Have Arrived Safely in the Mission Field

Date: November 16, 2010
Area: Johannesburg
Companion: Elder Porter of course

 

 Dear Family and Friends,
    What a joy!  We have arrived - where? Johannesburg of course.  Last week we had an incredible experience hearing Elder Bednar talk about "Doctrine, Principles and Applications of the Gospel."  It was a great talk and we learned much.  We spent last Thursday in Salt Lake learning about the Perpetual Education Fund.  It is amazing what that is doing to help third world young adults receive job training and finding good jobs.  
    Then after packing and repacking to get the weight right on our luggage, we headed to bed for a rather short night before getting up at 4 AM to be ready for the shuttle to the airport at 6.  Flew from Salt Lake at 11:00 AM on Friday the 12th and arrived in Atlanta at 4:30 PM Eastern time.  Left Atlanta at 7:00 PM and arrived in Johannesburg at 4:30 PM (Johannesburg time) on Saturday the 13th.  It was a pretty good flight with a great tail wind.  The man sitting next to me muttered constantly when there was much turbulence.  
    By the time we arrived at our flat (apartment), it was dark.  The weather was unseasonably warm and quite humid.  We took night pictures w/o a tripod from our balcony and headed to bed.  Slept reasonably well.
    Sunday, we attended Church meetings in the morning.  About half the congregation was black.  What beautiful people they are.  I was asked to play the piano in Relief Society.  We met the Mission President briefly and had pictures taken with them.  The couple whose flat we took over had us over for lunch at the surplas flat by the Mission home.  We went home and grabbed a short nap before attending a Rebroadcast of a CES fireside.  It gave us an opportunity to meet many of the young people we will be working with.  By the time we reached the flat, we were more than ready for bed.
    Monday, we met with Khumbulani, who is our immediate supervisor.  We now know what we will be doing in our assignment here.  We are building the Institute program.  They want the Institute to become a gathering place for Young Single Adults.  We will be teaching Institute classes, recruiting students, overseeing an Institute Council, and helping to plan activities.  After meeting with Khumbalani, we spent time at the Mission Office taking care of paper work, getting copies of our passport stamped by the local police.  We do not carry our passports but official stamped copies.  The crime rate is very high here.  We received instructions on always keeping doors locked on the car, never having your purse in sight - they will break car windows to get it.  At malls and stores, you tip someone to watch your car.  The Chamberlains took time to drive us to some of the stores and basically gave us a tour of the area.  
    Monday evening, we worked at trying to get our internet set up.  I was cleaning cupboards of all the extra food that we are not likely to use.  What isn't outdated I will give to people who can use the food.  I also did our first load of laundry.  The Washing Machine is in the kitchen and looks like a dishwasher.  It is small - only holding about 11 lbs. per load.  There is no dishwasher.  The dryer sits out on the balcony.
    Today, we needed to finish up some safety training and then one of the other senior couples took us to a fabulous mall so that we could get what we needed for internet.  
    The country here is incredibly beautiful - very green and in places somewhat rugged.  It is raining tonight.  Our first two days were very warm, but it has since cooled off to very cool temperatures.  When it rains it comes long and heavy - not like Seattle mist.  On the picture page I have posted pictures of the Jack-a-randa (sp) tree.  The flowers on them are just ending.  They tell us that in October, they are even more spectacular before the leaves come on.  Everyone is so friendly.  When we are driving over to the Institute, we often see street vendors and beggars - not unlike China and yes you can barter, but we choose not to.  
    We have meetings for the next two days.  The school year is ending and starts again about the second week of January.  We have much to do to get it going.  
    Please know we love you all.  Stay happy and go well with you. 
Love, Elder & Sister Porter, Mutti & Papa, Mom & Dad, Rich & Sharon

 

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