Monday, March 31, 2014

Mlondolozi means Guardian

Moloweni Ubuntu! (Hi people)
Another week down. I swear time just keeps picking up speed. I want to come home eventually, but I feel like I am already running out of time! I've been out coming up on five months! Time flies when you're on the errand of angels. 
Let's look at some of the highlights of the past week. 
1) 9 people were baptized on Saturday. Astandile, Qhamani, Athule, Sibulele, Ayanda, Asi, Isi, Noseviwe, and Conale. The baptism was so long, but it was so awesome! I'll attach a picture of everyone. It was a sight to behold. I'm telling you, God has prepared so many here in Mdantsane. Then confirmations the next day took even longer. 9 people getting confirmed before the sacrament even was given out. There was only time for ten minutes of testimony meeting! 
2) Elder Oldroyd now stalls the car only once a day if at all. I'm so proud. 
3) I fought off an army of cockroaches with only a shoe, doom-spray and a companion on my side. We easily killed fifteen or more in about five minutes. 
4) Home account saved me this week. We had been surviving off of pap (which is kind of like mashed potatoes, but different) and gravy for the past five days. Then I desperation I checked to see if I had any money in the home account. Thankfully there was some, so we were able to eat something different for Oldroyd's birthday. Thank you Dad and Mum. 
5) We have to fill up our tire twice a day because there is a slow puncture in it. Thanks for borrowing the car and bringing it back in tip top shape Zone Leaders! Just kidding, but seriously though. 
6) Mama Mhini has now brought Tata Mhini to church two weeks in a row. The guy hasn't come to church two weeks in a row for over ten years. It's a miracle. 
7) I went to my first prayer meeting which is basically one of the events at a funeral here in SA. Thankfully I wasn't asked to speak. I don't even know who died... Generally they ask missionaries to speak, but we dodged that this time, I guess. A lady while we were trying to sing hymns kept yelling/singing different words over what we were singing. We were singing "I need thee every hour" and the entire time this mama kept "singing" phrases like, "Ohh touch me now Jesus" and things of that nature. It was entertaining, to say the least. 
8) My once dislocated thumb is now at 77% functioning capacity. 
9) We have over 40 people we are needing to meet with every week. Basically we need help. Mum and Dad, pack your suitcases and get out here. Friends, grab another friend and hop on a flight. Tal, snag Terry and come help me save some souls. I swear, we need all the help we can get out here. THERE IS SO MUCH WORK! 
10) I played rugby for the first time of my life while actually knowing what was going on. The first time I truly played rugby was at BYU with the rugby team at practice. I got slaughtered both times, it didn't matter whether I knew what was going on or not. 
11) I still constantly forget I am white till I reach out and shake someone else's hand. White on black... Ohh yeahh, I'm a Mlungu. 
12) Everyone here is scared of dogs. People don't really take care of their dogs so they are covered in fleas and scratch their ears so much they are ripped off. It's pretty sad to see. They all just want love. People are too scared to walk towards any mutts here. So I usually have to pave the way. 
13) My ties are all getting ripped and stained, my shoes are getting worn down, most of my pants are ripped somewhere and my scriptures are looking extremely used and abused... I feel like a missionary. 
14) We play soccer every morning at six. It really helps me to have motivation to get up and going every morning, and it helps me get better at this heavenly game. Speaking of which, I need cleats. 
15) Elder Oldroyd is now 21. We got given a chocolate cake by the senior couple to celebrate. It tasted so... American. I live for that. 
16) Luvuyo (KC) passed the sacrament! He was given the priesthood and is now killing it as a deacon. It's a big deal because I just baptized him like three weeks ago. It's fun to see how faithful he is to the gospel and how hard he works to do what is right. He comes fellow shipping with us and sits in the back and reads scriptures for seminary while we drive between appointments. 
17) I have nothing to really complain about. 
So there are some STELLAR highlights from this past week. I feel bad because I can only include like 10% of what is really happening in my emails, I just never have enough time to write it all down! Know that I am working hard and I really appreciate all the love and support coming my way. The letters, emails, prayers, packages and thoughts really make such a difference to me. I can feel it. 
