So You Want Pictures – Africa

AmanzimtotiI served eighteen months  in the Durban South Africa Mission.  The first ten months were in Amanzimtoti. We really wanted to go to Nauvoo, Illinois but received a call from Salt Lake saying the need was really great in small branches. They asked how we felt about going to Germany, so, we finally said, “Where ever Heavenly Father wants us.”

I received a call at work telling me we were called to the Durban South Africa Mission.” I listened for a bit and then said, “Now tell me, where are we really going?” I couldn’t believe we were going to Africa. 🙂

We received a letter from Celia Shock, our bishops wife asking, “What do you see in Africa?”
From the veranda of our apartment in Amanzimtoti we see the Indian Ocean. We see the sun rise and set over the Indian Ocean.

We see ships that come and anchor at three different oil terminals where they unload oil, there is an oil refinery nearby.Ships 2

Often we see whales and dolphins splashing through the waves.

MonkeysWe see lots of little monkeys. Walking along the promenade one day we saw this cute little family of monkeys.

On one of our early morning walks I took the camera in case we saw something interesting. I was trying to hide the camera because we discovered we were being stalked by a young Black man wearing a light jacket. My husband thought the young man had a gun inside his coat pocket. MonkeysJust as we were about to cross the street this little family of monkeys came out of some brush. They sat there looking at us as if to say, “Okay, go ahead and take our picture.” They’re amazing. They look both ways before crossing streets.

Back to the young Black man. We were trying to see if we could lose him. We are now on the opposite side of the street. When we would stop, he would stop. When we walked briskly so would he. Finally, we see a security guard in front of a fruit/vegetable business which was closed. He was an Afrikaner (White man). We stopped to talk to him. As we looked across the street the young Black man sat down on a guardrail watching us. We related our concerns to the security guard and asked if he had a cell phone to call the police. We thanked him and proceeded on our way. The young Black man got up and began following us again. As we crossed the street in front of our apartment a police cruiser pulled up and the officer asked if we were alright. We told him about our experience. They could see the young Black man still hanging back. They informed us they would check this out. We were told you could be killed for a cell phone. We have lots of stories about crime and fear living in South Africa.

We see lots of people fishing with all their fishing gear, men, women, and children. We see Afrikaners exercising, biking, walking, running.

Carrying heavy load on head
We see Black ladies who carry tremendous loads on their heads.

High Rise

We see lots of high rise apartment buildings (the wind was very strong the day this picture was taken) and some beautiful old Dutch estates, lots of many different varieties blooming trees and shrubbery. Something is always in bloom.

We see avocado trees, the fruit is so big and delicious. Mangos are in season, you should see how huge they are. I am allergic to this heavenly fruit.Monkey visiting mission home
Monkey visiting mission home

We received a letter from the office couple serving in South Africa which informed us about crime there. “Be vigilant and careful at all times. There are gangs and people who make their living stealing. Today when we passed a small park we saw 5 people asleep on the grass. The building guard said they rob by night and sleep in the park during the day.

“Every window has burglar bars on it, also doors have a burglary door. Walls surround the properties with security buzzers for entry, this is for apartments. The cars have many anti-theft devices on them. Cases were hijacked at gunpoint. Car windows are broken out even when you might be in the car. In S.A. a car is stolen every 5 minutes. Be very aware of your surroundings.”

We met and fed many good and fun young elders while serving in S.A. I received these letters from Elder Nkosi (Native African) and his companion Elder Douglas from the States:

Sister Grace
I just wished every mother a Happy Mother’s Day at Church and never said anything to you, well I wanted to say more to you so I didn’t want to make other mother’s feel like I don’t appreciate them. But well, all in all, I really wish you a Happy Mother’s Day and to thank you for so much you do for us, thank you for making sure that I gain a bit of weight. Thank you for your wonderful personality. I never heard you raise your voice, you are one hard not to love, you are quick to understand and forgive. I am really jealous of your children because they have such a wonderful mom. Oohh I love you Sister Grace Newey
(He drew stick figures of a family with he and Elder Douglas as our kids) 🙂
We are happy because you are around.
Happy Mother’s Day!
From Elder Nkosi

Dear Sister Grace Newey
She who can paint a masterpiece, or who can write a book that will influence millions, deserves the admiration and plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose immortal souls will exert an influence throughout the ages long after paintings shall have faded and books and statues shall have decayed or have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God. ___David O’ McKay

Happy Mother’s Day, Sister Grace Newey!
From, Elder Douglas

Our first Couples Conference was in Beautiful Margate, South Africa.

