Monday, May 26, 2014

You Only Serve Once!


This week has been pretty much one of the best. We were able to see EVERYONE that we have been wanting to for the past several weeks. We were actually able to see Siphinathi. Now, for those of you who haven't been following the journey of Elder Thayne super closely, Siphinathi was the first baptism I had in SA. Three weeks after baptism he got some friends that really became a bad influence on him and he stopped coming to church and started dodging our appointments with him. It eventually got to the point that he would run away and hide from us when we would see him or try to meet with him. It truly was sad. It was just a testimony that those who aren't living the way they know they should are uncomfortable in the presence of people who remind them of what they should be doing. 
Elder Ramat and I went to the Nake family's home and started teaching Mlondolozi. He said that Siphinathi was hiding in the back room. I asked him to go fetch him so I could teach them one last time and say goodbye. Siphinathi came out pretty sheepishly, but I just ignored the fact that he was hiding from us and treated him real well. We talked and testified about the power of repentance and how to matter what has happened we can ALWAYS come back. Satan likes to convince us that after we have gone astray and left Him that Christ would never want us back. THAT IS A LIE. I told him that if he wants to have the joy he felt in his life once again that he could have it. He would just need to turn back to God and leave behind whatever is holding him back. He told us he really wants to come back to church and wants to change.. So I am praying that desire lasts with him. Sadly, he didn't come to church even when he said he would. Dahh well, I know he will come back someday.
So on Sunday we had another mass baptism. This time five people we baptized. On our side we had Lamla, Phelisa and Abigale. Then Elder Mchunu and Elder Maciver had Nkosinathi and Wochumisa. Most of the ward was able to attend because it was right after church, so that was nice to have a lot of support for them in making this great decision.
When I was saying the words to baptize Phelisa, her grip on my wrist slowly got tighter and tighter and tighter. I put her under the water and she got up just so excited and so shocked at the feeling she was having. Then Lamla came down into the water. Lamla is real tall, just like his brothers Luvuyo and Yonela. He didn't bend his knees when I put him under, but all in all it worked out just fine. I kind of had to shove him under the water. Afterwords he told me he felt "so happy and soft inside." Probably was the most descriptive thing I had ever heard him say, so I was on cloud nine. I really hope that Lamla goes on a mission. 
This week is transfer week! So I will be getting a new companion and FINALLY will be moving to a new area! I have LOVED Mdantsane and loved the people here. The work has been very successful and I have lots of wonderful memories, but it's time to blow this popsicle stand and experience something new. I find out my transfer news sometime tonight. According the the AP's I will be happy with my new companion. And President said, "Elder Thayne, it's time for you to have a rest." So I think that is a good thing... but all the signs are pointing to me having a great transfer ahead of me, but honestly I plan on having a great transfer every transfer.
I'll let you all know where I am next week! Pity I didn't hear my news just a few hours early, then I could tell you what is going on.
Something I have found is that the Lord truly doesn't give us what we have in mind, but he does give us what we need. I learned that lessons while I was having to wait to come on my mission and it is something that I am continuing to learn as I am out here serving. God ultimately knows what is best for us and what we need to have to grow. How blessed our we?
This is a quote that my friend Elder Lewis sent out last week in his email. It really is so true.
"Sometimes we may ask God for success, and he gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience. Or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace... and when we plead for relief from physical, mental, and spiritual difficulties, he may increase our resolve and resilience." - Elder Bednar
I love you guys so much. The Lord is mindful of us and what we need to experience to become who He needs us to be. Now, shall we not go on in so great a cause?
- Elder Thayne
PS. Sorry about the lack of pictures, I'll get some from Elder Mchunu and send them out next week.
How is everyone!? Thank you for all the love and emails I received this week, it really means a lot! I love hearing from all of you and seeing how life is back home.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

May 25, 2014- SAVE THE DATE!‏

Well lots of great things have happened this week. And I don't remember a single one. Just kidding.

