Date: December 5, 2016
Area: Richards Bay, South Africa
Companion: Elder Thornsen
Tough for many reasons. A lot of set backs came to us as people who seemed promising stoped progressing or didnt keep commitments. We had a lot of people as potentials for baptism and had to drop about half of them... eish.... life is tough. But no mater that, we know that if we arn't facing opposition that we arn't doing something right. Satan will always try to stop us from progressing and moving forward. His goal is our discouragement, suffering, pain, and sorrow. We have the ability to choose whether or not we give that to him. As soon as we start doing what brings us closer to God and eternal joy the advisory accelerates his pace to try to thwart us in our endeavors to grow. No matter how tough things get I like to look at the quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland that says "Dont you give up, dont you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. there is help and happiness ahead.... it will be alright in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come." "There always is light at the end of the tunnel."
We did have some great things happen to us this week also.
I got the chance to take two of the Elders in our zone out for exchanges. I was first with Elder Moore, he is from Idaho. He is a super fly guy and also likes computer programming and might study it in the future. We had our District Development Meeting in the morning which turned into a bit of a dance party. We were told that we needed to put together a video for the Christmas party so we did that. It was fun.
We then went out to the area. We had to mix up our schedule becasue of cancellations and us being late. We decided to follow up with one of our investigators named Mpume, she is spectacular. We gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet to read as a commitment along with Alma chapter 40. Even though our appointment was scheduled for the next day. When we got to her home we weren't expecting her to have already read the pamphlet, most people read day of. She to our surprise read and was currently reading the Book of Mormon! We sat down for a few minutes, we were in a bit of a rush to get to the next appointment. We asked her what she understood from the pamphlet that she read and her reply was phenomenal. She told us that she never knew that we lived with God as spirits before earth and that we needed a body. She told us in a fantastic way that "death is not the end, its only the beginning." We of course nodded our heads in agreement with jaws dropped as she continued to give detail after detail of the plan of salvation and the three kingdoms and how she would love to live with God in the highest kingdom. We explained a few more details of the exciting plan and left with a hymn. She hopefully will get baptized this Christmas which would be such a blessing to us and of course to her! She sadly couldnt come to church this week due to a death in the family. It was cool to see her go from being sad to then a beam of light radiate from her as she smile at us and said but I know Gods plan. It is incredible how much the message of the restored gospel can change our lives. It gives purpose and direction. Peace and blessings.
Next I went on exchanges with Elder Hansen. I brought him to my area and we had a challenge to get 40 referrals that day. Sadly we didn't get it but we got over half way so thats good. We walked around a market and the taxi rank and just talked to people for a few hours. Elder Hansen is an incredible missionary and I look up to him a lot and learned a lot from how he teaches and how excited he is to teach. We worked hard in the morning then went and enjoyed the view of the beach from the area and went back to work. We taught a power lesson to a Xhosa man named Shaun. We went to his place by accident, I was thinking of someone else when we went there but it turned out to be an awesome mistake. We got there just as he was arriving and then he invited us in. We asked if he had read and he did! incredible. We taught him the restoration of gospel through the prophet Joseph smith for the next two hours. We talked about the nature and characteristics of God and then invited him to be baptized. We hope that he progress and will be able to find a way to come to church.
The biggest struggle that we are facing in our area is that we work a lot in the township called Mzingazi. It is some distance from town and the chapel. People struggle trying to get there. We have been trying to think of ways to help get these people to chruch. We have now got the go ahead to start trying to set up cottage meetings and sacrament out there. We will be spending the next month or so finding less actives and actives who stay in Mzingazi and then once we have that we can look at setting up meetings there. After we get that far we will be looking at sending two missionaries there to get a branch set up. It would be nice for us to help us focus in town and find people that will actually be able to get to church.
Elder Thorsen and I had a bit of a rough day in the area as people just seemed to be unavailable, unresponsive and non progressive. It was sad but then we were able to meet Zanele. She is an investigator who has been eh from the start. Hasn't shown much interest and hasn't progressed. We sat down to follow up with her and chat. After a good while of chatting she finally asked us. "so can you tell me more about these kingdoms?" We were blown away that she had read. We talked to find out if she really read or just saw the bold points in the pamphlet but it was soon enough clear that she did read and wanted to know more. We spent the next while teaching her about life after death and how we can live with our loved ones again. It was a much needed tender mercy at the end of a long day.
We also had district conference this week which was a cool thing. President Thompson came down and spoke in it and it was incredible. That guy is just power. so much faith, so much love, so much power! He gave some awesome talks over the course of the conference and one the stood out in particular to me was about awaking and arising! How we must awake and arise, what it means to awake and arise.
Also a surprise came to us before the conference. We were singing with the choir when all of the sudden we didn't have enough females to voice their part so they decided to give the missionaries a duet.... eish... so my companion and I sang a duet in district conference which was scary and fun.
Anyways I think thats enough for today! Love you all, stay blessed!