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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

It was another great week here in South Africa!

Date:  April 10, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mbangi

We had a lot of conference this week. General conference and then normal church and then zone conference. I was pretty exhausted by the end of it all.

Zone conference was super awesome! We talked about our desires as missionaries and discovering what our inner desires are and should be and how to fulfill them.

I learned something I thought was interesting. Two words were put up. "motivation" "uplifted" we were comparing the two. We kind of came down to this. It's like working out. If your goal is to get a six pack, then after you get the six pack you stop working out. However, if your goal is to be healthy, even when you get the six pack, you continue to work out to stay healthy.  One is short term and the other is more long term. Also, motivation is more temporal while upliftment is more spiritual. In life we sometimes get motivated to become better and do more and then it fades, we really want to get uplifted so that we can maintain that same motivation over an extended period of time. It was a really good discussion over the two words.

Something my companion mentioned was "becoming the real you".  Something that I always talk about is how we are all sons and daughters of God and how that is something quite extraordinary and special. Our Father is the greatest King to ever exist! He is our dad and that's why he loves us. I have talked about this before but I don't care. He is God, he is incapable of doing anything less than perfect. He created us and by divine design we are perfect, for God is unable to do anything but that. The problem is that perfection is deep down in us. Throughout this life we take on corruption, from all around us we see and consume corruption. Nevertheless, their is perfection in each on of us. The question then lies, How do we pull this perfection out of us? Now that is an interesting topic! Well, we always want some grand explanation or demonstration. If someone told us that to bring out the perfection in you and to become that perfected person you must climb the highest mountain and eat of the fruit there on, we would probably try it. The thing is, its much more simple and we can all do it. We just need to focus on the basic. Scripture study, prayerful conversation and relation, and thoughtful church attendance. If we are to do these small and simple things then great things are brought to pass. In turn we begin to bring the perfection out of us. the "real you" begins to shine. I could go on and on but sadly time never seems to be on my side.

I know that we all have perfection placed in us. We don't have to try to imitate someone or something else, just be you, do you and become who you really are! That's what God intends. Now this rarely is achieved here and now but is an eternal pursuit full of trials and learning. As we learn to become the "real you" You begin to see the "real you" in others around you. You begin to see the potential and value of all of Gods children and grow to love them all in their faults, quirks and short comings. 

Be the Real You! find the joy in life, find the presence of God within and around you! live it and love it!

Elder North

Monday, April 3, 2017

Conference week!!!!!

Date:  April 3, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mbangi

Well sort of!  Because of the time difference we can not really watch conference live. for example the Sunday pm session started at 10pm our time and would end at midnight, but we have been able to watch the Saturday session and boy was it grand!!

I loved the very first talk I heard by president Eyring about how "the best technology can never replace revelation" I have noticed this on my mission. We don't have a lot of access to technology like other missions because of safety issues so we do not use ipads or tablets of any kind. 

I have noticed that people these days don't want to study and find answers for themselves. we simply google, yahoo and bing our way through. I think this causes a bit of a problem. When you really search for something by turning page after page. book after book, person after person, looking, searching, discovering and ultimately finding, you actually come to ingrain into you very soul the truths of life you have been searching for. thus The best things always come out from the hard things. We find more our selves as we dig deep and keep digging. We gain an answer and understanding that will never fade a way. We allow the spirit of revelation to fill our minds eye as we seek for the direction and council of the Lord on who we should proceed. We are becoming a lazy generation "smart phones and dumb people" People who don't know how to find answers from God anymore because the alternative is easier, quicker, and mostly reliable. but is that good enough for you? only being mostly reliable. who has ever heard of a company slogan like that?  Choose us, we wont let you down.... most of the time! Have you ever heard a coach say its okay, we gave it 80 percent. NO! almost, and mostly and sometimes is not good enough, at least not for me! I constantly tell people, I may lie, but do you know who will never lie to you? Only God! at the end of the day, He is the truth and the light! If we are looking for truth or light in our life then we should turn to the source of all truth and of all light. 

I also learned something this week while teaching! Its cool when you are asked a question and you know the answer to something you never thought about. 

We were asked this week if you could change the mind of God, it was an interesting question and we wanted to understand more. so we said, why do you ask? Their is a story the the book of Kings in the old Testament of the bible of a man who is told by the prophet that he will soon die. The dying man prays to God that he might live longer, God grants the prayer and extends the life of the man. Thus the question, was the man able to change the mind of God? My answer was no, we can not change Gods mind. God is bound by law though. laws that even govern us. for example. every action has a reaction. one of newtons laws (slightly shorted) 

God wants to bless us, we are his children and He wants to give us all He has. but according to law He can not just give us blessings. we first need to act so that God can then re-act. We learn through the scriptures that to every act their is an affixed punishment or blessing. It is only upon the action of faith in which God can bestow us blessings from on high. He wishes to flood our lives with the showers of heaven but is held back by the lack of acting faith on our part. without us acting God can do no work. (Ether 12:12) We know that Faith is an action word. We can just say we have faith we need to show it (James 2:17

The man did not change Gods mind but simply allowed God the opportunity to give Him blessings He was already prepared and wanting to give. "Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings." (LDS Bible dictionary- Prayer)

To check out conference or more about our church click below.

Wow prayer is important right! just a cool thought to me though that God is bound by law of action and reaction God never punishes unless we act against his will. He is always watching and waiting to pour blessing upon us as we choose to follow Him.

This week we put a women named Thuli on a baptismal day, we are hopeful for her to progress and start coming to church. After we taught the restoration of the gospel she was eager to accept her own copy of the book of Mormon. 

Auspicious was able to come to conference this week which was awesome. We talked about how we would be guided by modern day prophets and apostles. We should prepare ourselves to receive guidance in our lives and get answers the questions. She prepared a list of 10 questions that she wants answered. sadly I am not allowed to see her list and they are questions pertaining to her personal life. She received on answer and I pray she gets more through the coming sessions of conference.

Have a wonderful week, and beautiful Easter!!!

Elder North

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Short letter but lots of pictures

Date:  March 27, 2017
Area:  Bloemfontein, South Africa
Companion:  Elder Mbangi

We had a great visit with an investigator named Auspicious.  She related to us how everything that happened at church last Sunday applied directly to what she was about to go through. At church I gave a talk about how the Book of Mormon had helped me find peace in life's trials. Then in the gospel principle class we spoke about the Holy Ghost and how we can receive answers to prayer. We spoke of the spirits role in our life. In Relief Society they spoke on prayer. That week, Auspicious got a call from her family saying that her brother is sick and because of the medical expenses they will be unable to pay for her school or food any longer. She was told she must find a job. She didn't know how she would be able to do that with her busy class schedule and so late into the semester. She was flustered, upset, and scared. She then remembered church and then started reading the Book of Mormon. She came across 1 Nephi 3:7 which tells us that God gives nothing unto his children unless he provides a way for them to accomplish it. She explained to us that after she read this she was calm. She got a call from her brother asking if she was okay with everything. She could honestly reply, yes, everything is fine, God is in control. She then just went on with faith. Not knowing how she was going to buy food for the month she moved forward. Trusting in the Lords promise. She then received an email the next day from a company she did an internship over a year ago. The email stated that they would like to pay for her tuition and also give her grocery money. She had not had any contact with this company for a year. She had told no one of her failing circumstance. It was a miracle to say the least. After that she really knew that God is in control and that he loves us. He will provide a way, if we just keep our heads up and trust in him, all will work out in the end.

We got to go to a Rugby game.  It was the Free State Cheetas vs the Sharks.

Rethabile was in Kimberley this week so we were unable to teach her but I think she is coming back today and we will get right back into it.

Nothing to crazy has been going on, just living life as a missionary! 

Today for P-day we went and played vollyball with Auspicious and some of her friends it was pretty fun, next week we will play soccer against them. 

Always fun when we get to play soccer, this place has pretty nice turf.

I got letters!!!! from Hailey, Grandma Marry, and Taryn!!! 

Thank you! sure way to make a missionaries day!!!
Elder North

We also got to go to a museum.