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