Tuesday, December 27, 2016

December 27 letters

To Mom:

Yes it was very nice to speak to you guys.  Hopefully on Mothers day we'll have better connection but it was very nice for me on Christmas to see you guys.

Christmas day was very nice.  We had so much food I wanted to die.  We got fed a meal by this family from Zim and that was pretty nice and then we went to this other sister and she brought us out this huge plate of food and we were just looking at it like wow I don't know if I'll be able to finish that.  And then she said ok I'll bring the meat in a minute.  Then she brought us a huge plate of meat as well with like different types of meat on it.  and then I thought I was going to die and she brought out dessert.  She literally brought us the hugest bowl of Ice cream I have ever seen.  It was probably the size of a big mixing bowl just chuck full of ice cream and cake and I thought I was going to die.  I just kept taking bites and saying I hate food I hate food.  I ended up leaving like half of it.  Then after that some more people wanted to feed us meat and we just had to turn them away.  And then another sister gave us some cake and a tin of biscuits and a full 2.5 liter coke and some candy bars to take home hahaha.  We felt very fat.  It was a nice day.

So yeah I just have a couple of stories from this last week which I will share.

Firstly we struggled to get appointments.  I think we had an average of about 12 appointments planned a day and we didn't teach a single one.  So many drops.  On Thursday though we did manage to teach a lesson which was a really cool lesson.  So the other Elders called us and they said they have a referral for us and they met a sister that had come to their ward that stays in our area and her name is L.  So we set up a time with this sister to teach her and it was Thursday.  Anyway so this girl is 23 and she's from Joburg so she's only here for the holiday.  But she told us that she's been coming to church with her friend for about a month and that the missionaries have only taught her once but they didn't really teach her so she's basically a brand new investigator.  Anyway we started teaching her the Restoration and when we got to the part about prophets Elder Reedy kind of explained to her what prophets are and then he asked her what do you know about prophets.  And she was just like "Yeah they are men of God and I like that they have to be chosen by God."  And I was like good good that's true.  And then she was like "I actually met one of the prophets in Joburg."  And I was like Oh brother what is this.  Because there are some pretty crazy false prophets in South Africa.  But then she was like "D Todd Christofferson"  And I was like no way that's insane.  And she pulled out her phone and she had a picture with her and Elder Christofferson was right there on the stand.  I was so blown away.  And anyway she turned out to be a golden perfect investigator and if the Joburg missionaries don't screw it up she'll be baptized for sure.

The other story I want to share with you guys is from yesterday which was the day after Christmas.  We were teaching this guy called S.  we've taught S maybe 3 other times so we know him pretty well but the whole time he's told us he doesn't want to commit to anything because he doesn't believe in Jesus Christ and he doesn't really think religion is important.  Well yesterday we told him that we were going to teach him the plan of salvation and that we were going to show him why it matters that we believe in Christ and why he should commit to the things that we've asked him to commit to.  Well it turned out to be a super spirit-led lesson.  The whole time he was getting revelation and asking all these super inspired questions and at the end I was like wow Sparks that was a nice lesson I have really felt the spirit and he was so excited he was like yeah me too!  But then we talked to him about baptism and we had already given him a date to work for but he didn't really care, so this time when we asked him to prepare for baptism he said Yeah for sure I'm really excited to be baptized and I'm coming to church and I'm going to read the book of mormon too.  And we were like wow this is powerful.  And anyway he changed completely in that lesson I could really see the light of Christ come into his eyes.  It was a very nice lesson.

Also My son elder Reedy got burned pretty bad this morning.  He spilled boiling water on his leg so we'll see what happens with that.  

To Dad:

Yeah it was so nice to talk to you guys.  I think for mothers day I will have more experience and I'll be able to figure out the best way to skype you guys.

Man it sounds like you guys had a sweet Christmas though.  That made me so sad when you said Daniel is Aevyn's favorite buddy.  But yeah I wish I could be there with all the family just playing with all the kids and opening presents and rolling around in the snow hahaha. 

That present from Nana and Jordan is super cool.  That's a sweet gift I wouldn't mind getting that myself.  That's pretty cool that they thought about what you would really want.  

 It's nice that Christmas is over though because all of our investigators are starting to come back and the baptisms we're looking at is pretty exciting.  We have maybe 20 people who we think could be baptized in January and February which means we're going to be really busy again and it's very exciting. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

December 19 letter

So to start off with I will tell you what I meant by crazy stuff happening but you can't freak out.
So there's some really dumb things in Xhosa culture.  Most of them circulate around something called the bush. Every boy has to go to the bush at some point usually when they're 16 or 17.  What that means, is that the boy who is going to the bush has to go out into the wilderness somewhere usually pretty close to Mdantsane, and build this little bush hut made out of sticks and black plastic bags.  While they are there the village elders go to them and circumcise them.  Then while they are in pain they teach them the ways of the land.  It's like a big secret what they learn in there but it's pretty basic stuff.  How to take care of yourself how to treat women and whatnot.  Supposedly it used to be good but now it's just stupid.  Oftentimes at the bush, people die because they didn't get circumcised right and they get infected.  All the bush boys have a blanket that they keep with them the whole time they're at the bush and when a person dies from their circumcision, the other bush boys take that one's blanket and leave it on the grass at his family's house.  It's supposedly a sign that that child was week and a sign of disgrace.  If you ask me that's the stupidest thing in the world.  Anyway after the kids get back from the bush they are men.  And so they aren't allowed to be friends with their old friends anymore, because they are men now.  They must be friends with men and not kids.  That's also stupid if you ask me.

Now here is where the story comes in.  If you haven't gone to the bush you are not allowed to call someone by name who has gone to the bush.  Also you are not allowed to call them Mfethu which means bro.  So we had a progressing investigator called S, he was 16, who we were preparing for baptism in January.  We had taught him maybe 3 times and he was starting to get excited about the message.  Well S was in the park one day and some kids called him by his name.  He got very angry and told them they can't call him by name because he's a man.  And so they still did it and he went and he beat them up because they're not allowed to do that.  Anyway the kids grabbed their brother who was drunk and he came and he brought a knife and he stabbed S to death.  After he realized what he had done he confessed to the police and now he's serving life in prison and he's very traumatized because he didn't mean to do that.  It's a very sad thing that happened but I think the lord works in mysterious ways, because I'm sure S will accept the gospel on the other side of the veil.  The whole thing made me very angry at Xhosa culture though. 

I didn't want to tell you that story because I'm sure you'll freak out and be way scared and what not but don't worry as long as I respect the culture around the bush I'll be ok.  

I will tell you a little bit about Elder Reedy.  I am getting along with him really well.  I find myself having a lot of love for him, and also a lot of love for Elder Greengrass who is in Kwa Nobuhle now.  Elder Reedy is really fresh from the mtc.  He's very green and so I'm teaching him how to teach all the lessons and how to talk to people on the street and stuff and he's really taking it in stride and running with it.  I have seen a lot of improvement in his teaching.

