Monday, December 11, 2017

December 11 letters

To Mom:

This week was nice but we were hardly in the area.  On Wednesday we had to drive all the way for interviews in East London at 3:00.  It was just really poor planning from whoever planned it because we had to drive 45 minutes starting at 1:30 and then drive back after the interviews which didn't end until almost 5:00.  I don't know why we weren't given the first interview slot in the morning so we could drive down and then drive back in the morning without destroying the entire day.  But it was a nice interview and the senior couple gave us some lunch right after.  

On Thursday we went for zone conference.  We had a nice training and it was cool.  Elder Greengrass asked me to give part of the training for Zone conference but he forgot to ask me until Wednesday night at 10:00.  It was ok though because I was only given 10 minutes so it was super easy and I just woke up early on Thursday and prepared it and it ended up going really well. 

The mission president trained us on a few things and it was nice but the last 20 minutes was the really life changing part for me.  He started teaching us about how to use a budget.  hahaha he introduced it by saying that he wanted to teach us about one of his favorite principles of the gospel which is a budget.  Of course he loves budgeting because his employment before mission was for the church as the south east Africa area self reliance specialist.  I was really inspired by what he said about a budget and I've decided that for the rest of my mission I'm going to save 10% of my MSF and at the end of mission I will turn it back in to the area.  I think it's going to help me a lot to learn how to save and how to live within my means. 

On Friday we did a service project.  We built a wall for a house.  I don't know why we volunteered for that or why we thought we could but luckily for us 3 members who just happened to each be builders volunteered to help us, so we spent 6 hours smashing up a brick wall for someones house.  It was really exhausting but we actually did it hahaha and the old lady who we helped came to church with her granddaughter who is YSA age and we may baptize them somewhere down the line which would be sweet.

We've been working with a guy who is the father in a member family that has been members for at least 20 years.  And for some reason after all this time he's just never committed.  He actually knows the church is true I think but he doesn't want to do anything about it.  But this Sunday he just shocked us by showing up for church for the first time in his life.  He loved it so much.  And now he's just so excited he told us he wants to be baptized and we gave him the date for January 21st. 
Otherwise we're just teaching so many new investigators all the time because they keep leaving and so we're trying to teach about 15 new investigators a week to keep up with December. 

We watched the Christmas devotional on Sunday.  I just love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir so much.  Every time they sang I felt like I just wanted to shout hurray or cry or something. 

To Dad:

We built a wall on Friday.  It was like a million degrees and it was so hard.  I am kind of good at just fading away during service projects so that nobody really notices that I'm not actually working that hard.  I think you probably know that is true.  Hahaha but this time I decided that I want to learn to be a hard worker so I worked hard for the whole 6 hours straight.  It was so exhausting but I felt so proud of myself.  

Merry Christmas Dad.  One thing I'm starting to develop that comes from you is how much I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Every time they were singing I was just crying during the Christmas devotional.  I was thinking to myself that you were probably doing the same thing at home hahaha.  

Zone Conference with Elder Greengrass

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December 4 letter

To Mom:

The Christmas calling schedule is based on you not me.  We already have the keys to the chapel and we're just going to go there whenever you want us to so please give me a window of time that would be best and we'll go during that window. 

This week was a good week.  We of course are struggling with December as usual.  In fact all of our progressing investigators left for December.  I don't know if you remember the tradition here but every December everyone just moves for the month and lives with a random other relative in a random other city for the month.  I guess just for a change of pace but that's how the holiday works in South Africa.  We were actually supposed to have 7 baptisms in December and they all left haha so we'll have them in January.  Also some of our father led families are away as well.  So we're just concentrating a lot on finding right now.  We've found several more father led families that we're teaching now and some promising other investigators this week.  We want to get about 15 to 20 new investigators a week to keep up with the holiday. Otherwise it feels really good to be here right now and we're having a lot of success.  

This week is the Christmas Zone conference so I hope that will be good.  We've been doing a lot of activities as a zone sine it's December and finding activities in different areas and stuff.  December is a fun time but a really difficult time as a missionary.  I'm feeling really confident for baptisms in January though.  We are hoping to have 12 as our goal on January 20 but that's the next day we're planning for. 

Otherwise everything is good from this side. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

November 27 letters

To Dad:
I think that for sure there are so many books I want but I really enjoyed your pick last year so I will just leave it up to you.  Any book that you think I would like I am 100% sure I will like it so just please send me some books of your choosing. 

Otherwise Thanksgiving is great.  I didn't even know it was thanksgiving until Monday when the senior couple called us over for some turkey sandwiches and pumpkin pie which was really nice.

To Mom:
I asked President Lebethoa about a possible early release for school and he said that I should bring it up again February 2018.  I'm pretty sure that I will be going home a little bit early though because President Lebethoa is all about missionaries going home and getting to work on their life.  He refuses to allow any missionary to extend.

I don't have any pictures for you today but that's not unusual anyway.  I'm sorry I'll try and send some pictures for you this next week.

Anyway this week was just another normal week.  We are really seeing a lot of miracles in King Williams Town.  What we have tried to do is focus on Father Led Families and we've just been so blessed.  We've found on our own already 6 father led families that we're teaching and we're planning to work with the members more going forward.  One thing that was really cool is that 2 of our father led families came to church on Sunday.  One is the B family who is the father and mother and small baby.  The wife already has a powerful testimony but by the grace of God we were able to teach the husband too who was hardened against us but by some miracle had his heart softened considerably so that we are now teaching him the lessons and they both came to church on Sunday.  There is another guy named M from Zimbabwe who is married to a girl here.  He also came to church although his wife didn't come.  He couldn't stop talking about how much he loved the primary program which was this week.  I definitely know how amazing the primary program is.  One nice thing about our teaching pool is that King Williams Town is a really nice area so a lot of the people we're teaching and all 6 of our father led families are people with college degrees and cars and they are self reliant so they will be a real strength to the church when they are baptized.  

Elder Reynolds is really great.  As I said before we're just great friends and it's helping the work a lot.  One cool thing we're doing is that we like to play the township boys at soccer when we see them out playing in the road.  So far we've played 8 matches and won 8.  Our team is undefeatable. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20 letters

To Dad:

Hopefully England will for sure win the World Cup this year everything is in place for it to happen. 
Elder Reynolds also feels the same way as you about England haha he's so negative about it it's really funny. He's pretty good at soccer so we always look for kids playing in the street and then we pull over and play them.  We are undefeated right now.  The township kids are always so surprised when the Mlungus beat them hahaha. 

To Mom:

Thank you for updating me on what day Thanksgiving is because me and my companion were trying to figure out if it happened already yet or what. 

This week was really great.  Of course the highlight of the week was stake conferenece in Mdantsane.  That place is really special to me so when we got to Mdantsane on Sunday morning and we actually drove up to the chapel my heart was really beating fast.  I was so excited to walk into the chapel and meet everyone.  We got there about 30 minutes early so when I got in the doors I peeked my head in the chapel and looked around for a second and there was so many people who just got so excited to see me I was so happy.  For the next 30 minutes everyone was coming up to me and talking and getting really excited and I was so happy and excited to see them.  I really loved that ward so it was special for me to be back.  I was able to see again 6 of my recent converts and I found out that at least 5 other people who I either found or who I was teaching have been baptized since I left.  The people were really surprised to see me and Elder Greengrass together.  

The stake conference was really sweet too.  If you remember President Mahlangabeza from MD 3rd ward.  He was the bishop when I got there but he got called to the stake presidency so his twin brother became the bishop.  Anyway Mdantsane became it's own stake since I left and he became the stake president.  He's only 33 but he's really powerful.  Anyway he gave a sweet talk about the importance of general conference and the changes for next year.  The rest of the session was a broadcast from Salt Lake City.  Brother Tad R Callister spoke first followed by Sister Bonnie L Oscarson, Elder Kevin S Hamilton who is the area president, Elder Carl B Cook my man who served in the Africa Southeast Area Presidency, and the final speaker Elder Andersen from the quorum of the twelve.  Really it was an enlightening meeting.  It was like a bonus session of general conference specific for Africa's needs.  

