Friday, February 6, 2015

5 February 2015

As we have had time, we have tried to see the sights around Cape Town. The attractions are numerous and one could spend a couple of weeks full time seeing them and still come up short of seeing everything worthwhile. Trying to capture the sights on camera does not do them justice; especially with the pocket sized one we brought with us. However, it does a good job of gathering in the broad scope scenic view and that is what we hope you will appreciate as you view the collection of snaps here.

The South African Old Glory

Topographic relief map of Cape Town area and Cape of Good Hope peninsula - No, the man on the right is not Harrison Ford. Joining Angie and I is Paul and Kathy Wheeler.

Cape Town from the cable car

The easy way up and down Table Mtn
You have heard of snow avalanches - these are cloud avalanches

Lions Head Peak and Signal Mtn from cable car

Wind sailing from Lion's Head peak
Downtown Cape Town

Downtown Cape Town
Downtown Cape Town
Cape Town - tourist accommodations

Cape Town - the wharf area

Cape Town - the wharf area
the Wharf's Ferris Wheel
Wharf area from Ferris wheel
Wharf view from Ferris wheel - Cape Town
Cape Town wharf area from Ferris Wheel
Cape Town wharf area from Ferris Wheel
Tour cruise boats - Cape Town
Pirate tour boat
University yacht for oceanic studies 
Green Market Square - Cape Town's answer to tourist's search for African crafts

I will sure be glad when this day is over
Stone art at the wharf 


Robben Island is an island located approximately 4 miles west of Cape Town, South Africa. The name is Dutch for "seal island" and is 2 square miles in size.

The island is internationally known for the fact that Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela  was imprisonbed there for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid.

Robben Island has been used as a prison for political prisoners and convicted criminals from 1961 until is was closed in 1996. the island was also used as a leper colony beginning in 1845. today the island is a popular tourist attraction.

Welcome to political asylum - Really?
The message behind their rebellion
Robbens Island political prisoners  
Busting rock, a prisoner's pass time

Nelson Mandela's cell & only possessions at prison

Recreation Area

World War I light house on Robbens Island. The lighthouse build in 1864, located on the highest point on the island, still serves to warn ships of the rocks that surround the island and have caused the wreck of many ships

Leprosy grave yard on Robbens Island. 

             More miscellaneous pictures:
The only thing I didn't get was the kitchen sink (cause there wasn't one)
New Years day. Everyone have your seat belts fastened?    
"I just hope he does not slam on the brakes!!"
Come on Mom, let's go

This missionary wanted a hug - not sure it was this kind he wanted.
Missionary's send off - good-byes are never fun
Cape Town, South Africa - Loaded and ready to go home after 18 months
On arrival home - greetings, greetings everywhere.

                                                                       Thank you

As a closing note, we want each of you to know we are unable to put in words the gratitude we have of the privilege of being able to serve a mission for our Church in South Africa. We have come to appreciate the great abundance that the Lord has given us and a people who have so much less than us. We hope that when we have gotten to know our family again, the Lord will find a use for us somewhere else.

Elder & Sister Blatter

Friday, January 23, 2015

23 January 2014


It is January 23, 2015 and we are completing our last few days in South Africa. The days  leading up to our departure date were crammed with last minute things that needed to get done.

We came to Cape Town on assignment to replace a couple whose mission had ended and who had worked in the mission office. One of the assignments was to be in charge of vehicles and housing. 

When we arrived there was a dire need for 4 new flats - 3 for the elders and one for a new couple coming in the 1st of February. We quickly found that apartments were in very short supply here in the Cape Town area. Almost all our leads were found on the internet and handled by an agency. We immediately began attempting to make contact with them but by the time we were able to do so, most of time the apartments were gone. The agencies are so swamped with those wanting to view the flats, they adopted a style of showing the flats for a specified time, generally a half hour. So everyone who is interested arrives at the same time, submits an application and then waits to see if they have been selected. There is no such thing as first-come, first-served; it is totally a selection process by individuals you have not had a chance to meet. As a consequence, we have had to spend a lot of time searching, driving, looking, and making application. We have just secured the last flat required which allows us to be able to leave things in good order for the couple replacing us.

Next week Paul and Kathy Wheeler are coming to Cape Town from Port Alfred who we want to spend time with – they want to do some of the same things we do to finish our bucket list. We did not expect that we would get to see them again before we left so we are grateful to be able to spend some time with them. Robbens Island and Table Mountain are on that list – a couple of other things we know will not get done.

