Sunday, September 24, 2017

September 18 letters

To Mom:

Yeah mission is still going really great.  This week was another amazing week.  

There's a guy called S.  I don't know if I've told you about him, but he's 24 with a great job, he's very intelligent and friends with lots of the members already.  His girlfriend is also a member of the church.  He's definitely a stake leader.  But he's investigating the church and this Saturday we taught him the third lesson which is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was such a powerful lesson.  It was amazing and it really touched him.  At the end he prayed and he asked that his baptismal date for October 22nd might be realized.  He was at church yesterday and he talked to all of the leaders.  He might be the investigator that I'm most excited about because he's really committing now to the church and to his baptism and he's one that I know will never fall away. 

I don't know if you remember Brother G.  He's the one that has his own church and he requested a Book of Mormon online.  Well we started teaching his son last Sunday and this Sunday we came to him and he was really troubled.  He told us that he hadn't even touched the Book of Mormon and he felt like the bible was enough for him.  We had such an amazing lesson with him.  We opened the Book of Mormon and read some scriptures with him and we could see his countenance visibly change.  He was so touched and so humbled and at the end he realized what a wonderful thing the Book of Mormon was and he promised to read it. 

We're planning about 10 baptisms for October so soon you should hear about people who were baptized.  We're finally getting our people to church so it's really great.  
There's a less active member called M.  He had a vision about 2 weeks ago showing him all of his sins and showing him that he needs to repent because he's going to be a leader at church.  Anyway he went to the bishop and set a marriage date for November 3rd.  We have been teaching his fiancee and she was at church yesterday and her baptism is set for November 5th. 

Today we went to ride on the elephants.  It was a really cool experience.  They are so massive.  My camera doesn't work right now so that was very frustrating.  But before you lose hope in me don't worry I made sure that I got lots and lots of pictures of me riding them so I'll send them to you next week or the week after as soon as they come in.  But we rode on the elephants and then we went to feed them.  They are really smart so it was a lot of fun.  

The diet and the workout plan is still going strong don't worry.  I know you probably all thought I was going to flake out but it feels too great so don't worry I'll keep it up for as long as I can.  I remember when I was in 8th grade I always hung out with Nathan Wolfherts and I saw that he didn't eat any sugar or oil and he only ate healthy stuff and I told you I was going to do that and I wasn't eating sweet things and you said "Ok Adam"  and it lasted like a day and a half.  But this time I'm way more serious hahaha

To Dad:

Mission is really really flying by right now for me.  I am just trying to do my best.  But I don't have much to say because I only have 5 minutes left and I already said what I wanted to say to you, to mom so just read that but I love you and I want you to know that I really feel like I'm giving it my all right now and I have no regrets at the moment.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September 11 letters

Letter to Mom:
Week 1 of getting shredded has been really nice.  I have been eating so many fruits and vegetables and pretty much I feel good about everything that goes into my body and I've worked out every day but so far I look exactly the same as I did last week.  One more week at least for my 6 pack to come out I think. 

I can't believe all of those natural disasters in America maybe that's going to be the end of the world or something.  There's actually a member family here who feeds us every Friday night and they love to tell us all sorts of prophesies that they find online and stuff it's really funny, but they said that something major is supposed to happen on the 24th of this month so keep your eyes peeled :)

This week was pretty killer again for us.  We pretty much smashed it.  We found lots of new investigators and taught people who are progressing and everything great.  That family that I told you about which is the G family came to church on Sunday.  The whole family stayed for the whole 3 hours which is a family of 5.  As far as I know they really enjoyed church and they have been reading the Book of Mormon.  We're thinking about the 8th of October for their family and if not the 22nd.  We have some other investigators who we want to get baptised in October also.  S is the boyfriend of a member and has lots of friends at church and we committed him to the 22nd.  He has a lot of questions and doesn't want to be bound down to a church but we told him that he must pray and find out for himself that the church is really true.  He promised to study the BoM and come to church and pray so that he can know by the 22nd.  He's actually read 15 pages already. 

We met another girl named N last week.  She's only 18 so we have been trying to be really careful that she knows we are only there to preach the gospel because as soon as she thinks we're her buddies or that we're really cute or something, she will probably lose the chance to gain her own testimony.  It's been really good though she has read to chapter 7 in the Book of Mormon and had some crazy experiences praying to know that it's true.  She promised to come to church next Sunday and we've given her the date of the 22nd. 

We are still teaching R.  He came to church for the 3rd week in a row yesterday so we're going to baptise him on the 8th of october or maybe even the 24th but I don't think so.  He's been reading the BoM a lot though and he's doing great. 

Obviously there's a lot more people that we're teaching but those are the ones I'm really excited about that should be baptised soon. 

There's another sister who we've been teaching for a long time but who isn't close to baptism named Z.  She's pregnant and due in the next month of two.  She said that if she has a boy she's going to name him Adam haha :)  A while ago me and Elder Lillback were talking to her about a name for her baby and I told her I thought the coolest name is Adam and she said yeah it's cool.  She doesn't realize that it's my name though hahaha.  

President Lebethoa is making lots of changes.  He says no skinny pants, no skinny ties, no rolled up sleeves, no playing with children, no funny pictures and a lot of other things about the rules.  The whole mission felt pretty rebuked after MLC when he announced those things and I put away all of my ties except 1 haha.  I did end up buying some shoes though so they are very nice.  This week was the primary program which is the best Sunday of the year always.  It was really nice I felt the spirit and I thought of you and Dad the whole time. 

