September 13-21, 2013
Hello to you all. The pace has accelerated here in South Africa as we have begun working with those to whom we were sent, those who are in need and want to become self-reliant. To those of you who may not immediately grasp the impact of this term, the goal/objective of everyone should be to provide for their own needs. To some, this is common place and fairly easily accomplishable. However, to those who have not, either in terms of material things, education or vision of their God- given abilities, it is not. To many who are impoverished, the task of providing for their daily needs consumes their every thought, their time and energy.
I don’t believe that a menu of chicken heads and feet are necessarily the chosen diet which many of these people have each day. However, when one is in a pure survival mode, that which is the least of, becomes delectable. Our job is to not only help them to understand they can also feast upon the other parts of the chicken but how they may accomplish it. As we have worked with these people it has become vividly clear they are neither ignorant nor indolent. Many of them are extremely bright and quick to grasp the concept that a new light shines before them. They want to reach and grab ahold of the light but don’t know how. Thus, comes the second part of our assignment, to show them how to accomplish this new found desire.
You more than likely have heard the saying, “"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime" (There are a number of variations of that saying but they all arrive at the same place). Our objective, after turning on the light, is to teach them how to fish. If you think deeply enough about that objective, you will come to understand that there are a number of ways to tackle it but in all cases you have to find a pond with fish in it to begin with. And you also have to understand that in order for one to become self-reliant he/she has to be intimately involved in the struggle. A quote by Elder Maxwell, I think illuminates the concept, "Is not our struggling amid suffering and chastening in a way like the efforts of the baby chicken still in the egg? It must painfully and patiently make its own way out of the shell. To help the chick by breaking the egg for it could be to kill it. Unless it struggles itself to break outside its initial constraints, it may not have the strength to survive thereafter.” Indeed it is tempting to break the shell for those that are struggling but we have seen many times the harm that will cause. Throughout the world those who have received dole come to perceive it as an entitlement and are offended when it ceases to be handed out.
An example of “teaching one to fish” is the following: If, for example, the typical meal for a given family you are teaching is indeed chicken heads and feet, show them that if they sacrifice and eat only the heads or the feet and save that which they would have spent on the other delectable, they soon would have enough money saved to buy a chicken. Sacrifice again and they can buy their chicken a mate and soon they will have many chickens. These chickens can supply them with eggs to sell. On special occasions they can eat one of their chickens but they will need to control that desire so that they don’t destroy their means of income. As their business continues to grow they will have to reach out to those around them to help run the business thereby providing them employment. Soon these newly employed individuals will see their own light shining before them and search for their own pond in which to fish.
The work is exciting and so rewarding. These two pictures are of those who have attended our “teaching-how-to-fish” workshops.
This couple has found their own pond as they work in their garden and provide fresh vegetables to those in the community.
We were also able to attend two different baptismal services. These are not individuals who have the sheep mentality of following the leader on unknown paths but rather individuals who are ready and willing to share that knowledge recently acquired through the power of the Holy Ghost. And you should hear them sing; they don’t need a piano or organ, but with great clarity and gusto they sing with great sincerity and feeling.
As always, Angie has been on the prowl for new and exhilarating wild
kingdom adventures. We took a couple of hours this past week to visit a Cheetah
“farm” which also housed a pair of lions. The sign over the entrance did not
give one much of a sense of comfort and made one wonder if the suggestion given
by the guide that we would be able to pet the cats was given as humor. However,
Angie decided that if she stuck her arm that had the metal plate in it through
the cage, the cats may not be able to bite it off. She started off with a timid
pet of the smaller Cheetahs but, with the success of retaining her hand, moved
on to larger prey. The unusual flowering cacti along the path to the cats provided
an added reward to the visit.
One has to admire the frugality of the government here in South Africa. Tractor mounted mowers to mow along the highways have not been seen. Instead, goats and cows are the accepted method of grass cutting; and, by the way, they also have the right-of-way.