Sunday, August 20, 2017


Dear Family and Friends of South Africa Durban Missionaries,

Some parents have recently inquired about mailing packages to their missionary, particularly for Christmas. Here is some helpful information.

While it is your decision, we do not encourage you to send packages to your missionary. Here are several reasons why:

1.    It costs a lot to mail a package to South Africa, PLUS when it arrives, your missionary is taxed and must also pay a fee on top of what you pay

2.    If the package is over a declared value, a certain weight (or dimensions), items must be declared, and the package will be opened for inspection to clear customs – some items could, and do, get stolen)

3.    Many missionaries do not ever receive packages and it creates some discouragement for those who never receive anything

4.    Some items are a distraction for missionary work

5.    Missionaries could potentially move every six weeks, and the less they have to carry around, the easier, and the better

6.    It can sometimes create a longing for home

7.    Often packages get lost, or they don’t arrive in time

8.    It typically takes a long time for packages to arrive and if sending food, it has the potential of being spoiled, melting, or bugs and rodents find their way into the boxes

IF you still feel a need to send a package here are some common questions answered, mailing information, plus some gift tips:


If you want to mail a package for Christmas and your missionary lives outside of the continent of Africa, the best time to mail something is in the month of September if you want it here in time for the holiday.


If you choose to use a courier such as DHL, UPS, Fed EX, or Post Net, please be aware that not only will you pay more to send it, but your son will ALSO be charged    2-3 times the declared value of the package to get it released from customs in South Africa.
Sending packages through your local Post Office generally takes several weeks longer than the above couriers, but they are less expensive, and additional custom fees are not as expensive. If you decide to go this route for Christmas, mail packages the first part of September to arrive by the holiday (PLEASE NOTE THAT EVEN MAILING BY THIS DATE, IT IS NOT GUARANTEED TO ARRIVE BY THEN).


If you want to send a debit/credit/gift card to your missionary, DO NOT send it in a greeting card; it will most likely get stolen.  It would be best to send it in a padded envelope, perhaps marked with a religious sticker. Better yet, add it to his home card and let him know.


The South African Revenue Service will levy a customs duty charge and a VAT charge, which is: 100% of the declared value of the package, plus all fees it incurs while it is stuck in Customs. This is for any package whose declared value is over R400.  (Right now, that is about $29.00 U.S. currency)

They will also sometimes levy charges if the contents of the package are items that can be bought in this country, such as: candy, food items, shoes, clothing, etc. 

The idea behind this is that if the items can be bought in South Africa - they want you to spend your money here. 

If you keep the declared value of your package under $29, there usually is no charge for extra customs fees here, but your package will most likely be opened to make sure it contains what the declaration states. The package is then subject to theft. 

Religious stickers (such as of the Savior...DO NOT PUT CHRISTMAS STICKERS on the outside, or write the word Christmas) are helpful if they are put on the outside of the package to help us identify it for Christmas.


Put a little extra money on your missionary’s home card, and let your missionary know, so that he can decide what he needs.

You can order something online from (this is the equivalent to Amazon in the U.S.), or stores here in Durban like Woolworths, and The Gift Lady that accept online orders. You pay with your home credit card, and they deliver the package to the mission office, without going through the post office, or customs. Allow up to 2-3 weeks for some items.

Please also remember that several of our Elders come from very diverse backgrounds. A companion may never receive anything from home, even on holidays or birthdays. You may want to include a little something for your son’s companion (addressed simply to companion, not by name since companion’s change), but only IF you want (this is not a suggestion, just a tip).

Please note: sending Christmas Stockings, Christmas Trees, and decorations, are usually left behind or gets tossed out when the Elder is transferred because it is too difficult to haul from place to place.


Candy, treats, socks, ties, toiletries such as: razors, deodorant, hair products, shaving cream, fingernail clippers, soap, Tabernacle Choir CD’s or other inspirational music that would be considered “soft” and inspirational music that would bring them closer to Christ. Uplifting and spiritual stories, and testimonies are always appreciated.

Be aware that too many photos of home, and stories of fun that they are missing out on, are also difficult for missionaries.

Toiletries, candy, and food items can be purchased in South Africa for a lot less money on the websites suggested above.


Any games, movies (even church movies), books (the only books they should have are scriptures, Preach My Gospel, and the Missionary Handbook), and CD’s that are not church approved, are not appropriate because they interfere with missionary work.

Please copy this letter for friends, neighbors, and relatives.