Letter to Dad:
Every morning for the past 3 or 4 weeks I've just woken up at 6:25 or 6:30 and I don't even need an alarm any more.  I'm really happy about that haha :)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September 4 letters

To Dad:

(Speaking of Training):  The Lord is giving me exactly what he knows I need to learn.  Mostly humility and more importantly charity which is the greatest of all.  I did struggle with my companions before I slowly started to learn more and more how to handle having a companion.  My last companionship with Elder Lillback was perfect and I have no doubt we could have stayed together for as long as needed without argument.  I really think the Lord arranges transfers based on weaknesses not on strengths.  He doesn't give the greatest leaders the greatest leadership responsibilities and down until he gives the most incompetent fools JC for 2 years.  Instead he gives leadership to those who needs leadership and JC to those who need to be humbled.  For me training 3 times is very clearly something that God is trying to teach me.  I believe firmly that he wants to teach me patience for weakness and most importantly Christlike love and Charity.  After everything that I've learned on mission so far I would say that's by far the most important and valuable thing I have tried to learn.

To Mom:

I'm really excited to see that Elder Koch is coming to our mission.  I knew that he was in the South East Africa Area Presidency and I also knew a seventy was coming to our mission so I was really hoping it would be him because that would be really cool.  So yeah that's really exciting news for me he should be coming in October so that will be really awesome. 

There's a missionary in our zone from England (coincidentally Elder Dove's companion) who used to be a professional rugby player and he also went to school to be a personal trainer and he worked professionally as a personal trainer before mission.  His name is Elder Sibiya.  Elder Sibiya has gotten a couple of us in the zone on his workout and eating plan promising shocking results.  I start today.  Basically his plan includes no sugar, no bread, no pasta, no butter or oil, no cereal.  Lots of eggs meat and beans as well as fruit and vegetables and peanut butter.  Lots of water.  It's going to be a pretty major change for me but I'm really excited about it.  I was eating a lot of junk this past week to prepare for my "before" picture and I tried to make myself look as bad as possible.  You'll see the picture I'm sure it is very funny.  But soon I will be shredded out of my mind :)

Me and Elder Khoza had a killer week this week for missionary work.  We are teaching this father led family who were referred to us by brother Freddie in the bishopric.  When we went back to teach them the second lesson we asked them if they had prayed.  The wife said "I prayed to know if Joseph Smith is a true prophet and if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on earth and I felt this amazing feeling inside that was so warm and told me that it's true, almost as if Jesus Himself was speaking to me telling me that everything was true but that I needed to learn more and come to church."  We were so excited about that and for sure she will be baptised with her family in the next couple of weeks. 

Also we've been working with the bishop.  We have a couple of investigators who the Stake President is probably going to come out and marry in the next few weeks and some other people who are really excited about church.  I'll let you know more about them as they approach baptism.  It's been 12 weeks in Uitenhage now and we're finally making real progress so that's exciting. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

August 28 letters

Letter to Dad:

All of this stuff about the eclipse is so crazy.  The members here were talking about how it is a 90th birthday present for President Monson and stuff which is kind of cool.  I saw a really cool picture of the Salt Lake temple with the eclipse behind it.  Standing in traffic for 13 hours I can't imagine that. that's so awful.  And you were driving the whole time. 

Letter to Mom:

This week was stake conference and sister Lebethoa gave a talk about how mothers should prepare their children to serve mission by reading the scriptures with them and helping them to be spiritually strong and it reminded me of you and Dad who did that for me.

1 year was good.  We had zone conference on our one year so me, Elder Dove, Elder Ballstaedt, and Elder Larson which is all of the members of our transfer hanged out and laughed and talked and stuff and today we are going to go out to eat and do some cool things for our one year celebration.  I actually gave away those ugly hush puppies shoes to a guy called Qhawe in Langa branch because he's going on mission and his parents both passed away and he really doesn't have shoes to take.  And those brown shoes you sent me I actually gave them to A in Mdantsane and coincidentally his parents also passed away and he also doesn't really have clothes or shoes either.  So I was thinking for my one year I was going to maybe go and buy some shoes that I could wear on Sundays and for Zone Conferences and things and maybe a tie.

These past 2 weeks since I've got Elder Khoza have been pretty good.  For a week or so we were just getting to know each other and Elder Khoza was settling in and I didn't know how our companionship was going to be.  This past week though has been really good.  We're becoming really good friends and he is committed to work hard and be obedient so he'll have a great time with me.  I think I'm getting a lot better at the whole having a companion thing.  

We didn't have very much success these past few weeks.  For some reason we have been struggling to teach and find new investigators but I have good reason to believe the area is about to explode for missionary work.  We found a new guy called S.  He's really good friends with the Elders quorum president and also brother Xhanti who was just released from the bishopric.  And his girlfriend is a strong member of the church too.  Apparently his family has been taught 3 times the lessons.  Once when he was 5 once when he was 11 once when he was 17 and now we are back and I think he's 24.  He doesn't remember too much of what they taught him but he's already met the bishop and been to church.  We had 2 lessons with him so far and we went into a lot of depth explaining the restoration and the book of mormon and we've built a pretty good relationship of trust already.  Definitely he's really exciting for us.

Also there's a less active guy called brother H.  He's just come back to church but he was actually the first missionary to serve from Uitenhage ward.  He has been back now for a number of years and he just started coming back now.  He actually brought his wife to stake conference too.  We taught his wife the restoration and she committed to pray about it.  He really wants to get her baptized because he wants to go to the temple and be sealed.  He told us "My wife is my number one referral"  We also gave her a baptismal date for the 24th of September.

There's another guy called R who we started teaching.  He came to church last Sunday but he couldn't make it to stake conference.  He has been so excited about the lessons and reading the BoM every day.  On Tuesday we asked if we could make another appointment for Friday and he said yeah but that Friday was too far and he asked if we could see him on Thursday too.  He's getting so excited about the lessons although his understanding isn't too great.  Eventually he'll be baptized too I'm sure and we've given him the date also of September 24th.

Elder Keetch from my transfer was made the new AP for this transfer so he is flying out to train us in 2 weeks.  That means after him there will only be 3 left from my transfer who I haven't seen yet which is Elder Gibbons and Elder Ivins.

This Sunday was Stake Conference.  It was really powerful.  There was an area seventy from Congo who came and he gave a really powerful talk and then Elder S Mark Palmer from area presidency was there and his talk was of course very powerful.  If you remember his talk from this past conference was "And Jesus beholding him, loved him"  which was one of my favorites. 

There was another experience that we had on Tuesday.  A sister from the ward called us late at night asking for a blessing so we got permission from our leaders to leave the boarding and give her a blessing.  We didn't know what she wanted but when we got to her house she came out of nowhere and sat on the porch and she was just weeping and sobbing uncontrollably.  We didn't really know what to do but we put her hands on her head and blessed her and told her to receive the Holy Ghost who is the Comforter.  Immediately she calmed way down and as we closed the blessing I was just shaking and trembling because the feeling was so powerful.  It brought a few things to mind.  1 the Holy Ghost is the comforter and so when one of God's children is in need of comfort, the comfort He can offer is very powerful.  2 I was reminded of 1 Nephi chapter 1 where Lehi saw a vision and because of what he saw and heard he did "shake and tremble exceedingly"  Although I didn't see a vision I did shake and tremble exceedingly because of the power of the third member of the Godhead.

I love you Momma
I am trying my best to be the missionary that my own mother thinks that I am

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August 21 letter

I will reach the 1 year mark this week so that's exciting :)

my new companion Elder Khoza is really sweet.  He feels a little bit like a younger brother.  Actually all my companions have felt like that except Elder Greengrass even though they've all been older than me. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August 14 letters

To Dad:

 I want to help coach your young boys when I get home.  I talk to Elder Dove about coaching a lot.  He coached  the u9s and u11s at Oldham and now he actually has a job coaching the u21s of a team in Denmark when he goes home.  He wants to coach in the prem.  I want to coach in premier 1.  Similar aspirations I think hahaha.  But we talk all the time and it makes me really excited to go home and try some things coaching teams and things.  

Also we've been playing a lot.  Misison has really reinforced for me the fact that I really want to play still in college and things and also that I don't ever want to miss a city game again.  the Prem is on every tv in SA all the time so I see snippets every day and it just makes my heart yearn to watch city.  Of course I'm here serving the Lord so that's a good substitute but when I'm home I'm watching every game. 

To Mom:

I've still been waking up early every day to play soccer.  Now we get the whole zone to come and we just play a short 30 minute game with everyone every morning. 

This Wednesday is transfers.  Elder Lillback will be going to Mthatha which is like the craziest area of the mission and way far out.  I'll miss him a lot.  I'm going to be training... again.  For the third time.  In the mission they say you're someones mother if you follow up train them and someones father if you train them.  All told I have had 6 companions and I have 6 sons.  Hahaha.  I've only had 2 transfers where I wasn't doing the 12 week program.  Yeah oh well but my new companion will be Elder Khoza from Durban I think.  I don't know anything about him but I'll surely send some pics and things next week.  After I found out I was training again everyone was just calling me and laughing and laughing.  The Lord is definitely trying to teach me something.  I've prayed and asked Him what it is and I've had some few thoughts.  

We've been working with Brother D for a few weeks.  We saw him yesterday and he really opened up.  He was testifying to his kids about the spirit and the BoM and he was making plans to read with them and to help them understand the gospel.  It has been 8 years since he was at church.  He promised to come yesterday but he didn't show up.  I think they will all come soon.  He was really sincere in thanking Elder Lillback when he told him he was leaving.  Brother D was telling him how much he needed this and how much he appreciates that Elder Lillback came to him and visited him.  I think we're the first missionaries that have seen brother D in a long time.  

We set a goal because we don't have anyone who is really going to make a baptismal date at all so we set a goal to find 30 new investigators this week to prepare the area for the new missionary.  We got 29.  We didn't quite make it but we did really well.  This area is tough so I think we probably need to get at least 20 new investigators a week to have reasonable success.  That's something I think we'll focus on next transfer.  It is frustrating to teach so many people and not have success.  Me and Elder Lillback set a goal at the beginning of the transfer to have 10 investigators at sacrament meeting.  We never had more than 5.  On his last Sunday we had 0.  Hahha.  We just need to work harder :)

Something big that happened for me this week is that on Monday we went to the book store and I bought the Screwtape Letters to read in my spare time in the evenings.  Elder Sibiya bought a book called Rich Dad Poor Dad.  We decided to trade with each other and he could read my book and I would read his and we'd trade back.  I read Rich Dad Poor Dad in the evenings when I had extra time.  I finished it on Thursday night and now I'm pretty much certain I know what I want to do with the rest of my life.  It talks about buying assets and investing and it makes so much sense to me.  It excites me so much every time I think about it I just get so excited.  I want to study investment and I want to buy and sell assets.  There's a guy I met here who is super rich who buys and sells businesses.  I'm going to email him a bit and narrow down my ideas exactly but ultimately I want to own businesses.  It perfectly fulfils everything I want.  I said I wanted to start a business because I like talking and working with people.  But I don't think I want the hours or the work of a CEO.  Instead being a business owner would be much different.  I would still be working with a lot of people but instead I would be paying people to do the administration and I would study the market and investment and advertisement and things like that.  Those things really fascinate me.  I'll let you know in a few weeks after talking to some people exactly what I want to study in college but the idea of money working for me and understanding how money works is something I really want to do. 

Other interesting transfer news.  Elder Dove is staying.  Elder Faingata'a is coming to be my ZL.  If you remember him he's one of my best friends.  

