Friday, April 20, 2018

April 16 letters

To Mom:

Reading you saying that I'm going to be 20 seems really weird.  20 seems really weird.  I don't think that that can be right.  I'm not old enough to be 20.  Haha I'm just laughing at the thought of me being a 20 year old boy that's weird. 

This week has been a pretty hectic week.  I was only in my actual area for about 15 hours.  On Wednesday I was on an exchange with Elder Khoza my last born son.  It was pretty awesome to be with him for the day.  It's crazy he was telling me that he has been on mission for 8 months.  That's crazy.  But he was doing really well.  He's a great missionary and it's nice to see what kind of things he's learned and how he's improved since I left him.  We see each other a lot though so it wasn't that crazy to see him.  

On Thursday we drove to the air port in East London because I was flying to Cape Town for an exchange.  I called the Davies(Senior couple) and asked if we could come over which they said yeah so it was nice to see them.  Of course they prepared a really nice lunch for us with all sorts of desert.  Then we went to the airport and I flew to Cape Town.  Elder Huang arrived so it was nice to see him and then I left.  It was really weird to be alone on the plane.  There was a lady that sat next to me and I wanted to talk to her about the gospel, but she pulled out a book.  After about 5 minutes she put it down so she could look at something else.  Then I asked her if I could look at her book.  She said yeah so I looked at it for a minute.  It was like some inspirational book about creativity or something.  When I gave her her book back she asked me what I was reading.  Haha that was nice.  I gave her the Book of Mormon and we talked for the entire rest of the flight about it.  It was pretty cool I told her all about Joseph Smith and the restoration.  I gave her the number for the elders in Cape Town and she said she was really interested.  It was a nice experience. 

I had a really nice exchange in Cape Town.  I was with Elder Sibiya.  I don't know if you know about him but he's a friend of mine.  We've served together for a lot of our missions.  I was able to meet up with a lot of cool people that side as well.  I saw Daniel Clark for only the second time in my whole mission.  That was really cool.  We talked a lot and shared some stories about what's happening back home. It was sweet.  I saw Elder Dove at district meeting.  That was really nice.  And some other of my mission friends and transfer buddies and stuff.  But yeah it was a really nice exchange and I learned a lot.  On Saturday morning we went to the air port and I flew back to East London. 
From East London we had to drive to Mthatha instead of Queenstown because we had to do some baptismal interviews for some of the Elders that side.  So we stayed the night with them and then on Sunday we woke up an hour early and drove back to Queenstown for church.  I was pretty exhausted on Sunday from all of that travelling. 

Plus I hardly ate in Cape Town.  The members didn't feed us and Elder Sibiya didn't have any food in his boarding except for like 50 or 60 apples so all I had was about 10 apples the whole time.  It was such a relief to get home because the members in Queenstown feed us like no other area I've ever seen.  On Sunday we had 3 DAs and the last one they just gave us the dessert and put the food in a container for us.  I was just thinking "It's good to be back"  hahaha

But it was a pretty cool week.  On May 1 Elder Palmer, the area president, is going to visit our mission so I'm really looking forward to that. 

To Dad:

There's not much interesting this week that I didn't already tell mom.  But one of the missionaries has the book: "The Infinite Atonement"  By Tad R Callister, so I've been reading that all week and I'm really excited about it.  

From one of the Senior missionaries in Adam's mission:

Sister Heald,  We celebrated Elder Heald's birthday at district meeting today. I made a short video for you

but cannot send it through you have a facebook account....I can send it to you privately.

WE love your son.... Love, Sister Bell

And she sent pictures as well as the video that she posted on my facebook page! This is Adam with his companion.

April 9 letters

To Dad:

Yeah we have Google in South Africa, but I don't think anyone uses it.  It's super interesting that the conference could be so poorly prepared for because it was coordinated between 2 whole wards and both bishops have wifi at their house.  Crazy but in the end we were able to watch all the sessions.

I agree with you about everything you said about the changes to home teaching and everything.  I'm really excited about it.  I think it will really really help especially here in Africa.  I don't think there has been even 1 home teaching visit that has happened in this ward for probably a year.  This new system will be much better and motivate the members here to really actually care about some of their fellow members.  Home teaching just seemed a little daunting for the members and now it's completely transformed and it will be easy for the members to actually take care of those they are assigned to.  It needs a really faithful Elders Quorum President though. 

