Monday, November 24, 2014

Modern Day Scriptures in the Zulu Language

As we were about to leave the Mission Office for the day, Elder and Sister Rowberry arrived with Brother Sibusiso Mathe (pronounced "Mot-tay")from the Berea Ward in Durban. They had come to the office to make copies of his SIX YEAR PROJECT of translating the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, and ultimately the re-translation of the Book of Mormon into the Zulu language. He had one, and only one, copy of the manuscript that he had worked closely to translate with another individual under the close supervision of a Church translation specialist in Salt Lake City. (See pictures of Brother Mathe holding the title page and a close-up of the title page itself.)

It was fascinating to hear of his experiences in working to achieve correct interpretation using a language which has by far fewer available words than the English language. He also described many of the difficulties faced by them to achieve the same distinctive writing styles of the original authors. It was  amazing to listen to his experiences in this overwhelming task. He is very excited to finally send it off to Church headquarters for publication. He is also anxious to finally get these modern day scriptures to his fellow Zulu brothers and sisters. He is confident that this will lead to even greater success in the missionary efforts among the Zulu people here in South Africa. Having the scriptures in their own language will continue to hasten the work in this part of the Lord's Kingdom.  "Now is truly the time for Africa...."

"The Molweni Group"

We have been asked to work with a small group of native African members (Zulu's) living in the remote township of Molweni. Their numbers are too few to even qualify as a Branch of the Church. They have been struggling for several years to increase their numbers enough to be made a branch. They are hoping to become a branch soon. They have some extremely strong members there. Most of them have to walk quite a distance, even up to an hour one way, to get to their meetings. We talked to one mother who had her baby tied to her back with a blanket, who had walked an hour that day to get there for church. (And we complain when we have to drive five minutes to get to our chapel at home in Utah!)
Sister Nielsen has been asked to work with the Primary and is having a ball. She recently discovered, though, that Sanae, the Sharing Time leader, will need to translate brief sections of her lessons into Zulu, since most of the younger ones know little to no English yet. She is trying to be able to pronouce each of their names (and with some of those names, it is impossible to tell if it is a boy's name or girl's name).
Elder Nielsen is working with the Gospel Principles Class. And from one week to the next, he doesn't know if the instructor will show up or not, so he must come prepared.
One Sunday we had 6 young people presented with their Seminary or Institute Certificate. They are a valient group of youth, and it was quite encouraging! That Sunday, there was hardly an enpty seat in the old rented school room where they meet.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stake/Area Conference -- November 22 & 23

Mesages from Saturday Evening Session of Stake Conference:
*** God saved His STRONGEST children for our times, to face the STRONGEST temptations.
*** Musical Item: "When Love Leads the Way" (beautiful!!)
*** Are you TOO BUSY? "B" -- being "U" -- under "S" -- Satan's "Y" -- yolk
*** "African Crows": A family of crows were walking down the road. A man stopped them and said, "Father Crow, why are you walking? Don't you know that you can FLY?" With this new realization, Father Crow thanked the man for teaching him that they could fly. Then the crows continued to WALK down the road. Soon they were attacked by predators who devoured them.
Lesson to be learned: They did not heed what they were taught! Are we like the crows?
*** The Stake President announced that, due to growth, the two Durban Stakes are to be realigned to make three stakes in the South Africa Durban Mission.
*** Half way through the two hour meeting, the electricity went off and stayed off for the rest of the meeting. The speakers continued by using the light on their IPHONES and a small emergency light. It was a memorable experience, with powerful messages shared! A Counsellor in the Stake Presidency, a native African, told of his childhood memories of growing up in a strong LDS family. He remembered when he was about 8 years old, his father would walk with the family to the meetinghouse which was 15 to 16 kilometers away (quite a weekly journey to attend church meetings). There was much civil unrest with the South African people at that time. They encountered a mob that were fiercely fighting, with much bloodshed. As they approached the mob, his father kept moving the family along and the mob parted, so they could walk through, UNHARMED!
Years later, he asked his father about the encounter, "Weren't you afraid?" He answered, "No, I had faith that the Lord would take care of us."
He shared that in the 1980's, a young white LDS missionary brought the Gospel to he and his family at a time of the whites being in fear for their lives, due to apartheid. Yet, if that young white missionary had not had faith and trust in his Heavenly Father, he and his family would not have had the Gospel in their lives.
Messages from Sunday Morning Session -- African Area Conference taped earlier in Salt Lake City. Presiding was President Uchtdorf, with Elder Bednar of the Council of the Twelve, Elder Gay from the Seventies, as well as the current first counsellor in the General Primary Presidency.
Things of Interest:
*** The Area Conference was being viewed by ALL of Africa, being made up of 85 stakes and 64 districts throughout the entire continent.
*** It was announced that henceforth there will be THREE stake conferences per year, rather than the current TWO.
*** "Labola" or a young man paying the bride's parents a large amount of money for permission to wed their daughter, often taking YEAR's to acquire the funds.This practice is seen through most of Africa and was HIGHLY DISCOURAGED by all three of the presiding authorities at the meeting. (For more information, Google "labola".) They were emphatic!
*** President Uchtdorf encouraged the members to pray for the construction of the new temple in Durban to begin, which would increase the number off temples in Africa to 5. Rumors are that the location of the temple is soon to be announced, with groundbreaking hopefully to follow soon after. He encouraged members to work on being temple worthy NOW, even BEFORE the temple is completed.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

