Monday, January 30, 2017

January 30 letter

So this last week was a little frustrating for me.  We worked tirelessly all day every day to teach the gospel.  We had like 20 people who promised that rain or shine they'd be at church.  None of them came.  I was very frustrated.  I think we have about 5 investigators that are coming regularly right now but all the rest have yet to come.  Oh well I can't complain.  We still have some people that are really solid.

There's a sweet experience we had last week.  So in December I told you that we went Christmas caroling in East London and we handed out copies of the book of mormon and took details.  Well we had this referral that we got from that activity for a guy called D, but the problem was that D lives out in Unit P which is ages from the main part of our area.  So we tried to contact him a couple of times but he was at work and we didn't see him.  Well on Friday we finally found people at home at his house.  We knocked on the door and his wife was sitting on the couch with like 5 kids.  One of our main focuses is to find father led families so that was pretty sweet.  And I saw the Book of Mormon on the table there too.  So we said hi and introduced ourselves and then i asked her if she has the Book of Mormon and she said yeah it's right there.  And then I said does D read it?  And she said every single day. 

So then we made an appointment to meet with her and D the next night.  So then on Saturday night we came and we taught them the restoration and we brought the high priest group leader with us.  We barely got into the lesson when D said guys I want to be honest.  I'm a pastor and I have a degree in theology.  I was thinking oh great he's going to give us a bible sermon and then kick us out.  But no instead he said "I've been going from church to church searching for the truth and I'm very confused.  Why do all the churches disagree about things like baptism and oil and things like that?  And why do all these people that say they are men of God go out and drink and smoke?  I'm just very confused" And then that was the perfect question for us to teach him the whole lesson especially about the apostasy and the restoration.  At the end of the lesson he said.  I'm a lot more clear now.  I still have a lot to learn.  Starting on Monday I want you guys to come each and every day and teach me everything you know.  Unfortunately his wife was very tired during our appointment so she had been sleeping and she wasn't there for the lesson but when we met her the day before she was very receptive and I'm very confident that we have a wonderful father led family to teach now.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

Jan 23 letters

From the mission president:

Dear Brother and Sister Heald,

Elder Adam Robert Heald has been called to serve as a district leader in the Mdantsane First Ward District of the South Africa Cape Town Mission.

This calling will offer Elder Heald an opportunity for leadership and growth as he will have responsibility for the day-to-day operation within his district, in addition to his proselytizing responsibilities.  

The Lord has chosen him because of his outstanding performance and commitment.  You should feel good about his progress as a missionary.  We are grateful for the training and guidance you have provided him.

May the Lord bless you for your love and support.


President Steven J Merrill
South Africa Cape Town Mission

To Mom:

This week we got a new Elder in the boarding.  Elder Myeza.  He's a cool guy.  He speaks at like a million miles an hour which is really funny.  I've really loved our district.  I think at the end of my mission Elder Faingata'a might be my favorite missionary that I met on mission.  He's a really nice guy.  I realize that I haven't really sent pictures or described my district so you might not know who that is, but he came in to the boarding my second transfer and he's been here ever since.

This week me and Elder Reedy absolutely dominated as far as stats go.  Just so you can get a glimpse of what I mean, we taught 30 lessons to investigators with a member present.  We taught 45 lessons total.  We had 22 new investigators.  And we had 2 baptisms on Saturday so it was a very nice week.  We have been meeting some really powerful people.  Our next baptism is scheduled for February 25th and we have 13 people preparing for that date right now.  When it comes I am hoping that at least 7 of those people will actually make that date.  

The baptism on Saturday was really nice.  X has been my favorite person that I have taught so far on mission.  His faith is so strong.  The day after his baptism, Sunday he came with us all day and fellowshipped and he was helping us teach as well.  Every time we teach him the spirit is there. 

This transfer was crazy.  The whole time on mission my zone has been pretty much the same.  Elder Kraftner and Ondracek and Elder Larson have been with me the entirety of my mission since the mtc, and they all left.  It's just me now in MD zone from my transfer with 6 or 7 new elders.  Even Elder Muller who has been my zone leader since the start, went home so we have a new zl too.  

