Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cape Town

By the way, family, make sure you start at my first posting. I have done four postings that cover the tour. The first post is called "Beginning". This is the fourth and final posting, Cape Town. This city is the gem of South Africa and a perfect finish to a perfect tour. We arrived in this town by wrapping around the coast and climbing down some hills. The view from the hills onto the city is gorgeous. This city was the first city established in the country and has an old, new feel to it. It's busy and exciting but at the same time old and inviting.

We quickly did some sightseeing by climbing a place called Table Top Mountain. This large mountain sits right behind the city. Whenever you see Cape Town in pictures, you always see Table Top. You'll understand soon how it got its name. We took a cable car to the top and spent two hours playing around on top among the clouds. It was much cooler up there and thus quite refreshing. I got some amazing shots there too. Enjoy!

We also visited a place called Robben Island. This small island is home to the infamous jail that held Nelson Mandela for 18 of his 27 years in captivity. It was an amazing experience to tour this retired jail and learn of what happened there. Basically, the leaders of South Africa who dismantled the apartheid system of government were kept captive here. For many years, they lived here and planned out what they would do with South Africa once they were freed. Amazing people! Their release and the end of apartheid all took place during my lifetime. Incredible!

After seeing some of the sights, we then met up with our host families at a local chapel. Once again, I was put up with the mission president. But this time, 11 guys came with me. The mission home in Cape Town is huge and easily accomodates 12 guys. We had a blast being with each other. It was like guys night out for three nights. The mission president and his wife were also so kind and hospitable. And since they were Americans and LDS we felt right at home. Our last two concerts were here. They went well. Both nights were sold out. It was sad to realize that our tour was coming to an end and that we would never sing together as a group.

Our final performance was a fireside. It was quite sad but very inspiring at the same time. Many of us cried knowing this was the end of a great experience. The Spirit touched everyone who was there. I won't forget how I felt for a long time. We then returned to our host families for one last night. Monday morning, we did a little bit of shopping and then started the long journey home. Because of an extra stop, our journey home this time took 30 hours! Can you imagine traveling for over a day? It was tiring but well worth it to come back. I already miss the people of that beautiful country but I am grateful to be back in our own country. I never knew how blessed I was to be an American. Our own country has it's fair share of problems. But we certainly do live in the greatest country. Believe me when I say that. The freedoms and blessings we enjoy are humbling! But I also know that wonderful, happy people live throughout the whole world.

I have some other stories and experiences to share but I'll put those into another posting after this one. I hope you've enjoyed reading about my experiences. These few words do no justice to the feelings and memories I have. I'm going to make a CD slideshow that I hope to share with all of you. I missed you all so much during the trip and look forward to hearing your voices soon.


Staci said...

Oh my goodness matt what an awesome experience...great pictures. I cant wait to see more and see your videos. We missed you and glad that you are back. Love you tons

Laura said...

awesome awesome awesome!!!! i wish i could've seen those children's faces...i bet that was amazing!!! i can't wait to hear more...i loved reading all of your experiences matt! haha i bet the guys sleepover was fun...haha!