Dorothy and Raymond wanted me to experience an all-black South African ward, so we drove 45 minutes to attend the Kwanobuhle First Ward in the township of Kwanobuhle. The townships look just like I used to see on the news when the world was trying to get the government here to get rid of apartheid: small government housing crammed together in fields and on hillsides, with garbage everywhere, and large areas with no electricity or running water. The township where we went to church wasn’t too bad; the people do try to keep their little homes cleaned up somewhat.
We arrived early in case Dorothy and Raymond needed to talk with any of their PEF students, so we had plenty of time to look around. It’s a pretty nice little building, and two wards attend there. Dorothy and I were the only two white sisters; Raymond and two young Elders were the only white men. These people love Elder and Sister Miller (although Raymond insisted it’s just Dorothy), and they welcomed me with open arms—literally. They love to hug! The sisters kept telling me how much they love Sister Miller because she is always happy and laughing. Some even told me they think she’s a little crazy!
It was Fast & Testimony meeting today, and it was very touching to hear these humble people tell how much they love the gospel. English is the official language here, but many of the black members speak Xhosa (pronounced sort of like “cosa” in Spanish) and they’ll just start using that instead of English and then switch back and forth. So I didn’t understand much of what was said, but I could tell they were sincere. One young man, probably in his mid-20s, told of how he missed his wife but knew that she was okay and that she would want him to do a good job of taking care of their baby and that he knew they would be together again someday. Dorothy told me that his wife had recently died suddenly of unknown causes, leaving him to raise their baby. That just brought me to tears, and I was overwhelmed with the desire to help. So after Sacrament Meeting I got out all the South African money I had left in my wallet, introduced myself to this young man, and pressed my small offering into his hand. It was only about $8, and I wish it had been so much more, and he was so sweet and appreciative.
To celebrate my last night here with Dorothy and Raymond, we played cards again! It’s not that we can’t think of anything else to do, it’s just that we love playing Hand & Foot, Play Nine, and Shanghai. Raymond again beat us both at Hand & Foot (even though he complains that he never wins—hah!). Then we played Shanghai again. And the weirdest thing happened. On the last round. The one that’s impossible. Where you are only dealt 11 cards but need a minimum of 12 to “go out” with three runs. Yes, the one where I did it on Friday. It happened again tonight! Only this time it was absolutely perfect—not a single joker! And I got a picture to prove it. Dorothy and Raymond were both aghast, and I could hardly believe my eyes! A perfect end to a fabulous week in South Africa with Dorothy and Raymond. Thanks so much, Elder and Sister Miller!