One of the things we have been doing in December is street contacting a lot.  In the past 2 weeks we have had about 35 new investigators just from street contacting.  It is one of the things that I am really good at.  We just stop the car next to someone walking on the road and ask them if they want to learn about Jesus and if they say yes we set an appointment.  I have been helping Elder Reedy to be better at this to some success as well. 

We didn't get a lot of proselyting time this week because we had activities on Thursday and Friday.
On Thursday instead of going to the area we went to an area in East London and sang Christmas Carols and passed out pass along cards and gave people the Book of Mormon.  The rule about the Book of Mormon was that we could only give them to someone if they came to us and we taught them about it.  It was actually a super fun finding activity and we got a lot of people interested in our message. 

On Friday we had a huge Zone conference.  It was combined with our zone (Mdantsane Zone) and East London Zone and Queenstown Zone so there was a lot of people there.  It started with a leadership training that I got to be a part of since I am a trainer, which was given by President Merrill and it was very nice.  Then Sister Merrill gave a training for everyone, Then President Merrill gave a training on how the Bible prophesies about the Book of Mormon and the church, which was super cool for me.  Then we ate a sack load of food and then the area mental health specialist gave a training and the APs gave a training.  So It was just a huge day of trainings.  We even watched 2 documentaries about the book of Mormon which were nice. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

December 12 letters

To Dad:

I haven't played very much soccer on mission.  At the start we did kind of but I have only played soccer for 2 p days.  I am definitely getting more and more out of shape because there is nobody that can run with me and there's not really anything I can do on my own to do cardio.  I really am working out pretty hard every morning though so maybe by the end of two years I should look pretty good. 

To Mom:

The zone got wrecked this last transfer.  Before we had Elder Mei and Elder Nkosi who were training Elder Kraftner and Elder Andracek, but they both left this transfer and we got Elder Ndirya and Elder Bowers instead.  I was super happy about our zone before so now I'm not too stoked about it but hopefully we can all be good buddies.  We have the same zone leaders for 3 transfers in a row now which is crazy but it's because Elder Muller is going home at the end of this transfer.   Then Elder Greengrass left to become a Zone Leader in Kwa Nobuhle and so now I have Elder Reedy.

As far as Elder Reedy goes:  He is 6 foot 3 with blond hair.  He said he really likes math and physics and I think he's pretty good at singing although I haven't heard him.  Also he was the captain of the volleyball team in England so I think he's pretty good at that as well.  He said he was born in California but moved away when he was 3 and went to Scotland.  He lived there for like 6 years or something and then moved to Angola which is pretty insane.  And then he moved to England for High School and stayed there until he graduated and then he moved out to Utah on his own for a couple months until he came on mission.  Also he's a bit older than me, he just turned 19 last Sunday.
Training him is not going to be a struggle.  Teaching him how to cook for himself and take care of himself won't really be hard because he already lived by himself for a while.  And teaching him how to teach lessons shouldn't be too hard either because I've pretty much got it down.  Yeah I'm not really worried about it so don't worry about me.

This week was a pretty cool week.  In December everyone leaves Mdantsane and goes and lives somewhere else for the month which is really weird.  The problem is a lot of our strong investigators have left and so we haven't really had too many people to teach.  What we did this week is we just street contacted like crazy and got tons of new people to teach.  We actually got 19 new investigators this week and I think maybe 3 or 4 of them are very strong and will progress to baptism which is really sweet.  

We have a really awesome investigator called X.  He is a 16 year old boy who lives across the street from our recent convert A.  Actually A referred us to him.  Every time we taught him the spirit has been so powerful in the room.  The last time I taught him with Elder Greengrass he said he had been having a hard time feeling close to God and then we taught him the plan of salvation and the spirit just manifested itself to us or something.  It was so powerful and we asked him if he could feel it and he said yeah for sure and he felt way closer to God already.  Anyway we gave him a book of Mormon and he's been reading it and praying and there is no doubt that he'll be baptized.  Also he will go on a mission and for sure he will hold callings in the church when he gets back.  I'm very excited about him.

Next week the President is coming and giving a training and interviewing everyone and also the APs are giving a training and there's going to be a big party and stuff so it should be really cool. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

December 5 letters

To Dad:

I'll try and send more pictures but honestly I haven't taken any pictures on my camera.  I don't even think it works.  Elder Greengrass takes pictures of everything so I just use his pictures

As far as interactions with the president go, he called me last week.  He said "You have been highly recommended by your zone and district leaders, and the lord has decided to call you to train"  And anyway we talked a little bit and I do feel like he knows me and loves me and stuff which is really good.  He didn't come to Mdantsane last transfer though, so I haven't seen him in person for a while.  

I live about 15 minutes from the beach so whenever we go into town we are right by the beach.  A lot of shops are on the shore so we walk along the road or drive down the road super close to the beach all the time.  East London isn't too beautiful.  Cape Town is a lot prettier, but I think there are a few areas on mission which are supposed to be breath taking.  Maybe I'll serve there.

It's sweet that you're going to the temple a lot.  The temple is one of the things that I really miss about mission and a lot of the talks I've been reading talk all about how important it is.

To Mom:

My new companion is going to be Elder Ready from Utah.  I don't know anything about him because he is fresh out of the mtc.  I'm planning on taking him for his first lesson to a member family in the ward that are super cool and we're going to pretend they're investigators and some crazy stuff is going to happen haha it should be super funny.

Missionary work kind of sucks right now.  Xhosa culture is really weird.  For December everyone goes on holiday, which is definitely different than we think of holiday.  It is not go on vacation to another place for a week and stay in a hotel.  What it means is you just move in with a different one of your relatives for a month or two months.  Everyone lives with their aunt or their cousin anyway so you just pick a different aunt in december and move in with them.  It's really weird but it's also frustrating because it means all of our investigators are gone and we have nobody to teach.  We have a really big baptism scheduled for the 7 of January with 10 people who are working toward that date, but I wouldn't be surprised if none of them make that at all.  We have a lot of cool activities planned in December though that aren't normal proselyting in the area.  We're going Christmas caroling as a zone and stuff and we have some zone fhe's too which should be super fun.

Last week me and elder Greengrass had a really cool opportunity to go to the hospital and visit a member who is terminally ill.  His name is Mncedi.  We just talked with him for about half an hour and got to know him and then we gave him a blessing.  We didn't bless him to be totally healed just that he would have strength to live his life normally.  It was really cool.  A few days after that he got released by the hospital to go and live out the rest of his life with his family so we have been visiting him at his house and teaching him the lessons.  He's really awesome.  He had been less active for years before his sickness, but after he got diagnosed he realized what was important to him.  He said his testimony is a 10 out of 10 right now and that he feels super happy now to be closer to God.  We gave him a book of Mormon and he's been reading it like crazy.  I think it's really interesting the trials that the lord gives to people.  For him the trial of being sick definitely gave him the desire and the faith to rebuild his relationship with God and I think he really feels ready to pass to the other side of the veil. 

