Monday, February 27, 2017

February 27 letters

To Dad:

Yeah I'm getting transferred to Langa which is in Cape Town.  I'm really excited actually.  I'm going with an African companion but I can't remember his name or spell it.  But yeah I am excited to go to Cape Town because it's supposed to be like a completely different mission but I guess we'll see. 

To Mom:

About W.  I'm really sad that his grannie wouldn't let him be baptized.  He was really upset about it.  In fact he missed 2 Sundays in a row now and I'm really worried about him.  The other day we were at his house and he has a little sister who just really loves me so much.  She's 5 years old.  And we were sitting on the couch watching a movie about temples and she came and sat by me and she hugged me and then turned to me and she said "You're my daddy"  I felt so sad.  I love that girl. 

Our baptism with L went really well though.  That guy is sweet.  He faithfully attends seminary and he never misses church.  He's just a really awesome guy.  

This week our car died.  In our flat we have 2 sets of missionaries and 3 cars between us.  We each have a car, and there's a spare.  Unfortunately all 3 cars died last week so we are basically stranded.  
Because of that I didn't bring my camera today so I'll send lots of pictures next week. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 20 letters

To Mom:
So this last week was pretty interesting.  Elder Ellis came from the quorum of the seventy and he trained us.  He gave a really nice training.  One of the things he shared with us was that after any training we receive we need to bind ourselves to act.  If we do then we will have glory added to us in the celestial kingdom.  If we don't than glory will be taken away.  He said if, in 2 months you say, "That was a great training from Elder Ellis.  I don't remember what he trained on but I remember it was great"  than you have pretty much failed hahaha.  But it was very nice.

We met some new investigators this week.  One of them was an old ma'khulu named E.  We were reading some scriptures from the book of morning and she was just like "Oh! Oh! I feel the angels for the God!" haha it was funny that that was her description of how she felt the spirit hahaha.

Next Week is my last week in Mdantsane.  At church we were telling all the sisters that I was leaving and they were all so sad and so we have so many DA's for the next week and a half.  At least 1 every single day.   

So back in December we were planning for 10 baptisms on the 25th of February.  That number moved down to 5 in January.  So this last week we were preparing our 5 candidates for baptism and planning on them, and then on Saturday everything got wrecked.  We have 2 girls, I and B, and a guy L who are all siblings.  18 15 and 12 years old.  When we went to get the paperwork their dad absolutely vetoed it.  He said no way.  My kids have only been a member of your congregation for 6 months.  They need more than that and they have already been baptized.  So that kind of sucked and it dropped us to 2 baptisms for next Saturday. 

Then we went to get paperwork signed for our other investigator named W who is 17.  W is a guy that I really love.  He's been faithfully coming to church since November last year, but we couldn't get him baptized because he left for December.  But anyway we've been working with him and he's just been so powerful and ready for baptism.  He gave up smoking and stuff and he repented of all of his sins and he said he wouldn't trade anything for his baptism.  Anyway we thought everything was going to be fine but when we went to his grannie she absolutely refused to sign the paperwork.  Turns out it is a very sad story.

W's mom was shot and killed by his dad.  First of all that is very sad.  Then W went to live with his grannie who is sort of abusive to him and doesn't like him at all.  In fact she hates him.  She is going through the courts to legally disown W so that she won't be his legal guardian anymore.  She refused to sign the paperwork because she said W isn't a good kid and she doesn't want to act as his guardian anymore.  We asked W and he said he has truly repented of his sins and that his grannie is actually abusive to him even physically.  So that was especially sad for me because W was one of my favorite guys and I was actually going to baptize him.

So that leaves us with one baptism for next Saturday which is a 15 year old kid named L.  He's a really sweet guy and he's just dedicated and everything.  It's a little sad that we are only baptizing 1 but L is sweet so I'm ok with that.

