Sunday, April 29, 2018

April 23 letter to Mom

 I guess I'm a man now.  Even the Xhosa ladies here keep saying to me "uyindoda"  "you are a man" now since I'm 20 hahaha so I can't play around so much anymore.  I'm glad you liked the video.   I'm glad you liked that I realize that I've been probably the worst missionary in the world about sending pictures home, but the truth is my camera has been dead for like 4 months because I didn't even come with a charger for it.  I'm planning to buy one soon though and repent.  Maybe even today?

I'm happy for the money that is being sent. thanks a lot.  It's a big shame though:  About 3 months ago the president of South Africa was Jacob Zuma who was really corrupt and destroying the economy and the rand to the dollar was aweful.  It was like 15 rand to the dollar.  But after being the president for 9 years and almost done with his second term (a term in South Africa is 5 years and they can only serve for 2) almost randomly out of nowhere they kicked him out of office, and elected a new guy Cyril Ramaphosa to be the new president.  That sounds really corrupt to me because there's about 3 major parties that all run for the election, but the ANC just slyly put their guy in office right before the actual election next year, so that they have a much better chance of winning the election.  it seems very corrupt to me but no problem.  Anyway Cyril Ramaphosa is a big multi millionaire businessman and he's not really corrupt, so he's going to be a great president.  The reason I told you all of that is because now that he is the president the rand to the dollar has dropped like crazy to be about 11 rand to the dollar and now I don't get nearly as much money for every dollar you send me.  And I think it's only going to drop more.  That's sad, but I'm just going to withdraw the rest of the money and keep it for the rest of my mission.  

Yeah this week was nice I was just in my area every day so that was nice.  also President Lebethoa is introducing a change to the transfers, whereby we're going to be doing them by bus now so instead of driving down to East London and meeting up with all the missionaries from the 2 zones there, we're just going to stay in Queenstown and the new missionaries are going to come directly here.  It's nice because we don't have to take 2 days out of our schedule to go to East London, but actually I'm pretty dissappointed about it.  Instead of seeing some of the other guys once every 6 weeks, there's now literally no way to see any other missionaries unless they get transferred to the Queenstown zone.  I feel a lot more isolated out here now.  

This week is transfers on Wednesday.  When President came to Queenstown for zone conference I told him I had a suggestion for him about transfers.  I asked if he could bring Elder Mabanga to this zone so that I could have all 3 of my sons in my zone with me.  Obviously I was joking and it was a long shot anyway because Elder Mabanga is only finishing his second transfer in Zwide so he's not supposed to leave there anyway.  

Well Elder Mabanga is coming to Queenstown zone so I'm way surprised and happy about that.  I'm laughing though, because I should have had my 3 sons with me here, but Elder Reedy also got a surprise early transfer to Cape Town to be the AP so I guess no family reunion for me.  Maybe when I see President again I'll ask him to bring Elder Reedy back. 

I'm stoked to have Elder Mabanga here though, He's been one of my favorite companions.  
Next week we're having a mission tour from Elder S Mark Palmer of the seventy, who is our area president.  I'm really stoked and excited about that.  Queenstown zone is the only zone that has it's own zone conference.  All the other zone's combine, so it should be pretty cool to have a smaller training from Elder Palmer.  It will feel more individualized since there's only 12 of us.  
Otherwise this week has been pretty basic.  I'm staying with Elder Allred. We're starting to really work things out and work well together so I'm glad to have another transfer with him.  

Friday, April 20, 2018

April 16 letters

To Mom:

Reading you saying that I'm going to be 20 seems really weird.  20 seems really weird.  I don't think that that can be right.  I'm not old enough to be 20.  Haha I'm just laughing at the thought of me being a 20 year old boy that's weird. 

This week has been a pretty hectic week.  I was only in my actual area for about 15 hours.  On Wednesday I was on an exchange with Elder Khoza my last born son.  It was pretty awesome to be with him for the day.  It's crazy he was telling me that he has been on mission for 8 months.  That's crazy.  But he was doing really well.  He's a great missionary and it's nice to see what kind of things he's learned and how he's improved since I left him.  We see each other a lot though so it wasn't that crazy to see him.  

