Monday, October 16, 2017

Oct 16 letters

To Dad:

This is a very interesting email.  Thanks a lot dad.  I'm just finishing the Book of Mormon tonight or tomorrow and I'm planning to have a much more in depth study of it the next time through.  I hope when I go home we can have some deeper conversations because I want to know a lot more from you about how you read the scriptures and how you get so much out of them.  But yeah I'll make a study of the visions of course and I'll try and look into that more and more. 

To Mom:

When you tell me about your job situation it just makes me laugh a lot.  The unemployment rate in South Africa is 27% hahah.  My comp was just telling me he used to work for 10 Rand an hour and he thought it was a good job.  That's about 80 cents hahahaha.  It's a blessing to be able to choose between so many good options. 

Things are going really well in our area.  We should have 6 baptisms if all goes well this Sunday.  We did the interviews on Sunday.  All of our candidates passed their interview although one was told to wait for November 5th so we should baptize her on that day if all goes well.  The family we are baptizing is really great.  N and S bring lots of kids every Sunday for church.  The two of them were married already but it wasn't legally recognized in South Africa so last night the Stake President came to the chapel to marry them together.  It was a very small service there was only 6 or 5 of us there but it was nice and the spirit felt really good.  I promise I'll send some pictures of that baptism next Monday so you can see everyone.  

Uitenhage is going to be starting a group in the township so probably it will split into a branch next year.  I think that we might get 2 more missionaries next transfer which would be a really good thing.  

I had a crazy experience on Friday.  I was driving down the road and there was some girls playing jump rope in the street as they always do.  Well when they saw a car coming their way from the opposite direction they put the jump rope down and moved to the side of the road.  The car passed them just before I passed them going the opposite direction.  Well because that car passed them they thought it was fine to go back in the street and one girl stepped back into the street to pick up the jump rope just as I was passing and I bumped her with the car.  I was so scared I pulled over but I've heard about mob justice and things that scared me a lot so I thought I might have to just flee the area.  Luckily Elder Khoza knows more than I do and he said we should go over to her.  Turns out she was completely fine.  She was in pain a little but she got up and kept playing jump rope so I was very relieved.  It was interesting though because while we went to talk to her we met a young woman who told us she is a member of the church named T.  We have never met her but we took her details and invited her to church.  The Lord works in mysterious ways because I know we wouldn't have stopped or met that less active member if we didn't bump that girl.  Still though it was crazy I was freaked out for the rest of the day every time I saw little kids playing in the road. 
Otherwise everything is going great for me

Oct 9 letter

Hi Mom

We watched the last session of conference yesterday.  I knew that Elder Hales died last week.  The last session was less powerful for me but there were 3 talks I really really liked.  Brother Callister's talk about the Book of Mormon really resonated with me.  I really liked Elder Koch's talk.  And Elder Anderson's talk was just really special I thought.  

This week was just so amazing for us.  We had 16 investigators at sacrament meeting that was a record for my whole mission I think.  We have been pretty much spending most of our time preparing for our baptisms coming up on the 22nd.  We are going to have 7.

Firstly that family that I told you about is going to be baptized.  N and S and their 2 daughters N and S.  We've been working with them and the bishop is doing an amazing job taking them in.  The Bishop is arranging to marry them this Saturday.  They are already married and they already had the ceremony and everything but it just didn't get recorded legally so the Bishop is making arrangements to have a small ceremony to make it legal so they can be baptized.  They've been coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon it's really exciting.  S got her answer a long time ago but last week at conference N was really touched and he told us that he got his answer there. 

We are also going to baptize N.  I think I told you about her already but she is doing so well.  She lives alone in a house with her little brother and she's only 17.  Just kind of shocking that a 17 year old girl lives alone but she's really responsible and mature so she manages.  She just really loves the Book of Mormon.  She reads at least 1 chapter every single day.  We told her that if she would read the Book of Mormon every day before she studies that her grades would improve.  She took the challenge and her 3rd term just ended and she got her scores and she did significantly better this time around which was really exciting.  She's going to be a great member of the church.  

There's another investigator named A who's been around for months and months.  I think I told you last week that she decided to quit her job at Spar so she can come to church every week and she's finally going to be baptized on the 22nd. 