St. Lucia Seniors Retreat -- Wednesday, November 5 to Saturday, November 8

All thirteen senior couples currently serving in the South Africa Durban Mission, along with President and Sister Zackrison, met at St. Lucia on Wednesday evening for dinner to start our senior retreat, a "South African Safari." Thursday we set out for HluHluwe Game Park (pronouced "shush-loo-wee" since "hl" is pronounced with an "sh" sound). Because of Mom's broken arm and the inability to ride in a safari truck with the other seniors, we rode with the Jaeger's in their car -- a much smoother ride than the bouncey safari trucks, and definitely easier to get into. The Jaegers serve in nearby Richard's Bay and had purchased a one year pass to all the state parks. We are posting a separate blog entry on the 3 different game adventures. This entry is meant to be an overview.
Thursday evening was jam-packed with instruction on the zulu language, zulu dancers who performed several dance numbers along with trying to teach selected senior couples how to perform their energetic movements, followed by a braai (what we would call a barbecue).
Friday we did another game drive, this time to Cape Vital Game Park and Beach. We were again with the Jaegers and saw more of South Africa's wildlife and a beautiful, beautiful beach. Following dinner at a nice local restaurant, we all gathered together for an evening devotional, with each couple sharing a memorable spiritual experience since their arrival to the mission. At the end of the evening, the Zackrison's presented each sister with a beautifu Zulu beaded collar/necklace an the men a ceremonial headband.
Saturday we finished up our Senior's Retreat with a Hippo Boat Tour at the lake near St. Lucia which is known for its over 1200 crocodiles, 800 hippos, and bull sharks which are too numerous to count. We all dispersed to return to our various areas of assignment throughout central South Africa and Lesotho. Had a wonder time and enjoyed the animals.
We are following up this entry with three separate posts: Hluhluwe Game Park, Cape Vital Game Park and Beach, and the St. Lucia Hippo Boat Tour. These posts will be accompanied by a selection of pictures taken at each of the game reserves. It was impossible to capture the beauty and mystique of another of God's Creations -- South Africa.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Just a Note

We are rushing to get our packing and preparations done to leave after noon tomorrow for the Senior's Retreat in St. Lucia, over three hours away. We have had activities nearly every evening until between 9 and 10:00, so have had little time for the emails we would have loved to put together. We are both dragging, especially Mom, and looking forward to a more relaxed schedule through next Sunday.

You have all been such "troopers" and came to the rescue with emails from all, helping to get us through. Your words of cheers have been a great help. And by the way, Mom's wardrobe looks nearly the same everyday, with this strange navy blue contraption around her middle and over the shoulder (her arm sling). But it makes for easier choices in clothing, but Dad has to help her in every step of the process of getting ready for work, or for bed.

We will try to send info packed emails upon our return, and include lots of pictures of the game drives (had to limit it to a self drive in a car to avoid most of the jarring) and sites to see in the Richard's Bay and St. Lucia areas.

Love to all,
Mom and Dad -- Grandma and Grandpa -- and Judi and DeVon