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 transfer..it'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.
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