Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Peace and Joy come through the gospel

Date:  March 20, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mbangi

The gospel really does help us to just feel at peace with everything we go through in this life. Life is not easy.  At times you feel the world falling down on you. A story that I share often with people here as to how I gained a testimony is this:

One day while I was 16 I was just sad, lonely and a bit depressed. I felt like everything was on top of me and the weight of it all was to much, I felt as if I was beginning to lose my breath as the world crushed down upon me. I remember clearly as I began to cry. I didn't want any of my siblings or my parents to see me cry so I went outside. I sat against the wall of my house and just bawled. I couldn't stop. Life was just too much.... I decided to call my best friend. I just needed someone to talk to. Someone to listen, someone to be there. As we began talking on the phone, my friend asked me a question. She said, when was the last time you read your scriptures. I replied that I did not even know the last time I had opened them. She calmly and sweetly told me to read them, then call her back afterwards. I was not happy with that answer, I wanted immediate comfort. I wanted everything to just go away. I didn't want to read a book! I did it anyways. I sat for a few more minutes to wipe the tears away, then I went to my room, grabbed my scriptures and went back outside to sit against the wall. I opened randomly and began to read. As I read, line after line, page after page. My tears vanished and I began to smile. I felt the pressing, weight that had been so forceful upon my shoulders, lift and vanish. I felt happy, I felt assurance. I felt peace. I now know that I felt the spirit. Somehow that ol'book did it, and it keeps doing it.  Not just for me but for all who sincerely seek council comfort and love from God.  (Note from mom, it is here I could insert a picture I snapped of him sleeping during family scripture study, but I won't because of love this story and I do believe we really listen when we are ready)

I was talking to Emilee Skolmoski, and shared this story with her and thought it would be nice to share with all of you :)

I gave a talk in church this week about sharing the gospel. For me there are many reason why I share the gospel. No not just because I am a missionary.  Seriously why did I give up the past 20 months of my life to share the teachings and love of Jesus. 

Well really it's simple. Love. That's it, that's all there is and all there ever was to it. We all need love, we all need validation. For me it comes from the gospel, the knowledge that I have self worth because of a divine birth right. I am a son of God. You are also a son or daughter of the most high God! He will validate you, He will love you. 

We turn every which way in this life looking for comfort and guidance. We search high and low, far and wide and seem to come up with all sorts of directions. They take us many diverse ways and sadly we never end up making it very far. Our directions always seem to end right when we meet another fork in the road of this path we call life. We have though, in our hands directions that will lead us safely to warmth, love, joy, and peace. Directions that will keep you on the path of comfort, and hope. It's called the scriptures, the love of God, or the gospel. 

I am a people person, I just like being around lots of people. I tend to try to make them smile and laugh, at times to my own embarrassment and humiliation. I have been known at times as the stupid, crazy and silly one. I do this on purpose though. I want to see people laugh and smile. Sometime the only way I know how to do that is by making a fool out of myself. At the end of the day it is still worth it for me because someone smiled. It is for this same reason that I share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is what makes me smile, it is what makes me happy and it is my only source of hope in this ever darkening world. I love the people around me I am compelled to share this with them. 

I have the antidote to cure hatred, sadness, racism, envy, anger, and guilt! its Jesus! So simple, it's beautiful! What kind of person would I be to just keep that to myself! Anyways I feel like I am beginning to ramble so I'll just stop with this, I know that God love you. At the end of the day, with all the people I come in contact with I just hope that they can feel that I love them. That I genuinely care about their feelings and hopes. I think I care because I know we are all Gods children, brothers and sisters, all of us! I want my big heavenly family to reunite on the other side I hope that people can catch a glimpse of Gods love and light through me. I pray to the kind of person capable of such.

I am so thankful for the examples in my life of pure love and Christ-like desire such as my mom who would be there for me at the end of a long day of school with a smoothie in hand, just wanting to hear how my day was. Or Hailey with her never ending patience and encouragement, her incredible example of faith, dedication, devotion and love. Tina Skolmoski for her time in the living room, talking for at times hours, about the extraordinary events to the mundane. My Father with his work ethic and wisdom of seemingly everything. My big sis Amber with her constant invitation to be better and love the life we have, and so many more wonderful people that God has place in my life.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!!!

Here is a poem that I heard a long time ago and was shared with me recently


I had been in that hole for a very long time
In the dark and the damp, in the cold and the slime.
The shaft was above me; I could see it quite clear
But there's no way I ever could reach it from here.
Nor could I remember the world way up there
So I lost all my hope and gave in to despair.
I knew nothing but darkness, the floor, and the walls
Then off in the distance I heard someone call:
"Get up! Get ready! There's nothing the matter.
Take rocks and old sticks and build up a fine ladder."

This had never occurred to me-- had not crossed my mind.
But I started to stack all the stones I could find.
When I ran out of stones, then old sticks were my goal,
For one way or another I'd get out of that hole.
So I soon had a ladder that was sturdy and tall
And I thought, "I'll soon leave this place once and for all."
I climbed up my ladder. It was no easy chore,
For from lifting those boulders, my shoulders were sore.
I climbed on up the ladder, but soon had to stop
For my ladder stopped short-- some ten feet from the top.

I climbed back down my ladder and started to cry
I'd done all I could do. I gave my best try.
And in spite of my work, in this hole I must die.
And all I could do was to sit and think, "Why?"
Was my ladder too short? Or my hole much too deep
Then from way upon high came a voice, "Do not weep."
And then faith, hope, and love entered into my chest
As the voice said to me that I'd done my best.

He said, "You've worked very hard, and your labor's been rough,
But the ladder you've built is at last tall enough.
Do not despair. You have reason to hope.
Just climb up your ladder; I'll throw down my rope."
I climbed up the ladder, then climbed up the cord.
When I got to the top, there stood the Lord.
I couldn't be happier; my struggle was done.
I blinked in the brightness that came from the Son.

I fell to the ground, His feet did I kiss
I cried, "What can I do to repay thee for this?"
Then He looked all about Him. There were holes in the ground
They had people inside, and were seen all around
There were thousands of holes that were damp, dark, and deep
The the Lord turned to me and He said, "Feed my sheep."

Then He went on His way to help other lost souls,
And I got right to work, calling down to the holes:
"Get up! Get ready! There's nothing the matter.
Take rocks and old sticks and build up a fine ladder."

It now was my turn to spread the good word.
The most glorious message that man ever heard.
That there's one who is willing to save one and all
And we've got to be ready when He gives the call.
He'll pull us all out of the hole that we're in
And save all our souls from death and from sin.
So do not lose faith; there is reason to hope
Just build up your ladder; He'll throw down His rope.

Love Elder North
(He said sorry no pictures this week because the internet is really slow)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Great Week

Date:  March 13, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mbangi

So we taught a new Investigator named Auspicious this week. It was such a cool lesson. So we were busy talking about prophets and how God had called prophets through out time such as Noah and Moses. How God used these prophet to tell the people what God wanted. I made the example by having her reach out her hand in a fist. I told her that her fist is us, people on the world. Then I held out a pen. I said that it was the prophet. Then I put my other hand in a fist saying it would represent God. God speaks to the the prophet, so I grab the pen, and the prophet speaks to us. So she grabs the other end. I then asked her if she had ever seen God. She said no, so I told her to close her eyes. I then said that we could follow God if we hold on to the prophet. As I moved my hand (resembling God) hers followed because we were connected by the pen (prophet) then I took away the pen (prophet) and asked her to close her eyes and follow God (my Hand) obviously she could not do so. She then started clapping! Exclaiming that it just makes so much sense. She became so excited as she learned about the importance and calling of prophets. it was cool! It doesn't all end there though. As we ended the lessons we opened the Book of Mormon to its introduction page and started talking about the book. She then asked where she could get one. Our response was that the one in her hand was hers to keep. She didn't believe us at first but after a short confirmation that it indeed is hers she then asked how much it coast. We let her know it was free and she just couldn't believe it! She told us that Christmas had come early! We then talked about how important the Book of Mormon is and that if the book is true then God does have prophets today, even a church! That the message that we share is indeed true!

We also met with Rethabile this week who was at church last week. We had some great lessons with her. I have never met someone with such a clear understanding of the restoration from reading the pamphlet we give. She knew everything! There literally was nothing more we could teach her on the subject, It was so cool! she is awesome. Both Auspicious and Rethabile are scheduled for baptism next month. We will see how things go.

It was a great week over all. Finding new people who are prepared makes staying motivated a lot easier. Mission is a blast and there is so much to do and experience. I really do get to meet some of the best people in the entire world!!! South Africa is too cool!!!!

Elder North

Thursday, March 9, 2017

What a great week!

Date:  March 6, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mbangi

We had several great lessons this week but the one that still really stands out to me was an experience that we had with a young women named Mulondo. She is Vender and from Limpopo. (Limpopo (UK: /lɪmˈpəʊpəʊ/) is the northernmost province of South Africa.) We have been meeting with her for awhile but it's been a process to really teach, there have  been questions, or she has been sick or just rescheduling so we finally were able to string together a few good visits and we invited her to be baptized. We were not sure how she was going to take the invitation because she attends church with her friend who constantly invites her and we know she dosn't want to leave her friend but she accepted! She replied with "That is why I was asking about baptism". We then invited her to come to church and she actually came! Wow it was grand. (Hey he sounds like Amber saying Grand!) We still have a lot of ground to cover but she has the desire and that is what makes all the difference. We are going to swing by her place today to wish a happy birthday to her and her friend we also teach. She turned 21 last week and her friend Thsaman turns 20 today. They are super cool girls though and we enjoy teaching them
GREAT message!

Another great event of the week happened while we were street contacting near the university. We met a lady named Rethabile, when we stopped her she told us she was from Kimberley. (I started my mission there) So off the bat we began talking about Kimberley and then she asked if I knew this guy. I said yes I do! How do you know him? She told us that she has visited church in Kimberley before and is good friends with this guy. She also knew a few other people that I knew there so that was cool. She even used to visit with the missionaries, but this was two years ago. She told us that she started a church search way back then but got side tracked with school and life, but that she is still looking for a church to call hers. We saw her this week and taught about prayer and then invited her to church the following day. She came as well!!!! That never happens, two new investigators coming to church in the same week! So needless to say it was a great week. It was actually really funny how we met with her this week. We had written down on Saturday that we were seeing Rethabile. We met another Rethabile this week and we were supposed to see the other one. We didn't realize it because we called the first one on our list and asked if she was home. She said sure come over and everything just worked out perfect. The Lord is in control haha I think it was just right for us to come on that day to help answer her questions.

We have made some plans to get referrals and we are going to start giving Book of Mormon's to people at church asking them to hand them out to friends or family. We are hoping this way we will get to start teaching part member families as well. Unfortunately, we were unable to get three member referrals this week but we did get half of one. A members cousin who came to church said that she would not mind meeting with us, but they say that this girl is a bit unpredictable so we are still trying to set up a time to visit at the members home if possible.

Lets see what else........ Well Elder Mbangi is great, its like he has been on mission for a long time. I really don't have to train him, He knows his stuff so that makes it a lot less stressful on my side. He loves laughing as well. 

One of the most important things I think in missionary work is love. Of course you need to have a love for the savior and want to serve Him but also you need a love for the people you are teaching. I really love the people we sit with. I love South Africa. The cultures and the diversity are just amazing. In this area I meet, Sothos, seTswannas, Afrikans, Zulus, Xhosa, Shonas, Indabeles, Vender, Tsongan, Swati's, Spede's and its awesome even if I don't understand any of the languages they speak haha.

If the people I meet with gain all but one thing I hope its that they feel the love I have for them. I hope they feel it and that sparks something. I want them to know that I am not here for myself or for my Church but for my Savior and for them. I wake up every day and talk to people all day because I love them, because I love them I have to share what makes me happy. And because I love them I pray for them, because I love them I stress way too much haha but really its just because of love. They call a mission the labor of Love and its so true, its hard but you are always willing to sacrifice for those you love. It is out of love that I leave the ones I love at home spend all my time with people in a foreign land over 16 thousand kilometers (Ahh he doesn't use miles anymore, he has made it his home there) away from home.

Its really hitting me now that I have less then 100 days out here. Less then 100 days to give everything I got. To serve, To love.  These 100 days are going to be the best 100 days of my life!!!!

Love you all so bad!!! 
Elder North

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Book of Mormon is True

My son Elder Mbangi and I
Date:  February 27, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mbangi

We had zone conference and interviews this week which is always fantastic. Any time that we get to spend with the mission president always leaves me motivated and encouraged. He is such an inspired dude! Our zone conference was centered on teaching the Saviors way and we learned a lot. I really learned about active listening and how to better understand the questions people are asking by putting it their emotions. I keep thinking though of something president once said in MLC "You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason" haha so true, a lot of us could be better off if we did twice as much listening and understanding as we did talking. 

We finally got our new schedule change that every missionary has been talking about. Really nothing has changed though except we do some planing in the morning instead of night but we still go to bed at the same time, wake up same time and all of that. so not much really changed. but its good.
This is my group!  20 months out and 2 more transfers

We had an awesome lesson this week with three wonderful sisters we have been teaching for the past couple weeks. They haven't really started progressing a ton but they do keep their commitments and read what we leave them with. They have just been struggling accepting the book of Mormon and gaining a testimony. We spent a good hour testifying of the love the Jesus has for us and His sacrifice that He made for us. We testified of the Love of God and His plan. Eventually as we stumbled through the lesson we invited one sister to close with a prayer and ask God here and now if the Book of Mormon is true. She prayed and pleaded that we would feel of the spirit to know if it is true. By the end of the prayer we all said amen and sat in silence. time went buy as we all just listened. I turned to the one next to me and said how do you feel. "happy, and I don't know why" she said, I looked across to the other and asked the same question "I just cant stop smiling" she explained and then to the last she simply said "the spirit is here" We all could feel that peace and joy that comes from God. We could feel it and it was strong!!! 
Elder Adlard's birthday

That was the highlight of the week! ah mission is good

I love you all! thank you for your support,

Elder North
Selfie with my mission mom