We found out at the MTC in Provo that we would be doing some training in the Southeast Africa Area Office in Johannesburg, South Africa before starting our mission in Kenya. We were a little sad not to be going straight to Nairobi but it turned out to be a very good thing. We learned so much about all aspects of the missions in Africa. The Church takes very good care of its missionaries. We learned what resources there are for immigration and visa problems, travel, medical needs, mental health issues, computer problems, and more. Many couples at the Area Office were missionaries (like us) serving at their own expense. There were also Black Africans and White Africans employed at the Office. Yes, that's what they call themselves. They all speak English with very cute accents.
Johannesburg is a huge city with lots of green foliage and trees, including palm trees and evergreen fir-type trees. Lots of traffic, but not crazy traffic. They of course drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheels are on the right side. Since we've been to Great Britain, the driving pattern was familiar.
Since we weren't there as tourists, we only saw the city. We stayed in a flat with a senior couple, the Waltons. Lovely people who had served as mission presidents in Portugal and Angola (which is a country in Africa). I had to look on a map to find it.
On our first day there we toured the Johannesburg Mission Training Center. It's a lovely walled and gated compound which includes a chapel. It's a very small MTC. The next two days we were trained at the Area Office by many people, teaching us different aspects of the mission. Dr. Jubber is the area doctor and he is from Lethbridge and was our son Eric's bishop in his single adult ward. If we have any medical problems, we are to phone him and he will evaluate and tell us where to go for help. Sometimes missionaries are flown to Johannesburg as it's a first world country and has good medical care.
Sunday evening, Elder & Sister Walton drove us to a stake center to hear the BYU Young Ambassador's put on a fireside. The Young Ambassadors travel to different countries, sharing their testimonies in song and word. I was especially excited to see them as our niece, Josie, is in the Young Ambassadors. She had seen us off at our open house in Salt Lake City and now we were there in Johannesburg to see her! So cool.
|We're at a Stake Center somewhere in Johannesburg, ready for the Young Ambassadors' fireside. It's a lovely building. As you can see, it's 6 p.m. and getting dark already.|
|Here we are with our niece Josie and her friend Michael who is also a member of the Young Ambassadors.|
|A chapel on the Johannesburg MTC campus.|
|A lovely Bird of Paradise.|