I once again have worked on applying Omni 1:26 to my life and more specifically, to my work as a missionary. It talks about offering our whole souls as an offering to him. As always, I still hold myself back a bit at times, so I am working to continually align my will with Gods and let go of my other desires or focuses. The blessings have come and continue coming towards me as I strive to do this. I know that if we all apply Omni 1:26 into our lives then we can find greater happiness and qualify for even more of the Lords blessings. God wants to bless us, disobedience/selfishness are the only things that hold Him back from blessing us. So let's let go of what we want for ourselves and take hold of what God has in store for us.
I love you all, thank you for the love. I can feel it.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Monday, March 24, 2014

Another day another... Rand.‏

This week has been quite wonderful. We are preparing Qhamani, Ayanda, Athule and Sibulele to be baptized on the 29th of March. So this weekend! They are all so ready and so willing to make and keep the covenants (promises) that they will make at baptism. The final question in the baptismal interview is: "When you are baptized, you covenant with God that you are willing to take upon yourself the name of Christ and keep his commandments throughout your life. Are you ready to make this covenant and strive to be faithful to it?"
When preparing these four my companion and I spoke to them about how it truly is a serious thing. At the last day, they will be held accountable for what they know and what they did. Baptism is a promise, and if they want the blessings and promises that The Lord makes, then they need to live a righteous life and live up to their promises to him as well. I think I will just give some highlights about this past week:
The Good: -We found three new investigators this week. Lindiwe, Nomvuyo and Siabulela (Derrick). Derrick showed up at church yesterday in a suit looking all classy and everything. So I assumed he was a less active member or something who just came to church again. As I started speaking to him though I realized I was a bit off base with that idea. He told me that he had just gotten out of prison that Saturday. He had been in prison for the past nine years.  And he said that he wants to make changes in his life and when he came here he felt at home so he is here to stay.... Wow. We are visiting him to teach him this week. Awesome right?-We prepared Qhamani, Ayanda, Athule and Sibulele for baptism. They all passed their interviews and are being baptized this weekend! I am baptizing Qhamani and Ayanda! I am super excited for that! They are both incredibly faithful and excited for baptism. Every time we mention "march 29th" or "baptism" they get THE biggest smiles on their faces. It's the sweetest thing to behold. -Our district will have baptized 13 people just in march. "The field is white, already to harvest..." -My companion and I went and chilled with Elder Taylor, our three week old Zone Leader. Literally one of the coolest and best missionaries I have met on mission. Aside from my comp.
The Bad:-We weren't able to get Mama Somerset to church this week. We felt pretty bad about it. -I was sick on Friday and couldn't play soccer. -That's about it. 
The Funny:-We met probably the most high person I have ever met. We were trying to set a time we could visit with him and his brother. The kid couldn't even say what his name was and couldn't write down his info. He was baked, and saying the most random stuff. We couldn't stop laughing about it afterwords. -I was given a free ice cream cone for "saving souls all day erryday."-My companion and I can play off of each other in the most brilliant way. It's just funny, okay?
The Spiritual:-Every single day.-My nightly prayers. Definitely heartfelt as I think about my friends and family back home as well as the amazing people I have met here.-Our lesson with Mandla Mhini. We taught about the tree of life in Lehi's vision. 1 nephi 8 is really a powerful chapter that we all can apply to our lives and learn from.
Basically, I am one happy missionary. Life in South Africa is different, but it is super fulfilling. I love it.
CTR. Keep the faith. Endure well.
Love,Elder Thayne

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 2/6 with Oldroyd.‏

It may seem like I am counting down till I can be rid of my companion but it is actually quite opposite. I love my companion. We are really doing some great things here in Mdantsane, and we are feeling the windows of heaven being opened and blessings being poured out on us. It seriously feels like we need to hop in an ark or something, there are so many blessings raining down. 
First off, my companion is just like Elder Brendon Nielson, so as you could guess I love the guy. We are always laughing our heads off and singing. Honestly being a missionary is so hard and so tiring emotionally, but when you and your companion and balance that out with freestyle raps, jokes, songs and good conversation then you really have the time of your life. I am a fan of Elder Nathan Oldroyd. 
On P-Day I convinced Elder Oldroyd to get an iPod. It was a decision he had been fighting with for the past 18 months and I came along and talked him into it. I'm not sure if I feel bad for it or what, but he seems happy with it so that's good. 
P-Day was an all around long day because we were walking around east London without a car, which is frustrating. We let the zone leaders borrow our car and they brought it back all busted up. The bumper was hanging in the front, the trunk couldn't open and the electronic unlock and lock buttons stopped working. So our car was in the shop all day. Aside from emailing and the purchase of an iPod by my companion, it was a pretty uneventful day. 
On Tuesday we basically worked our rear ends off. We raced to the area because we were real excited to get working. We went straight to Lamla's house and taught him about the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a powerful lesson. Because my companion and I had no idea what we were going to teach, but it went right in with the gospel. We really played off each other well. At least, I thought we had, but I'm new out here so I don't know. Anyways, we read through 2 Nephi 31 with him and bore testimony. It was wonderful. My companion is a great teacher. The thing about him is its not like he is ridiculously elegant or anything, but his gift is the power of sincerity. You can tell he truly means what he is teaching, and he can back it up with scriptures and examples as well. So he is a stellar missionary. He loves people, and that makes a difference. I really like that about him. He isn't afraid to show that sincerity. 
After the lesson with Lamla we took Yonella and Athule fellow shipping with us. We decided to follow up on a member referral. It took 37 years to find the house, but all is well in Mdantasane, we found Her. She invited us in. We realized after a second that she was blind. The yard and inside was pretty run down.. Service opportunity! Scheduled for saturday actually.. Anyways, we kept talking to mama and she told us after a while that she missed the missionaries coming over there and praying for her. She said satan has a hold of her house or something. Basically she missed the missionaries coming over. Right when she was telling us that her Grandson walked in and said hi. Later on we came to find that he had also been taught by the missionaries. We found out his name was Kevin and he is seventeen. He wants to come play soccer with us and be taught a lesson right before we go play! So that was a good thing. Then Mama was telling me that she wanted to get baptized and that she wants her whole family baptized. She is more golden than C3-PO on a good day. Just a few more people to teach. We are pretty overwhelmed with all the work to do, but it is quite the problem to have. Can't complain.
Then we headed over to Ayandas and met some of her friends that want to be taught again and we taught Ayanda about the gospel of Jesus Christ. My companion took the lesson with a new twist and tried having her teach us about it. The gospel is to have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and endure to the end. So we had her teach as we asked questions and expounded. It was really cool actually! Elder Oldroyd pointed out how Ayanda's eyes would light up when we spoke about her baptism. She is so excited and so happy about it. I am very impressed by her faithfulness and excitement. We asked about if she has ever felt the spirit. She said when she was at school some kids started teasing her saying she was going to this weird Mormon church. She bore her testimony to them that it is a true and great church. She told us that she felt the spirit really supporting her and helping her as she stood up for that. The Holy Ghost will truly always be with us. She is so excited to feel that constant companionship after she is baptized. 
We dropped off the fellowshippers and went to meet with Tata Mhini. This was an EXTRA special and important appointment. Tata hasn't come to church for a good 10-15 years. His wife is the Mama who is my Mom away from home. She calls me her son. Anyways, Elder Capozzoli and I had been trying to meet Tata Mhini for the past three months and Oldroyd shows up and we meet him on Sunday at his house and set an appointment. Devine intervention, no doubt. 
For the lesson we sat down and started BRT (building relationships of trust). Which of course, involved talking some soccer. Afterwords we began with a prayer... Before even walking into the appointment we prayed HARD that we would be guided. We had no idea what to say to Tata, but we knew it needed to be what he was needing.. Whatever that was. Anyways, we started talking and he opened up to us that going back to church was something that had been on his mind for a while. We bore testimony and talked to him of his responsibility to come back and once again guide his family in the gospel. My companion talked about how faith is like a seed, so naturally, I turned to Alma 32 and had him read verses 27 & 28. We kept talking and I challenged him to start doing a few things. #1 I invited him to read his scriptures. #2 I challenged him to pray morning and night personally. #3 (this was divinely inspired) I challenged him to pray with his family once a day. #4 I invited him to come to church on Sunday. He declined the last challenge, but accepted the rest. My companion started to talk about how change works. I picked it up and said, "the change starts now, act now and become who God needs, and who your family needs. Come to church this Sunday." I am pretty bold in my challenges. He then said, "guys, don't push it." So yeahh, we let it go, but we are stoked about it. This man was a pioneer in the church here in Mdantsane when it was first starting. The church needs this man back and leading. His first name is Mandla, which means "power" in Xhosa. And he definitely has power. God needs him back on His side. Mandla Mhini needs everyone's prayers if he is going to be able to change and come back. Please pray for him. 
