Monday, December 30, 2013

We hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving!
We also hope your Christmas was very Merry and awesome and you were all able to celebrate with your family!
We wish you very Happy New Year filled with blessings and happiness!

We are reminded each day of the many blessings we have and the amazing experience we are having here.  The beautiful South African people that we have come to love, and the Elders  . . . oooohhhhh the Elders!  The choir we are in, the investigators we are helping to teach, the less actives we are trying to help renew their blessings of living the gospel, and also the new members who are striving so diligently to live the gospel! 

We miss you all and our family!  It's a good thing that we can Skype our kids and grandkids every single Sunday and we are still able to see them grow and change.  We have been here for 1 year now, and all our grandkids are a year older. Even little Kate is now 1 year old!

Part of November was filled with an incredible visit from some of our wonderful friends from St. George.  We then had  a missionary couples conference the week of Thanksgiving.  Here we are, with our friends, getting ready to do the Zip Line near Knysna, South Africa.

 We also went on a game drive and saw this female leopard.  It walked along within 10 feet of us.

We arrived back in Cape Town on the 23rd of November.  We all climbed Table Mountain on Monday morning.  This is a rigorous hike that took us 2 hours.  It's not for the weak or feeble!!  Table Mountain is a land mark for South Africa and is one of the new 7 wonders of the world.   Everyone who can, will climb it, when they come to South Africa.  It's on the right side of my head in this picture.

We spent the week at the Mission home with the other couples and President and Sister Wood.  We all pitched in and had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, with all the trimmings.   we spent some time learning and studying with President and Sister Wood.  They both know the scriptures very well!  All the couples shared wonderful experiences and tough times as well!  If was an uplifting week!

Then we returned home to East London to take care of things here.  We were missed by the Elders, and we had a lot to catch up on.

We decorated our flat for Christmas as you can see in the picture below - yep - that's it! This is extent of our Christmas decorations and it all sits on our kitchen table!

We had a car wash workshop and BBQ for the Elders in Mdantsane and East Londaon Zones.  They all brought their cars and we taught them all how to keep a car clean and how to wash it.  They all did very well!  Not sure how long their cars will remain clean, but they sure looked good when they left!  This is East London Zone - Denise and Dave can you see Elder Potter - 5th one from the right in the grey shirt.

We also began planning for our Christmas Zone Conference.  It a conference for all 3 of our Zones, East London, Mdantsane and Queenstown.  The Conference is from 9 in the morning till 8 in the evening, and the Elders look so forward to this Christmas zone conference.  Ours, with our 3 zones was on the 17th of December, we had teachings from the Assistants, President and Sister Wood, and we were also asked to share with the Elders our experience with the Living Christ and the invitation to memorize it.  We actually toured the whole mission that week with President and Sister Wood inviting every Elder in the mission to memorize the Living Christ.

We just heard from the AP's and they told us that they are almost done!  This was an unforgettable experience!

Here are pictures of our meals.  We did a snack for breakfast, and a lunch and a dinner.  It was a BIG day for us!  Then we set out the next day to tour the rest of the mission.

This is our car - loaded to the hilt!

This is our snack - a water, banana, in the green sack are a huge muffin, granola bar and a little pack of skittles!

  This is the table with the gift bag that we prepared for each Elder - notice the candy kisses scattered on the table - We sisters can't give the Elders a hug but I can give them a kiss!

The meal was roast beef, potatoes and gravy, beans and corn, homemade rolls, 3 layer jello, (that was so fun to make and the elders loved it!), for deseret we had a brownie with a scoop of ice cream and homemade hot fudge, with a candy cane stuck in it!

We had a great time planning and preparing it.  We had 3 other couples that helped us!  One couple made cookies for the gift bags and homemade hot fudge, one couple did amazing potatoes and the 3rd one made rolls.  The Elders loved it all and were very appreciative.

The evening meal was Pizza and ice cream bars, by then they weren't even hungry - well . . maybe . .

After we were done with that, we left East London to complete the rest of the Zones in the mission.  However, we did not have to do the meals for the other Zone Conferences!  We just gave them the Living Christ and invited them to memorize it!

