Monday, June 12, 2017

Final E-mail

Date:  June 12, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Sithole

Well its been two years and this is my last email home. if ya'll want to get some information you can contact my wonderful momma at 8014490088 she can fill you in on all the details. I would love to see you all at my homecoming address on Sunday, June 18th at 11:00am, as well and get to share the experiences I have had over these past two years.

This week was great. I was very grateful for the priesthood as we were able to give four blessings throughout the course of the week. I have loved being someone who can be called upon when heavens help is needed. I have loved being in the service of my God for these two years and the learning and growth that have come from it. We were able to see three new investigators accept the invitation to baptism as well this week which has made it just grand. I am going to miss SA, it has literally become my home. Hope I am not to culturally awkward when I get home.

Love you all and I am forever thankful for the support that you have given me through these past two years.
Elder North

Friday, June 9, 2017

Another great lesson

Date:  June 5, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Sithole

We had another great lesson with mme violet! We reviewed the restoration and talked more about what "apostasy" means (if you have any questions, please contact your local missionaries for more help ;) ) She continues to read the book of Mormon and is excited to come to church.

This week we were able to have stake conference and it was awesome. The mission President and his wife came down and spoke in both sessions. Whenever President Thompson speaks he invites the spirit and I learn so much! After the conference we had a little zone conference and he taught us more as we discussed the recent visit from Elder Rasband and how we can be 100% missionaries and strictly obedient! It was a really nice meeting and I learned a lot from it.

One thing that I liked from stake conference and I have heard it before but this time it stood out to me was a quote from Alice in wonderland. When Alice comes to a point where the road forks she meets a cat. She asks the cat which path she should take, the cat replies, well that depends on where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, then it does not matter. I just started thinking about how important having a plan and destination really is. If we do not have any plans then our choices become unguided and meaningless. With clear direction and focus, our choice have great impact and can determine if we get to where we want to go. Our ultimate destination should be to return to be with our Father in Heaven. Having that as our goal, every choice we make is influenced. without purpose our choices are irrelevant.

We were able to have a ton of investigators come to the stake conference as well which was amazing! I think we had 7 there!!!!

Elder Benissan and I had the privilege to sit down with the Porters, the senior couple here in Bloem, and talk about our mission and what we have learned and experience over the past two years. It was weird to be talking about my mission in terms of two years. It doesn't feel real at all that I will be home next week. It was a nice meeting though to sit and talk about the blessings of missionary service and the testimonies that have grown from it.

I love you all! stay well!
Elder North

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Almost done

Date:  March 22, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Sithole

Not going to lie, emailing is getting tough haha I am ready to not have to recap my week in an email anymore.
Well after 5 missionaries in the last 7 years I kinda feel the same way!  :)

In all it was a good week though. We got two new investigators this week who we met on campus. We met them while we were walking through our area, we saw two sisters caring some groceries and milk so I asked if we could carry it for them. they allowed us and then we began talking. They eventually asked the question of dreams! Who are you guys? why are you here? It is nice when we get someone to ask us those questions because then they are more interested in listening to our response rather than us just approaching them with an agenda to say who we are. We explained we were missionaries and talked about Jesus Christ for a little bit. unfortunately we met the end our our road and split paths. we gave them a pamphlet to read about the restoration. When we met them this week they had some great questions about the book of Mormon and where it came from, how Joseph smith got the plates and who the Nephite were! It was grand, the only problem was that we were sitting on a park bench the cold south African air. I know, you probably think that sounds weird. cold air in Africa. but let me tell ya, it was probably 17 degrees while we were sitting there!!! okay 17 degrees Celsius but still. it was cold....

Some of the students are going home now, and by the end of the week most will be gone. They are ending school for a month for the winter holiday. It means that our whole teaching pool except for a few people will be gone.... Oh well, just means we will get a lot of time to knock on peoples gates!