Tuesday night my comp and I sat down and just sat there smiling. We are on the errand of angels, and what an honor it is. It was one of the best days of my mission so far. We worked extremely hard all day long, and we were completely guided by the spirit as we did so. The Holy Ghost was definitely the senior companion that day. 
On Wednesday my companion and I cleaned up the flat. It had to happen. We started smelling some weird things, and I swear this soup started moving on its own. After a good hour the entire place was sparkling. It's a wonderful feeling living in a clean space. I miss you always making that happen Mom! 
Then our Zone leaders asked us for our goals for the next three months for baptisms. My companion and I have VERY high expectations for the area, and after mapping it out and looking at our teaching pool, I know we can make it happen. We set goals for 7 baptisms in March, 10 baptisms in April and 12 baptisms in May. I KNOW we can do it. I will most likely only be here till the middle of April, but I am going to do everything I can for Oldroyd to reach that goal. I am so excited. It is going to take a TON of work and a lot of prayers, but I feel really good about it. That is how much the work is exploding here. No one thinks that we can do it, but I know we can. I was reading in Alma 37 today and really liked in the second half of the chapter how it talks about by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. I know that if my companion and I do the small things (study, pray, obey the rules, love who we teach and qualify for the spirit) then we can bring these great things (29 baptisms in 3 months) to pass. Only God will make that happen. 
We got to the area and picked up some new fellowshippers. Okulhle, Yonga and Tata Sakati. Now, Tata Sakati is the guy who just a few weeks ago had been less active for YEARS and was pretty down in the pits. Elder Capozzoli and I went there with our Ward Mission Leader and talked to him and bore testimony. Anyways, he turned everything around and is now trying to bring others back. He took us to several houses of less active priesthood holders. Then after visiting so many of them, most said they would come to church on Sunday, he took us to his ex wife's house where she was living with her new guy. He wanted us to go there and encourage her to come back to church, even after all the stuff she had put him through. He still wanted her and his children to have Christ at the center of their lives. What an amazing and powerful man. The Mdantsane 2nd ward is blessed to have him back. It's amazing to see that right when he stopped focusing on his own problems and struggles and focused on others and bringing them to Christ, then he was able to be himself and find happiness in the midst of all his hardship. Christ truly is the source for peace in this life, and hope for our life to come. 
After an awesome day of visiting and meeting less actives, as well as a few people who approached us and asked to be taught, we met with Asiphe Thwani and talked to her and her younger sister Sibulele who is preparing for baptism. Asiphe told me she wants me to baptize her every week because of how she felt and how happy she was when I baptized her on the eighth. She is so sweet. Reminds me SO much of Afton, I love her lots. Afterwords we visited some other recent converts and headed home. Yet another exhausting but rewarding day. 
Thursday was one of those days. Every appointment dropped, all our backups fell through and it was a trial of faith sort of day with people we talked to. 
Friday was a bit better though. We had district meeting with the ZL's and then went to correlation with brother Yosi and talked about our investigators and others that we visit. Afterwords we went to a girls house named Siphosethu. We tried teaching the restoration, but she was extremely distracted. In the middle of the lesson she stops us and says how she loves our eyes. Then after we got through half the lesson and closed she came up to me and kept asking me about them and talking to me. So I don't know how much she really was paying attention to what we were teaching. She mostly just paid attention to us. Which doesn't work. 
After that attempt at a lesson we went to Phelisa's house and taught her the restoration. Round two. It was much better with her. She has been coming to church for months and we are just starting to teach her because I thought she was a member till around a week ago! That's my excuse! 
Then we had soccer that night. Glorious as usual. 
