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

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