On Thursday we drove to the air port in East London because I was flying to Cape Town for an exchange.  I called the Davies(Senior couple) and asked if we could come over which they said yeah so it was nice to see them.  Of course they prepared a really nice lunch for us with all sorts of desert.  Then we went to the airport and I flew to Cape Town.  Elder Huang arrived so it was nice to see him and then I left.  It was really weird to be alone on the plane.  There was a lady that sat next to me and I wanted to talk to her about the gospel, but she pulled out a book.  After about 5 minutes she put it down so she could look at something else.  Then I asked her if I could look at her book.  She said yeah so I looked at it for a minute.  It was like some inspirational book about creativity or something.  When I gave her her book back she asked me what I was reading.  Haha that was nice.  I gave her the Book of Mormon and we talked for the entire rest of the flight about it.  It was pretty cool I told her all about Joseph Smith and the restoration.  I gave her the number for the elders in Cape Town and she said she was really interested.  It was a nice experience. 

I had a really nice exchange in Cape Town.  I was with Elder Sibiya.  I don't know if you know about him but he's a friend of mine.  We've served together for a lot of our missions.  I was able to meet up with a lot of cool people that side as well.  I saw Daniel Clark for only the second time in my whole mission.  That was really cool.  We talked a lot and shared some stories about what's happening back home. It was sweet.  I saw Elder Dove at district meeting.  That was really nice.  And some other of my mission friends and transfer buddies and stuff.  But yeah it was a really nice exchange and I learned a lot.  On Saturday morning we went to the air port and I flew back to East London. 
From East London we had to drive to Mthatha instead of Queenstown because we had to do some baptismal interviews for some of the Elders that side.  So we stayed the night with them and then on Sunday we woke up an hour early and drove back to Queenstown for church.  I was pretty exhausted on Sunday from all of that travelling. 

Plus I hardly ate in Cape Town.  The members didn't feed us and Elder Sibiya didn't have any food in his boarding except for like 50 or 60 apples so all I had was about 10 apples the whole time.  It was such a relief to get home because the members in Queenstown feed us like no other area I've ever seen.  On Sunday we had 3 DAs and the last one they just gave us the dessert and put the food in a container for us.  I was just thinking "It's good to be back"  hahaha

But it was a pretty cool week.  On May 1 Elder Palmer, the area president, is going to visit our mission so I'm really looking forward to that. 

To Dad:

There's not much interesting this week that I didn't already tell mom.  But one of the missionaries has the book: "The Infinite Atonement"  By Tad R Callister, so I've been reading that all week and I'm really excited about it.  

From one of the Senior missionaries in Adam's mission:

Sister Heald,  We celebrated Elder Heald's birthday at district meeting today. I made a short video for you

but cannot send it through you have a facebook account....I can send it to you privately.

WE love your son.... Love, Sister Bell

And she sent pictures as well as the video that she posted on my facebook page! This is Adam with his companion.

April 9 letters

To Dad:

Yeah we have Google in South Africa, but I don't think anyone uses it.  It's super interesting that the conference could be so poorly prepared for because it was coordinated between 2 whole wards and both bishops have wifi at their house.  Crazy but in the end we were able to watch all the sessions.

I agree with you about everything you said about the changes to home teaching and everything.  I'm really excited about it.  I think it will really really help especially here in Africa.  I don't think there has been even 1 home teaching visit that has happened in this ward for probably a year.  This new system will be much better and motivate the members here to really actually care about some of their fellow members.  Home teaching just seemed a little daunting for the members and now it's completely transformed and it will be easy for the members to actually take care of those they are assigned to.  It needs a really faithful Elders Quorum President though. 

I finished the bible this week.  It was really long.  I'm now a lot more skeptical of anyone that says they have read the whole thing.  It was really hard.  But I learned a lot from it and I really feel like my knowledge has grown a lot since I started reading it.  Definitely it was a worth while experience for me and it feels so good to finally be done with it. 

To Mom:

I've got a lot I need to do today so I don't have a ton of time to write a nice long email.  But I'll try my best.  Next week it will be much better.