On Saturday we went to a Mama's house named Mama Somerset. She is the blind lady who we just met. We did some service in her yard... Which was desperately needed... And then taught her a lesson. Her daughter was there as well. Her name is Bongi and she was extremely touched by the lesson and especially by the fact that Heavenly Father loves her and wants her to be happy. She lives in Johannesburg, but is here for the next two months or so. We plan on helping her grow closer and closer to God if we can. Afterwords we went and met with some other people we are working with. 
On Sunday we had 8 investigators at church, which is alright, but we were hoping for like twelve, but it's a process, so we will get there with them I'm sure! Siphenathi, my first baptism on mission hasn't come to church for the past five or so weeks, and he has been dodging us visiting him as well. So that had been really sad. He is so powerful, so I never expected him to fall away so quickly. It just shows that if you don't do the small things and prepare yourself against Satan's attacks, then you will fall. Potential and excitement with the gospel isn't enough, we need to put in work. 
We for sure are preparing three hopefully four people for baptism in two weeks. :] so we are excited about that! I know we can reach our goal of 10 baptisms this transfer. God has prepared so many people. 
I am loving my mission. The past couple weeks I have been exhausted every night I go home. It's just how I like it. Makes me realize I am really working hard. God is good people, God is good.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Thursday, March 13, 2014

We are not Alone.

For the past several months I have really come to understand a principle that has changed my entire view on life. We are not alone!
There are many times in our lives where we think that we can just "gut it out." Where we think that we can just keep doing things our own way and grit our teeth until we make it out of a trial or make it to our destination. I know many times in my life I felt that I could do it on my own. I thought it would be less painful to do things my way. Because I realized that if I decided I would have to rely on the Lord, then I would have to accept my weakness, I would have to acknowledge my helplessness and admit that I couldn't do things the way I planned. 
The funny thing about all this is relying on the Lord is the easiest way in the long run. When we push the Lord away and try to rely on our own strength or the strength of men then we are always overwhelmed and beaten down. As I have tried to let go of my own pride and my own desires I have felt my burden be made light. Christ is the way we can make it through. Because of what he did, we will be able to make it back to God. We all want to do things our own way, but I promise that turning our lives over to God and letting go of our selfish wants and desires will ultimately bring us that happiness and relief we are all searching for. 
Elder Holland said, "Because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: “I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].”
Matt. 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
This truly is a scripture that shows Christ's character. He is here to help relieve us of the pains and struggles of this life. He is constantly there waiting. "Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you." His arms are always extended towards us. Also later on in Alma 5 it talks about how the good shepherd is calling after us. Christ is always there waiting, but we need to be the ones to walk towards him and make that effort to change. We need to put forth the effort to show Him that we truly want peace and joy in this life.
"May we declare ourselves to be more fully disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, not in word only and not only in the flush of comfortable times but in deed and in courage and in faith, including when the path is lonely and when our cross is difficult to bear. This Easter week and always, may we stand by Jesus Christ 'at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death,' for surely that is how He stood by us when it was unto death and when He had to stand entirely and utterly alone." - Jeffrey R. Holland
I love you all. Jesus Christ truly has saved us all. I have seen His atonement work in the lives of many people here in South Africa and have been saved and changed by His atonement in my own life. Faith in Him will bring us the peace we are looking for. Faith in Jesus Christ can make the hardest as well as the easiest of times in life can be a blessing. We never need to feel alone when we are in the service of Christ, because we never are. The Savior has promised angels on our left and on our right to bear us up. His love is unfailing, He has and will always stand by us and will never forsake us. I know that this is true because I have felt of His love. 
Christ walked his path completely alone, so that we do not have to. Why waste such a beautiful gift? Why not stand by Him just as He stood by us? His atonement is here, he has prepared the way and he is waiting. Realize true joy, and turn to Him.

Alma 5.
"None Were with Him." Jeffrey R. Holland
"Mountains to Climb." Henry B. Eyring

Monday, March 10, 2014

Miracles, they're still a thing.‏

This past week has been one FULL of miracles.
My new companion Elder Oldroyd is a TOTAL stud! He is such a cool and good guy. He is from springville utah and he graduated 2011. He reminds me a lot of Brendon, just a bit more humble than Brendan and I were. Haha. We both have a hard time getting up in the mornings but we are encouraging each other and playing soccer and working out with some other guys to help motivate us to get up and be productive. So that has been good. Oldroyd is a really kind guy. I don't think I have heard him say a single mean thing about someone. He really is always lifting up others and being positive. I like him a lot. We are getting along well and I am trying to be a good companion to him as well. He is REALLY excited for all the work we have here. 
