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.