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!
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 . 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 S .... 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.