Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.... Psych.‏

Happy Christmas Everyone!
Wow, can you believe it's already been a whole year since the last one? Maybe the kids can for sure believe it, but those of us that are getting a bit older can probably all agree that this one came around almost way too fast! ;] But in all seriousness, it's nice to have it be the Christmas season again... Even though South African Christmas' look nothing like what we have back home.
The past couple of weeks we have really been trying to get the spirit of Christmas here with our teaching. We have been going around offering to share a Christmas message about Jesus Christ, and people have been so much more receptive I think just because of the time of year. We also have been doing massive amounts of service. I daresay I have done more service during this month then I have the other 11 months of this year. It's been a crazy daily thing.
Thursday evening before we had our Zone Conference the next day the AP's called us and asked if we would be willing to work with them for a couple hours. So us four elders (Matini, Shabalala, Johnson and I) met at the Amalinda chapel. The AP's then said they wanted to go out with us for a hour and a half and give out 4 pamphlets, 1 Book of Mormon and 10 pass-along cards. The Zone Leaders and AP's split us elders up. I went with Elder Stratton our ZL. He is from Logandale, Nevada, which is near Las Vegas. Stratton and I are real good friends, so we were really excited. We all knelt down and asked our Heavenly Father to bless us to give out all and even more of our materials to prepared individuals.
We then drove to scenery park, which is in the other guy's area and went to work. Ohh man, I wish I had all day to tell you guys what happened with us. Essentially all you need to know is, we helped a mama paint her house as we talked to her. Then we walked another mama and all her groceries home as we talked to her and once we got to her house we walked in on four other individuals who lived in four different homes. All four said they would love missionaries to come visit and share the special message of Christ with them and their families. 
When we were walking back we accidentally walked past the turn to go back towards the car, we stopped by two awesome people that were washing their car. A man and a woman. Both individuals were very strong in their church. The man told me, "In my church all we preach and talk about is Jesus. Yoh Buthi, you guys are so young and so dedicated. Most boys your age are drinking and out with the sisi's." Well that was about the best opening I think I have ever had to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon. I pulled out a Book of Mormon and flipped over to 2 Nephi 25:26, "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." I shared with him how that is what we teach and learn in our church. How we had been raised and taught since we were young in our church that Christ is the way that we can be happy and that the gospel was truly the only way of living. That hit this brother right between the eyes. He asked if he could read the book and I told him he could have it for free.
I turned over to look at Elder Stratton and saw him plopped down on a bush talking to this sister and showing her a verse as well from the Book of Mormon. He is such a stud. I am telling you, those words in the Book of Mormon have such power. We got their contacts and went on our way. We had other run-in's with other people, but those were by far the most powerful.
This past week has been so awesome. We had an amazing Zone Conference with President Merrill. When he came into the mission he had a vision for us all. He said #1 - We WILL be a mission of exact obedience. #2 - We will develop the faith to test the promises of God. #3 - 5,5 & 5. (Explanation on five, five and five: Focus on and work with five investigators, five recent converts and five less actives every week.) Seeing as he already came in and destroyed most if not all of the disobedience in our mission, the focus for this Zone Conference was to help us missionaries develop the faith needed to test the promises of God.
President focused on the brother of Jared and the faith that he showed and possessed. He compared the 16 stones that the brother of Jared brought before the Lord as an offering and asked the Lord to bless him with the rest. He said as missionaries we need to do EVERYTHING we can and bring our offering and our "16 stones" to the Lord and ask him to make up for where we lack. I can't really explain or tell everything that he shared with us, but as always he inspired us to be better.
Elder Matini and I have been hitting the streets. Right after Zone Conference we had just made it back to the boarding. We were both so pumped up about anything and everything that had to do with missionary work. So once we were home we grabbed a Book of Mormon, 3 Restoration pamphlets and 3 Plan of Salvation pamphlets and knelt down to ask the Lord to bless us with people that would be willing to hear our message. We prayed to find those who were honestly seeking and wanting to change. We specifically asked for what we needed, and we had the faith that the Lord would have children prepared. We then jogged over to the plaza where we had prayed about finding those individuals. On our way there, we stopped a brother who was walking down the street. We shared a bit about how the Lord's one and only true church had been restored and how we knew this knowledge would bless him in his life. I love how we get to be so bold about all of this. Since it's the truth I never feel I have to mince words! He gave us his details and asked us to call him. 
We continued jogging only to see another brother carrying a big bag of pork. Elder Matini and I offered to carry it for him seeing as he looked really tired, he accepted and we started to walk with him and share. He told us how things were a bit hard for him at work, then he went on to say how he lives with his two brothers in a flat that is in Elder Shabalala's and Elder Johnson's area. We spoke to him and he said he would love to have them come by in the next day or two and share the message with his brothers and him. This guy was probably mid-forties, so we found some serious kingdom builders! Yeahh, it was a bit of a bummer that he wasn't in our area, but who cares? It's all the same work!
We then stood on the corner and were able to contact several other people who lived in other elder's areas. S'all good. We ended up giving out all the different pamphlets we had brought with us. We tested the promises of the Lord, and blessings were rained down on us.
I am going to send a little Christmas email this week. So hope you all enjoy it! Thanks for the support and love. It means the world. Your prayers for this area and our investigators is the best Christmas present that you could have given me.
Elder Thayne

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