Monday, August 7, 2017

August 7 letters

Letter to Mom:

So this week the ward mission leader was released so it's just us on our own which is a huge blessing.  We don't have to work through a ward mission leader to get anything done so we're just working directly with the bishop and we're planning some cool stuff.  We've started an activity where we're just playing soccer with the brethren every Saturday.  It's a nice activity and good for less actives.  We're going to start missionary FHEs with the ward to get people to invite investigators to FHEs.  We're also planning some special sacrament meetings to bring investigators and other things to get the work going.  Me and Elder Lillback have been seeing so many members getting them to do missionary work and we've honestly had a little bit of success which is exciting.  We don't have any baptisms any time soon but we have a lot of people who we're just now starting to teach.  

Elder Lillback will probably leave the area next week Wednesday so we're trying to see how many new investigators we can get before then.  We're hoping to shoot for 40.  That would be sick. 

We went to a member called Brother D on Tuesday night after the bishopric meeting.  He was the Branch President 8 years ago but he's been less active since he was released.  His 2 youngest children haven't been baptized and they are 10 and 14.   We didn't know what to expect because we've been told by previous missionaries that he's hostile toward the church and we were pretty much expecting a raging apostate.  But turns out he was super kind he let us in he agreed with everything we said.  His whole family was there.  He said he's been lazy to church but he thought he should probably go back.  At the end of the lesson he asked us if we could teach his 2 children so they can get baptized.  That was pretty much a notable miracle.  I told the bishop after we left about that and he basically shouted for joy hahaha.  We went back to Brother D's house the next day and helped him with his business making sausages which is cool.  And on Sunday we taught the restoration to his kids.  They didn't have the greatest attention span but we spiced it up a bit and it was a really nice lesson.  the kids are really nice especially the 10 year old girl.  She really wants to go to church so she may be the key in reactivating them. 

We went tracting in the rich area on Saturday night and we met a crazy colored guy who invited us in.  He started telling us some crazy things.  Among other things he told us that while he sleeps his spirit is awake and that's when he goes with his 2 personal angel friends named Tom and Frank and using the sword of the spirit he slays demons.  He said some other things which were really funny but he was 100 percent serious about it.  

I got some really good news.  I don't know if you remember N from Mdantsane.  She's the old lady who was confined to a chair who I told you about.  Me and Elder Muller gave her a blessing and she was healed so miraculously.  I found out his last week that after 6 months away that she's finally going to be baptized. 

I'm sure there's lots I'm forgetting to say but it's fine

To Dad:

I read some really interesting things in the approach to the book of mormon.  The part about Ezekiel 37 was really cool although he always answers the difficult questions and doesn't answer the basic questions that I'm still on haha.  I wanted him to simply explain why the Lord is commanding Ezekiel to write on both sticks when it wasn't Ezekiel who was writing them at all.  It's probably a really simple question but of course Dr Hugh Nibley doesn't stoop to answer all the questions he only deals with the crazy insane historical evidence and archaeological findings that explain the scriptures.  But it was a really cool chapter I enjoyed it.  And then there was another chapter about the Jaredite barges which was really interesting and explained things that I definitely hadn't thought of before. 

this is me eating a big bowl full of bugs and worms

Why is it that every picture of a car getting fixed has Adam standing around watching?

Monday, July 31, 2017

July 31 letters

Letter to Mom:

Please find out more details about when school starts because that would be something really important to know.  Don't worry about me coming home early though.  Unless the school year literally starts before August 25th then I may have to.  But I'm not worried about having a lot of time to lounge around.  In fact I don't want to be lazy.  I definitely don't want to start a semester late.  I hope to go home and get straight into school.  I consider these 2 years my summer of lounging around.  I don't like the feeling of being lazy and doing nothing so when I get home hopefully I can get straight into school.  We'll make a plan though when it's closer and more relevant.  I'm not even 1 year yet hahaha 

Missionary work is moving ever so slowly forward.  It's gaining momentum in the true sense of the word because it's taking forever to slowly ever so slowly start going faster.  We have 1 person who is ready for baptism now which is exciting though.  It's a sister named sister C who has come for so long to church.  The only problem is that she lives with her husband and they were only married traditionally in Zimbabwe so they aren't recognized legally as husband and wife so they'll probably get married by the bishop some time soon.  We are slowly working with the husband though bit by bit and he says he's ready to come to church too but he's yet to come. 

We have another couple that's also unmarried which is M and Z.  We taught them the word of wisdom on Friday and M went to the cupboard and pulled out huge bags of coffee and tea.  Apparently he drinks a lot of coffee and tea.  But he took out the bags and went straight to the trash and threw them straight in the garbage.  It was pretty cool.

President Lebethoa came for zone conference again and he interviewed us for the first time.  It was pretty nice he's very powerful and his training was really awesome.  the interview was cool too.  We met him for the first time a few weeks ago with his kids.  Of course the kids out of all missionaries picked me to be their buddy hahaha I think I must be some kind of sorcerer or something.

But thanks for sending me money mom.  I bought a soccer ball and it was the best thing I've ever done.  I don't know why I never thought of this before but we go to the park now every morning at 6:30 and play soccer me and my comp and sometimes other missionaries come and we all play together.  Instantly as soon as I did that I cured my inability to wake up because I'm so excited to wake up and play

Love you Mom I'll send more exciting things next week

To Dad:

It's been cool though here.  I have a couple of my best friends with me in my zone right now.  Elder Ballsteadt and Elder Dove from my transfer so it's cool whenever we hang out and stuff we have fun.  I've been playing soccer every morning with my companion.  We play pass and it's really good and fun because I wake up at 6:30 sharp every day now because I'm going to play soccer at the park and I'm just sharpening my touch a little bit. 

We went to this bridge on Monday.  It was pretty cool.  

