Monday, August 13, 2018

Last letters - August 13

To Dad:

2 years is a long time
but the best time
I think that we'll talk on Thursday
Thank you for everything
I love you
See you soon
Elder Heald

To Mom:

Well this week was mostly just finishing everything up and getting ready to leave.  I've given away pretty much all of my stuff.  I bought a new shirt to wear home and gave away all of my other shirts and pants and stuff.  We've had amazing success with sister Z who came to church again.  She's actually a fashion designer and she said she's going to make me a jacket which I have seen and it's super dope.  She's going to be baptized really soon.  She came to church again and brought her sister in law C who is also awesome and will definitely get baptized as well.  We've had some powerful experiences with them and they are totally on board.  There's a ton going on in our area right now and since I'm leaving Elder Dos Santos is going to go to the other area for the next 2 weeks until he gets a new companion.  That's going to be really hard for our ward because we have a ton of people we need to keep track of. I'm sure he'll sort it out though.  

It feels really weird to come to the end of my mission.  I want to say to you and to Dad thank you so much for raising me to have a testimony of the gospel and to go on the mission.  I know that I have made more progress and improvement during these 2 years than any other time of my life and that the decision to serve a mission was the best decision that I (n)ever made.  I'm so glad to know that the church is true and that the Book of Mormon is true and to be able to build the rest of my life on the foundation of the Savior Jesus Christ. 
I love you
I'll see you on Thursday :)
Elder Heald

Me with the Xaluva family

Xaluva family

Oh, yeah and me drinking coke.  I love coke.

Me with Bishop Jabanga and his family

Me with Bro Wayne

Me and the Rasta Man

Me and Soso

I decided to do a mission end photo shoot with my companion.  I thought you would be proud of me so here's all the pictures

Sunday, August 12, 2018

August 6 letter

To Mom:

This week was the penultimate week of my mission.  Now I'm going into the final week.  It's crazy to think that next Monday I'll be sending my last email as a missionary. 

We were in Cape Town for a lot of this week.  It was a nice MLC but pretty boring for me.  Nothing that we talked about will affect me at all.  I tried to give my input on a few things.  There's a lot of new missionaries coming in which means by the end of this next transfer exactly 1/3 of the mission will be in their first 3 transfers.  That means the mission is going to need a ton of trainers.  It was weird because there were only like 4 or 5 missionaries in the entire MLC that had even trained once.  We spent a lot of time talking about what trainers must do to help their new missionaries and stuff so that was one area where I participated and felt like it was good for me to be there.  Besides that I kind of chilled because everything on the agenda wasn't for me.  

Thursday morning was my final interview with President Lebethoa.  It was really nice.  It was almost more of a training than an interview.  What I really liked about it was that it was really positive.  I thought President Lebethoa was going to ask me about all my fears on returning home and then counsel me about each of them.  He actually didn't ask me about fears at all.  He just asked me about my goals and then gave me some perspective and direction about how to plan for the next stages of my life.  It kind of took for granted that anything I might be afraid of would be alright and it was very faith promoting.  

The missionary work is going well and we have a lot to do so I'm able to stay really busy and focused and not think about home.  This is my last week so I hope it will be the best week of my mission.
I need to buy a shirt, a belt, and pay a traffic fine for 300 rands so I'm going to take some money out of my savings account.  After that I have no more expenses so that's exciting to me.  When I get home I'm going to need some things though.  I need 2 pairs of shoes.  I need a new pair of indoor soccer shoes (the ones I brought on mission served me very well but are very much finished.  They actually ripped completely in half and I had to duct tape them and then the duct tape ripped again and so I've thrown them away.)  I also need a pair of running shoes.  I think besides that I should have everything I'm going to need for a while.  I'm excited to have all my purchases taken care of and ready to start saving and building up self reliance. 

