Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Waiting" and "I am very clear that we are here in Africa for God’s work in us..."

March 18, 2014
To “wait” has two definitions. One is to stop, hold back, or delay action. That kind of “waiting” requires the “waiter” to be patient – to “wait.” It can also result in the “waiter” feeling frustrated and impatient for having to be in a state of  “in-action.” Having to cease or delay progress is difficult for action-oriented and driven individuals. You can take my word on that.
The other kind of waiting is similar, but conversely different. In that kind of waiting the “waiter’s” action is waiting. That is, he or she must be in a state of standing by and being available to act or to serve in behalf of the one being “waited” on. This kind of waiting is the action - to wait. In one case, waiting is a state of inaction, in the other case, the action is the act waiting.   

We can see evidence of both of these kinds of waiting in the examples found in Luke 10:41. The waiters in this case may find themselves in a state of conflict of expectations and action. I have experienced this conflict all too many times in my life. Unfortunately, usually I have come from the impatient or “active apron” side of the expectation - that is the Martha in me. I seem to have a difficult time just being still and waiting for someone else to call for the action – especially when it seems that they are delaying the action needlessly – from my perspective.
However, I have, and am learning some important lessons about being a “waiter” - on purpose. I am learning about waiting on, people, processes and on the Lord’s timing and priorities. I have had yet another lesson in this subject this week. Oh, how I look forward to completing that course – and passing it. You see, enduring to the end is part of that lesson.  
I have been taught again that sometimes when you ask for a piece of fruit you have to wait a bit for the tree He plants for you to produce the requested “fruit” - the blessing. Some things, most things, I ask for take a little more “waiting” for.  These lessons always seem to bear out that. In the end, the blessing is always worth the wait.
Our asking Him to “wait” on us often requires us to “wait” on Him, and vice versa. Not just waiting but trusting in His hearing and willingness to provide those things we ask for, in righteous requests, is an action of faith.  
On several occasions during the past couple of months my patience has been sorely tested as I have found myself waiting on others whose priorities were not congruent with mine. Or whose actions were, to my mind, inefficient, ineffective or just plain slothful – slow! I have found myself wondering who appointed them to be my teachers in the subject of waiting and patience? There again, I have found in most cases that the lessons are both needed and effective, even if they have been far from appreciated – at the time.
For someone who considers himself a “mover and a shaker” and “get-it-done-NOW” sort of guy, these lessons in “waiting” have been very difficult, to say the least. I hope to finish this course of life so I can move onward and upward – so please hurry, or is that another lesson in enduring to the end?
Things in Africa seldom operate at hurry speed. In fact, much of the challenge of my life of late is recognizing I can wear myself out trying to speed things up, only to discover that, here, as it sometimes feels everywhere, urgency is usually in the eye of the waiter. Priorities, schedules, resources and the weather have a very difficult time getting together here. So they just wait…
The result is frustrated impatience and a debate over what justifies righteous indignation. Then I get glimpses of the fruit of my prayers ripening and hope is rekindled. A night’s rest and a new day of possibilities puts us back into the waiting game with a little more patience and another breath of hope for positive movement.
We had one such lesson the other night and while the fruit is not on the table as yet, we think it might be ripening and ready to pick soon – whatever that means. So, we will be patient (and so must you) for another day or two more until we hold it and can tell you all about it.

So, let patience have her perfect work, while the powers that be discuss our assignment and situation a little more. We must and will wait on them and the process that is all but completely out of our hands – for now. One thing is absolutely clear, we are not going back to Botswana, of no fault or choice of our own. Perhaps we will soon see reason, purpose and light at the end of the tunnel we have been looking down for a little flicker of hope for our  contribution here in South Africa.
This past week while we were “waiting around” we did some “monkeying around” with our good friends the Davies. Amid our visits with Seminary and Institute classes and traveling back and forth form CES HQ to get to an internet connection and to see if our access to the records program and credit card challenges we have been dealing with had been taken care of (fruit yet to ripen) we found some interesting local residents. They were not in the mode of waiting – hallelujah!  Some of, or something that was in action.