July 24 letters

To Mom:

So yeah I've already done the math and I'll probably go home on the same day as I left.  If you add it up, because I was only at the mtc for 3 weeks the transfers line up to make exactly 2 years worth whereas daniel was in the mtc for 6 weeks so the transfers lined up for him to have 2 years minus 3 weeks.   But I don't know if you want to come fetch me that would be sweet but I'm also way excited to go home with the guys in my transfer because there's like 10 of us flying in to Utah.  But Elder Ondracek is going home 1 transfer early because his family wants to pick him up and I think Elder Keetch is doing the same thing and his dad is in the first quorum of the seventy.

This week was super awful for missionary work.  We couldn't make it to most of our area and we had to drop a lot of investigators and now we're not really doing much at all.  It's rough but we spent almost the entire week trying to visit members and we got lots of referrals out of them.  Some members have a bad attitude about missionary work but most of them are really good about it.  I also got some really good ideas from Daniel about how to use members in missionary work which I'll hopefully apply this week. 

We only taught like 2 or 3 lessons this week but we finally got the chance to teach brother T again.  He's really powerful he's been reading the Book of Mormon and he said he got the prompting just to listen to us when we taught him so we finished teaching him about the Restoration and also about the Book of Mormon and it was super powerful.  We each bore out testimony about the restoration and it was really powerful especially Brother Wildskit's testimony.  He's still a long way away because he's the president of a ministry with churches all over SA but he told us he's going to give us the addresses for his pastors and other members of his church which is exciting.

Otherwise I did nothing this week except visit members and read the scriptures so it was kind of depressing for missionary work but I think it will be better this coming week.

We've just organized a ward activity where we're going to play soccer every Saturday which I'm way excited about I just need to buy a ball.  Also some random guys saw me playing soccer in the street with some kids and they thought I was really good so they invited me to play in a game with them on Saturday so I agreed but I told them only if they let us teach them.  So this Saturday I'm going to play in a game and afterwards I'm going to get like 10 or more new people to teach I'm way excited about it

To Dad:
If you'll remember from the early days of the church there were always people abandoning the church and doing crazy controversial things and fighting against the prophet.  Because the church was new the leaders were really suspect to pride and they felt entitled to leadership so they were easy prey for Satan when they didn't think things were happening according to their own personal specifications.  That's the same with the church here a lot of the time.  Most of the members are really good people and in every ward you have just devout and good people but a lot of the time the leaders develop a sense of entitlement and so insane things happen.  I can definitely promise you that everything I said in my email was true, I've heard those things from lots of members.

Biking was fun and it felt good to work a little bit instead of just sitting in a car all day but it really affected the work.  Our area is absolutely massive so there's huge portions of our area we literally can't get to without a car.  For example we can't make it to our bishop without a car because it would take about an hour to an hour and a half on a bike.  We've had to really focus on members only so it was quite difficult but also a lot of fun.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 17 letter

Bishop Khanti is awesome.  He's a really powerful guy.  There's some crazy history in the ward and Bishop Khanti isn't a part of it so that's good.  Apparently there's a family called the Ds and they are hard core less active.  But Brother D used to be the branch president and every time he would get up to speak the Bs would all stand up and say loudly to everyone in the chapel, "This guy doesn't know what he's talking about"  And they would walk outside and wait in the hall for him to finish talking.  And brother B told him "Listen I'm going to be the next Branch President so you better get ready to step down."  But then they called Brother B as bishop and brother D just decided that he absolutely hates blacks and that he will kill any black person from church who goes to visit him.  So yeah he's long gone and he won't come back any time soon because we have a black bishop now.  Apparently also when they ordained brother B as bishop one of the brethren in the circle was brother P and after they said amen Brother P punched him in the face and knocked him out.  Just like that before anyone could shake his hand or anything.  I don't really know why but that's crazy.  And the funniest thing is that Brother P is now really old and he had a stroke so he completely forgot that that ever happened and he's just the funniest guy now.  He always talks loudly during meetings and stuff about the randomest stuff.

But otherwise this week was a way discouraging week as far as missionary work goes.  We had so many drops.  Almost all of our lessons dropped and a lot of our investigators dropped us.  We're still waiting to see brother T next week with brother Wildskit but we'll see how that goes.  We did meet one of his sons and we made an appointment to visit them on Wednesday.  They are also quite rich. 

On Thursday we destroyed our car.  There was a big pool of standing water in the road and Elder Lillback didn't think it was going to be quite so deep so he drove straight in and it was like a foot or 2 deep and some water got in the engine and somehow it melted a hole in the engine.  So yeah we lost our car.  They gave us a new one but they're taking it away this week.  We're going to be on bikes for the week which is insane because our area is so huge.  It's going to be a super fun week I'm way excited to bike.  But it's so cold right now so it sucks I don't know.  

We had so little success it was very frustrating so on Saturday and Sunday we didn't teach at all which is just appalling.  After another appointment dropped on Sunday we decided to take a walk into the bushes and we discovered a nice and tranquil river in our area which was so peaceful and made us feel better. We decided to try our best to work with members now because our own efforts failed at bringing very many people to church. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

July 10 letters

To Mom:

This week was pretty awesome I'm not going to lie
On Monday we went to a place called Addo Elephant Park.  It was one of the coolest things I've ever done.  I will send lots of pictures and videos don't worry.  But it was really awesome we were just in our car on this dirt road and all of the sudden like 40 elephants just came out of the woods and followed the road.  They were all around the car and they would get close enough to touch them.  Eventually we followed them to a big watering hole and they all drank water for a minute and then they came and started surrounding the car.  It was really scary because they are so huge and there's so many of them and if they wanted to attack us there was literally nothing we could have done about it.  But yeah we saw a bunch of Zebras and Water Buffalo and good stuff but the Elephants were so sick.  
Otherwise me and Elder Lillback put in another solid week of missionary work.  We found some more father led families to teach.  Something frustrating is that the Ward is not giving us the slightest bit of help with the missionary effort and so even though we're teaching so many lessons every day we're not having too much success.  There was a new bishop called this week though so hopefully there will be some good changes.  He's a young guy called bishop Khanti.  Our old bishop I genuinely believe may have been the oldest bishop in the entire world.  He's an old guy from Wales.  He was 86 years old when he was released hahaa.  