To Dad:
There was a new worldwide broadcast to all the missionaries that we just barely got last week.  In the broadcast they were talking about a lot of really interesting things.  One of the things they talked about is how a missionary can measure success.  Elder Bednar read some scriptures from Alma 26 about how success is a gift from the lord, and nothing you do can bring success.  Basically he said we need to be worthy of success, and then if the lord chooses to, he will bless us with success.  It was really interesting though because he was talking about how success varies in the world but how everywhere we can be successful.  I guess I should tell you that last week in our district which is 6 missionaries, we taught over 100 lessons hahaha.  :)

I have one full week left in MD and then next Wednesday I am going to leave to a new area.  I have no idea what I am doing yet.  The earliest I might know is tomorrow but most likely on Saturday I will find out.  

Monday, February 13, 2017

February 13 letters

To Dad:

Something I have been more and more grateful for since I've been on mission is that I have goodly parents and specifically that you are a man "of a sound understanding" as they say.  I'm sure I'll be able to learn a lot of really deep things from you when I get home.  Something in the last 2 weeks that I realized I know much less about than I would like, is the plan of salvation.  From reading the Book of Mormon I have come to realize that it is a bit more complex than just spirit world 3 kingdoms.  I have studied about it a lot from 2 Nephi 2, 2 Nephi 9, Alma 11, Alma 12, Alma 40,41,42.  When I get home I'm sure we'll talk about that.  

To Mom:

We've planned a family history fireside for my last Sunday here and we have this big vision to get people in the ward all motivated to do family history.  There's a lot of low hanging fruit here because nobody has done any family history at all.  The problem is, though, that there is no record of any of the people here, so no family history work will be able to get done past maybe grandparents.  The saying is that when an old man dies in Africa it's like a library has burned down. 

This week was a really good week.  When we went on splits on Wednesday we absolutely dominated.  It was such a good idea.  We found a few new investigators, and so this week we've really started to get some new people who I think could progress to baptism.  This week we had more lessons than any other week I've had on mission.  I think we taught 53 lessons in total which is really good.  

So I had probably one of the coolest experiences that I've had on mission so far on Friday:
So on Thursday we went to this really big house that we got referred too.  There was a girl who answered the door who was probably in her early 20s.  We started talking to her about the gospel and we set up an appointment.  Then this old guy came to the door and said whats going on.  Then he saw us and he said basically "you guys from America go home and teach the people in your own country.  I don't know why you think that we need you here but we don't.  We have our own churches and we don't need yours.  Never come here again.  It's really messed up that you'd come here.  There will be none of that in my house."  It was kind of stupid but we left and basically decided to never come back.  I wonder where he thinks all of the Christian churches that he goes to came from, because they certainly didn't start in Africa haha but oh well.

Anyway Friday morning we woke up and had District prayer.  Then I was laying on the couch for a second and I fell into like a half sleep and I had a dream.  I can't remember the dream really but I remember that there was a person telling me that I had to go back and recontact that house.  In my head I kept thinking, that's stupid there's no way I'm going back there.  But I kept getting told that I needed to go back there.  And anyway I was having this wrestle in my head and I absolutely could not wake up for more than an hour.  Finally I agreed that I would go back to that house and try again.  Then I woke up.  Later that day we went back to the house.  The girl was there again and the dad was gone.  She said that we shouldn't teach her because her dad wouldn't like it, but she took the restoration pamphlet with our number and she told us that she would read it.  I don't know if anything will happen because of that, but it was a really cool and clear experience of me being directed by the spirit. 

On Sunday we had Stake Conference which was really nice.  There were a lot of people there.  Our stake has 13 wards and 1 branch and 4000 people so it was pretty packed.  All of the speakers talked for a really long time so when it was time for the stake president to talk he only had 4 minutes hahaha.  He gave a nice short talk though.  President and Sister Merrill were also invited to bear testimony.  Sister Merrill gave a really powerful short testimony and then President Merrill got up and spoke for about 5 minutes.  Basically he called the stake to repentance.  He said we need more missionaries from our stake to be serving.  There are 40 missionaries that serve in the East London stake, and 25 missionaries serving from the East London stake.  Basically he said we need to have 40 missionaries out from East London stake.  It was really powerful.  Some people in our ward told us that that was the deciding factor and that they now know they need to repent and go on mission.  

This week President Merrill, and Elder Ellis from the seventy are coming for a zone conference so I'm really excited.  

