Monday, April 28, 2014

The rain came down and the floods came up.‏

Someone, while designing and building our flat, was a very foolish man. He decided to have a big step down into our flat and leave a two inch gap at the bottom of our door. In East London, when it rains, it pours. So that resulted in a flooding of our boarding. Yeahh... That was frustrating. It trashed one of my white shirts. It's all stained yellow and brown now... but hey, it's got character.

Because of the constant raining and downpour we weren't able to teach and visit as many people as we normally would like. We had to stay inside our flat basically for two days because it was raining and flooding so bad. The streets were washed out and there were road wrecks all over the place. We were in a constant battle with dishing out the water that was filling up on our front porch. I felt like a pirate who's ship was leaking or something. I just decided I want to express my thoughts and feelings in a poem.
"It Pours."a heartfelt short poem by Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne
Sometimes it rains,Sometimes it pours,Sometimes your companion,Can't hold in his snores.
Even though it is wet,And you don't want to go,You have to forget yourselfAnd teach some mo'.
I may miss my family,I desperately need sleepBut Christ has said,Feed my sheep.
That's all I've got. Enjoy. I guess my freestyle rapping addiction can come in handy, ehh?
The few lessons we did teach went well though! We have been trying to help Elder Ramat, my new companion, learn the area. He is picking it up pretty fast and teaching me some cool things. He is a really good missionary who is truly striving to be obedient. It is a good thing having him around. Naturally, I miss Elder Oldroyd and Elder Capozzoli who were both from Utah and both extremely similar to me, but Elder Ramat and I have a lot of things in common as well. He is 17 months on mission and doing great.
Elder Ramat and I were asked by Mama Mapitsha to come and dedicate her home. So we went and said the prayer to dedicate it and she asked me to share a scripture. I instantly turned to one of my favorites Omni 1:26. I bore testimony in the name of Jesus Christ that if she gave herself to the Lord and held nothing back that her home, family and life would be sanctified and protected by the Lord. It felt like there was a sonic boom in the room. We were all slammed with the spirit. The feeling was so apparent and almost tangible. The love of God swept into the room and we felt such peace. She started crying and said that she will start to let go and turn more to God. It was really amazing.
Then on Saturday we went to teach Lamla and we met three of his friends. One was actually baptized by Elder Giles and is now less active. The other two friends weren't members but they wanted to learn more. We taught them the restoration and are going to be meeting with them more this week! I am pretty excited for that! 
Thabo the other day told me he had something he needed to say... The room got a little tense. He said, "I no longer want to go to church.".... My heart totally sank, then he said, "I NEED to go to church." Ahh.... sweet relief. It was a cool moment then to have him basically teach US the tree of life vision that Lehi had. He really is being taught by the spirit and having such great understanding. That is really so rare here in Africa.
On Sunday it was a bit of a bummer at church since it was raining so hard and people have to walk a long way to get to church there was hardly anyone there. We didn't have one single investigator at church. We only had two recent converts there and one less active. I realized that I will have those days on mission.. Not every day is beautiful and easy, but you learn something or grow from every rough day as well.
Uzakusipekhela Nini means when are you cooking for us? Probably the best Xhosa phrase I have ever learned. We have literally been destitute this past week because my home account card got sucked up by an ATM and destroyed and then my companion came to me with NO money at all. So I have had to buy food just to feed us. We have been out of money for a week and living off of the members feeding us. Luckily it is such a part of their culture to feed and share with others, or we literally would be on the brink of starvation. Luckily we get MSF (missionary support fund) on Wednesday. So I am excited for that. 
The work this week has been slow, but with trials and struggles comes growth and blessings. I really have felt the succor of the Lord this past week. He comforts us when we are in need.  
I have never been more tired, and never been more happy.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Monday, April 21, 2014



Bernhardt Ramat was born in 1992. For thirteen years of his life he was at a boarding school far from home. He only saw his family during the holidays. So being on a mission away from his family hasn't been super hard. His whole family is members of the church and extremely strong and faithful to it. His branch has bout fifty people in it and he held three callings at the same time. One of his callings was playing piano in sacrament meeting. He learned how to play by ear. He is a super talented guy. Getting his call took him about four an a half months then he had to wait another four to come here. He loves to dance, loves to freestyle rap with me and LOVES to work hard, but have fun. So I can really tell we are going to get along. He also is a basketball player and can play soccer as well.....  YES. Basically I can tell this is going to be a great transfer.
This week not a ton of missionary work was done. Which honestly felt really weird.. I don't really like it. Basically the reason we didn't get a ton done was because of transfers. We were driving missionaries all over, picking up others and dropping off some, unpacking, reorganizing, cleaning and showing them the area and introducing them to people. So we weren't able to teach as many lessons as we normally do during the week because of all the stuff we had going on. We plan to hit it really hard this next week though.
Our Zone Leaders car got hit by a drunk driver. So now mission wide we have to be in our flat's by six thirty or seven at the latest. Riots and drinking and things like that have been so common lately that they are trying to keep us inside to stay safe. Kind of a bummer though with how much time that takes away from our work and teaching.
My Discourse on Faith:
"Oh Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me!" That is what Alma the Younger cried out as he was in ultimate agony. He was wracked with the pains and memories of a damned soul. I think all of us have felt that sort of pain at one time in our lives or another. We have all probably also cried out in suffering asking for God's relief. I know that many times in my own life I will call out asking for help, but not really having the faith or putting in the effort to receive help. We can change, but we can ONLY change as we turn to him and have faith that he can make up the difference. What we all ask for daily is nothing short of a miracle. We ask to be forgiven, blessed with what we need and changed to become better. Our investigator Thabo has turned away from a very loose and crazy life of drug dealing and partying, and is asking Christ to help him change. It is going to take a miracle for that to happen. But miracles are an everyday occurrence in the line of work that we do.
As I have studied Christs life I read all about the MANY miracles he preformed. In every instance, He called upon someones faith to help make it happen. He didn't just heal someone for nothing. He would either call upon their faith, or the faith of a friend or family member. It spoke of Christ going to a city, but he worked no miracles because of their unbelief. Faith is the key to every miracle. So if you are asking for a miracle, you have to have the faith that it can happen. You need to do everything you can and continue asking for the Lord's help. I think the saying faith without works is dead can also be swapped with works without faith is dead. If we try to change or work for blessings, but we don't have the faith that it can happen then it probably wont. Our faith as we work is what will bring the blessings and the change. 
Faith precedes the miracle. The more I study faith, the more I realize I don't know. I think its funny, I probably have a 1st grade understanding of faith. In heaven we will probably we working on our Masters or PhD. Anyways, that is my little rant for the day. 
Those people that we are working with are all doing extremely well. Please feel free to pray for them and pray for us to be able to find more people to teach as well.
Pray for:
And pray/fast that we will find more wonderful individuals to teach and help change.
Ohh and things have been pretty crazy here lately, so pray for the missionaries.
Love you all! Cheers!
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne
Well it's been another week. I now have a new companion... It's pretty sweet. His name is Elder Ramat and he is from Tanzania. Whoa, I know.

This is Elder Ramat and I. Not our best selfie day.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Love Fatcakes!

Well this week has been fantastic. It was my last week with Elder Oldroyd... And we hit it hard!

Real quick note: we found a place that sells fatcakes. They are basically scones. Amazing.
Elder Oldroyd is getting transferred and stepping up to Zone Leader in Belleville. He will be awesome. I will miss him a lot as my companion though. He is a very fun, but faithful and hardworking missionary. I get my new companion on Wednesday. He most likely wont be from Springville, Utah like the rest of my companions have been! He will probably be from Africa, so that'll be different. :]
We met with almost all of our recent converts this week. One of them, Luvuyo (KC), told us that since he doesn't have a father, he looks up to us in that sort of a way. He told me that he is going to prepare to go on a mission... It'll be another six years until he could go, but it is awesome to see a kid you baptized to be passing the sacrament and really trying to be good. Before the church, his life looked like it was a bit of a dead end. His father doesn't ever come see him and lives in a different part of the city. His mother, even though he is 12, doesn't take care of him at all. She will give him food sometimes and basically leaves him alone. He is going to a school and only had some bad friends. When we started teaching him he had already been going to church, by himself, for two years. He now is preparing for a mission and has a bunch of the people in the ward looking out for him, including the missionaries. It is really special to see how the gospel can bless even a little boy in south africa's life. 
We also met with Derrick, the chap who just got out of prison. He has now read almost thirty chapters of his gospel principals manual and really is feeling the spirit of conversion! We taught him of the power of the book of mormon, where it came from, and why it is important. He said that he will read it and study it every night like he has been with his gospel principals book. I bore my testimony to him about the power of the gospel to change us and change others. To encourage that change we need to make and keep covenants or promises with our heavenly father. Baptism is one of the first promises we make with Heavenly Father to show him our desire to change and grow closer to him. Derrick wants so badly to change and leave his past behind. I told him how a baptism represents the death of our old life and then us rising up and starting a new life as a new person. He was really touched by that and by the chance that he could change. Elder Oldroyd expounded and testified about what I had said and bore powerful testimony about how the gospel had changed him. I then invited him to be baptized... He said YES! Awesome.
Thabo, the guy with THICK dreads was really sick this week. He actually was admitted to the hospital because he had symptoms of pneumonia. The brethren from the ward actually went over to his house to visit him and give him a blessing... WITHOUT US EVEN ASKING!!! That doesn't happen. As missionaries we almost have to get on our knees and beg for things to happen in this ward. They are all in a sleep mode except for maybe the ward mission leader and the elders quorum president. 
We also had a great training with President Wood. He talked about having vision, goals and faith to help push the Lord's work forward. He talked about how Faith, Agency and Opposition are all central principals in missionary work. We need to have the faith that by our efforts and prayers the Lord will bring His work to pass. Agency is important because we need to realize that everyone has their power of choice. And Opposition because that is what strengthens us.
I was told a story by a guy in my ward this week, he said, "There once was a man who had a huge bolder placed before him. The Savior came to him and told him to push the stone out of the way. Day after day and week after week he pushed and strained to move the stone with no success. The devil came and discouraged him and after not moving the stone even an inch he started to loose faith. He complained to the Savior that there was no way he could ever do this and that it was a waste of time. The savior replied 'look at your arms, they have recieved strength. look at your shoulders, they have grown more broad. Look at your back, chest and your legs, they have all become stronger. Your job is to push, my job is to remove.' and with that he removed the stone."
I love that story because it really illustrates how opposition strengthens us. There will be an opposition in all things as we learn in 2 nephi. The Lord asks us to do certain things, our job is to obey and push. As a result we will grow stronger and the Lord will change people and remove their stumbling blocks. Another cool quote I heard once is, "The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is how high you raise your foot." Now let that one stew for a bit.
Love you all. Letters and things of that sort are always welcome.
-Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Friday, April 11, 2014

