Monday, September 29, 2014

Ngubani Ongasithanda Zelayo (Who would like to pray?)‏

“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart." - Martin Luther King Jr.

That quote basically sums up how I feel right now. I almost always am at a loss of words when I am preparing to write to everyone and report on how my mission experience is going. All I can say is it is wonderful. I love what I am doing.

I have been studying charity as of late and charity is something that we just had our district meeting on. I have had some real powerful insights that I wanted to share with all of you. I said something while in district meeting, well the spirit said something through me, that has really stuck with me. So many times in life people ask, "If God really loves me, why is life so hard?" Or "If God is there why doesn't he bless me with what I want/need?" I had the thought that, "Blessings are conditional upon obedience, God's love isn't." That really sums it up. God will love us whether we are good or evil, but he can only bless us as we have obeyed his commandments. He never stops loving us. He is desperately waiting for us to just do what he asks so he can immediately bless us. Over and over we just go more into debt to him for his kindness and love.

I have come to the conclusion that love is an emotion, but charity is that emotion in action. We show love through living a charitable life. 1 Cor 13 is a killer chapter on charity. Same with Moroni 7:45-48, It really puts into perspective how important charity/love is in this gospel. In Romans 13:8-10 tells how if we live the commandments to Love God and love our neighbor will help us fulfill every other commandment.

This week was a great one. We didn't have a ton of success while trying to do missionary work, but we have had some great lessons with a few people. We always end up closing our lessons with, "Who would like to pray?". This lady named Monica told us that she hates when we ask that question, because when we ask that question it means that it's time for us to leave. When we told her that Elder Chapman was going to leave she started crying and telling us how much he has helped her. It was a special moment. He really felt like he had done some great things while being here, and that is the greatest feeling that a missionary can have!

I am really sad that I am going to loose my companion Elder Chapman! He is probably my favorite companion that I have had. We have worked so hard together and have done so much good. I love him a lot. I came to follow-up train him, but I feel like I have learned just as much if not more from him. 

I am going to get my new companion on Wednesday! His name is Elder Dryer. I am assuming he is from Utah, but I won't know until Wednesday when I pick him up! I am really excited to train him and do my best to help set a good tone for him on his mission. I am sure we will love each other lots and do some good here in Panorama.

I love you all! Thanks for the support and prayers, I can feel it! 

Send me some letters! It's been dry the past couple weeks!

Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne
South Africa Cape Town Mission
PO Box 181, Observatory
Cape Town, 7935
Republic of South Africa

Love you all! Chews The Write.

Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Enjoy some of the crazy pictures. Elder Chapman and I watched the sunset in Cape Town. It was amazing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

What to expect when you're expecting.‏

Elder Chappy and I with President and Sister Merrill.

Well,  you will all find out sooner or later, so I'll just come right out and say it... I am pregnant.  No, it's not like you are thinking though. I basically just told that I should be expecting a "son". Meaning, I'll be training a new Elder that is coming into the mission. President Merrill came to our district meeting and was talking to me about it. He said since I get along with black people so well I was going to be getting the one African elder that was coming here, but then apparently the Elder didn't get his visa, so I am going to be getting an American. I felt pretty complimented. And I am honestly pretty excited either way! I am going to have a new Elder that is from America, so we will actually be able to relate to each other about a lot more things than mission. It'll be cool. I will be getting him next week Wednesday.

So knowing that and after receiving some inspiration from Dad. I want to "re-dedicate" my temple/body to the service of the Lord. I honestly felt that I was serving hard and faithfully, but I know that there are always areas that we can choose to focus on and get better at. Especially since I am preparing to train a new elder. When you train it's a bit of a big deal because you are literally setting the standard for someone's entire mission. President was telling us that he first selects his trainers, then his assistant, then the zone leaders, then district leaders. He said THE most important job in the mission is to train. So I feel quite the responsibility on my shoulders right now. I am definitely trying to find areas I need to work on to improve so that I can best help the new elder I am going to train.

Now to tell you about this week! Things have been great. We taught 30 lessons this week, baptized four people, committed another two to baptism, ran down a guy who stole my deodorant and then even got fed twice this Sunday.
Now to break down all those stories I just mentioned.
-We taught thirty lessons. Really there isn't too much more to say on the subject. We just were able to see so many people and only had a few of the appointments drop. So lots of them held. It was so nice.
-We just had another four baptisms. Tammy Leroux, Kegan Leroux, Charles DeBeer and Mikhal Johnson. Yeahh, it was amazing yesterday! Our mission president just showed up randomly with his wife to come to our baptism. And yeahh, it was a BIT intimidating because last second there wasn't a teacher for Gospel Principals class, so they asked me. Of course my Mission Pres and his wife are sitting front row. It went well though. I really felt the spirit do the teaching. We spoke of the spirit world and how there IS life after death. A few investigators were really intrigued at the new doctrine and asked a lot of awesome questions. President Merrill's comments were really eye opening. Then during my testimony at the end we had a few people start crying. The spirit was so strong and it was just awesome to be able to carry that same spirit into the

baptismal service.
The actual baptism went great. I baptized Tammy and Mikhal, and Elder Chapman baptized Kegan and Charles. All of the are such powerful wonderful people. Tammy and Kegan and siblings from a once less-active family that we re-activated. They are now all preparing and wanting to go to the temple next year! I sure love the Leroux family. They are now all active members of the Lords church. Mikhal is the 9 year old boy of a once less-active now re-activated family as well. He is doing great. And then Charles is the guy who once had schizophrenia, had us give him a blessing, and now because of his faith he is completely healed.
- We were teaching Malvin and Monica. Monica is a fifty something year old woman and Malvin is her 30 year old son. While talking with them about the gospel of Jesus Christ, Monica brought up how Malvin had been struggling BIG time with drinking and smoking. He then started to explain and got really emotional saying he had a big desire to change. We spoke about how the Atonement of Christ is what can help us change. He said he wanted to change and make it last, so we invited him and Monica to be baptized. They said they want to pray about it. We are waiting for their response, but I know it'll be a yes. Monica said she already knows it's true because of the feelings she has had, but she wants a definite answer.
- A guy was walking by our car and he opened up the door and the only thing in the back was a white shirt and my deodorant. Maybe because he had a date later that night he felt the need to smell nice. So he snatched it out of the car. I just threw open my door and started chasing him down. (Yes, I know I shouldn't have done that.) He got real scared and I yelled "Isela!" It means "thief" in Xhosa. Some guys grabbed him and then he gave it to them just as I was running up and he said, "Sorry Paster!" and then ran off. Pretty crazy, but I got my old spice back.
- And then we got fed by the Leroux family and by Sister Vantandant. So that was really nice. Being fed twice in one day just feels so good. I wish we could have that every day.
That's about it for this week! I am still LOVING mission. I have grown so accustomed to how life is here. South Africa is my home. 
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne
There is the picture of our baptisms!
Then Tammy and Kegan Leroux with all the goodies they had for us after a MASSIVE meal that even Chapman couldn't finish.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Top of the mornin' to yahh.‏

I am feeling rather happy today. I think it's just because we had such an amazing week last week. Something that happens when the spirit is in your life I realized.

Well right off the bat Elder Chapman and I hung out with Elder Mchunu (One of my best friends on mission.) and his companion Elder Williams all p-day (Monday) last week. It was pretty nice. We went to the gym and played squash with each other. Elder Chapman is actually way fast for a big guy, and he has been playing for the past three transfers, so he pretty much destroyed us all. We then went to a couple members homes with the two tag-along Elders. We gave a spiritual thought and a prayer to a man who recently fell and hurt his back. We would have gave him a blessing, but we have been directed to try and leave those things to members in the ward so they can gain experience and be supporting and helping each other. They need to be able to be self-reliant without always relying on the missionaries to give the blessings and visit the sick. So the bishop and the brothers home teacher had been sent the day before to give him a blessing. It was a really good day, lots of fun and relaxation with a good end on a spiritual note.

As of late though I have had to dip into my home account WAY too much. The reason being, all of our food that Elder Chapman and I bought for the cycle is already gone, our stove broke and we don't have  microwave AND on top of that Chappy doesn't have any home account at all.. And the guy sure eats a lot of food. So it's been a lot of cheap pizza's, mcdonalds and relying on dinner appointments with the members for us to survive the past couple weeks. Doesn't sound like Africa does it? Poor chappy eats a lot, so I've had to help him out until he gets his home account card again. So there is a bit of an explanation on why money has been seeping out of the card, sorry! He is the best though, so he is worth it. :] His parents thank us.

Tuesday was definitely another great day. We went to teach a bunch of less-actives and recent converts. We taught Rodger specifically about enduring to the end. Rodger is someone that Elder Taylor and Elder Chapman baptized. He made some HUGE changes in his life and is really making the change stick and we want him to continue on the path that he has started. He was once drinking, in and out of prison and all around one of THE worst people I have ever heard of (not to sound judgmental). Everyone who knew him was pretty disgusted by him. But now, only two or so months after his baptism, he is extremely well loved and respected by most people. People have seen how he changed and are really coming to him for advice and help with things. It's really cool to see his level of conversion.

So Rodger plays a role in how our Wednesday went. So on Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Winebrenner. He is a brand new Elder from England and this was the first exchange of his mission... Yay! We get along pretty well. Anyways, we were still in my area and we had the car, the issue was I had NO idea where anyone but Rodger lived. So we drove there, called our appointments and explained that I wouldn't be able to find their houses and just rescheduled with them. 

We parked the car at Brother Rodgers house and started walking in Elsies River. Three white guys, us Elders and our fellow-shipper Leon, in the coloured area was a pretty big shocker to everyone who saw us. We said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to open peoples doors and their hearts to our message. Specifically asking him to help us find those who wanted to change or grow closer to him. Well we picked a street (little did we know it was an off limits area for tracting because it is so dangerous in that part of Elsies River) and started knocking doors. We knocked on ten doors, and got into eight. It was the most powerful day of tracting I have had my entire mission. Every house we got into, we taught the opening subjects of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and worked on building a relationship of trust with each person/family. We set return appointments with all eight households and are planning on seeing them this week.

3 of the houses that we got into were because we told them that Rodger had heard our message and changed his life. They had known Rodger before and were shocked. They let us in and loved what we had to share! The spirit was so apparent and we felt as though we were on cloud nine. All smiles. Elder Winebrenner wants to do exchanges every week now! As I said, it was a highlight of my mission. I have an even further strengthened testimony of the power of prayer and God's ability to soften hearts of stone. D&C 84:88 "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." I felt that promise. 

The rest of our week was kind of a bust. Our appointments dropped like flies every day and things just didn't seem to work out... But after my experience Wednesday I couldn't be brought down. This is a great work that we have undertaken. Satan will try to do everything he can to slow it down, but we can take heart, we already knows who wins in the end. It's a nice feeling to be on the winning team.

Before I end I have a real funny story for you guys. You probably wont think it's funny, you had to be there.

We had two fellow-shippers in the car, JJ and Leon. Both of them are super white and a bit dorky. And then we also had a female investigator there whose name is Tammy. JJ and Leon had been telling us a bunch of riddles. Anyways JJ said, "So did you figure out the riddle?" Then Leon looked at him with a cheeky grin, "Which one!?" Then they burst out into the most ridiculous dorky laughing fit I have ever heard. Tammy just started looking out the window smiling and me and Chappy couldn't help but almost die laughing. It was hilarious. Maybe you had to be there, but it was great.

Anyways, I love you all loads! The church is true! Find someone this week that you can be an example to.


Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Here are some good ol' pictures for you guys. If you didn't want to see this ugly mugg, sorry.

One is me with my BRAND new scriptures. I needed them super bad because my other scriptures I had since I was eight. They have been pretty bruised and abused. 

Then there is me and Chappy with our fellow-shipper Leon. 

Then just a picture of me with some crazy coloured kids in Elsies River. Party rocking. We chased pigs and goats together, we bonded big time.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Ladies and Gentleman, the moment you've all been waiting for. In this corner, weighing one hundred and seventy pounds, with a record of 10,000 doors knocked, countless testimonies born and commitments extended, it's the undisputed, most humble missionary in the world, Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne.
Just kidding.
On a serious note, South Africa has never seen a companionship like Elder Chapman and I. We are lighting it up here. Actually, correction, the Lord is lighting this place up. We have been working like two farm boys. Panorama is exploding. We have had some SWEET experiences this past week that I'll share with y'all.
First off I wan't to share some miracles with you. Remember Mashae? The little down syndrome girl that we all for sure thought was going to pass away? Well, we gathered as "a family" and said a prayer asking that if it is God's will if she can stay here with the family for a bit longer. Well the prayer was answered. All of the sudden the fluid in her lungs was gone. She was able to breathe on her own and was even waving and stopped crying. Faith brings miracles.
Another amazing miracle. We have been teaching a guy named Charles. He is in his late twenties I think. Anyway, he has schizophrenia. It has troubled him for quite a while. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can cause the person to shake uncontrollably, see or hear things that aren't there and clutter their mind so they can't think straight or properly. Well Charles had been studying the scriptures and meeting with us missionaries for the past two months and he said he felt like he had the faith to be healed by the priesthood. He is a powerful guy. He showed us scriptures from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon that showed if we have sufficient faith, then the Lord will heal us. He asked me to give the blessing and Elder Chapman was in it as well. He received the blessing and immediately stopped shaking. It's been almost a week and he says he can control the shaking, he isn't confused and he is understanding people and the gospel better than ever. Basically his whole life is changing. He is someone that if Christ asked him to walk on water, he probably would.
We also took him out to meet some other investigators. One of which was Monica. She is a fifty something year old lady that we have been teaching for several visits now. She has gained such a solid testimony SO fast. And this came without even going to the church on Sunday yet. She said that what we say just feels right. She knows that this is the Lord's church because she can feel it. We explain and answer questions she didn't even know she had till we brought them up. She also has a son named Malvin who is a bit of a troublemaker. He is around thirty and could use our prayers. He has sat in on a few lessons, but really needs something to push him over the edge to come to church. Monica hasn't been able to attend yet because of work commitments, but she is working something out for Sundays in the future.
As for me personally I am doing well. Yes, sometimes it is weird for me working with and being around all these Mlungu's, but it's something that I am learning so much from. My testimony and understanding of the scriptures and the gospel as a whole is just deepening and being strengthened. I can honestly say I am going to be really sad when my mission is over. I have grown to love SA and the people so much. I am still a good 14 months away before that will happen, but it feels like time is going too fast.
I am constantly humbled by the sacrifices that saints over here are making to stay close to the Lord. Some will walk for like an hour or so every Sunday to get to church then take another hour walk back home afterwords. And they wont even tell people that. I found out a brother has been doing that for like the past three years, and we didn't even know till we saw him far away walking to the church. People's faith is humbling.
I love you guys so much!
Funny story.
Elder Chapman and I were driving around elsies river trying to decide a place that we would want to tract. We saw a bunch of little girls at these apartment complexes that were skipping rope. So I told chappy that we had to go skip with them. As we were attempting to skip we started having people gather around and laugh at us/with us... but mostly they laughed at us. Well we then started talking to all the people and we got a bunch of people's information and set appointments with them and their families to talk with them more about the gospel.
So we followed Jesus' example and hung out with little kids for ten minutes. As a result peoples hearts were softened and they wanted us to come teach them. Kind of sweet.
Helaman 8:15 & 2 Nephi 31:21
As we look to Christ we can live. There is no other way nor name given under heaven whereby we can be saved in the kingdom of God. How blessed are we to have such a Savior who would die for us so that we might live?
I love you all. Cheers.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Monday, September 1, 2014

Malia eh faifekau. (Mission is going good.) - Tongan‏

It's been quite a week.

I am basically loving mission at this moment. Part of the reason is because I had the chance to go back and baptize Esam and Vuyusile. It felt like a hero's welcome home. Yeahh, no more lone soldier. 

It was pretty great actually. After attending our church, which was a bit of a bummer because we only had three investigators there, we ran over to Mandalay to have the baptism. When we got there and I stepped out of the car it felt like I had been gone for two years. People were running up and screaming and hugging me. They were all asking a million questions and saying how much they missed me. I couldn't help but laugh because I had only been gone for a week and a half, but they were so sweet and I could really feel the love.

After that we found out that we wouldn't be having the baptism at Mandalay in the little set up pool. The baptism had been moved to Mitchells Plain. (I know right, Mitchell Thayne baptizing in Mitchells Plain. HA.) After fitting six people in the car and driving over I found out that I would not only be baptizing Esam, as I had been told, but I would also be baptizing Vuyusile! I was all for it though! He is such a powerful guy who will actually be getting engaged to a member girl in the next couple of weeks... ETERNAL MARRIAGE! 

After a great service and everything I went over with them how the baptism goes down. "Okay good, now plug your nose. Now bend your knee's when I put you under... Yes bend them. Ohh, and don't let go of your nose when I am pulling you up, that never works out well."

The baptisms themselves went really smoothly. The spirit was so apparent. Those that were baptized were asked to bare their testimonies. They all cried. It was a powerful moment. Really one of those days that made mission worth the sacrifice.

After the baptism I was able to go visit with brother Gcina and go around Site C with him and Elder Chapman. Good ol' Chappy was shocked to see everyone living in shacks and doing things. We had drunk people running up to us telling us how happy they were to see us in Khayelitsha and how happy they were that we were white. It was pretty hilarious.

On a sad note. Last week I think I told all of you about Mashae. She is a little down syndrome two year old who has a hole in her heart. We are really close with her family, the Leroux. Anyways, we went and visited her and the family in the hospital last Wednesday. They asked me to give her a blessing. When you give a blessing you just say the thoughts and impressions that come to your heart. I spoke about how she come here, gained a mortal body, united her family and now it was time to go home. She is struggling, and it looks like she will pass away. It was a very spiritual and touching experience though. We have been supporting the family and giving them scriptures and lessons which have been helping them a lot. They have such amazing faith.

Chappy and I this week have also been up to a lot of teaching on some days, and a whole lot of NOTHING on other days. On Saturday we had an appointment every single hour from 1-8. Guess how many of them dropped? Eight. So that was a bummer day, but then the next day made everything good with the baptisms.

We have a fellow-shipper named Leon. He is a nice guy. He is preparing for his mission and comes out with us most days. He tends to try and teach the whole lesson, but he is really honestly so great. He tries really hard. His Aunt who recently went through a divorce has also been really struggling. I was hearing about how hard and sad it is to go through something like that. We were able to testify to her about God's love. And moments like that truly are when we need to reach for God most. She talked about how she is worried that others will judge her. I was able to really feel her on that subject and was able to testify that ultimately it doesn't matter. Most people try to point out the "mote in their brothers eye" but fail to see or take care of the beam in their own. We just need to worry about ourselves. Then once we are good then we can assist our brothers and sisters in their change as we do it with love. She seemed to feel real good about it and she came to church.

Last thing, Elder Chapman is a super buff tongan stud, so his family and him want him to go to a gym to stay fit and keep his muscle. It's for football and everything back home. So I got a gym membership as well so he could continue to stay in shape. He has been absolutely destroying my body. I am so sore every day. I know it's good for me though. I want to keep it up and stay fit my whole mission. Chappy eats a ton though. Let me tell you.

Well we also hiked to a waterfall this week, got chased by some coloured gangsters and their dogs and then also taught a 7 people family that all live together from Zimbabwe. They are all above twenty and SO powerful. We hope to get them to church this week.. And get this... they have a car.

I have no time to tell you all the stuff that happened, but things are going so well. I am loving my mission and loving the people here. Even though they aren't my Xhosa people, they are still amazing and faithful.

I love you all!

Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne