Monday, November 30, 2015

Another week in South Africa

Date:  November 30, 2015
Area:  Amanzimtoti, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Sibeko
Week 23

Well well well, Christmas is coming!!!!!!!!!

I forgot to mention last week that I got mail from: The Waits, a couple from ma and this week I got some from Gma Marry, Taryn, Taylynne (which helps me smile) Karoline and the kidos.  Thank you all for the letters! I have some to send home but I am waiting for some things that I need to get first so I hope soon.... 

Anyways what a great week, I have really got to laugh and smile a lot. The thing I have loved doing most is whenever we are in a home with little kids I pull out a deck of cards and do a magic trick or I make a coin disappear or something along those lines and they and myself love it!!!! 

Nothing really exciting happened this week, it was all just normal work, I haven't been doing a good job at writing interesting emails lately but I will start doing better!

A fun activity we have done with members is you tell everyone to tell the person next to them to do something. for example, I tell the guy next to me to jump up and down screaming like a monkey for a minute. and so forth... after everyone has been told something to do you read a scripture from the bible the pretty much says do unto others what you would like done unto you. so now you have to do what you told the others to do, its and awesome family home evening activity and gets people laughing and they will remember it for sure haha. 

Another activity is you pass a roll of toilet paper around the room and just tell each person to take as much as they would like. after everyone has taken their own amount of tp, you then expalin that for every square (the roll of tp is separated by perforated squares.) so every little square they have they have to say something they are thankful for, usually people take a decent amount which makes it funny because now they have to make a huge list of things they are grateful for. I dont know if that made sense or not, I hope it did.

Since we have been working with a lot of less actives we have been doing fun activities like these to give them a spiritual thought and let them see that the gospel can be fun and they should come back to church. No one wants someone to come into their home and give them fire telling them they need to repent or they need to do 1,2,3 but rather just having them enjoy your company will make them want to come back. when you see a missionary your first thought is church, we dont have to mention it. but by constant visits and being a friend they usually gain the desire to come back again.

I love Toti its awesome or (sweet) Toti means sweet in Zulu haha..... anyways love you all so bad!

Miss you, pray for you, but wouldn't want to be you because I am in Africa and you are not so who is really winning here? 

Nothing special happened for me for Thanksgiving except for some doors shut and rejection, you know, the good stuff :) jokes but not really haha

QUESTIONS from mom:
1.     How has the atonement strengthened you as a missionary this week?  I love the atonement and it is the source of my testimony and love for this amazing gospel. I love that the atonement is for each of us and helps us repent and all that but its so much more, Christ literally felt our pain and struggles and sorrow, and doubt and grief and torment, but thats not all, he isnt just with us in times of deep sadness and trouble but almost more so he is there in the times of great joy and peace and love, he is all around us trough the good and not just the bad! when we smile, he smiles, when we cry He cries. It makes me think of Heavenly father and how He is just like any great parent. you find that as a parent you now find joy in the accomplishments of your children and I may be able to say you find more joy in theirs than in your own! so again, when we laugh, smile and jump for joy you better believe He is as well!!! :)

2.  How often do you do laundry?  Do you have a washer and dryer in your apartment? 
I have a washer in our boarding but its super small so you can only do a couple of shirts so I do laundry every week sometimes twice to thrice a week and then we have racks we hang them on to dry.

3.  Are there street vendors in your area?  If so do they offer good food?  Snacks?  
In the townships there are what they call tuck shops which usually can sell candy and that kind of stuff and then there are some that sell magwinya's which are like scones and they sell chips (frys) and you just put tomato sauce on it. That's the most common but at times they can sell other stuff but I've never bought anything besides sweets and gwinyas.

4.  Do you feel like you are an equal participate in the lessons that you teach?  Me and me companion do a pretty good job at switching off when to speak, our teaching styles are a little different but that's okay.

5.  How do you like your ward?  Do you get fed more member meals in this area then in Kimberly? My ward is nice, I love the people and the members feed us! its awesome to change from not getting fed before to now being fed just about every night!!! 

About the bunny chow.  It was good, I got mutton, which is lamb meat, and so it was mutton and curry, it was nice, but I think I would prefer a burger. It was really nice though I am liking the food here in KZN (K-ZED-N) (kwal zulu natal) it is spicier so I hope when I come home me and dad can go for some real spicy food.  

Love Elder North

Monday, November 23, 2015

5 months old!