The Good: 
-We have three people that are going to be baptised next Suday May 25th. Abigail, Phelisa and Lamla. I was asked by Phelisa and Lamla to baptize them. Yes, I am just as shocked as you all are.
-Elder Ramat and I have really learned to communicate and are becoming a lot better at being pals. Of course this happens my last week with him.
-My Xhosa is getting pretty good. By pretty good I mean I can say like ten words. I was being called "Mlungu" over and over till one woman I know called me that and I just said, "Umnyama wena." (You're black.) Basically everyone died and started laughing so hard. They couldn't believe that I responded to them in Xhosa. #winning
-Our flat is clean on most days. Miracles can and do happen daily. 
-Elder Obonye, Elder Taylor and I all made a rap titled YOSO. You Only Serve Once. 
The Not So Good:
-I definitely ripped a pair of my suit pants. Luckily I have a spare.
-Two of the people we were preparing to be baptised dropped off the face of the earth. So I am not really sure what happened to them. We were pretty frustrated, but we are keeping the faith and going to continue trying to work with them.
The Funny:
-I just can't seem to keep hold of money out here. We get about $60 worth of money to live off for two weeks. It's actually quite hilarious I must say.
-No one believed me when I said that I did jui-jitsu for 10 years. So Elder Steele and I decided to wrestle/fight. We was a wrestler in high school and was on the national team actually. So naturally everyone thought I would be destroyed. 30 seconds in I choked him out with a guillotine. Thank you Dad and Mom for making us do hard things so we aren't wimps. He couldn't believe it.
-A guy, while we were filling up petrol, (this happened while I was with Capozzoli but I forgot to tell you guys about it) walked up to us and told us that the night before he had a dream. He said that in his dream he was told that he needed to go to this petrol station and wait for two "white angels" to pull up in their car. He then said he had received that vision because we were meant to buy him a full tank of petrol. Ohh my word it took everything we had not to burst out laughing. People will come up to us often and claim to have some real reason for us to buy or give them something. That time was pretty hilarious.
The Spiritual:
-This week we had a really powerful experience with a less active family. We were teaching them about God's love for us and our love for him. I stressed and emphasized the point that God has given us everything. He has promised us eternal happiness and joy. ALL He has asked is that we obey His few commandments and help build His kingdom. That is it! As I was testifying one of the more "hard-hearted" women started to cry. She was really feeling the spirit and had a desire to show God her love for him. She said she realized that he has done so much for her and that she just needs to start showing Him how grateful she is. It was a really wonderful moment for all of us I think. 
-While driving I had this distinct feeling to go check on some investigators that we hadn't seen in well over a month because of their lack of commitment and because of the fact they had been dodging us. Anyways, we went to their house and started talking to them. We met a less active guy who hadn't been to church in over ten years! We set a return appointment and they committed to start coming to church! It's just really awesome how the spirit will direct us if we are willing to listen. 
Basically it has been a good week. I feel real good about how I have spent my time here in Mdantsane. Transfers are going to be happening next week. So I am assuming that I will be leaving Mdantsane because I have been here for six months now. And what a glorious six months it has been. I am already a 1/4 of the way done with my mission. It may not sound like much, but time has flown. I don't want my mission to go by too fast! I am loving it. I love you guys and I am so grateful for all the love and support! Keep in touch. Mosiah 2:41
Love,Elder Thayne

Monday, May 5, 2014

I got bit by a venomous flesh eating spider!

Things are going good here, it has just been slow with the holidays and everything going on. After elections, which are on Wednesday, we should be back to normal and being able to teach more. We only taught like fifteen lessons this last week which was frustrating, but I am sure we will teach a lot more this coming week.
It is my third week with Elder Ramat from Tanzania. It is for sure really different being with a native African, but it is going pretty well. We have some really cool things happening. Mlondolozi's and Siphenanthi's dad, Tata Michael Nake, came to church after we visited with him last week! It was pretty amazing. He knows a lot about the gospel and we hope to help him progress and if he keeps coming to church we will baptize him before I leave!
If everything goes perfectly we will have six more baptisms before I leave at the end of this month. Four of them will be potential Melchizedek priesthood holders. So we are excited about that. This is all us reaping what we have sowed over the past few months. It's pretty nice. The names of the people are Mlondolozi, Derrick, Michael, Lamla, Abigale and Phelisa. So please pray for them that all will go well and they can be baptized on schedule. 

I have been really trying to learn Xhosa and take it more seriously. I got a notebook and titled it Xhosa for dummies, so hopefully the stuff that everyone is putting down it it sticks with me! I am learning a lot. I am trying to qualify for the gift of tongues. Because that is probably what it is going to take for me to get fluent in it. I want to memorize the first vision in Xhosa so I can say it to the people we are teaching in lessons. I think it could be pretty powerful.
We have started to do district lunches every day in an effort to keep uniting the district. Elder Mchunu and I have been around each other for going on four and a half months, so we are already really tight, but we wanted to quickly have the other guys feel welcome and a part of the district as well! I really think it is helping! The annoying thing is we always have them at our flat since we have a gas stove, and since it's at our flat we always end up doing the dishes afterwords...
Well three days ago I woke up with a bump on my elbow. Over the past few days it has grown bigger and bigger and there is now a hole in my arm. It's swollen up pretty big and is getting pretty painful. Apparently I was bitten by a South African Sack Spider or something like it. The venom slowly burns through the flesh and destroys the cells. It can get pretty bad I guess. So I am getting taken to the Doctors office in a couple hours to get me some antibiotics or something like that. The Senior couple, the Boyces, are pretty worried about it since it has happened a couple times to other missionaries before. So we will see what ends up happening. I just think it's kind of sweet that I am here in Africa and got bit by a flesh eating spider.
I really don't have too much more to report. It hasn't been raining too bad the past week so there wasn't any more flooding. And hopefully there should be some more cool finding stories next week because we really are going to try to build our teaching pool of investigators. Please pray for those we are preparing for baptism and if anyone you know is preparing for a mission, pray for them to get called to South Africa. It's the best place in the world.
Elder Thayne 

Our meal we made, we had no plates so we used frying pans. This is me, elder Ramat and elder mchunu. Elder Maciver took the picture.
Then this is us again with a bunch of avocado's that I climbed up in our tree and fetched the other day.
I was kissed straight on the cheek by probably the most drunk and crazy guy I have yet seen in South Africa. He stumbled up to me and my companion and said I am a beautiful mlongu and planted one right on my cheek. Definitely not one of my most graceful or composed moments as a missionary... I kinda shrieked and jumped away. As a missionary you aren't used to physical contact. So when a really drunk guy plants one on you, you tend to react a bit dramatically.