These are pictures of some really sweet kids I really love.  The girl in the pink is called Onika.  She's so smart.  She taught herself fluent English so that's pretty awesome.  

The other picture is the Ngcangcas.  They are really cool.  Every time we have ever visited them they have given us something to eat and some cold drink.  They are really awesome.  Their son Soso was baptized when I first got to the area and we were teaching them as well.  They weren't that interested though, until they came to Sosos baptism and then the light just went on in their eyes and they started to be so fired up about the gospel.  They love church so much now and they will definitely start to hold some nice callings.  Definitely they are one of my favorite families that we teach

Monday, November 28, 2016

November 28 letters

To Mom:

I agree with Daniel.  It sucks that shops open so early.  Pretty soon shops will just open on Thanksgiving and they'll call it Black Thursday.  I get Black Thursdays every Thursday so that would be lame.  They actually had Black Friday here for the first time this year and it was pretty sweet.  A couple of the members here bought some sweet TVs and stuff.  They don't do Thanksgiving though so that sucks.  I celebrated by making French Toast for myself in the morning and then eating a bowl of cereal too, which was pretty much a feast.

As far as Elder Greengrass goes.  He is a very cool guy.  I never read his emails but he spends a long time on them and he definitely writes more information than I do.  I'm sure my next companion won't have quite so much information in his emails.  Elder Greengrass was trained by Elder Wilson who had been on mission about a year when he trained Elder Greengrass.  Usually you train after you've been through 3 or 4 companions.  Very occasionally a person will train right after they've been trained but it doesn't happen very often.  People do train a lot in Mdantsane yes because it is the most fruitful area of the vineyard so you are right about that for sure.  

You asked about the primary program a few weeks ago.  Sunday was the primary program.  You would have died.  All the kids in the primary, which is about 50, wore white dresses or white shirts and all the girls had yellow bows in their hair, and it was very cute.  Also most of the kids in the primary don't really understand or speak English so they mostly just imitate syllables and so it was super cute.  They all know just enough to say a basic testimony.  Like half the kids said this exact line for their testimony "I know the church, it's true.  I know Thomas S Monson. Amen" hahaha but I loved it it was very nice.

We're starting to get fed a lot.  Usually every night we get fed once or twice a night and we eat lots of vegetables.

Next week we have a sweet baptism so I'll tell you about those people then.  Also I will be getting a new companion next week.  

Also I'll try and get some nice pictures to send home.  

Love you Momma

To Dad:

Elder Greengrass will be trasnferred on December 7.  This is our last full week together.  We will always be friends though.  

That's sweet about going to the temple and doing family history and stuff.  I really miss that so I'm glad you're making use of having a temple so close.  The people here do lots of fundraisers throughout the year and save up and sacrifice a lot just so they can go to the temple once a year.  It's really cool, but it makes me realize how lucky we are in Utah.  

I'll try and step up my game as far as pictures go.  What kind of things do you want pictures of?  People we see?  The area?  What kind of stuff.  Also what kind of information do you want me to write about? 

Love you Dad

The district

Monday, November 21, 2016

November 21 letters

Letter to Mom:

First of all setting spiritual goals for mission in my opinion doesn't work.  If I set a goal for how many people I want to baptize then I will undoubtedly start baptizing people who are not ready and become motivated by statistics.  I personally will never baptized a person without a proper testimony or who is not ready to be active in the church.  Also the areas are so diverse here that you can never tell what you can consistently do.  Some areas rarely baptize at all and some areas you baptize 5 every transfer.  The entirety of mission is centered on spiritual growth.  I want to become more humble but that's not a goal that I can set and measure and achieve.  It's just a thing I can work on.  Also I told you I want to always stay young and motivated on mission which is coming along really well.   Also learning Xhosa would be so sick.  I'm actually learning a lot and it's something I think is definitely attainable.  I don't even care about speaking Xhosa but I just want to experience the mental shift that happens when you learn to speak another language.  

Yeah I remember Elder Cornish's talk.  I liked it a lot.  I talked with Dad about this too but I really like the theme about striving for exact obedience.  Also the thing about missionary work being about the missionary is very interesting as well.  I have never really looked at it in quite that way.  

Today we went to a game reserve.  I really wanted to see a Rhino but I was disappointed :( We did see lots of Zebras and Giraffes and stuff which was cool.  It cost 120 Rand which is about 9 dollars.  I don't think we're going to go to the expensive one anymore so that's good.

The best thing that happened last week was that they raised MSF.  Before we were getting _ Rand every 2 weeks.  Now we are getting _ Rand every 2 weeks which is a big difference.  I feel so free.  Now I'm eating lots of different fruit and veg and I'm starting to cook different things.  I definitely have enough money now so I won't be needing you to help me out anymore.  

We baptized that girl Y on Saturday.  It was a very spiritual experience.  I think I told you that she is terrified of water and so she was very nervous to go in.  When she did get in the water the spirit was so strong there because she was showing so much faith to overcome her fear.  She had literally been shaking about it every time we talked about baptism for the last few weeks because she's so scared of water.  I think that for a lot of people here, their baptism is the only time in their entire life when they are completely immersed in water hahaha.  But yeah it was very spiritual,

To Dad:

The theme about exact obedience is something I have thought a lot about.  There are a lot of Elders who are ok with listening to pop music in the boarding and going to bed late and waking up late and not being too serious with studies.  For me it makes it difficult to get to bed on time because everyone's usually milling around until like 11 but I always try to be as obedient as possible.  I really like the message though and I definitely agree with you that the misconception that you have to be immediately and perfectly obedient is a big stumbling block. 

Definitely me and elder Greengrass are doing a lot of good missionary work.

Monday, November 14, 2016

November 14 letters

To Dad:

Yeah the weather is weird.  It's starting to get really hot some days but it's still a little chilly at times.  It should get really hot in December.  Right now there are a lot of rainy days.  Last week it rained and church attendance shot down.  People are terrified of the rain here.  
I enjoy teaching from the scriptures, from Ether 12:6, and talking about how the witness only comes after some sacrifice and the trial of faith.  
Why I love Jeremiah 12:5 so much.

It says if the footmen or the foot soldiers weary you, or if you have a hard time doing the easy things God asks you to do, then what are you going to do when it comes time to contend with horses or soldiers on horse back.  You'll have no chance.  I feel like I really want to be obedient to every small little thing that God has asked me to do so that when it comes time to be faithful to the big stuff then it's no problem.

To Mom:

The mission goals are really nice.  President Merrill put in this program called the standards of excellence just a few months before I came in and it really caused convert baptisms in the mission to spike up.  Basically the goals are to proselyte for 50 hours a week, teach 15 lessons to investigators with a member present, teach 6 less actives and 6 recent converts each week, get 10 referrals, 10 new investigators, and as a mission baptize 50 people each month.  Me and Elder Greengrass usually get those standards easily besides the 10 referrals.  It is a sweet program though because it motivates all the missionaries.  Our zone doesn't really have goals I don't think.  Our district has a few goals but I don't really know what they are.  My district is the four of us that stay in our boarding and also the zone leaders.  Our district is just in Mdantsane and also our zone is just in Mdantsane as well.  The whole mission has I think 8 or 10 zones or something.. I'm not really sure.  Mdantsane is by far the most fruitful area of the mission though.  Especially me and Elder Greengrass' area.  We actually made a goal to teach 30 lessons to investigators with a member present next week which is a pretty insane goal.  