The last baptism on the 22nd is the most exciting to me.  We have an investigator named S who is just really powerful.  He's super smart and he already knows a lot of the members and his girlfriend is even a member.  He's been taught the lessons before and he's just been around for a really long time but this time we were teaching him we've had some really powerful lessons.  We gave him the 22nd as his baptismal date like 7 weeks ago and he said he'd really try to make it but he wanted a confirmation that the church was true before he got baptized.  Well last week he went away for a weekend vacation with his girlfriend so he wasn't at church.  We were really worried about him especially for chastity issues and stuff but when we saw him this weekend we talked to him.  He said he'd been living the law of chastity and the word of wisdom completely.  We were really happy about that.  Then he told us about a very curious dream that he'd had.  He wanted an interpretation for his dream.  It was a really powerful experience because we were able to give him the interpretation for his dream right there on the spot and he said that because of that he was ready and he wanted to go forward with the baptism.  This guy is definitely a potential ward and stake leader.

To answer your question about transfers, this is my 3rd transfer in Uitenhage.  It is my second transfer with Elder Khoza so I will almost certainly leave Uitenhage on the 8th of November.  But President Lebethoa isn't so predictable he's throwing lots of curve balls so I could stay.  I don't know if the bishopric did talk to the mission president about having me stay around it's just something they were talking about for a second, but if I did stay I would be stoked.  There's a lot going on in Uitenhage right now I really love it here. 

Go to and watch, How the Book of Mormon changed Thandikhaya's life, that's my buddy from MD and you'll even see Elder Clark there so that's pretty cool.

Monday, October 2, 2017

October 2 letters

To Dad:

We watched conference this weekend.  It was really great.  Mom said that you liked Elder Renlund's talk which I agree it was really powerful.  I really liked Elder Christofferson's talk.  I wondered if you also liked it because the metaphor of eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ is really a fascinating metaphor to study and I know that you had been studying the symbolism of the sacrament before my mission so I thought you would have liked that one.  Elder Christofferson is just my favorite I love him so much I hope you liked that talk. 

There were a lot of talks that I liked.  I also like Elder Bednar's talk because he doesn't mess around with funny stories and anecdotes he just speaks pure doctrine haha.  And Elder Oaks talk was really powerful.  We are watching Sunday afternoon next week. 

I love you Dad
Thank you for being such a great example to me and a pillar of strength all my life

To Mom:

Aevyn and Aeyla are so cute.  I can't wait to play with them.  Especially since President Lebethoa is really being strict on the rules and we've made a focus on not picking up kids at all or really not playing with them.  That's sad and one of the most difficult sacrifices I've had to make on mission so far. 

We did watch conference this week also.  We watched 2 sessions live and 2 others on a little delay all except Sunday afternoon session which we'll watch next week.  I thought it was an amazing conference.  There was a lot of things that spoke to me a lot.  I really loved Elder Christofferson's talk as usual.  He really speaks with the tongue of angels I'm not going to lie.  But by far my favorite talk was President Nelson's talk.  That was just so powerful I can't stop thinking about it.  

I noticed a couple of themes for the conference.  There was a lot of talk about service and a lot of talk about humility.  I don't know if you also thought that but I thought that was a good take away for me.  There was also a lot and a lot of emphasis on President Monson and a lot of love to him and everyone was quoting him.  It really felt like a final tribute to him or something.  

Another theme that a lot of speakers spoke about was the dangers of social media which I completely agree with.  A lot of speakers brought that up and I think that's really wise because it is a big problem. 

It was amazing for me and we actually managed to get 13 investigators to turn up to conference so that was a really great turnout. Especially since it was only like 5 of us members and 13 investigators.  Not kidding for the last session the investigators outnumbered the members and the session hahahaha.  

I have a lot to write about this week since I didn't get a chance to write last week so excuse my long email. 

First I'll say that the elephant experience was really great.  We rode the elephants for a while which was cool and the guides told us a bunch of facts about elephants which was sweet like the fact that they can lift 400 kgs with their trunk and that us on their back is like a matchbox in our pocket.  After we finished the ride we walked along side the elephants and we led them to a place where they ate some treats and we took lots of pictures with the elephants.  I am sad I didn't bring my camera because it's going to take me like a month to finally get some of those pictures but as soon as they come I'll send them to you. 

