Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pilantisberg – October, 2014

We crept out along the camouflaged board walk out onto the edge of the lake. We were less than a 100 feet from the springs. Wart hogs were rooting around on their knees, several different varieties of birds. We had already seen giraffes, wildebeests, impalas, mongooses, zebras and hippos as we drove through the roughs of the  Pilantisberg  game preserve. Now as we made our way with the Davies out to the shrouded viewing platform we were focused on the rhinos across the bay. It was mid-day and we didn't expect the treat we were about to get. Then, from  to our delight and surprise the family of elephants emerged from the bush and made their way toward us. Actually they were making there way to the Elephants Beauty Pallor - the springs and mud wallow. Here's what we watched for over half an hour while they got a real mud treatment.

Here are a few shots of the other residents of Pilantsberg.

                              Baby Crock                                                                    "Evenrude" in red?


Wildebeest and Giraffe
Impala and Hippo

Sunday, October 19, 2014

September 2014 Comings and Goings

September 2014 – The Comings and the Goings
Hurray! The Kingdom and the family, is growing - #15 -- 

TK is here! 

There have been a lot of comings and goings for us this past month. Of all of the comings, that of our new grandson, TK Jason Clyde, borne to Bryndi and Jason on September 28th, is Marshyl’s birthday as well.  He is “going” to be one spoiled little boy upon his grandpa and grandma’s “coming” home. He is a real cutie, but Bryndi reports that all he wants to do is sleep.  That makes feeding difficult, but we tell her to enjoy the slow start up because what is “coming” will have her longing for a few of those restful breaks in the schedule of a rapidly growing little boy. So the coming of grandchild #15 is proof that life is going on for the Clydes as well as for all the other family members.

We were grateful for Nykelle coming to Bryndi's assistance, which was a wonderful service, joy and bonding for the sisters.  Because of a foot injury, Krysti had to postpone her coming and is now going to the new parents and her second-generation namesake for some Auntie Krysti time. They are both looking forward to that coming visit. It is going to be a lot of fun for all of them. 

Freak Hail Storm
Here in South Africa Spring, rather Summer, is coming and winter is going quickly. We had a horrific hail storm the other day and we thought our car was going to be demolished by the onslaught of thumb-sized ice stones that were coming at a rate that I have not seen before. It was an awesome, though scary experience for about 20 minutes. Luckily our car didn’t get the worst of it, but others did. The dimpled skins of the cars made for  some good work for the “Panel Beaters” -- their term for body shops.

 The storm stripped the new leaves of spring from the trees that line the streets and created a carpet of green that looked like grass on the dirt under them. Generally, the weather is nice and the beautiful Jackanda trees are in bloom with their incredibly bright lavender flowers. We see them where we are going throughout the area and more are coming into bloom each day.

 A myriad of flowers coming on remind us each day that our Winter (back home) is now our Summer here. It’s going to be a beautiful season. Here are just a few shots of what we are looking at.  There would be a lot more but... (see Robbery below.)

 We walk with the Davies each morning about 3.5K to get our bodies going. From 6:30-7:30 AM the road in front of our flat (a nice tree-lined neighborhood) turns into a thoroughfare for moms and dads taking their kids to the various schools in the area.

The comings and goings of these cars makes it a bit tricky to get across the street to meet up with the Davies for our morning jaunts.  It also makes it a little tricky to get out of our VERY narrow driveway to get onto the road in the car when we have to leave early.  Then in again in the mid-to-late afternoon, the pattern reverses with kids and parents going home. Our street is a convenient bypass for clogged arteries for both mornings and evenings. So we see a lot of people coming and going.

 On a not-so- nice note, however, we did not see, nor hear, the coming and the going of the thieves that broke into our flat while we slept the other night, sometime between 11:15PM and 3:30AM. It was probably a good thing that we slept through it.  The possibilities of confronting them as they walked away with Judy’s MacBook, my iPad and iPhone could have been tragic, for me, or for them, or both. Their coming and going was through a window that doesn’t have bars barred on it and was not protected with electronic alarms. The owners will remedy that issue in about two weeks. In the meantime, we sleep a little less soundly and we pay more attention to the comings and the goings of everything around us. I am also going to purchase a cricket bat today and not to play the game either.

Other goings and comings have been the coming of a new “Preparing for Eternal Marriage” and “Teachings of the Living Prophets” Institute classes for the Summer Semester.  Also, we started a new cohort of Pathway students. These comings are a real challenge, blessing, thrill and frustration. The challenge is with the technology and the transport (Taxi) schedules and the availability and speed (or lack thereof) of both. 
It is a challenge for the students to get to the classes at all, let alone on time. So starting and ending on time is a challenge for them and for us. We do enjoy teaching the classes and the interaction with the students is wonderful.

Seminary & Institute
We are coming to the end of the last Term of Seminary and Institute and are going into the pressure process of crunching the numbers and records to get ready for the coming graduation.   
That is going to be a lot easier for us than what we ran into as brand new missionaries last year in Botswana. The coming Graduation of the Soweto will only have a fraction of the numbers to deal with. Unfortunately, that is going to be the sad fact of the matter. Far fewer graduates and student course completions will be met by far fewer numbers of Stake members. We are going to have a dinner meeting with all the Bishops, Stake Presidency and their wives at the end of October. They are coming to review the challenges we faced in 2014 and are going to learn about significant changes in the accountability of the program that the church is going to implement in the new year.

Sisulu Falls

We try to get out on P-days with the Davies and do a little exploring each Monday. We went to a lovely naturalist area with a waterfall and trails that is close to us. There were interesting benches and metal art and a beautiful water fall. 


 Great Green Hoards of Greasy Grimmy Grasshoppers

 Also, the comings and goings there were a near plague of very large green grasshoppers – 4-6 inches long.  When they fly they look like iridescent red/orange/yellow/purple-winged birds as they are coming toward you and going away from you. Unfortunately it was hard to get a clear picture of their colorful winged flight.

  The garden had a number of large metal craft bugs and spiders to greet the hikers as the were coming through the trees and going out toward the falls. The real spider is about six inches long. 

There were flowers, a stream, lots of birds and a wonderful little restaurant where we enjoyed an outdoor lunch together.

Garmin Trouble 
We have to rely on the Garmin (our GPS) in our car to help us in our goings and comings to get to where we need to go here in this very non-Brigham Young laid out area. Sometimes it is a life saver and sometimes, well, let's just say we have not fully abandoned some of our less-than-admiring adjectives thanks to its regular misguiding directions. So it was in our recent going to Tzaneen in the Limpopo district about six hours northeast of here. I’ll reserve the full details of the most recent adventure trip to Sun City and Pilanesberg for a blogpost next week. You’ll enjoy the comings and the goings of the elephants and other big game we were able to sneak up on. These P-day jaunts with the Davies give us added understanding of the terrain, people and riches of the African continent. These comings and goings reveal the non-city side of South Africa and are a pleasant diversion from the traffic, pan-handlers and noise of the City.

A couple of weeks ago we drove about 6 hours to the northeast to Tzaneen to visit the Heyen’s, another CES couple who work in the Limpopo region (where we thought we were being called to originally before the call to Botswana). We spent a wonderful weekend there going to the various local haunts and attended a spring festival at a tiny village on the mountain pass.  The area was beautiful and the mountains reminded us of going to Flaming Gorge. Huge man-made timber forests of Pines and Gum trees covered the mountains. Then on the other side we ran into large groves of bananas and miles of orange groves. 

As we drove through vast areas of orange and avocado groves, we came over a small hill.  There was a pond and swampy area on the left side. As I glanced at it I saw something moving through the water. It turned out to be one or two hippos. We spoke with someone driving through the orange grove near the pond and he confirmed that there were 18 in that area and another 23 just a short distance away.

Sadly, a few weeks earlier one of the hippos was crossing the road (a two-lane paved road) in the lower area between the pond and swamp area on the other side.  A pickup truck came over the hill and did not see the animal until it was too late. The crash killed the two in the truck and the hippo. Six locals came out to the site with butcher knives to harvest the hippo meat. A large orange truck came over the hill and again did not see them in time. All six were killed. They tell us that hippo encounters and wrecks account for far more deaths in Africa than any other animals.

You would think that the return trip would simply be the reverse of the journey into the jungle of orange, mango and avo groves, but not so, at least not so for the Garmin who I am absolutely sure is a female as it seems to change it’s mind and directions frequently. That time, the going was the problem. What should have been a 45-minute drive all on paved roads, became a 2 hour and 45 minute journey through the back country.  The result was a little stressful, but I must admit also very interesting as we wondered through country that was reminiscent of some of the brush country of Utah. Obviously we did make it out, but with little thanks to our Garmin. Take my word for it, the Tom Tom GPS tool is a better choice. We saw some wildlife and did not encounter any Hippos on the roads, at least not that day. I’ll explain next post.

The significant realization about comings and goings is just how fast the weeks and months are coming and how even faster they are going. We continue to love the people and hope to make some contribution to their faith, testimony and gospel understanding. However, it is also becoming so very clear that these young first-generation African members of the church and coming to this continent and to the church is the result of the Lord’s foreknowledge and timing. They are coming at the precise time that they need to be here to be prepared to be the leaders of the church in the next several years. These bright, faithful Seminary and YSA age members are clearly going to lead the church to the return of the Savior in the years ahead. Being a part of their comings and goings is a privilege and a challenge to be much of a contribution to their faith and testimony. 

Remember the Jingling Bells of the Ice Cream Truck coming and going up your street? Here is Soweto's version - complete with the same jingle we knew as kids in America.
Well sweetheart, you better add a few of your musings about September now because we have already piled up a lot for the October blog. We need to get on with the Elephants, Hippos, Avos and Rhinos of Pilanesberg and Sun City. But first, you had better reassure them that we are okay and that the thieves will have a much harder time sneaking in to our flat next time. 

Thanks, Sweetie.

Can you believe it?! An Icecream van in Africa! Unfortunately, I only had time to snatch a picture on our drive by because Elder C didn't stop to try one of them....maybe next time he will :-D (Come to think of it, would that make it a drive-by "shoot"ing for me? :)

Our African break-in has caused us to become more vigilant about our safety. We were definitely blessed that night! And continue to be blessed as we drive and walk. The Lord is answering the prayers of our children and loved ones and hears and answers ours. We are on His errand in this beautiful country.

We certainly learned a few lessons that night. Driving and walking in South Africa for the past 9 months certainly has raised our awareness that our safety should take precedence. And now, it will.
We will have our security checked this week as well as outside security installed. But we will continue to trust in the Lord and His timing for us. And for now, we are here, and safe, and sleeping soundly again. I am so grateful for the Lord's tender mercies! 

Our lives have been spared from harm many times already. I have witnessed miracles as we continue our long drives on this beautiful land which reminds me of many places in Utah. Like the United States, Africa has varied terrain and what I've seen so far and reminds me that we are one BIG family in one Beautiful world created for us.

We love and pray for you. May the Lord bless and keep you and give you peace.

Monday, September 15, 2014

All Around Me

August 2014 – “It’s All Around Me!”

That’s how the frantic participant in the campfire program got everyone’s attention as he ran up to the campfire interrupting the Campfire Leader’s Introduction to the next sing along song. Franticly he called out as he ran around the fire in front of everyone, “It’s all around me! It’s all around me!!” he yelled looking off in all directions out beyond the fire ‘s light. “It’s all around me!!!”  The Campfire Leader saw his frantic movement and calmed him while he looked out to see who had the young man so worried. “What?  What? What’s all around you?” he asked.

The frightened camper looked out with terror at each of the campfire participants then calmly back at the Campfire Leader (who had put him up to it in the first place) and lifting his sweatshirt so everyone could see, he simply said, “It’s all around me, my belt!”

So ended the stunt and the audience laughed and went on to the next sing-a-long song.

There have been times in this last couple of months where I too have felt the reality that “it” is all around us too. In this case, though “it” is not a belt. Sometimes “it” feels that close. The “it” of this, non-stunt explanation, is the “it” of the spirit working with the people of Africa, especially the youth and Young Single Adults. As we see them in their Seminary and Institute classes, hear them at the podium in talks, testimony and prayer, we feel that excitement and wonder of “it” being all around us.

“It” continues to amaze us just how the Lord is preparing, calling and nurturing the future leaders of His church in this great, but oh so challenged land. They need but a few years of maturing, experience and deepening their understanding of the management of the Church and its programs to become ready for what is obvious…
a great surge in the membership and influence of the Saints of Africa.