This is a cute picture of me and my friend Achuma who I love very dearly :)

Monday, February 6, 2017

February 6 letters

Letter to Dad:

I have 3 more weeks with Elder Reedy.  We had a very good companionship inventory last week and lately we've been having an easy time together.  Our district is really sweet too.  I've made some friendships that I think may last the rest of my life.

Something funny that happened last week.  In one of the other districts in our zone there is 4 missionaries.  2 driving elders and 2 walking elders.  Apparently they got in a fight last week and so Elder N who is the district leader and one of the walking elders called the APs and he said "I am no longer anyone's district leader.  Elder Heald is now my district leader" hahaha.  Then he came to our district meeting on Friday and he called the zone leaders and the zone leaders had to arrange for them to get rides every day for the next 3 or 4 days.  Haha it was kind of funny.  When the zone leaders came to take reports about our district I was just telling them about the elders in our district and then I started talking about the elders in the other district because they said they're in my district now hahaha.  But anyway I think the president called and sorted everything out about that. 

Letter to Mom:

So this week was the worst week for missionary work that we've had in a while.  We didn't have very many people to teach and all of our investigators were dropping us or not keeping their commitments.  We ended up dropping like 20 or 30 investigators.  It was kind of frustrating.  Our teaching pool is very small now.  This Wednesday we're going on splits and Elder Reedy is going to take the car and teach all of our appointments, and I am going to walk and just tract for probably 9 hours to try and get a whole new teaching pool started.

We taught D again and his family.  It was a very powerful lesson again.  In fact he asked us for a Xhosa Book of Mormon so he can have family scripture study with his kids who speak limited English.  It was very frustrating on Sunday because despite everything he didn't come to church.  We had scheduled an appointment with his family for 8 o clock but when we went out there to see them and find out why they didn't come, we found out that they were at church.  Not our church though.  This was very frustrating for me.  I guess we'll work on them for next week. 

In fact this Sunday was rough because it rained.  So we had very low attendance.  we only had 3 investigators at sacrament meeting that we actually teach.  There were a few more there but they weren't our investigators and they were supposed to go to the other ward. 

We taught this other guy this week called L.  He actually flagged us down while we were driving and said "Come visit me.  I have the blue bible.  The other missionaries were going to visit me but I moved out here."  We were like sweet let's go see this guy.  So we went to his house to teach him and he ended up just talking to us for about 45 minutes about the weirdest stuff.  He was like "I worship my ancestors, but when I do the ceremonies I pray and Jesus gives me power so that I can pray to them"  A lot of false doctrine haha.  He was really giving a speech and I was trying not to fall asleep.  Finally he slowed down enough for us to come in and tell him we'll come back another day.  We went back a few days later and taught him the restoration.  He actually listened enough for us to teach the full lesson.  At the end of the lesson my companion asked this specific question: "Will you pray about this message."  Immediately he launched into a 45 minute speech which had absolutely nothing to do with the lesson and where he shared the exact same false doctrine.  He said some really funny things though.  He was like "When I work out I need to have faith that I'll get buff.  That's why I'm so big because I have so much faith that I'll get big.  The other people that work out they don't get big because they don't have faith.  But I have so much faith so I get ripped"   Haha it was really funny I was trying to be serious but our fellowshipper A started laughing and I had to try and make it seem like he was laughing about something else hahaha. 

On Saturday the zone leaders arranged a soccer match against the members.  They got permission from cape town and the senior couple came out to watch.  It was pretty fun.  We played 11 on 11 with a full field and nets and we even had a ref.  Unfortunately most of our team is not very good and we lost 5-2.  But it was really fun.  It reinforced in me the desire to try and play at college when I get home. 

Love you Momma :)

Also I attached a picture of a missionary from Mozambique.  I wonder if Daniel recognizes him.  His name is Elder Parafino.

The other picture is me and Jackie.  He's one we baptized last year.  He's been doing so good.  He fellowships with us almost every day and his testimony is just growing and growing. 

All of the elders in our district bought trench coats to prepare for the winter which is going to be pretty cold.  They cost about 5 dollars.  I attached a picture of mine :)