Monday, January 19, 2015

Akon Xhaki.‏

What's kickin' everyone?!
Want me to tell you how this week went?... Yeahh you guessed it... Amazing! Is that getting old for all of you to hear that week after week? Don't worry, I am sure I'll have a hard week sometime in the next ten months. That'll change things up a bit.
Well this week we had exchanges with the AP's. I'll have to share some stories about that later. It was unreal. I learned some lessons and we had some great experiences.
We had interviews and a training from President Merrill this week as well. He spoke about the miracles that are happening throughout the mission. It's actually kind of unbelievable all the things that are happening. Miracle after miracle was shared. He shared a few things that had happened to our district as well which was fun.
Then we had interview's with President. It's the best feeling in the world to just look your mission president in the eye's and you both know that you have been giving it all. We just sat there with a goofy grin on our faces. We opened with prayer and he then was able to touch base with me about how things are going and ask me questions. He also gave me an idea of his vision for me and what I can help this mission accomplish which was really eye opening. It was all in all a really great interview. He told me who my next companion will be and what I will need to do to help him.
Also, in preparation for my new companion, Elder Matini and I have continued to work hard. We have loads of people that are in the early stages of progressing. Now we just need them to get through more lessons and continue keeping commitments, then I know my new companion and I will baptize many. In my interview with President he had a prophetic moment where he promised that we will baptize many souls this next transfer, if we remain obedient and diligent. I plan to test that promise. I also was able to speak to Elder Johnson about a vision for our district next transfer. We are grateful for where Elder Shabalala has brought us, now we want to take it to another level as well, if possible. I really believe that everyone will see continued progression coming from this district and ward, especially over the next transfer.
Cool experience: Elder Matini and I had just sat down on the curb for a little rest by our flat waiting for the other Elders to pick us up when I noticed a Tata working to pull out a stump. So we walked over and helped uproot it. Anyways, since he was our neighbor we introduced ourselves and asked about him. Come to find out he just moved in maybe three weeks ago with his family. He attends the Methodist church, but he said he is very open to hearing our message. Especially since the church is almost in his backyard! So we set a time to go see him this week, I feel really good about it! Seems like a jackpot of a family. Very prepared.
We also had a great experience with Elder Manzini (our AP) on exchanges. I learned a great lesson. Throughout the day we were praying very specifically for what we wanted. We said we wanted a father-led family, and that we would knock on five doors while searching for them. Anyways, we had a lot of humbling experiences which resulted in not a lot of success. By the end of the day we stopped asking for that in particular. We had about one hour left and we prayed only asking that we would be led to someone who needed the gospel. We stepped out of the car and met a mama who took us inside to meet her husband. We then taught the restoration, committed the family to be baptized, and pointed out and taught them of the feelings of the spirit. It was a very powerful lesson. 
A lesson that was even more powerful was the lesson I learned from that day. I realized that while praying for these blessings that we very specifically wanted, we were also binding God's hands. We were almost creating God in OUR own image. We were telling Him what WE wanted, and in how much time. Instead of asking for guidance and help to find and bless someone's life. I was extremely humbled, and I shared that thought with the elders after we all met together to finish our exchanges. Elder Manzini as well had a powerful experience after I shared that thought with him as he prayed. I think we all learned a lot from that, and I, once again, was brought down to the depths of humility. Yes, we should pray specifically for that which we need and would like help with and what we are grateful for, but we should not lay down exactly HOW or WHAT we want the Lord to bless us with. Prayer is power, we need to use it in the right way.
Also, I don't know if anyone knew this since Mum just asked about my mission car, I am in a walking area. It's a really big one too. We walk from one end of it to the other on any given day. It's worn my shoes down pretty good. But since we have been working hard and having a lot of success, our President is trying to figure out a way to give us a car to help the work move forward. That is a HUGE blessing. Trust me when I say, that never happens. I am hoping it all works out. Speaking of driving, how is my licence coming? Loosing that was the worst thing I've ever done. Haha.
Last week after seeing all the people at church our bishop said, "Do you see everyone here at church!? It's amazing. I want you Elders to have all of sacrament meeting next Sunday. Speak on whatever you want and whatever you feel." 
Anyways, we all spoke on different things, and then tied them into missionary work. I spoke on John 17:3 in my talk yesterday. The talk was focused on "Why do we do what we do?" Why do we go to church, why do we read the scriptures, why do we pray, why do we keep the commandments, why do we go to the temple... That is where Christ gave us the answer. We do all those things in an attempt to come to KNOW or to come closer to God. It's really cool. 
The spirit was apparent and people we so excited. I invited everyone as well to help others come to know God as they have. This mama came up to me afterword in tears saying the spirit had touched her. She was saying how eloquent we were and how powerful the talks were. (You see what I mean when I say that Xhosa mama's are the sweetest people on this planet?) Anyways, she wrote down and quoted some of my "last words" in my testimony. I just said, "The moment you loose yourself in this great work of drawing others closer to God, I can testify you will finally find yourself, and when you find yourself, you will be sitting at His feet in the last day." - I can honestly say those weren't my words. The spirit truly does speak through us to touch the hearts of others. But we need to be a clean and worthy vessel for that to happen. When we are clean, then I can testify that it DOES happen.
Sorry if this whole email is a little jumbled. There is a guy who really is kind of gone who just keeps staring and yelling in Xhosa. He is completely drunk as well. So needless to say, I have been a bit distracted.
We have a brother named Songezo who we are teaching. He is Senzo's brother. Senzo is the guy we are teaching and trying to help get married to his girl friend Linda so we can baptize him. He is an ultra powerful guy. At church every week, baring testimony and sharing comments. Real great. Anyways, Songezo met with us last week and right after the opening prayer he asked a question. He said, "Elders, I need to make a confession. Should I confess to you, or your pastor or what?" Well we then explained to him what he was trying to do was start going through the repentance process. He then shared with us about how he had a child with a girl and when she was a few months pregnant he left. It's been a couple years since he has seen them and recently he went back to amend things and they refuse to let him see his daughter or have hardly any communication with any of them. I don't blame them.
Well Songezo shared his desire to make this right and own up for his mistakes. We shared with him ideas on how he can begin the repentance process and were able to really touch him. As we shared about the all encompassing power of the Atonement I could see he was touched. The spirit really drove the message home and you could see a complete change in his countenance. We are meeting with him this week to continue to work with him and give him a more in depth understanding of what he must do in order to repent and grow closer to God. What a guy. I really do have a lot of respect for him, his humility and his desire to do what is right. Please pray for him.
Also my suit ripped again. So I sewed it. President "suggested" that I get a new suit. Haha it's pretty faded. So that's something I'll have to do soon. Also, he told me there is no way my shoes will last the rest of my mission. Then there is a new mandate to get shoulder bags for sure and get rid of all backpacks. So the home account is gonna have to prepare for a major hit. Xolo (sorry) family.
Ohh, enjoy all the pictures. We saw a fire. It was crazy. Also there are some shots of us at this huge bat cave thing that was amazing. And then Elder Matini and I have a picture where we are freaking out because of all the food we have on the plate. We got fed twice that day... Our stomachs just about split as wide as the grand canyon.
Elder Thayne

Ohh and then there is a picture with Mama Prescilla (She is one of the people we are teaching who has a baptismal date. We found her my second day in the area. I absolutely love her. Her first time at church she stood up to introduce herself and said, "I am Sister Prescilla, and I love Jesus." Then she just sat down... Legendary woman.), Semi and I at church. Dad - Can you do me a favor and look up a few schools that have good agriculture programs in the states? Probably around Utah. Mama wants to study this side. ALSO- the Human family is looking to move to Utah, Mom I told sister human to get in touch with you if she needs anything. Just a heads up.

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