I'm not surprised about how pumped Dad and Daniel were after Priesthood session.  It was quite positively the most powerful session of general conference I've ever seen.  Too bad you didn't get to watch it. 

I have a lot to say but I'll probably just say it next week.  I'm flying to Cape Town on Thursday so that's going to be really sweet.  I'm actually preparing some things for my recent convert there today which is what is taking all my time.  It's going to be fun though to go back to Cape Town for a few days.  On Saturday I'm flying back from Cape Town and we're going to be driving all the way out to Mthatha on the same day which is going to be like a 3 hour drive.  Then Sunday morning we have to wake up at 5 or 6 to drive back for church.  It's going to be a hectic week.  

Last week was really sweet.  It was zone conference and it was one of my favorite zone conferences so far.  Some of us were talking about how the president seems to be getting more and more powerful each time so that's really cool.  But really it was a great spiritual experience. 
Definitely having a great time out here though. 

From Mom:

I came across this little gem of a video from Youth Conference the summer before he left.  

April 2 letters

To Dad:

First of all let me just say how much I loved conference.  In fact I just can't stop thinking about it.  We didn't watch Sunday afternoon session yet but the other 4 sessions were on another level.  By far the most powerful conference I have ever seen and that priesthood session was by far the most powerful session I have ever seen.  I'll share more details in my email to mom but I agree with you on every point.  I can't believe they're putting a temple in Layton I just found out like 5 minutes ago that's pretty cool.  I'm laughing at your comment about that hahaha.  Yeah I'm way excited about that. 
I'm so glad you loved conference.  Yeah I'm gonna say a lot about that in my letter to mom.  

To Mom:

This week has been definitely the most spiritually uplifting week of my whole mission.  Basically just because of conference.  
I was really frustrated about conference because they didn't even announce the times or know them until Friday afternoon which is just ridiculous.  Actually on Thursday they sent out an announcement that we would watch the Saturday morning session at 10 o clock on Saturday.  2 wards.  that means 2 complete bishoprics discussed it and thought that that was a viable option.  I don't know how they thought we were going to watch the session here 8 hours before it actually happened in Salt Lake City, but I guess the bishoprics just have a lot more faith in the priesthood than me or something hahaha.  But eventually we were able to sort it out and point out the actual times when we were supposed to watch it and everything went for the most part according to plan. 

Friday was kind of funny.  We basically had not much to do because everyone was celebrating good Friday.  Like it was ridiculous.  Nobody went to church on Sunday but Friday it was packed.  There were just so many activities at all the churches and the taverns were packed because of that which I think is maybe ironic I don't know? 

Saturday was cool.  I was so excited for conference.  I actually memorized all the general authorities and general officers of the church over the last couple months which probably sounds weird but it honestly made conference more fun and interesting, because I recognized all the speakers.  
We were basically trying to just pass the time to get to 6 so we could watch the session.  And it didn't disappoint.  It was so amazing.  The solemn assembly was just so powerful.  When the first presidency stood to sustain themselves I felt something really deep.  It was kind of funny though.  President Eyring said "Members of the first presidency please sustain"  And that was when I found out that we actually have about 7 members of the first presidency in our ward here in Queenstown.  Hahaha but anyway.  The whole solemn assembly was a sacred experience for me that I won't forget.  When the whole church stood to sustain the prophet the spirit overwhelmed me.  I felt it in such a different way.  It overcame my whole body and I knew that President Nelson has been called of God. 
We watched the Saturday Afternoon Session on Sunday morning at 10.  It was a pretty nice session.  I was happy to hear my man Carl B Cook called to the presidency.  Also my friend Elijah's dad was called to be a general authority so that's pretty cool. 

I liked Elder Bednar's talk a lot. 

The priesthood session was by far the most powerful session of conference I have ever attended.  It was really on another level.  I usually don't look forward to priesthood session but this one... yeah.  When President Nelson stood up to speak I got so excited.  I started taking notes for a second and then I just put my notes down and watched him transfixed.  He spoke for so short but the spirit was just coming over me in waves.  The announcement was big and I can testify it was a revelation from God.  The rest of the priesthood session was just a spiritual high.  All of the talks were great.  It was really stacked.  2 apostles and then the first presidency after that.  When it got to President Nelson to speak again I was so excited.  His talk did not disappoint.  It was so incredible.  There's a few things I just can't get out of my mind.  He told the story of how he reactivated a less active guy.  One line he said has been playing over and over in my mind.  He said "Do you know who was called to be the first stake president? ... yes"  he just said yes and I just couldn't stop laughing.  The spirit was making me giddy or something like that.  It was so cool.  Then at the end he commanded us all to stand one group at a time.  My heart was just pounding.  I wanted to go out and just do battle with Satan right there.  I can't get his voice out of my head.  "Deacons.  Teachers.  Priests."  So powerful.
We watched the Sunday morning session live which was at 6 o clock for us.  It was another great talk but the highlight was of course, by far, President Nelson's talk.  I think that either that talk or his talk in last conference is my favorite conference talk of all time.  It was clearly a talk and a topic that was given to him directly by the Lord.  It wasn't just a talk.  It was the warning voice of a prophet.  He also specifically warned against the media and social media.  He is definitely a watchman on the tower.  He said that "The Savior will show forth some of his mightiest works between now and when he comes again."  He wasn't just talking.  He was prophesying.  He said that if we don't have the guidance of the spirit and revelation we will fall.  I can testify to anyone on this planet that Russell M Nelson is a prophet of God just as surely as anyone ever was.  The witness of the Spirit was overwhelming and I like Dad's words in his email to me it was also draining. 

I didn't get to watch Sunday afternoon session but I heard about it today.  A temple in Layton!!  that's so crazy.  And the announcement about Home teaching and visiting teaching.  That's obviously a major change.  I didn't even hear Elder Holland say this yet but I just love these words so much:   To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, the most memorable moments of life are those in which we feel the rush of revelation. President Nelson, I don’t know how many more rushes we can handle this weekend
Anyway.  Can you tell that I was excited about conference?  There's probably more that I have to say but I forgot and I'll email next week. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

March 26 letters

To Mom:

I have kind of a lot on my mind today so my email might not make a lot of sense but I'll try to focus. 

This week has been pretty sweet.  Although it's been pretty basic. 

I'm really excited to serve in Queenstown.  The members are awesome and I can tell that I'm going to be really close with them.  They're feeding us like crazy.  It's a pretty big ward with lots of really strong long time members.  I've mostly been following Elder Allred around for a week and a half but it's been sweet.  We're having lots of success and it's pretty nice to not be in charge of everything for once.  It's kind of an interesting mental shift I've been working on for this past week but it's getting there. 

I got a few awesome emails today so I'd like to send on some pictures. 

Siphokazi my convert in Cape Town sent me a nice email with some pictures of her at the temple which is super awesome.  She said it was a spiritually enlightening experience for her.  It was really really nice to hear.  She also sent some pictures of Milisa.  She's so cute you might recognize her.  I miss them so much 

I also got an email from Achuma.  He's Elder Greengrass's convert and was baptized about a few weeks before I got into the field.  He's now on mission which is just so cool and he sent a picture of him with his trainer.  Blowing my mind. 

Anyway aside from that there's not much to tell.

There's a place called Hogsback it's between Queenstown and King Williams Town and it was in the boundaries of my last area.  Apparently that is where JRR Tolkein, who was born in South Africa, got his inspiration for the Lord of the Rings.  Me and Elder Steffensen went there my last week in King so I'll send some pictures of that place.  It's pretty cool me and Elder Allred are going to ask permission to go again. 

To Dad:

You're appalled at the use of phones in Sacrament Meeting.  I'm appalled that you would even think to caution me against that.  Don't you know that I really hate people using their phones all the times.  It's like my biggest pet issue.  I hate that thing.  I hate people being addicted to their phones let alone in sacrament meeting.  In fact a real and serious concern I have when I get home is to be able to find a girl that isn't addicted to her phone.

I'm finished with Isaiah now.  It took a while to read all of Isaiah, but it was really enlightening and by far it's been the most profitable book for me of the old testament so far.  I know you have some books about understanding Isaiah so I'll be really excited to read those when I get home.