This week was very encouraging for me as far as food goes.  I was able to cook a lot of different things for myself and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day.  We get fed by members a lot especially lately.  Last week we had like 6 DAs.  We had a couple days with double DAs as well.  When the members feed us they always give us lots of different vegetables.  I've actually been very good with my money though and me and Elder Greengrass decided we're not going to eat fast food at all or buy treats at all.  I think in a few weeks I will be able to budget properly so that I don't have to spend any of my personal card at all.  Mission is definitely a learning experience for me.  Also I've been working out every night and I'm trying to start working out every morning too.

Last week I got some things to help me learn Xhosa so that is really coming along now.  It's a pretty simple language once you get the clicks down. 

Last week was a pretty cool week.  First of all the morning after the election was pretty insane.  I was just calling the bishop and he was telling me the progress of the election and stuff and then he said Trump won and it was way crazy.  We went over to the other Elders boarding and we were just going insane.  A lot of the elders were saying like here comes the apocalypse and stuff but I was way stoked about it.  I think it's so hilarious that Donald Trump actually became the president of the United States of America.  Every time I think about it I just laugh.  But yes I am way happy it wasn't Hillary.  It's crazy how close Hillary came to winning Utah.  I think people in Utah really hate Donald.

Next week we are having a baptism and so the people being baptized had to have an interview on Saturday.  So about 2 months ago a girl in our ward called Uviwe got her mission call.  She had her friends over and one of them was called Y and so we talked to her briefly.  The next day at church Y was there so we scheduled an appointment to go see her.  When we got to our appointment she was just shaking.  I don't know why but she was just so so nervous to meet us and to have a lesson.  She was really freaked out.  After we talked to her a bit she calmed down a little.  After that we started to teach her and she got comfortable with us and now she loves us.  Anyway she reads everything we give her and she memorizes everything and she is just so prepared for baptism she's super awesome.  But when we told her last week that she was going to have an interview with a different elder she like got really freaked out.  when we showed up for the interview she was pale and she was visibly shaking and she was so so nervous.  It was funny to us that she was so freaked out because she was so prepared anyway.  But anyway we talked with her and she calmed down a bit.  But she's super powerful and she said she thinks she might want to go on a mission which would be sweet.  

I forgot to tell you this story which is insane.  So when I first got to the area we decided to tract for like 20 minutes just for fun and we went to this house where there was an old woman sitting in a chair reading a Xhosa bible.  We talked to her for a minute but she said she can't get out of her chair because of her leg and she didn't seem to really speak English very well so we left and didn't really think about it.  About a month later we were around the area and a girl about 10 was running around and she said she loves Jesus Christ and we asked her where she lives and she pointed to the same house.  When we got there the same old lady was sitting in the same chair.  Well we decided that because we were led to the same house we should set a return appointment even though she doesn't speak English very well.  Well when we went back for the return appointment I was with one of the zone leaders Elder Muller and we taught her a little bit about the book of Mormon.  It turned out she spoke a bit better English than we thought.  Well we got to know her a bit and found out her name was N.  After the lesson we prayed and then we told her we could give her a blessing.  We laid our hands on her head and blessed her leg to be completely healed.  It was really amazing because we left but when we came around the next week she wasn't in the chair.  And we knocked on the door and she came walking around the corner and she told us her leg had been completely healed.  Since then we have taught her the restoration and she said she will walk to church.  I think when she understands more she will be a powerful member.

Anyway it was a powerful week.

Monday, November 7, 2016

November 7 letters

To Mom:

This week I have been eating far better.  I actually ate a variety of good meals with different fruits and vegetables.  I felt very good this week and I didn't even get fast food.  It did cost a little bit more money to eat properly though but I think in a few weeks time I may be able to budget properly.  I think the pancake recipe would be super useful and I would love it if you had Daniel send it to me.  We don't eat during the day though.  We eat at about 11:30 and then we go to the area and we don't eat a meal again until we come home at about 8:30 or 9:00.  

Also I have been waking up at around 6:45 most days which is good.  I still have work to do but it's getting there.  I am also running every day and exercising both morning and night so it's very good.  I really want to be healthy.  

You mentioned that you wondered if there is a primary program and the answer is yes and it will be sometime this month.

So this week was pretty dull there wasn't anything really exciting that happened.

We had a couple of drunk people screaming at us.  This drunk lady actually came up to us and talked to us for like 5 minutes and she was like screaming at the top of her lungs "We've both been saved by Jesus! Who's better than who?"  And I was just laughing so hard and she started talking to us and she pointed at Elder Greengrass and she said you look like a humble person and she pointed at me and she was like you look like you're not humble. then she said to Elder Greengrass you're more Jesus than him.  Than I was just laughing and laughing and telling her Jesus loves her and then Elder Greengrass was trying to be serious with her and ask her to have lessons with us and then she was like give me your number so I can call you guys for a lesson and so we did and then before she left she said to Elder Greengrass "You aren't very Jesus.  You look like the Elders sat you down and told you exactly what to say."  Then she pointed at me and she said "You're the real one.  You're actually more Jesus than him"  Hahahaha she was super drunk and we were both laughing about it a lot.  

Church on Sunday was very frustrating for me.  We have been getting better and better church attendance for the last little bit and so Sunday I was hoping to get about 130 people in sacrament meeting.  Unfortunately it rained.  I don't know what it is about rain but it terrifies Xhosa people.  Nobody was at church.  We counted the attendance and it was only 71.  The other Elders said their ward got 198 last week and this week they only got 90.  The rain really sifted the wheat from the tares here I guess but it was very frustrating that nobody was willing to come to church because it rained.  It's understandable though because a lot of people have to walk but it's still frustrating.  

Other than that it wasn't a super interesting week.

To Dad:

Yeah we do get lots of dinner appointments.  Every Sunday we have one sister from the relief society feed us and they never drop.  Usually we have 1 or 2 more during the week that we schedule and those never drop either.  The bishop and his twin brother who is on the stake presidency usually both feed us every couple weeks so we get good dinner appointments out of them.  Usually all of our dinner appointments cook chicken with this african rice stuff and some vegetables which are usually the same.  The bishop gets us fast food though and his brothers wife is a really good cook so she always cooks us a variety of very good food.  

We street contact every day.  We drive around and there's always a lot of people walking around so if we see anyone walking alone we stop next to them and give them a pass along card.  It works pretty well we usually get 3 or 4 new investigators a week out of that.  As far as knocking house to house we never do that.  We are way too busy to waste our time doing that.  We usually have 6 to 8 appointments a day and we struggle to fit people in to our days so we have no time to go house to house.  The people here are super receptive though and so when we talk to them on the street they are usually very interested in what we have to say.  

