Monday, January 12, 2015

"I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say."‏

This is the best part of Africa.  
"Suffer the children to come unto me."

Hey you beautiful people.
Blessings have been raining down on us lemme tell yahh. We are more soaking wet with blessings than Gene Kelly in "Singing in the Rain" was with water. I have to say it was because we have been doing our best to be obedient and diligent with the commandments the Lord has given us.
This week things have been honestly amazing. I attribute it to the fact that the entire mission has been praying and fasting for our success as a whole. I have never seen the hand of God more obviously working through me during my mission then I have this past week.
We have been working extremely hard to help the work move forward. The past few weeks we have worked really hard but not seen too much success as a result of our efforts. This week we really put our best foot forward, and we have seen the difference. We had the opportunity to teach so much. We have found and met with so many different people. Some of which look like they are really seeking the truth. 
We set several baptismal dates this past week. I have really just learned the importance of right off the bat letting people know WHY we are there. Elder Johnson and I on exchanges set 5 more baptismal dates for their area. Because we were bold and it was done with the spirit, the investigators felt the call to rise up and be better, so they did! Elder Matini and I did similar things in our area. And the blessings have come.
I was extremely humbled this week to walk into the chapel and see it slowly filling up. It got to the point where there wasn't room for people to sit comfortably. I haven't ever seen a chapel so full the entire time I have been in Africa. God is without a doubt working along side us. Jacob 5:72. 
Everything with the work has been going great, and I am excited to see how the Lord will bless us this coming week. Especially since we are having Zone Training and interviews, I'll be seeing President Merrill soon. I am going to tell him how I am loving this area, and I would love to stay. 
Elder Matini and I the past week or so have really been focused on going over how to teach the lessons and how to teach them more clearly. He has improved so much, and I know that by the end of this transfer he will be absolutely powerful. Since english is his second language sometimes it is hard for him to teach clearly to people's understanding. 
I do love Elder Matini. I think he is ready to be a senior companion. He is learning a lot. I recently told President that same thing. He is ready to take on more responsibility. I think he will rise to the occasion once he receives the call.
Guess what everyone? We burnt Elder Shabalala's shoes for his 18 month mark. It was pretty sweet. Had some good ol' fire jumping and took some nice pictures. Reminded me of when I was a dumb 13 year old kid doing that stuff at scout camp. Shout-out to my Lehi 23rd Ward brothers! I am sad to say I won't be able to burn my shoes once I am as old as him, because if I did that I wouldn't have any shoes to go to church with for my last six months. I am hoping I can make these ones last till the end of my mission. I have glued the sole back onto the shoe for the third time. Hopefully it stays on for more than a month this time.
I gotta be real. I have been bit so many times by so many dang mosquito's. And then on top of that we have lizards that are crawling all over our boarding. So we did a major cleanup party and we sealed up the windows. Once the windows were sealed we made our entire boarding a gas chamber of toxic death to any and all bugs. Our boarding still reeks of "Doom" spray. So worth it though. I can finally stop itching myself like a flea infested dog.
Our district seems to be doing great. Elder Johnson, Elder Shabalala, Elder Matini and I are loving the work together. We held a Missionary Fireside in our ward this past Saturday. We had a decent turnout. There were a lot of the members who afterword really seemed pumped to assist in the work. We were told that the last time a missionary fireside had been done was in 2010.. So it'd been way too long, but I feel like a lot of member missionary work will result from that. We used Presidents 4 steps to building faith outline. Desire, Faith, Action & Witness. First we have to have a desire (that's the easy part) then we need to practice faith which will lead us to take action. Once we DO the thing that will build our faith we will receive a witness from the Holy Ghost and our testimony will be all the stronger. They all really appreciated that. I'll let you know how working with the members in the future will go!
We also had a meeting with our Bishop and he told us how grateful he is to have four missionaries in his ward that KNOW why they are here and serving not only the people they are teaching, but also those in the ward. He said some extremely complimentary things that helped motivate us to continue working with the leadership in the ward. We correlated on those that he is concerned for and talked about how we can better help them and strengthen their faith. It was touching to hear his testimony and see him seek revelation from the Lord on who needed our help the most.
We are all working hard, and have really caught hold of the vision for this mission as a district. The zone leaders as well have been doing a great job of showing that as well. They lead by example. And that is the best kind of leadership. They show us how it's done, and invite us to do the same.
We were giving a Book of Mormon to this drunk guy and he looked at it... held it up to my face as if he were comparing the two, and smacked me in the side of the head with it. "This is American!" So we took back the Book of Mormon and went on our way laughing.
We have been working to help Senzo and Linda get married. He came to church and there was a lesson on putting the Lord first in our lives, then everything else will fall into place. It was kind of the whole "seek ye first the kingdom of God" idea. It really touched him. So last night as we met with them he expressed his desire to put the Lord first. I told him how important it was for him and his daughter to be baptized and progress so that someday He, Linda and their daughter Litha could be sealed together forever. Linda shared how she had been praying that they could get married so they could be baptized. And the spirit was very apparent. I felt impressed to invite them to prayerfully consider a few baptismal dates to prepare for. February 1st, February 22nd and March 15th. So when we go back next time we will have prayed as well and we will council with them and try to figure out how they would like to move forward. I think it'll go well though. 
Good news, I found out that my Recent Convert Athule didn't actually kill the guy. His friend killed someone else that he was with. Athule stabbed someone else and that guy is in the hospital. So forgiveness is still in reach, but he has some major changes to make. I thought you guys may be interested in hearing that.
I don't want to end on such a sad note. So I want to tell you guys a story. While teaching a family yesterday Elder Matini asked if this sister felt like God loves her. She answered and bore testimony that she did. He then said, "You don't lie here anymore!" She started to get flustered and was saying how she DOES know God loves her and all this stuff. Matini got embarrassed and I realized he tried to say, "You aren't lying about that!" He was trying to confirm that God loves her, but he just made her mad. We got a good laugh out of that.
Also this week while we were finishing up with going on splits with the bishopric, I saw a car that was pulled over and steaming. So we went over and I called Elder Johnson and Shabalala. Elder Johnson knows his way around a car like a Xhosa Mama knows her way around the kitchen... VERY WELL. So he rewired some stuff and got the car running again. There was an issue with the gears though. Anyways we pushed them and got the car running again. It crept up the hill and we saw them drive off, we thought all was well, only to be driving behind them a ways on our way to drop off Brother Mlindazwe (Our Ward Mission Leader) and we saw the car hit the steepest point of another hill.... only to lose power and go in reverse down the hill into a side street. The brakes had given out. So we got out for the second time and proceeded to push the car up the long hill. We then offered to get them a lift home from someone (there was a family of six stuffed into this small car) but they declined because they were afraid someone would steal the car. I personally don't think you could have paid someone to take that car, but it's fine. Anyways, we just bought them some water and chicken pot pie things, and left them there. It felt good. We had some people say, "You seem like some real good Christians." Then we were able to talk to them and invite them to church. One of the guys, he stays in scenery park (the other elders area), came to church yesterday. So good came out of that!
Shout-out to Tal! I am proud of you mfethu for turning in your mission papers! The Lord will definitely send you where you are needed. Start praying now so that when you open your call you will receive a spiritual conformation that your calling is of God and that wherever you are called is where you are supposed to be.
Read your scriptures errybody.
-Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

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