Monday, February 24, 2014

Who Needs Social Media?


It's been a wonderful week. Every week when I decide to sit down and write about all that went on during the week I realize that no matter how much I say, I really can't do justice to the experience I am having here in South Africa. So just a rundown on what is going on for me here in Mdantsane. 
The good:
- Asiphe is going to be baptized by me this weekend. Elder Capozzoli is baptizing KC. So two more souls on their way back home. 2/7,000,000,000... On our way!
- Our district is going to have to go to the premier league in Europe after mission. #eurofootball
- At least my companion has his backflip down. 
- I bowled a 97 last week without bumpers. Yes. 
- I shook Elder Maynes of the presidency of the seventies hand this week. 
- A drunk man told me that I am uniting the nations under God on a mission and he wants to unite our two nations by me marrying his daughter. At least that was my understanding of what he said. 
- I no longer have to lie down for a while after eating African food. 
- We booked an appointment to ride elephants next week. TIA. (This is Africa) 
- I am wanting to get a ukulele. I learned our mission anthem on it.
The funny:
- I keep forgetting that I am white. 
- Whenever I see a white lady, I want to say, "Molo Ma." I actually said molo once, which means hello in Xhosa, to a white lady. She just glared and bustled on by. 
- I am an awkward wreck in the presence of someone who's skin is lighter than Talmages in the dead of summer. 
- Last week there was another white guy for the first time of my mission, besides my companion and I, in our sacrament meeting. 
- See a trend?
- Elder Kafusi, a Polynesian Elder, kept hitting himself in the face on purpose with a swing barn door. Don't ask me why it's funny, it just is. 
- I was handed a HUGE heavy package and told it was mine. I opened it up and saw LOADS of candy, ties and beef jerkey. Along with all that I found quite the love letter. Unfortunately, it was as I was reading this letter I realized the package, it's contents and the girl waiting back home all belongs to another elder in the zone...later on I got my package from the family. Thanks Mom!
- We almost got stuck in our suits in the mud with our car, but with fervent prayer and a lot of wasted petrol we made it out. 
- Apparently saying ratchet is basically a swearword here. 
- Potato salad is just as strange here in South Africa. 
- When you are praying in someone's home, the Mama's always grunt when they agree with something in your prayer, kind of hard not to laugh sometimes. 
The bad:
- An Elder tried to start a fight with pushing and slapping in the face, but luckily Elder Capozzoli and I proved to be the better men. 
- All my pants are now ripped somewhere. 
- This is my last week with my mission father Elder Capozzoli. There is no way I will have as good of a companion next transfer as him. 
The spiritual:
- Our lesson with Asiphe, who reminds me of Afton, where she asked me to baptize her. 
- The dinner appointment with the two once-less-active sisters Anita and Busi. They gave us a toast and told us that if we hadn't came and brought them back on the path, they never would have. It was a bit of an emotional moment. 
- John 3:16 & Alma 7:11-13. I stand all amazed. 
- A non member Mama sat in on our lesson with her grandson and read 2 Chronicles 7:14. She said we would help the people do what it says so The Lord will heal this land. That was powerful. 
- 10 investigators on their way to baptism within the next month or so. 
- After "letting go" last week I am a better missionary.
I have been really feeling the blessings of service in my own personal life and in the lives of those we work with. God is helping change their hearts. It is honestly a beautiful sight to behold. I love you all so much. Keep the faith.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Monday, February 17, 2014


It has been an unreal week. I feel like I had a personal breakthrough with myself and the Lord. I decided that I am just going to let go. Obviously since I love people and things back home I think about them/worry about them. I have come to the realization that by doing so I have been holding myself and those I love back from blessings that we all could be receiving by me letting myself go and fall fully into missionary work. So I am letting go.