We have just finished a series of “mine-field” initiative course adventure activities for the Institute students of the Soweto Stake.  This time we couched the game as “Escape from Babylon.” This was appropriate following on the Institute Choir’s performance of “Israel, Israel, God is Calling” practiced and recorded under our direction for use in a World-wide CES Broadcast last month. (Song attached)

 The event of the Escape activity saw participants, groups of 12-15 students, ages 14-21 (including a few returned missionaries), start out at one end of the cultural hall with the challenge to move the entire team(s), all together, as a group, across the floor to the other side (stage) – without ever touching the floor with their body or clothing.  The only place they could step was on one of the 6-8 1-foot square carpet runner pieces.

 AND, to do it all in absolute SILENCE!

When anyone did touch so much as a shoelace, or finger tip to the floor, the referees called “fault” and that person had to immediately return to the starting point, “Babylon”.

But, the goal was everyone, all together, as a united group AND no verbal or sound communication (written was out as well).  Oh yes, after three faults, the whole team had to go back to “Babylon” and start over – minus one of their carpet squares. YIKES and MOANS, but remember no sound – or else! It was a daunting task that took from 1:49 to 2:25 hours for each group to figure out how to do it. 

 We have done this exercise under various scenarios for well over 30 years now in Wilderness Treks, Pioneer Treks, Youth Conference events, indoors (Las Vegas Convention Center) and outdoors from the high Uintas to football fields.  It is always fascinating and amazing to see the efforts and patterns of attempts that lead to a common simple slow process that works.  It is always fascinating to watch the leadership and non-verbal communication develop and operate.
  It is interesting to see and feel the highs and lows that is “all around them” as they progress and then fall and try again, each time getting a little better at the balance and teamwork that is required to go the distance.

 It is a wonderful thing to remove the Activity’s gag and allow the participants to express their feelings, learning and life parallels to this experiential activity that unites the group in a common challenge that, at times, feels absolutely hopeless, helpless and totally frustrating. Oh, but the success and sweetness of  “We did it!” is a powerful reminder and memory hook for yet future challenges.

They may meet with frustrating challengesin their personal lives, church and school work and workplace. For each of those challenges that truly will be “all around them,” the activity is a great preparation and thought reminder.

 They find out very quickly how vital "unity" is and how much more effective they are at completing the challenge when they rely on each other.  Real leadership comes through more clearly when the more vocal can't vocalize.
  The "Iron Rod" that they discover on the floor about mid-way across becomes as significant help to "balance their efforts" and speed their success.

Of course the goal is one mind, together, commitment and 

The Iorn Rod is also an invaluable tool when it comes to mounting a "rescue" for someone who has fallen and needs to have a little "Martin's Cove" help to get back to the tail to Zion . 

Progress seems slow at the moment. Its all step-by-step. Here a little and there a little, carpet square after carpet square until through the lesson of persistence they reach "Zion".

"It is all about working together. When they figure our the "straight and narrow" way, the "how" becomes clear.  After the trial comes teh answer to the "why".
 They laugh, they cry, the fume and they vent - just not verbally.
 They fall and they fail and they try again, and again and eventually they figure it out.  Once they do it moves very quickly - relatively speaking that is.
They, "we" just can't seem to get through life without stepping on a few feet.

Now they can achieve anything, or at least they have teh "can do" attitude that comes from accomplishing what they all had thought, more than once was IMPOSSIBLE!


They discover that the very help they need, individually and collectively, is truly "All around them".

There is much more that is all around us these days. Gratefully the winds and air that has been all around us is moving on and the warmth of approaching spring and summer has chased away the “see your breath” mornings and walking on frosted ground. Now we are seeing the flowering trees, hearing more of the nesting bird songs and smelling the fragrant buds of spring, reminding us that after the challenge, comes the reward of hopeful and faithful waiting on the sure fact that spring will come and the this too will pass of the cold and hard days of winter, is now upon us.

Now each morning as we walk, we are greeted with the sweet smell of Jasmine, wisteria and several fragrances that are “all around us.” We are also greeted with the reminder that time waits for no-one and that ours is marching on and the next several months that are all around us will soon be all behind us.  We hope to affect the people and the Seminary and Institute process here, just a little for the better, all though to be honest, the challenge is that we see very little evidence of that --- yet.

 This past week Elder Davie and I tried our hands at making Sushi.  It wouldn't have won any reward, but we did learn how to get it all around us.

 It was time for another gathering with Ann and Wally Krambeck. So we skewered up some kabobs for the Braii (BBQ). 

The finish product!

The enjoyment of good friends and good food.  Any of our family and friends will know that that is our life and joy - at home and here.

We are amazed at teh size and price of bread here. It is tightly regulated, as is petro (gas).  These huge loves were about $1.50. People here, especially the poor are weened on bread and it becomes literally the "bread of life" as that is about all they can afford.

So we continue to wait on and rely on the harvest of the Lord’s watering and the spirit’s cultivating influences over the long term and know that we are just one little rainstorm in a lifetime of the Master of the Vineyard. There will be other laborers who will add their influence and work when we are finished with our little hour.

I had the impression to visit my High School graduating class web site today.  So interesting.  I left that experience clear that we are not who we were – none of us. There are 27 of our small graduating class that have crossed the veil From Bill Gammell Connie Crane, Alan Bartlett and Pierre Harding who were the first to go, to Jeanie Benally and Tim Woodward the most recent. We came, we shared a little time together, we went our separate ways and left memories, sweet and not so. Now one by one we continue on – rather we return to where we started.

Interesting how I have developed such interest in the lives of my classmates. Interesting how, now, to me, their lives, experience and family matters. I am looking forward to seeing many of them at the 50th in a few years. And yes, I know that some of them, us, may not make it to that gathering.  Yet, I am clear that it will not be many years hence until we will all meet again with clear memories of who we really were, became and are. So, for now I salute you my classmates and friends of 1969.

Now to a little family and friend business regarding our pending return to Utah.

As we look forward to the distant return to the mountain, we note some important dates for family and friends to consider. We expect to return to Scofield about May 24-25. We are in the early planning (Calendaring) of these events that may be important for you to note.

Cabin Work Party Family and Friends (Yes this means you) Gathering – May 28-31
Cleaning and staining the cabin – mixed with a little Dutchovening, ATVing and adventuring.

Lewis and Amy Cloward Family Reunion (Doug, Paul and Amy and descendants) --- June 26-27 at the Cabin. RVs, Trailers, tents welcome and plenty of floor space

Doug and Judy Cloward Family Reunion --- July 1-6 2015 – this may well be our last Reunion at the Cabin.

Judy’s Babbel Sibling (and spouse) Reunion  July 16-19 at our Cabin.

William and Ella Jarvis Cousins Reunion --- July 24, 25 at the Cloward Cabin

We love you all and look forward to sharing the essence of our African adventure with you more intimately upon our return. Until then, it’s onward and forward in the battle and the service. Judy you are up for comments and adds….

 Judy and Maxine (sister Davie) at a street vendor lunch in Mafikeng
Doug's home made bread bowls and corn chowder

So… turn......let’s see, what can I add that will lift and inspire you as well as my eternal Companion…whom I love so deeply. I am so grateful to serve my first mission with him and I look forward to serving more missions with him! I love to take the time to ponder and pray and weep and yearn and resolve….which I’ve been doing while I’ve been proofing this blog. So if it was just up to me, I’d end it here, but then y’all wouldn’t “hear” from me…

I have been so blessed with tender mercies every day. I like to acknowledge the Lord in all things and at all times and in all places and find myself inwardly saying “thank you!” over and over again as I acknowledge another answer to a heart-felt prayer, or plea or request.

Sometimes when I am alone, I verbalize my gratitude as my tears water my mortal shroud, which in turn feeds my continual growth through my first African missionary experience (and yes, my first of more!).

So many tender mercies! If this mission helps me to journal more and write down all that I consider to be tender mercies (as we have been counseled to do by our Apostles and Prophets) this mission will be worth every tear, laugh, smile and hug (which I preface with “it’s okay to receive a Grandma hug” as I share my cheesy grin :-D)

Last month I accidently dropped our car keys in the trunk of our car as I closed it. Unfortunately, the mission office didn’t have a spare key for our car. Elder C asked our neighbor if he and his boys could come over and help us figure out a way to retrieve our keys so we could be about our S&I (Seminary and Institute) business. What seemed to me to be 15 minutes later in the sweaty mid-day heat, as Elder C was trying the wire hanger between the window and the door lock thingy, I went to offer a fervent silent prayer and in less than a minute, Elder C was able to pop the door lock, which allowed our neighbor’s youngest son to pull down the back seat handle and climb over the boxes in the trunk to retrieve the dropped car keys! After all we can do…and the Lord continues to hear and answer our prayers!

Twice this past month my cheap $1 earrings have come apart. Sometimes I didn’t know I didn’t have all the part to one of the earrings until I went to put them on! “Miraculously” I found the metal loop hook in the turtleneck part of my turtleneck! A week later I noticed the same earring was missing the itsy bitsy teensy weensy metal loop that attached the earring hook to the earring….I found it on the floor by my chair by my table “desk.” So tiny and yet completely known and not lost to the Savior and whomever was serving as my guardian angel at that time. And yes, in both instances, I fervently prayed for help and help came.

I guess my part of this blog is my testimony of sincere prayer. When someone is sick, or something is lost, or we are driving and I just happen to look up in the opposite direction of my husband and see an accident waiting to happen to us and we are spared, again, and again….sounds like the Atonement to me. We come to the Lord’s last supper each week to partake of the Sacrament and renew our baptismal covenants as we review His atonement for us…for me….for you.  Our Savior is concerned about the ONE. The lost sheep. The hungry, the out of work, the hungry, the tired, the poor. We have this wonderful opportunity to make afresh our covenants every week, wherein we covenant to remember the sacrifice of our Savior (his Atonement—Gethsemane—where he bled from every pore) which was shed for US, and take upon us His name, and keep his commandments, and witness that we do always remember Him, that we may always have His spirit to be with us. I look forward to taking the Sacrament every week and review my renewal of these sacred covenants.

Every week we attend one or two sacrament meetings so that we can meet and greet our Seminary and Institute students and teachers and fellowship with them. To do this, we must travel long distances. On August 3rd, Fast Sunday, as we entered the N1 (like L.A. freeways) on our way to church, we noticed that the 12-lane traffic (6 in each direction) was diverted into one lane and at a standstill. 

Apparently the police thought that the Sabbath was a good day to check for expired car registrations. We sat in our hot car and watched the clock as the minutes ticked on and on and on. As we sat there, Elder C realized that he had forgotten to transfer his wallet from his other missionary pants. I suggested that I could switch places with him and he graciously declined my offer. 30 minutes later, we were the next car up. “Miraculously” the red plastic cone was removed from our lane as we inched forward and we were all free to go! We were the first car to go through and we got to the chapel just as the sacrament prayers were being offered. The chapel doors were closed to us. And the sacrament was not offered to those of us who stood outside the “bridegroom’s” door. We had arrived too late. 

I was devastated. However, we were able to sit with the saints and enjoy the Sacrament meeting testimonies. We then headed over to the stake center which has two wards meet there. Unfortunately, there were slow downs again and we arrived at the chapel after the doors had been closed and we once again, we stood outside the “bridegroom’s” doors and were not allowed in.

This had a profound effect on me. I was inwardly weeping. I do want to be found unworthy to attend the Bridegroom’s feast! Not EVER!! I want to renew my covenants with Him every week and recommit myself to keeping His commandments so that I may always have His spirit to be with me! The serendipity to this is that I have become more aware and I’m working harder to be early or ready to leave when we have appointments to keep. And I am finding that the prayers of my heart are being answered as I continue to try to do a little better each day....When it’s too late…it’s truly too late. It’s easier to repent along the way and improve each shining moment….

When we returned from the two meetings we attended, we found that the N-1 was still blocked headed in the other direction! ONE HOUR LATER, the lanes were opened and we arrived at the Davie’s flat an hour late for the lovely dinner they had fixed for us…

Tender mercies are happening every day. I thank the Lord all the time as I try to have a prayer in my heart. As I am typing this, I am weeping, again…..Guess it’s moldy age—but then doesn’t cheese become better with age? I guess that was cheesy…sorry.

We love and miss all of you. You are in our hearts and on our minds every day and we are praying for you and looking forward to reuniting with you next summer (our winter here). Until our next blog, remember,  Onward ‘n’ Upward!  Sister Cloward