Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hey fam and peeps

Date:  April 25, 2016
Area:  Maseru, Lesotho
Companion:  Elder Woodland
Week 44

So this week was week of transfers, there is a new greenie in our area from SA he is an English man from Jo'Burg. his name is I think Elder Ardland or something I really don't know and also if you remember, Elder Thorson who is in my district in Toti, He was serving in Margate so this is cool :)

So this week our power family Nelson and his wife, we taught them some awesome Plan of Salvation stuff and they loved it. Ms. Nelson (I dont know her name) Is pregnant and is loving the gospel thus far.  We found out that they are not married so we will have to push their baptism till after they are legally married, we hope we don't run into any issues with labola. What what. Labola is when you have to pay like 15 cows to the parents of the wife. sorta a dowry but different. It is the cause for a lot of people to not get married. They read the Book of Mormon and study the lessons we give them. When we leave them with a pamphlet they will fill up two to three full pages of notes they have taken or questions they have. They are what we call "Golden Investigators" I have never met a family so prepared in all of my months! haha.

We had the opportunity to work with Elder Khopoche, he is from here and will be going to Botswana for his mission but his visa didnt come so he is home bound with Elder Dean in Lirebe. We had him for two and a half days and he is power! woot woot. I'll talk more of him in a bit, actually now.

so I like this adding my email to the mission president thing, but I may leave part and pieces out. Best part is you will never know ;)

We are not sure where we are planning to meet after we split, but the talk is that we will meet in our area which will help a lot I think. It is currently about a 15 to 20 min drive to church from where we stay.

Our progressing couple are due to have a baby any time so we have been unable to see them due to sickness and being in and out of the hospital for preparations. We hope that them having a baby will really open up their spiritual eyes and help them understand and feel a greater love that Heavenly Father has for His children.

I had the opportunity to add up all my stats for my entire mission thus far. It was very cool for me to see what I have done in the past ten months. I was able to set goals for the end of my mission that I think will push me to continue to "Finish Strong" when the time comes. 

Sad news for this week is that we had a baptism scheduled but the water in the town wasn't working so we were unable to fill up the font and now have to push the baptism back three weeks. Major bummer of the week but it will come. 

Highlight of the week was working with Elder Khopoche, It is true what you say about the "greenies" they are on fire and most valuable missionaries we have in the mission. Even though he was very much at home he still brought a spirit of urgency, excitement, and love for missionary work that I didn't even know had dimmed a bit. We had a wonderful two and a half days with him, teaching but at the same time learning so much. He will be a fantastic missionary and I am glad I got the privilege to serve with him, even if it was just for a few days. 

So we also went like three days without water one time, that sucked....

Other news, a power youth named Peter has dropped off the face of the earth and another cool guy has told us he doesn't want us to visit anymore and another lady refused to believe that God has given us more than just the Bible..... eish..... mission can be tough. We meet a lot of people and most of it doesn't go our way. I did the numbers and I have sat down in someones home to share the gospel over 800 times in the ten months I have been on mission.... now I haven't yet added up all the contacts and referrals but that would probably be thousands and those would be the contacts that I counted as we contacted not just someone I gave a pamphlet or a pass a long card to. Mission is cool :)

We are always trying to improve, well because there is so much to improve on, but by the grace of God we get by. as I have said. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

Love you all!
Elder North

Elder North became an uncle on Friday, April 22, 2016 at 8:05pm.  His oldest brother Deven and his wife Arley welcomed their beautiful daughter Elisabeth Diane North to the family.  We are thrilled to be grandparents and have decided that we want our grandkids to call us Gogo (Zulu for grandma) and Pops.  Elisabeth weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces and was 18 inches long.  Mom and baby are doing great and we can't get enough of our new cutie.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

weeks are going fast here in Lesotho

Date:  April 18, 2016
Area:  Maseru, Lesotho
Companion:  Elder Woodland

aya, atah, hola hola, howzit fam and friends!!!!

This week was again fantastic, (Mission is fantastic so you know every week will be like that....) so we got transfer news and Elder Woodland and I will be staying together for at least another six weeks! woot woot! 

So to start off I really like my letters to the mission president so I may add them in here quite frequently so here it is...

