Friday, January 1, 2016

MORE Fascinating Photos!

Here they don’t just play with Tonka Trucks, they drive them!

In South Africa, they have to remind you to STOP & WAIT for the green light.

Taxi stand and street market in downtown Durban.

Monkey on our balcony begging for food (3 ft. from our door).

View of 1000 Hills from the other side.

Ready for the Missionaries at Zone Conference lunch.

 View of Durban’s “Great and Spacious Building”.

Sending off a local new Missionary.

Prospective Sister Missionaries – one between Elder & Sister Nielsen, is now serving in Ghana.

Sister Nielsen’s Primary kids celebrating Sister Saneh’s departure on mission.

Nielsen’s & Poelman’s at the Mission Office (before their release)

A South African “Tuck Shop” (Your corner grocery store – very enticing!)

Petted a cheetah and we still have all our fingers.

 A mongoose

Mom, Dad & baby Elephant

Lion on the prowl

Cheetah overlooking his kingdom

Running of the wildebeest

Giraffe in trees

A majestic giraffe

 A dung beetle

Zulu Medicine Woman

Fascinating Photos from South Africa

Elder and Sister Nielsen standing on the Eastern shore of the Indian Ocean near St. Lucia.  

A Koodoo (in the Antelope family).

Cape Buffalo - the meanest critter in all of South Africa.

Zulu Dancers

Zulu's Dancing

Elder and Sister Nielsen in official Zulu dress. 

Elephant chasing down a game truck.

Wild dogs, also known as hyenas, seen from a "blind". 

Mother Ha De Da in nest outside our living room window. 



Mother Zebra and baby

Sister Nielsen with neighbor, Premie

Hilltop view of stadium and Indian Ocean

The Senior Sisters "chorus line"

Elder Nielsen has really slimmed down and is now playing for the Springbok team.

Two mongoose and a monkey in our front yard. (Having mongoose that close means there are SNAKES!!)

Sister Nielsen at Stake Primary Activity with two of her youngest Primary kids. 

Overlooking 1000 Hills 

Zebra Hide

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas to All. . .And to All a Good Year!!!

Greetings and Warm Wishes from South Africa!
"Sani Bonani" (ZULU for greetings to all of you!)

Another year has quickly gone by as we continue to serve our Lord and Savior in the South Africa Durban Mission.We are enjoying our assignments, with Elder Nielsen as financial secretary and Sister Nielsen as medical and housing coordinator, as well as baptism recorder.

Our days are filled assisting the Lord's missionary work from "behind the scenes." We ensure all financial, medical, and housing needs are quickly and quietly completed to allow the young missionaries to bring the Lord's message to His children is South Africa. We love serving in the background.  We enjoy hearing the members' and the missionaries' stories of their spiritual experiences. It has increased our testimonies "ten-fold!"

We have had the spiritual confirmation that this is where and how we are to be serving the Lord at this time in our lives.We've encountered several "bumps in the road" but the Lord has seen us through them, with a calm, peaceful assurance of His love for us.

This has been a wonderful opportunity to be here in South Africa and enjoy the uniqueness of this country and its people . . . the Zulu's, the Africaans, those of Indian and Asian descent, as well as those of many other cultures who have come to this beautiful part of the world. We've had the thrill of seeing God's creations which can only be found in this part of the world. For example, we have been within ten to twenty feet of huge elephants, lions, rhinos and hippos, and not much further from cape buffalo, cheetah's, and giraffes. . .  and also the monkeys who reside in the "jungle" surrounding our boarding complex. The monkeys often are just outside our door wanting a handout. And then there are the Ha De Da's (their national bird). We never need to set the alarm clock because just before daylight they begin their loud cries which are more effective. But during the summer months, this is about 4:30  in the morning!!! A few months ago we noticed Ha De Das nesting in a tree not far from our back window. And soon there appeared three tiny birds, which we watched grow to maturity, and finally left to venture out on their own.

On Sundays, we meet with the Molweni Branch, whose members we have grown to love dearly (especially those adorable Primary kids that Sister Nielsen works with). A few months ago, they had been a "group" and were finally made a branch. Our average attendance is 30 to 40 people, all Zulu's except for the Branch President, his wife, and Elder and Sister Nielsen. The 2 missionaries assigned to the Molweni Branch are typically from the U.S. or from various parts of Africa. Since the Branch members do not have transportation, nearly all of them walk to church, which for some takes up to an hour one way. We meet in a rented one-room school building, with two tiny portable classrooms located next to the school building.  Efforts are underway to secure a better facility a short distance away, which we hope will take place just after the first of the year.

We have extended our mission by 2 months, until early June, which will allow members of our family to tour some of South Africa with us prior to our return home. It will be difficult to leave behind a country and people we have come to love.

As we reflect on this past year, we are grateful for the Lord's blesssings to us and all our family and friends during this time of separation. We are grateful for the love and support we have felt from those we serve with, as well as each of you who have supported us in various ways during our service in the South Africa Durban Mission.