As I really "let go" of my focus and worries of home I have seen blessings. Just this week we have gained six new investigators. A couple teenage girls, a few guys and a mama who are all excited and willing to listen to our message. We now have six people preparing for baptism and are feeling the Lord pour out his blessings on us. That is just with four days of me focusing on the Lord. How powerful will it be once I have been this way for the next 21 months?
The hardest part of life I think is for us "natural men" to let go of our will and start to align it with God's, but I can promise that once we do so, we will see and feel of blessings we never could imagine. 
The Lord is with us!
I have hardly any time to really write and update on how everything is going this week, but I hope everyone knows that I love them. All is well on this half of the world, and I am not going to rest until all of Mdantsane has the chance to hear the gospel.
I love you all!
Keep the faith.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Monday, February 10, 2014


To whom it may concern,

The past week has been powerful. When you have weeks like this at the end of the day you fall down onto the couch tired, sweaty and drained, and you look over at your companion and say, "We are doing our job, Elder." I can't help but be happy with how things have been. Our once "dead" area is now the most on fire place in the zone. It has come to pass with our efforts, and God putting people in our path who are willing and ready to change. That really is what the gospel is all about, changing who we are and becoming better. God's plan for us was truly to change and turn away from the natural man and become a saint, right? Right. It is an amazing sight to behold when someone you have grown to love changes from the weaknesses they had and become better. Most people will alienate themselves from God to become comfortable IN their sin, but when people alienate themselves from sin to become comfortable with God that is when you see the difference in their faces. It's a factor that goes either way. No unclean thing can dwell in the kingdom of God, and no unclean thing would probably even want to. There are people in Africa who have been waiting for the chance to change and become a heir to Gods kingdom. And they are taking full advantage of what we have to teach. Sounding preachy, I'm sure, but that is what happens when you are teaching the gospel and viewing things from a missionaries perspective on the daily. 

Here's a rundown of our eventful week:

On Monday we basically just woke up, did studies, emailed and then played sports. After sports we went over to Mama Mhini's house. She is basically my mum here in South Africa. She said since our mothers can't watch over us while we are here, she will until we are home safe again. Such a sweet lady. She cooked us food and Elder Mchunu taught a lesson on patience and bearing our afflictions with grace and submitting to The Lord. He taught from the story of alma and his people in Mosiah 24. We bore testimony and spoke about personal experiences that we have had where The Lord has eased the burdens that we had. It was a powerful lesson. We then were driving home and came on a riot in the streets. People were throwing garbage and burning stuff all over the road. We turned around and got out of there fast because people will smash into cars and rob you, so it's not the safest place to be. 

On Tuesday we got up and did the usual morning routine and headed out to the area. We were able to teach Lamla who is Luvuyo's younger brother. He is eighteen and extremely smart. He prefers to read books and be alone, but he is willing to always come to church! We taught him about where the Book of Mormon came from and the power it could have in his life. We spoke about direction it gives and the testimony that it provides of our savior, His gospel and Joseph Smith as well. Lamla said he would read more and pray about it concerning its truthfulness. Luvuyo, when he left, said there is no way his brother would ever investigate the church. One week later we are teaching him. Blessings are already coming from Luvuyo's mission. 

Later on we saw Qhamani. She is extremely bashful and blushes and gets flustered whenever we ask her a question or smile, but she is a very good girl. Really trying to do what is right. We found out her mother is a member! Qhamani surprised us and made us food when we showed up! Her mama is extremely funny and welcoming. She is actually giving us tickets for free lunch at Nando's (a chicken place in east London) on Tuesday! Because we ate we didn't teach like we planned. 

Later on Tuesday night we went over to one of our favorite families house. Vivi (a less active) and her sisters Asiphe and Sibulele (investigators) were all happy to see us. We taught the second half of the plan of salvation. One of their less active friends Simamakele was there so it really was good for all of them to hear! It was an awesome lesson. I really felt like Elder Capozzoli and I were able to get in a flow and teach well together. It was fun to teach then laugh and get to know the family a bit better. After all of that we headed home. 

On Wednesday we had our studies and headed out to the area. We taught Abigail about the Law of Chastity and met her 12 year old son KC. He is one smart kid as well! He has been going to church for a long time and knows a lot. He really helps his mother out when we ask questions. We are trying to help them both be baptized soon. The only issue is Abigail struggles with tea, she drinks "every hour, and all the day." We are praying for her and continually checking up on how she is doing. Later on that day we met up with Anita and Busi who are some less active, recent converts who we re-activated! They are awesome girls and real fun to teach and be around. We just realize that we go there to teach a principal, ask questions about it and then invite them to keep coming to church. They always do now, which is great. Showing people love and letting them know that they ARE missed at church really can make a difference. All day we took Siphenathi Nake, the guy I baptized a couple weeks ago, fellowshipping with us for the first time. He really liked it and was great with testifying. 