Me and my comp Elder Sibeko
Date:  November 23, 2015
Area:  Amanzimtoti, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Sibeko
Week 22

Wow today I turned 5 Months! I'm just getting out of my pampers!

It was a great week, I am really starting to settle in the area and get to know people which is awesome! Love for the people is the most important thing in this work. 

So a question was posed and a meeting we had as missionaries on what does God find joy in? The answer is us, when we do something good that makes him happy, He is our Father. just like any parent find joy in seeing the success of their children our Father in heaven is the same way.

Water in interesting glasses.
I had the awesome chance to go on exchanges with Elder Knight in Margate which is further south from Toti. I had such a fun time with him, sadly my camera died at the beginning of the day so I didn't get to take many pictures of the beautiful are we were in. He is such a great guy our personality's just clicked and I had a super fun day! we got the chance to explore an abandoned house that was super creepy but cool, ended up finding two people that are living in this unfinished house. We taught a baba who lives two hours away from the chapel but he drove all the way to come and visit us and have a tour of the church, It was power!!!! Later I found out that Elder Knights grandpa is Elder Cook the apostle so that was cool too!

I have been so happy this past week because I feel like I am myself again, I was struggling to bring my personality into the work of salvation but this week I just felt more like myself, was able to laugh and smile more which just makes everything so much better. this week has just flown by!!! the work is still tough and we work a lot, I sometimes have to do some jumping jacks or something before we go into a lesson to make sure I don't fall asleep in someones house while teaching haha. so I have definitely been tired lately, more than usual so maybe I need to get some more sleep.

We had ZTM (zone training meeting) this week and one lesson I enjoyed was about brotherhood, and how us as missionaries need to have a sense of brotherhood. Something I have shared with investigators is this: Ill ask "why do we refer to each other as brother and sister?" Yes because we are all sons and daughters of God and literally are brothers and sisters but to me I think of my family, I would do anything for my fam and when I call you brother it means that I got your back no matter what. That's how it should be, we call each other brothers but yet we don't do the action to show it. as brothers we stick together, go through pain together and go through joy together!

I am loving my mission, its fun, its hard, and so so good!
Love you all,
Elder North

Toti beach!  
In my boarding is me, Sibeko, Kaitoo, and Dean.

on the rocks at the beach!
  QUESTIONS from mom...

1. When was the last time you laughed with your companion and why? What makes you laugh in your area? How do you stay light hearted?  Um I think the last time me and my companion laughed we were at a member’s house and we were just talking and making jokes. I love just trying to make others laugh and so Ill dance my silly little dances and just have fun. Something that Elder Agyman would always say was no one will make your mission fun for you, you have to do it yourself. so I always just try going into people’s house to make them smile, if you get to actually love them then the work just comes naturally, this gospel is about love. Like Joseph smith says you could call our religion kindness.

My first bunny chow.  Mutton and curry!!!

2. What has your mission president been doing to inspire the mission? What do you love about your mission president?  I love our mission president, President Z! is the best he just encourages us to be a creative mission to think outside the box to get people to see the joy of the gospel, he encourages us to go forth with zeal and enthusiasm!!!

Future missionaries!

3. Are there any inside jokes in your mission? What is your current mission theme right now?  Um, Inside jokes about mission, Im not sure, we call those females that get missionaries in trouble snakes. you need to be careful... they bite
our them or mission vision is 2nephi20:13

4. What was your favorite meal from members during the mission so far?  um back in Kimberley we had just some nice chicken it was cooked so good and we had the best mashed potatoes. we dont eat mashed potatoes much so it made me think of home which is why I loved it so much!
See there really are monkey's everywhere.

5. What is your favorite smell in your area right now? Least favorite?  my favorite smell haha um probably my deodorant haha but actually I like the smell of the ocean or if it rains. The worst smell is the burning of trash in the township, that smells terrible.
Me and Elder Kaitoo (K2), He is way chill.
 6. What are some of the local sayings and interesting things people say in your area?   well the best one is what they call white people if you are in the township. its gqongqa. thet q's are clicks and so its hard to say but its awesome haha Ill go to people and just say in zulu that my name is gqongqa, I have learned quite a bit of Zulu now and can ask a nice handful of questions, it will be cool to tell you some during Christmas!
Elder Knights mom sent him this blanky.  He told her
in an e-mail one day that he wished he
could just give her a hug.  HAHHA  :)

Tree swing in Margate :)

Another picture from outside my window.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Amanzimtoti! sweet water

A cool soccer ball in Bloem.

Date:  November 16, 2015
Area:  Amanzimtoti, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Sibeko
Week 21

Well fam hows it? I say the words how's it as one word like "howzit" I didn't notice till now that I picked that up haha there are so many little sayings that I say now and its quite interesting.

These were the missionary predictions of what would happen for transfers that live in Kimberly.

Well I didn't get email last week because of transfers. transfers are when you get sent to a new area in the mission. I was serving in Kimberley which is in the middle of south Africa and now I am in Amanzimtoti, Toti for short. It's south of Durban on the coast. our boarding has a beautiful view of the ocean so that's pretty tight!

It was weird leaving Kimberley there were some family's that I really miss. I left home to come on mission and Kimberley became my new home and had several ma's and great families that I just loved! but the work goes on and I am called to the hills of Toti to spread the good news!!!!

My new companion is Elder Sibeko, he is Xhosa (the X makes a click noise with the the tongue placed at the back of the maulers (is that what the back teeth are called?).  He is 26 years old just like my last companion and is 20 months on mission so he is almost home! He loves to work and work hard which is awesome and rare to see in a missionaries so close to the end of his mission.  This transfer will be 5 weeks and then the one after will be 7.
Saying good bye to some friends in Bloem.
Elder Ikube, Chuma, Mashava, and Katimbo
So a little bit about Toti. the word Amanzim means weather, and Toti means sweet so when the Zulu King Shaka came to this place and tasted to water he exclaimed Amanzimtoti saying that the water her was sweet to the taste. They speak Zulu here a lot so I am trying to learn, the only sentences I can remember is greeting people, goodbye, I love my girlfriend, nice to see you and see you later, sorry, thank you, my name is, what is your name?, and other stuff along those lines, I hope to pick up the language because you meet quite a lot of people who cant speak English. 

Toti is full of hills, its crazy green and beautiful! it reminds me of the pictures my brother in Guatemala has sent. our car is broken so this week we walked baba! we walked and walked and walked as the famous primary song sings. I don't know how many miles but we would walk an hour to an appointment going up these crazy hills that are just shy of being called mountains and then walk an hour back to another so its been hectic but good for my health. Always a bright side. 

This is looking out my window.

Just beautiful from my flat

You can look but you cannot touch!

Found a giant cockroach in our boarding around 11 at night, we were up till about 12 I think trying to catch it. Me and Elder Dean spent our time that night on the hunt to capture and kill this pest and we would not rest until our mission was complete, after long minutes of struggle, disappointment, close calls and attacks and defense we finally won the battle against the mighty roach and were able to pronounce victory across the lands of our boarding! At one point the roach climb on the sealing and fell right on Elder Dean and started crawling around him, needless to say we screamed like school girls, um I mean he did... ya I was there standing manly with my mop in hand that I was using as a spear. haha. We eventually caught it and put it in Tupperware and poured bleach in it. It died within a minute and then within the next 48 hours the acidic bleach disintegrated all of the roach. There was nothing left, quite cool actually. We left it in the middle of the room so we could watch it die.

I took a bus ride on Monday night at 8 and arrived the next morning at 5:30, went around the area and then started teaching. I was exhausted and by the time we got home I was finished! Its also humid hear, we have been blessed with some rainy weather because its kept the humidity down because the sun isn't out and its cooler. It has been rough walking everyday in the rain, we get to appointments just dripping with water but its better than dripping with sweat? 

The people here have seemed to be very nice and especially when I try and fail to speak Zulu to them, they like that a lot. It really shows your love for the people just trying to immerse yourself in their culture instead of bringing in your own. 

Didn't get the privilege yet of trying chicken head or feet but hopefully soon.  We do see monkeys in the street every now and again.

There are ship containers everywhere converted into tuck shops where you can buy candy or they maybe make it a hair salon or a drives ed place.

We have had some good lessons and found a couple new people to teach so we will see how things go, I am excited for this new area and to really get to work.

Some mission buddies. 

I forgot to mention about the baptism I had. So my last Sunday in Kimberley I had the amazing opportunity to baptize Sis Philda Williams. We have been teaching her for only a month or two but she has really been prepared for us. She was awesome to teach. When the day of baptism came the water was really low which made it quite difficult to actually put her in the water but it all turned out fine. The font was full but but the plug was not tight and we didn't know so when we went in after church to do the baptism we found the water just to my knees. haha I had to leave her in the water a bit long because her jump suit filled with air and didn't want to go all the way down. It is such an amazing experience to see someone make so many changes in their life to follow the example that Christ gave us. I am truly blessed to be able to see these changes take place in the hearts of so many people. We get rejected by a lot of people but the few, the elect, make it all worth it!!!

Check out some hair pictures!

My ponderize this week was Alma 37:6

It talks about how you may think it is foolish that by small and simple things are great things brought to pas, but in many instances small means confounds the wise. I later after studying and thinking replaced the words small with the words Book of Mormon. it reads something like this. (off of memory so if there are any discrepancy please forgive)
"You may think it is foolishness in me, but behold by the book of Mormon and simple things are great things brought to pass, and in many instances does the book of Mormon confound the wise. well compared to the bible the book of Mormon is a relatively small and simple thing. Yet it does confound the wise scholars and priest. yet simple for a child to understand, truly divine!!!
My brother Elder Adams

Ngiya Xolisa (sorry) I wasn't more descriptive on whats been going on, its just been hectic haha. sizoku bona ntambama (spelling may be wrong but it means ill see you later this afternoon. but not true, I just don't know how to say in the future so I say this instead haha)

Ngubani igama lakho (N-gu-bon-E e-gah-mah la-koo) what is your name?

Anyways Zulu is cool and I love the clicks, they call white people qoqe whis is just two clicks and awesome haha.

Answers to some questions from mom:

Um I have ripped two of my shirts already haha but I am getting them sewn up, they wont look all to nice but they get the job done which is all I need.  One ripped on the sleeve it got caught on the door handle and another ripped in the back as I left a members house and a wire from the gate caught it. My shoes seem pretty good, I am going to start polishing them more oft to try and keep the leather happy.

We get to do service just about every week, usually making gardens or weeding, its a bit different than back home, how you make gardens here is you use a pitch fork like thing and pull up the ground or if there are plants already
The Rand
you pull up the ground around it and I guess it helps it grow. Weeding you get a shovel and you slice under the roots and then you rake them up, its pretty labor intensive though and there is usually a ton of weeds, I climbed on top of a house one day and helped nail the roof down, we do painting pretty often as well. Now that I am in a new area I don't know how service goes this side so we will find out!

In Kimberley we were staying in like an apartment attached to the main house where some Afrikaners (white people) lived and they were our land lords. Now in Toti we live in a flat so just a big apartment building.

My sleeping in Kimberley wasn't to bad the bed was nice and I had extra pillows for my back problems but I don't have pillows here so my back is starting to act up but we have been walking a lot so I have been exhausted every day which causes me to sleep well.

For breakfast I will eat maybe eggs and toast or cereal, sometimes I eat yogurt and sometimes french toast but not often. I also have started eating an apple in the morning to try and be healthy.

Where do you email?  Seems like you have a lot of time each week?  I have been lucky in Kimberley we email in the chapel so it doesn't cost and same with in Toti so that's really cool. We usually get about two hours.
How are the people different there then in Kimberly?  The people are very different because they are Zulu people so their culture is not the same at all compared to the Stwanna people. The white people here are usually English instead of Afrikans like in Kimberley but they are amazing people and I love trying to get into the language.
What have been the biggest challenges thus far in your mission?  The biggest challenge is actually getting investigators to come to church, they will progress and keep commitments and will really feel the spirit and wont show up which is sad but work is work.

It seems like there are a lot older missionaries there.  Is that true or have you just been paired with the exceptions?  If they are older why is that?  Most African missionaries are in their twenties or twenty when they leave. I think its because of trying to finish their highschool before mission and most people don't graduate when they are 18 they have to redo a couple years. There are also a lot of converts, but most missionaries are probably 20 I have gotten the two oldest in the entire mission. A little odd but good experience I guess :)
What are  he languages spoken in new area?  I am in the Kwal Zulu Natal so its only Zulu and English, you find a lot of people who don't speak English especially the older ones.
How are the houses?  Do you go into any tribal areas?  The houses arn't that bad here, I work in town which is pretty nice and township isn't too bad but there are shacks and we do teach in some very small houses. There isn't much of what you would picture tribe wise through anywhere is south Africa, they do have their traditions and a lot of them worship their ancestors. They believe that your ancestors carry the message to God on your behalf. So we meet them a lot this side.
Is it hard being so close to the water and not being able to go in it?  I do want to go surfing and canoeing and deep sea fishing but can't which does kind of suck haha.

Pictures of my new apartment.  MOM NOTE:  Looks like the whole thing could use a good cleaning!

Love you all 
Elder North