I'm really excited to play soccer as well.  Pray for me that I'll be able to get in shape so that I can make the Utah State team. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

July 30 letters

To Dad:

I'm sorry to report that for the second week in a row I probably won't have any pictures to send.  I've been doing better and I've really been trying!  but this week we've got a lot going on so I know next week there will be lots of pictures

To Mom:

This week was great.  Getting all those pictures and hearing about all my friends getting home from their missions was really weird.  So I've been trying not to think about that all week hahaha.  Weird that everyone is home now.  

We had a good week though.  We have found a lot of new investigators and had some great success. 
This week was my last zone conference.  There are some big changes from the missionary department.  There's a new planner coming soon and a new PMG that has already been released.  some of the interesting things:  The church will no longer use the word "investigator"  We will now be referring to people learning about the church as "people being taught"  I think that's an obvious change that should have happened a long time ago.  But it's good it doesn't put people inside a weird box that they don't want to be in when they come to the church for the first time and they aren't members. 

Also we have finally stopped reporting on all of the extra stats.  The missionary department told us to only report on the 4 key indicators last year in January, but it's taken a really long time to actually take effect.  Officially though, the key indicators are now done except the 4 and it's really liberating.  We don't have to make goals for all sorts of stuff that would just give us anxiety and not help us fulfill our purpose.  That's going to be big for the missionary work in our mission going forward. 
There was a lot of changes besides those 2 but they just have to do with missionary things so I'll spare you the details.  

It was a nice zone conference, but it was weird knowing that none of that will even have any effect on my mission at all.  

At the end I got the chance to bear my testimony.  It was a lot more emotional than I thought.  (I didn't cry) I knew I wouldn't cry but it was still didn't seem real to give my testimony for the last time with the elders and I really felt the spirit of it very strongly.  It was cool though when I shared my testimony one of the Greenies in our zone cried :) that really made me smile haha.   And Elder Aydelotte shared his testimony with me.  He's a guy I really love and respect so that was cool 
I also had an interview with President which I thought was going to be my final interview.  It ended up being just a basic 15 minute interview that we have every transfer, but he scheduled with me for my final interview.  That will be this Thursday and he said it will be an hour and a half interview.  I'm really excited about that. 

I will have the interview with him this week because we're going to be in Cape Town again.  We leave tomorrow morning and get back Thursday as usual.  That should be fun and I'll see a few new of my old buddies because there's been a transfer since last time we went. 

When we get back from Cape Town we're going to eat.  I already have a Dinner Appointment scheduled every day until I leave haha
Queenstown has been an amazing area.

We were expecting a lot of investigators this Sunday.  We were disappointed by a few of them, but it was ok because the sister I mentioned last week, sister Z, came to church for the first time today.  She absolutely loved it, and all the members are really excited about her.  She received a lot of love and support from the members.  She's young and smart and married and she has a car, so she will help the ward a lot.  

There was also a lot of member missionary work happening.  There were a lot of people who brought their friends to church who we didn't even know.  Probably 6 or 7 different members did that.  
Overall there's a lot of great things happening and me and Elder Dos Santos are really excited about the ward!

Monday, July 23, 2018

July 23 letters

To Mom:

We started teaching a really nice investigator named Z.  We taught her on Tuesday the restoration and then we came back on Thursday to teach her again and we asked her what she remembered and she said "I remember that Joseph Smith was called to bring back the true church that everyone is supposed to go to because all the other churches are wrong and God showed him the Book of Mormon to prove to everyone that he's a true prophet"  I thought that was pretty good for one lesson hahaha!  She's awesome and she'll get baptized for sure. Her husband is a business man and is gone all the time and she has 4 children.  Hopefully we'll start with her and work our way to the rest of the family.  We're teaching her sister, N as well, and I'm sure she'll get baptized too.  We're trying to work on N's husband right now.  If both of those families get baptized that would be so amazing.

We were disappointed at church though because nobody came.  

We have 2 new greenies in our zone which is really nice.  One of them is from Brazil and he doesn't speak very much English shame hahaha he loves Elder Dos Santos though and he's helping him learn English.

