Posted by: capetownelder | October 11, 2010

Spooky Tales from Klein Drakenstein (Part 2) and the Manual

Hello again from Paarl! It has been a long and busy week, but things have been picking up here. I think I described how usual summer temperatures are around 40-43 degrees celsius, or 105-115 degrees farenheight, but I am getting lucky so far because other than a few hot days earlier this week it has been rainy, wet and cold. My favourite alternative to hot and steamy weather! 😉
Elder Parry (from Wales) and I have had a good week with good teaching appointments. It seems very apparent that people here are more ready and willing to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ here than in Knysna for whatever reason. We have a lady named Precious from Zimbabwe ready for baptism on the 17th of October as well as her husband, Farai, on the 7th of November. We also have a host of other people on the path ready to make the biggest and best comittments of their lives.
I’m still getting used to the area and the people: Elder Parry has been here longest (4 1/2 months) so he obviously knows the area and people better than I do. But those who know me know that I don’t necessarily like the “new guy” feeling, so it’s been a bit tough to adjust. One of those things I’ve had to learn here? DRIVING A MANUAL.
Now let me tell you a little something…my mind isn’t very technical, aside from the meteorology/broadcasting/musical side of me. For instance, my friends always loved playing video games like Call of Duty or Halo with me because I didn’t know how to play properly, and they could in turn shoot me to a million pieces and get the sick pleasure of doing so. Naturally, when I found out I’d have to learn how to drive a manual car, I wasn’t too excited. Luckily, my companion doesn’t have a sick mind, but he does have a technical one, so we’ve been working hard to get me comfortable with a stick shift. 
I took the keys, pressed down on the clutch and started the car. So far so good. I slowly let up on the clutch until I felt the bite, then I gradually pressed on the gas until the car started moving. Whew…I didn’t stall! I turned a couple corners and finally went straight ahead, allowing me to shift up to 2nd gear. The hill then started to incline and the engine was struggling. So, I shifted up. Bad idea.
The turn in to the church was on the right side of the hill, so before I crossed the median I shifted down to 2nd gear and prepared myself to go. When the coast was clear, I hit the gas and the car stalled…in the middle of the road! My heart just about failed me and I started to panic. I looked to my left and saw a big white car barreling down the road heading our way. My companion calmly told me to restart the engine and shift fown to 1st gear. But I was in too much shock! The car was getting closer and it didn’t look like it would stop. Finally I gathered myself together, restarted the engine and proceeded through the road and into the church parking lot without being crushed by the oncoming car.
I must say, that gave me a fright! I suppose I didn’t think about all the other skills I’d have to learn on a mission other than studying the scriptures and teaching from them. It was a good experience, though, even if it did shake me up a little bit.
The words “Klein Drakenstein” mean “small dragon” in Afrikaans, and the church building is on Klein Drakenstein road. The actual town itself is named Paarl (“pearl” in Dutch), but at the Klein Drakenstein building apparently some spooky happenings have occurred ever since a murder took place there.
A custodian in 2005 was cleaning the church late at night and neglected to lock the doors as he was doing so. The next day he was found murdered by a crazy person in town. Ever since that tragedy, some members of the church have reported some haunted happenings when they’ve been at the church either alone or with a small group.
One night Elder Parry and I were driving past the church on our way home and noticed the latter half of the chapel lights were on. No doubt finding this weird, we turned into the church to check out what was going on and if anyone was in the church past 9:00. We parked towards the back on the church, walked out and observed something kind of creepy: the lights were on from the middle of the church to the back, but the lights weren’t programmed to turn on that way…they go vertically from one side to the other, not half and half horizontally.
We quickly got back into the car after feeling creeped out and asked one of the church leaders to turn off the lights…partly because we were chicken to go inside and do it ourselves, but mainly because we didn’t have keys to the church. 😉 I was commenting to Elder Parry on the car ride home: “Can you believe it? I love Halloween and of all places I get sent to during the Halloween time frame is this haunted place!” Haha…cool stuff!
Well, that’s about it for today. I must now write a letter to my mission president and write my parents. I am doing so very well and I am being fed ridiculous amounts of food, so no need to worry there!

Elder Matthew G. Leach
South Africa Cape Town Mission



  1. Elder Leach, I do so enjoy reading about your experiences which you share with such an open heart. Remember that you also instruct and minister to those who are priveleged to share vicariously in your work and efforts. God be with you.

  2. I never knew you had such fantastic writing skills! Sounds like you’re doing amazing things in Africa and I enjoy reading about them.

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