Monday, October 26, 2015

4 months old!

Date:  October 26, 2015

Area:  Kimberly, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mashava
Week 18

Well well well.... I just turned 4 months the other day. Time is really a weird thing because yes it has gone fast and, no it has been a long time. So really I am quite confused about the whole thing.

Quote of the week:
When you live with Christ you have peace in your life"

So this week has been interesting, we worked a lot but don't have much to show for it which is okay, you just have to keep your head up :)

We taught a guy by the name of Christopher for the last time because he was moving back to his home in west cape. He told us of some of his addiction problems and desire to quit. as we were reading the scriptures he told us that he got his answer. He read in a quote the day before the same message that the scriptures were telling him so he explained to us that God has answered his prayer by telling him once then affirming his answer. It was cool to see the way that answers come to our prayers.   We talked about how to overcome addictions and struggles. we told a story that goes a little like this... A boy and his son saw two wolves growling at each other preparing to fight. The boy turned to his father and asked, which wolf will win? the father replied the one you feed. this is the same to us. we are made up of two parts, our physical which in scriptures is referred to as the natural man and our spiritual. lust, addiction, and sin come from the physical nature of being human. true peace, comfort, and assurance comes from our spirit. We are at a constant war with ourselves as we try to have our spirit overcome our body and not let our body control us. Now which one will win this fight? the one you feed. If you feed your body, giving it lust, addiction, and the things that the body wants then it will eventually win this fight. If we feed our spirit with scriptures, prayer, and gospel then it will grow and overcome the body. whichever one you feed will grow stronger.

So moral of the story, feed your spirit not your body.

My companion Elder Mashava and I were planning for a young women who has been having a really tough time. We were both at a stupor of thought when it came to planning what would best help her, what she needed to know. We racked our brains and came up with nothing. Elder Mashava then said, I know what to do. I instantly felt relieved and asked him to further explain what we were to do. He looked at me and said pray.... We then bowed our heads and prayed for guidance in what we are to teach her, we definitely lacked knowledge and as the scriptures council we had to ask of God. (James 1:5) after we sat and tried think of what we were supposed to teach, The plan of salvation, which is the plan God has for each of us and the knowledge of where we are from and why we are here, kept coming to my mind but I wasn't sure if this was just me thinking. when I mentioned that that thought continued to pop in my mind Elder Mashava said that he had been thinking the same thing and even had in his hand a pamphlet about how the plan of salvation can help you be happy, he said he didn't know why he picked it up but he was just looking at it. We knew then that, that is what we were to talk about.  God answers prayers!!! not always in an immediate effect, usually it takes time and more time then we would necessarily like but I do know he does always answer.  If you have struggled with feeling like you don't receive answers to your prayers read Moroni 10:3-5 then pray again with the council given and I can promise you that you will receive an answer from God.  I wouldn't be out here in South Africa missing my mom, college, friends, girlfriend and anything else the world has to offer if I didn't know God lives and answers prayers. He does! but from the old show reading rainbow, "don't just take my word for it, read for yourself"

I had my first rejection this week. We had a really powerful investigator named Fafa. we were heading to our appointment at his home excited for our discussion. when we arrived at the door and knocked we heard a voice from inside asking who was there. Cheerfully we replied "the missionaries!" the voice then came back unexpected, Leave, don't come back and don't call again. We were quite confused as we have had some amazing spiritual experiences with this family. we stood for a second not really understanding the situation until the reply came again with the same message. I learned a great lesson from this. as we walked away we looked at each other and just smiled, yes saddens us by the fact that someone has missed out on such a blessing and great knowledge but it was out of our hands and in the Lords. We did all we could and hopefully a seed was planted. That's missionary work for ya.  Most reject and few accept, many are called but few are chosen.

Yes we do have hot showers, you switch the geeser on in the morning.

We have a ward of a couple hundred and an average attendance of 70-95 but it drops in the cold weather because people just stay at home, its Kimberley ward in Bloemfontein stake.

The kids like PlayStation and games on their phone. playing soccer in the street is what I see the most.

Thanks you all for your prayers and support, they are felt and appreciated!

P.S. I love getting letters, I have been bad in the past but If you write me I will write you back! :) my address is found on my blog.

Love you all!
Elder North

Elder Mikel North
South Africa Durban Mission
PO Box 1741
Wandsbeck 3631
South Africa

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 17

The Hul's left to go home to Idaho :( I will miss them.
Date:  October 19, 2015
Area: Kimberley, South Africa
Companion: Elder Mashava
Week 17

Well time is actually starting to feel like its just flying past, I haven't decided if that's a good or bad thing yet. I will reach the 4 month mark this week which seems crazy that I haven't seen any of you in that long and funny that comparatively to what I have in front of me its so short. In reality though it is so short! 