All letters and packages should be sent to the mission office at:

[Missionary’s Name]
South Africa Durban Mission
PO Box 1741
Wandsbeck 3631
South Africa

And/or, if you need a physical address, you may send it to the mission office:

[Missionary’s Name]
South Africa Durban Mission
2 Derby Place, Suite #4
Derby Downs Office Park
Westville 3630
South Africa

We sincerely hope this helps and answers your questions. If you have further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us.

With love and appreciation,

President and Sister Thompson

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Lesotho Translation

Translation into Sesotho in the Country of Lesotho

The following is written by one of our missionary couples, Elder & Sister Dransfield. They also provided the photos:

We picked up Rachel Winkle and Kaitlyn Pieper at the Maseru Airport this morning.  They are here to train and start the official Translation of the Hymn Book to Sosotho.  They hit the ground running.  We took them straight from the airport to the church to start the translation.  They were training all day until 5:pm.

The whole translation team has not been together ye,t but I thought you might like to see a couple of shots of the first day.   

Richards Bay FIRST Zone Conference


 In the past year, Richards Bay Zone drove to Durban for a combined Zone Conference. However,
we felt it was better that the missionaries not travel that distance! We will now have a total of 7 conferences every six weeks, instead of 4. Therefore, President Thompson and I will be traveling a
little more than usual - but we figure that our missionaries are worth it. The smaller groups tend to
lend more unity, and it saves them from having to travel!

This is a great zone!

 Sister and Elder Collins provided our lunch! We are so grateful for all that they do!

 Our Zone Leaders, Elder Smith and Elder Fullmer have done a great job in organizing this conference!

 Left: Elders Bir, Simayile, Fransen, Fullmer
Right: Elders Youngman, Jonga, Ekirita, Speranza, Smith

 Having fun!
Front: Fransen, Simayile, Trapnell, Elder and Sister Collins, Speranza, Smmith
Back: Jonga, Bir, Youngman, Ekirita, Fullmer

 Cleanest boardings go to Elders Simayile, and Bir

August birthdays: Elders Bir, Speranza

These Elders are all great examples!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Goodbye Elders

Departure Day!

 Elders Rakotomalala and Weiler
A blustery day!

 Elders Rakotomalala, Eastmond, Lesueur, and Weiler at the airport!

 Elders Eastmond and Lesueur

 One of our departing Elders found out last minute he could not take his skateboard on the airplane.
I guess President found a new way to get around!!!

 Elders Weiler, Lesueur, Eastmond, and Rakotomalala checking in

 Saying goodbye is hard!

 Elder Eastmond

 Elder Lesueur

 Elder Weiler

 Sister Thompson, Elder Rakotomalala, President Thompson

Love you all! Best wishes!

Departing Elders Breakfast

Four of our Elders are departing! Three to the United States and one to Madagascar.
We will miss each of them. They have brought great service to the people of South
Africa, and have been a wonderful asset to the mission! We wish them the best, and
I told them that we will ALWAYS be a MISSION FAMILY - we hope they will
keep in contact with us!

 Aprons are a big hit at the mission home!
Elders Weiler, Lesueur, Eastmond, and Rakotomalala

 We don't know what we would ever do without Getrude - she is awesome!

 Elder Eastmond - we will miss your energy and enthusiasm!

 Elder Lesueur - a big thanks to all that you've done!

 Trying on different aprons!

I get the privilege, and fun, of talking to our departing Elders about dating! I love their questions,
and we usually laugh a lot!
Dating customs are different in other countries, so I try to talk about dating from a church culture!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Durban Zone Conference

 The Durban Zone Conference was held at the Berea Chapel

Our conference!

 Elder Whiting

 Elder Dooley

 Elder Christensen (the third!)

 Elder Olson and Elder Hamilton (yes! they have matching suits - on purpose!

 Elder Merritt gave a great presentation!

 President visits with the missionaries at lunch!

 The missionaries love these chicken burritos from a restaurant called Four Fifteen

 Elder Hauck

 Elder Knutsen

 Elder Ruben

 Elder Christensen

 Sister and Elder Wood provided us with the delicious lunch!

 Elder Gehlbach

 Elder Harris (ZL)

 Elder Huntington

 Elder Jones, and Sibanda

 The Durban Zone

 Birthday time!

 Cleanest boardings!

Elder Harris taught us well!

Elder Rakotomalala offers his departing testimony! His last Zone Conference!