Sunday, November 9, 2014

November 8 & 9, 2014

Saturday, November 8

On Saturday, November 8, we took a walk fairly early in the morning. Not far from our flat, we saw two Hadeda Ibis land on this street light. They are a funny bird; they make a very loud funny-sounding cry that sounds like a humorous old-fashioned car horn. They awaken us when they begin their chorus early each morning. These two seemed to be as curious about us as we were about them...

Here are some photos of what we saw as we continued our walk through a different neighborhood. It is fun to explore, and early on a Saturday morning there is little traffic, which is especially nice.

We are surprised that the Jacaranda trees are still holding their blossoms. As can be seen, they are shedding them in heavy amounts. The blanket that they create on the ground is beautiful also.

We passed by a large estate which included a farm area. The entrance to it was by way of an iron gate that allowed us to look through it and see the animals. As we were watching them, a young lady walked across the field toward the gate and let herself out. She was very sociable and told us a little bit about the farm. We asked her what type of animal was lying in the shade in the background; she told us that they are Eland. Research indicates that they are similar to an ox. 

On the left is an emu. We did not know that they are native to Australia. On the right is an ostrich. There were two ostriches there, one a male and the other a female. 

Mr. (or Mrs.) Emu decided to come a bit closer, probably to socialize with us.

Mr. (or Mrs.) Emu wanted to be up close and personal. 

Here is a photo of the father-to-be ostrich. The young lady that we met said that the male and female take turns guarding the egg that is lying on the ground. She said that when the female is far away from the egg, the male will stay close by. If anyone wanders near the egg, the male will run over to and stand by the egg. It's probably a safe guess that whomever tries to get too close to the egg will get a less-than-congenial reception. Things could get physical really fast!

The following photos are what we took as we hiked around the Kloofendal Nature Reserve, which is quite close to our flat. There was not a lot of color because we haven't received much summer rain yet. Nevertheless, the view was interesting and the visit was enjoyable. Speaking of rain, not long after we arrived at our flat, we were treated to an impressive thunder and lightning storm; it lasted late into the evening and yielded a significant amount of rain.

This metal orb represents the sun. There are many rocks spaced in a circle around this "sun." The layout is a representation of our solar system. Each rock represents a planet and has a description of the planet's distance from the sun, its size compared to earth, how long it takes that planet to orbit the sun and other interesting facts about it.

This is a side view of an amphitheater, a very large one at that. More pictures of it will follow.

One of several buildings on the nature reserve grounds. Notice the thatched roof. The construction of these roofs is fascinating. 

Another view of the amphitheater stage.

This is a thatch-roof pavilion that can be rented for activities. It is quite large and uniquely constructed.

This is an interesting sign - "transgressors" will be prosecuted. It has a gospel-related ring to it.

Sister Allred leading the way on our hike

One of many termite mounds that we saw. If any of you are interested, we will arrange to ship a sample to you :-)

Another photo of our professional tour guide

What is left of a small reservoir on the reserve grounds
These trees were survivors of a burn. They are surrealistic; something that could be used in a spooky movie

A photo of the photographer...

The spaceship house sits across the valley

 This a cool tree that has sunflowers on it. These are dried, probably from last year. We saw new buds forming. We will return to see what they look like when they flower in December or January.

 Kent has practiced his dance to try out for 'So You Think You Can Dance' and I think he is about ready!

Sister Allred's encore performance on-stage at the amphitheater

This gives a perspective of the size of the stage

The interior of the pavilion, which was shown in a previous photo

The pavilion's roof construction. We didn't see a single 2x4!
This is a close up of the edge of the thatch roof. It is about 6 inches thick.

The nature reserve is surrounded by houses. Our area is a series of hills and cliffs and the houses are built on top of and on the side of the terrain.

Sunday, November 9

This morning we headed for Mohlakeng to attend Sunday meetings at the cluster. The police in this area are notorious for conducting surprise traffic stops, primarily to check for drivers license and proper vehicle registration. When missionaries are stopped, they are sometimes told by the police that their U.S. drivers license is not the required license. It then becomes a challenge to convince the police that we are registered with the local police and that we are authorized to drive with only our U.S. license.
On the way to Randfontein, we came upon one of these stops. We were waved over. Elder Allred rolled down his window and greeted the officer. She was friendly and after a brief greeting, she asked to see his driver's license. As he was getting it, she said "Are you on your way to church?" When we responded yes, she said "That's all right, no need to see your license, you can go." She then added, with a smile, "Say a prayer for me will you?" We heartily told her that we will do so.This was, to us, a tender mercy in that the delay was not what we needed and we did not want to play the convincing game.
At the cluster, to our great joy, the two people that we met last week and invited to attend meetings with us showed up. They stayed for all three meetings and seemed to enjoy their association with others.
After meetings, the Sunday School president (Patrick) went with us into the township and introduced us to two more less-active members. We spent a little while visiting and getting acquainted. We told them that we need them at the cluster and then asked if they will join us at the cluster meetings next week - both said they will. For a few reasons, it is essential that we are accompanied by a member when we visit others in the township. The key to nurturing less-active members into full activity is to be their friends, to be supportive of them and to help them realize that they are needed. Loving these good people is easy. 
We thoroughly enjoyed this weekend. 

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