Monday, March 6, 2017

February in Africa

Hello everyone! We hope you are all happy and well.

We spend a great deal of our time training District and Branch Presidencies on basic administration, budgeting, welfare and best practices. Our last district conference was a success and we are hoping that the organizational skills that we modeled for the district president will be applied at the next conference. Since Elwood is in the mission presidency, we travel throughout the mission for district conferences, zone conferences, temple recommend interviews, setting apart for their Church callings, working with members who have had disciplinary issues to bring them back to full fellowship, and counseling.

The twelve elders in our area join us each week for Family Home Evening. It’s a time for them to relax and be rejuvenated.

We had an interesting experience in which we visited a young family who felt that the people in their neighborhood had put a curse on them because of their Church membership. Elwood gave them each a blessing and they were relieved. To date they have had no repeat unexplained disturbances during the night.

We have the opportunity, most mornings, to hike into the hills near our boarding. There are amazing views of the rolling countryside on one side and the town on the other as we climb to the top. Elwood climbed over the fence labeled “Private Property. Do Not Enter” and has made friends with the caretaker, after the caretaker yelled at him to get out,  and has given him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Zulu.

We are teaching a young woman with two small children who lives in the dwelling pictured below. Seeing people you care about living in such circumstances is very troubling.

A new branch has been created in Madadeni to allow members to reduce their walking time from as much as 1 ½ hours to only 15-35 minutes. Very few people have cars. Elwood had a wonderful spiritual experience interviewing people to be the branch president. The spirit left no doubt who the branch president should be.

This last Saturday we had a Young Single Adult Activity. It has been very rewarding working with them because of their dedication and willingness to work very hard. We will be assisting them in the other activities that are planned for this year. We are pleased that the district leaders now realize the importance of organization with priesthood support.

Whenever we travel to Durban for mission business we look forward to seeing the ocean, the people and having Mexican food. The person who owns the restaurant lived in San Francisco for a while and so the restaurant is named the 415 (San Francisco’s area code). We enjoy the food, which is American Mexican, and the fountain drinks with ice and refills…just like home.

We take little side trips periodically. One day we traveled to the Drakensberg Mountains and hiked with 2 senior couples and 6 young elders. We made the mistake of allowing the elders to choose the trail which, they told us, was not too strenuous. (This was through the eyes of a 19 year old.) One couple gave up completely, but we endured and made it to a beautiful waterfall, which was a great reward on a hot summer day. (Remember, we are in the southern hemisphere so it is summer here.)

Another Preparation Day we took some elders to the Dundee Museum of British/Zulu Wars and British/Boar Wars. Any history/war buff would love it. Plus there were interesting ceramic displays.

We also had the opportunity to visit Lesotho, which is a separate country located in our mission. Although it was a short visit we were quite impressed with the weaving business that a group of ladies began.

These two pictures are from the Mandela capture site and visitor center.

This picture of Elwood was taken at a waterfall near where we live.

It has been a pleasure to have the assignments of sharing the Book of Mormon and teaching.  Interesting opportunities have come our way. One day, in a grocery parking lot a lady backed into our car (in spite of Elwood honking and me yelling, “Stop! Stop!”) Everything was eventually settled quite amicably, but during the process a Book of Mormon was placed with the lady that hit us and with three people at Avis Rent-a-Car.

We love our mission experiences, especially serving the people of this area. We feel the spirit direct and support us. We know the gospel of Jesus Christ will bless the lives of the people living in our mission. May you find the Lord blessing your life.



  1. Thank you for posting this,it is a delight and a pleasure reading about your wonderful experiences. Thank you so much.

  2. Wow what amazing experience you both are having! They are so lucky to have you! Keep building up those branches! One day they will be wards and stakes! So awesome to see it happening before your very eyes! ❤️

  3. Love reading your of experiences...brings back wonderful memories of our mission in Kenya. Wonderful, welcoming, Christian people. Roz udall

  4. I have no doubt that Elder and Sister Brown would be a blessing to the South Africans where they are serving, they have done such marvelous work in Nigeria and because of their love for Africa God has sent them again on their second missionary journey to South Africa.we love you so much, and pray for strength upon you both to be fit and healthy to finish your mission. I miss you both and still pray for possibility and an opportunity to meet you again.