My favorite part of missionary work is probably finding.  I am very good at street contacting I think so I always like to talk to random people and make connections with them and get new people to teach.  I think it's a skill that will serve me very well for the rest of mission.  Even the other day we were looking at the board and we have about 50 people on the board that we think about and of those 50 probably 20 of them are people that I personally have contacted.  The only thing I definitely dislike doing is visiting recent converts who have been taught all the lessons over again and we have nothing to teach.  I always think it's a mental strain for me to think about them and what to teach them.

I told you about buzz crew at the mtc.  In case you didn't think it was real... It's real.

here is a picture of me and Elder Ivins in Cape Town

Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31 letters

To Dad:

The thing that has changed the most about me... hmm Nothing major has changed about me.  I am still pretty much the same person that I was.  I guess some things that have changed though is that I really really love to study now.  I spend almost all my extra time reading the book of mormon or the bible or Jesus the Christ.  Also I have really gained a desire to improve myself physically and I've been working out every single night so that's new.  I would say Also I am a little bit more mature.  I have made myself a goal to always stay young.  Even now I feel like I'm still 16.  I would say it's part of who I am to be young at heart and my goal is to never get tired on mission and never allow myself to get lazy and also in life even when I'm old I want to stay young at heart.  But I think I have learned a little bit when it is ok to act younger than I am and when I need to act mature and present myself as a representative of Jesus Christ.  And I'm still working on it but I guess I would say I am acting more mature when it's time to be mature.  Being kind of crazy is really really useful in street contacting though. 

What do i wish I would have done to prepare?  If I could do it all again I would read all of the bible and all of Jesus the Christ before mission.  I'm having to catch myself up now.  Also I wish I would have done better missionary work.  There's a couple people who I really wish I would have talked to about the gospel from home and even lately I have been emailing some of them.  I'll tell you a story.  So I don't know if you remember B? I kept on emailing her and talking to her about the gospel and she said she's never really read the book of mormon before and she decided to really start praying and reading the book of mormon and she said in a week she read all the way up to Enos so that was pretty sweet.  Anyway The thing I wish i would have done is better missionary work before I came out and better home teaching.  I really want to be a better home teacher when I get home.  

And learned how to cook.  I should have done that.

To Mom:
yeah hahah the haircut was funny there was a bunch of people gathered around because they thought it was funny hahaha,.  My comp has been driving all the time lately but usually we switch off pretty even.  

I think I made a terrible error in my last email to you.  I said we get 200 dollars a month.  We only get 100 dollars a month.  It's terrible.  But I have been thinking a lot.  First of all I have really made a decision to live the word of wisdom and to become way ripped and healthy and stuff.  I've been running every morning.  Even I've been running with my comp and then coming back and running with Elder Faingataa who is the new elder in the boarding.  Also I've been working out every night for a while now.  I really really want to be healthy but I just can't eat healthy with the amount of money that I have.  We eat well when the members feed us.  I don't know if I told you this but last week I ate chicken liver and chicken heart.  The heart was actually super good I really liked it.  

Yesterday we had kind of a funny experience.  We pulled our car up to this guy and we were like hey we have a gift for you and he was like ok and we were like here is this pass along card if you text your name and address to the number on the back we'll bring you a free dvd about Jesus.  So we were about to hand it to him but then he was like no Jesus isn't my friend and we were like what?  And he said Jesus isn't my friend.  My friend is Qomata.  He teaches me to slaughter cows.  Hahahahahaha we thought he was joking but he was dead serious so we took the pass along card back and drove off hahahaha

My companion wants us to go to a game park some time this month.  It will be really cool.  What it is is a huge reserve for African animals that live in the wild and you go with a guide who takes you around in a land rover and he takes you to see all the african animals in their natural habitat so it should be way sweet.  It's going to cost about a thousand Rands though which is about 80 or 90 dollars.  I should have some sweet pictures soon though. 

Here is a picture with a guy called Lux. He's super powerful I think I've told you about him.  But yeah he has a sick beard and this picture shows what my hair looks like now.

Also this other picture is a picture Elder Greengrass took of what Mdantsane kind of looks like

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 24 letters

Letter to Mom:

One thing I really want to do when I get home is play a lot of piano.  I play the piano at the chapel sometimes if we're there and have spare time for some reason but I don't really get to play at all and I really miss it.  I think I'll play a lot when I get home.  
Don't worry about me I'm doing super.  People probably ask you like 10 times a day how's Adam doing on mission?  You can just tell them I'm doing super :)
So on Saturday we had an appointment drop and so I thought it would be funny to get my hair cut.  So we went to this shack where this black guy cuts hair and I asked him to cut my hair.  Haha it was super funny though because Mdantsane is a 100% black area and he had no idea how to cut white people hair so he said no way man.  And i said come on it will be funny if you mess it up super bad I won't care at all.  So I just had him cut the back and sides and not the top and he ended up doing a super good job.  I bought some gel and spiked up my hair and stuff and now I look super good I keep staring at myself in the mirror because I'm not way ugly anymore.  My buzzed hair is all the way gone now so I'm more happy  
This week they reorganized our bishopric.  Our old bishop was called bishop Mahlangabeza but he got called up to the stake presidency.  It was funny though because he has an identical twin brother and he got called to be the new bishop so we have bishop Mahlangabeza again and he looks exactly the same haha.  
With food I really have a desire to eat healthy and really live the word of wisdom but I just have no idea what to cook.  I know I could cook from a recipe but the problem is there's no way to get the variety of ingredients I would need to cook a variety of foods.  I have no idea what to buy or where to start and I feel like there's no way for me to eat healthy.  I don't really know what to do so I just eat toast with jam or nutella all the time and call it good.  I have been working out every night though and I really think I could be in pretty good shape if I were to eat more healthy.  I don't really know what to do though.  They have every ingredient you could get in America here so if you want to help me out with what I could plausibly cook for 200 dollars a month then that would be amazing but I don't really even know what to ask for.
Lately I've been reading a lot of talks and I just love Elder Christopherson so much.  He's my favorite dude he's so sweet.  All his talks are so powerful and they're my absolute favorite.  If you want to read a powerful talk with some sweet doctrine please read "Why Marriage Why Family" by Elder Christopherson

attached is a picture of our crew.  This is my zone.  A bunch of us found this cardigan at Mr Price and so we all bought it.  Everyone who has one is basically my biggest homie on mission.  It's like the sickest thing in the world so I love it very dearly.  The old people in the picture are the senior couple who stay in East London which is Elder and Sister Halverson and they're also way awesome.  