Our Second Couples Conference was held at Tembe Elephant Lodge

Our third night at Tembe the Traditional Zulu dancers entertained us around the campfire.

Zulu Dancers Performing1
Going on a Safari

We saw a herd of Elephants in front of us. The driver stopped and one huge Elephant started coming to investigate us. The driver in a hushed voice said, “Be quiet and still.” He also told us the warning signs an elephant will do before attacking.
Warning Signs:

1.Foot rocking/swinging one foot up and down (often associated with kicking up dust). This is not a warning sign when the elephant is doing it to uproot vegetation or feeding.
2. Holding the ears out for a prolonged period of time i.e. for longer than the usual stead flapping of the ears, which is how elephants control their temperature. The elephant holds his ears out and still to warn you of its superior size.
3. Shaking the head – normally just one or two shakes and then the elephant moves off.
4. Tail held out stiffly at 90°.
5. Trumpeting.

Sometimes they skip the warning part and it can turn ugly quickly. Wild animals are unpredictable and a force to be reckoned with.Elephant 1

Elephant 4The Elephant was almost touching the vehicle, standing looking at us. Then he walked around the vehicle facing the backchecking all of us out.










I love trees. This tree was in Amanzimtoti. The two little Afrikaner boys were members of the branch there in Toti.

dup grace
The two little boys who were standing under the beautiful tree are here with their Mum and Sister Grace.
Two Vikings Fish & Chips We enjoyed delicious Fish & Chips at Two Vikings and so did the Elders.

One more Couples Conference before being transferred four hours inland to Newcastle, South Africa.
Couples Conference: Drakensberg.
We were privileged to watch the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir perform, a real treat.

We stayed at The Nest
The Nest Road Sign

Welcome to the Nest

Grace little hut
Our Little Hut

Grace hut

Sister Brock, Mission President's Wife.

Sister Brock, Mission President’s Wife.

Inside little hut Inside Little Hut.

Ready to eat
Senior Missionary Couples enjoying each other over dinner.

Elder Golden playing lawn bowl.

Elder Golden playing lawn bowl.

Elder Christoffel Golden Area Authority Seventy for Africa Southeast Area.

Elder Christoffel Golden Area Authority Seventy for Africa Southeast Area.

A beautiful talk by Elder Christoffel Golden.
South African Durban Mission Zone Conference

Presiding – Elder Richard G. Scott
Quote: “Think of the long view of life, not just what’s going to happen today or tomorrow. Don’t give up what you most want in life for something you think you want now.”

South African Durban Mission Conference with Elder Richard G. Scott.

South African Durban Mission Conference with Elder Richard G. Scott.

We were privileged to sit at the feet of this good man during several days of meetings. He is a very soft-spoken man. He always talks so lovingly of his dear wife Jeanene, who passed away May 1995. I think you will enjoy this talk by Richard G. Scott.

Elders helping with the move from Amanzimtoti to Newcastle.

Elders helping us move from Amanzimtoti to Newcastle.

Elders helping us move from Amanzimtoti to Newcastle.

Good job Elder.

Good job Elder.

Map of Newcastle

Map of Newcastle

Grace sporting outfit lady from Toti made for her.

Grace sporting outfit lady from Toti made for her.

Lady in the white dress was visiting us from Amanzimtoti. She made the outfit Grace is wearing. The lady in red was her cousin from Johannesburg.
We were Employment Specialist in Newcastle and the surrounding area.

The story of Grace lost in South Africa, alone and with no cell phone. To be continued.



  1. Philip Siu

    Stumbled across this, good to read your thoughts on the mission.

    Thank you for always being so kind to us.

    Former Elder Siu

    • Wow! What a surprise. Isn’t the Internet amazing?! Hope your parents are well and happy.
      I suppose you are married and have some little Siu’s. 🙂

      Thanks for the contact.

      • Philip Siu

        Married last October but no children yet. We are all well. Hope things are going well for you.

      • Good morning Elder Siu, I just now saw your comment. I am so sorry it was overlooked. Congratulations on your marriage. 2 Ingredients For A Successful Marriage: A Cookie & A Kiss. __Boyd K Packer

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