Monday, June 23, 2014

VII Months Old‏

Well something insane happened this week. I hit seven months on mission. Seven months since I have seen my family and friends. Seven months since I put Christs name on my chest for the first time as a set apart servant of the Lord. What a blessing it has been.

Getting rained on is still not a favorite activity of mine, but it's something I signed up for, so I guess I just can take comfort in the fact that I'll be blessed with a beautiful wife because of all the rain I have walked through. #missionarybenifits
We had a crazy week this week. Essentially we were only able to go to the area and do work four days last week. Monday we had our preparation day and then we had to end it with our Zone Leaders for a practice for Zone Conference which was the next day. So all Tuesday we were busy at Zone Conference. Then Friday we had our final interviews with President Wood before he goes home which is next week! Crazy thought! I am grateful for what I have learned from him, but I am excited to see how President Merrill runs things.
Zone Conference was awesome. It was all about how to and why we should study our scriptures. We were reminded of the blessings and promises of spiritual protection that comes with studying the words of God. 1 Nephi 15:23-25 gives a great explanation of that. Why would we ever miss an opportunity to read the scriptures when so much is promised to us?
"Prayerful study of the Book of Mormon will build faith in God the Father, in His Beloved Son, and in His gospel. It will build your faith in God’s prophets, ancient and modern." - President Eyring 
I have found that the FIRST thing people stop doing when they have fallen away from God or away from the church is they stopped reading the scriptures. As they stopped their study they damned their spiritual growth. The flow of spirit and revelation in their life eventually came to a standstill. As people stop reading God's word, they stop giving heed to it. Once they no longer give heed to His word they start living in a way contrary to what he has taught and no longer qualify for the spirit in their lives to guide and bless them. It truly breaks my heart.
Reading the scriptures changes peoples lives. As a lot of you may know when I was in Mdantsane I was working with a guy named Thabo. He was an alcoholic with no hope of going anywhere in life. As we started teaching him in our second lesson we gave him the Book of Mormon and taught him the importance of applying the principals he learns in there to his own life. As he did this his entire life made a dramatic turn for the better. Without any encouragement or prodding by us missionaries he threw away all his marijuana, completely stopped drinking, he broke up with his long-time girlfriend, got a new job at Hungry Lion and applied to go back to school for law. And I just heard he shaved off all his dreads and is now fully active and back in church. 
As Thabo read the scriptures and applied them in his life he was able to obtain those blessings and catch the Lord's vision for him. He didn't need to be pushed to change, he himself knew what he needed to do, and he acted on the knowledge he obtained and made that change.
Remembering Thabo's story as well as having received training on it from President Wood encouraged me to teach as well as remind people of the importance of personal scripture study in their life. I hope that they, and all of you, will catch sight of the blessings and protection that can come into your life as you study and give heed to God's words.
We had again another 20 people that were supposed to come to church, again we only had 1/4 show up, but some of the people that came were new investigators! We have found several people this past week that REALLY show so much potential and they show such a great desire to change. That desire is something I hope doesn't run out anytime soon.
I got asked by a sweet little girl why the colour of my eyes is like the ocean. It was probably the sweetest and most sincere question I have heard in a long time. I don't know, just thought I'd share that. It was so sweet.
Also, this week we got bikes! Sounds silly, but here in SA missionaries rarely have bikes, so we are super blessed. The issue is, my bike is WAY too nice for a white kid to be riding around in Khayelitsha. Luckily, most people know me so we are safe, but when we were riding past Cite C a bunch of thugs started throwing rocks and hit my comp. He was fine though. And then we saw some guys trying to mess with the locks on our bikes and we chased them off. So yeahh, we get too much attention with these bikes, but we get around a lot faster which is a blessing.
Well that is basically my week. We worked hard for the few days we were in the area. Only a few people came to church, but we still feel great about how things are going. My spirits are as high as ever and I am ever thankful for the love and prayers I feel coming my way. It means so much.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

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