Another interesting thing that happened this week.  There's a lady called N who I told you about.  My first transfer we gave her a blessing and healed her leg.  Well she was gone for December so we haven't really seen her in about a month or two.  Anyway just this week we went out to visit her again.  She was so happy to see us.  She told us that her son had come in December and brought her a new tv, 3 couches and a fridge.  She said as soon as that happened she thought of us and she said she thought that she was blessed because we had come.  We asked her where she was at in the book of mormon and she told us she was at Alma 44.  Crazy.  The spirit was so powerful in that house.  Anyway we talked to her about baptism and she said she has her church but the spirit has told her that she needs to leave and join our church and she's preparing to be baptized on February 25.  Right when we were about to go I asked her out of curiosity how long her leg had been hurting before we gave her a blessing.  She said that she hadn't been able to move properly for 6 months before we came, and as soon as we gave her the blessing her leg was completely healed.  No pain or anything.  The priesthood is real.
Anyway love you very much

Here is some pictures from the baptism

The 2 kids got baptized and the 2 adults baptized.  The one with glasses is the bishop and he baptized X, and the other one is the little kids dad.  

Friday, January 20, 2017

January 16 letter to Mom

So lately we've just been getting sackloads of DAs.  I think we are going on 7 days straight with a DA.  It's very nice because they always feed us vegetables and stuff so it's more variety than I would probably cook for myself.  

On Tuesday we had interviews with the Mission President.  He didn't give a training or anything he just came out to do interviews and stuff.  It was a very short interview so not that exciting but he did tell me that I'm going to be the district leader for our district this transfer which is cool.  

There was a worldwide change in mission schedule on Tuesday which was pretty nuts.  Instead of having set times to do everything now we get leeway to do them whenever we want.  It used to be personal study from 8 to 9 and comp study from 9 to 10.  Now we plan in the morning instead of at night.  So from 6:30 to 10 all we do is plan for 30 minutes and study for an hour and we are free to exercise and cook for the rest of the time.  It's very nice because I can exercise and cook in the morning and then shower and still feel like I'm being exactly obedient.  I feel like it's very inspired.  Than after 10 we do comp study for 30 minutes and proselyte for the rest of the day.  It opens up the day a lot so I really like it. 

We had some nice lessons this week.  We've been teaching a lot of lessons and getting a lot of people on baptismal date.  We were in the road one day contacting a referral when this little 5 year old girl ran up to us and she was like "You have to come see my coloring book!"  And we were kind of laughing about it so we said ok.  And then she like skipped to her house and we followed her and then when we got there she introduced us to her mom and we talked to her for a little bit while she colored, and we ended up teaching the whole restoration to her.  And anyway we invited her to pray about it and she did and then she came to church and she told us her prayers had been answered and that she and her son who is 15 want to be baptized.  It was very nice. 

This week our zone is getting destroyed.  My whole mission my zone leaders have been Elder Muller and Elder Jigu, but Elder Muller is going home this week so we're getting a new zl.  Also there's a new elder coming to our district and our district leader is leaving.  In total I think there is going to be 7 new elders in our zone which is half the zone.  It will be kind of crazy.  Especially since my transfer buddies are moving on without me, so I'll be the only one in my mtc group here. 

This Saturday we have a baptism.  We are baptizing X who is probably my favorite investigator that I've ever taught.  We are also going to baptize a 9 year old kid who's parents went less active a little bit while he was 8.  It should be a very nice baptism and I'm very excited especially for X.  He is 17 so we have been trying to prepare him for mission a little bit.  One step at a time though.  He's a really sweet guy. 

Lately I've been missing home just a little bit more than usual I don't know why.  I love you guys

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Catching up (Sorry for the length of this post)

January 3 letters

To Mom:
Yeah I miss Christmas.  Christmas here kind of sucks.  There is nobody to teach for the whole month of December and so now that it's January we're basically picking up the pieces and starting over.  I'm really excited for everything to go back to normal again.  

Tomorrow there is going to be a zone training, so the President will come out to Eastern Cape and we'll have a big training.  The zone leaders always train first at zone training and so this time they have asked me to do part of the training.  They asked me to train on "The Bible and the Book of Mormon"  Which is kind of funny because like 2 weeks ago we had a massive zone conference where we were trained for like 5 hours on that exact topic.  It's ok though I have found some material that we didn't discuss there so it should be good hopefully.  I'm really excited for my interview with president Merrill.  It's been a while since I really sat down with him and talked and stuff so I am looking forward to it. 

This past week was pretty frustrating for me.  We normally get around 120 to 130 at church but on Sunday it was only 82.  That's the lowest it's ever been while I've been here.  We had so many people that just promised that they'd be there but they weren't.  It was New Years day, but some of the excuses I heard were pretty upsetting.  Sparks who we had such a powerful lesson with and who promised to read the book of mormon and come to church, didn't show up.  In fact he wasn't there for our next appointment either.  Our fellowshipper A said he was at home during church but he "wasn't prepared" so he didn't come.  I was pretty disappointed about that.  

If you remember our recent convert family the N.  They were super powerful in November, but they didn't come to church even once in December.  I was pretty disappointed in them.  On Sunday I asked why they weren't at church and apparently they decided to go to the beach instead and take some of our other recent converts.  

I'm expecting better commitment out of people now that it's January and not festive season anymore.  
We have about 20 people who we taught who we need to recontact in January because they said they'd be away for the holidays.  Hopefully a lot of baptisms will come soon.  
The one ray of sunlight in all of this is X.  I don't know if I've told you about him but he's super powerful.  He's A's neighbor and he has come to church 4 weeks in a row now.  He came to church on Christmas and New Years which was really cool.  He's 17 and he's super ripped which means he's super cool. :)  But every lesson we've had with him the spirit has just been so strong, and he's committed to live all of the commandments which we have asked him to live.  Very cool guy.  He's going to be baptized on the 21st and then he can fellowship with us which is nice.  

I have been missing you guys especially in these last few weeks when missionary work hasn't been doing so well.  I keep thinking about how much I love winter and how much I miss the family.  The good news is that I'm coming home next year so it's right around the corner.

To Dad (This one of for all the soccer folks reading this blog):

So I have to tell you about the new elder that came into the mission.  His name is Elder Dove, from England and he is in my transfer, but he served part of his mission in England so he didn't go to the mtc with me.  This guy is freaking huge.  His arms are the size of my legs.  Anyway Elder Dove is amazing at soccer.  He played for Liverpools academy and Arsenals academy, and then he got hurt so he spent the last 2 years before mission coaching for Charletons academy.  He told me some pretty cool things.  First of all as part of the youth squad as a player you eat at the club cafeteria and you eat with all the other players at the club including the first team, so Elder Dove met all of the guys at Arsenal a few years ago.  Fabregas, Van Persie, Wenger etc..  He also met a lot of people that played at other clubs because he played against them.  He said he played against Raheem Sterling when he was at Arsenal, and he also said that he played against Jose Mourinho when he was still managing Chelsea youth.  So all of that is very cool.  So I asked him what the difference is between pros and everyone else and stuff and he said it's just a slight difference.  First of all fitness.  You have to be able to go for a whole 90 minutes without losing focus on your touch because of fatigue.  The thing he said about ball skill and stuff is that it's only a slight difference.  He said the pros aren't that much better than other players but he said they are in control of the ball rather than the ball being in control of them.  He said a lot of guys kind of know what they need to do with the ball and how to kind of control it so that they can beat a guy, but he said "David Silva knows that ball"  Basically when he gets the ball he already knows exactly where it's going to go.  Not only what he wants to do with it, but exactly where he wants it to go.  So then I asked him, what about the physical difference between a big guy in the prem and an average big guy.  He said that difference is uncomparable.  That the guys who are really just beasts physically are so much on another level that you really can't compare.  The other thing that he said is that the main difference is just that the pros want the ball 100% of the time.  He said they are always hungry to get the ball and that they work hard the entire game to get it.  He said if you can track a guy but you don't you're going to get ripped.  but yeah it was a very interesting conversation.  He also said that at the academy he trains the boys to not pass and dribble only until they hit 11 a side.  He said he wants to develop players until 11 a side and then teach them the complexities of playing in a team.  Very cool

On a different note, one thing I have done on mission that I have really benefited from, is studying Elder Christofferson.  All of his talks are about the plan of salvation.  Agency, the fall, the atonement.  My perspective on Justice and Mercy and the plan of salvation has changed just a little bit from studying his talks.  I think you would really enjoy doing the same as me.  His talks are very intellectual and so they speak to me on a very deep level.  So I think you would really enjoy studying all of his talks. 

January 3 pictures:

January 9 letter to Mom:

So this week was a lot better than any week in December.  Everybody started getting back from the holiday and so we were able to teach a lot of lessons this week.  Everything is starting to look up now.  I think in February we'll be able to have 10 baptisms which will be cool.  We had 3 investigators come to church for the first time on Sunday which was nice.

This week I had smiley for the first time which is pretty freaking disgusting just so you know.  All it is, is half of a sheeps head that's just boiled.  You'll see in the pictures what it looks like, but it's so slimy and it is not pleasant I promise.  It's called smiley but it should be called slimy.  The tongue was pretty good but the rest of the meat was super gross.  The ear was especially gross and the eyeball was like one of the nastiest things I've eaten ever.  

