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.