Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My eyes have been opened

Date:  August 15, 2016
Area:  Mseru, Lesotho
Companion:  Elder Leonard

So this week we had quite a lot of interesting and for me humbling experiences.

To start off there is a less active member in the area who is really struggling right now.  Not with just coming to church but family issues as well as work. One of his daughters had to leave her husband and needed a new place to stay so he did some looking and found a humble home for her and her son. We helped pick up this brother, his daughter and his daughters son. They had just a handful of possessions, we drove to another village to the home they will now be staying in. It has two rooms. No kitchen, no bathroom really nothing. You open the door and enter into a room smaller than my bedroom back home. Then there is an even smaller room through the next door. That is the whole house. This kind of housing is actually really common and we teach people that live in these circumstances all the time.  It really hit me this time though. She borrowed a mattress from the neighbor and sat down her four or so bags, all her and her young boys possessions. They had no heater to keep warm but a few blankets. The nights get cold here and I sleep with a heater blanket all night to stay warm. We left her to her house and headed home. I wanted to cry as I though about how much I have. I have clothes, food, electricity, water, tables, kitchens, chairs, rugs, and so so so much. She really didn't have anything and I am constantly ungrateful for the many things I do have. I pictured how they would spend the night as the boy would cuddle up next to his mom on the only thin mattress in the place with some blankets trying to keep warm. I though on how she will probably continue to live like this for a while, and my heart aches that I am helpless to do more. I just see it. And I see it daily. People who are suffering. who are sick and literally dying. I can't do anything but watch, and it hurts to see it, to love these people and watch their pain. Their struggle. 

Another man who we teach goes by the name of Zacharia. He is really struggling and works a twelve hour day seven days a week for a pay of thirty two rand. That is practically nothing. In one month he would make around 900 rand if he worked every day without a day off. As missionaries we get 1500 rand a month and that is just for food and toiletries and other things we need to buy but our electricity is paid for, our housing, our car, our petrol (gas) and we still struggle sometimes.  When I tell people that is how much we live on month to month they are surprised that its so small, it is about 100 USD.  This man has to buy food, gas to cook his food, rent and all the things of life on less money than we missionaries without a day of rest. You cant do it, and he is but is suffering pretty bad. It's tough and we don't know what to say but to just encourage and be there.

So those are two of the humbling things this week. My mission is teaching me a lot. And I hope I can really learn from the experiences here.

I'll share a bit of a conversation I am having with Hailey about the book of Mormon,

It is amazing to me the Love the Jesus Christ has for us. He led and guided prophets throughout time to record which may have seemed at the time insignificant, but in reality with a grand purpose. I know that God would preserve or have written down one particular verse or even chapter for just one person. That is how much he loves each of us.

I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and it is so true and so so good. If we but read and pray with sincerity and our whole hearts, wishing with every fiber of our existence, God will answer. I have read and prayed many times about the message this book contains and I am met each time with a prick in my heart that screams to the the very sinews of my being YES!  To me the book of Mormon is a testament not only of Christ himself but of his great love for us. I know it was translated by the power of God. I love what Elder Holland says from his father " No bad man could write such a book. And no good man would, unless it was true" There is a light contained within the book that seems to connect with the light within each of us when we allow it to.
I love that I can feel my Savior near as I read through the pages. I find answers, council, and comfort from withing the pages.  You will feel the love of Him who died for us if you read this book. You will know who the Savior, Jesus Christ was and is. You will know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, You will know that you are a daughter or son of God, you will know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His church.

I love it, I live it, it's good for me its good for you. Read it!

I love you all and am truly thankful for your prayers, you are in mine.

Elder M.North

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