Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

Dear Family and Friends, We hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving week. We had so much going on that it will be just the highlights this week or it will be a book.  Here is one of
the pictures we took on our way to the Windhoek airport, yes it was 5:30 a.m. The Smith’s and Richins are going to Cape Town to be with the other senior missionaries for Thanksgiving, a little R&R and missionary training.

Walking to our plane you will notice the Airbus in front is headed to Frankfurt. Windhoek was established by German’s many years ago. We were in the airport for about 2 hours because a manual wasn’t on the plane. In the mean time the baggage guys must have had time to kill because when we arrived in Cape Town and were going through our luggage  Elder Richins clothes were all messed up, and if you know Elder Richins at all, you will know that everything is folded and neatly packed. The scariest part was that Sister Smith’s make up was noticably gone through and my curlers were in her bag. The bags are going to be locked from now on.

We left Windhoek with temperatures in the 90’s and spent the week enjoying beautiful Ventura
weather the 70’s.


Elder Richins getting a much needed haircut from Sister Fowers. He is still looking for a barber in Windhoek. Sister Fowers often will cut 10 heads of hair when there is a Zone conference. The Elders love anything “free”. So they can spend their small allowance on other things, like food.

While the Cape Town Mission presidency is having their executive meeting, the wives are taking care of other business. We are putting the final touches on the mission Christmas party, preparing for branch conferences next year, and looking at the new curriculum for the Young Men and Young Women. In order on the couch, left to right, Sister Fowers, her husband is the 1st counselor, Sister Wood, President Wood’s wife who wears many hats, Sister Smith, her husband is the 2nd counselor, and Sister Richins her husband is the executive secretary (Another new hat for Elder Richins to wear).

Our Granddaughter Emily wanted to see what the Namibia money looked like. The Gold coin is $1 and worth about 11 cents, the silver is worth nothing in US money. $10 = $1.13US, $20= $2.25US, $50=$5.63US, $100=$11.26US. Now when I go shopping, which is a rare occasion, I don’t buy anything because when they say it costs $100, all that goes through my head is $100 US dollars. So Elder Richins has saved lots of money. The only time I don’t look at prices is when I go grocery shopping.

The Back of the Namibia money.

Wednesday morning preparing for the Thanksgiving feast, Sister Fowers and Sister Smith are preparing the dressing, and Sister Woods is making a cheese cake. I made my orange roll dough and it is in the frig.

After lunch on Wednesday all the senior couples arrived. There are 12 couples all together. This is the
R&R afternoon. We spent the afternoon at the Kirstenbosch botanical garden. Here are a very few of
the 100 pictures I took.

 Above is a Silver Tree that is only found in Cape Town South Africa. It truly glistens like silver.

 One variety of the Protea family which is the
National flower of South Africa. This plant is called the Pin Cushion

 Merry Christmas, I don’t know the name of
this flower but it looked like snowflakes to me, which is the closest we will get to snow around these

My butterfly photo

 Can you see the owl in the tree, above Elder Richins head?

We sat down to enjoy the view and as we were enjoying Table Mountain everyone was pointing up. As we looked we saw this owl right above Elder Richins head. Most of the time owls just blend into the tree trunks, there were 3 of them in 3 different trees.

This is the closest I have ever come to this bird. They have a loud honk and usually stay far away from people but since these are garden ducks they are used to people and often get feed. I think the eyes of so many of the birds are amazing.

A pigeon enjoying some berries

After we enjoyed the gardens we went out to dinner in the Mall. Everything went just great until we
were leaving with the Robert’s. As we prepared to exit the mall Elder Robert’s went to the pay station
to pay for parking when he put the ticket into the pay station the machine said that his ticket wasn’t
valid. We decided to try and exit after a another car, but just as we got to the cross bar it closed right in
front of us. We went back to the ticket bay and there was a HELP button. Brother Roberts started talking to the person on the other end with no success. The guy said we would have to
pay $40 instead of $6. Elder Roberts wouldn’t go for that at all. He pushed the button again and the guy
on the other end just ignored him. We decided we needed to find the Kiosk that housed security. As we
were wandering around the parking lot Elder Roberts noticed the entrance that they had entered from
so he went and tried to pay again. SUCCESS, I personally wondered what we were going to do all night if we couldn’t get out.

THANKSGIVING MORNING I couldn’t sleep. I was so worried about getting the orange rolls rolled out and into the pans to cook. So at about 6 I got up to take care of the task. We are staying with the
Roberts in their rented flat. They have just moved in and so we had to improvise. I brought the muffin
tins from the mission home. Thank heavens I had already made the bread dough. There wasn’t a bowl
big enjoy to prepare the dough in. I found a really weird grater for the orange zest and there was NO
rolling pin.

So I used
a glass for my rolling pin. It took twice as long to roll out the dough. I’m just grateful I had the time.
It is good that the mission home is well equipped. Otherwise we might have had to forgo the Orange Rolls. I think everyone enjoyed them though.

For 24 people we had 5 turkeys, of course they were about 8 pounds each and came from Brazil. They
were only $150 Nam dollars each. When you realize that is $16.89 each it isn’t as bad, but when you see the price sticker it really looks way expensive.  It tasted like turkey and
was really yummy. We had all the leftovers on Friday, so we got to enjoy Thanksgiving twice.

In the afternoon
we went to enjoy another park. Her are Elder Smith and Sister Wood preparing to take pictures of
the group. Does this look familiar, putting the timer on and running to be in the picture? We got a
professional picture as a guy was coming by and he sent it via email to Sister Wood.

Thanksgiving night we got
together to enjoy a night of giving Thanks. I hope all of you took the time during Thanksgiving to stop
and reflect on all your many blessings. Through each of our disappointments, we can always find many
things to be grateful for. Elder Richins and I are grateful to each one of you for sharing this mission with us. We love your comments, love and moral support. Each of you are a great blessing in our lives.

Notice the wonderful electrical wire system in the townships. It is amazing they don’t have more fires.

Notice the satellite dish?

We stayed
with the Roberts in Sunset West. They live in a high rise on the Indian Ocean. I will keep this picture to
enjoy the sunset when I get tired of the desert sand .

Friday we enjoyed a day of meetings and hearing everyone share what they have come to know as
their “errand” on their mission. Each of us as missionary couples come to find out we were sent here for
special purposes that become evident as we rely on the Lord’s direction.

Saturday we were up early, oh about 4 and left for home, Windhoek, Namibia. We were home for
about 3 hours and then were off to YSA activity in the park. The YSA had a great time playing games and eating what I thought looked like a luau, they had no idea what I was talking about. Do you think it looks like a luau?

YSA group.

I was shocked to see this guy in the park, and he wasn’t the only one. All that I could see happening in
the park was our activity and about 10 weddings, coming and going to take pictures.  these are the 1st guns I have seen in Namibia so I don’t think this is a common sight. No one seemed to take a second look at him as everyone carried on like he wasn’t there.

The Young Men and the Young Women had a wonderful gala evening , with the girls dressed up in their
best and the boys also. They started the evening by walking down the red carpet.  Elretha walking down the red carpet, she is 17 and was just made a branch missionary. She has also been a member for about 4 months, she is awesome! Don’t laugh, I thought it was quite ingenious.

We love you all and appreciate each of you. Enjoy a wonderful holiday season.

Lynn and Miriam, mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, sister, brother, friend, daughter.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dear Family,  I never get tired of taking pictures of the people in the back of trucks.  I have been programed to believe that it is a problem, and there are so many accidents on the road.  These boys would have been thrown far in an accident. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Always moving forward

Dear Family and Friends,  Welcome to Namibia.  I would guess that most of you have never heard of Namibia.  It isn't on most peoples destination lists unless you like to hunt big game or visit dunes.  I reminds me a lot of Arizona, though they have my favorite cactus which I can't spell at this moment.  We are in the beginning of summer and are "enjoying" temperatures in the upper 80's and low 90's.  We have our fans and a small box air conditioner in the living room.  We must thank the Smith's who are going home in March for giving up this flat.  They have moved into one of the Elder's flats for 4 months.  At the moment we have no young elders in Namibia, the government doesn't want to give them visa's.  We hope that we will be staying also, Elder Richins hasn't obtained his visa and he has two weeks to obtain it.  There is someone in the Public Affairs committee that  rejects all of our applications.  A few years ago there was a small group that came in here and got a lot of the people interested in their church, had them pay a lot of money and then left the country with it.  It is hard to convince them that all we want to do is share our message.  It is up to the individual to make the decision to join.  One of the excuses is that these young men are coming in to take the jobs of the people in the country.  It doesn't seem to matter that we are not doing that, we come at our own expense, we bring in money, we don't take it out.  If you are so inclined we would love for you to add your prayers that we can get Elder Richins visa, and also that the young elders can come in also.

