Saturday, June 4, 2011

Week #68 - Granny

Dear Family,
It seems like it was just May 1st, now already it is June and time is flying so quickly.  We have been traveling a lot lately and I think I’m a little tired of it but we get to stay close to home this week so we are happy.  We were actually supposed to go back up to Francistown for an District Conference with Pres. And Sister Bricknell as the Visiting Authorities but we are needed in one of our Branches, Molepolole, as they are having their Branch Conference and the Stake President asks us to attend those.  We told the Riser’s we couldn’t come up their Conference and then we found out that Bricknell’s aren’t able to attend either so we aren’t feeling quite so bad about missing their conference.  We were in Joburg yesterday to the temple with our YSA couple and we ran in to President Bricknell at the Mission Office and it was great to have 5 minutes to talk to him and hug each other and then we were on our way. 
Let me tell you a little bit about our couple, Tabego (Tabo for short) and Gorata (said Horata, like Gaborone with an “H”) are 24 and 23; he has been a member for several years and served a mission in Uganda and she has been a member for 3 years.  She is the only member in her family and his mom and an older sister and a younger brother are all members.  Tabo and Gorata meet at the Church a couple of years ago and have been dating some for the past few months.  They wanted to get married but couldn’t pay the Labola.  Bishop Matswagothata has been talking with them together with their parents and both parents thought they shouldn’t get married until he could pay the Labola, but they are taking a stand and trying to do things the Lord’s way so they braved it and went against both families and decided to just get married with no reception, no wedding gifts, a borrowed dress, no traditional wedding feast and no celebration at all.  They were married at the District Commissioners (like a judge), then took a Taxi to the church house where Bishop Matswagothata married them in the chapel with a few YSA friends and his mom and Sister and husband and a few other Ward members that came to wish them well.  Gorata asked me to bring some cookies and there was punch in paper cartons served in the Relief Society room on a table with a wrinkled table cloth, no flowers, no decorations, but lots of pictures and hugs and they signed all of their legal documents and we put them in the car and headed for the temple.  They were suppose to get their documents from the District Commissioner at 9 O’clock that morning, but there were 10 couples there to be married and because they were going to the church to be married, he told them they had to wait until he married all the others before he would sign their documents.  We were at the church at 8:45 anxious to head to JoBurg, Tabo and Gorata arrived at 12:15 and they were married and out the door of the church by about  l O’clock.  It took about an hour to get to and through the border and we were suppose to have them to the temple by 3:30 (not possible) Bishop called and changed their appointment to 5:30 which was the last available time so needless to say, Dad drove a bit over the speed limit all the way there and we were blessed by our GPS that took us straight to the temple despite 5 O’clock Downtown JoBurg traffic (miracle and many tender mercies) and we arrived at 5:25.  I think we hit every green light on the way and only came really close to smashing into the back of one car.  So we felt blessed and our evening session was wonderful.  Dad and I were their escorts and it was really wonderful to get to go to the Brides room and the Grooms room and hear the wonderful talk about the blessings of the temple, how to take care of our garments, and the privilege of being in the temple. 
Dad and I spent the night at the extra missionary flat in Joburg and our new couple spent the night in Patron Housing at the temple.  I made sandwiches for us to eat as we traveled and gave them Banana Bread, fruit, and some other goodies for them a lunch box as there is nothing to buy there at the temple housing.  We got through the temple so late, that we couldn’t even take them out to eat, so we just dropped them off and we went to our flat for the night.  Tabo’s mom and Sister and husband were coming to the temple for the sealing, but they had trouble at the border so they called and asked us to move their sealing from 11:00 to 1:00 which we were able to do and it’s a good thing because they just barely made it for the sealing at 1:00.  The sealing was beautiful and this sweet couple is so in love and truly know they have done things the right way, despite the opposition from their families.  Even Tabo’s mother (who is a member) is against the way they did things because her parents aren’t members and they are saying that Tabo shamed them all because he didn’t “bring anything to the table” for them to go negotiate with her family for the price of their daughter.  Tabo’s grandparents told him they are ashamed of him for not paying the price for his bride and both families have said they will never consider them married.  However, they are sealed for Time and Eternity in the House of the Lord and we all know how much that means.  Gorata cried and cried to me and said she was so happy and that she knows they did it the right way and that she knows she is a Daughter of God and that she has value even if her family considers that she is worthless since she hasn’t been bought.
After the session, we went out on the temple grounds and Dad took some wonderful pictures of their beautiful day in the temple.  Tabo’s mom and Sister and her husband were very supportive that day and it was nice to have them there.  I think his mom is just being bullied by her parents; she has to be happy that they were married in the temple as she is a great member and Primary President in one of our wards here. 
After the pictures, we jumped back into our car and headed back to Botswana.  We did stop with Tabo and Gorata and bought them a McDonald’s hamburger (rare treat because we don’t have McDonald’s in Botswana) and then we drove like crazy to get home.  We took them to their humble little house they have just rented.  We drove through Shanty Town and followed directions to their place and when we pulled up to the house, we said “Is this your place?” and they said “no” there’s a little house behind that is ours.  We made some really positive comments about their home being their Castle and always loving and taking care of each other and then we pulled away and came home.  I think dad and I both wished we could rent them our servant’s quarters that are behind our house; but we can’t.  I did tell Gorata to be careful and not walk in that neighborhood alone “EVER” and hopefully she will take my advice. 
Hopefully I will never forget all the things I’m learning here in Africa.  We are so blessed in America and especially as Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Hopefully I will remember how blessed I am for being born into the church and for being born into the family I have who have taught me all about my Heavenly Father and about His plan for me.  Hopefully I will remember all of the blessings I have that begin with being married for Time and Eternity to a worthy and wonderful and patient Husband; for being blessed to be the Mother of 8 beautiful and amazing and faithful children who have chosen delightful and faithful spouses and have been sealed in the Holy Temple of God.  How can I ever forget any one of the wonderful 36 grandchildren that I have been blessed with; each of whom truly know who they are and are living lives worthy to be called His Sons’s and Daughters and some of whom are now choosing their Eternal Companions and will (and have already) bless us with more posterity and blessings.  I love your Father; he makes my life wonderful and he is so good to me.  Marrying him was the best decision I have ever made and I am eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with the privilege of being his Eternal Companion.  I am so thankful for each of you kids; thank you for ALL you do for Dad and I and for all of your love and support as we serve these missions.  We have learned so much out here and we hope that we can share our knowledge with you so it can make your lives even better and happier.  We are so blessed as a family and our biggest blessing is that we have each other “For Eternity”.  LET THERE BE NO EMPTY SEATS IN OUR HEAVENLY HOME.”   Take good care of each other for us.  We will work especially hard because of you!!!


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