Sunday, June 28, 2015

South Africa MTC Intake

Greetings from the South Africa MTC

I thought you might enjoy receiving a photo of your missionary and the rest of our group here at the MTC.  Aren't they a great looking bunch?  We have been looking forward to their arrival for several weeks.  We are so happy they are all here and we love them already.  Intake day on Thursday is a busy day for them.  They have forms to fill out, a visit to the nurse, meet their companions, unpack and get settled into their rooms, eat and eat, take a tour of the MTC, email home, and be interviewed by President Collins Thursday night we have our first spiritual teaching with them where we all learn and teach each other about the Doctrine of Christ.  These companionships did an excellent job of teaching.  They are wonderful!

We will do our best to help them to be focused, exactly obedient, and prepare them to be ready to become consecrated missionaries when they leave the MTC on Tuesday, July 7th.   You won't hear from your missionary until their Pday which will be on Thursday, July 2nd.

Some of the missionaries didn't have email addresses for their families.  If you recognize one of these missionaries, will you please be so kind as to share this photo and email with their family?  Thank you so very much!

With love,
Sister Collins

Thursday, June 25, 2015

First week in South Africa

Welcome to Africa
MTC room with his stash of candy!
Date: June 25, 2015
Area:  MTC in Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion:  Don't get him for a few more hours
Week 1

So I got to email again today because what we were supposed to be studying online wasn't working, so I'm not going to complain. So the first night was different i still don't think its hit me that I'm not coming home for two years. My companion comes in today. He is from South Africa and serving in the Durban mission as well. I don't know his name yet but I'm excited to meet him!

When we got off the plane at south Africa we were met by a guy named Morgan and he was so funny and hard to understand because his accent was so thick. then the guy driving us to the MTC couldn't understand us at all and that was pretty funny too. In Johannesburg it looks like a normal city besides there isn't any grass anywhere its all yellow.
This morning was ruff I woke up at 2:30 in the morning and Elder Michelson was already awake and we didn't fall back asleep till about 4. so I guess this is jet lag. Me and Elder Michelson got up at 6:30 and played some basket ball till seven when we came in for breakfast. Everyone is super nice here and try to help with everything.
I got lucky because my room is bigger than all the other ones, each room has 3 sets of bunk beds but a max of 4 elders. but most rooms don't have a bathroom attached to them, but mine has two bathrooms both with showers and its bigger than the other room and we have washer and dryers in our room so I like it. We got some MTC rules and some are kinda weird but exact obedience is key so I'll have to follow them. one of them is no american slang words like dude. It specifically says we can't say dude and stud. haha I thought that was kind of funny but this is going to be hard for me because I say tight all the time like "dude that was tight" and I don't think I can say tight anymore so that will take some adjustment.
The MTC here is the smallest in the world so I'm told. We will have 25 Sisters and Elders here which is cool because I'll get to know them all!!

D&C 58:4 
 For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.
Give em Heaven
Love you all and would love to here from you so email me or write me letters!!!
Elder North

Airplane food, that is Alfredo sauce on that pasta.

Airplane view, bunch of nothing over the ocean
 South Africa is currently 8 hours ahead of Utah so this e-mail and pictures came in around 3:30am.  A nice surprise when I woke up this morning.  Leaving home for two years and being in a strange place with nobody you know can be hard.  He would love mail so if you can find some time to send him some that would be wonderful.

Please make sure and do not use nick names when addressing his letters as they will not be able to figure out who that is to.

It costs $1.20 and you can buy forever international stamps.

Elder Mikel North
South Africa Durban Mission
South Africa Missionary Training Center
3 Philips Avenue
Discovery 1709
Roodepoort, Gauteng
South Africa

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

First letter from Africa

Date:  June 24, 2015
Companion:  Not yet
Area:  Jo'burg MTC
Week 1

So I made it!  I landed in South Africa today safe and sound and with all my stuff!

So lets go to the beginning.  I left yesterday morning to fly to Atlanta and at the airport there I met up with Elder Doney and Elder Michelson, and two others from Saint George.  Elder Michelson is from Canada.

On the flight here there was a kid around 16 years old, he asked if what I had in my hand was a Bible and I told him it was a Book of Mormon, that its like a Bible.  Its more teaching of Christ and his ministry.  He said cool then I replied with I do have a Bible.  He then proceeded with what version I had and I told him King James.  His answer surprised me.  He said, That is my favorite version.  So he seemed interested in who we are and "why we were in uniform" so I gave him a pass along card.

At Atlanta we met up with one other Elder his name was Beavis I think.  We then got on the long plane ride and they brought us some pasta so I felt like a king eating in the sky!

I talked about the church to and elderly couple behind us and I think I almost made the father cry when I talked about eternal families so hopefully I'm planting seeds.

The flight was over 15 hours long to get here and it looks like the movies flying, just yellow grass.

I'm in Johannesburg right now for the MTC and 17 more missionaries are coming tomorrow.  (The ones from other areas come on Wednesday evenings and the natives enter on Thursday)

Sorry I don't have much time today so I'm not going to reply to any personal e-mails I got, so this is what you all get.

I love you all!
Give em heaven

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Time to fly fly away

We had to leave early this morning so that we could go down to Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City because Mikel's passport and visa came YESTERDAY just in the nick of time.  They told him if it wasn't there by 2pm yesterday they would be sending him to the Provo MTC.  He was trying to put on a brave face about that but I think anyone and everyone could tell that would totally bum him out not to get to head right off.  He might be emotional but he wants to go.  Always hard to say goodbye and watch them head through security and get lost in the crowds.  Lots of missionaries around today though so even though there was only one other guy scheduled with him from SLC to Johannesburg I have no doubt that plane to Atlanta was full of missionaries.  Missionary day seems to be every day these days not just Wednesday anymore.

We have all done better today as far as our tear.  Trying to hold them back and not set others off I think.  That doesn't mean they don't sneak out when nobody is looking.

It was a long long night.  Mikel was set apart by President Ghiz at 8:30pm Monday night June 22, 2015.  President Ghiz gave him a fabulous blessing and I think touch on most every topic.  It was a really wonderful blessing.  Then we came home and talked.  Uncle Karl was over and he was telling us Prison stories.  He is a guard.  After a little bit Mikel finally started to get the zoned face gone and get into the stories.  I think it was a nice distraction for a bit from everyone.

Then Mikel gave me a blessing and that was really sweet to be the first one he use the Priesthood with.  Then he ended up getting to do it again for Taylynne as she was really struggling.  Zane was in shut down mode and feel asleep on our bed since his and Mikel's was covered with all his stuff.  It was super cute though because at like 2 something in the morning when I moved him to his bed he was really out of it but then he climbed in bed and Mookie (AKA Mikel) said I love you buddy, sleep, then Zane said tight, and Mookie said don't, Zane let, Mooke the, Zane bed, Mooke bugs, Zane bite.  AHHH yup made the water works start again as I quietly shut the door.  I went in my room and prayed and thought and finally feel asleep.  I am so incredibly happy but it doens't mean it isn't hard.  He is in the right place but we will miss him.

Amber had gone out to a friends party for a bit and was partly surprised to find us still up working, she joined in and gave a couple things to Mikel from using on her mission that we forgot.  We got everything packed and he was slightly over the weight limit but we decided to just leave it and deal with it the next day if it was truly overweight.

This morning the kids all woke up to say goodbye to Mookie.  Zane would not hug him.  I had to bribe him to even get near him.  His way of coping but I knew that could crush Mikel.  I think if Zane didn't have a hard time at all it would crush Mookie even more though because those two are so close.  AND Mookie got to put his first sticker on his chart!

 Time to load up and go pick up the travel documents, grab a quick breakfast, and get to the airport.

 AND a final wave goodbye, so far this morning we have done pretty well not to ball our eyes out.

 Got the travel document and all is there and in order!  WAHOO to the Airport!

 oday when we weighed it indeed it was three pounds over.  The women told us it was over and we were deciding what to do.  Then she was kind of talking to herself and Jed went to put on the tag and she o don't touch it yet.  She was lifting it up and it was magically the right weight.  So we didn't have to pay any extra and he didn't have to take anything out.  Hard to fit two years of stuff in one suitcase.

After that it was time to say goodby.  I asked a nice TSA agent to take our picture and then it hit that this was it.  I smiled and hugged my boy, refusing to let tears come and send him off that way.  He would have totally lost it if I would have cried.  I have NO doubt about it.

Sure going to miss him!

 So I have been keeping myself busy with work, wedding stuff and of course updating his blog, reading other South Africa Missionary blogs, and last but not least tracking his flight!
He has now landed in Atlanta and has about a half an hour more before he gets onto the flight that will take him to Johannesburg, South Africa.  He will be there for a couple of weeks in the Missionary Training Center and then he will fly to Durban.  No clue when we will hear from him next.

Speaking in church and saying Goodbye for two years.

Not an easy thing to say goodbye to someone you love for two years, much less with limited contact.  So why do we do it?  We do it because we know with all our hearts that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  We do it to share His word with our brother's and sister's around the globe.  We do it because we were asked to.  As a mom it is very hard to let your child go anywhere much less to the unknown but we know that Mikel is doing what his Heavenly Father wants.  If you want to learn more about this go to or  Missionaries like my son can come teach you about our beliefs.

Mikel did a great job speaking in church on Sunday.  He shared stories and made me cry big time and I made him cry.  He is such a tenderhearted guy.  His soccer coach was worried about him because on the field Mikel is an angry little man as I like to call him but off the field he is very sweet and kind.  I am not worried about him.  I will miss him but I know he will have the adventure of his life going to South Africa.  He will learn and grow and become a man while he is gone and learn skills that he could not learn anywhere else.

We are so thankful for all those that came out and supported Mikel on Sunday.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, we hope you will continue to support him by sending him letters and keeping him in your thoughts and prayers.

Here are some pictures from Sunday.  So bummed I didn't get them with everyone.