These included a 4.5 inch spider riding around under the lid of our car trunk. Then there were a couple of overly friendly monkeys, as well as a very friendly giraffe. Two weeks of solid rainy days (some torrential) made us appreciate even the slightest patch of blue.  Most importantly, we met more incredibly faithful, humble and hopeful African Saints. They are clearly here by the hand of providence to prepare them for leadership in the Kingdom. They remind us of who and what we are really waiting on and for.
We are still pretty much without Internet (at least predictable). We have had a few more water and power outages, which we are surviving.
On the cheery side, I made some terrific tomato-basil soup with some fennel root, garlic celery, onion and lemon grass. Sorry, no recipe, but it’s sure to become a future Cloward favorite. Let’s see… there have been a few other experimental delectibles that came out pretty well. Sister Cloward is both the benefactor and the Guinea Pig for these creative cooking forays these days. But she will have to tell you more about that adventure and “waiting.”
Sweetie, you’re up…
Hey there, Bryn, you were right. Elder C sent the blog before I finished my thoughts. But reading through it, he covered the main events of the weeks. I hope to give you a few laughs and smiles…
Elder C is whistling the hymns right now while he is chopping up 3 overripe pineapples, some wilting celery and trying to salvage the molding tomatoes (which sadly is NOT in abundance here…the fruit and veggies deteriorate quickly in this humid environment…we apparently can’t buy in bulk as we did in the dry Bots environment…even the bread goes moldy FAST! The weather and skies remind me of my stomping grounds in VA which means it’s colder, wetter and buggier than Utah) I sure love hearing him whistle! I never knew he could! And his voice when he sings is such sweet music to my ears. Elder C has a beautiful baritone voice and an incredible vibrato and he is getting better at holding onto a melody so that I can harmonize with him! [I guess there is something to this getting better with age—I’m even noticing that my vibrato and voice range is changing…I can actually hit some base and high soprano notes now…hmmmm….?! Go figure!)
At our recent stake conference, while singing the hymns, I was pointing to the tenor notes while singing the tenor line in the hymnbook to help my companion learn how to hear the notes as he would focus and try to sing the harmony (tenor line) on the hymn. Sometimes I would have my finger drop down to the bass notes to keep his voice in the baritone range. He did really well at trying to follow the notes that he does not yet understand how to read. And the other day he was whistling the song Roger Whitaker whistles so well. I was blown away at how he could come down the musical scale with his own whistling! And then he was singing some of RWs songs as well with his deep, rich and full voice. It was sweet music to my ears and made my soul sing praises to His work and glory for giving me such a perfect companion for me here in Africa!
I’m so grateful that the spirit brings all things to our remembrance.   [I am looking forward to the time that this is instantaneous & 24/7! :)]  In typing my thoughts right now, I am remembering that when I was very young and sitting by my mother on the church pew during Sacrament meetings, she would use her finger to point out the alto notes in the hymn we were singing. I don’t remember her asking me to try and follow the notes, only that she would point out the notes as she sang the alto line. It was a “do as I’m doing” example for me. I loved trying to sing the notes she was singing. It was a way to “tune” my ears to “hear” the musical “words.” And it worked for me AND for my Sweetheart…  
Honey, Botswana was a gift to us! It prepared us for the internet and water outages in Joberg :) The Davies have helped us keep in shape out here. We walk with them about 2 miles a day, 5-6 days a week in the early morning which has been a healthy benefit for both of us! And they live across the street from us! AND they are really good cooks and we are able to attend the temple once a week with them and carpool to CES so we can get the internet to enter our class records! We have been blessed with the safety and health we need to continue our work here. There have been several occasions where our very lives have been spared from certain accidents or worse. Thanks be to our loving Father for hearing our prayers and pleadings and for such loving, caring family and friends who are praying for our welfare! We love you all so much and we are the beneficiaries of your faith and prayers. I am very clear that we are here in Africa for God’s work in us—to become one and united and faith-filled during our sojourn here. Working with the saints and our brothers and sisters here is a sweet serendipity for both of us. They have so little but give so much!
And remember your concerning ill health you shared with me and we are both on the mend? And our meeting with our Stake Pres which gave us the boost and hope we were so needing that very night which helped the dark clouds to disperse and look forward to brighter days?  (I think I’m counting our blessings…again and again and again :) Why only see the ominous dark clouds when you can offer thanks and praises to Him who allows the sun to shine through and keep our morning walks RAIN free!) We have had torrential rains that have caused the Davies to walk ankle deep in water as they traverse their inlaid rock path uphill to the road from their flat (our first flat we stayed in when we arrived in Joberg)…
Oh yes, the Monkey Sanctuary. AMAZING!!! When you come here, we will take you!! These monkeys were from various countries around the world and were in zoos and as pets and the owners or zoos could no longer care for them, so the Sanctuary took them in. They have learned to live harmoniously with each other.
We had an amazing morning with the Davies and the monkeys! We were blessed (again :)!) to have the rain held at bay that morning as we walked through a maze of trees which canopied over our rock and wooden pathways and swinging bridges as the small streams and river tumbled beneath the red rock buttresses while the monkeys played hide and seek with us. It was so fun to try and spot them before they saw us so that we would have a chance at capturing them on our cameras. But they were sure FAST! By the time our “photographers” could “capture” them electronically, they were onto greater heights! We saw so many monkeys holding onto the backs or bellies of their mamas or papas as they jumped from tree to tree. It was like a HUGE 3-D Where’s Waldo seek and find for the adults!
It has occurred to me that maybe it’s a smart way for the Africans to carry their children on their backs as well, wrapped very securely in a large blanket or towel that they tie up in the front. It certainly keeps the child feeling secure while freeing their mama’s hands. Certainly the baboons of Kasane carried their babies under their tummies as they chased through the villages.[I can only imagine that if I was holding on upside down on a monkey that was running through the trees and rocks and and jumping from limb to limb, I would be NAUSEOUS and either literally “rocked” to sleep or to sporting a continual headache!]
We were told that if a monkey jumps on you, don’t be alarmed or make sudden movements and don’t try to get them off of you. They like to take your glasses or other objects you may have on you. Well, wouldn’t you know it. As we were looking for the monkeys, a large white monkey found Doug and jumped onto his head, wrapping his long furry tail around his neck (and yes, it looked as though it was a strangle hold…thankfully NOT :)) That monkey loved Elder C’s thinning hair and continued to play with it, pulling his strands through its hands while sitting on him. And yes, I quickly pulled off his glasses and took his camera from him before the monkey did! I must admit I was wondering what vermin would be infesting Elder C’s head and white (not anymore!) shirt. We were told to wash our hands if we touched a monkey. I wish the monkeys could have learned how to do that. I do believe Elder C has fewer hairs on the crown of his head than he did when we started our monkey walk. And then another monkey came and jumped on Elder D’s head as well. Obviously they have have been taught the art of monkey see-monkey do:)
I asked our guide if the monkeys carry dangerous viruses since we were instructed to wash our hands if we touched a monkey. He said no and that they groom themselves all the time to remove themselves of fleas. The monkey was playing with Elder C’s hair so long I thought he was ridding Elder C’s hair of fleas!
At one point the larger white monkey wrapped his long tail around both of their necks! As muscular as their acrobatic tails are, I’m so grateful they didn’t cause alarm to the monkeys who could have easily tightened their grip! The monkey was on Elder Cloward for about 5 minutes or more! The baby monkeys are so cute! It was amazing to witness their family ties that bind them all together. It was a memory maker for sure!
When we arrived at the office, I noticed that Doug’s white shirt color and below it about 4” around his entire shirt had been discolored by the monkey’s tail and derriere…fortunately, it came out clean as did Elder C after a thorough washing when we got back home!