I finished the bible this week.  It was really long.  I'm now a lot more skeptical of anyone that says they have read the whole thing.  It was really hard.  But I learned a lot from it and I really feel like my knowledge has grown a lot since I started reading it.  Definitely it was a worth while experience for me and it feels so good to finally be done with it. 

To Mom:

I've got a lot I need to do today so I don't have a ton of time to write a nice long email.  But I'll try my best.  Next week it will be much better.

I'm not surprised about how pumped Dad and Daniel were after Priesthood session.  It was quite positively the most powerful session of general conference I've ever seen.  Too bad you didn't get to watch it. 

I have a lot to say but I'll probably just say it next week.  I'm flying to Cape Town on Thursday so that's going to be really sweet.  I'm actually preparing some things for my recent convert there today which is what is taking all my time.  It's going to be fun though to go back to Cape Town for a few days.  On Saturday I'm flying back from Cape Town and we're going to be driving all the way out to Mthatha on the same day which is going to be like a 3 hour drive.  Then Sunday morning we have to wake up at 5 or 6 to drive back for church.  It's going to be a hectic week.  

Last week was really sweet.  It was zone conference and it was one of my favorite zone conferences so far.  Some of us were talking about how the president seems to be getting more and more powerful each time so that's really cool.  But really it was a great spiritual experience. 
Definitely having a great time out here though. 

From Mom:

I came across this little gem of a video from Youth Conference the summer before he left.  

April 2 letters

To Dad:

First of all let me just say how much I loved conference.  In fact I just can't stop thinking about it.  We didn't watch Sunday afternoon session yet but the other 4 sessions were on another level.  By far the most powerful conference I have ever seen and that priesthood session was by far the most powerful session I have ever seen.  I'll share more details in my email to mom but I agree with you on every point.  I can't believe they're putting a temple in Layton I just found out like 5 minutes ago that's pretty cool.  I'm laughing at your comment about that hahaha.  Yeah I'm way excited about that. 
I'm so glad you loved conference.  Yeah I'm gonna say a lot about that in my letter to mom.  

To Mom:

This week has been definitely the most spiritually uplifting week of my whole mission.  Basically just because of conference.  
I was really frustrated about conference because they didn't even announce the times or know them until Friday afternoon which is just ridiculous.  Actually on Thursday they sent out an announcement that we would watch the Saturday morning session at 10 o clock on Saturday.  2 wards.  that means 2 complete bishoprics discussed it and thought that that was a viable option.  I don't know how they thought we were going to watch the session here 8 hours before it actually happened in Salt Lake City, but I guess the bishoprics just have a lot more faith in the priesthood than me or something hahaha.  But eventually we were able to sort it out and point out the actual times when we were supposed to watch it and everything went for the most part according to plan. 

Friday was kind of funny.  We basically had not much to do because everyone was celebrating good Friday.  Like it was ridiculous.  Nobody went to church on Sunday but Friday it was packed.  There were just so many activities at all the churches and the taverns were packed because of that which I think is maybe ironic I don't know? 

Saturday was cool.  I was so excited for conference.  I actually memorized all the general authorities and general officers of the church over the last couple months which probably sounds weird but it honestly made conference more fun and interesting, because I recognized all the speakers.  
We were basically trying to just pass the time to get to 6 so we could watch the session.  And it didn't disappoint.  It was so amazing.  The solemn assembly was just so powerful.  When the first presidency stood to sustain themselves I felt something really deep.  It was kind of funny though.  President Eyring said "Members of the first presidency please sustain"  And that was when I found out that we actually have about 7 members of the first presidency in our ward here in Queenstown.  Hahaha but anyway.  The whole solemn assembly was a sacred experience for me that I won't forget.  When the whole church stood to sustain the prophet the spirit overwhelmed me.  I felt it in such a different way.  It overcame my whole body and I knew that President Nelson has been called of God. 
We watched the Saturday Afternoon Session on Sunday morning at 10.  It was a pretty nice session.  I was happy to hear my man Carl B Cook called to the presidency.  Also my friend Elijah's dad was called to be a general authority so that's pretty cool. 

I liked Elder Bednar's talk a lot. 

