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

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Feb 26 letters

To Dad:

I was reading in Alma 36 the other day and I noticed that the last verse and the first verse are the same, so I became a bit interested, and I looked through the whole chapter and discovered that the whole chapter is a Chiasmus!  I am sure that that's probably pretty common knowledge but I felt kind of cool for discovering that on my own.  Almost like you discovering that in D&C 1 but not quite as cool haha

There's been this kind of mission legend about a witchcraft talk.  I've heard all kinds of stories about it, the guy got excommunicated, the guy didn't get excommunicated he was a seventy, no he was just a guy, it's fake, it's real.  Anyway my companion actually has the talk so we listened to it.  It's pretty interesting.  There's a few things that he says there that I really like and that I think are really interesting.  Anyway I googled it and found some stuff that it was a mission legend in lots of different missions and stuff.  I wondered if you'd heard about it.  It's interesting but I prefer to learn the doctrines of the Lord and how I can profit from them, then to learn what wicked things are happening in the world. 

To Mom:

Yeah I think a bunch of us are going home on July 17.  From the group email it seems like probably 5 or 6 of us go home that same day. 

Nana emailed me about that retirement.  It seems like a lot of stuff is happening with them that you guys could easily be just making up.  The fact of them living with you seems really weird, and I will never see it with my own eyes.  And by the time I get back they will be living in England!  Weird.

We had a nice week.  First of all we got dropped like crazy.  I don't know what happened.  We probably got dropped like 6 or 7 times a day on average which just really slows things down.  It was pretty frustrating.  But it's weird because at the same time we met 5 or 6 new people this week that are way exciting and are definitely going to get baptized.  In the space of 1 week this area went from being a bit slow and frustrating, to just overflowing with exciting prospects.  Genuinely of the people we met last week I think we'll have 5 or 10 baptisms.  Super amazing.  We met 2 awesome father led families.  1 was a referral from the bishop.  I'm just so excited about them both.  I was hoping to leave King Williams Town but suddenly I'm hoping to stay!  I've also had a sweet idea for a big event that I want to plan and I've had this idea since I first went to Uitenhage so a long time.  Well I told the bishop about it and he liked it a lot, so I presented it to the ward counsel yesterday and everyone was pretty excited about it.  We're planning the event for March so it should be sweet.  Basically we're planning to invite all the people in all of King to come to the chapel and we're going to preach the restoration to them from the pulpit.  Exciting stuff

Some other funny things happened.  Me and Elder Steffensen played with some kids 8 on 8 in the street the other day.  There was a lot of kids so we went on different teams.  Those kids thought we were way good so they started calling me Messi, and Elder Steffensen Ronaldo.  It was really funny.  Every time I got the ball they'd be like "Pass it Messi!"  And if I scored a goal they'd all freak out and just yell "Messi! Messi! Messi!" hahaha.  when I left they were like "Bye Messi, you're always welcome here!"  Haha I went back the next day on exchange with Elder Shaw and they all crowded the car and started freaking out yelling in Xhosa and chanting "Messi Messi Messi!" hahahaha funny

Another thing that happened that was really nuts.  First of all we live in a townhouse, so our house is connected to our 2 next door neighbors.  Anyway while we were in the area on Wednesday our next door neighbors house burned down.  We didn't even notice until the next day when we were leaving for the area.  It was pretty nuts.  On one side of the wall the house is totally burnt and destroyed and on the other side of the wall is our bedroom.  None of our neighbors knew our phone number so they couldn't even call us hahaha.  The house was just about to burn down and nobody could get ahold of us.  We would have come home from the area and there was just no house there and we wouldn't have even known.  Crazy story.  Moral of the story.  Get to know your neighbors.  But I don't think anybody was hurt in the fire so that's good

On Saturday we went to a birthday party for a girl named Y turning 2.  It was super hilarious.  her parents, brother and sister m prepared gift bags for all the kids in the apartment complex where they're staying and they invited them over.  So they were passing out the bags to all the kids and all the kids started freaking out and fighting over who got which bag and stuff, doing what bratty 5 or 6 year old kids do hahaha.  But then Y took one of the gift bags and walked straight over to the most obnoxious kid and with a big smile on her face she took the bag and just clocked him straight in the face.  It was so funny we were laughing so hard.  This little girl!  As if she was saying "Hey! it's my birthday be grateful!"  Hahaha the kid was like holding his face but it was pretty funny. 
Sunday it rained so a lot of our investigators let us down.  We still had 14 but we could have had so many more.  We were disappointed but a lot of really good things happened this week that we were excited about. 

Sunday was also a big day for me.  18 Months on mission.  Time flies.  I've now graduated from being a sister missionary and I'm an Elder. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

February 19 letters

To Mom

Other than interviews, we had zone conference this week.  It was pretty basic.  Just a nice zone conference as usual.  Overall it was a pretty slow week.  Zone conference week is always really slow.  But we focused on getting investigators to church and we had 16 investigators there which we were pleased about although a lot of people let us down.  We also had 1 baptism of a 10 year old kid named N.  Actually his full name is N Nephi M which is pretty sweet.  His dad baptized him. 
I'm not sure if there's anything else too exciting to share, but I got some pictures to send and I'll hopefully have more next week which is like the first time in months.  Sorry!

Yeah I feel a lot of excitement for my next area.  My next area will be my last area and I just know that I'm going to smash it so hard there.  It's going to be on fire.  What I'm kind of struggling with is to get that much excitement for my current area right now.  Especially since there's a good chance I might have another transfer here.

But Mission is great and the church is true!

From the Mission President on Feb 13:

We know that you’ve probably heard about the water crisis here in Cape Town and are concerned for the health and safety of your missionary.   We want to reassure you that all is in place to care for our missionaries.

Plans are in place for our missionaries to be able to collect their water at the Mission Office and at specified chapels.  We have received large storage tanks to store water here at the Mission Office.  We have a guaranteed supply of water to fill our tanks.  This water will be for washing and other such uses.  It will not be potable water.  In addition we will be getting shipments of large bottles of drinking water for our missionaries to drink.  We will also be receiving water purification tablets and hand sanitizers.  We want you to be assured that everything is being done for the health and safety for our missionaries.  All missionary flats have a 72 hour kit, a lantern and bottled water in case they are confined to their flats for any reason.

We petition the Lord daily not only for rain, but the abilities that we need to deal with this situation.  We pray for the city planners that they will be guided in their massive effort to supply water to this parched city.  We recognize our dependence on our Heavenly Father not only for physical water, but the Living Water of Jesus Christ.  Please join us in those prayers.

President Lebethoa

South Africa Cape Town Mission

Sunday, February 18, 2018

February 12 letters

To Dad:

I've been reading that book by Bruce C Hafen.  I like to listen to Brad Wilcox so I've listened to a lot of his talks and he always quotes Bruce C Hafen and I've been reading a lot of the things he quoted in that book. It's opened my mind on a few things so it's been an awesome book to read.

One of my favorite things about my companion is that he loves doctrine.  I don't like it when people say they love deep doctrine, because that usually means in my opinion that they like deep opinions.  Or deep hypothetical ideas that no prophet has spoken about.  They're part of the goose pimple gang.  But my companion really likes true doctrine and so we've been listening to a lot of sweet talks and he's been reading my books.  It's been sweet. 

We were listening to a talk the other day and there was an insight from Stephen E Robinson that was shared.  That guy is so powerful.  Maybe you've already heard this but I want to type it out because it was sweet. 

He interpreted the parable of the good Samaritan.  He said every part of the parable has significance. 
A certain man fell among thieves.  Who is the certain man? us. who are the thieves? the world and the wickedness in the world.  The man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho.  He said Jerusalem is the holy city and is set high above sea level.  Jericho is below sea level and is not holy.  We came from heaven in a celestial world living with God and descended all the way to this telestial world.  
So a certain man who is us went from heaven down to earth and fell among thieves. 
The priest came by.  Who does the priest represent?  The Aaronic priesthood.  Can we be saved by the Aaronic priesthood?  No we can't.  A Levite came by.  What do Levites do?  They administer the law of Moses.  Can the law of Moses save us?  No it can't.

Then a certain Samaritan came by.  Samaritans were hated by the jews because they were half jew and half gentile.  Half holy and half not.  The jews focused on the half unholy part of them and hated them for it.  Who was the certain Samaritan.  Jesus Christ.  He was half God and half human.  The jews focused on the half human part of him and hated him for it.  Can Jesus save us?  Yes and only he can. 

So in the end Jesus said that the perfect example of being a neighbor was Jesus himself, and when he said go and do thou likewise, he was saying go and be like me.

I had never thought of it that way but it makes so much sense and I just love it a lot.  Super awesome.
Anyway Dad things are going great.  We're not allowed to play sports on P day anymore so that's going to be hard for the last part of my mission.  Oh well.

To Mom:

I forgot to tell you that last week was stake conference.  It was sweet to go to another stake conference and see all the people I used to know.  A couple of my recent converts moved to Joburg to go to College so I didn't see them and I'm really praying they can stay strong and active in the church over there.  The church is strong in Joburg though so I have hope.