The learning never stops! We have been blessed to be able to work closely with the Chandlers in teaching at a college of EMT students. I feel like I should be one of the students as well because when the Chandlers share there part of the lesson I always learn something new. I hope one day I can be as wise as Elder Chandler, Huls, or Roberts. It never stops to amaze me on how vast their knowledge really is. The Senior couples are a real blessing to me throughout my mission. I remember when I first came on mission and was struggling over homesickness, Sister Huls was there to step in a help me through that through here motherly character. It was calming and needed. The Roberts shared such a love for the gospel that we all need and all of the Senior couples have set the very best example to the missionaries in ways of conduct and attitude. It makes me excited for the day I get to serve as a senior couple.... but for now I get the pleasure of full time proselyting missionary!

This week we were able to meet with an investigator family twice. This family is nothing like any other family I have ever taught before. We came back to their house to follow up on lesson one and to our great surprise, they didnt just read the pamphlet but had filled out every available space in the margins with questions and thoughts and concerns. They are so prepared and I love it! they ask great questions and understand so well. They love learning the principles and have started to realize they love it because its true! the family consists of a Man and women who are not yet married but have been "married"for some time now. they have a baby on the way and love the concept of eternal families and temples and celestial glory! I look forward to every visit that we have with them because the spirit always fills the room. This one family makes your whole mission worth while, We have set them on a b-date and are praying hard that they continue to progress, money is a bit of an issue to get to church but we know with faith and their earnest desire that there will be a way.

We have also found many people that dont live in our area but live in other missionaries areas. We have found great joy in seeing them progress and come to church and prepare for baptism as well.

This transfer has just blown by and Elder Woodland and I are excited to start out a new transfer with experience with each other and the area, we hope this will make this transfer the most effective yet. We are excited to get the member missionary work rolling to a good start. 

This coming Sunday we will be having a baptism from every set of missionaries in our district. I have never had this happen in my area and it has been great to be apart of it.

Thank you for your love and support and confidence in us, 
Elder North

and there you have it, that is pretty much how my week went it was great! I love you all and pray for you! 

Elder North

Hiking Semonkong Waterfall

When missionaries get bored and cannot sleep.

I sat with some Bosotho ntati's I am holding some
traditional beer called umqombothi

Is that a moving plant?

Pigs head for sale at the store.

Some of the students in our EMT class.

We are Lesotho people.  We see people walking
around like this all of the time.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Conference was amazing!

Date:  April 11, 2016
Area:  Maseru, Lesotho
Companion:  Elder Woodland
Week 42

So this week was pretty normal for the life of missionary work in Lesotho. We did though have one way powerful lesson. We met with a new investigator we tracted into named Ma Thapelo. She is awesome. So we went to her house for our follow up appointment and just started to talk with her. She all the sudden opened up about how her husband just told her he wants a divorce because she has been able to have children for the past four years. This was heartbreaking for us to hear. We have only know this women for a short time but have this incredible love for her and it broke my heart hearing this and other things that have happened in her past that I can't share. So emotions were high and I didn't know what to do. I wanted to just give this women a hug and just cry it out but that wouldn't work. We came to teach the restoration and about Joseph Smith but every time I thought about how I was going to tie her struggles in with it I couldn't. I was blank. I then remembered what  Elder Bednar said when we get in a situation we don't know what to do or say. Testify of Christ. This is what I did and boy did it work. The spirit came in strong and I testified that Christ is our brother. His love surrounds us, He died for us and so much more. I honestly can't even remember a lot of what I said because honestly it wasn't me speaking. The spirit had control of the lesson and steered it where it needed to go. She continued to open up to us and tell us more about her life, struggles and all. I then asked a few questions and she mentioned how she felt and knew we were sent by God to see her. And that she now felt relieved and so much better. We knew that was our que to leave because she was feeling the spirit and we want to leave her on a spiritual high. We closed and said our goodbyes with a final testament of our love for her, which was and is indeed a real and genuine love. It had been one of the most powerful moments of my mission thus far.

So a couple weeks ago I was talking with our mission president and we decided that I wanted to work on being more mature, in my conduct, talk, attitude and all. So I'll share a bit about that experience as well. This is what I wrote to my mission president this week....

"What a difference! I decided I should reflect some more about our interview and the topic of maturity. I was honestly shocked to find so many instances throughout the day where I was considerably "immature".  I guess it was a bit of a humbling experience. It reminds me of the talk two conferences ago, and the talk entitled,  "What lack I yet?"  https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/what-lack-i-yet?lang=eng  The spirit really does show and tell you what you lack and need to improve on and is not afraid of being blunt about it. I saw that I do indeed need to act more wise and mature in my conduct around other missionaries and even members. I hope realization will be the first step in changing to a more fervent servant. Thank you for your council and guidance. My parents have greatly stressed to me how important it is to follow the direction of our mission president as he is the one who can receive prophetic guidance not only for the work in our area, but I see now also for ourselves and individual missionaries. I am thankful for your persistent communion with the spirit that you can follow His guidance."

As for the area, things didnt necessarily pick up as I was hoping for this week but a new week comes and we can only move forward. I am anxious to see what the Lord has planned for the people here, Its actually quite exciting when you really start to think about it. I was listening to talk by some youth speaker and he related a story about his football career to making decisions to determine your destiny and at one point in his story president Hinkley, prophet at the time, came into the BYU locker room and told the team that it was the coaches last day and "dont muff it" I have been thinking as if the current prophet is saying this to me, I have come out on mission, to a new country, there is work to be done and work expected to be done... dont muff it. I dont know why but when I picture in my head the prophet or the savior pushing me to work harder it gives a sense of motivation.

I also was talking with Hailey and I can't remember if I ever shared this story about prayer but I will now.
"I have always struggled realizing answers to my prayers and mistaking them for just thoughts or luck or pure coincidence. For example, there was this one day where I had to send in a baptismal form that day because we were updating the system for church stats and they needed all baptism records immediately. I had filled it out a few weeks earlier and just gotten the bishop to sign it off the previous week. I forgot to send it in on Monday so we got a call saying we needed to do it ASAP and it was like a Wednesday or something, I can't remember. So I went to my folder and looked.... it wasn't there.... I went to my binder and checked.... nope nada..... went and looked fetching everywhere and I could not find it, tore up my closet and my bag and desk and dresser and the record could not be found. Now no it was not the end of the world but I hate when I was supposed to get something done and then I failed something completely in my power that now puts others through a headache so I was quite frustrated to say the least. After looking once, twice and thrice my wonderful comp who had his head square on his shoulder just looked at me and said well.... you know what we have to do right?... pray.... so we knelt down a said a verbal prayer just asking our loving Father to help us find the missing record that we would be able to send it in on time and that everything will work out. Now half way through the prayer I remembered that I gave a talk the previous Sunday and I brought the record to church. So the thought came to me, maybe I put it in my note book while giving a talk. Sure enough it was there and all went well. So I was ready to head to the email shop to send off the record when my comp stopped my and brightly said. " well we have to say thanks now" Now my original instinct was. " this was just my own thought. I remembered where I put it, this wasn't an answer to my prayer." I of course could not have been more wrong. It indeed was an answer to my prayer and pretty clear. The role of the Holy Ghost is partly to bring things to our remembrance. I searched for 20 minutes on my own and could not find or remember by myself where t
I think these are cool!

he record was. But as soon as I calmed down and allowed the Holy Ghost to remind me, he surly did. I learned how important it is to recognize the little and great answers we get to our prayers. We must say thank you. No one likes an unappreciative person. I did in fact feel the warmth of the spirit as we gave thanks to God for taking the time to help us in such a minor thing in the grand scheme of things but so important to us at the time. If it is important to you, it is important to God. How often does a little child bring home some terrible looking painting from school and they are so proud of it and love it and give it to mom and dad. Mom and dad of course take the painting lovingly and hang it on the fridge because it is important to them. Why? Because it is important to their child. The same goes with our Father in Heaven, he is a perfect Father and finds so much joy in our happiness and achievement, no matter how small and insignificant according to the world it may be."

Now there is general conference. Soooooo all of you who have made it this far... Thank you mom, and Hailey and Amber..... It twas grand! I'll speak brief on it though because of time. It was all fantastic. I loved all of it! as a missionary I think conference becomes more interesting. I felt like there was so much mention of God loving each and every single one of us. To me it seemed like countless times they talked about our individual importance and love from our Father in Heaven. Christ is the good Shepard and would not leave his flock untended and without

We made our bakkie look american.  Really dirty.
Here they was their cars religiously and hate the look of a dirty car.
provisions. We are all sons and daughters of the most power being in the universe and that makes us all royalty. We are kings and queens to be. Currently prince and princesses, in quite a real way. I don't know if we all completely grasp this. When we know for sure that God loves his children, nothing else really matters. It all makes sense. Things happen, but always for our good. We all go through many experiences in the life. some hard, some fun, challenging, depressing, sad, hurtful, painful, shameful, disgraceful, exciting, joyfull, and pure and more and more. I think you get it. We experience a lot of things. Now out of all of these are any bad? No! All experience is good. Although painful it is indeed good, most of us know by now in our stage of life that we learn the most through the hard times of life, that is good. There was also a lot of talk on family and temple, those go hand in hand. I love my family, and the separation because of mission has only made my love for them grow so much! I hope to be with them for eternity and know I can because of the temple. Guard our families, do everything in your power to keep a strong and healthy loving family and God will bless you with so so much. What makes God, God? Well he presides. over who? His family! What do fathers do? )Preside. over... their families. We are now preparing to become Gods and Goddesses. and we can! I love you all and if you did not get the chance to listen to general conference please do
Conference was amazing!

so! it will enrich your life, understanding, and love!

Tag is getting full
Thank you for all the love (1000x apologizes for the length....)
Elder North

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Time is going fast

Date:  April 4, 2016
Area:  Maseru, Lesotho
Companion:  Elder Woodland
Week 41

Well I have said it for about the past three weeks but what the heck, time is going. I just got an email from a friend back home who got his mission call and that just blows my mind, it has already been over a year since I got my call which also just seems so crazy to me!

Elder woodland and I are doing well, and trying our best to find people to teach. We just had interviews with our mission president and he really wants the work here in Lesotho to pick up so there is a lot on our shoulders. We just hope we can hold it up, but we know we can with the Lords help. This was my last interview with our mission president, he goes home at the end of june and we get a new mission president. It was really weird thinking of it that way. I sure will miss President Z.

On Sunday we had a great day, we didn't have any appointments at all, which is normal but oh well. but the great part was that we didn't go tracting like we do most days. instead we found many opportunities to do service. we helped some ladies carry a bunch of giant tent polls up a mountain, carried a young girls bag of rice to her house and helped take water from the pump up the mountain as well. It was really fun and we got a bunch of little kids playing and following us the whole time. sadly no pictures because it is a sketchy part of town and I dont want to get robbed. oh well. funny story actually, we were walking back to our car at night and it was dark, again this is a shady place of town. while walking to our car two guys were following us so I went around our car not opening it because I don't want to get hijacked, they then followed me around the car so I was just like, crap ima get robbed real quick.... so I put the keys in my fist and got ready.... they came up to us then just walked past haha. they were just pranking us but it wasn't to funny for me... well maybe it is now.... but ya I thought I was going to get stabbed so I am glad that didn't happen.

again we have just been knocking doors this week, not much has happens. we are trying to work with members but the problem is we don't know where any live so we are getting a list of people in our are soon I hope. 
Staff that teach the EMT class

I had exchanges with Elder VanWinkle this week and that was awesome, he is such a great missionary, I look up to him a lot and we had a power day. He goes home in June but he hasn't died yet, he is still going strong which you don't always see, so I definitely want to be like that when I am left with a few months. as for Woodland and I, we are doing grand. We have loved teaching at the EMT college once a week. we teach a two hour morals class full of about 60 women and 20 guys ages 18-26 so they are a blast. last week we taught them about the plan of salvation and how it helps to know where we came from, why we are here, and where we go after we die, especially when working in the medical field where you encounter many casualties. 

we also teach a family home evening with the senior couple at a gogos house and 10-20 kidos join us and they are fun as well. we taught them about honesty this week. it can be hard because they don't really know English so we rely on a lot of translation help from the adults.
EMT class we teach

I am loving Lesotho! I am loving mission! if any of you have thoughts about going on one, stop thinking and go, just do it and it will bless not only your life but so many more!!!!

Love Elder North