The priesthood session was by far the most powerful session of conference I have ever attended.  It was really on another level.  I usually don't look forward to priesthood session but this one... yeah.  When President Nelson stood up to speak I got so excited.  I started taking notes for a second and then I just put my notes down and watched him transfixed.  He spoke for so short but the spirit was just coming over me in waves.  The announcement was big and I can testify it was a revelation from God.  The rest of the priesthood session was just a spiritual high.  All of the talks were great.  It was really stacked.  2 apostles and then the first presidency after that.  When it got to President Nelson to speak again I was so excited.  His talk did not disappoint.  It was so incredible.  There's a few things I just can't get out of my mind.  He told the story of how he reactivated a less active guy.  One line he said has been playing over and over in my mind.  He said "Do you know who was called to be the first stake president? ... yes"  he just said yes and I just couldn't stop laughing.  The spirit was making me giddy or something like that.  It was so cool.  Then at the end he commanded us all to stand one group at a time.  My heart was just pounding.  I wanted to go out and just do battle with Satan right there.  I can't get his voice out of my head.  "Deacons.  Teachers.  Priests."  So powerful.
We watched the Sunday morning session live which was at 6 o clock for us.  It was another great talk but the highlight was of course, by far, President Nelson's talk.  I think that either that talk or his talk in last conference is my favorite conference talk of all time.  It was clearly a talk and a topic that was given to him directly by the Lord.  It wasn't just a talk.  It was the warning voice of a prophet.  He also specifically warned against the media and social media.  He is definitely a watchman on the tower.  He said that "The Savior will show forth some of his mightiest works between now and when he comes again."  He wasn't just talking.  He was prophesying.  He said that if we don't have the guidance of the spirit and revelation we will fall.  I can testify to anyone on this planet that Russell M Nelson is a prophet of God just as surely as anyone ever was.  The witness of the Spirit was overwhelming and I like Dad's words in his email to me it was also draining. 

I didn't get to watch Sunday afternoon session but I heard about it today.  A temple in Layton!!  that's so crazy.  And the announcement about Home teaching and visiting teaching.  That's obviously a major change.  I didn't even hear Elder Holland say this yet but I just love these words so much:   To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, the most memorable moments of life are those in which we feel the rush of revelation. President Nelson, I don’t know how many more rushes we can handle this weekend
Anyway.  Can you tell that I was excited about conference?  There's probably more that I have to say but I forgot and I'll email next week. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

March 26 letters

To Mom:

I have kind of a lot on my mind today so my email might not make a lot of sense but I'll try to focus. 

This week has been pretty sweet.  Although it's been pretty basic. 

I'm really excited to serve in Queenstown.  The members are awesome and I can tell that I'm going to be really close with them.  They're feeding us like crazy.  It's a pretty big ward with lots of really strong long time members.  I've mostly been following Elder Allred around for a week and a half but it's been sweet.  We're having lots of success and it's pretty nice to not be in charge of everything for once.  It's kind of an interesting mental shift I've been working on for this past week but it's getting there. 

I got a few awesome emails today so I'd like to send on some pictures. 

Siphokazi my convert in Cape Town sent me a nice email with some pictures of her at the temple which is super awesome.  She said it was a spiritually enlightening experience for her.  It was really really nice to hear.  She also sent some pictures of Milisa.  She's so cute you might recognize her.  I miss them so much 

I also got an email from Achuma.  He's Elder Greengrass's convert and was baptized about a few weeks before I got into the field.  He's now on mission which is just so cool and he sent a picture of him with his trainer.  Blowing my mind. 

Anyway aside from that there's not much to tell.

There's a place called Hogsback it's between Queenstown and King Williams Town and it was in the boundaries of my last area.  Apparently that is where JRR Tolkein, who was born in South Africa, got his inspiration for the Lord of the Rings.  Me and Elder Steffensen went there my last week in King so I'll send some pictures of that place.  It's pretty cool me and Elder Allred are going to ask permission to go again. 

To Dad:

You're appalled at the use of phones in Sacrament Meeting.  I'm appalled that you would even think to caution me against that.  Don't you know that I really hate people using their phones all the times.  It's like my biggest pet issue.  I hate that thing.  I hate people being addicted to their phones let alone in sacrament meeting.  In fact a real and serious concern I have when I get home is to be able to find a girl that isn't addicted to her phone.