Things are going great though and we're working really hard.  This week is my last zone conference.  

To Dad:

My trunkiness is fine I'm not thinking about it at all really I'm just doing the work.  Our area is pretty exciting for me right now so that's helping a lot. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

July 16 letter to Mom

It's transfer week this week.  We got a new senior couple this week from Idaho called the Blasers.  They're really nice and they came to church.  They're serving in our ward now.  It was really funny to see their reactions to a everything.  They were really full of love.  

 This is officially my last transfer so I'll be with Elder Dos Santos for the rest of my mission.  Apparently there's going to be transfer news again halfway through the transfer and the mission is going to shift around a bit to accommodate the Elders that are leaving.  We're going to get 2 new greenies in our zone and Elder Aydelotte from my transfer is coming here for his last transfer.  It's going to be sweet to serve with him for a few weeks.

There's not much to say other than that we're eating really well.  On Friday we even got invited for breakfast by an investigator.  Actually it's the mom of a recent convert and she feeds us at least once a week often twice.  She invited us for breakfast where we ate this thing called Ndyandya which is kind of a cross between a pumpkin and a watermelon.  It was kind of weird but it was alright.  Then we went there at night to talk to L her son and she invited us in and gave us dinner.  I think that's the first time in 2 years I ate breakfast and lunch in the same house.  

I love serving in this ward though the members are amazing.  The holiday ends tomorrow so we'll finally be able to start teaching like normal again.

pig head.  I've heard it's the best kind of head.  I concur.  It's pretty good

July 9 letters

To Dad:

I'm really sorry about the water heater.  You're lucky you could just go to Sabra's house.  In my first area we had a gas guyser so it would just run out about every 5 days and our landlord was terrible at filling it up so we ended up taking cold showers like 2 days a week it was super annoying.  It's not as annoying as here in Queenstown though.  It's so annoying they have had terrible city management and now they can't afford the electricity anymore so they turn off the electricity for the entire city every day usually from 8-9 or so in the morning and then from 6-7 every night.  It's really frustrating but it's fine
The movie with the Rock sounds ridiculous.  It's funny how many movies the Rock is in.  There's a store called Musica that's all over South Africa and it usually has the latest releases so every now and then on P Day I go there to see what movies have come out and the Rock is in everything it's just crazy.  

To Mom:

This week was pretty dull.  Obviously going to Cape Town was cool and those 3 days were nice, but it really slows things down in our actual area when we've had to go to Cape Town.  
Cape Town was sweet though.  We had another MLC which was just mostly basic stuff and nothing major was discussed or anything.  It was really awesome though because after the MLC on Wednesday I went proselyting with Elder Khoza in Langa.  It was good to be with Elder Khoza again for a few hours and it was really weird to be in Langa again.  We went to the Mbaki's for a minute and they were so excited to see me it was pretty awesome.  Definitely they were my favorite family from serving in that ward and it was just really surreal to sit with them for a bit and sister Mbaki made us food that was really good.  After they called Brother Guellor, I don't know if you remember him but the 2 of us were super tight and we have emailed since I left.  He was so stoked to see me he even cried hahaha.  But I love that guy so much.  It was really awesome to see him.  I tried to see Siphokazi my recent convert but she wasn't home.  Shame. 
Otherwise it was nice to be in Cape Town but not much else happened here.  The Bells are going home so they were really emotional.  

