So much to write, I'm going to forget half of it again.
To start out with, we had a terrible week. Our entire zone did terrible in fact. It was a school holiday, people were drunk, everyone was out of town. Had a whopping 15ish lessons. We are dropping 75% of the people we teach because they're all fairly fong kong. The APs (Assistants to the President) are going on exchange with us today... that won't look very good, but it's alright. The fact is that in the year previous this area had 2 baptisms and since I've been here we have had 5, and they are all fully understanding of the gospel which is even more amazing. We have many many hours of tracting in our future, I'm almost hoping I get hit by a taxi haha. I hate tracting. Oh well, guess its just time to put my shoulder to the wheel.
Last week Saturday was quite interesting. Everyone was drunk, we were sitting across from a tavern waiting for an investigator, when a fight broke out. Pretty epic. One guy destroyed another, and then they both almost got ran over by cars. The cops showed up, but all they did was buy a beer and leave.
Yesterday may just have been the best day that ever existed, anywhere, at anytime. A member took us to Kruger National Park. For free. He paid for food, cold drink, entry fee, lunch, dinner, petrol, and a car rental. Brother Sekhula is amazing haha, he is 35ish and a self made man. He is probably the wealthiest man I've met to date, and he is also the most generous. So we left the flat at 4:30, it was pitch black and cold. We had a 2 1/2 hour drive to one of the entry gates. Just before going in we stopped at a garage and all six of us missionaries were talking about what we wanted to buy. He walks up and asks, "are you holding a zone conference or something?" We laughed and then he says "get stuff, today our budget is huge." That took us all back, that's when we realized he was paying for everything haha.
Elders -me, Johnson, Rueckert, Bro. Sekhula, Davis, Brasher, Haynes
So we finally got into the park. We would see a giraffe or zebra here or there, but then we found it - a full grown bull elephant feasting on Mopani trees! TV, movies, and American zoos do this animal no justice. They are MASSIVE.
After viewing him for a time we moved on. We saw all sorts of stuff, elephants, zebra, impala, waterbuck etc.
zebras snuggle... ha
Then things got real. We looked out into the river, and what did we see? Crocodiles feasting on a zebra that they had just dragged into the river. It was crazy to watch, sad, but amazing at the same time. Crocs are a violent animal. I tried to get video, but it just didn't happen.
crockie mate, its eating a zebra
After we watched it, we drove to another place where we could get out. (You have to stay in the car unless marked due to lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and the like). Anyways, we got out on a bridge that was marked safe, and we look down in the water and there were hippos! They are fat as flip. After some more viewing we moved down the river and saw some hippos mating, that was something.
After moving on quite quickly we came across some more elephants and Bro. Sekhula had a great idea! He looks at it, then at us, and says, "hmm, well.... let's make this thing mad." That we did. You may recall a few weeks back we chased rhinos - that was a bad idea. Angering an elephant? Well, that's a very bad idea. After a time he tried to spray us with his trunk, then charged us.... that was terrifying.
this is the one we made angry....
However I have marked three things off my bucket list!
Chase rhinos (check)
Anger an elephant (check)
Wet pants while being attacked by elephant (check)
Each becomes increasingly unfortunate as you go down the list. Any-who, after we left the elephant we kept going. And going. And going. Eventually we got out and we were 3ks from the border with Zimbabwe and 20 from Mozambique. We were very far from home. The day was amazing, it's something else to see all these animals in the wild. Oh yeah, so we saw lots of baby things. Zebra, elephants, impala, but nothing compares to a baby monkey. It literally could have fit in the palm of my hand. I wanted it. Also! We took a turtle for a ride... not sure why, but we did. I have now seen all of the big 5 accept for a leopard.
The country side in Kruger is amazing. They literally just took a chunk of wilderness and put a fence around it to keep (well, to try to keep) poachers out.
We left before sunrise and got back after sunset
Last Friday we got back to the flat to find that all of our stuff was turned upside down, moved around, and hidden. The Zone Leaders broke into our flat and screwed will all our stuff. The only good that came from it was they left a fish in my water bottle. We decided to keep it, and put it in our bath tub. For a few days he flourished, he was the pride and joy of the flat, and we gave him the name of Marlin. He was such a happy little fish, but unfortunately when we returned from Kruger he had gone belly up. Though it broke our hearts to see him go we flushed him and moved on. I miss watching him swim around as I take my morning pee.
We don't have General Conference yet, and we won't for three weeks. It did give us a chance to have testimony meeting... it began with poor conducting and some things that would have been better not said and it ended nearly 2 hours later. In that time only 7 people shared testimony... accept there was no testimony about it. It was all stories and gratitude and this person is doing this and I'm not so sure about that. It was everything it shouldn't have been. By the end I was on the verge of stabbing myself in the throat with a pen. Sundays are nerve-wracking here - all we do is worry, what will the members say this week? Who is going to be offended? It sucks.
A few weeks back I had it in my mind pretty darn firm that I wanted to be a farmer, but after yesterday at Kruger talking to Bro. Sekhula, I'm not so sure anymore. He owns a engineering firm and well, I may just have to switch teams. Everything he said he does sounded like tons of fun. May just have to do that.
Two weeks ago I lost my debit card, so Thursday I canceled it. I got to call Manson! It was weird to call home and not talk to family. Though it was nice to be reminded of what it's like in a small town. All I had to do was tell her my first name and she took care of the rest, haha. Gotta love it.
Life is pretty swell, and it appears that I'm approaching my 19th year of life. It really weird how you don't remember most of what's happened. I don't really like it. For my birthday we are not really doing anything, just tracting. Yippie! Hope all is well back home, can't wait to be there.
Elder Kelly McClellan