Monday, September 8, 2014

Reflecting on Sunday's experiences

September 7, 2014 was our first Sunday in South Africa. We attended the Randfontaine Ward, which is located approximately 12 miles west of our apartment or "flat." We followed the elders from home to the ward meetinghouse and arrived there in time to meet many of the ward members. The first counselor in the bishopric gave us a tour of the building.
As it was Fast Sunday, we were invited to share our testimony, and after doing so we listened to many of the ward members share theirs. What a touching experience to hear them express their gratitude for the gospel. There was no gap in time between testimonies; there was not enough time to hear from all who wanted to share.
We were warmly welcomed by everyone that we met. It was as if they knew us well, and the children would not hesitate to hug Sister Allred.
After the meetings concluded, we remained for the baptism of the bishop's 8-year old daughter, Bokang. She personally invited us to be there, which was an honor. Near the conclusion of the baptismal service, she shared her testimony. Paraphrasing, this is what she said: "When I was baptized, it made me feel clean and white. If you look at me, you can see that I am not white, but to Heavenly Father, we are all white." It brought to mind the Savior's statement in Mathew 18:3. Bokang's testimony not only touched our heart, but also our spirit.
Our guiding missionaries had to leave Randfontein after sacrament meeting, so we were on our own for the trip home. When time came to return to our flat, we powered up the GPS only to find that it did not work; it displayed the message that no roads could be found for calculating the route to our home. Although we were only a relatively short distance away from home, this was disconcerting. We chose a road to travel and stuck to it, and eventually we found another road that we had only recently become familiar with. From there we were able to find our way to the comfort of our "home" community. Arriving home in reasonably good time, and in safety, was not a coincidence...
Shortly after arriving from Randfontein, we drove to another meetinghouse near the mission office to attend baptisms for a mother and her three children. As with Bokan's baptism, there was a peaceful and evident spirit there.Their testimonies after baptism also reflected their real love for the gospel and their commitment to embrace it faithfully.
Following are a few photos taken in Randfontein.

My special companion

The Randfontein meetinghouse; we were told that
it was purchased from another religious group and remodeled
The meetinghouse grounds; we will soon see a transition from the browns of winter to the greens of

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