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 

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