Otherwise the week has been one of the happiest of my mission.  I feel like me and Elder Reynolds have been friends since childhood or something.  We're just always laughing and having a great time.  We are having so much success too it's just unbelievable.  Nothing really significant has happened solidly so far but we are expecting 6 or 7 baptisms this transfer which will be sweet.  We should for sure be together next transfer too and we're setting some really high goals.  I'm just loving it here in King Williams Town.  As people get further along on their progress I'll tell you more about them, but for now we just have a really full teaching pool. 

I finally sent some pictures of people I loved in Uitenhage in this email and the baptism we had my last Sunday there.  Maybe in the next couple of weeks I'll also send you a picture or 2 from King Williams Town.  We took some pictures on Elder Greengrass' camera so hopefully he'll send me those and I'll send them to you. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

November 13 letters

To Mom:

Me and Elder Khoza got along perfectly.  We never had any disagreement or anything.  He is super humble and so we got along great.  Me and Elder Reynolds are going to get along perfectly as well.  He's also really humble and righteous.  He has got me fasting every week which is crazy and we're waking up at 6 which I never thought I would say that in my life haha.  But Elder Reynolds is super obedient so I have no worries about our companionship.  

We have been smashing it so much these past few days.  We just talked to everyone we saw and found so many new people to teach.  We found a sweet guy from Zimbabwe yesterday called M who is married with a small baby.  Apparently he's a lawyer with several degrees, but our lesson was so powerful with him.  I'm praying that he'll get baptized because for sure he's a potential stake president.

On my first day I met our fellowshipper L.  I like him a lot.  But apparently his mom isn't a member.  So I went to talk to her and found out that she's never been taught the lessons by the missionaries.  I guess every new missionary came in and just assumed she's been taught the lessons.  But she hasn't so we talked to her and set an appointment to start teaching her the lessons.  I have a really great feeling about her especially because L is going on a mission really soon.  But she came to church and the speakers in sacrament meeting were Elder Reynolds talking about the restoration, me talking about the Book of Mormon, and L talking about missionary work.  At the end of sacrament meeting I saw her wiping tears from her eyes.  She was clearly very touched by the messages and testimonies.  Her husband passed away a few years ago and we testified to her that she can live with him again.  Really sweet.

We also met a girl named A on Saturday, taught her the restoration, and on Sunday she turned up to church like an hour and a half early.  We're aiming her baptism for December 17th. 

I found out that next sunday is stake conference in the Mdantsane chapel where I used to go to church every Sunday.  I'm really excited about that.  Practically everyone I loved from Mdantsane will be there and Elder Greengrass will be there as well so the 2 of us are going to meet up with all of our recent converts and it's going to be a big day for me.  I've thought about Mdantsane a lot since I left.  It really has a special place in my heart. 

I promised you pictures but I think I'm going to wait until next week to be consistent with my usual character haha.

To Dad:

I didn't describe my apartment to mom but it's a double story house with an automatic garage that we pull the car into.  Pretty weird.  And it has carpet which is just blowing my mind. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Nov 6 letter

To Mom:

I guess I'll have to give you some details about the week. 
Firstly the baptism. 

The service was another really perfect baptismal service.  The whole ward came to support again.  Anika and Nwabisa were so happy to get baptized and they both bore great testimonies about how great they felt after their baptism.  There was also a young 8 year old girl that joined in the baptism.  Nobody prepared baptismal clothes for her but luckily we thought ahead and prepared baptismal clothes for them anyway so that was lucky. 

We also had the confirmation of the Goeieman family.  They didn't come to church last week to be confirmed because they had a child sick in hospital but they came this time and we confirmed them and it was also really great.  I am planning to focus on families in my next area. '

Speaking of my next area.  I am getting transferred on Wednesday.  I'm going to King Williams Town which is close to Mdantsane where I started.  I'm really excited because I have no leadership other than district leader of a 2 man district which pretty much means no leadership at all hahaha.  I am going to focus on baptizing so many people.  My new companion is going to be Elder Reynolds from England.  I'm pretty stoked because I have met him a little bit on mission and I like him a lot.  Funny thing is that he's actually my first companion that has had more than 1 companion before me hahaha.  My Zone Leader is going to be Elder Greengrass again so that's nice.  Sadly Elder Dove is leaving me to go and be companions with Elder Ivins, so I'm going to be a little nervous to be in a new place without him for the first time. 