Monday, July 2, 2018

July 1 letters

To Dad:

Me and my companion played tons of street soccer this week.  Everyone has a 3 week break from school right now so the kids are playing like crazy in the street.  We even look for older kids sometimes and we just challenge them and we have our own ball so it works out nicely.  One game was really sweet.  We found a bunch of kids who wanted to play and so we set up the field and started playing and tons of people came to watch and all the neighbors came out of their houses to watch and we had so many fans.  We played 2 goals for a game and then a new team would come on.  We played about 6 games and we won them all 2-0 except one of them was 2-1.  The great thing was that the other teams were always pretty good so they always thought they were going to win and then they'd be so disappointed when we won.  And every time we scored all the kids and the fans would go nuts.  It got to the last game and we went up 1-0 early and then they started going really really hard because they wanted to win.  then we played like that for about 5 minutes and then I got the ball near the goal and this kid was going really hard and he came for the ball and he went all in and I totally destroyed him and scored and all the fans went nuts hahahahaha.  It was a lot of fun.  But me and my companion are destroying everyone right now and of course we're undefeated and I think undefeatable.  After the games we gathered everyone together and had a nice prayer.  In all our games we agreed with the other teams that if we won they would come to church and if they won we would bring them cookies.  It was cool because everytime they were so confident and then we started scoring and all their buddies watching the games would say "niya caweni!" you're going to church hahaha.  None of them came to church though, but I hope their conscience haunts them knowing that they totally flaked and they should have come and maybe another week they will come. 

To Mom:

It's been a slow week for us here.  On Saturday we had a birthday party for Mama Ngondo who turned 100.  I love birthday parties here because they're more like sacrament meetings.  We open with a hymn and a prayer and then have a spiritual thought.  Then someone from the stake president is invited to come and give the sermon.  Then some speeches and we close with a hymn and a prayer.  That's what happened on Saturday but it's not just that one.  That pattern of birthday parties has happened 3 times since I got to Queenstown haha I think it's super funny.  But the party was nice but it took almost the whole day and we couldn't leave because we were like the guests of honor or something like that so we ended up staying there until 5:30.  It was supposed to start at 12 but when we got there at 12 they told us to come back at half 1 and when we got back at half 1 it was about to start so we stayed, and it didn't even start for a whole hour after that.  So it went from half 2 to half 5.  African time. Haha but we were able to meet a lot of people there so it was alright.

We played a lot of street soccer with kids throughout this week which was really cool and we obviously destroyed them every game.  They all promised to come to church if we won, and we won every game, but none of them came.  Shame.

Sacrament meeting was interesting.  We had the confirmation of Brother M which was good and we had 2 other investigators come for the first time which we were excited about.  Something that really makes me laugh and I can't remember if I told you this already, but at least one of the speakers every Sunday just stands up and reads a talk from a general authority and then sits down.  Sometimes all 3.  Even the stake speakers sometimes come and just read a talk from conference.  It's really weird and it makes me laugh.  This past week though we had fast and testimony meeting so it was great. 

This week we are going to Cape Town for another meeting.  We're leaving tomorrow and getting back on Thursday so that will kind of destroy our week but it's fine

It's currently snowing outside so that's pretty awesome

here's my new haircut

me and Elder Dos Santos are going to make a customized mug with this picture on it and leave it in the boarding haha

Brother and Sister Mndende came to the birthday party

Me and my comp at the party

June 25 letters

To Dad:

I have to say I've been missing you too.  The World Cup has been on everywhere and it's hard to dodge it or not feel trunky when I see it.  But it's not too bad.  I'm managing it ok.  We went to teach Z the other day and the very end of the Brazil game was on and I saw the score I think it was 1-0 at that time or 2-0 and Brazil had basically already won the game and then I saw Neymar flick the ball over the defenders head.  It made me so mad.  Man I hate that guy what an idiot.  How can he do something stupid like that.  What a joke.  I hope Brazil lose next game and don't qualify. 
It's been funny to be with my companion though for the world cup.  He always says funny stuff about soccer and then says "It's not because I'm Brazilian it's just because that's really what I think."  And then if we're talking to anyone else about it they always just agree with him because they don't know anything and he's Brazilian.  For example: Who's the best player of all time.  Me: It's Messi.  My companion: It's Ronaldinho.  Everyone else:  Yeah definitely Ronaldinho.  Hahaha what the heck.  Nobody ever says Ronaldinho but they just parrot whatever he says haha.  Also he tries to convince me that the teams in Brazil are better than any of the teams in Europe because they win the club world cup.  Hahaha. For the most part what he says is good and correct and he's a really good player himself. 