After visiting each Zone in the mission we took a day off and climbed Lion's Head with President and Sister Wood!  Another great hike in Cape Town South Africa.  These are not the most appealing photos so look at the view and not the old people!

We also had a Thank you dinner for the YSA Choir - we did a concert for our friends and the Choir put in many hours preparing for the concert so we thanked them with a dinner.  That's one thing about YSA, they love to eat!

Christmas Day we had an open house for the Elders.  Of course food . . . and they were able to Skype their family.  We had about 20 of them at our home.  It was a fun day.

After they left we were able to Skype our kids and grandkids!  It was fun to see them on Skype and see their excitement of Christmas!

One of the most memorable and exciting thing about this Christmas are the SMS (Texts) we receive from the Elders as they tell us about their experiences of memorizing "The Living Christ".  They share with us how it makes them feel, how it has change their life and how it changes the way they look at the Savior and how it has changed how they look at Christmas.  It has also helped them as they teach the gospel to investigators.  They are working so hard and some of them are so fast at memorizing, yet some say "it is much harder than they thought but has been well worth it!"  It seems that every SMS we receive from them brings tears!

We thank you all for the support, love and prayers you send our way!  We love what we are doing and are having an amazing time doing it!

May the New Year bring blessings and hope to you and your family and may you, like us, have an increased appreciation for all the blessings that are bestowed upon each of us from our Heavenly Father each day!

Happy New Year and "Go Well"!
Elder and Sister Boyce

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy Halloween!
Seriously, where has the year gone!
We were able to go to the Johannesburg Temple on September 25 and 26th with our ward.  There were 17 people that went with our ward.  That is a record number for the members of our ward.  One couple were married and sealed in the Temple on the 26th.  They were both alone -with no family for either of them. . .  just us as the ward family!  We arrived a day before everyone, because they rode in a bus from Mdantsane to Johannesburg, which was a 13 hour ride thru the night.  We only had 2 days so we had to fly!  Shame!  (as they say in SA).

Needless to say we had some time to look around and wander the beautiful grounds of the Johannesburg Temple before we went in!

This is the view from the back of the Temple - it looks over the city.  Of course the Church always finds prime property for the Temples.

It was great to have the opportunity to go to the Temple again..

We had to be home for our Zone Conference on Friday the 27th.  This Zone Conference was for 3 Zones - 46 Elders and 4 couples and 1 member from Grahamstown - 55 in all!  Our responsibility is providing the snack at 11:00 am and lunch/dinner at 4:00.  It's always a lot of work, but the Elders help in the set up of tables and chairs, and the other couples help in the serving and clean-up.  We try to make it as organized and quick as we can.   The mission president is on a tight time schedule so we have to be quick, organized and efficient as we serve the snack and meal.

This transfer we are doing surprise flat inspections.  We always do flat inspections but we warn the Elders when we are coming.  This transfer - no warning!  We will drive up and send them a SMS (text) that says "Surprise" and they open their doors or gates.  They all live in some pretty secure places as all of our boardings have iron gates or doors.

Well - no warning for flat inspections was pretty dismal!  Some of the Elders are excellent - some of them . . . . well . . . need to spent a little more time in cleaning!  Of course . . we are EASY inspectors!  NOT!!

                                                  Here's some unusual things that we see -
                              This is Standwa, he's our Bishop's son.  We told the Bishop and his wife that
when we go home if Standwa is gone, he's on the plane with us, but we'll send him back in a couple                                       of weeks!  He's 6 years old and so smart!!  He knows Xhosa and English.
                                             There are very few children who know English.
                                 This is a young male lion we saw in a game park on a p-day.

                       Car accident involving some of our Elders on transfer day.  All walked
                                                           away, but car was totaled!

                                         Transporting his treasures, on the 70 mph freeway!
                      This is so common, along with many hitchhikers, bicyclists and pedestrians,
                                                               on the FREEWAY! (even at night)
                                                     We drivers need to be very careful!

 Two very cute girls who have been members for some time and have a brother on a mission in Uganda but parents who are not members of the church.  The missionaries are starting to teach .
                                                    the parents, we join them when we can.