Letter to Dad:
I will be with my comp for another 6 weeks.  Transfers are on Wednesday so we will be together for 1 more transfer and then he'll leave. P days are pretty boring for the most part.  I don't think there's anything really interesting to do around my area.  We went to the beach and to this dam but it wasn't really anything special.  I haven't seen any interesting animals either except I saw a monkey just chilling in the road one time which was sweet.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 17 letter

so yes I have been super happy on mission.  I think I'm just lucky and blessed to be a super happy person all the time.  Before mission and in the mtc and on mission people have told me about a million times that it will just suck sometimes or you'll get super homesick or you'll just hate mission sometimes or it won't be fun or you will be stressed out or depressed sometimes, but in all honesty I have felt none of that.  I guess I'm just blessed but I haven't felt even the slightest negative mental state since leaving on mission.  I miss you guys a ton for sure but it doesn't really affect me too much.

So this week we had zone training with the mission president.  It was a super awesome experience.  I actually think mission president will be an apostle.  He's a super down to earth and charismatic guy and his knowledge of the gospel is amazing.  Also Sister Merrill is super awesome.  I can tell they really love me and care about me but what's even cooler is that I can tell they like me.  They're super nice and I am really honestly not looking forward to a different mission president.  So in my interview with Mission President he told me some really interesting things.  First of all he really made me realize how important families are in the gospel.  More important than anything else.  I actually told him the story about N and he didn't even hesitate.  He said absolutely you need to drop her immediately.  He said tell her to keep reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church and stuff but we shouldn't teach her until her husband gets home and she can work it out with him.  It was not what I was expecting but it makes sense.  I guess even bringing her into the kingdom and getting her baptized is not as important as keeping the family together.  President also told me some other good advice and he really built me up and made me feel good about myself.  I have a lot of respect for him and his wife.  His mission president on his mission was actually Elder ballard so he knows all the stories from Our Search for Happiness and stuff which is super cool.  

On Saturday we had a baptism.  I'll send you some pictures.  We baptized 5 investigators and 2 child of records.  one of the girls who is only 8 asked me to baptize her and she is absolutely tiny.  she literally only comes up to my waste.  The water was really cold and brown haha apparently they have a problem with the water system or something.  The service was really nice though.  

about the food...
we get about 200 dollars a month to buy food.  I don't really know how to cook and it's not enough money to buy all the ingrediants I need to cook properly.  I'm not a very good cook either so I just eat toast every day.  Also I buy lots of juice which is expensive.  Sometimes I cook rice with some butter and salt and sometimes I fry up an egg or make french toast.  Also they have frosted flakes here so I eat them a lot as well.  Also I eat lots of apples and some pineapple.  That is the entirety of my diet though
they said the missionaries are going to start getting more money which would be sweet.

In answer to your question about why I attended the temple so much.  Basically in the New Testament the savior says the same thing a couple of times.  He says basically to those that have more shall be given but from those that have not it shall be taken even that they have.  That's not a direct quote but it's basically what he says.  For me I think this really applies to the temple and desire.  To those that go to the temple they will be given even more of a desire to go to the temple.  To those who don't go to the temple even the desire that they do have to go will be taken from them.  I think as soon as you start going regularly, your desire to go increases and Satan has a more difficult time convincing you to not go, but if you don't go regularly Satan has an easy time telling you not to go when you have planned to go.



Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10 letter to Mom

Achuma is teaching us Xhosa but the clicks are really hard.  There's lots of different clicks but the one Kyle was talking about was probably the q click which is really cool and really hard to figure out and yes I can do it. 
Xhosa is really hard though and I'm hoping for the gift of tongues.  Literally

I attached a picture of me with a bunch of kids.  Kids absolutely love white people here especially me haha.  Every time we go anywhere they pretty much mob us and yell "Umlungu Umlungu" which means white person.  Haha and they just mob us.  They're always fascinated with my hair and my arm hair and my watch, but I love them so much.

So basically to fill you in on some stuff
Me and My companion live with 2 other elders in a boarding (apartment), Elder Palmer and Elder Kakezwa.  The boarding is pretty nice and we have all the amenities of an apartment back at home.  It's actually probably bigger than what I'll live in at college.  Just about every companionship has their own car so we just keep to ourselves most of the time.  We do service every couple weeks though and we usually take other elders.  Usually if we do service or do stuff on p days we take Elder Mei who is a cool guy from Fiji and one of my favorite missionaries, and Elder Kraftner I think I told you about Elder Kraftner.  He's from England and he's actually from Elder Greengrass' stake, but he was my homie in the mtc.  And We also take Elder Nkosi who is my homie, he's from Joburg and Nkosi means King in Xhosa so he's pretty sick.  and his companion is Elder Ondraceck who was my first companion in the mtc and definitely my homie.  So those are basically my best friends right now.  
There's 3 wards in Mdantsane and we are in ward 3.  The other 2 wards have 2 sets of missionaries but my ward only has me and Elder Greengrass.  Our ward is super cool though.

I should tell you about dogs.  They mob around the streets and just attack people.  There is like a billion of them and they're vicious.  They are definitely not friendly.  They don't actually attack black people though and we are the only 2 white people in all of Mdantsane so that means they just attack us.  they're scary.

Driving is kind of insane here.  We drive on the left side of the road so that's weird and it really took a while to get used to.  But basically there is no speed limit anywhere and it's all 1 lane roads but if you want to pass someone there's enough space in the middle of the road so that you can just pass anyone whenever you want and the people coming the other direction will just move aside a little bit for you haha it's crazy.

Also don't worry about me gaining weight.  We don't work very hard because we drive everywhere but me and my companion run most days.  Also we are so poor.  We literally have so little money that we can't afford to cook normal food.  I am dead serious when I say all I eat for breakfast lunch and dinner is toast with jam and an apple.  that is literally all I can afford.  haha and we eat at McDonalds once or twice a week which costs about 3 dollars for a full meal it's pretty dope. 
I need recipes though

On Saturday 8 people are getting baptized but 3 of them are children of record.  We're baptizing this super powerful guy called Abulele who I told you about.  He's one of my favorite guys.  He's really caught the fire of the gospel.  We asked him if he'd ever thought about serving a mission and he said how long is it and we said 2 years and he said only 2 years?  haha we thought that was funny but I bet he'll go on a mission.  He's 22.  
Another guy we're baptizing is called Jackie and he's an albino.  He's a black guy with like super white skin it's pretty crazy.  

So here is the coolest story of my mission maybe which happened last week:
We have been teaching this woman called N for a couple weeks.  We taught her the restoration and the book of mormon and the plan of salvation up to this point.  So we went to teach her last week the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we knew she's been reading the book of mormon and she came to church and she's been getting a pretty strong testimony.  Well we had invited her to be baptized when we taught her the restoration but she said no because her husband was a preacher and he was away for military duty.  So anyway we decided to invite her to be baptized again because she now had a testimony and she said no again.  And we were trying to figure out why and she said well my husband and we were like oh yeah he's a preacher and she said "No he's the president of the hope of Christ ministries church in South Africa."  and we were like no way that's nuts! Her husband was literally the president of the entire church it was crazy.  But then she said I don't know what to do.  she had the Book of Mormon in her hand and she was like "This book is true, but I don't know what to do,  we can't join another church but this book is true."  and so we basically told her to put her trust in the lord and as she grew in faith and knowledge the lord would help her out.  It was way cool.  Apparently she had told her husband about the book and he said don't read it they're trying to take you from the church don't read the book and she said no I love the book it's the truth I'm going to read it."  She was all the way in Mosiah after only a couple of weeks so we were pretty stoked.  I felt like Ammon teaching king Lamoni or Aaron teaching Lamoni's father or something. 

