Monday, July 16, 2018

July 16 letter to Mom

It's transfer week this week.  We got a new senior couple this week from Idaho called the Blasers.  They're really nice and they came to church.  They're serving in our ward now.  It was really funny to see their reactions to a everything.  They were really full of love.  

 This is officially my last transfer so I'll be with Elder Dos Santos for the rest of my mission.  Apparently there's going to be transfer news again halfway through the transfer and the mission is going to shift around a bit to accommodate the Elders that are leaving.  We're going to get 2 new greenies in our zone and Elder Aydelotte from my transfer is coming here for his last transfer.  It's going to be sweet to serve with him for a few weeks.

There's not much to say other than that we're eating really well.  On Friday we even got invited for breakfast by an investigator.  Actually it's the mom of a recent convert and she feeds us at least once a week often twice.  She invited us for breakfast where we ate this thing called Ndyandya which is kind of a cross between a pumpkin and a watermelon.  It was kind of weird but it was alright.  Then we went there at night to talk to L her son and she invited us in and gave us dinner.  I think that's the first time in 2 years I ate breakfast and lunch in the same house.  

I love serving in this ward though the members are amazing.  The holiday ends tomorrow so we'll finally be able to start teaching like normal again.

pig head.  I've heard it's the best kind of head.  I concur.  It's pretty good

July 9 letters

To Dad:

I'm really sorry about the water heater.  You're lucky you could just go to Sabra's house.  In my first area we had a gas guyser so it would just run out about every 5 days and our landlord was terrible at filling it up so we ended up taking cold showers like 2 days a week it was super annoying.  It's not as annoying as here in Queenstown though.  It's so annoying they have had terrible city management and now they can't afford the electricity anymore so they turn off the electricity for the entire city every day usually from 8-9 or so in the morning and then from 6-7 every night.  It's really frustrating but it's fine
The movie with the Rock sounds ridiculous.  It's funny how many movies the Rock is in.  There's a store called Musica that's all over South Africa and it usually has the latest releases so every now and then on P Day I go there to see what movies have come out and the Rock is in everything it's just crazy.  

To Mom:

This week was pretty dull.  Obviously going to Cape Town was cool and those 3 days were nice, but it really slows things down in our actual area when we've had to go to Cape Town.  
Cape Town was sweet though.  We had another MLC which was just mostly basic stuff and nothing major was discussed or anything.  It was really awesome though because after the MLC on Wednesday I went proselyting with Elder Khoza in Langa.  It was good to be with Elder Khoza again for a few hours and it was really weird to be in Langa again.  We went to the Mbaki's for a minute and they were so excited to see me it was pretty awesome.  Definitely they were my favorite family from serving in that ward and it was just really surreal to sit with them for a bit and sister Mbaki made us food that was really good.  After they called Brother Guellor, I don't know if you remember him but the 2 of us were super tight and we have emailed since I left.  He was so stoked to see me he even cried hahaha.  But I love that guy so much.  It was really awesome to see him.  I tried to see Siphokazi my recent convert but she wasn't home.  Shame. 
Otherwise it was nice to be in Cape Town but not much else happened here.  The Bells are going home so they were really emotional.  

Monday, July 2, 2018

July 1 letters

To Dad:

Me and my companion played tons of street soccer this week.  Everyone has a 3 week break from school right now so the kids are playing like crazy in the street.  We even look for older kids sometimes and we just challenge them and we have our own ball so it works out nicely.  One game was really sweet.  We found a bunch of kids who wanted to play and so we set up the field and started playing and tons of people came to watch and all the neighbors came out of their houses to watch and we had so many fans.  We played 2 goals for a game and then a new team would come on.  We played about 6 games and we won them all 2-0 except one of them was 2-1.  The great thing was that the other teams were always pretty good so they always thought they were going to win and then they'd be so disappointed when we won.  And every time we scored all the kids and the fans would go nuts.  It got to the last game and we went up 1-0 early and then they started going really really hard because they wanted to win.  then we played like that for about 5 minutes and then I got the ball near the goal and this kid was going really hard and he came for the ball and he went all in and I totally destroyed him and scored and all the fans went nuts hahahahaha.  It was a lot of fun.  But me and my companion are destroying everyone right now and of course we're undefeated and I think undefeatable.  After the games we gathered everyone together and had a nice prayer.  In all our games we agreed with the other teams that if we won they would come to church and if they won we would bring them cookies.  It was cool because everytime they were so confident and then we started scoring and all their buddies watching the games would say "niya caweni!" you're going to church hahaha.  None of them came to church though, but I hope their conscience haunts them knowing that they totally flaked and they should have come and maybe another week they will come. 

