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