These two Elders, the one on the right is Elder Taylor from Salt Lake, the one on the left is Elder Warentino from the Pacific Islands.  They were "grounded" from their car (so-to-speak) because Elder Taylor misplaced his Utah driver's license.  It took us about a month to secure another copy.  We had to involve personnel from DHL in Salt Lake and in two other locations, his parents,  the Utah DMV,  and many phone calls to the U. S., to get this all worked out, so Elder Taylor could drive again.  We finally were successful and Elder Taylor sent a copy of this picture to all who were involved.

There are certain foods that we cannot get here or even the equivalent South African food is very different.  Stuff like chocolate chips, Frenchs mustard, crisco, red licorice, brown sugar (they have something like it but different), graham cracker and oreo pie crusts, the ice cream is very different,  canned pumpkin (for pumpkin pie) and turkeys, . . .

HOWEVER - they have great vegetables like cucumbers and onions and red peppers and all the spices that I used to make great Mustard pickles!
Also they have magnificent strawberries and other fruit now . . . . (however no raspberries) in Oct., Nov, and Dec, and Jan -  to make beautiful freezer strawberry jam.
                  I also made a variation of Strawberry Short Cake for Zone Conference this past week as
                                           fed 54 hungry Elders on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

After our Zone Conferences we took a day to relax to go hike the Hogsback. This is a beautiful area about 2 hours west of us.  It is a mountain area that has an incredible forest with large trees, beautiful flowers and wonderful waterfalls.   We hiked about 4 hours to the waterfalls. It was beautiful.  The English author J.R.R. Tolkien was born in South Africa and it's been said he received his inspiration to write of the talking trees (Ents) in his book "Lord of the Rings" from these trees he saw at the Hogsback  Attached are a couple of pictures showing and even showing one of the trees that may have inspired him. 

In conclusion let us share a wonderful experience with you.  We received an email from Sister Carrie Henderson in Brisbane, Australia.  Most of you know they are serving as Mission President's in Brisbane.  In her email, she asked if any of our South African, Cape Town missionaries were from the African country of Rawanda?  Two of their Australian sister missionaries were teaching an investigator from Rawanda and she was very interested in the gospel, but only spoke the native language.  They couldn't find anyone who spoke her language to assist in the teaching.  She was asking questions they were unable to be answer, without an interpretor. Sister Henderson asked if any of our missionaries knew the language and could assist with her questions.   We did some searching and none of our missionaries were from Rawanda or even knew or could speak the language.  But, we had a faithful member, a brother in Cape Town (Brother Sotter) who knew the language and could speak it fluently.  We set up a Skype call (9 hours difference in time) with this translator member, the two sister missionaries from Brisbane,  and the sister investigator.   Anyway, after about 4 or 5 Skype calls and lessons, this sister was baptized. (about 2 weeks ago).  Attached is a picture of her. Isn't it wonderful how technology can serve the world and make it smaller to accomplish the Lord's work.  (From South Africa to Australia).  It really makes us realize who is in charge of this great work!!

        Sorry this blog has taken so long to get out . . . we have no excuse . . . we don't know what I've     
                                                                 been doing . . .
     WE LOVE YOU and appreciate all your support, thoughts and prayers.  They help us so much.
                                                          Elder and Sister Boyce

Monday, August 19, 2013

We're starting off with something exciting .  .  .  . like some wild animals that we actually saw on July 8th at Schotia.

We were on p-day with some of the other couples in the mission.

The days and nights are a blur and we seem to never have the time.  But we absolutely love every minute and wouldn't have it any other way.   Our duties and experiences change every single day, really . . . . really . . . .  like try this on for example.

Last week we received a SMS (text) from a pair of our Elders who were doing service at a farm here in East London.  Their text said, "Elder Boyce will you approve us to get new windshield wiper blades for our car? We just watched an EMU peel them off the windshield of our car and run away with them.  I told the Elders to try and catch the big bird and get a billing address, but the bird was too fast!!!   None of the experiences we see, shock us anymore, we see everything here in South Africa.
Elder Boyce is always busy making sure that the fleet of cars and bikes under our care, are in good order.  We seem to always be juggling with car and bicycle breakdowns and repairs.  Businesses  really don't move very fast, over here.  If we have a car accident, it usually takes 2-3 months to get the car repaired and back in service.  This is always fun to try and make things work when 4 Elders share a car, to get to their areas, and the car goes down for repairs.  But you know what, everything always seems to work out. We really don't even wonder how and why things always fall into place because we know the true source of why we are all blessed so much.

