Our latest adventures - or disasters

Date: January 08, 2011
Area: Johannesburg
Companion: Elder Porter of course



Dear Family and Friends,

Hopefully this letter will bring you up to date on our adventures – or whatever you want to call them.  We will start with the month of December after we returned home from our Conference in Kasane.  We actually had our Area Office and Institute staff party the day before we left for Kasane.  I will post pictures of it.  It was quite hilarious.  We had a nice Christmas program – Rich was one of the stars – much to his chagrin, then really excellent food.  One of the missionary couples, the Stonehockers, dressed up as Santa and gave each person a reindeer pin on to wear.  They made them with peanuts in the shell.  They are a talented and fun couple.  Sister Stonehocker is a very talented photographer and many of the pictures I posted from our trip were ones she shared. 

On the 20th, we had a huge mission testimony meeting, dinner, and Christmas program for about 160 of the missionaries.  Rich and I were responsible for the music for the evening which included training a “chime” choir from the missionaries – you know the kind – pipes like Grandma Porter’s.  I also had to cook 6 lbs. of ground beef for sloppy Joes and Chocolate sheet cake and help serve food.  Because I had to play the organ, I didn’t have to  help on clean-up.  To make things really interesting, our car battery died on Sunday night when we were trying to get to the rehearsal with the Elders.  We had to count on the Stonehockers for transportation.  As luck had it, we couldn’t even get it started with a jump, so we had to have it towed which did not happen until Wednesday.  Rich and I had the Stonehockers drop us off at the mall to do some last minute shopping and grocery shopping (The malls here have fabulous grocery stores).  We were without the car until Friday and then they said that it wouldn't be ready until the following Tuesday, the 28th.  Right before closing on Friday the 24th, they called and told us the car was ready and we could pick it up.  All they had to do was put in a battery. 

Christmas Eve morning we invited the Stonehockers over for Christmas Breakfast – you know the usual – Sour Cream twists, egg casserole, decadent French toast, and home-made egg nog ( I found a recipe where you make a cooked custard and then add whip cream).  It was YUMMY!.  That is when our next great adventure started.  The Stonehockers had invited 4 Elders and us over for Christmas dinner.  I was cooking one small turkey, making a fruit salad, rolls and funeral potatoes.  Well the number of people coming went from 8 total to 25, which I found out that morning.  So we were off to the grocery store before it closed to buy more food to prepare.  Instead of our quiet Christmas Eve, I spent the evening baking rolls and getting up the next morning early to do the turkey, potatoes and salad.  We had also been invited to the Mission President’s home Christmas Day, for an open house.  What we found out later is that all the missionaries within an hours drive had been invited so that no one had to go to a lot of work for the day. So we learned for next year.  We actually celebrated Christmas on the 26th and 27th – played games and puzzled and saw Harry Potter.  It was fun and a fairly quiet week because so many people leave town. 

This week we were back to the Institute to start prepping everything for beginning classes next week.  So our next small adventure began.  We had to do a mailing for about 200 students.  Today there was a training for all Volunteer Seminary and Institute teachers.  One of the coordinators became seriously ill, so Elder Porter (dad, papa) stepped in to teach his workshop.  We helped with the planning and set-up.  The brother in charge said that he needed to be there at 6:30 and since we had the key for the chapel, we needed to be there at 6:30.  I am learning that in Africa 6:30 really means just now (to explain – “Now now” means immediately; “just now” means soon – within an hour or two; “Now means later)  As usual, I did the music and we helped the men with all of the logistics.  The first glitch was that we had to move one class to a different building because he needed video set-up.  Then the power wasn’t working and so we ran a 50 foot extension chord to power it up. (They only have about 1 plug per room if your lucky – and none in bathrooms)  Our apartment is a maze of extension chords. Then I asked the brother in charge what time they were delivering the sandwiches.  He said 12:30 – lunch was scheduled for 11:50.  I asked one of the men who wasn’t teaching to call and see if we could get the time moved up.  This was at 11:00.  He ran over to the Sandwich Baron who was doing the catering, and sure enough the order was for 12:30.  He begged them to move it up but they couldn’t get it there before 12:00 so we juggled again and had the closing session before lunch instead of after.  Of course there was the usual clean-up and by the time we were done it was about 3:30.

Sooo we walked into our flat and I said to Rich “is it raining?”  He said, “no, but maybe it was trying to rain.”  I looked up and – you guessed it, our next adventure – it was raining from the ceiling right on to our new puzzle which isn’t finished.  We called the manager and she came right up.  Apparently the “geyser” (pronounces geezer) or water heater is in the ceiling and it broke.  Fortunately, she was able to get a plumber here immediately who stopped the water flow and sealed the pipe with a blow-torch so that the other flats would still have water and we would still have cold water.  They are coming Monday to change the geyser.  We have had pans all over the floor catching the drips. They also punched a hole in the ceiling which have filled two bucket with water. 

Tomorrow should be a somewhat calmer day.  Other than church meetings, we have to do the music for a CES fireside tomorrow night – it should not be a problem – I hope.  But you never know.

WE ARE BLESSED – with good people who help us with broken down cars, people who make sure the Elders aren’t gong to go hungry at Christmas, people who make the effort to get the sandwiches there on time, people who help us resolve rain from the ceiling, and people who care about our well-being.  We are looking forward to next week which will be very busy.  Rich and I are each teaching a different Institute class, two choirs, and one other Institute class together for Young Marrieds.  I will also teach about 7 keyboard students.  They are desperate for people that can play the piano or organ.  There are already some young people who are helping with Primary music and programs after only 5 or 6 months of training.  It is really remarkable what can be done when people are willing.

Take care and the Lord keep you and bless you in all that you do. 

We love you—Mom and Dad, Sharon and Rich, Elder and Sister Porter



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