Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December 27 letters

To Mom:

I was missing our Christmas traditions a lot this year.  It was really weird the speaker in Sacrament meeting on Christmas Eve was a really powerful rm who gave a great talk that I really loved, but in his talk he quoted 2 of the songs from the Forgotten Carols.  I just couldn't believe it but it was a really nice tender mercy I'll call it to get a small piece of our Christmas tradition all the way over here.

This week otherwise has been really chilled and laid back.  We haven't really been able to teach anyone but we're starting to get really excited about January.  We had a finding activity on Friday where we were caroling and passing out so many pass along cards, pamphlets and Book of Mormons.  We were planning on gathering a bunch of people at the end of the finding activity and then standing on a park bench or something and just preaching to loads of people, but it started raining hard right at the end so we didn't get a chance.  We might do it this Friday though so that would be sweet.  Kind of a miracle is that just yesterday we got a whole bunch of texts from the referral office.  We got 10 referrals from the referral office because of the finding activity which is just crazy.  I think in my whole mission total I've only got about 4 or 3, so that was awesome.
Of course the highlight of the week was to talk to you guys on skype.  Now I can truly say "I'll be home for Christmas"  

I did cut my hair super short and I'm really happy about the way it looks so I'll send you a picture with my new cool haircut on Monday.

To Dad:

It was so awesome to skype you guys.  Everything was just perfect. 

As I said about the speaker in sacrament meeting talking about the forgotten carols I was meant to ask you if you could maybe put the music for the forgotten carols in my folder so I can listen to it?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 18 letters

To Mom:

This week has been really rough.  Every single investigator we have is gone for the holidays. We had 0 investigators at church  We literally only have 2 people left to teach.  We only had 2 appointments this week hold.  Everyone we meet we try to teach and then they drop.  We have knocked so many doors and talked to so many people.  At least when December is over we're going to have so many investigators to teach.  

Some good news for the week is that transfer news came and me and Elder Reynolds are going to be staying together for another transfer.  We should be able to have tons of success over the next 2 transfers because we have a ton of people who are pretty much ready for baptism. 

At least some of the members are doing an awesome job making the holiday sweet for us.  There's a family that I really love so much who is going to feed us on all of the big days called the Geisman's so I'm really glad about that. 

Otherwise we're keeping busy just doing our best.  

To Dad:

Yeah so it is summer and that does definitely change the whole feel of Christmas.  But the holiday is way different here anyway.  It's pretty much all about alcohol and breaking the law of chastity for everyone who isn't a member of the church so that's pretty sad.  In fact most churches close for December which I thought was pretty funny.  But it's actually been raining a ton so it's not too hot.  It usually rains maybe half the time and the other half it's just blazing hot. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

December 11 letters

To Mom:

This week was nice but we were hardly in the area.  On Wednesday we had to drive all the way for interviews in East London at 3:00.  It was just really poor planning from whoever planned it because we had to drive 45 minutes starting at 1:30 and then drive back after the interviews which didn't end until almost 5:00.  I don't know why we weren't given the first interview slot in the morning so we could drive down and then drive back in the morning without destroying the entire day.  But it was a nice interview and the senior couple gave us some lunch right after.  

On Thursday we went for zone conference.  We had a nice training and it was cool.  Elder Greengrass asked me to give part of the training for Zone conference but he forgot to ask me until Wednesday night at 10:00.  It was ok though because I was only given 10 minutes so it was super easy and I just woke up early on Thursday and prepared it and it ended up going really well. 

The mission president trained us on a few things and it was nice but the last 20 minutes was the really life changing part for me.  He started teaching us about how to use a budget.  hahaha he introduced it by saying that he wanted to teach us about one of his favorite principles of the gospel which is a budget.  Of course he loves budgeting because his employment before mission was for the church as the south east Africa area self reliance specialist.  I was really inspired by what he said about a budget and I've decided that for the rest of my mission I'm going to save 10% of my MSF and at the end of mission I will turn it back in to the area.  I think it's going to help me a lot to learn how to save and how to live within my means. 

On Friday we did a service project.  We built a wall for a house.  I don't know why we volunteered for that or why we thought we could but luckily for us 3 members who just happened to each be builders volunteered to help us, so we spent 6 hours smashing up a brick wall for someones house.  It was really exhausting but we actually did it hahaha and the old lady who we helped came to church with her granddaughter who is YSA age and we may baptize them somewhere down the line which would be sweet.