In Mdantsane we have SO much work to do that we don't even have enough time to do it. SO many people want to be taught and SO many still need to be taught. I really wish we had more hours in a day to visit and see people. No one is ever free until like three then we have appointments every hour until eight and then we head home. So it is pretty crazy busy for us. On Thursday we went to the area and I told Oldroyd that I wanted us to get some new people to teach so we could make our goal of 10 Baptisms this transfer. 
We walked out and some kid was walking buy and said, "Elders! Pray for me! I need to pass grade 'leven!" Haha that happens quite often. I told him we of course would and asked his name. He said Lunga. I asked if he had ever been taught by missionaries and he said yes. I then asked if he ever went to church. He said no. I asked him if he would like to be taught by us and come to church with us. He said yes and gave us his info. THAT is how easy it is here! We can find people, but we just need to make sure people have that spirit of conversion in them when we teach. 
Then later on that day we went and set an appointment with Ayanda who we have been teaching. She is 14 and real cool. After we started driving off she waved us down again and said her friends want to be taught by us. Elder Oldroyd and I walked over and met two teenage girls and a twenty something year old and then a thirty something year old. All of them told us that they wanted to be taught and then that they wanted to come to church with us on Sunday. People are SO willing to listen which is amazing. That is why we are CONSTANTLY teaching. We will probably be teaching 20-30 lessons a week all's nuts. Then the girls sang some gospel song for us and I asked if one of them would want to join the choir... "She said yes!"... uhh jared? - inside joke. For reals though it was awesome. 
I was talking to brother Mahlangabeza (the HL in his name makes a slur sound thing. Kinda like when me and tal talk in a nerdy voice we say our S's all slurred like that if that makes sense) and he was giving me some advice. On the last 3 months of his mission he had 35 baptisms. AMAZING. He said what he would do is go to a less active family and talk to them. He would ask, "why aren't you ever at church?" They would generally say there isn't much of a reason really. Then he'd just invite them to come back and experience the blessings of the gospel in their lives again. Then when they were excited about doing that again he would ask what friends they have that they could think of that need this message. They would almost always have someone in mind because they have been less active for years! So they usually made a lot of friends outside of the church. Then he'd take the less active family with him to the non member friends and teach them all together and ask the LA's to testify. Then he would baptize the non-members AS well as bring the less actives back. #savingsouls I thought it was brilliant.
Also! We taught this less active high priest around a week and a half ago. He was suicidal because of losing his family. His wife had cheated on him and took the kids with her and they all used to be members of the church. In fact, he used to be in the bishopric. He hasn't been to church for years. We encouraged him and tried to invite him to come back. He didn't come to church last Sunday, but he went over to our Ward Mission Leaders house and they had a GREAT conversation with him and another less active Melchizedek priesthood holder. They said in just this little section of our area that they live in there are about 20 less active Melchizedek Priesthood holders in that small area. TWENTY! That is basically a whole ward of priesthood holders.  Brother Yosi (our WML) reminded the two less active brothers of their responsibility to serve God and their brethren. He reminded them that they could be the example and help bring so many back. So the one that I taught who was having a hard time came up to me and told me he wants to get them all back. We are going to go and over the next couple weeks work and invite each one of the brethren to a meeting that we are putting together. (This was the once suicidal/hopeless less active brothers idea) to talk about why they are all less active and why we need everyone to go back. A lot of these men fell away once that one brother fell away because of his family issues. So he wants to lead them back. It is AMAZING. So now we are adding 20 less active guys to our list to visit. As well as their families and referrals we will be getting. See why we are so overwhelmed with work?
On Sunday we went over to the Mhini's house and visited Mama, becuase she had just gotten released from the Hospital because she went in for surgery. Anyways, while we were there her husband, who has been less active for the last ten years, said that he wanted to meet with us on tuesday and talk about how he can come back to church. His name means Power in Xhosa. Mandla. So I mean, that was cool. Him and a few of the clan Elders are going to get together and see if they want to accept me into the clan and give me a Xhosa name.. So pray for me? Or something.
