Ah, Weddings

Date: March 16, 2012
Area: Johannesburg
Companion: The other Missionary Porter, of course



Ah, Weddings!!!

          For the last two Saturdays, we have been attending weddings of some of our Institute students.  The first one, two weeks ago, was an Afrikans (white) couple.  They had a surprise shower for the bride the week before.  Here it is called a Breakfast or Kitchen Tea.  They look at you strangely if you call it a shower.  Showers are for babies.  Because it was a Kitchen Tea, they put one of the tea towels on her head – like a wedding veil.  Then, they attach the bows to the veil.  They also gave her dust wand with a man’s picture on it representing the groom and every now and then she had to kiss it.  It was fun.

          The following Saturday was the wedding.  This couple was married in the Johannesburg temple.  We were invited to attend which was a real privilege.  Until 2 years ago, couples had to be married civilly under a cover (church or tent) that anybody could attend.  Then they would go to the temple to be sealed.  Now they do the civil part in the temple president’s office and then they do the Temple sealing.  It was all done on “Africa time” – nothing starts on time here.  We arrived at the temple by 9:15 and the groom arrived after us.  The bride didn’t get there until 9:40.  The ceremony started at about 10:15.  It was suppose to begin at 10:00 so it wasn’t terribly late.  In the afternoon they then had a “ring ceremony” in the chapel.  That is interesting to as it is almost like another wedding ceremony.  The reason they do it is that so many have extended family or even immediate family who are not members of the church and cannot attend the ceremony at the temple.  Following was a reception with about 20 mins. of toasts and tributes.  They usually have dancing, etc.  It was fun to be part of this.

          A week later we attended a “black wedding”.  That was also interesting.  I had to play the organ and this couple was married in the chapel so that her family could be part of it.  Probably 2/3 of the guests were not members of the church but they are good Christians.  When the man performing the marriage gave some good counsel before the actual ceremony, they would audibly say “yes” or “amen” in agreement with his counsel.  Then after the ceremony was completed, they clapped and gave a ululation – like the Arab people do.  Everyone exited the chapel and waited outside for the couple to come after signing the marriage certificate.  That was the most fun.  I will try and post on U-tube the singing and dancing that took place while they were waiting.  We were told that they only do that if the family approves of the marriage.  It was incredible to watch.  It was also fun to see the beautiful clothing these black people wear.  No matter how poor they are, they coordinate their colors and shoes – they all love shoes – some have heels 5-6 in. high with a platform front.  How they walk in them is beyond me.  Many of the women wear turbans or wrap scarves made out of the same fabric as there dresses.  When the couple comes out of the church, they surround them and dance and sing as they walk along.  After that, it was like most other weddings with a reception, pictures, dancing, etc. 

          As a result of the weddings, our young married Institute class is growing.  Some of the couples come to Insitute for that and for the regular class as well.  We’ve had at one other couple get engaged last week, one that was married last January, and one that is so close to getting engaged.  He’s asked but she’s hesitant – concerned that this is forever and what if she makes a mistake.  I think she is about there, though and wants to have the wedding before we leave. 

          We are loving the work.  Fridays, we open up the institute for games, movies,  braai’s (B-B-ques), and volunteering at the MTC one Friday a month.  Some weeks we have only about 10 who show up and other weeks as many as 30 or 40.  It keeps us busy.

          In two weeks, our daughter, Jennifer, her husband, Mike and her daughter Brooklyn are coming for a visit.  We are excited.  We will happily take any other visitors if you don’t mind sleeping on mattresses on the floor.

          We love you all.  Thanks for all of your support.


<<Previous Letter Go back to letter index Next Letter >>