So this past week I have been getting lots of really cool revelation as I've studied the scriptures and in particular as I've studied the saviors parables.  So this week I want to challenge everyone to read the parable of the laborours in the vineyard which is Matthew 20:1-16 and pray for revelation.  I have found at least 6 significant interpretations to this story that really made a difference in my life.  There is so much to learn from this parable and so many levels to the story.

From Mom: This picture makes me laugh.  With his old man glasses and Mr Rogers cardigan and super short buzz cut, he looks very old.  He's only 18!!!

Monday, October 3, 2016

October 3 letters

To Mom:
This past week was pretty cool.  We have some really cool investigators.  Everyone wants to be baptized.  We have this group of a bunch of 12 year old kids that we teach every Saturday.  They come to church every week and we just basically do administration work to get them baptized as fast as we can it's kind of funny.  We have this lady that is really cool.  Her husband is out in the military for 6 months and he's a pastor in their church, so we didn't rush her into being taught.  But basically we gave her a Book of Mormon and she reads it every day and her husband called her and told her not to read it and that it's bad and she should stay away from it but she said basically "I love this book and it speaks the truth"  It was pretty cool.  She probably won't be baptized for a while but she came to conference and she seems like she really has a seed in her heart and it's growing in her.  

Me and Elder Greengrass were so stoked for Conference.  It was like Christmas we were so excited.  And it was way awesome.  I also emailed this to dad but I just couldn't get over how cool Elder Christopherson's talk was.  It was awesome.  What was your favorite talk?

If there is one thing I've learned on mission it's the importance of studying the gospel.  I really truly believe that in order to be as converted as the Lord wants you to be you must read the scriptures every single day and really delve into them.  

Do you guys not think it's cool that I'm learning Xhosa?  Man I think it's so cool how come you haven't said anything about it :( haha :)

To Dad:
Yeah there's a cool lake at the bottom of the valley but we haven't been down there yet.  The whole area is like that really green wooded hills it's really beautiful especially at sunset which is like 5 pm.  My companion is from England.  I really didn't say that?  Yeah he is from Bournemoth he's really cool.  

Yeah we watched conference on Saturday and Sunday besides Sunday afternoon like I said.  Me and Elder Greengrass were so excited it was like Christmas.  We watched it at the chapel with the ward.  I was obsessed with Elder Christophersons talk.  I was freaking out about it all weekend haha it was kind of funny but it was a way good talk.  President Nelson's talk was also amazing I thought it was very good as well.  Those were my favorite.  Yeah Cape Town is a nice modern city it's really cool it's definitely first world.  East London is also definitely first world.  Cape Town is really beautiful though but I actually like Mdantsane better.  

Yeah we have played just a little bit of soccer here.  The elders here and the people here are actually really good so they haven't thought I was anything too amazing.  They all thought I was really good though.  We played soccer with the ward last friday but they were super good.  It was a lot of fun though.

Me and my companion work very hard.  He says I'm tiring him out although I don't think it's really that hard because we drive everywhere so it's not like we're exhausted at the end of the day.  Yes my companion has to bug me to get me up often but lately I've been getting my self up kind of a couple of times so there's hope for me maybe.  We'll see that would be cool.

This is kind of what a wedding looks like.  Pretty much every person in a 10 mile radius just flocks to all weddings and then they all just run around in the street and basically parade down the road singing African cultural songs in Xhosa and dancing.  It's pretty insane but it's cool.  apparently the same thing happens at funerals too which is kind of weird.

Tthis kid is called King.  He's pretty dope I think he's being baptized on the 15th.

me and Elder Greengrass and Achuma who is a recent convert who comes fellowshipping with us about every day.

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26 letter to Mom

I will send you a picture of me and Mdantsane.  It is literally one of the prettiest places I have ever been.  There are million dollar views everywhere I go.  It's so awesome.  People live in a little shack they got for free and they have this million dollar view on their back porch.  It's a lot more impressive in real life though.  

So basically I live in first world conditions.  Our apartment is in East London which is definitely a first world city.  But we travel to the area every day which is 3rd world conditions.  We have a car.  We drive everywhere.  I legitimately believe I could have the least sturdy pair of shoes on the planet and they would still last my whole mission.  We do very little walking.  I have never felt so fat in my life.  People feed us all the time and we never exercise.  I try to jump rope in the morning but my companion hates running and we only went once.  It wasn't a work out for me anyway because he could only go like half a mile it was kind of funny.  So I'm going to have to figure out something that works because I hate that very much.  

But at the same time me and my companion are very productive.  We teach a lot of lessons sometimes 10 a day.  There are a lot of people who are very prepared for the gospel here.  One of my favorite people is a guy called Abulele.  He has been taking the lessons for a while and he reads his scriptures all the time but he just struggled to get to church.  So the first time me and my companion taught him we were going to teach him one of the lessons but we changed our plan when we started teaching him.  We were going to teach him the Gospel of Jesus Christ but then instead we decided to teach about faith and how he needs to sacrifice for God.  We told him that he can be a strong leader in the church but that Satan also knows that and he will do everything he can to stop Abulele from coming to church.  Basically we told him how important it was for him to come to church and there was a fire lit in his eyes and he committed to come to church.  And he did come to church so it was awesome.  We're planning on baptizing him October 15th.  

Some other interesting stuff:

First of all driving on the left side of the road is very difficult.  Also it's kind of funny how people drive here.  If someone is going slow you just pass them.  It's usually a 2 lane road but nobody cares they just pass in the middle of the road it's funny.  Also there's about a million speed bumps its so annoying.  Literally there is one every couple seconds.

Also there's workers at every gas station that fill up your tank.  It's really weird but you never get out of the car.

There's people here called Sangomas.  They literally are like evil people that have power from Satan.  They can do magic and cast evil spirits into people.  At first I didn't believe it but I talked to so many missionaries that had first hand experience that they are real and so I have no choice anymore.  But they are way scary.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19 letter to Mom

So the reason I didn't really write good emails at the mtc is because it was honestly not that interesting and nothing really cool happened.  Although there was a really cool story.  so the haircut guy came the last day we were there and me and Elder Ivins got to go first because my hair was so long.  So we got down there and we decided to buzz our head.  And so we both did it and it looked so bad and so we went back to everybody and we were like "everybody join buzz crew"  and we didn't think it would actually happen but then everybody else at the mtc buzzed their head.  There were only 6 people who didn't out of 30 it was so funny.  I will send you pictures but Elder Ivins has them on his camera so bear with me for just one more week.  Or I'm sure you'll get them all from Elder Ivins mom because apparently you guys are best friends or something.  So that was the mtc.  