As we reflect back on the time we have spent here in South Africa, we remember those whose lives we have helped change forever. We are truly grateful for those opportunities. There are many others we interacted with that, unfortunately, were not willing to make the commitment necessary to make that change in their lives. It hurts to watch them continue on in a state of complacency or indifference. They have nothing - no place to go when the sun comes up, no objective for tomorrow but yet they are content. It is an attitude that is foreign to my mind. However, one has to understand that that has been their way of life and those before them for several generations. It will take time but by working with the younger generation, hopefully attitudes will change.

We have been able to see country that we never ever considered seeing before we came on our mission. We have met people whose culture is, in many ways, much different than ours. We have watched and interacted with them in their worship services and come to admire their humility, sincerity, devotion to God and their testimony of the gospel. Their ability to sing, with or without accompaniment, is amazing. Many times it is spontaneous as they wait for a meeting to start or someone to arrive. It is perhaps these aspects of the South African people we will miss the most. As always, there are those you have especially drawn close to that will be missed but overall, they will all be missed because of the impact they have made in our lives.

Our understanding of the Saviour’s commandment to take care of the poor and needy has developed with a clarity that we never would have gotten without this mission- for that alone we will be eternally grateful. Never have we had an opportunity to interact with so many  young missionaries and to witness their ability to lead and to teach. There are many that I would have unwavering confidence in to do whatever task I gave to them. The depth of their maturity, wisdom, and common sense is something I have never been able to appreciate before (there are also a few that you have to wonder how they ever found the airplane they got on to get here).

So, in summary, we are grateful for the spiritual growth that we have experienced here and the memories accumulated these past 18 months. We hope to do it again somewhere else in the Lord’s vineyard.

We express our gratitude to our children and their family who made it possible for us to go on this mission; for caring for our house and property, for their spiritual support, we thank them for everything. We know that there are blessings – rewards given when you are in the service of the Lord. And we hope that, in some way, each family member, immediate and extended, has drawn closer to the Lord as a result of our service. We have missed each of you. 

Look for one more post to be posted.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

28 December 2014


It is 7:00 in the morning the day after Christmas, 2014 and we are beginning our accent up Lions Head Peak located in Cape Town, SA. The weather promises to be clear, cool and sunny. All of those elements were important to us as we wanted to get some good photographs of the area from the summit.
Since we have moved to Cape Town, we have made us our own “Bucket List” of things we want to do prior to leaving South Africa. One of those was climbing Lions Head Peak. I frankly was quite surprised when Angie agreed to undertake the task, not being particularly enamored with such events and the fact that there is no shopping mall nor restaurant at its summit. However, on a clear day there is a spectacular view of Cape Town and the surrounding shipyard industry from there.
The trail at the beginning is wide, smooth and fairly gentle,(as seen in the photo) about a 6% grade.

As one progresses up the trail it progressively gets steeper and narrower until the last 25% of the hike you are climbing ladders, climbing over boulders and scaling up vertical rock with only the rock to grab onto. You start to think you are being sucked into something you are not prepared for, but when you look up and see the summit, you say to yourself, “I have come this far and I am not turning back now.”
Angie was a trooper and her only utterance that may be conceived as negative was, “I am going to hate going down.” You can get her to climb a ladder but getting her to come down is the challenge. At one point, she gave a victory salute which was somewhat premature as we had not gotten to the steepest part yet.

It gets worse from here!!!
Not far from that point on the trail, we came to a metal ladder anchored in the rock wall to assist us in getting up the cliff. And then the trail got extremely narrow which required you to really suck it in to allow anyone going down to pass by you. The vertical cliff on the off side was about 200 feet high and I was amazed that there was no safety rail as would have been required in the States. But I was glad it was absent as it added to the roughness aspect of the trail. (Of course, if you want to make this hike to have any semblance of a wilderness venture, you had to really concentrate to keep that mental picture as this was the holiday season and there were an abundance of others taking their scenic hike as well.)
We are on the summit and the view is great although obstructed somewhat by haze. Photos of the surrounding area were hampered as there were enough clouds to cast shadows and prevent bright pictures to be taken.

Downtown Cape Town from Lions Head

Scenic views from Lions Head

 However, none of this dampened Angie’s enthusiasm. She had reached the top and she was excited. On the highest point on the summit of 669 meters (2007’), was a rock pillar about 5 feet tall. I encouraged Angie to get on top it for a picture.
YIKES! I can't believe I did it!!

 Again, getting her up on the rock was the easy part; I thought for a moment I would have to call in the fire department’s rescue team.

 The decent took its toll on our legs and we were both glad that we started as early as we did as it was starting to get warm. As we reached the trail head and looked across the valley at Table Mountain, which is twice as high as Lions Head and a lot steeper, we agreed that we would take the cable car when that item on our list is undertaken.  

Post Script:  Yes, we actually made it down safely.