapel and the school house which were built as replicas of the structures built by missionaries in the 1850’s. The Adams' were also responsible for assigning other missionaries for hosting which involved greeting people from all over the world. In this assignment, Elder and Sister Adams had the opportunity to explain the great impact LDS, Congregationalists and Catholic missionaries had on the island people. In addition to their other responsibilities, the Adams’ managed the souvenir shop which featured a large array of handmade items on sale to visitors. Bonnie worked closely with island women and other missionaries in the creation of such merchandise as pillowcases, pin cushions, small Hawaiian quilts as well as the preparation of quilt kits, patterns and many other handmade items. Dave also procured and distributed ukeleles for sale to the guests in many areas of the PCC. Funds raised in the souvenir shop were then donated to BYU-Hawaii to fulfill some of the schools needs.

"We particularly loved working with the students," notes Bonnie. "My most meaningful job was as the Relief Society homemaking counselor in one of the three campus stakes while Dave served on the stake high council where he trained student ward mission leaders and coordinated missionary discussions with the young full-time missionaries. He also assisted in convert baptisms within the stake."

The Adams - who got to the beach only once in 18-months - had little opportunity to travel to the outer islands because "we never had two days off in a row! We loved our service in Hawaii and it was hard to leave our Hawaiian family behind!"

While waiting in the Los Angeles International Airport for a connection to St. George, Bonnie Adams was approached by an attractive red-headed woman who asked if she might take a picture. Bonnie thought this woman was interested in the Hawaiian quilt she was working on until Karin Smith introduced herself as a member of the Bloomington 7th Ward and a nearby neighbor.

What’s next for the Adams? An extended visit to Springfield, Missouri is being planned so Bonnie can visit her 3 brothers and assess the needs of her 90-year-old father and her 87-year-old mother still living independently and in their own home.

"We also hope to have the chance to work at the temple in awhile," Bonnie notes. "And, if the opportunity ever presents itself, we’d like to serve another mission - but we haven’t told the kids yet!"

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Scouts Gather at Thunder Ridge

It has been a very busy summer for the youth of the Bloomington 7th Ward. Scout camp was held from Monday, July 13 to Saturday, July 18 at Thunder Ridge scout camp. Boys attending included Braden Evans and Christian Dodart, his friend from the 2nd Ward; Christian Goldhardt, Asa Puriri, Mitchell Smith and Cody Forsyth. During this busy week 23 Boy Scout merit badges were completed and several others were started. All the young men were very enthusiastic and were recognized with several camp awards. It was a great week for them and their leaders Steve Forsyth and Roy Stephen.

B7 Youth Tour Temples

On the last weekend of July, 23 young men and women and 7 YM/YW leaders and other adults from the Bloomington 7th Ward traveled to the Wasatch Front to tour the Oquirrh Mountain Temple prior to its dedication on the weekend of August 22-23. The church’s 130th temple - faced with light beige granite quarried and milled in China - is the second of two in South Jordan, the 4th in the Salt Lake Valley and the 13th in the state of Utah (can you name them all?).

Following the tour, the 15 young women and 8 young men drove a short distance to the Jordan River Temple where they performed about 175 baptisms and confirmations for family members of Jim and Patti Reid and Jackie Malm. With hair still damp, but with spirits high, the group then piled into 7 vehicles for another short jaunt - this time to the Church History and Art Museum. After checking out collections of art, artifacts, documents, photographs, tools, clothing and furniture from the church’s almost two-century history, the group then moved to the Salt Lake Temple Visitor Center for a close-up look at the Christus at the same time Jessica and Jason Stout were being sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. On the way home to St. George, the hungry travelers enjoyed lunch at the home of Jessica Stout’s parents in Pleasant Grove.

Young Men’s President Roy Stephen said, "it was a great opportunity for our youth to get to know each other a little better and the Bishop did a wonderful job in planning the weekend. Everything was first class and, without exception, everyone had a great time!"