We wish you joy and peace as you think of the life of our Savior at this Christmas time and begin a promising New Year. We love our Savior and bear testimony of His life and atonement for each of us.

"Unkulunkulu anibusise" . . . . Zulu for "God bless you all!"

Elder and Sister Nielsen

p.s. It is now 1:00 p.m. local time on Christmas Day, with temperatures in the 80's, and  a light breeze accompanied by a gentle, misty rain.
AND NO SNOW!!!   We love it! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

"Meet the Mormons"

I must tell you about the meeting on Sunday, 16 August. We had a regular, but VERY inspiring Sacrament Meeting, but then set up to show the movie, “Meet the Mormons.” This was planned to take the place of Primary, Relief Society, Priesthood and Sunday School. Over 80 invitations were given out and resulted in 61 in attendance. The movie is extremely inspiring about 5 different individuals and families around the world who are members of the Church. One young man even served a mission here in Durban, by the name of Elder Armstrong. Hopefully, if you haven’t seen it, you will have an opportunity sometime to view it. IT IS AMAZING!

Then after the movie we had a meal provided by President and Sister Smith, my husband and I, and two other senior missionary couples. We had chicken, gravy, rolls, veggies, rice krispy squares, cup cakes, banana bread, oranges, suckers, drinks, and popcorn. They sat around visiting while eating – some even gathering outside to eat and enjoy the beautiful weather.

I think we only had maybe 2 or 3 non-members, but it was even GREAT for the members to see.
(BREA -- Could you put this on our blog. Wrote it to send to a young African sister who left a couple of months ago for a mission in Ghana.) 
Love you all,
Mom (a.k.a. -- Judi)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Just a Scrap of Paper

Missionary finds an answer on a scrap of paper.

Excerpted by Marnae Wilson

When the Church was first established in South Africa, missionaries had to travel by ship to get to their mission headquarters. The trip was long, difficult, and expensive. Often missionaries traveled alone, with little support, and no way to communicate with their mission president.

The little boat had been tossed by storms for more than six weeks as it made its way slowly from England to South Africa. Aboard was Elder Franklin D. Price, a young Mormon missionary, trying to get to his South African mission.

Each day Elder Price became more worried, for food and money were scarce. According to the law of the Union of South Africa, no one was permitted to enter the country unless he had at least twenty dollars with him. Elder Price did not have the required sum.

When the boat finally docked, the young elder decided that he would board a train and go as far as he possibly could. As he walked off the ship, he noticed a small folded piece of paper lying at the foot of the gang plank. Without thinking, he stooped over, picked it up, and automatically slipped the paper into his pocket.

In no time he was on a train, speeding down the tracks toward the Union of South Africa. At the border, immigration officials came aboard to check all entry papers. Elder Price was worried about what would happen to him when the officials discovered that he had no money. When the men approached, Elder Price almost panicked. Then, without even knowing why, he reached into his pocket and pulled out the piece of paper that he had found earlier. Elder Price handed the paper to one of the officials. The man nodded his head and returned the paper to the astonished young elder. That paper was an endorsed check in the amount of twenty dollars with the stamp of the Union of South Africa affixed.

As Elder Price told his story at the mission home, tears of gratitude streamed down his cheeks. The Lord truly provides for those who serve Him.

Taken from “True Stories from South Africa,” Friend, April 1972; excerpted by Marnae Wilson

Monday, July 27, 2015

Train Ride

On Saturday, 4 July 2015 all the coastal senior missionary couples serving in the South Africa Durban Mission rode on a special exhibition running of the Umgeni Steam Railway. The "Wesley" locomotive was built in Berlin, Germany in 1938 and the coaches on the train were built between 1928 and 1952, although even older vehicles, dating back to 1908, are sometimes used.
The train runs through the picturesque Valley of a Thousand Hills between Kloof and Inchanga on the last Sunday of each month, with occasional additional trains during school holidays and for special events. The train largely follows the route of the original Natal government Railway Main Line from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, which was opened in December 1880. Even today the line is considered something of an engineering feat (and an operational challenge!) due to the tortuous topography it has to traverse, abounding in 1 to 30 gradients with many curves nearly 300 feet in radius. Major engineering challenges along the way include a pass with almost sheer cliffs, a short tunnel, and a spectacular cast iron viaduct. Historically, it was said that the notorious viaduct apparently swayed so badly in the wind that passengers were requested to alight and walk ahead of the train during inclement weather!
On this special run of the Umgeni Steam Railway, numerous vintage cars from an earlier era ran beside the train on the adjacent highway.  Spectators gathered along the journey to cheer on both the vintage cars and their treasured steam railway.
Elder and Sister Nielsen can be seen peeking out one of the left windows of the coach. It made for a fabulous way to celebrate the 4th of July on the other side of the world, while serving in South Africa.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Do you know where your iPad is?

Thought you would enjoy this picture that was given to me today by the new office couple, the Sorensen's.
Mom (AKA: Grandma & Judi)