Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gangsta's Paradise‏

Mmm, well it's been another interesting week. Sadly, the work was slow due to rain and lots of people smoking weed and drinking. It was basically another party week. I guess I should be used to that by now because generally every other week people are partying, but it still is just as annoying as it was two weeks ago!

Life in the Khayelitsha/Mandalay area still goes on though. We had a few fails this week, so I'll start with those and end on the good stuff. It's been a pretty ghetto gangster week.
-We went to go see a girl named Limo that we had taught up till the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She was progressing really well until a few weeks ago. Apparently, she started hanging around with girls that really weren't a good influence. They started partying and never being at appointments that we set. One time I ran into her on the side of the road and she was kinda drunk and trying to hide from us. Anyways, we decided to just drop in on her and see what is up with her. We went there and her sister got sent out and told us that Limo didn't want to see us anymore and that we shouldn't try to talk to her again. We also had her friend tell us the same thing. It was pretty sad honestly. Because we were really feeling so good about her and how she was doing. But now we officially have been dropped. I guess it was just sad to see someone who was doing so well and feeling the joy's the gospel brings, then see them turn away from it. 
..... Honestly, now that I think about it, that is about it for fails for the week. There was just a lot of rain and a lot of little issues that came up.
Some real good things did happen this week though:
-Remember Thandi and Zolani? We had all but given up on them. We had tried and tried and tried and tried to help them progress. We used everything we knew how. Love, rebukement, reminder of their responsibilities, promises of blessings etc. The whole nine yards, but they didn't budge. So we left them to stew after I rebuked them and told them their lives wouldn't change until they started making the change by living the gospel. Anyways, I had the impression that we should go and talk to them Saturday night and invite them to church. So we went and spoke to them for a couple minutes and invited them to come.They both said yes. Sunday morning rolled around Zolani showed up! It was his first time in almost two years! Thandi didn't come, but Zolani did and I could tell he really felt the spirit. He enjoyed the lessons and really contributed in classes!
-At church we had a guy named Mfundo show up at church randomly. He said that he lives in Site C and that he used to be taught by missionaries when he lived in East London, but he stopped meeting with them. He said that he wanted to meet with us every week and get baptized. He said he is just ready to change and ready to get serious with the Lord. It was pretty cool, and it was such a blessing to us since it had been a rough week for me. It was a little love note from God reminding me that he has prepared people for us and he was ever mindful. We met with him just yesterday and he accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 10th of August. So we now have seven guys on track for baptism. :] Pretty awesome.
-We also gave a few blessings this week to people that asked. It was an awesome reminder that we need to ever be ready, willing and worthy to use our priesthood for the benefit of our brothers and sisters. 
All in all it was a good week as always, but things were more rough than normal. I was again reminded that God is love. There were a few days this week that I really just was feeling down because of people struggling and things just weren't working out, but I realize that no matter what, we will always have ups and downs in life. Whether you are living a righteous life or a wicked one, you will always have the ups and downs. 
The awesome part with living life while staying close to God is when the ups are there you experience and feel the blessings of righteous living and experience real happiness and growth, but as always, the downs and bad days will come. but when you are living righteously the Lord will support and uphold you as you go through them, and ultimately they result in you growing and learning as well. 
On the other hand we have people who live life for themselves. They don't rely on God and live the way they should. The result is the completely different. Like everyone, these people experience ups and downs in their life, but the real difference is they don't have God to bless them and help them experience true joy when life is going well, and when things aren't going well  them they just have to endure. They don't have anyone to really lean on and have help them. Instead of learning and growing in their trials, they result in loneliness and depression. 
It's such a huge difference that is SO apparent. I always wondered how people could go through SO much but still have a smile on their face. I have realized that even when things were hard, they leaned on God and he was their support.
People need to know that there is someone there who cares for them. God is ready and willing to love and support us even through our darkest days. Not enough people understand that.
I am grateful for the support I have felt from the Lord throughout my life. I have definitely felt of His love throughout this past week and was once again reminded that he is ever near if we are willing to let him help us.
Don't get me wrong, things are going great for me. It just wasn't one of those cloud nine weeks. So it's weeks like I had last week that make me want to work harder to make this coming week even better. 
Real quick, I have the best story to tell before I close: 
While tracting last week we were in a shack area in Site C. We were knocking on the doors and talking to the people. Anyways, this car pulls up to us and the guys get out and start demanding what we are doing... The conversation went like this.
Random Gangster who looks like 50 Cent: "Hey what do you think you guys are doing here!?"
Me: "We are preaching the gospel. What are you doing here?"
50 Cent: "We are getting ready for a party... Where are you from?!"
Me: "America, where are you from?"
50: "I am from Harare..."
There was a few seconds of silence as we all just stood there looking at each other. Mr. Bigshot smiles and starts shaking his head.
50: "Dang," -HA, like he really said that- "you Americans are either really brave, or God is looking out for you... I think it's both. People don't usually talk to me that way. So are you guys looking for someone who needs Jesus? Well I am that guy."
He then apologized for shaking my hand and having a gun on him. We got his info and told him we will have some other missionaries get in touch with him. He was way cool about everything though once I was real bold with talking to him and telling him what we do. I just realized that I really am not scared. I can feel that God is looking out for us, and honestly people respect us for what we are doing. All the gangsters here know us. They just yell, "Hey Eldah Tayne!" Gotta love when the peeps recognize yahh in dah hood. Now dats respect.
Keepin' it real gangsta and keepin' up my PMG game.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Monday, July 7, 2014

Stars and Stripes.

Lets all have a moment of silence for the USA soccer team. They were knocked out by Belgium in the World Cup...

Okay moment of silence is over. It truly was a sad thing though. I never got to see any of it, but I heard it was heartbreaking... this is coming from an African's point of view. Apparently our team is getting better. Hurrah for 'murica!
This week has been an interesting one. It was a bit slower because of a few things.
#1 It was raining SO hard this week. On an off though. So we would be at someones house and it would become all sunshine and rainbow's outside so we would assume we could leave. Right when we are walking away from the house Satan himself would start blowing winds that the big bad wolf would be impressed by, and rain would start coming down like the earth was destined to be flooded a second time. Then we would take refuge in a members home nearby only to have it clear up. Then once we would leave the same process would take place over and over again.
#2 I became deathly ill due to all the rain and long days. I was so destroyed by this illness that I wasn't allowed to go to the area by my district leader on Saturday. And then Friday in all honesty, I wasn't the best teacher while we were in lessons. I was struggling. But I am on the upswing now, so don't stress mum. 
#3 It was drinking week this week. So basically anyone and everyone we spoke to or were working with was drunk, or planning on getting drunk within the hour. So that was a bit of a bummer, but this coming week people will have to get back to their lives and stay sober... until the weekend that is.
So yeahh, like I said, those were a couple things that slowed us down, but it's alright. No unhallowed hand can stop the work of God. It continues to move forward. I got news that Siphenathi Nake, my first baptism, recently started coming back to church. His whole family is almost baptized. All the other recent converts are doing amazing as well. So that was something that really brought joy to my soul. In the missionary Preach My Gospel manual it says, "It is not enough for people to come into the church, they must come to stay." How true that is. People must come and stay and continue to enjoy the blessings that come through righteous living. So it made me so happy to hear those I taught and loved in Mdantsane are going strong.
Some highlights from this week.
#1 We got our new mission president. Our new president is awesome... apparently. I haven't met him yet. He recently outlawed iPods and said if any Elder is apostate, especially in leadership, he will step them down immediately. He is going to have elders start training earlier instead of waiting till you are over a year and a half to train. And with our old president everyone trained. No matter what kind of Elder you are. That's going to be a good change. I am excited to meet him and see what else changes during his reign. ;]
#2 We committed Happiness' cousin Chuma to baptism as well. And then also we committed a guy named Vuyusile, who is dating a member girl, to baptism. He said he wants to get baptized then get engaged and go to the temple with her. I am so excited for them. So there is a future eternal family that we are having a hand in helping. What joy comes from serving and seeing people grow close to God and find purpose in their life.
#3 Also, brother Gcina and I and whoever my companion will be (it's transfer week this week) are going to be opening up a new part of our area that has never been touched before. It's called drift sands. It's basically shack city. I am so stoked. That is where you find those who are truly searching.
As I said, it's been a good, but slow week. I am looking forward to the coming transfer. We are planning on a lot of baptisms as well as a lot of new work ahead of us.
Shout-out to Talmage for being a stud, and to my entire family for all the love.
And another shout-out to all of you who write and support me as well. I really can say it means the world to hear from you guys! 
Last shout-out to Tanner Clegg for heading out on a mission here in SA!
Real quick, I would challenge you all to study up on the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is such a foundation for everything that we do and believe. I can honestly say I know that Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw. In fact, I have never been more sure in my life. I came to that understanding and that conclusion through diligent prayer and seeking for a personal testimony. The sacrifices that he, Jesus Christ, and so many others have made for us to have this gospel amazes me. I would ask that we don't take what we have for granted. 
Elder Thayne
Pictures: Last P-Day with Elder Olsen. Jumping on a bouncy house. Don't worry, I asked the guy for permission.
Featuring: Elder Olsen, Elder Bohn, Elder Mashigo and yours truly.