We've been playing soccer every morning at the chapel with different companionships which has been really sweet.  It's good exercise and it's helping me get a little bit of my touch back which will be good because I'm feeling a bit rusty after not playing for a while. 

We played with the ward on Saturday as well.  It's frustrating to play with South Africans though because they don't really care about scoring or winning.  Honestly it's not their motive.  They always make the field as big as possible and the goal as small as possible to eliminate as much scoring as possible.  Then the point of the game becomes who has the quickest and fanciest dribble.  And it's not even like the dribble past you either.  They never try to dribble past anyone ever.  They just pull the ball back and forth and wait for you to try and steal it and then they just pull it back and pull it back until they get to their own end line and then they pass it away.  And then they turn to you and laugh as if they just smoked you.  It doesn't make any sense.  On Saturday we played the young men and we beat them 4-0.  It was me and my companion and 5 12 year olds against all the 17 year olds.  We were up 4-0 and they still took the ball in their own half and just stood on it waiting for us to come and steal it.  It confused me so bad because we were winning 4-0.  And yet they don't even care.  They have no desire to win or score.  They just want you to go and steal it so they can try and do some quick dribbles and keep you from stealing the ball.  And then after the game, we just beat them 4-0 scoring 4 times on a goal that was about 2 feet wide on a 7 v 7 pitch, and they don't even think they lost because they had done all the cool dribbling they wanted to do.  Hahaha it's always fun to play with them but it's no wonder why South Africa isn't very good.  Even the professional teams play exactly the same way.  And all the South Africans I know are terrible at shooting because they don't like shooting or scoring.  But to be fair just about every South African I have ever met that grew up in the township is a pretty good dribbler and has good ball control. 
But it's been good to be with Elder Dos Santos.

To Mom:

This week was great because we had a baptism.  We also had Zone Conference and some other nice things. 

The baptism was great.  It was just brother Z who got baptized.  He's great.  I've loved teaching him and also I love the food his wife makes for us every time we come.  He's come a long way since we've been teaching him and I'm really excited to see him going forward.  Him and his wife have committed to prepare for temple sealing next year.  That will be super awesome.  After the baptism we went to his house to give him his new member kit and he was so happy.  He just kept saying thank you so much for everything I feel so amazing I feel like a new person.  He's an awesome guy.  The baptismal service was also really nice.  The Elders Quorum President gave a talk which was really nice.  and Sister Mndende gave a talk which was really touching.  

Zone Conference was cool.  Before our interviews on Tuesday President came to our boarding to do daily planning with me and my companion.  That was pretty cool and he had great ideas to bless everyone that we were teaching and things we could do to strengthen them. 

Zone Conference was nice though. President trained about a lot of stuff that we already talked about during MLC last week so that was kind of too bad, but he gave a really great inspiring training about how to pass new converts over to the ward, that is going to help me a lot.  It was Elder Burns last Zone Conference so he's going home.  I'm going to miss him he's one of my best friends on mission.  But he's going to Utah State so I'm only going to miss him for like a month haha

Me and my companion have been finding a ton of great new people and having loads of success this past week.  It's an exciting time to work here in this ward because it's going to split really soon.  Also President Lebethoa is going to be taking lots of cars, but not ours, and he's instructed us to walk as much as possible with the Book of Mormon in our hands.  It's been great and yielded a lot of fruit. 
Here are the pictures from the baptism

June 18 letters

To Dad:

Hahaha I'm laughing that you guys went camping.  Hahahaha.  Mom was telling me about it too and giving some solutions for the next time you go camping.. HA!  I think the real solution is to just never go camping in a tent again.  

