Johannesburg, South Africa
We just returned from a week in Johannesburg attending a Mission President Seminar for the eleven missions in our area which includes about thirty countries. We had great sessions conducted by our Area Presidency consisting of Elders Renlund, Soares, and Cook. The sessions took three and a half days. The rest of the time we enjoyed the wonderful company of the mission presidents, area presidency and their wives. We laughed a lot and traded stories that only African mission president couples would fully appreciate. There were some remarkable stories, many humorous, and some that made us think we are happy to be serving in the Madagascar Mission. The church is growing very quickly in many parts of this area and the challenge is to slow the growth down to allow the church units to mature some and assimilate the increase. Many of the missions sometimes face security environments that are not exactly as depicted in the "missions for couples" brochure. The areas of Johannesburg we visited were delightful, upscale and interesting. We spent some time in the largest and nicest shopping mall we have ever seen with every store one can imagine. Coming "out of the bush", the seminar time is a welcome visit to civilization for many of the mission presidents. We are fortunate to have the islands that we visit on a regular basis so the need for civilization, for us, is not as great. Still, we stocked up on items not available elsewhere in the extra suitcase that we brought and we are set for a while.
We have received news of four and possibly five new couples coming to our mission. This is a big deal for us. We are thrilled to have the additional help. Even with the new changes in the missionary age qualifications, we will not be increasing very much our compliment of younger missionaries for now.
After a day at home to do laundry, tomorrow we are off to Reunion Island for a week.