We went to teach T this week and he was on the way out.  We rescheduled with him for next week Tuesday.  We organized to take with us Brother Wildskit who is the first counselor in the stake presidency.  He has the most amazing conversion story and he was planning on sharing it with T.  He told us what happened and it's really amazing:  He decided right after he was married that no church was doing it for him so he didn't go to church for 7 years.  Then one day after all this time 2 questions came to his mind.  What is my purpose here on Earth?  and Where is the Lords true church?  So he went on his knees and he said send me someone who can answer those questions.  Then nobody came so the next day he went on his knees again and he said I'm not leaving the house until the people come I'm going to wait here.  So then he waited all day and evening came and just then there was a knock at the door and it was the missionaries.  So they taught him a lesson and he felt like it was true but he wanted to be sure so he went on his knees again when they left and he prayed and he said I'm going to open the bible and show me a verse.  So he did that and the first verse he saw said something like "And the Lord sent his servants 2 by 2 into every place where he would go"   and then he couldn't believe it so he prayed again and he read "Knock and you shall receive... If you then being evil know how to give good gifts how much more will your father give good gifts to everyone that asketh"  So then he didn't bother anymore but he really investigated the church and he was baptized and 6 months later he was made the Branch President hahah.  Anyway he's an awesome guy and we're really excited for him to share his experience and his testimony with brother T.  It should be very powerful.  

Otherwise the work is going forward.  We will meet President Lebethoa for the first time this Thursday.  

To Dad:
Something that I'm quite proud of myself is that I finally learned how to be tidy.  Before mission my room was always a wreck and just terrible.  Now I always wake up every morning and make my bed and I fold all my clothes neatly and put them away.  Other missionaries have commented telling me that I'm so tidy which is just super funny to me.  

We don't have Teacher Council as far as I know but I could be wrong.  In any case if there was ever a person qualified to teach a class for teachers it would be you.  You're definitely the best teacher that I know.  Obviously that's why you teach like 6 times a week hahaha

Me and Elder Dove at Addo

Monday, July 3, 2017

July 3 letters

To Mom:

The new mission President came in on Saturday.  He is President Lebethoa from Joburg.  I don't know anything about him other than that he has 4 small children and his wife is probably not going to be able to be very involved with the missionaries.  I think we will meet him for the first time the week after next.  

This week was a little bit discouraging after all of the work we've been doing.  48 new investigators in the last 2 weeks and we still only had 6 investigators at sacrament meeting.  Also we've just found out that the investigators that we do have that are actually progressing are not married and so we are going to have to wait for a wedding before we can do a baptism.  I don't know if we'll have any baptisms this transfer.  We've decided to just work harder this week to find father led families only.  In fact we dropped about 30 investigators this week because they weren't serious and they weren't father led families.  

We did have some success with brother T who I told you about last week.  He's the guy who ordered the BoM online.  He read the intro and the testimonies and chapter 1 and he liked it.  We mostly talked to him about the restoration.  He was talking a lot and he was asking a lot of questions which.  He does have sincere intent though.  He told us again that after we have taught him everything he will decide if he wants to join or not.  He also told us that we can go and teach his 5 sons which is really exciting.  He will tell us their addresses when we come back on Thursday.  

To Dad:

Just yesterday we took a guy fellowshipping who is in the bishopric and he's really good at rapping.  He told me he really wants to build up some money from rapping so that he can provide for his family so that he can just help the missionaries every day and have time with his family.  I thought about how blessed we are to have a family that is so happy and close and that you and mom both have time to do things with us every day and to spend time in the community. 

With my companion Elder Lillback

With my boy Jackson and our area in the background
With President and Sister Merrill

Sunday, July 2, 2017

June 26 letter

To Mom:

My companion is fluent in Swedish German and English.  He can also kind of understand Afrikaans because it's similar to English Swedish and German.  Me and him have been having the greatest time.  I don't think I've ever worked this hard in my whole mission.  We are really smashing it, it feels great.  We've been having some really amazing spiritual experiences.  Just this week a guy got online and ordered a Book of Mormon.  We went and brought it to him and sat down with him and he explained to us that he is the founder of a church that has 8 branches.  He's very wealthy and he has 5 kids.  4 of them have already married and moved out of the house.  He basically has a massive household with so many potential members.  He told us that after all of this time he just feels so drawn to learn about Mormonism and the Mormon book and that he wants to learn all the details about it so he can decide for himself if he wants to join the church.  He said that he wants us to come by about once or twice a week and talk about things which is really exciting.  He is also in like 5 different organizations in the community.  This guy is a potential stake leader so I'm really excited to teach him.   

We also met a guy named L.  He is really awesome.  He's 19 and he's so excited about the Restoration.  He told a bunch of his friends and stuff and he's planning on getting baptized on July 30th.  Even though I just met him this past week my vision for him is that he will get his mission call before I go home from mission.  

Me and Elder Lillback got our hair cut and Elder Lillback decided to go big or go home hahaha.  We are just having the greatest time together.  Right now we have 34 people on date for baptism for the end of the transfer so our goal is to have at least 10 baptisms together which may be a bit high but we're working super hard and we are very optimistic.  I can really see the Lord blessing me in my missionary work right now.  

June 19 letters

Don't worry about my foot problem.  It turns out it was just an infection and not an infestation so I will be totally fine.  It is actually healed by now so I am fine and will live.  Too bad it wasn't fly eggs because that would have been a way better story. 