So where to begin, hmm. Something awesome I heard this week was about tithing. We were teaching a lesson when my companion then stated that paying tithing is an investment in His company. I can't think of any better company to invest in than that one! haha. The best part about that statement is that it is true, as we pay our tithing God has promised us that he will open the windows of heaven and pour out so many blessings that we won't have room to receive them all.

This little girls name is Olorato and she was doing my hair and then saying in the cutest little girl voice, "oh you look nice elder" haha oh she is too cute!

Another quote I heard this week was "I'm the brain you can forget, and the Heart you will never forget" Elder Mpuanda from Zim said this in our ZTM (zone training meeting) about the Book of Mormon. 
Dinner get tough towards the end of the month.
Plain rice and an egg
Mom note:  He looks good in his pictures so he isn't starving!  :)
This week I got pretty upset when we found out that we have some visitors in our boarding that don't want to leave. We have had ants for a long time, like thousands of them. If you take a scoop of sugar you scoop 70 percent sugar and the rest ants haha. We haven't minded them just because they are ants and who cares. We like the crunch anyways... (joking) but then we recently discovered that the ants were lonely and decided to invite some of their friends, the cockroaches. Me personally well I don't like the cockroaches, they are always so rude and just crash the party. With the ants we could have some fun but when the roaches roll into town all the fun stops. So we now got some more roomies. At least the roaches here are not as big as the ones back home but still they suck... Mission is tough....

Joyful Travels
Anyways moving onward. So we met this guy named Kennedy a while back. He is from Nigeria, cool accents by the way, and Nigerians love gospel. The church thrives there. We were teaching him and he seemed pretty promising until our last meeting where he handed us back all the pamphlets and the Book of Mormon saying that until we show him the word Mormon in the bible that he doesn't want to read from it. The worst part is he wont pray to know if what he reads from the book of Mormon is true. Oh well I enjoyed my time with him none the less. 

We are teaching a lady named Philda and her son Shanedean.  Philda is progressing better than anyone I have met before and will be getting baptized on the 1st of November!  Her son though seems to not be as excited about this whole gospel thing so we do not know for sure if he will be prepared for that day. 
My shirt ripped, I am no longer a greenie.

The past week we have focused on bring the spirit of Elijah into our lessons. The spirit of Elijah refers to temples. I have taught about temples every day this week and the implications there of are outstanding. The temple is truly the house of the Lord, where you can feel His presence more closely than anywhere else on the planet. I was blessed to live so close to a temple and had the opportunity to go frequently. I was able to first hand witness and feel of the power and strength of the temple and how it can bless your life endlessly. Going to the temple here is not an easy thing and takes months of saving money to make the trip. It is so worth it and the blessings add up ten fold. I know that going to the temple will strengthen you and those you go with, you will build a new love. The love of eternity as you come close to the presence of God and His kingdom. It has been amazing for me to see the impact the temple has had on our investigators as we discuss about it. Ah this church is so true! If you don't have a temple recommend, I suggest you get one. If that means meeting with missionaries, bishop, or whoever. Do it, it is so worth it I can promise you and testify to you that you will find answers to prayers, peace of mind and of heart, and feel a love for God that you have never felt before. It is where you can be sealed with your family forever!

If you have time go to and watch the video of the temple, don't have any distractions while doing so. Just sit, watch and listen to the feelings you get and I can promise you that you will be touched and fill the spirit.
The church in Bloomfontine, South Africa
This week was the primary program, it was the same as home and I loved every second of it!  Best sacrament meetings ever! :)  Kids are just the best, when you watch them sing their songs and say their little lines you can understand and see why Christ has told us to be as little children are.
No explanation with his picture!  HAHA
The beggers get creative.  They just walk around and then
lean down and hold their can out to your window for money
What is Heritage Day, I hear it is September 24th. - Heritage day is like the biggest holiday, sadly our ward didn't do anything because of who knows what and then it was supposed to be pushed to last Saturday but they still didn't do anything haha but ya people wear their traditional clothing and what what but missionaries have to wear whites still.
Soccer in Kasi

How are you and your companion getting along? - We are getting pretty good, I get a long much better now. Instead of bringing up something that he says or does that bothers me I just sit quietly, I don't know if he notices but usually I forget about whatever it was anyways so we end up getting a long better. Its hard just because I am used to having Hailey who understands the way I think and I could bring anything up with her and it would be fine but Mashava has a different personality and so we are still learning but things have been going pretty well.

How do transfers work for you? - Usually if we are in Kimberley since we are so far from the zone, (two hour drive, 160 kilometers) they call us Saturday night and tell us the news of who is going and what what. Then we get logistics on when and where we travel, we go to Bleom and depending on when the person comes is if we stay the night or something like that. We usually will stay the night in Bloem because we have to be in and safe by 9 and if we drive home we wont get there till late. So we meet in Bloem and then everyone disperses from there.  The districts in my zone are Lesotho, Thaba Nchu, Kimberly and Velkom. We all meet in Bloem for Zone conferences or transfers.

 Who is in your boarding with you now? - In my boarding is me, Mashava, Razafindrakoto, and Katimbo.
This is a family picture, me and Elder Adams(next to me) are brothers because we were in the same MTC group. He is training so that means he has a son (the one in front of him) which makes him my niece. so next to Adams son whose name is Batemen is sitting next to his brother Elder Rakotamalala or something like that. and then above us is Adams dad (trainer) and next to his dad is his uncle.

I just realized Ill get to see Jered on skype on Christmas so that made me way happy haha

I love you all and pray for the best to come to you. 
Elder North

Monday, October 12, 2015

Priesthood Power!

The Hul's and President Z and his wife and us missionaries.
The Hul's are going home soon.  Makes me sad because
sister Hul was a great help to me when I first got here and
was missing my mum a lot.
Date:  October 12, 2015
Area:  Kimberly, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mashava
Week 16

How are you all doing! Hopefully you are making the best of your fantastic lives and living and loving all you can! Time goes too fast to sit and be sad mad and blue, its time to get up and do something new, go outside, jump in a puddle, sing a song out load and get made fun of for your terrible voice, and just have fun and laugh! God is good, all the time...... all the time, God is good!

I love that I know Jesus Christ loves us! I hope you know it to, because it is true!!! Something my companion likes to say is that "God loves me more than anyone else on the face of the earth, you know how I know that? Because He always answers my prayers" Guess what! He will answer yours too!!!

I have come to the conclusion that everyone whether they know it or not, has a desire to be close to God, to know Him, and know His plan for them, to know their purpose in life. I have found the answer to this world wide problem of confusion on who God is, what his plan is, and if he really does love us! Do you want to know my secret? Of course you do so i'll tell you, its simple... The Book of Mormon. Huh what, that's the answer? Yes, yes it is the answer and there is only one way for you find out if it is. Read it, pray about it and I know you will love it!

So I got to see the power of the priesthood as I was able to give a troubled girl a blessing. This young girl at the age of 8 was troubled emotionally, physically and spiritually, she was abused, mistreated and scared. She was seemingly beyond the help of therapist and psychologist alike, but not beyond the help of God. I had the opportunity to give this girl a blessing. We came back to visit the family a few days later and to their amazement their daughter was back to her normal self after quite a lengthy period of being troubled angry, and aggressive. Trough the power and grace of God she was "healed" from her troubled state, I was a firsthand witness of the true divine power and authenticity of the priesthood, God lives and loves us and I know it for sure!

A quote that I have loved has been "do your best and forget the rest" I now have a bit of a twist I would like to add to it, Do your best and God will do the rest, I like this version a lot more as it is so true that after all we can do Christ will bring us up and help us finish the job.

I saw some funny things this week. First of all a guy so drunk that his pants were about to the back of his knees, underwear and all so his butt was just there as he was walking around Kasi haha. Made me laugh a little, people are funny, moral of the story. Dont drink to much haha.

We saw a guy, obviously high on glue, having his own little party in the street. We rolled the window down to say hello and he started saying who knows what and then ended up just spitting on us haha funny people. Moral of the story, don't sniff glue.

Elder Mashava works hard and it is so great to have him pushing me to work my best. We are looking forward to some good changes in the area as we start to push on our investigators with a little more emphasis. With Mashavas age he can relate to a lot of things investigators have gone through, being born outside of the church and finding his life not in order, partying to much, drinking to much and life just not right he found the gospel and everything changed. He is a strength to me and a example to all! 

Answers to some questions:

Do you keep your passport on you?  I don't carry my actual passport with me, it is in a safe at the mission home. I carry a paper copy though.

What are the professions of the people you teach?  Most people are in construction, nurse, or teacher. There is a lot of unemployment. 

Are there really no sister missionaries in South Africa?  There are no sister missionaries not even native ones. They used to have sisters in the mission but cars get hijacked too often, people get robbed a lot and then two sister missionaries got raped so they no longer allow them in the whole of South Africa. It is a pretty dangerous mission, just two days ago a senior couple got robbed. Every 2 months or so you here about some missionary getting Hijacked which is when they smash your car and take it and everything it or they do what we call a smash and grab, when you are parked at a robot with a car in front and behind you so that you can go anywhere they will smash your windows and grab everything out of your car and by the time you realize what is happening they have already taken everything. Missionaries get robbed at knife and gun point pretty often, I've heard of since I have been here a couple of smash and grabs and of a couple missionaries getting robbed at knife point, one got sliced in the foot. So if you go through your two years without getting mugged once then you are pretty lucky it seems. haha.

I hope and pray Arley is doing well

I love you and pray for your safty, protection, and that you may enjoy the little things.

Elder North

Monday, October 5, 2015

Elder Mashava!

Date:  October 5, 2015
Area:  Kimberly, South Africa
Comapnion:  Elder Mashava
Week 15

So this week was the first week with my new companion Elder Mashava. You pronounce the v as if it was b so its sounds like Mashaba. He is from Zimbabwe and has a accent so I have to ask him to repeat what he says sometimes because I don't understand it, but ill get used to it. He is 26 years old and ten months on mission. He is a powerful guy and I think we are going to start having some really good changes in the area as we really focus on getting the members involved in the work. Members are so important, they are like sleeping giants and are way more effective then the actual missionaries. we are temporal and will leave and area in a couple months but the members will always be here so its important to get them involved in becoming friends with the investigators so they don't feel alone at church. Elder Mashava loves to say the word poop. haha so he calls people poop all the time and just says hey you are poop and then says come kiss me or something like that so he is pretty funny. I was talking about how Sundays are my favorite days because I just love going to church now and its something different and I always learn something but then after church its the worst day ever while you are a missionary because it becomes just like every other day. You go out and teach and all you want to do the whole time is take a nap and be lazy. so I have mixed emotions on Sundays. Elder Mashava said that's why its called the best two years, because it sucks #sundays. I don't really get it because it dosn't make sense but it was funny for some reason.

My new companion is Elder Mashava from Zimbabwe. He has a thicker accent so sometimes I don't understand what he says and have to ask him to repeat it. He is 26 years old and has been on mission for 10 months. He has been serving coastal side his whole mission and is looking forward to joining us in outer darkness. He speaks Shona as his native language, he learned Zulu in Durban. Since most Africans speak an African language and English already, it is easy for them to pick up other African languages. We are trying to learn Afrikaans but he is a lot better at it than I am and I've been in the Afrikanns speaking area longer.

So Elder Mashava had this, I guess there is a place in
Durban you can get it but there isn't a place here.

So I hear conference was awesome... sadly I wont get to watch it for about a month until we get the DVD. So that's kind of a bummer as I have been looking forward to it for the past month and a half.  Renlund (one of the new Apostles) was over the South East Africa Mission area so some of the people this side know him. I miss sausage biscuits and pizza and going out after priesthood with dad :/ things you never think your gonna miss till their gone haha, oh well though they say good things come to those who wait so I am sure my experience with conference is going to be way better than all of yours so really who is the one who should be sad? 

Some quotes and thoughts I have heard and had this week that I would like to share...
"Compared to God man is nothing; yet we are everything to God" this is just power and pretty self explanatory. God is all mighty all power and all supreme, we cant even fathom his intellect and knowledge but yet we are the most precious and valuable thing to him. it makes me think of the hymn I stand all amazed. God and Jesus love us so much and this song sums it up better than I can. that they would do so much for such imperfect inadequate and frankly pathetic people that we are competitively to God "
  1. 1. I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
    Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
    I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
    That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.
  2. (Chorus)
    Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
    Enough to die for me!
    Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!
  3. 2. I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
    To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
    That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
    Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.
  4. 3. I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
    Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
    No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
    Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet
  5. what more can I say?
"I know its hard but we like the results" Life is tuff nah? but its worth it! The results being exaltation as we push faithfully through this life and all its challenging ups and downs.

"I love that the gospel makes sense" a member said this and I thought to myself, huh, isnt that just true. haha. If you know me I am a very factual guy, Things have to make sense logically to me, its just how my brain works. Its truly amazing that the gospel makes sense not just spiritually but in every aspect. Its pure, simple and just beautiful!

"Can a women forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget , yet will I not forget thee, Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands" Isaih 49:15-16 this was so powerful when I read it. We are graven upon His hands as those nails were pushed and pierced. He will not forget you, He will not leave you, He will always love you.

"Satan is pushing, we need to push back" If you believe in Christ then buy that belief alone you are mandated to believe that Satan is real. I can tell you he is, and he unlike Christ will forget you, will leave you and place thoughts of doubt, confusion and despair into your mind. Satan is working on us all and we need to fight back, pick up the weapons you have been given, shield yourself with the power of God! you have scriptures, prayer, family, prophets who just spoke to us in conference and with these things you can conquer Satan.

Sorry for such a long email this week but thank you for reading. I pray that you can know for yourselves the authenticity of the gospel that you may know of the Saviors love for you. I am so blessed to have this gospel in my life, to know I am loved, to Know God does live and that He will help guide me. I love this gospel and I love you all and pray for your strength and protection, that you may recognize and feel His love for you.

Love from Africa
Elder North