So I think on this round of our blog, I am going to just post a bunch of pictures and do some explaining what they are.  I really don't want to burden you with a bunch of dialog (and me either) so just enjoy the photos and some things we have been doing in the last 60 days.
This is May 12th - Mother's Day.

 We invited any Elder's over to our flat to Skype and call their moms.  We had them coming at different times.  We also had dinner for them and they played some games (in hopes of making a homey atmosphere for them!)while they were waiting for their turn to Skype their Mom's and family.   We had three locations in our flat so they could have privacy to Skype. (you can imagine how noisy it was!)  It still took about 4 hours. The  Missionary Handbook restricts them to 30 minutes each, but the good thing is that it was all free for them to call!  We probably had about 26 Elders calling home and this was just a few of them!

This is a beautiful cactus that is the entrance of our complex where we live, or as they say it in South Africa - where we stay.  It also covers the countryside as we travel to areas within our mission.

If you want to move or change residency, you can do it like this!  Most people do not have a car, let alone a bakkie (truck).  So they just pick up, what few belongings they have, and move them to their new location!  We see this as a convenient way to move, and an even better way to move their belongings is with a wheelbarrow.

Brett and Min - aren't you glad that you and the kids didn't have to move this way!!

Ren is holding  the daughter of the Branch President in Grahmstown.
Her name is Lucy Budaza.
She's a cutey!
But not as cute as 5 little girls that we have back home!
Mia, Georgia, Annie, Ivy and little Kate!!
Or as handsome as 4 little boys we have back home!
Luke, Richie, Landon and Brock!
We love you all! 

We were part of a Young Single Adult Committee.
On the 29th of June we had a Young Single Adult Conference.
Saturday evening was a dance and we were chaperones for the dance.
Sorry it is so blurry and I'm so WHITE!

 This is Sister Magibisela.
She had 4 steps to get out of her front door with no handrail!
We installed a handrail for her and she thanked us by baking a delicious pie!
It actually was very good, as good as home - it was apple!

This is a church in Alexandria, is about 30 minute south of Port Alfred.
Doesn't it remind you of what we see back in home?

This is the start line of the Knysna Half Marathon on July 6th.
We had a Branch Conference at the Knysna Branch on the 6th and 7th.
So President Wood (our mission President) and I decided to run it!
There was 6500 runners from all over the world!
It was great fun!

The start line sign is waaaaayyyyy in the back of the picture.
It started in the Knysna Forest and it was COLD!  Can you tell!

The finish line .  .  .  well 100 yards away .  .  .  I did finish!

Just this past Saturday - August 17th was Helping Hands Day in South Africa.
A day that 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints reaches out to
all communities in South Africa in service.
Our ward - the Mdantsane 3rd Ward
decided to go to an orphanage just down the street from the church.
This orphanage gets no government funding, is housed in a corrugated shack, it has no power, no washing machine, no running water, no indoor toilet, no shower facility,

Leaving from the church . . . .

                                                                     Arriving .  .  .  .
                                              Home to 23 children - 9 months to 18 years.
            Washing clothes - this is a bath tub.  We washed 9 loads like this, plus other containers. 
                                                         Notice the color of the water.
                                       We did change the water, but the color didn't change.
Wonderful, willing, working hands.

Clothes line is the fence around the facility.

Planting a garden .  .  .  .

Building a fence around the garden to protect it from the neighbor's goats.

Fence complete with a homemade gate!

23 happy children and 4 grateful orphanage workers.

That's the end of this story!
So . . . . 
Be grateful and show it,
Hug your kids,
Be happy
Write a note to some one who lives alone,
Kiss you wife
Be grateful and show it
Share the gospel
Call someone who's going thru a trial,
Bake a loaf of bread for someone . . just because
Be happy
Kiss your husband
Smile at someone
Hug your kids
Do your home teaching and visiting teaching and report it
Share your testimony
Be grateful and show it
Hug your grandkids
Compliment someone
Be grateful and show it
Invite some one to dinner
Share your testimony!
Love your family!

Elder and Sister Boyce