I went on an exchange in the other elders area with Elder Faingata'a on Friday which was a super cool exchange.  One of the lessons we taught was this little 9 year old girl who is getting baptized on Saturday.  I didn't say anything the entire lesson because they were just preparing her for baptism and it was a super short lesson, but at the end of the lesson Elder Faingata'a said, who do you want to baptize you?  And she thought about it and she said "Him!" and she pointed at me.  And then her mom was like "Do you know him?" and she was like no and she was like "How come you want him to baptize you?"  And she was like "Because I want to know him" hahahaha.  They even asked her the next day who she wants to baptize her and she still said me.  So I guess I will be baptizing this girl that I really don't know at all on Saturday.  It will be really nice though.

I'm really excited for the next transfer.  All of our investigators are going to be really ready by next transfer so it will be really cool. 

There is a video Colin posted to the blog on Monday, so if you want to see more of Smiley, see that.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Eating Smiley (half a boiled sheep's head)

In case it isn't perfectly clear from the video, it is the eyeball that he eats.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Letter from Elder Greengrass

Elder Greengrass (Adam's first companion) sent us this letter:

Dear Mama & Tata Heald


As today is Thanksgiving (for all of you in America at least), I thought it would be nice to write you a letter giving thanks for Elder Heald and also giving you an insight into his mission and his development as a person from my point of view.

Before I do that, I will quickly introduce myself: My name is Mitchell Greengrass. (Elder Greengrass).  I was born and raised in the south of England, which is quite cool as I know that Elder Heald’s Dad is from Manchester (Elder Heald likes to do impressions of British accents a lot, but they always sound quite northern, so I can definitely hear the Manchester accent).  I am 20 years old.  I have now been on a mission for 6 months and Elder Heald is my second companion.  He is a wonderful piano player.  Back home, I sang classically, so occasionally we are able to play a hymn or 2 together, which is awesome.  He has told me that you are all very musical, which is sweet!

The first time that I met Elder Heald, he was wearing his huge ‘Apostle’ glasses.  He had a bald head and was acting like the biggest greeny. (If you have ever seen ‘The Best 2 Years’, Elder Heald was Elder Calhoon)  But after a few days, I began to understand Elder Heald’s sence of humour and I realized that all of that was a big joke.  (Sometimes, he kills me, haha!)  He definitely taught me not to judge a book by its cover.

As soon as Elder Heald got to the area (Mdantsane 3rd ward...) he fell in love with it, and the people fell in love with him.  His personality and sense of humour helped him to immediately connect with the people that he met.  He was and is an incredibly charismatic person which allows him to develop relationships with people fast.

The first few shopping trips were interesting.  When Elder Heald told you that he only ate toast, jam and juice, he wasn’t lying.  That was literally ALL he ate (apart from dinner appointments).  That was ok for the first little while until he started to realize that jam and toast for 2 years would suck.  Mam Heald, you will be happy to know that he repented and changed his ways.  He now eats a good range of fruit, veg, meat and carbs (like bread, pasta, rice etc).  He has hugely cut down on his juice intake and now drinks water (What?! Yea, he really drinks the water, haha).  But I am very proud of him for the change that he made to his eating.

Elder Heald also told me that before mission he was awful at waking up.  You will be surprised to know that he wakes up pretty much at 6:30 now.  So it’s safe to say that a lot of the little things have changed, but in all honesty, Elder Heald was incredibly prepared from the start.  He has taught me far more than I could ever teach him.  Something that I especially love about him is his thirst for, and retention of knowledge.  He is like a walking library.  He has inspired me and changed me to be better.  He even showed me his insights book, which is apparently an idea from his Dad (I have adopted it myself, so thank you!).

It is always good when we need to share a scripture about something, or a spiritual thought, because I will just turn to him and he is already at the prefect scripture.  Elder Heald has also made it his goal to learn Xhosa and speak it fluently.  His clicks (c, x, and q) are Perfect! And every day he is learning new words and phrases.  I genuinely think that he can do it.  He’s a crazy fast learner.

Elder Heald has a wonderfully courageous, obedient, and diligent heart.  He is always striving to be better.  He really loves the people and they really REALLY love him.  He often tells me that he would serve his whole mission in Mdantsane if he could.  He is a joy to be around because he loves to joke, but he also works incredibly hard.

Myself and Elder Heald are very different people and we look at the world in very different ways sometimes, but I have learned invaluable things from my time with him and I love him very much.  I am grateful to you both for raising such an awesome missionary.  He has, does, and will continue to touch the lives of many people, members, missionaries and companions to come and all of this is possible because of your loving and nurturing role as his parents.  Thank you.

                        All of my love,
                        Elder Greengrass