On Thursday we were taken out by the senior couple missionaries for Chinese food! I have to say, American Chinese food is SO much better than African Chinese food. I felt kind of sick actually after eating it but its alright. We had one of the cleanest boardings in the zone so they took us out to eat! And once again taught Asiphe and Sibulele. We taught them about the gospel. The five principals of the gospel are Faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We went into depth about each part of that, we continually had them repeat the principals back to us, so I am sure it's not something they will forget soon. Asiphe is thirteen and Sibulele is eight or nine. Later that night we went to visit the Nake family. We were supposed to have Mlondolozi's baptism this weekend, but as we called president and explained his situation, president asked us to postpone the baptism until Mlondolozi is married. The issue with that is Lobola. When we broke the news to him he was pretty bummed, but he said that he will keep coming to church and doing what he knows he should, even if he would never be able to get baptized. He said that he is never going to touch alcohol again and stay clean with the law of chastity. The issue is he has two children and one on the way with his girlfriend, so that's why president wants them married before he is baptized. We talked to him about enduring and how The Lord "giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." Baptism is a commandment and something he wants. As he proves faithful The Lord will provide a way for him to pay the Lobola or work something out to marry his girlfriend and start on the path to making himself and his family celestial beings. It was a powerful lesson, and his faith still blows me away. The moment he learned about drinking, smoking and the law of chastity he quit. No questions asked. His faith could move mountains one day. 

On Friday we met a couple of kids that were Yonella's friends. Yonella is Luvuyo's other younger brother who is a member and comes fellowshipping with us quite often now. We taught those kids (Athule and Qhama) as well as Lamla about our purpose as missionaries and what we teach. They wanted to be taught so we are meeting with them again this week. We took them to soccer as well and Athule, who is fifteen, is a phenomenal player. Our team won six games in a row until we were so tired and lost our seventh game finally. We had three investigators there. Playing soccer, as always, really is great for missionary work. I almost scored a header, so a couple of the members were calling me Robin Van Percy. That was pretty fun. 

On Saturday our whole district was DESTROYED from soccer so we were wanting to be lazy, but duty calls. We had a braai and then headed out to the area. We taught a few lessons to investigators and recent converts then taught our new investigator Ayanda the restoration of the gospel. The spirit was real strong and we had Yonella, Kanya and Lusanda (her member friends) there to support and bear testimony. It was great. I think she will progress really quickly. 

Basically all in all we have a teaching pool of ten investigators. Which is really awesome. The Lord prepares people, we just have to work to find them. 

On Sunday we went to church and had six of our investigators there and almost all of our less actives. We met two three new people at church who were less actives that just decided to go on that Sunday. We set appointments and are going to be teaching them this week. We had a member from the Stake high council come and speak in sacrament. It was an awesome talk on President Thomas S. Monson's talk he gave in the last general conference. I think it was called I will never forsake thee or something. That was the first time, since I've been here, that there has been another white person besides us missionaries in that ward. For the first time in three weeks I actually got to sit and be taught in gospel principals instead of having to teach with elder capozzoli. In the end I had to go talk about the pearl of great price for a while anyways, but that is just what happens when you are a missionary. Siphinathi should be getting the priesthood next week! I am so excited for that! He is such a powerful kid and really is going to be a kingdom builder one day. One of the relief society sisters had us over to eat afterwords. My word, people sure love their chicken here. 

All in all it was a great week. We worked hard and are really getting paid back for our efforts. God is an active part of all our lives, we are all so blessed. I love you all and thank you for all the love and support that you give me! 


Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Monday, February 3, 2014

Elder Thayne's answers to Mom's questions about the mission...‏

So I will start out this letter by answering your (Mom's) questions real quick.
1.  What do you typically eat for breakfast?
Mmm half the time I don't eat breakfast. We don't get given a lot of money to live off of honestly. So I just don't eat a ton. When I do it is cereal, a banana, french toast or just some toast. Occasionally i have oatmeal as well. Poor missionary probs.
2.  How much does a gallon of milk cost?  Or a loaf of bread?
A half gallon of milk I think costs like 13 rand? So like $1.30? Something like that. And then a loaf of bread is probably like 11 rand or something? I can't remember. It's been a while since we bought food. haha IM STARVING! 
3.  How many teens are there in the youth program in your ward/branch?
Mmm I would say we have like twenty or so? Maybe a little less. We have a few more girls than guys here. So that is a problem. The church needs more "kingdom builders." people who have the priesthood. And all the girls are always surrounding us asking when we can come visit them, which doesn't give good appearances. So yeah, that is a problem. There are a lot of less actives though. We are getting them to come back to church. Probably five more youth have started coming so far that we have reactivated. That is not even counting YSA or older! :]
4.  Do people make it to the temple very often from your ward?
Mmm not too often. They try to plan two temple trips a year for the members to be able to go. The temple is just SO far away that it is hard for people to make it out there. They are building one in durban which is only six hours away, so once that is done it'll be a bit easier.
5.  Are you having any foot rot or anything from the moisture?
Mmm no foot rot. Just cuts and stuff all over my feet from playing barefoot. That is about it. We get mold a lot here. you cannot leave anything out. the moisture in the air really makes it come on fast. haha
6.  Where do you get your hair cuts?  How much do they cost?
Well the place we go is actually really nice. They do a great job. It is in front of my mirror in our little bedroom. Haha i do the cutting and my companion just cleans it up a bit. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. Haha I basically cut the sides and let the top grow until I cut it again. I cut it WAY short but its already shaggy again. I think I need to buy clippers though. Ours are gone.
7.  How are you doing your personal studying, by topic, or reading straight through, or while taking notes?
At the moment I am just reading straight through the book of mormon. I am taking pauls advice. He said go through the scriptures, dont speed through it, but keep up a good pace. Mark up your scriptures as you go and learn the stories. Then the second and third time through really take it slow and LEARN the doctrine. So I am trying to do that at the moment. I just got a PMG (Preach My Gospel Manual) again because mine got lost at the beginning of coming out here, so that is nice to study too.
8.  What is the Relief Society president like?  How many sisters approximately in the Relief Society?
I would say we have like 30 relief society members. Maybe a bit more. The president really is a sweet wonderful lady. She fed us actually just a couple weeks ago. Very nice and thoughtful. She talked to us about the work we are doing and things like that. I don't know her too well. There is one mama here that I know pretty well. Her name is Mama Mhini. She is AWSOME! We eat at her house a lot. She feeds us and is going to be giving me a Xhosa name soon actually. Always smiling and always happy, I talk about her in the voice note I sent you guys. her husband isn't active, but she stays strong. :]
9.  Do you get the church's publication the Ensign magazine down there?
We don't have the Ensign, but we do get the Liahona (world wide publication)! So that is basically the same thing. We have the twice a year General Conference report so that is a nice one to study. I am still saving to get an ipod because it'd be really good for me to actually HEAR them speak.  I read so much it would be nice to be spoken to. As a missionary I am more excited than EVER to watch general conference. :] It is coming up in just a couple months! I honestly am just stoked. For missionaries it is better than any super bowl.
10.  What is the food you miss most?
I miss good cereal. the cereal here is garbage. Haha just like in Mexico. I miss good home cooked meals. Luckily I get that at DA's (dinner appointments with the members). But I would love to just have some of the white chicken chili soup or something of that sort. Maybe just a nice Subway? I am not sure. I just miss food.
11.  Do you ever just walk in silence?  How do you get some "alone" time?
Silence? I mean, we drive in silence on occasion. But Elder Cap and I are real good friends now so we generally are laughing and talking about experiences or investigators or stories from back home. Alone time really just consists of when my companion is in the bathroom or if i am on the toilet, or if one of us is laying on the bed doing something while the other is at the desks. That is about it.
12.  Are you going to have any mission conferences soon?  How often do you meet with the president and APs (Assistants to the President)? 
We are having someone from the seventy (leaders in the church organization) come speak to us at the end of this month I think. So that is cool! The AP's I will actually see today! They are coming to go on splits with the greenies (new missionaries) and their trainers (older missionaries doing the training of the new ones). I wont be able to go with them though this time which is a bummer. Elder Dale and Elder Olsen are the two guys. I love them both. They are great missionaries. Hilarious guys. 
Roxanne:  Just another thought from the voice message he sent us with his digital recorder...this week he is "Going Moses."  I guess that's missionary talk for being strictly obedient.  He wont lay in bed one minute longer than when the alarm goes off, will stand behind the car to "back up" his companion as he backs the car out of a parking spot, etc.  He was talking and then said "Oh my crap!  Okay, I heard this noise and then this big lizard just ran away from me.  It scared the crap out of me!"  Lots of cockroaches and spiders on his toothbrush!
Lastly, he got permission to be on the phone when Talmage opens his mission call in a couple of weeks!  Such fun!
Thanks everyone for your prayers and support!