Forget Yourself and Go to Work!

Dear Friends and Family,

In Mary's letter she spoke about her extended family and how some of them were not members of the church or were going through different struggles in their life. Mary realized that what was missing from their lives was the power of the saviors atonement and the purpose the gospel brings into every person's life. She talked about how at a family reunion she gave each member of her extended family a Book of Mormon with her testimony written inside. As a result, members of her family have investigated the church, made changes in their lives and chose to follow the Savior and be baptized into His church.
I really was impressed and grateful for her example of sharing the gospel with others. Many of us (I know I was like this when I was at home) like to go throughout our days in comfort. We don't want to put ourselves out there or cause us any unnecessary discomfort. But while keeping to ourselves we are holding others back from finding the true joy and fulfillment that we have all felt and found in the gospel.
We not only "should" share the gospel with others, we also have a RESPONSIBILITY to share it. "Go ye therefore, and teach allnations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:19-20 or “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” -- Mark 16:15
I really think L. Tom Perry nailed it when he said, "More blessings comes to us in going forth to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and laboring for the salvation of the souls of men, than can possibly come to us by merely having a knowledge of the truth of our religion, and then remaining at home to mingle and labor in the ordinary affairs of life, and accumulate the wealth of this world that perishes with the using.”
I really strongly feel that we need to remember our responsibility and opportunity to go forth and share the gospel with others. Too many people are lost in the mists of darkness in this world. So many people are "kept from the truth because they know not where to find it." D&C 123:12 The gospel brings happiness. It gives us the strength to move forward and even helps us know which direction we should move forward to. 
I have a challenge I would like to remind you all of what M. Russell Ballard said in his talk in General Conference that he gave on Sunday, "I suggest that we can all be more consistently involved in missionary work by replacing our fear with real faith, inviting someone at least once a quarter—or four times every year—to be taught by the full-time missionaries."
My friend Elder Brendon Nielson pointed out that he invited EVERY member to invite four people every year. That means even the most introverted or nervous members can and should invite four people to be taught a year. Many of us could invite even more than that. 
Many members make the mistake of thinking that they cannot invite someone to attend church, be taught by the missionaries or even talk about religious beliefs unless they have known someone for the past ten years. Members think that they need to have a deep and strong relationship with someone before they could ever consider inviting someone to make those changes. That is not true. Someone could literally move in next door, be helped moving in and then invited to attend church with the family on Sunday. It's that easy. It doesn't need to be something that we tip toe around or worry about saying. The church and this gospel is what will ultimately make them happy and will help them have relationships that last for eternity. So lets wake up and invite them to change.
My brother Grayson has been a great example of being a missionary by inviting a non-member friend to come to Scouts with him on Tuesday nights. 
I know people here in South Africa that will just invite their friends over for Family Home Evening.
My Father, every time he is on a plane generally strikes up a quality gospel conversation with the person he is sitting next to and gives them a Book of Mormon by the end of the flight.
Yonella, a boy who comes fellowshipping with us missionaries almost every day, will just meet someone at school and ask them if they want to come to church, or if they would like to meet his friends "the eldah's".
It is that easy. The hardest part of missionary work is stepping outside of our comfort zone. The more often we do it, the easier it is in the future. I can promise that you will almost never feel as great of joy as you do when you share the gospel with someone else. I have never felt so much fulfillment and joy in my life as when I have been on a mission. After I come home from South Africa, I wont stop sharing it. 
So again, I invite you all to find someone that you know, or search for someone who you may not yet know, to share the gospel with in the next three months. I promise that if you pray and ask for the Lords help, He will direct you to someone who desperately needs the peace the gospel brings. Pray and ask for his help, He will freely give it. 
I love you all, and I would love to hear your experiences as you share the gospel with others.
Now, forget yourself and go to work.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne
James 2:18
I am basing what I say in this email off of the letter that I received from Mary Gardner. (Thanks a MILLION by the way. Letters here on mission are ULTRA appreciated.)