I'm dying though.  The relief society brought a Nacho Bar!?  What the heck! hahahaha that's super hilarious.  That's way dope too I hope you enjoyed that one.  

I finished the Book of Mormon last week.  I was thinking about how I used to read the Book of Mormon when I was 8 and I always used to get so excited for you to come home from work so I could tell you that I finished one of the books in the Book of Mormon.  Anyway I love you Dad. happy fathers day. 

To Mom:

This week was an interesting week.  First of all nothing happened in our area because we were in Cape Town the whole week.  It kind of wrecked things here but it was really fun.  The way we've done MLC in the past is that the elders in the Eastern Cape would skype in and the ones in Cape Town would meet together.  But that was always just terrible and frustrating and it didn't really work very well at all.  So now President has decided that every MLC all the zone leaders in the mission will meet together.  Which means the next one will be on July 2nd which is in 2 weeks now!  Crazy.  It did bring a good sense of unity to all of us and it also made the discussion way better and more open.  It was a lot better for sure

It was great to see some of my friends too that I haven't seen.  Daniel Clark was there so we got to hang out for a while.  And Elder Lillback hahahaha I miss that guy so much.  He was making all of us laugh the whole time.  It was pretty cool.  Including Elder Ondracek from the MTC 7 of my 12 companions were there.  I think next time I'll take a picture with all of them.  

We were all hyped for the MLC because the APs kept sending little texts hinting at big things for example "don't freak out when you see the agenda for the MLC..." and things like that.  But it turned out to be nothing special at all.  There was nothing really discussed that was very big or that we didn't already know.  Of course we talked a lot about he issue of cars in the mission and President did reveal that the mission will be losing many if not most of its cars between July 1 and July 17.  So we're going to have to be prepared to walk.  I have a feeling I'll be walking for my last 4 weeks. 
Besides that President introduced a new pass-along card that we're going to be using that has a question of the soul or a verse from the Book of Mormon, and then it directs the person to  He wants us to put them in mailboxes to reach the people who have big gates and who don't like it when we tract.  It's actually a really inspired idea and I think it's going to bless our mission a lot.  

After that me and my companion exchanged with the assistants, one of whom is my son, Elder Reedy.  So I went with Elder Reedy although we only had about 2 hours after everything was said and done, to do misionary work.  But it was nice to be with him and to chat about a lot of things.  I've seen him a lot since we left each other all the way back in MD, but I've never actually got to just be together with him doing missionary work and stuff so I was happy for that chance.  

The plane was awesome.  It seems like the Lord always puts people in our path on the plane who are interested.  All 6 of us sat next to different people and all of use were chatting and having cool experiences.  On the flight to Cape Town I was sitting there while people were coming onto to plane when the guy in front of me turned around in his seat and asked me what all of us missionaries were doing.  I thought, well that was easy! Then I gave him the Book of Mormon and told him we were teaching about it, and then he read it for the rest of the flight.  It was cool he was getting excited about it and taking pictures of a lot of the pages and stuff.  I even saw his chats on whatsapp and he was sending the picture of the Book of Mormon.  After the flight we talked for a bit and I gave his contacts to the East London Elders so I'm sure they'll be teaching him for a while. 

On the flight back some business guy bought chips and candy bars for all of us elders hahaha I don't even know why he didn't even say anything.  We just told him about and that was it.  But maybe he'll go there and then we'll meet up with him later. 

Fathers day was sweet. Ward 1 and Ward 2 met together so it was a really great service.  The attendance was 200 which was the most I think I've seen since I've been in South Africa.  And the singing was really awesome.  After church we all met in the gym and everyone feasted even the people who aren't fathers.  So that was really nice.  

Z passed his baptismal interview so he'll be baptized next Sunday.  I'll send lots of pictures of that.  He's an awesome guy so I'm excited for his baptism. 

me and my comp

Elder Lillback...missed this guy like crazy!

me and Elder Davies (turning 80 this Saturday!)