After that we led them to another feeding spot and we fed them some treats and took more pictures.  It was weird to touch that trunk thing it was so slimy and it was basically like a hand.  Something funny is that while we were walking with the elephants one of them just decided to grab a tree branch and rip it off and eat it.  Obviously they do that because that's how they live, but I thought it was funny that the elephant ate the branch not the leaves.  Like he literally just ate the wood hahaha.

Last Monday there was a stake event.  5 wards showed up to KwaNobuhle to play a soccer tournament.  Funnily enough we all showed up to where they meet for church, and bear in mind this event has been planned for several months, and they didn't have a place to play or a ball to play with hahahaha.  But no problem we drove around and found a field to play at and they graciously volunteered my ball for the cause of the event.  Unfortunately my ball popped along the way so it has gone the way of all the earth.  If you want to put 20 dollars in my account for me to buy another one that would be heaven sent.  

There were 5 wards and so all of the missionaries were there and we ended up making our own team which was the missionary team to be in the tournament.  Our first game was against KwaMagxaki ward and we easily smashed them.  I scored a pretty sweet goal dribbling through a couple of defenders and after I scored I was running back and a random guy from the sideline yelled "Elder are you from England?"  Hahaha I thought that was funny.  It's so weird to them that a white guy could be good at soccer that the only explanation in their mind is that I must be from England haha.  
But in the end our missionary team played against Uitenhage ward in the final and we also beat them 2-0 so my bishop wasn't happy with me and Elder Khoza hahaha.  But it was all good in the end and all of us missionaries were so proud to represent the mission so well haha. 

A funny story from the week is that we have this investigator named B who we've taught about 4 times.  At his house he has about 6 cousins that we also teach all YSA age.  They have come to church 1 time.  One of the cousins is named T.  On Wednesday night we taught them and after the lesson T said to me "It's my matrix fairwell tomorrow night why don't you come to 5 Peperboom at 6:00 tomorrow"  Matrix fairwell is like prom.     So I was like ok we can move some things around and fit it into our schedule.  So we showed up the next night at 6 and the family showed us in and we sat down behind this massive table of cakes and treats and stuff and waited for whatever was going on.  Apparently in the colored culture it is custom for the person going to prom to have a little gathering of friends where some people give speeches to him and eat and send him on his way.  Well as we were sitting there everyone started looking at me and I was just wondering why they were doing that and then his mom said to me "You can start"  Hahahaha so then I realized that I was actually the master of ceremonies for a ceremony that I have never even seen or know what it is at all hahaha.  So I was like ok what the heck and I stood up and just winged it.  I had my companion give a prayer and then I gave a speech for this kid I barely knew and then I made some jokes and called some other family members to give speeches and then closed with a prayer.  It was really funny for me to be thrown into the deep end so completely but my companion said I handled it well haha.  At least that guy will never forget me and he'll be more likely to be coming to church from now on. 

We're having lots of success with our investigators.  That father led family I told you about N and S and all their kids came to church again for conference.  They are married but not by law so the bishop is going to sort them out legally and they'll be baptized on the 22nd.  

Sister N who is 18 is doing amazingly well.  She reads 1 chapter a day in the Book of Mormon and she's almost done with 2 Nephi now.  She came to 3 sessions of conference and she's also going to be baptized on the 22nd. 

One of our investigators that's been around for many months long before me was supposed to be baptized before I got here but she has a job and she works on Sundays.  Finally she came to us yesterday and told us that she's had enough and she wants to be baptized so she quit her job.  She's going to be baptized on the 22nd. 

We've been really blessed by the Lord and me and my companion are getting along great. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

September 25 letter

Everything was really great this week.  We even had 12 investigators at sacrament meeting which was the most that we've had since I've been here in Uitenhage.  The bishopric is actually going to put in a request to the mission president to have me stay in Uitenhage until next year January.
Today was a public holiday so all of the email shops are closed.  It's called Heritage day which is a really cool holiday because everyone dresses up in their traditional clothes and stuff.  We had a soccer tournament with lots of the wards in the stake.  I'll tell you all about it next week.

I'm emailing at the chapel so I don't have time for more than this 5 minute email but I love you and I'll give you a good email next week. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

September 18 letters

To Mom:

Yeah mission is still going really great.  This week was another amazing week.  

There's a guy called S.  I don't know if I've told you about him, but he's 24 with a great job, he's very intelligent and friends with lots of the members already.  His girlfriend is also a member of the church.  He's definitely a stake leader.  But he's investigating the church and this Saturday we taught him the third lesson which is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was such a powerful lesson.  It was amazing and it really touched him.  At the end he prayed and he asked that his baptismal date for October 22nd might be realized.  He was at church yesterday and he talked to all of the leaders.  He might be the investigator that I'm most excited about because he's really committing now to the church and to his baptism and he's one that I know will never fall away. 

I don't know if you remember Brother G.  He's the one that has his own church and he requested a Book of Mormon online.  Well we started teaching his son last Sunday and this Sunday we came to him and he was really troubled.  He told us that he hadn't even touched the Book of Mormon and he felt like the bible was enough for him.  We had such an amazing lesson with him.  We opened the Book of Mormon and read some scriptures with him and we could see his countenance visibly change.  He was so touched and so humbled and at the end he realized what a wonderful thing the Book of Mormon was and he promised to read it. 

We're planning about 10 baptisms for October so soon you should hear about people who were baptized.  We're finally getting our people to church so it's really great.  
There's a less active member called M.  He had a vision about 2 weeks ago showing him all of his sins and showing him that he needs to repent because he's going to be a leader at church.  Anyway he went to the bishop and set a marriage date for November 3rd.  We have been teaching his fiancee and she was at church yesterday and her baptism is set for November 5th. 

Today we went to ride on the elephants.  It was a really cool experience.  They are so massive.  My camera doesn't work right now so that was very frustrating.  But before you lose hope in me don't worry I made sure that I got lots and lots of pictures of me riding them so I'll send them to you next week or the week after as soon as they come in.  But we rode on the elephants and then we went to feed them.  They are really smart so it was a lot of fun.  

The diet and the workout plan is still going strong don't worry.  I know you probably all thought I was going to flake out but it feels too great so don't worry I'll keep it up for as long as I can.  I remember when I was in 8th grade I always hung out with Nathan Wolfherts and I saw that he didn't eat any sugar or oil and he only ate healthy stuff and I told you I was going to do that and I wasn't eating sweet things and you said "Ok Adam"  and it lasted like a day and a half.  But this time I'm way more serious hahaha

To Dad:

Mission is really really flying by right now for me.  I am just trying to do my best.  But I don't have much to say because I only have 5 minutes left and I already said what I wanted to say to you, to mom so just read that but I love you and I want you to know that I really feel like I'm giving it my all right now and I have no regrets at the moment.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September 11 letters

Letter to Mom:
Week 1 of getting shredded has been really nice.  I have been eating so many fruits and vegetables and pretty much I feel good about everything that goes into my body and I've worked out every day but so far I look exactly the same as I did last week.  One more week at least for my 6 pack to come out I think. 

I can't believe all of those natural disasters in America maybe that's going to be the end of the world or something.  There's actually a member family here who feeds us every Friday night and they love to tell us all sorts of prophesies that they find online and stuff it's really funny, but they said that something major is supposed to happen on the 24th of this month so keep your eyes peeled :)

This week was pretty killer again for us.  We pretty much smashed it.  We found lots of new investigators and taught people who are progressing and everything great.  That family that I told you about which is the G family came to church on Sunday.  The whole family stayed for the whole 3 hours which is a family of 5.  As far as I know they really enjoyed church and they have been reading the Book of Mormon.  We're thinking about the 8th of October for their family and if not the 22nd.  We have some other investigators who we want to get baptised in October also.  S is the boyfriend of a member and has lots of friends at church and we committed him to the 22nd.  He has a lot of questions and doesn't want to be bound down to a church but we told him that he must pray and find out for himself that the church is really true.  He promised to study the BoM and come to church and pray so that he can know by the 22nd.  He's actually read 15 pages already. 

We met another girl named N last week.  She's only 18 so we have been trying to be really careful that she knows we are only there to preach the gospel because as soon as she thinks we're her buddies or that we're really cute or something, she will probably lose the chance to gain her own testimony.  It's been really good though she has read to chapter 7 in the Book of Mormon and had some crazy experiences praying to know that it's true.  She promised to come to church next Sunday and we've given her the date of the 22nd. 

We are still teaching R.  He came to church for the 3rd week in a row yesterday so we're going to baptise him on the 8th of october or maybe even the 24th but I don't think so.  He's been reading the BoM a lot though and he's doing great. 

Obviously there's a lot more people that we're teaching but those are the ones I'm really excited about that should be baptised soon. 

There's another sister who we've been teaching for a long time but who isn't close to baptism named Z.  She's pregnant and due in the next month of two.  She said that if she has a boy she's going to name him Adam haha :)  A while ago me and Elder Lillback were talking to her about a name for her baby and I told her I thought the coolest name is Adam and she said yeah it's cool.  She doesn't realize that it's my name though hahaha.  

President Lebethoa is making lots of changes.  He says no skinny pants, no skinny ties, no rolled up sleeves, no playing with children, no funny pictures and a lot of other things about the rules.  The whole mission felt pretty rebuked after MLC when he announced those things and I put away all of my ties except 1 haha.  I did end up buying some shoes though so they are very nice.  This week was the primary program which is the best Sunday of the year always.  It was really nice I felt the spirit and I thought of you and Dad the whole time. 

Letter to Dad:
Every morning for the past 3 or 4 weeks I've just woken up at 6:25 or 6:30 and I don't even need an alarm any more.  I'm really happy about that haha :)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September 4 letters

To Dad:

(Speaking of Training):  The Lord is giving me exactly what he knows I need to learn.  Mostly humility and more importantly charity which is the greatest of all.  I did struggle with my companions before I slowly started to learn more and more how to handle having a companion.  My last companionship with Elder Lillback was perfect and I have no doubt we could have stayed together for as long as needed without argument.  I really think the Lord arranges transfers based on weaknesses not on strengths.  He doesn't give the greatest leaders the greatest leadership responsibilities and down until he gives the most incompetent fools JC for 2 years.  Instead he gives leadership to those who needs leadership and JC to those who need to be humbled.  For me training 3 times is very clearly something that God is trying to teach me.  I believe firmly that he wants to teach me patience for weakness and most importantly Christlike love and Charity.  After everything that I've learned on mission so far I would say that's by far the most important and valuable thing I have tried to learn.

To Mom:

I'm really excited to see that Elder Koch is coming to our mission.  I knew that he was in the South East Africa Area Presidency and I also knew a seventy was coming to our mission so I was really hoping it would be him because that would be really cool.  So yeah that's really exciting news for me he should be coming in October so that will be really awesome. 

There's a missionary in our zone from England (coincidentally Elder Dove's companion) who used to be a professional rugby player and he also went to school to be a personal trainer and he worked professionally as a personal trainer before mission.  His name is Elder Sibiya.  Elder Sibiya has gotten a couple of us in the zone on his workout and eating plan promising shocking results.  I start today.  Basically his plan includes no sugar, no bread, no pasta, no butter or oil, no cereal.  Lots of eggs meat and beans as well as fruit and vegetables and peanut butter.  Lots of water.  It's going to be a pretty major change for me but I'm really excited about it.  I was eating a lot of junk this past week to prepare for my "before" picture and I tried to make myself look as bad as possible.  You'll see the picture I'm sure it is very funny.  But soon I will be shredded out of my mind :)

Me and Elder Khoza had a killer week this week for missionary work.  We are teaching this father led family who were referred to us by brother Freddie in the bishopric.  When we went back to teach them the second lesson we asked them if they had prayed.  The wife said "I prayed to know if Joseph Smith is a true prophet and if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on earth and I felt this amazing feeling inside that was so warm and told me that it's true, almost as if Jesus Himself was speaking to me telling me that everything was true but that I needed to learn more and come to church."  We were so excited about that and for sure she will be baptised with her family in the next couple of weeks. 

Also we've been working with the bishop.  We have a couple of investigators who the Stake President is probably going to come out and marry in the next few weeks and some other people who are really excited about church.  I'll let you know more about them as they approach baptism.  It's been 12 weeks in Uitenhage now and we're finally making real progress so that's exciting.