To Mom:

It's been a slow week for us here.  On Saturday we had a birthday party for Mama Ngondo who turned 100.  I love birthday parties here because they're more like sacrament meetings.  We open with a hymn and a prayer and then have a spiritual thought.  Then someone from the stake president is invited to come and give the sermon.  Then some speeches and we close with a hymn and a prayer.  That's what happened on Saturday but it's not just that one.  That pattern of birthday parties has happened 3 times since I got to Queenstown haha I think it's super funny.  But the party was nice but it took almost the whole day and we couldn't leave because we were like the guests of honor or something like that so we ended up staying there until 5:30.  It was supposed to start at 12 but when we got there at 12 they told us to come back at half 1 and when we got back at half 1 it was about to start so we stayed, and it didn't even start for a whole hour after that.  So it went from half 2 to half 5.  African time. Haha but we were able to meet a lot of people there so it was alright.

We played a lot of street soccer with kids throughout this week which was really cool and we obviously destroyed them every game.  They all promised to come to church if we won, and we won every game, but none of them came.  Shame.

Sacrament meeting was interesting.  We had the confirmation of Brother M which was good and we had 2 other investigators come for the first time which we were excited about.  Something that really makes me laugh and I can't remember if I told you this already, but at least one of the speakers every Sunday just stands up and reads a talk from a general authority and then sits down.  Sometimes all 3.  Even the stake speakers sometimes come and just read a talk from conference.  It's really weird and it makes me laugh.  This past week though we had fast and testimony meeting so it was great. 

This week we are going to Cape Town for another meeting.  We're leaving tomorrow and getting back on Thursday so that will kind of destroy our week but it's fine

It's currently snowing outside so that's pretty awesome

here's my new haircut

me and Elder Dos Santos are going to make a customized mug with this picture on it and leave it in the boarding haha

Brother and Sister Mndende came to the birthday party

Me and my comp at the party

June 25 letters

To Dad:

I have to say I've been missing you too.  The World Cup has been on everywhere and it's hard to dodge it or not feel trunky when I see it.  But it's not too bad.  I'm managing it ok.  We went to teach Z the other day and the very end of the Brazil game was on and I saw the score I think it was 1-0 at that time or 2-0 and Brazil had basically already won the game and then I saw Neymar flick the ball over the defenders head.  It made me so mad.  Man I hate that guy what an idiot.  How can he do something stupid like that.  What a joke.  I hope Brazil lose next game and don't qualify. 
It's been funny to be with my companion though for the world cup.  He always says funny stuff about soccer and then says "It's not because I'm Brazilian it's just because that's really what I think."  And then if we're talking to anyone else about it they always just agree with him because they don't know anything and he's Brazilian.  For example: Who's the best player of all time.  Me: It's Messi.  My companion: It's Ronaldinho.  Everyone else:  Yeah definitely Ronaldinho.  Hahaha what the heck.  Nobody ever says Ronaldinho but they just parrot whatever he says haha.  Also he tries to convince me that the teams in Brazil are better than any of the teams in Europe because they win the club world cup.  Hahaha. For the most part what he says is good and correct and he's a really good player himself. 

We've been playing soccer every morning at the chapel with different companionships which has been really sweet.  It's good exercise and it's helping me get a little bit of my touch back which will be good because I'm feeling a bit rusty after not playing for a while. 

We played with the ward on Saturday as well.  It's frustrating to play with South Africans though because they don't really care about scoring or winning.  Honestly it's not their motive.  They always make the field as big as possible and the goal as small as possible to eliminate as much scoring as possible.  Then the point of the game becomes who has the quickest and fanciest dribble.  And it's not even like the dribble past you either.  They never try to dribble past anyone ever.  They just pull the ball back and forth and wait for you to try and steal it and then they just pull it back and pull it back until they get to their own end line and then they pass it away.  And then they turn to you and laugh as if they just smoked you.  It doesn't make any sense.  On Saturday we played the young men and we beat them 4-0.  It was me and my companion and 5 12 year olds against all the 17 year olds.  We were up 4-0 and they still took the ball in their own half and just stood on it waiting for us to come and steal it.  It confused me so bad because we were winning 4-0.  And yet they don't even care.  They have no desire to win or score.  They just want you to go and steal it so they can try and do some quick dribbles and keep you from stealing the ball.  And then after the game, we just beat them 4-0 scoring 4 times on a goal that was about 2 feet wide on a 7 v 7 pitch, and they don't even think they lost because they had done all the cool dribbling they wanted to do.  Hahaha it's always fun to play with them but it's no wonder why South Africa isn't very good.  Even the professional teams play exactly the same way.  And all the South Africans I know are terrible at shooting because they don't like shooting or scoring.  But to be fair just about every South African I have ever met that grew up in the township is a pretty good dribbler and has good ball control. 
But it's been good to be with Elder Dos Santos.

