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


  1. So incredible! Such a marvelous work and wonder! You both look amazing! I'm glad you get to site see a little. When you get home, you're going to sleep for a month straight. :)

  2. Debbie and Ren So wonderful to read about your adventures and to talk to the Copes and Kelchs to hear about their fantastic time. I'm so happy that it has been such a wonderful adventure. I know you are coming home soon and it will be happy and sad for you to do so. We will be excited to see you though and to hear about your adventures. Love Jan and Craig