We went to visit Mme Violet this week, when we got their her neighbor was also their. She is about 40 yrs old, has three children and one on the way. We spent some time getting to know them while drinking our Herbal tea and bran muffins... it was really nice. We then started answering Mme Violet's friend's questions. We explained who missionaries are, what we do and a brief summery of the restored gospel. The Mme then asked us how people take us, because we are so young and they are much older than us. I turned the question to Mme violet and asked her, how was your perspective of the missionaries changed from two young boys walking the streets to what you see today. She then bore a powerful testimony of missionaries being Heaven sent, selfless and full of service and love. She bore testimony of the book of Mormon, she bore testimony of the restored and true church of Jesus Christ. The awesome part is that she knows all this but has never come to church. because of financial circumstances she has not been able to attend and also she recently had a baby and couldn't go out. She reads the book of Mormon whenever she cant sleep and continues to increase in faith and love for our savior Jesus Christ.

The days keep seeming to fly by, I thought they would slow down on this last stretch but I have been anything but wrong with that assumption. time doesn't care and I am trying to use every bit of it I can while I still have it. being a missionary is the most incredible thing and I love it so much! 

With Love,
Elder North

Don't forget Elder North's homecoming will be on June 18th at 11:00am in our ward, if you have any questions give me a call 801-449-0088, thanks! Laura

Monday, May 22, 2017

Over all it was a pretty good week.

Date:  March 22, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Sithole

We had a few events this week one of which was zone conference. It was good and we talked about how we can increase the spirit of the mission in rescuing the one, the doctrine of Christ and the fundamentals of missionary work.  One of the missionaries giving a teaching segment passed out in the middle of his speech. it was quite the moment, after that the meeting just kind of lost focus.

We also had the amazing opportunity to learn from Elder Rasband of the quorum of the twelve apostles. He was in Durban for a priesthood leadership meeting and was able to spare two hours for the missionaries. Unfortunately I was not able to see him in person because of the distance but we were able to watch via satellite. It was awesome! He gave some great advice as he answered different questions posed by the missionaries in the audience. He taught about how we can be more unified with Christ and how we have given our word that we would do his work. We all have signed up voluntarily and signed an agreement that we will do what He would want. He also spoke about becoming excellent finders, how we need to find more people to teach and find them in every situation.

I got to go on Exchanges to Kimberley, the area where I started my mission. I had this great idea of going to the house of the very first person I taught on my mission, the man never really progressed and I thought how great would it be if we were to try, two years later and he was prepared. Well we went to the door, I am glad I remembered where it was after so long, knocked on the door and his wife answered. we began talking (it was a bit awkward) and they were not interested.... haha oh well, such is mission, it was worth a shot though.

We had a great opportunity to teach one of our investigators named Thlompho, I am positive none of you pronounced that correctly.... its okay) We were planing on talking more about the Book of Mormon, but she didn't read the introduction that we left with her. We began talking when she brought up some questions that she has long had on her mind. Questions about, why bad things happen to good people. What if I do something that I know is wrong but for some reason I just keep doing it? and a few more great questions. We very quickly changed our lesson plan and began to talk and testify to her about Gods plan for us, the gift of agency, the gift of repentance and much more. it was a wonderful experience and we were able to find so much love for her as she sincerely sought for guidance.

Sister Humble is doing great! She has been nothing but power since her baptism and continues to ask amazing questions that come to her mind and also from the book of Mormon. We are currently teaching two of her friends that she has introduced us to and we love seeing them as well. She will be going home to Pretoria soon and I am hopeful that she will be able to go to the temple while she is there. She has become a dear friend of mine whom I will never forget! 

Mission is great, you come across people from all sorts of walks of life. Different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, likes and more. The gospel brings us all together. Who would have though two years ago that some of my favorite people in the entire world would be in South Africa!? It is amazing to feel such love for people as you try your best to serve them as the Savior would. it is amazing to see peoples spirit and life change as they come to
live the teaching of Jesus Christ. It is amazing to be a missionary each day!

Love you all!
Elder North

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mother's Day

Date:  March 17, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Sithole

What a start to the week, so after emailing last week we go out of the email shop and start walking through town towards our car. We reach the place where we park and begin to look around....but our car is no where to be seen. I say we must have parked further down, knowing that this indeed is the spot. We look down and up and again, nothing. We saw some police officers across the road and made our approach to them to inquire about our missing vehicle. We asked if it was towed or possibly stolen. Their answer was less than comforting. They took us to the traffic department but unfortunately it was after 6pm and all have left the building. luckily we were able to check the tracker on the car and find out that had not been turned on since we left it which meant it must have been towed. Early next morning we went to the station to ask about our vehicle. It indeed was towed the municipality use the area that we parked as a way to get money by towing cars and making people pay to get them back. the place is not marked with signs to say no parking and is just behind a parking area which seems to be connected but unfortunately and apparently is not. We were unable to get our car back that day because the senior couple were out of town and we had no means of paying the release fee, so the other Elders picked us up and took us home. We live pretty far from our area but we didn't want to sit in all day so we packed our bags and put on our walking shoes. It took us about 40 minutes to get to the area and then another 20 to get to the appointment we had. we were able to be pretty productive and have a good day before making the 1hr trek back to our flat that night. Just look at the bright side, burning those extra kilograms before I get home :)
we were able to get our car back the following day and things have been great ever since

Nothing too out of the ordinary happened this week, just the same joy that comes every week as you give yourself to the service of the Lord. Being a missionary bring such happiness!!! Our investigators are doing well and boy do I love em! We are hoping that we will have a baptism before the end of the transfer but we will see how thing go, we want to make sure that they are really prepared and firm in their testimony before we take the next step. 

As you all know it was mothers day this past Sunday which is in my top 3 Sundays of the year!!!! especially as a missionary because we got to Skype to our families :) 
He freaked out a little about how tall Zane is now.

Last phone call home!  Can't wait to see him June 16th

Mothers are just something incredible right!? I shared this while skyping home but I will share it with the rest of you now. 

You know how in school when they tell you to write an essay they make you do a rough draft first. Now the rough draft serves as a way to see what your essay will look like, to look for mistakes and to be able to outline your plan. they usually are pretty close to what the essay is meant to become, just lacking some things or having some faults and errors. So just as we make a rough draft before the final product, God does the same. First he created Man, big, bulky, clunky, and rough around the edges. He then saw what he had made and realized we would need some improvement, so he started out on his final product. smoothing out the edges, adding a little here and a little there. He perfected his creation and the product is known as women. I mean just look at women, their love, their patience, their tenderness, their motherly love. and so much more. I mean who can look into a mothers eyes and not see the sparkle of heavens light!? so ya women and especially mothers are grand and just about perfect! I am thankful for Mothers and the Mothers to be!!!!

I hope you all appreciate and love your mothers and motherly figures in your life!

Elder North

If you haven't gotten the word Mookie comes home in June!  His homecoming will be June 18th in our ward at 11:00am.  With a lunch to follow at 12:30pm at our house.

Our church address is: 742 West 14400 South, Bluffdale, Utah 84065
Our home address is:  4111 Red Tail Drive, Riverton, 84065

Thursday, May 4, 2017

It is May!

Date:  May 1, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mbangi

I will be staying in Bleomfontein as my dying area, My son Elder Mbangi will be leaving to go to Kwa Dabeka in KNZ. I will be receiving Elder Sithole. He is one transfer behind me and is from Zimbabwe.

I am entering into my last transfer of my mission, I come home next month which just blows my mind. but lets not focus on that for now :)  (He comes home on June 16th!!!  AHHH we are so excited.  We would love to invite everyone to our ward for his homecoming on the 18th at 11am with a lunch to follow at 12:30)

It was a great week! We had two baptisms!!! Nokuzotha and Rethabile were baptized!!!!!!!!!!!! It was quite the journey for both of them and Satan has been working his best to try and stop them. Through out the trials and struggles, even the recent ones, they have not wavered. Many people would have stopped or quite, but not these two young ladies! they have gone through so much and yet have so much happiness!

Because of transfers I wont be able to email that much today

I love this gospel. I love Jesus Christ! He is my friend and savior. If I could ask you to do just one thing. it would be to read the Book of Mormon and listen to your heart. That's it. One thing to change your life forever. It has forever changed mine and I am so thankful for it!

Elder North

He did send a lot of photos and even a couple of short video clips!
Amazing wildlife all around 

glow-n-the dark volleyball

karaoke with Elder Baumgartner 

Welcome to my City
Zone conference

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What a week. Where do I even begin???

Date:  March 17, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mbangi

So we had some deep stuff happen this week.

First was with Nokozotsa, one of our investigators getting baptized on the 30th. We left her with a copy of "Family a proclamation to the world" and we were going to go over it. We got to her house at 3 o'clock and knocked on her bedroom door. no answer. We tried again.... no answer. We looked through the key hole and saw her in bed. We assumed she was sleeping. This was on Easter day. We came into the room and planned to scare her, you know me and my silly games. Well turns out she was not sleeping but was crying. We had no idea what was going on. She took a few minutes to try and compose herself and left the room. She came back and then proceeded as if everything was normal. We took her hand and asked her how she was and then she lost it all over again. We spent the next 15 minutes in silence, sitting on the bed side just being there for her. She began to tell us what was wrong. She explained how she didn't know what family feels like anymore. The pamphlet was too much for her, both her parents died while she was young and she had she had to take on the role of Mother for her siblings. She was in High school trying to do her best and also acting as a parent. no easy task. It was Easter Day and she was still in Bloem, she didn't go home for the holiday because there wasn't a true home to go to, at least not one with love. She sobbed as she told us the pain she has felt as she couldn't understand why she had to go through this pain. Why God had to take both her parents away, and so much more. 

Its moments like this when you feel completely unqualified. After awhile I couldn't help but smile as my mind was flooded with pictures of the temple. As I remembered many experience while inside and also other experience about eternal family. After listening for a while we were able to gain composure and she proceeded to ask what we had to share. I lit up and said excitedly, this! While pointing to a picture of the Salt Lake Temple. I asked her what she saw. She told us she saw a beautiful building. I went on to say, let me tell you what makes it so beautiful. We began to talk about temple sealing, and baptism for the dead. We talked about how God will restore everything and every opportunity will be had again. I shared from experiences in my life of close ones being lost and how knowing where they are, how they are and how I can be with them again makes it all bearable. The spirit was felt and we were able to realize Gods love for us, even in the darkest moments. We then expressed on how we are on big family and we are never really alone.

We were met with another instance of great turmoil as one young women whom also is studying at the college UFS here told us of some bad news. She has had a cyst on her ovary and has been in the process of removing it. She discovered at her last check up that it had spread and that they would now have to perform a more intensive operation that will no longer allow her to have children. She is in her early 20's and the news was devastating. Again, we felt unqualified and unsure of what to say to a soul weighed down so much. We listened and listened some more. I have come to learn a great way to solve a problem is by listening. As we listen not just to the person present but to the Holy Spirit, our minds begin to light up with insight and direction. We testified again to her and offered a Priesthood blessing. After which we were able to smile and to enjoy the rest of the day. Her outlook remains positive still and we are hopeful for good news tomorrow after her check up.

Wow isn't mission an adventure. I have come to learn as Elder Stevenson of the twelve apostles shared, The spirit is seemingly the only way we can gain comfort and peace in the tragedies of life.

Also, happiness never comes from looking around us but rather by looking up. Look up to our savior, look up to our Father and look to their guidance and love. The world looks to compare, discriminate everyone and thing. True happiness is not found in becoming better than another or having more of something but rather from within. From the peace of the Spirit of the Lord. True happiness is found in the soul and shine forth from the eyes..

I am thankful for the opportunity I have to serve my brothers and sisters here in South Africa. I am thankful for the glimpse into their pre existent spirit and feel the love our Father in Heaven has for them. I am thankful for the learning and experience that my mission continues to give me. No greater call is the call to serve!

Elder North

Date:  March 24, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mbangi

 We are preparing two people for baptism on the 30th! One named Rethabile, she has met with missionaries in the past, just over two years ago but it didn't go anywhere. She grew up around some members and one even brought her to church a few years ago. She saw us in the street about two months ago and stopped us. She asked us to come see her that week! As we have taught her its been as if she has been teaching us. She really studies what we give her and has a great understanding of the gospel. She has been going through a lot of trials lately but through it all she says she has just been happier, more patient, and hopeful since we have started teaching her. She knows its true!

Nokozotsa is our other investigator getting baptized on Sunday. We met her almost three months ago. We stopped her in the road and began sharing our purpose. She said that she was new to Bloem for school and didn't have a church but really wants to go. She promised us she would visit that Sunday.... she didn't.... but we didn't give up. We saw real potential and new she was ready. We called her, it didn't work, called again she was busy. She had soccer. We decided to go and watch her soccer match. She afterwards came to church and has been ever since. She has had an incredible history and a tough one as well. She has risen to every occasion. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and is in 2Nephi. She loves it! We are really excited for her to make the next steps towards entering the celestial Kingdom.

Elder North