This week the stake presidency was at our ward even though our ward conference was the week before stake conference.  So they were here again and I knew immediately we were getting a new bishop.  And we did.  They released the old bishop who has been the bishop for 11 years.  The new bishop is a sweet guy he's 31 and he's just had his first baby about 3 weeks ago.  He's really visionary and inspired and he's also willing to meet with us so that's a great blessing.  We already talked on Sunday for quite a while and made some great plans to get missionary work rolling. I'm so excited to be here all of the sudden and I just have a perfect brightness of hope for this area in the future.  It rained on Sunday and we had 11 investigators at church, so I'm excited so see how many come when it doesn't rain.  Everything looks exciting right now. 

My companion is awesome.  I love the way we're teaching the lessons.  We have so much unity.  I've never enjoyed teaching more than I do right now.  And I'm learning a lot from him which is just super sweet.  I hope I don't get transferred but we'll see what happens. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

February 5 letter

To Dad:

I'm actually liking the Old Testament.  I'm up to page 450 by now.  It's been a really enlightening experience I'm studying it with the student manual and I'm actually learning a lot and it's helping me in my teaching too.  At least I know how the Old testament works and what the church was like then.  

To Mom:

No we didn't get 20-0.  We didn't get time to play any matches on Tuesday or Monday so we finished our record 18-0

Last week we had the craziest experience and I forgot to write you about it.  Me and Elder Reynolds got invited by one of our investigators to a tent for a worship service.  It was in the middle of the village far from town.  We were driving around trying to find it and we found this little wooden shack which was apparently a church.  We walked in and caused a bit of a distraction from the pastor while he was trying to preach haha.  All the people were so surprised to see 2 white guys come into this random church in the middle of the village.  The pastor stopped preaching and everyone started praying at once.  That's very common here and it's really funny although I feel bad about laughing about it.  There's like 100 of them all saying prayers but they just try and make it sound as powerful as they can and they don't pay any attention to what they're saying.  Sometimes they even speak in tongues which is just absolutely senseless.  It was very funny but we realized we were in the wrong place so we left while they were praying and went to the right place. 

We got into the tent where we were supposed to be and when we got in they were really excited once again to see 2 white guys, so they brought us to the front and gave us a place to stand right behind the speakers.  When I say speakers I mean that they had 2 massive amplifiers and they were soooo loud.  We got in and everyone was singing in Xhosa and it was pretty cool.  Then they turned the speakers on and the worship team came to the front and the cool part was over.  I sacrificed my ear drums for that investigator so I really hope he joins the church.  They had the worship team of 7 people up at the front and they all had a microphone, and they each pressed their mic as close to their mouth as they could possibly get it and then screamed as loud as they possibly could.  All 7 of them at once, meanwhile everyone else was screaming as loud as they could too.  I screamed at the top of my lungs and I couldn't even hear it.  It was crazy.  I didn't know that the noise could be that loud.  That went on for an hour straight.  It was so ridiculous.  Then the apostle stood up and he said hallelujah.  and everyone said praise the lord.  And he said hallejuah again and everyone said praise the lord again.  He did that like 15 times and then he switched to saying praise the lord, and everyone said halleluja.  And he did that like 15 times as well.  Hahahah then he gave the mic to the pastor who started preaching in Xhosa.  Luckily they had a translator who followed him around and translated everything into English.  It was quite funny.  The pastor taught some ridiculous false doctrine which was just so bad, but meanwhile all the people were just shouting "Praise the Lord."  They didn't even really pay attention to what he was saying.  It doesn't even really matter to them.  They don't want to learn about Jesus they just want to sing and dance and praise in a really senseless way.  At one point a lady stood up and started speaking in tongues.  She just said "Hagagagagagagesi" Like 50 times in a row and then sat down.  It was so ridiculous.  I felt bad for those people they were so misled and they just believe anything anyone says about Jesus even if it completely contradicts itself.  To them everything is true and there's no point in learning or doing anything except turning up to the church every week to scream and dance and "Worship"  
It was quite a funny experience

But anyway this week has been sweet.  Elder Steffensen is awesome and our lessons have been going so well.  We're teaching great and I love it.  I'm getting excited about King Williams Town all of the sudden.  Unfortunately our baptism for next week has been postponed because the family that was being baptized had to go to Queenstown and they missed their baptismal interview.  I was pretty disappointed about that and I was disappointed in them too, but it's ok we'll probably just postpone the baptism 1 week. 

I went on an exchange with Elder Shaw and i found out his Dad does exactly what I want to do for a career so I've been really excited about that.  I emailed him today and I'm hoping he'll respond and give me some really valuable advice next week especially about what to study.