To Mom:

This week was great because we had a baptism.  We also had Zone Conference and some other nice things. 

The baptism was great.  It was just brother Z who got baptized.  He's great.  I've loved teaching him and also I love the food his wife makes for us every time we come.  He's come a long way since we've been teaching him and I'm really excited to see him going forward.  Him and his wife have committed to prepare for temple sealing next year.  That will be super awesome.  After the baptism we went to his house to give him his new member kit and he was so happy.  He just kept saying thank you so much for everything I feel so amazing I feel like a new person.  He's an awesome guy.  The baptismal service was also really nice.  The Elders Quorum President gave a talk which was really nice.  and Sister Mndende gave a talk which was really touching.  

Zone Conference was cool.  Before our interviews on Tuesday President came to our boarding to do daily planning with me and my companion.  That was pretty cool and he had great ideas to bless everyone that we were teaching and things we could do to strengthen them. 

Zone Conference was nice though. President trained about a lot of stuff that we already talked about during MLC last week so that was kind of too bad, but he gave a really great inspiring training about how to pass new converts over to the ward, that is going to help me a lot.  It was Elder Burns last Zone Conference so he's going home.  I'm going to miss him he's one of my best friends on mission.  But he's going to Utah State so I'm only going to miss him for like a month haha

Me and my companion have been finding a ton of great new people and having loads of success this past week.  It's an exciting time to work here in this ward because it's going to split really soon.  Also President Lebethoa is going to be taking lots of cars, but not ours, and he's instructed us to walk as much as possible with the Book of Mormon in our hands.  It's been great and yielded a lot of fruit. 
Here are the pictures from the baptism

June 18 letters

To Dad:

Hahaha I'm laughing that you guys went camping.  Hahahaha.  Mom was telling me about it too and giving some solutions for the next time you go camping.. HA!  I think the real solution is to just never go camping in a tent again.  

I'm dying though.  The relief society brought a Nacho Bar!?  What the heck! hahahaha that's super hilarious.  That's way dope too I hope you enjoyed that one.  

I finished the Book of Mormon last week.  I was thinking about how I used to read the Book of Mormon when I was 8 and I always used to get so excited for you to come home from work so I could tell you that I finished one of the books in the Book of Mormon.  Anyway I love you Dad. happy fathers day. 

To Mom:

This week was an interesting week.  First of all nothing happened in our area because we were in Cape Town the whole week.  It kind of wrecked things here but it was really fun.  The way we've done MLC in the past is that the elders in the Eastern Cape would skype in and the ones in Cape Town would meet together.  But that was always just terrible and frustrating and it didn't really work very well at all.  So now President has decided that every MLC all the zone leaders in the mission will meet together.  Which means the next one will be on July 2nd which is in 2 weeks now!  Crazy.  It did bring a good sense of unity to all of us and it also made the discussion way better and more open.  It was a lot better for sure

It was great to see some of my friends too that I haven't seen.  Daniel Clark was there so we got to hang out for a while.  And Elder Lillback hahahaha I miss that guy so much.  He was making all of us laugh the whole time.  It was pretty cool.  Including Elder Ondracek from the MTC 7 of my 12 companions were there.  I think next time I'll take a picture with all of them.  

We were all hyped for the MLC because the APs kept sending little texts hinting at big things for example "don't freak out when you see the agenda for the MLC..." and things like that.  But it turned out to be nothing special at all.  There was nothing really discussed that was very big or that we didn't already know.  Of course we talked a lot about he issue of cars in the mission and President did reveal that the mission will be losing many if not most of its cars between July 1 and July 17.  So we're going to have to be prepared to walk.  I have a feeling I'll be walking for my last 4 weeks. 
Besides that President introduced a new pass-along card that we're going to be using that has a question of the soul or a verse from the Book of Mormon, and then it directs the person to  He wants us to put them in mailboxes to reach the people who have big gates and who don't like it when we tract.  It's actually a really inspired idea and I think it's going to bless our mission a lot.  

After that me and my companion exchanged with the assistants, one of whom is my son, Elder Reedy.  So I went with Elder Reedy although we only had about 2 hours after everything was said and done, to do misionary work.  But it was nice to be with him and to chat about a lot of things.  I've seen him a lot since we left each other all the way back in MD, but I've never actually got to just be together with him doing missionary work and stuff so I was happy for that chance.  

The plane was awesome.  It seems like the Lord always puts people in our path on the plane who are interested.  All 6 of us sat next to different people and all of use were chatting and having cool experiences.  On the flight to Cape Town I was sitting there while people were coming onto to plane when the guy in front of me turned around in his seat and asked me what all of us missionaries were doing.  I thought, well that was easy! Then I gave him the Book of Mormon and told him we were teaching about it, and then he read it for the rest of the flight.  It was cool he was getting excited about it and taking pictures of a lot of the pages and stuff.  I even saw his chats on whatsapp and he was sending the picture of the Book of Mormon.  After the flight we talked for a bit and I gave his contacts to the East London Elders so I'm sure they'll be teaching him for a while. 