Now to what we have been doing for the past week.  Today was a awesome day at church.  It was the Primary children's turn to do the program in our sacrament meeting.  For those of you who have never been involved or listened to a sacrament meeting program, I highly recommend it.  The little ones between 3 and 12 prepare music and little parts to say.  The theme this year was CHOOSE THE RIGHT, each month they learn a new song and then each child prepares a short part to say.  Most of the children had their parts memorized and they stood up and would say (for example  , Dear Brothers and Sisters my name is Sam, I can choose the right by being kind to my family and obeying my mother and father, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
I took these pictures after the program in the primary room.  The group was so large and the room so small I had to take two pictures.  The picture includes the children and the teachers.

Windhoek Branch Primary children and teachers
Last weekend we were in Swakopmund.  It is a seaside down with a German presents.  We went from 80-90 degrees to 60 degrees.  I was grateful I had a light jacket.  We met with 2 couples and their children.  We call it a group, they are meeting in the Noble home but we renting space in new business section, it is being made into a church setting with a chapel, classrooms, kitchen, clerks office and branch president's office.  So we will be going to Swakopmund in December to buy TV, frig and things like that.  Everything else will be shipped from Salt Lake. We hope to have an open house in January.

The Hercules and Nobles families, Brother Smith and the Richins
The church is renting the bottom floor of this building

We visited with several members that live in the area besides the Nobles and Hercules.  One of the things that amazes me is how often the families are split apart because of jobs.  One sister lives in Swakopmund, she has a very good job with public relations in the health field, her husdand lives in Windhoek and he is an engineer.  Another young mother lives in Walvis Bay which is south of here and her mother is raising her daughter in Windhoek. It is very common for the grandmother's to take the kids and raise them.  The Young Men's president is working here and his family, wife and 3 children are living in Zimbabwe.

So you don't think we spend all of our time at the church here are a few pictures of our adventures to, at and from Swakopmund.

A ship wreck off the Atlantic coast
 We enjoyed walking around Swakopmund.  It is relatively a small town, I would say smaller than Carpenteria.

Does anything look out of place in this photo? 

This "little" guy flew on my back while I was sitting on the pier.  Just to let you know I didn't panic.
On the way home Sister Smith saw a sign directing people to the 2nd largest sand dune in the world (I think) So we went off the main two lane highway and on a roller coaster road that was often covered with a dust of sand.  It was only 11 kilometers, which seemed like forever when you had huge semi trucks constantly coming out you.
Please stay on our side of the road!!!
When we got to the #7 dune Elder Smith got out of the car, when to the nearest table took of his shoes and socks and started climbing to the top.  He is very strong, very big and very fit.  He said that going up the sand was hot on the top but if you burrowed down it was cool, so he stopped often to cool off his feet.  I only went up a few yards, it really was to hot to climb and I wasn't dressed for the occasion.
 Enough for today,   Have a great week.
Love, Elder and Sister Richins

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Welcome to Namibia

October 21-28, 2012

We arrived in Namibia at dusk.  The sky was beautiful.  It reminds me  of Arizona.  The weather is very  warm right now , in the 90's each day but cools down at night.  The mornings are wondferful.  they are just starting their rainy season which lasts until about April.  I went out to water the plants on Saturday and it started raining.  Not enough to even get me wet, so I just kept watering.

This picture was taken on our way to Windhoek.  The Smith's who picked us up said that they would often see giraffe and baboons along the side of the road, but not tonight.  We did see baboons the next day as we were traveling down the freeway, but I didn;t have my camera ready.

Our first impressions have been that we are back in California except most of the people are from somewhere in Africa.  Kenya, Angola, Zimbabwe ect.  There is the language of Afrikaans  but most everyone speaks English.  We are constantly asking people what their last name is.  They can tell you but they usually just go by first names.  Looking at the branch membership list is difficult because you are looking for 1st names because no one will give you their last name,  which is easier to find because those are  alphabetized. The little ones are precious as you can see in this picture.  These kids are about 18 months to 3 years old. 

This was a short one because of internet challenges.  Please see November 3rd posting.
Sister Richins

I will finish tomorrow this connection is too slow to night.  Sister Richins
October 21-28, 2012.

More from Namibia

Hi everyone,  So sorry that the last posting was so short.   Internet problems last week.
This tree is just around the corner from the Windhoek chapel

Up close the flowers look pink.
Life as gotten much busier.  Thank heavens the Smith's are here until the end of January.   All of our young missionaryies