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.