We've been working with a guy who is the father in a member family that has been members for at least 20 years.  And for some reason after all this time he's just never committed.  He actually knows the church is true I think but he doesn't want to do anything about it.  But this Sunday he just shocked us by showing up for church for the first time in his life.  He loved it so much.  And now he's just so excited he told us he wants to be baptized and we gave him the date for January 21st. 
Otherwise we're just teaching so many new investigators all the time because they keep leaving and so we're trying to teach about 15 new investigators a week to keep up with December. 

We watched the Christmas devotional on Sunday.  I just love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir so much.  Every time they sang I felt like I just wanted to shout hurray or cry or something. 

To Dad:

We built a wall on Friday.  It was like a million degrees and it was so hard.  I am kind of good at just fading away during service projects so that nobody really notices that I'm not actually working that hard.  I think you probably know that is true.  Hahaha but this time I decided that I want to learn to be a hard worker so I worked hard for the whole 6 hours straight.  It was so exhausting but I felt so proud of myself.  

Merry Christmas Dad.  One thing I'm starting to develop that comes from you is how much I love the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Every time they were singing I was just crying during the Christmas devotional.  I was thinking to myself that you were probably doing the same thing at home hahaha.  

Zone Conference with Elder Greengrass

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December 4 letter

To Mom:

The Christmas calling schedule is based on you not me.  We already have the keys to the chapel and we're just going to go there whenever you want us to so please give me a window of time that would be best and we'll go during that window. 

This week was a good week.  We of course are struggling with December as usual.  In fact all of our progressing investigators left for December.  I don't know if you remember the tradition here but every December everyone just moves for the month and lives with a random other relative in a random other city for the month.  I guess just for a change of pace but that's how the holiday works in South Africa.  We were actually supposed to have 7 baptisms in December and they all left haha so we'll have them in January.  Also some of our father led families are away as well.  So we're just concentrating a lot on finding right now.  We've found several more father led families that we're teaching now and some promising other investigators this week.  We want to get about 15 to 20 new investigators a week to keep up with the holiday. Otherwise it feels really good to be here right now and we're having a lot of success.  

This week is the Christmas Zone conference so I hope that will be good.  We've been doing a lot of activities as a zone sine it's December and finding activities in different areas and stuff.  December is a fun time but a really difficult time as a missionary.  I'm feeling really confident for baptisms in January though.  We are hoping to have 12 as our goal on January 20 but that's the next day we're planning for. 

Otherwise everything is good from this side. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

November 27 letters

To Dad:
I think that for sure there are so many books I want but I really enjoyed your pick last year so I will just leave it up to you.  Any book that you think I would like I am 100% sure I will like it so just please send me some books of your choosing. 

Otherwise Thanksgiving is great.  I didn't even know it was thanksgiving until Monday when the senior couple called us over for some turkey sandwiches and pumpkin pie which was really nice.

To Mom:
I asked President Lebethoa about a possible early release for school and he said that I should bring it up again February 2018.  I'm pretty sure that I will be going home a little bit early though because President Lebethoa is all about missionaries going home and getting to work on their life.  He refuses to allow any missionary to extend.

I don't have any pictures for you today but that's not unusual anyway.  I'm sorry I'll try and send some pictures for you this next week.

Anyway this week was just another normal week.  We are really seeing a lot of miracles in King Williams Town.  What we have tried to do is focus on Father Led Families and we've just been so blessed.  We've found on our own already 6 father led families that we're teaching and we're planning to work with the members more going forward.  One thing that was really cool is that 2 of our father led families came to church on Sunday.  One is the B family who is the father and mother and small baby.  The wife already has a powerful testimony but by the grace of God we were able to teach the husband too who was hardened against us but by some miracle had his heart softened considerably so that we are now teaching him the lessons and they both came to church on Sunday.  There is another guy named M from Zimbabwe who is married to a girl here.  He also came to church although his wife didn't come.  He couldn't stop talking about how much he loved the primary program which was this week.  I definitely know how amazing the primary program is.  One nice thing about our teaching pool is that King Williams Town is a really nice area so a lot of the people we're teaching and all 6 of our father led families are people with college degrees and cars and they are self reliant so they will be a real strength to the church when they are baptized.  

Elder Reynolds is really great.  As I said before we're just great friends and it's helping the work a lot.  One cool thing we're doing is that we like to play the township boys at soccer when we see them out playing in the road.  So far we've played 8 matches and won 8.  Our team is undefeatable.