Today is now Sunday, March 22, 2014 …we are awaiting (trying not to be overly anxious at this point with our Bots past…) more direction from our Stake President and CES Director on our new direction here. And the greatest change to come is in us…
Oh yes, Elder C is trying to help me SEE where I am driving to and from. When Elder C drives, I like to SEE the scenery and people and cloud formations (a fav of mine!), the changing billboards and of course, watch for the exits and entrances onto streets. I still am reminding Elder C “Wrong side!” or yell “Stop!” “Woa!” or some other missionary appropriate expletive that means “Yikes!” or “we’re gonna die if you don’t stop right now!”…think he’s tired of my “help”…so Elder C is encouraging me to drive more. The only problem is I have no idea where I am going. I trust the Garmin, not me. I have no idea whether I’m heading north or south or east or west … these streets were not designed by Brigham Young for sure! So we were driving home yesterday from Food Lovers (a fav place for us to shop…I wonder why…I married a wanna and could be a Chef Boy R Doug!) and Elder C asked me if I knew where we lived from where I was driving. I had no clue! I told him if I was driving more I would probably remember where I was going. I think he realizes that when I drive, I don’t suddenly announce “stop” or “go” or “no!” etc at all. So it’s less stressful on him and me! (I have always loved to drive by the way :)) My sweetheart is concerned for my welfare. If something were to happen to him and I had to drive home, and the Garmin wasn’t working correctly (which we are getting used to by now!) I’d be totally lost. True. So I think I will be driving more so I don’t drive him crazy with my sudden blurts of “Oh!” or “move over” or “on my side” or “did you hear that honk?” to which Elder C replies, “no” which I follow up with “I wish you had brought your hearing aids with you to Africa” to which he replies “they didn’t work well” to which I reply…and so it goes.
So…pray for ME that my mind will be able to get a clue and remember land sites and street names. By the way, the streets here are nutso for me. They say one name, then change to another at a curve or stoplight and the Garmin doesn’t keep up with the changes and directs us to turn on “Road”…funny thing happened yesterday as we were driving back home from the temple, I saw a street that was named “Road”…go figure! Good on ya! So keep me in your prayers that we will survive my driving lessons and my mind will remember!!!
Elder Doug made up some chicken tomato mango chutney this week and couldn’t eat it. The mangos were too ripe and he had to put it all in our crockpot. It cooked too long and he said it had a strange flavor to him and was going to throw it all out. I asked him to have me try it first. I LOVED IT! It had a fabulous flavor, a hint of spicy and sweet and the cooked veggies in it were amazing. So I’ve been eating his soup this week and enjoyed every bite! It’s great to add our leftover cooked rice with it as well. Sure wish you could come and join us at our feasts! I’m sure glad he can make food look and taste Great! His tom ti gai soup was FABULOUS as well. He used a seasoning packet Krys sent us for Christmas that had ginger and spices. It would be a favorite for me! Thanks Krys for all the spices you sent us! They are used every day. The Davies borrow some that they can’t get at the stores. We have so many great cooks in our family…I think I can envision a cookbook for wannabes like me!
My goodness! My sweet husband has been chopping up and creating some more incredible dishes for tomorrow’s evening meal with the Davies and Ann n Wally…It’s amazing to me how he can create masterpieces that not only look great but taste great! And how he can add just this and that to create delectable dishes every time lately is beyond me. I’m happy to be his guinea pig ANY time! His creamy tomato basil soup is a winner as is his tom ta gai and the list goes on and on. I feel as though I am eating out every day at a fine dining restaurant here at our flat! It’s a good thing I’m walking every day! Elder C truly has been blessed with a talent for cooking and magnifying his talents here and I have been the grateful recipient! He has been given the gift of speech and teaching and loves music. I am so grateful he wants me for eternity and is so protective of me and my needs. I love this earth life experience and I am so grateful for my motherhood and missionary experiences (which are one in the same at times) and to be blessed with a faithful husband and chosen children and grandchildren who will help prepare the world for our Savior’s return.
I was thinking of a Primary song I love to sing that helps me remember why I’m here and where I’m going…it lifts my soul and puts a smile on my face…
“Sing your way home at the end of the day,
Sing your way home, chase the shadows away,
Smile every mile, for wherever you roam,
It will lighten your way, it will brighten your day,
When you sing your way home.”
Love to all of you! I LOVE receiving emails! I will try and respond to any and all of your emails to me. Trying to pick up small pkgs at the post office is cost prohibitive here, but emails are quick and easy. I like to print them out and reread them. I promise I will do better at emailing y’all as well. We love all of you and pray for you and your families.
The gospel has been restored in these latter days and we are so grateful to be here in Africa among our dear brothers and sisters. May the Lord bless and keep you and may His countenance shine upon you, and give you peace. My love to all of you!!

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