New Mormon missionaries to practise in Port Alfred

JON HOUZET

A NEW Mormon missionary couple has arrived in Ndlambe and will spend the next 18 months overseeing the Port Alfred branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Richard and Janet Stumm hail from Spokane, Washington in the USA, and their mission to South Africa was their first trip overseas.

NEW FACES: Mormon missionary couple Janet and Richard Stumm from Spokane, Washington in the USA, recently arrived in Port Alfred where they will spend the next 18 months working with the local Mormon congregation Picture: ROB KNOWLES

Richard was called and sustained as the new branch president on Sunday May 13. Mark Wood, president of the South Africa Cape Town Mission in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presided over the change.

The Stumms have taken the reins from previous branch president Frank Robinson and his wife Dian, who served in the area for just over a year.

The Robinsons have returned home to St George, Utah, to be reunited with their family.

Richard is a retired millwright.

“I worked for a large company that built mining and mobile conveying equipment in Washington,” he told TotT. “We built stuff for all over the world, including South Africa.”

Janet drove a school bus for 29 years.

“We raised seven children – three sons and four daughters. They’re all grown up now. We have 14 grandchildren,” she said.

The Stumms said they had talked about going on a mission trip for quite some time.

“We’ve been blessed so much by the gospel and we felt the need to give back,” said Richard. “We made ourselves available for mission anywhere and here we are.

“We’re excited to be here. We didn’t know much about South Africa before we heard we were being sent here,” he said.

“It’s our first time outside of the States aside from Canada and Mexico,” said Janet.

The couple arrived in South Africa three weeks ago, and spent a week in Cape Town being briefed and setting up a bank account and other necessities.

“We have experienced culture shock – like driving on the left side of the road,” said Richard with a chuckle.

Janet added that grocery shopping was also a culture shock as she could not find familiar brands or even similar products. “We’re learning, trying to get a grasp on that,” she said.

Other discoveries have been more pleasant. Richard said it was “cool” to find an avocado tree in the back yard of the church – not a common sight in their part of the world.

As for hobbies, Richard said he enjoys scuba diving and motorcycle riding, but he will not be indulging in those pleasures on their mission trip.

“Raising my children was my hobby, and then we went from children to grandchildren,” said Janet. Four of their grandchildren live close to them in Washington.

“We also like fishing and camping,” said Richard.

As for their goals over the next 18 months, “We plan to follow the promptings of the Spirit – whatever the Lord tells me to do. We’ll just try to help,” said Richard.

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