I'm finished with Isaiah now.  It took a while to read all of Isaiah, but it was really enlightening and by far it's been the most profitable book for me of the old testament so far.  I know you have some books about understanding Isaiah so I'll be really excited to read those when I get home.





Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March 19 letters

To Dad:

Yeah Queenstown is definitely the furthest zone from Cape Town in the mission.  There are elders in Mthatha which is where Nelson Mandela was born and they are the farthest out.  It's like a 3 or 4 hour drive to get out there.  

My companion came in one transfer after me so he's almost the same as me on mission.  I've never had a companion older than me.  This is also the first time since I was with elder Greengrass that I've been a junior companion and I have to say it's been a weird couple of days.  It's going to be tough to try and follow my companion this transfer but I'm definitely sure that that's what the Lord wants me to learn.  As far as how I feel about leadership.  I definitely don't really care about it.  I've kind of felt like my whole mission that leadership is something I kind of already know so it's not something I need to learn as much, but now I am a zone leader and I feel like it's so that I can learn to follow hahaha.  But yeah it's not that big of a deal.  2 of my sons are in my zone Elder Reedy and Elder Khoza.  And Elder Mabanga might be transferred next transfer so I'm praying that he comes to Queenstown zone that would be so awesome to have all 3 of my sons in my zone with me. 

Man that tooth thing sounds awful.  the senior couple Elder Bell had to get 2 implants this week and the dentist messed it up and had to redo it like 4 times hahaha so at least you can be grateful to live in the place with the most dentists in the whole world hahaha.

All the chapels in the mission have a really nice piano imported from Utah that plays all the hymns by itself so I haven't played it yet, but for some reason they don't have one in this chapel so I played in church this Sunday for the first time and I'm going to be playing from now on.  I'm pretty excited about that. 

But yeah this area is going to be sweet I'll talk more about it in my letter to mom

To Mom:

crazy that American Idol started up again.  That's going to be crazy popular here they absolutely love American Idol.

My new area is Queenstown 2nd ward.  It's an awesome ward with a lot of faithful members who feed the missionaries a lot.  It's going to be amazing to serve here.  They don't have an automatic piano or a pianist so I'm going to be playing the piano which I'm excited about.  Queenstown gets really cold and it even snows.  It's been super cold since I've been here which is such a nice thing for me.  It got really really hot in King sometimes especially at night because there's no air conditioning. 

Elder Khoza is in this zone so it's been really sweet to chat with him a bit and catch up about some stuff.  He told me some crazy stuff from my old area.  Apparently the daughter of the G family that we baptized that side just started screaming randomly on Christmas day and then out of nowhere she gave birth.  She didn't even look pregnant at all everyone was way shocked about that.  I thought that was kind of funny.  But apparently everyone in Uitenhage is doing pretty well. 

There's a new greenie in our zone as well so I was able to talk to him a bunch on the way to Queenstown from East London which took like 3 hours with tons of delays.  But he's from Jamaica and he's a runner and apparently he's going to be in the olympics.  He's met Usaine Bolt like a bunch of times and he says he thinks he's going to win the gold medal when he gets done with mission.  He's only 18.  He's a really sweet guy I'm planning to buddy up to him like crazy so that when he wins gold in a few years I can have a claim to fame.

My new companion is Elder Allred.  He's a really loving guy.  He's a pretty big guy too he used to do the decathalon.  We're gonna have a sweet transfer and there's a lot of baptisms that we're hoping to have. 

My boys Jackson and Jan from Uitenhage both got their mission calls yesterday.  Jackson is going to Johannesburg and Jan is going to Madagascar so I was pretty stoked about that. 

Anyway everything is going great and I'll send a bunch of pictures next week when Elder Steffensen sends them to me

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March 11 letter to Mom

First of all, I have to clear something up.  I don't want to give the mistaken idea that I'm completely changed in my morning behaviors and that I'm perfect in that way.  I am doing really good in the mornings and I am always in a good mood when I wake up, but I've been that way for a while and I know that I'm liable to revert back to my old ways of struggling to wake up, although I won't revert to being in a bad mood in the morning.  But we did have a conversation about my strength in the morning and me giving advice on that thing to my companion and I thought that was really funny. 

As for my area.  Things have been a bit frustrating lately.  December is a really hard month in South Africa and every missionary will attest to that fact.  Our area really took a hit in December and it hasn't really recovered.  Also our progressing investigators who were supposed to be baptized we've done a bit of probing and found out they don't understand or believe in the restoration at all.  Now they haven't been to church for 2 weeks and I'm really worried we'll lose them.  So there hasn't been a ton going on lately but that doesn't mean the area is awful.

We had a fireside about missionary work on Sunday and it went really well.  We're going to have a huge event in April at the chapel that will hopefully get the area pumped full of investigators.  Also the bishop invited a couple to church and we've been teaching them.  They're so awesome and they're getting baptized for sure.  They will really be a huge help for the ward and we're really excited about them. 

As for me I got my transfer news and I'm leaving the area and going to Queenstown.  That's going to be sweet.  That's pretty much the last area of the mission that I haven't seen.  My new companion is Elder Alred.  I know him he's really cool and he's probably one of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met.  He's from Mona Utah.  It's going to be a nice place to finish my mission so I'm really excited and I feel fired up.  I think this is going to be my best area of all.

I know I'm terrible about pictures.  I don't have a cord for my camera so it's hard for me to send pictures home.  I think I should buy one and then next week I'll try and send a lot of pictures home. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

March 5 letters

To Dad:

On a side note I went out Tuesday morning to do some juggling (explanation from Mom - juggling a soccer ball, not clown-type juggling) in the courtyard.  It's like the first time I've really juggled on my whole mission.  So I got 100 the first time.  And then 50. and then 200 and I was thinking to myself dang I've lost my touch!  and then on my fourth try I got 3389, so I thought maybe I didn't lose it after all haha.

To Mom:

Thanks for sending that early release form filled out.  I don't think there's going to be any problem with that at all, President Lebethoa kind of intimated that it was just a matter of formality and that if he was satisfied that I should go home for school than the missionary department would have no problem with it.  There's a lot of guys in my transfer in the same boat as me.  Probably like 10 of us or something so I don't think anything weird is going to happen. 

Nana and Grandad are gone now.  They came, stayed, and went, all without me ever actually seeing it.  I'll never know if that was even real hahaha. 

Some few things happened this week that are worth telling about. 
First of all I backed into another car.  That's my first incident on mission.  My companion was out there backing me but I didn't even look at him hahaha it was way dumb.  But it wasn't a big accident at all so I guess I'm probably not going to lose my driving privileges.  

Secondly I was sick all week.  I had a bad fever and it was making my neck way stiff so I was rotating my whole body to look both ways at stop signs and stuff.  It was funny looking and my companion has been making fun of me all week.  I also had a big scare on Tuesday.  I had a bad pain near my groin and sister Davies said it might be a Hernea which if I needed surgery I'd have to go home.  I was way scared about that but it didn't go away it only got worse so on Friday I went to the doctor.  The doctor looked at it and then he asked if I have any weird sores on my leg.  I was like yeah here's one and I showed him.  He was like "Oh that's easy it's Tick bite fever" Apparently I got a tick bite and so it like targeted different glands on my leg and stuff and made them hurt a ton and it gave me a way bad fever hahahaha.  So that's like what I was struggling with this week.  But they gave me some pills and I ate them and now it's mostly gone away. 

I wanted to share with you a conversation I had with my companion on Thursday morning or something like that.  The gist of the conversation was that he felt like he had chains around his body when he wakes up in the morning that makes it so hard to wake up, and he's always way angry in the morning and in a super bad mood.  And then we were talking about how I always bounce right out of bed in the morning and am always super sunny and cheery and in a great mood.  And I was giving him advice about waking up in the morning and stuff hahahaha.  I thought you would just laugh and laugh if you heard that conversation.  


Anyway the area is not killing it right now.  We got let down by a ton of investigators on Sunday.  We're really frustrated but we're keeping up good courage and faith and stuff.  But we've planned a bunch of stuff with the ward that's going to get everyone stoked about doing missionary work.  That should be super awesome and get everyone hyped and make everything go better.  For now though we're just trying to do our best.  All of our investigators kind of got picked off by the Devil so that's really hard.  We're thinking of what we can do for a few of them to help them recommit themselves but out of all of our efforts in the past 4 months nothing has panned out. 
No problem though