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?