This week we wanted to find some people to baptize next transfer and we had a lot of success.  We had one really cool experience.  There is a family called the M family.  Father mother and 3 daughters.  Apparently the wife was going from church to church looking for something right.  The husband didn't really like church because he just didn't think it satisfied his needs so he didn't go, but the wife had been praying that the husband would lead the whole family to a church where they could worship together and be closer as a family.  The husband didn't know that but apparently he was just standing by the church one day and he realized that in 30 years of living here he had never seen that church, and for some reason he had the strong prompting that this is where God wanted him to be, so he went in on Sunday at about 1:00 after church ended and he talked to the bishop.  We went out to see them on Saturday and taught them the Restoration.  We had such a powerful lesson.  The spirit was definitely there, they were close to tears.  They promised us to be at church on Sunday although they didn't actually come.  I'm sure though, that they'll be baptized in the 2 months or so.  

I think you want to know about the zone conference with Elder Koch.  Apparently Elder Ballstaedt's great uncle Immanuel Ballstaedt baptized Elder Koch's parents which is crazy.  So Elder Koch started out the meeting by announcing to everyone that he had served a mission with my brother and saying "Elder Heald's brother was the greatest baptizer in the history of the Mozambique mission."  then he went on to talk about Elder Ballstaedt and how awesome his great uncle was.  Me and Elder Ballsteadt were laughing for the rest of the day that we have royal blood in us and at least we are related to greatness.  

Elder Koch's training was really something special though. He said so many things that were just so profound.  I am actually going to completely change the way I do missionary work after hearing his training.  Me and Elder Faingata'a and my companion have just been talking about the training the whole time since he trained us on Thursday.  Just before lunch he announced that he would only be interviewing 2 missionaries.  Me and Elder Ballstaedt looked at each other and just laughed we said it would be us 2.  But no he didn't interview either of us.  Apart from the doctrine though which was just so amazing he also bore a powerful testimony.  I really knew that the gospel is true while he was speaking.  The AP's texted us that under no circumstances should we ask Elder Koch to take a picture with us.  as soon as we got that text I told Elder Khoza that Elder Koch was going to ask me to take a picture with him anyway.  I was right haha.  But the zone conference was a really great experience for me and Daniel was really lucky to have such a great mission president
I have been getting all sorts of comments ever since then though about my brother and his baptizing prowess hahaha. 

Unfortunately I'm with Elder Faingata'a and Elder Dove right now.  We had to take Elder Huang to the airport so me and my comp split up and he has all the pictures.  I'll send you the pictures of the baptism next week. 

Sister Koch sent these pictures to me (Mom)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Oct 30 letter

This week was kind of boring for me.  It was week 11 of the 12 week program for new missionaries, and basically what my job is in week 11 is to act like a fresh greenie the whole week.  So Elder Khoza led me everywhere this week and I just kind of lazed around and just followed after him.  I always hate week 11 because I just feel so lazy and the work doesn't go as well, but Elder Khoza learned a lot and he grew a lot so it was very productive. 

On Sunday Siviwe and the Goeieman family were supposed to receive the Holy Ghost but the Goeieman family had a child in the hospital so they weren't able to come to church so they should receive the Holy Ghost next week.  Siviwe did receive the Holy Ghost though so that was really good.  He's a really powerful potential priesthood holder.  I hope to hear of him becoming a bishop one day.

Next week I think should be my last Sunday in Uitenhage.  We are going out with 2 more baptisms who were supposed to be baptized last week but had to be postponed.  That will be N and A.  They are both really excited for their baptism.

Elder Koch is coming on Thursday to Port Elizabeth to do his training and he's apparently also going to inspect our appartments and our cars.  I'm excited to meet him and all that it should be great.
Otherwise everything is going well this side and the area is great and all is well.