Thursday, February 20, 2014

Making Progress

Amie requested more pictures of us so this is a picture of us in front of gate that encloses the property where we live. We live in a nice little cottage behind the main house that you can partially see through the gate. The other picture is of us with another missionary couple, the Clowards, who we have been walking with and working with. They were originally also called to Johannesburg but their call was changed to Botswana before they left the states. After being in Botswana for three months, the government decided that their paperwork had not been completely correctly and they were ejected. So now they are an additional CES couple working in the Soweto stake like we are working in the Johannesburg stake. A strange string of events has ended with them being housed almost across the street from us. Right now both couples are just trying to figure out where all of the seminary classes are and who is teaching them. There is a lot more distance here between members, other members and the church buildings than in the states. Those distance and long school schedules make it difficult for the young people of a particular ward or branch to all get together at the same time. Because of those factors, we have a lot of small seminary classes and the majority are home study seminaries. In our stake we have identified 30 seminary and institute classes for eight units.

Now that we are getting at least a partial grasp on who, when and where, we have begun to visit classes and get to know teachers better. We have already conducted three inservice meetings, separated by three areas of the stake, again because of distances. Two were well attended but it seems there must have been some confusion of times for one groups because we only had three at a meeting that our coordinator said is usually very well attended. In any case, we met a lot of the teachers but not all, so that is part of our task right now. We have visited three classes and will visit three more on Saturday. We may not be able to visit all because they are in homes in very early hours or in less safe areas where we wouldn't visit at the times scheduled, but we'll certainly get to all we can. On Sundays we will also attend young single adult and youth classes so that will give us a chance to get to know the youth of the area. Africa is statistically a very young country, in large part because of the massive aides epidemic that left many children parentless. So the church is very young too, and that is probably a big reason for their emphasis of seminaries and institutes.

Another problem caused by distance is getting the materials that teachers need. The new curriculum for teacher inservice and for students themselves is wonderful, but all of the manuals and supportive materials were quickly distributed at the beginning of the year (January for them) and now teachers are asking for manuals for students or or the Gospel Teaching and Learning manual for themselves and we aren't able to provide them. The same with scripture mastery cards, training DVD's and other supplemental materials. They are ordered but mail is very slow in coming I guess.

There are so many things we just take for granted living in the US that become obstacles in other places, but the people are very patient so I guess they must be used to it. We're making progress, but we, the Americans, would like to get them all materials they need completely and efficient, but I guess we will learn to be patient too :)


  1. Is that your little silver car in the background of the first picture?

  2. Tim, our car is a little white one directly behind us. I'll post a picture sometime. All the cars here are small (almost all I guess)