I will answer all of your questions now.
  • spiritual experience at the mtc:  We sang Army of Heleman with everyone one night and it was powerful.  When we got to the mission home we sang a bunch of songs and we sang that one again like four times and it was super spiritual.
  • What personal changes have I made?  Probably none in the mtc but since I've been on mission I've been a little bit more serious but not too much.  Also very obedient.
  • What cool speakers were there?  No speakers but we listened to a lot of really cool talks by Elder Holland.  They love him there.  They were all good but it was nothing that special because It was just conference talks and stuff
  • Were there any SA missionaries?  Yes a ton of the missionaries in Cape Town are from Africa.  Like probably 30 percent or something.  In the MTC there were 2.  Elder Mohlahatsa who was my homie.  He was awesome.  And Sister Shongwe who was cool too.
  • Is the MTC only for SA? no there are about 10 countries that go through the SA MTC and also they teach Malagasy for anyone going to Madacascar.  A bunch of people at the MTC were going to Zimbabwe and Kenya and Uganda
  • Sister Missionaries.  There were 3 at the MTC going to Zimbabwe and Uganda.  They were pretty good.  There are no sisters in SA
  • How many missionaries are here? 105
  • Do you leave the same day?  yes you were right they all do (Here's the actual questions: Does everyone enter the MTC on the same day and leave the same day?  You said there were 29 missionaries and you all knew each other, so I can only assume that you all enter and leave the same day and then a new batch comes in right after that.)
  • Teachers?  Yes they are all from SA

  • Where do we go to church?  At the MTC we went to church in one of the classrooms and it was pretty lame.  All the speakers were just kids at the MTC
  • Why were me and Elder Ivins in the basement by yourselves?  I don't know maybe it was timeout but it was awesome.  We had our own space and at night everyone came into our room anyway 
  • Health policies?  SA is not dangerous at all so none.  I don't wear shower sandals either it's pretty much a first world apartment.  and we get fed by the people about every day
  • dangers?  The mission is not very dangerous.  Although we have been told if we do get mugged just comply and give them what they want and you'll get another one
Ok there I hope you're happy with that.

So I am serving in Mdantsane but we live in East London.  We commute 30 minutes to get to the area every day.  It's super awesome.  They call Mdantsane the land of milk and honey because everyone here seems desperate to hear what we have to say.  There's some really powerful people.  Everybody lives in these tiny homes.  Some are a couple rooms which are nice but some are like tin shacks with barely enough space for a bed and a tv.  They still have a massive shiny satellite dish stuck to a pole outside their shack though.  It's pretty hilarious.  

We teach about 8 lessons every day and I have never been rejected.  Every person I see waves at me and smiles and if I say we have a message about Jesus Christ they'll invite me in to share it.  A lot of people are just at home all day long because they don't have jobs.  The culture is really cool.  Mostly nobody has a car so they walk to church every week or some people sacrifice a lot to take taxis if they live too far to walk.  

Every single person is black and their first language is always Xhosa.  Xhosa is one of the official languages of SA and it is a clicking language.  The X in Xhosa makes a clicking sound.  It's really cool and I think I will probably learn how to speak it on mission.  

Something weird about mission is that we always always have to have a fellowshipper.  So there's a couple of guys from the ward that come with us for like 8 hours a day.  One guy is named Achuma but the ch make a clicking sound and it sounds more like Atuma.  He barely got baptized a couple weeks ago and now he is like our best friend and he comes with us about 3 times a week.  

One of the coolest people we have taught yet is a guy named Abulele.  He reads the Book of Mormon every day and he really has a testimony.  He's going to be baptized on the 9th of October but he has been struggling to come to church.  So yesterday we went to his house and showed him some scriptures in Alma 32 and Ether 12:6 and basically said he has to sacrifice for God and when he does then he will know what he did was right.  We basically said Church and God have to be your absolute first priority.  The spirit was so strong and he was crying it was so awesome.  He will definitely be a powerful member of the church.  I could see him being the bishop or something like that.  

The church is really strong here.  There are 9 stakes in my mission so if we get one more we could get a temple.  That would be amazing.  If any stake splits it will be ours.  Our area is blowing up.  

My companion is Elder Greengrass.  He's so awesome.  He just barely got trained.  I'm the only companion he's had besides his trainer, but he's super prepared for mission.  Mission President says he's one of the best simple teachers in the mission and I agree.  It's hard to teach some people because a lot of people don't have very good English, but he's super good at teaching simply so they understand.  He's a musical genius too.  He is legitimately the best singer I have ever met. 

Church was really cool.  There was this less active girl we taught and we told her she needed to come to church and we saw her at church and it just made my day.  I taught Gospel Principles which was a lot easier than teaching it in Utah because nobody had a really deep understanding of doctrine.  Priesthood was really interesting though because people would say 2 sentences in English and then switch to Xhosa for like 5 minutes. I didn't really get much out of it haha I was kind of falling asleep.

Mdantsane is a really beautiful place.  The pictures I take don't really turn out but you should google it.  It's amazing it's just rolling hills and millions of trees and it's so green.  

Anyway mission has been super great so far 

Sept 12 letter to Dad

yeah i'm in the mission home now and Wednesday I will go to my new area.  don't worry about the camera I got it to work.  I don't have a lot of time to email today but I have some cool stories for next week.

Elder Ivins sent this picture to his mom of everyone in the MTC group in the Capetown mission.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September 6 letter from the MTC

So... you know how I have a camera?  Well the battery is dead and I don't have a charger for it so oh well.  I haven't taken a single picture.  don't kill me please.  

We got transferred last Thursday and Elder Ivins is my new companion.  I absolutely love him.  He's so funny and we just laugh and laugh all day.  When President announced the new companionships he said Elder Ivins and Elder Heald and everyone started cheering or something it was super funny.  But yeah we are having the funnest time ever.  We got put in a room by ourselves and we just sit in there and laugh all night.  Last night we decided to start working out and so we did about 5 pushups and then we  just laughed at ourselves.  We sat there laughing for probably 10 minutes and then we did around 10 more.  We did like 40 pushups probably and it took us about 45 minutes.  Also Elder Ivins is teaching me how to yoyo.  I keep telling him he's way lame for yoyoing but we still do it every night and I love it.  

We teach 2 investigators every day but they're just our teachers.  I love them all.  One of them is brother Wentcel and I love him.  I feel like if he lived in Utah we'd be best friends.  But we go to class all day and it's kind of boring sometimes but I love it.  

We went to the Johannesburg temple last Wednesday.  It was really cool.  On the way home our teacher Brother Wentcel took us to McDonalds but we didn't tell anyone but it was the happiest I've been.  Also last night we sang all 9 verses of follow the prophet and it was lit.  It was so funny but it was the funnest thing we've done so far.  I definitely got way lucky with companions.  The 2 coolest guys here have been my companions.   
Love you

see you in 2 years