On the flight back some business guy bought chips and candy bars for all of us elders hahaha I don't even know why he didn't even say anything.  We just told him about and that was it.  But maybe he'll go there and then we'll meet up with him later. 

Fathers day was sweet. Ward 1 and Ward 2 met together so it was a really great service.  The attendance was 200 which was the most I think I've seen since I've been in South Africa.  And the singing was really awesome.  After church we all met in the gym and everyone feasted even the people who aren't fathers.  So that was really nice.  

Z passed his baptismal interview so he'll be baptized next Sunday.  I'll send lots of pictures of that.  He's an awesome guy so I'm excited for his baptism. 

me and my comp

Elder Lillback...missed this guy like crazy!

me and Elder Davies (turning 80 this Saturday!)

Monday, June 11, 2018

June 11 letters

To Mom:

10 more whole weeks until I get home is a long time mom!  Don't worry about me coming home any time soon I still have a long time left!  

I'm going to be flying to Cape Town tomorrow and flying back on Thursday.  Apparently it's going to be some huge stuff going to be discussed.  I am really excited about that.  Then we're going to fly to Cape Town again for another MLC that will take 3 days in 3 weeks time.  There must be some crazy stuff happening if they're flying all the zone leaders in the mission to Cape Town twice in 3 weeks.  I'll let you know the details next week but for sure we're going to discuss losing all or most of the cars in the mission. 

I'm loving my new companion even more than I thought I would.  We've laughed so much in the last 4 or 5 days.  It's going to be a great transfer.  

I don't have much to say this week but I think next week I'll have a lot.  Also I don't have pictures this week but next week I'll send double pictures. 

To Dad:

I have played soccer with Elder Dos Santos before in East London we played a lot of times.  But since he's got here we haven't gotten the chance.  He's actually really good at basketball. He thought he was going to be in the NBA when he was younger he's like super good and definitely the best basketball player in the mission.  But he's also really good at soccer.  We're going to start playing with the wards though which I'm excited about 

Monday, June 4, 2018

June 4 letter to Mom

This week was transfers so we had a bit of news on our end. 
On Saturday the Mthatha elders had a baptismal interview that they wanted us to do so we drove out to Mthatha Saturday afternoon.  It's a nice drive so it's always fun to drive down there.  On the way a dog ran out from the side of the road and headed straight for the car but I was going to fast to do anything about it and on the other side of the road a semi truck was coming toward us so there was nothing I could do I just screamed "NOOOO!"  and then God protected us because somehow by sheer luck the dog paused in the road right in the middle of us and the oncoming truck and didn't die.  I have no idea how we didn't hit it I was pretty scared.  

But we got to Mthatha and did the interview and afterwards we went to an appointment with those elders at a school, but the appointment fell through so we decided to drop in to a church that was going on next door.  It was so hilarious.  They started by screaming everyone at once for about 20 minutes and then they sat down and the lady pastor started preaching.  Hahaha she started by reading 2 Kings 5:1.  Read that verse haha.  So she read it and then she spent the next 20 minutes just screaming over and over variations of "Naaman was a good man." or "Naaman was an honorable man"  "Naaman was a warrior"  Hahaha she didn't get to any point at all she literally just said over and over about how Naaman was a good man and then randomly out of nowhere she just completely switched gears and she just screamed "Flee Fornication and glory to Jesus"  And she like jumped up and down and flexed her body and the crowd went wild they couldn't handle it like 10 people jumped up and just yelled "Glory to Jesus!"  And then one lady prayed in tongues for like 10 minutes hahahaha it was just so much apostasy in one room I felt so bad for the people who were enslaved by it. 

Then we got our transfer news later that night while we were sleeping over at Mthatha.  My companion is leaving me to go to Cape Town. And my new companion is Elder Dos Santos from Brazil.  I actually predicted it so I wasn't surprised when he came to be my companion.  He's awesome.  He's one of those guys that's just on another level so I'm gonna really enjoy being with him.  Yeah I'm excited about that

Elder Reynolds is going to Cape Town to be with Elder Bozer and Elder Ivins (still haven't seen him) and the President gave them a special assignment to "test something that will soon come to the whole mission"  We think they're getting smart phones or tablets and losing their car.  But next week there's going to be a big MLC to train all the Zone Leaders about these "big changes" so me and Elder Dos Santos will be flying to Cape Town for 3 days to attend that. I'm pretty excited it's going to be way cool.

But yeah I'm really excited for the next transfer.

Some of these pictures are kind of dumb but this is what I had for this week