Till the break of dawn, yo! - Name that movie.
Well this week was another slightly slow one. New Years Eve and New Years Day we didn't have any appointments set, since everyone was out of town, so we weren't able to do any work. But on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday we really got a lot of work done! Tracting, tracting and more tracting. Dad, what was the record you set for Book of Mormons given out in a week again?
Tuesday Elder Johnson and I were on exchanges again, and gosh me and him have some serious spiritual power going on between the two of us. We walked into a house (while tracting in the pouring rain). We had been tracting for a few hours and had some real cool experiences, but we walked into this house and sat down to start teaching two girls and a guy. All in their twenties and all siblings. Anyways, they had a question of baptism so we addressed that with them and perfecting led it into the restoration, it was pretty nice. We committed the two sisters to baptism, and their brother is praying about it before he gives us his answer. February first is the day! That blessing came from hours of tracting in the pouring rain. And of course, that blessing came as one of the last doors we knocked. The Lord wanted us to bring our "sixteen stones" -Brother of Jared- (hours of rain tracting) before Him, then He decided to bless us. Interesting how that works. I feel like so many of us will only bring 15 stones before him and then quit when the going get's tough. We quit right before the blessing comes. Enduring to the end is the hardest part, but the part that builds character and results in blessings..
We are also trying to get a brother married to his girlfriend (who is a less active member). His name is Senzo and her name is Linda. She has pretty much been reactivated the past few weeks, we just need to get them married then him and his daughter (Litha) can be baptized. He says this year is the year, I just feel like he should speed up the process. I don't know how to encourage him to do that though, any thoughts on that?
We contacted a few more families and individuals. But we weren't able to really gauge how well we think they will progress. At least until next week.
Miracle: We were walking down the street and we met a guy named Sia. We spoke with him all about the restoration, we gave him a pamphlet and told him to call us. Because he wouldn't set an appointment with us and didn't seem to interested. He was just kind of like, "Yeahh, yeahh, yeahh that's cool buthi." He then left to his friends house. His friend is named Zibele. Ten minutes later we see another guy walking on the road. We started walking and talking with him, get this, his name is Zibele! We get his contact details and set an appointment with him! He actually seemed really interested! He said, "Just a minute ago my friend said he was talking to some guys like you, we were reading that pamphlet you gave him. I guess God want's us to listen because here you are again." So we set the appointment for Saturday.
Elder Matini and I then went and visited with them on Saturday and had a powerful lesson on the Restoration and then followed up with teaching about the Book of Mormon. We really testified and touched their hearts! They could feel what we said was true. They both were really excited to hear about the Book of Mormon. They asked inspired questions and everything just went so well.
By the end I could see that Sia, even more than Zibele was feeling the spirit. We invited them to church the following day.
That night I prayed for all our investigators to come to church and I prayed specifically that in the fast and testimony meeting that someone would testify of the Book of Mormon and support what we had taught to them that day. Sia, Senzo and a few other people showed up to church. Of course, an old Tata got up and bore a POWERFUL testimony of Joseph Smith being a prophet, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints being the only true church, and that the Book of Mormon was a book of scripture brought forth by the hand and power of God. Thank you Heavenly Father. Faith + Works + Prayer = Miracles. I'm telling you.
The district is doing great. I honestly think it's the most powerful district I have been in. Everyone really brings so much to the table. And I don't feel like we are having to pull anyone along with us. It was really amazing to come into this companionship, and tell Elder Matini my vision for the transfer, and then he immediately decided to put away things that could hold us back and has been with me ever since. It's great. The work is progressing, I think these next few weeks the Lord will be really proud of the work we are doing. None of us are slacking, so the Lord has no reason not to bless us. And I think the cool thing is, we all have the complete faith and trust that He will. "Some blessings come now, some come later, and some don't come till after we die, but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come." - Jeffrey R. Holland
This week we were able as well to do some service. We chopped down a big ol' tree with only a couple Machete's! We felt pretty boss!
Also for new years we waited till midnight then stepped outside to the street only to see fireworks and everyone going crazy while they are drunk! Just cheering and basically having a semi controled riot. It was pretty crazy. We did have a picture taken with some of the people we saw outside! Then we heard five gunshots go off and decided there was a reason we probably shouldn't be out there. So we just went back inside and fell asleep.
And life is just amazing as a missionary out here in the South Africa Cape Town Mission. This month we are having what President calls a "Faith Extension Month." For one month we do things to build our faith and bring about success in our mission.
Week One: 6:30 am every day hit your knee's and pray for the success of the mission. And then on fast Sunday, fast for the success of the South Africa Cape Town Mission as a whole.
Week Two: Continue with week one goals, as well as knock on five doors every day.
Week Three: Continue with week one and two goals, and then create a goal you want to keep as a district. -Any thoughts on a good district goal?
Week Four: continue with all previous weeks and then create a goal you want to fulfill as a companionship. (We already know what we want to do.) Commit at least one person, per day to be baptized. - Boom Roasted.
Last thing, I have been pretty bothered with something throughout the past week. I got news that one of my recent converts here in Mdantsane has gone completely less active, he got into drugs, and last week while attempting to rob someone he stabbed and killed a guy. I don't know if any of you remember him, but his name is Athule.
Well obviously it's not something I should blame myself for, but it's something I definitely have been bothered with. I just feel so bad about the choices he made, especially since he is now held accountable, because he DOES know better. Alma 24:30 "And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things." There are other similar scriptures that teach that same principal.
Anyways, he is in prison at the moment. I have printed off a picture of his baptism and I have asked President Merrill for permission to visit with him and talk with him about the Atonement. As sad and down as I am, I can only imagine how he feels. He needs to hear the message of forgiveness more than ever.
I have such a solid testimony of the Atonement. Like I have said recently, my testimony begins and ends with Christs Atonement, that is how everything else works. That's how we are able to return to live with God again. I have also thought a lot about how Humility plays a role in the atonement. We must be humble enough to confess and forsake our sins and allow the Holy Spirit into our hearts to cleanse us. Because as we know, the holy ghost does the actual cleansing part. Then staying humble will help prevent future sin. It enables us to be forgiven and shields us from sin in the future. It's something I have thought about quite a bit recently. Pride is the root of all evil and all sin. I hope to go and testify to Athule, and remind him of this. If he does humble himself and go through the repentance process, I know he can find the peace he is looking for and that we all are seeking.
Well don't let that get you down! The gospel is the GOOD NEWS! Things are wonderful here in SA! I am so excited to have this fresh start and new perspective. I know I for one have changed so much since last year! Take advantage of the chance to change. And make sure we put Christ at the center of our focus for this year.
Also, you should see a picture of me wearing a snapback, then elder matini and elder johnson wearing some nasty shades, well that is a sneak peak of something that sister human is going to post on facebook of all of us and tag us in. So you should be seeing that sometime this week. We think it's funny. You might not, but hey don't blame us, we are missionaries. #missionlyfe
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne