New Years is just a couple days away! In just a few days I no longer say, "I go home next year!" I'll have to start saying, "This year I go home." So weird. I don't know how to feel about it. It seems like time just keeps picking up speed. I have almost no time to brace myself then I will be home. So I have to give it everything I got while I still have time. "Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will." - Jonathan Edwards
We have been doing some studies just focused and dedicated to goal setting and how important that is. Elder M. Russell Ballard has this to say on goals, "I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the technique of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When you learn to master the principle of setting a goal, you will then be able to make a great difference in the results you attain in this life." Boom roasted.
So as we all go into the New Year with resolutions I suggest that we set these goals and make the necessary sacrifices to reach them and grow because we accomplish them. Make daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. "Life by the yard is hard, life by the inch is a cinch." -President Monson. So set small attainable and daily goals that will ultimately help you reach and become what you want to by the end of the week/month/year.
Cool story: While on exchanges with Elder Johnson we were doing some hardcore tracting. We walked up to the "last door" we were going to knock on and said a 10 second prayer asking to be able to get in and teach a lesson. We knocked on the door and this tata let us in. We sat down and started talking to him and were hitting the opening point of the lesson. "Who is God to you?" Right then he started to open up, I followed up with a question asking him if he truly felt that God loves him. He teared up and said yes. He went on to share about how he used to live in Queenstown. He then shared how his wife and three guys attempted to kill him by slowing poisoning him to death. He said the Lord sustained him and he never got sick. He said the Lord helped him runaway and escape from them. It was pretty crazy. Elder Johnson and I were just sitting there dumbfounded. He just asked us to continue on with our lesson.
We talked about what it means when people say, "Jesus died for us." Because most people say that, but have no idea really what that means. So we explained how Christ took the punishment and felt every pain we have ever felt and offers us complete redemption, and all he asks us to do is live as he would have us live. I then asked him if he felt as though he had been forgiven of his sins. He said that he felt that there were some that he hadn't, we then testified that through Christ's atonement and through coming closer to him, he could.
We then went on to share with him the rest of the message of the Restoration. We taught better than just about ANY other time, and I attribute that to the obvious presence of the spirit. We were able to share and apply the lesson directly to him and his life. At the end of testifying and teaching he committed to pray about Joseph Smith being a prophet. Then I felt the prompting to invite him to be baptized. I extended the commitment and he sat thinking about it for a good ten to fifteen seconds then he said, "Yes, I think I will." Elder Johnson and I just looked at each other, pretty much stoked out of our minds, then turned back to him and Elder Johnson invited him to prepare to be baptized on February 1st. He said yes to that as well. The spirit was SO strong. It was an amazing feeling. Anyways we walked out of that FIRST appointment feeling like champions. I definitely fist pumped afterword. Then once we were a ways away we stopped and said a prayer of gratitude to Heavenly Father for blessing us with such a wonderful brother to teach. It was a pretty awesome exchange.
Ohh and also I left a guy speechless the other day. He came up to us and demanded to know what colour we thought God was (he obviously was hoping we would say white so he could then start arguing with us.) He talked about how we are all racist and greedy in america. I just said, "Brother, if you are still concerned about colour, you are behind. Go and repent." Then we just walked away. It felt good to be the bigger man in that situation. I realized then that I actually have grown quite a bit as a person out here on mission. Normally, I would have argued. So that was a nice change of pace.
On another note, I was able to finally go back and visit my greenie area Mdantsane! We visited some of the greatest members ever! I was glad to hear that most of the people that I taught were still strong and faithful in the gospel. I was sad to hear of a few who had fallen away. I had to remember that everyone has their agency, and some people don't truly know what good they have until it's gone, so I pray that one day they will come back into the fold. There is always still time, as long as the Lord of the vineyard stands beckoning.
Also as a zone we decided to go caroling in downtown East London. We all stood singing different Christmas hymns in the city square. People were stopping and taking videos and pictures. We had a few who stood there for a good thirty or so minutes really feeling the spirit. They just couldn't wipe the smiles off of their faces! I was conducting so while people stopped to listen I would go give them pass-along cards then resume conducting. It was a really great idea by the Zone Leaders! I think that a lot of people in the future will see missionaries and talk to them because they will remember seeing us there. So I am just going to send a bunch of pictures of that to you guys!
Christmas was amazing. Thank you family! Tal I am so proud of you. :] And shout-out to Terry, Paul and Brendon, I love you studs!
Well everyone, thank you for the support and love that you have shown me over the past year! It has meant a lot to me to have so many emails and prayers coming my way, even with how long I have been out!
Ndiyakuthanda khakulu. Ndiyiyazi uThixo uya phila. Sala Kakuhle! (I love you so much. I know that God lives. Stay well!)
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne
Here are a few more pictures. That bloody foot one was after I took my sock off and saw all the walking we have been doing has taken a toll on my feet. Nasty right? Then here are a few of us when I visited Mdantsane. The one with a bunch of us in it is with the Apie family who were some of my favorite members, Yonella, our best fellowshipper, is in the picture as well. Then there is a picture of Qhamani and Mama Londie with Matini and I. Love them so much!
Ohh yeahh, a yellowbone is a light complected black person. So people will jokingly call me a yellowbone since I fit right in with xhosas, but I am super white.