I was walking with Elder Oldroyd and we got stopped by some drunk gents and asked for hugs and money. Well the poor fellas didn't get anything, but my companion gave them some pass along cards and told them when they are sober to SMS the number for a free DVD on the back. Those guys where so hopelessly confused and lost, but eventually they understood that they could take the picture of Jesus for free.
We get a lot of drunk stories here. A drunk guy was standing on this wall trying to do some karate kid thing. He was punching the air and raising his fists up looking like Rocky Balboa. He was jogging in place shouting and punching the air and then he made the awful mistake of trying to kick up high and he totally fell off the wall. He just shouted and started crying. We tried asking if he was alright but he got out of there fast.. kinda.
At KFC a Tata asked us if we could teach him and baptize him like Jesus was. Obviously we said yes, but that we would like to teach him lessons about Christ and more about his gospel, the guy gave us his address and we are giving it to the other missionaries because he is in their area. GOLDEN.
I am telling you, Mdantsane is the promised land for missionary work. We need a good 40 missionaries here then we could maybe cover all the work that us 12 missionaries try to cover here. I am loving it. I have felt SO many blessings and seen so many miracles. I wish you could all be here to see and feel of what is going on here. The past few days have been mind blowing. Elder Oldroyd is SO excited to be here. He said that in his last area (which was a white area) that they would teach maybe four lessons a week. He hasn't had a baptism in like 10 1/2 months I think. So he is STOKED. I am really out of my mind with what is all going on. I am only 3 months old on mission but I feel like I have been here so much longer. I just feel like I get how missionary life is, and I love it. I mean, I am already 1/8 of the way done with my mission. It doesn't sound like a lot, but TIME FLIES! 
Alma 26:22 is so true.
22 Yea, he that arepenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good bworks, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the cmysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be dgiven to ereveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.
I love you all so much! This gospel is an AMAZING thing and something that EVERYONE needs to know about. Not everyone can go on a mission, but ALL of us can open our mouths and invite others to grow closer to God.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ehh, eating is overrated..‏

Hola!... Just kidding, Moloweni!!!
This has been a legit week! It was my last full week with my trainer Elder Capozzoli, and it's a bit sad that we won't be companions anymore, but I know all will go how it should. This is where you have to just trust in The Lord and know that he will give you who you can learn the lessons you need to from. Apparently I am getting Elder Oldroyd. I am told that he is a way fun Elder who is also down to work. So that makes me happy. Apparently I will have to do some of the motivating in the mornings, but I'm not too worried about that. So he comes in on Wednesday I believe! First impressions, ahh my favorite. 
Well last week after emailing we went and... Yes you guessed it, played soccer. The best part was it started pouring rain! So obviously we started sliding and tackling. It really started to feel more like rugby than soccer. I started playing keeper because no one else knew how to on my team. Well I was throwing out the ball and Elder Cap threw up his leg in front of it to block it and dislocated my thumb. Ohh that hurt so dang bad. I immediately kicked him in the rear. Should have probably been a bit more nice about it, BUT IT HURT! My thumb looked like the letter Z. Elder Mchunu grabbed it and popped it back into place. I felt like I was pretty tough about it... But who knows, I could have looked like a little crying baby. 
After the dislocation of the thumb we went back to our flat to find it had flooded. Yeahh, it was one of those days. After cleaning all of that up for a couple hours we took off to the area, but never found an FHE to go to. So it was kind of a downer day, but that's life. 
On Tuesday we decided to have a good day and cooked all of our food. Correction: Elder Capozzoli cooked all our food. We basically had Thanksgiving dinner. And ohh goodness we were giving thanks. We had been starving for a few days so this was good for us. Cap made chicken, stuffing and mashed potatoes that he got from his mother in our Christmas package. It was Devine. 
Afterwords we went and taught some lessons to a few different people. One of them was Ayanda who has some friends who are members and goes to seminary with them. We taught her the first half of the plan of salvation. Seminary really helps because she had learned about most of it before. So we mostly just clarified some aspects of it and taught. After Ayanda we visited the Nake family as well. They haven't been coming to church lately so we have been a bit concerned. Part of the issue is people haven't reached out and fellowshipped as much at church as we would hope. We are just going to keep visiting and encouraging.