This week has been a pretty crazy week.  I said goodbye to everyone in Langa and left Elder Mabanga in charge of the area.  It was a very sad goodbye but life goes on.  Me and Elder Dove flew together to PE so we're here together again and we've been together for the entire mission so far.  
Uitenhage is a crazy area.  First of all it's a really rich area which is kind of bizarre for me.  All the people live in the most massive houses and it's just weird to me that we can even teach people in these massive houses.  It's a mixed area though.  There's blacks whites and coloreds.  Of course you can never teach whites.  No white person will ever listen to the missionaries I'm pretty sure.  But the colored' are pretty good to teach.  The best thing about the area is that there's a lot of father led families.  Almost everyone we're teaching lives at home with their wife and kids which is awesome.

The biggest thing that I hate about this area is that it's an Afrikaans speaking area so there aren't too many Xhosa speaking people.  Even the black Xhosa people speak Afrikaans and not Xhosa.  That makes me sad but there's still a few Xhosa people who I can speak to from time to time. 
The area is absolutely blowing up right now.  I have never been doing better missionary work in all my 10 months of mission.  We actually received more than 40 referrals last week which is just absolutely insane.  

Since I got here on Wednesday we have already committed 18 people to be baptized on July 30.  I hope that some of those can make that date.  There's some people I'm really excited about.  A girl named C who came to church a few weeks in a row but she hasn't brought her husband yet.  She's 27 I think from Zimbabwe and she will be really powerful once we bring in the father of the home.  We met a guy called M who is only 22 and already married which is really crazy for South Africa.  He came to church too but he left his wife at home.  I'm really excited about him though he's a sweet guy.  There's also a girl that is going to college here named B.  We taught her about the Restoration on Friday and she was pretty skeptical.  When we went back Sunday we found that she was hiding from us.  We cornered her though and had a lesson.  In the lesson she really opened up to us and she was pretty emotional.  She said that she had prayed to know if what we said was true and she had some pretty powerful experiences.  She had read some things in the bible that really spoke to her and basically told her that she needed to join the church.  She was hiding from us because she was really scared about the whole thing and she didn't want to make a big change in her life, but the Lord already showed her the way and she will certainly do the right thing.  It's always an amazing thing to witness someone's conversion so I'm really glad that 4 days in I have already seen this girls conversion.

One of the weirdest things that happened is that we were driving downtown in Uitenhage with the windows down when we heard "Come Come Ye Saints" just playing so loud.  Everyone could hear it in the whole city square.  It was kind of crazy.  We went over to the guy with the speaker and he was just a guy with some MoTab CDs and he wasn't even a member.  He told us that he just really loves Mormon Tabernacle Choir so we took his details and sent his referral to the missionaries in Kwa Nobuhle where he lives.  

Me and Elder Lillback are getting along great.  He's from Sweden but he lived in Germany for most of his life.  I like  him a lot.  His previous companion was Elder Ondracek who is also a friend of mine.  He is really hard working and obedient and so we're having a really nice time together.  I really love it here in Uitenhage so it should be a really great time for me on mission. 

To Dad;

Yeah so I'll tell all about the new area to mom no need to worry about that.  I'm a district leader just to answer your question. 

My foot is completely fine.  The doctor said when I left that it was just an infection and nothing too crazy.  It was basically healed by then anyway.  I asked her if she thought it was a crazy infestation of Mango flies and she said no the chances of that were very quite low which will give you some peace I guess.  I'm sure I'm fine now.  

M is S's daughter

This is S in the orange and the other one is N who was baptized about a year ago.

Here is a generation picture.  Elder Wilson on the right who trained Elder Greengrass who trained me who trained Elder Mabanga. 

Here is a picture with one of my favorite missionaries Elder Hugo

Here is me and Elder Dove on the plane together.  We started in East London then flew to Cape Town together and then we flew to Port Elizabeth together too haha.  I can't get rid of this guy. 

This guy was playing Come Come Ye Saints way loud in the town square downtown.  Apparently he was selling MoTab CDs hahahaha.  He wasn't even a member.  This kind of blew my mind hahaha

Then I thought this was kind of funny.  Just a cow chilling in the middle of someones grass hahaha

Here is a picture of my companion

Monday, June 12, 2017

June 12 letter

To Mom:

I feel like I should share some few details about my experience this week with some mysterious abscesses on my leg.  Firstly the one on my right leg actually turned out to be no big deal.  I did have to go to the doctor on Monday and she looked at it and didn't really know what it was but she didn't think it was a bite.  She gave me some antibiotics to eat and some cream to rub on it and it pretty much went away by now.  On Monday I did also have a throbbing pain on my foot which I didn't know where it came from so the doctor told me to where fat shoes and eat some painkillers and she gave me some painkillers.  Then that night I couldn't sleep at all because my foot was in so much pain.  I went back the next day and the doctor said that either I had broken my toe, or I had gout hahahaha.  So I got a x ray and they told me I didn't have a broken toe.  So then the doctor said to me that I have gout and she gave me some strong painkillers to eat and made me stay home from the area. The next 2 days I didn't go to the area.  Instead I stayed at the mission office while my companion went with a member to teach our lessons.  It was definitely the Lord's hand in making me stay home, because I got the time to study the Plan of Salvation for about 3 hours.  After studying for those hours I actually got very detailed and powerful revelation that I've been seeking for quite a while.  I know that I could not have received that revelation without staying home and I know that I wouldn't have stayed home unless something happened where the doctor made me stay home.  

Anyway the next day when I woke up I was eating my painkillers and then I looked at my toe and I realized that the whole inside of my toe had pretty much exploded.  There was just blood and so much puss oozing all over the place and I'm not going to lie it was pretty graphic hahaha.  So then I was kind of freaked out and I went to the doctor again.  She told me that at least it's definitely not Gout but she doesn't know what it is and she squeezed my toe a bunch of times which was definitely not very fun for me hahaha.  Then she gave me some ointments to rub on my toe and sent me away.  Anyway after that the pain died down a lot.  I went back to work on Saturday.  The wound still hasn't healed but it doesn't ooze nearly as much and it doesn't really hurt very much any more.  
This will definitely freak you out a lot.  Sister Hansen from the office has been in contact with the area doctor and sending him pictures and stuff and he said that he thinks probably a mango fly layed eggs in my sock and the eggs hatched and started eating my toe hahaha.  But whatever happens I'm sure I'll know by the end of the week and it will all turn out great :)

This was my last week in Langa.  There was different emotions for me.  I know I need to move on but it is sad to leave.  I will definitely miss the 2 converts that we taught and baptized here which is S and E.  Actually I gave S my journal and she wrote the most beautiful letter to me that made me want to cry.  It was so beautiful and nice and while I read it the Spirit whispered to me that one of the reasons I was asked to serve in Langa and even in South Africa is to teach her the gospel.  I am really going to miss her.  She actually gave me a horn on a necklace that her grandfather gave to her which is really cool. 

Other than leaving Langa this week, not a lot has been happening.  Like I said I have been in the mission office and we haven't been particularly diligent in our missionary work, of which I will repent and be better in my next area.  

My transfer news is that I am going to Uitenhage which is in Port Elizabeth, and my new companion is going to be Elder Lilback from Germany I think.  I met him on his first day on mission and actually I took him proselyting for an hour.  I will be his second companion.  I think it's kind of funny.  I am going to make it to just about a year on mission without ever getting a companion with more than 4 months of experience haha.  

Monday, June 5, 2017

June 5 letters

To Mom:

I knew about Wonder Woman before I came on mission.  In fact if people ask me what my favorite movie is I say "I think it's Wonder Woman.  I'm not sure because I haven't seen it yet but I'm pretty sure it's Wonder Woman"  Hahaha.  

This past week the APs actually told me that despite what I thought, I will be leaving Langa next week on Wednesday.  I've been feeling different lately.  Lots of things have been going on but I've just been a bit lazy lately and not quite as driven.  I think it's definitely inspired for me to leave because I truly feel that I've learned all I will from Langa. 

I don't have a lot to say this week.  Apparently I got bit by some sort of bug or spider and I've had a rash on my leg for like a week.  That's kind of dope.  I'm going to get it looked at today.  It isn't a big deal but it will be cool to say I got bitten by an indigenous and deadly species of insect.  Also I got Athletes foot so that kind of sucks hahaha.  But those things will be gone by next week. 

To Dad:

I'm really excited about the commentary you sent me last week.  I've studied really deeply about this a couple of times since I've been on mission and I've had a lot of revelations.  The times that I've been closest to understanding the Book of Mormon is when I've studied it against the definition of "Hell" in the bible dictionary.  I actually noticed that in Alma 12 there seems to be an almost imperceptible shift from speaking about the state of all the wicked, to talking about the state of only the sons of perdition.  I've actually put off deep studying for the past few weeks because I wanted to finish the Book of Mormon, so I've just been reading lots and lots of Book of Mormon lately and it's been good.  I'll probably finish it today or tomorrow though and then I'm going to study deeply the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants again.  If I find anything I'll let you know.  I am really excited to read what you come up with though.  I don't trust very many people to teach me doctrine.  Most of the missionaries here have bits and pieces of false doctrine and not a lot of them have a very deep understanding of true doctrine.  I'm really glad that I have a dad that taught me about the true points of doctrine. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

May 29 letter

To Mom:

Mike Mower apparently knows Elder Greengrass' cousin or something so he came to our branch to find Elder Greengrass so yeah he was a nice friendly guy. 

This past week was a really strong week for missionary work.  Me and Elder Mabanga had a lot of success and we found lots of really good investigators.  We have an investigator called Brother B who is around 30 who we've had for a while.  He's actually come to church for 3 weeks in a row now.  Me and Elder Monoalibe taught him the first 3 lessons a long time ago, but he kind of disappeared after that so we didn't teach him again.  Then me and Elder Mabanga recontacted him.  But he's really hard to teach because he talks forever.  The first time we taught him after we recontacted him I asked him "Did you read the Book of Mormon" and he literally talked for more than 15 minutes to answer that question.  He was talking all about his entire life story somehow it was really weird.  But anyway this past week we went to teach Brother B and we went over the Restoration, and he actually remembered it perfectly.  But not only that but he told us all about how he has had a powerful witness from the Holy Ghost that it's true and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet and that The Book of Mormon is true.  It was really cool and so we're excited to get him baptized some time soon. 

We have another investigator named N who is a 16 year old girl.  She is really progressing and this Sunday she came to church with S and E, who are both of the people me and Elder Mabanga baptized.  N stayed even after church to go visit 2 members of the church who had a death.  When someone has a death, all the members go to their home and preach or something so N came to both of those things which lasted about 3 hours after church.  N will definitely be baptized soon.  We are even going to teach her dad as soon as possible. 

We also met a new sister named N.  N is 22 and she lives next door to the Mbaki's who are a member family.  We taught N the restoration and she was really excited about it.  She actually just moved to Cape Town and she is planning on inviting her friends to come to church with her which should be nice. 

Today for P day we went to a members house who has lots of snakes so we took lots of pictures with snakes.  I also attached a picture with my buddy Qhawe and my comp.
Also today me and Elder Mabanga got locked out of our boarding so I had to climb in through the window and we had no ladder so the other missionaries just kind of hoisted me to a ledge and I pulled myself up and went through the window.  It was pretty sick actually to be entirely honest so I'll send a picture of that too.

I'm really excited to stay in Langa for 12 more weeks.  

May 28 letter from Brother Mike Mower

Hello Sister Heald:  I met your son while attending the Langa Township Branch today.  He did a nice job playing the piano and was so nice and friendly to all of the members.