On wednesday we ran out of food. It is an awful moment when you look on all the shelves and in the freezer and see nothing to eat except for some cinnamon and a can of veggies. So.. we just drank some water and went to the area. #fastingbasically
We picked up our ever faithful fellowshippers Yonella and Athule. Yonella is Luvuyo's (who went on a mission to Ghana a few weeks ago) little brother and SUCH a stud. He is only 14 but is as tall as me. Flippin hilarious kid, but I respect him a lot. He really helps us out and is actually real good at soccer too. Then Athule is one of Yonella's friends. Athule comes and plays soccer with us and fellowships every day as well. We are teaching him the lessons right now and he asks just about every other day when he can get baptized. We are so busy teaching other people with him that we haven't been able to teach him as many lessons as we should have. I imagine he will be baptized in the next couple weeks. He sure likes to talk himself up, it's pretty hilarious. He is 15 and unreal at soccer as well. So yeahh, that is just a bit about the guys we work with here in Mdantsane.
We picked up Yonella and Athule and went and taught Jacque. Jacque is a member refferal and a very powerful kid. We taught him about the book of mormon and he accepted and understood everything really well. He is well educated so that helps a lot with his understanding. A lot of people struggle with understanding, so it helps when they know english really well.
After we visited Jacque we dropped the boys up and picked up our Ward Mission Leader and visited a Less Active Tata. Tata means Dad basically. We talked to him and were asking why he hasn't been coming to church for the last few years. Apparently because of some issues with his wife he has fallen away and really doesn't see the purpose in his life. It's sad. We talked to him and shared a TON of different scriptures that give comfort and hope. We reminded him of his responsibility as well. We told him to come to church and he said he would, but sadly he didn't show up. Ohh well! Just got to keep encouraging.
On thursday our fast continued. We bummed some bread off of the other elders and had some cinnamon toast. That was nice. After studies and whatnot we headed out to the area and visited Abigale and KC. KC is a twelve year old kid that I will be baptizing this coming weekend! He is SO smart. Honestly he understands more than most adults here and really tries to do the right thing. He is leading out for his mother Abigale with everything so that is great. Later on we went and saw Asiphe and Sibulele. I am also getting the chance to baptize Asiphe this weekend as well! So that is really exciting. We were going to baptize them both this last weekend but because of Bishop wanting to interview them before they are baptized. So this weekend I will have my 2nd and 3rd baptisms. BLESSINGS BABY!
On Friday we had our District Meeting which is generally a bit of a joke because our district leader doesn't actually do anything. So it kind of stinks to not be learning at those, but it's alright! After that we went and had our lunch at KFC as is the usual. Then after we headed out to our Ward Mission Leader's house for correlation. We spoke for 2 hours about how we all want to pick up the ward and the missionary work here. We have 150 active members and 650 members on record. 500 less active individuals. So a lot of rescuing is going to be needed. We made a ward mission plan and are going to show it to our bishop and try to see what he thinks about that.
Soccer on Friday night didn't happen because there was a huge storm, so we all rescheduled for Saturday morning. We played on a full pitch and I got to play my old position. So center back on defense with Elder Prisbry. We shut them out. The missionaries beat the Locals 4-2. They were so mad. Because they always tell us how Africans are better than us Americans, we proved that wrong! So cool! Then after soccer we just visited a few investigators and did the work there. It is awesome because this next month me and my companion will probably have a good 6 or so baptisms. The Lord is lighting this place up!
On sunday we held a ward missionary fireside. I spoke first and talked about our purpose which is to, "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." So I exponded on that and talked about how we could do that as missionaries and as members. I also spoke about how the ward and the missionaries need to work together as a team if saving souls is going to be accomplished in this part of the Lord's fold. It was a really spiritual and cool thing! Hopefully it helps make a good impact in the ward for missionary work.ELder Capozzoli spoke last and really pulled the whole thing together so that was nice.
And then this morning, Monday March 3rd 2014 I rode and Elephant for the first time. Pretty much the most unreal thing ever. Elder Capozzoli and I were in love. I will send pictures and all that good stuff for y'all to behold.
What else could I say? 
Inkosi. (thank you.)
- Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne