Monday, February 23, 2015

It's Gonna Take Work!

The weeks keep flying by. It goes, Monday to Monday. I hardly have time to do anything before it starts over again. Work, work, work... Just gotta keep it up with this work.
This week we really got things done. We organized with the ward to go with the bishopric and other members of the Elder's quorum every week on Thursday. As I was announcing the splits in Priesthood, we asked for who would be willing to come and go out with us to teach these families, we had three of our investigators raise their hand and offer to come. That sure brought a smile to our faces as we explained we would probably be having those other brothers come with us to teach THEM! But once they are baptized we would love their help to go out and strengthen their brethren. That was really fun.
We worked real hard and got some good stuff done. I was sick during the week, but that didn't really take away from us teaching at all. One night I was so sick we had to go home an hour early so I could throw up the contents of my lunch, but other than that we have just been truckin' along. Sister Human (A member in our ward) heard I was sick and called to check in on me. SO sweet. She treats me like her own son. We love that family, as well as all the others here in the ward.
We were able to get a car! - Let me real quick tell you what a big deal that is.... We are literally the FIRST walking missionaries in the history of SACTM to have a car given to us. It is the spare car, but since we were doing lots of work, President Merrill gave it to us to use, until they have a need for it elsewhere. So it's a big deal for us. Lots of blessings are coming our way. We are going to have very limited KM's that we need to stick with. But we don't mind at ALL! It is really going to help the work progress forward! Especially with getting Melchizedek Priesthood holders to come out with us and fellowship those that we are teaching. We have six people that are looking to get baptized on March 15th. President's prophesy on us baptizing many people this transfer is coming true. The Lord has blessed us with many! Elder Johnson and Elder Soko are also preparing a few others, they should have a lot of baptisms on April 12th though, so just a month later. Elder Pope and his next companion as well should have a lot of work ahead of them.
Elder Pope himself is doing really great. I am loving watching him grow. I think he is really starting to get more comfortable in his own skin as a missionary. He is taking the lead more often and willing to swim when I throw him in the deep end. I realize the best way to learn is by teaching what to do, then throwing them in a situation to apply what they learned. 
Elder Soko is doing very well. He loves Elder Johnson, like I say every week. He is doing his best to adjust to missionary life. As a zone it was stressed the importance of applying the principles found in adjusting to missionary life, so we as a district have been applying that as well. We also set a district curfew for during the week as well as weekends. It keeps the elders safe in area's such as this. Which has helped us set the standard for when we need to be in and how things are going down in this district. We also have a time we have to be out the boarding. 30 minutes after studies. So for us, 10:30, for Elder Johnson and Elder Soko, 11:30. Many times it is before that because of a service we have to do in the morning or something like that. The area is going so well for them. They are helping less actives return in full force as well as bringing in new people. Lots of priesthood, and that's what we want. 
Things haven't been super easy, but we glory in our afflictions. Because the good for sure outweighs the bad. Paul knew what's up.
We spoke with the Bishopric and got some lists being put together for us of the recent converts as well as the less-actives. As a ward council they are going to pray and fast for the names of five families that need out support and attention, but not ours alone. They will be assigning people to come with us and specifically focus on these people and helping them come back, so it'll be nice to have back-up as we work with them. 
The district is doing great. I don't know of anything at the moment that concerns me. We are doing our best to bless our ward, as well as lift and support the entire zone and mission. And I think it's working. I am learning so much as a District Leader and by serving along side these Elders. I realize that you gain SO much more by serving, then by being served. Leadership really teaches you more than you teach others.
We were teaching Brother Songezo, he is brother Senzo's brother.... Lots of brothers there... but hopefully that made sense. Anyway, Songezo was really feeling the spirit as we taught him the law of Chastity and told him of the power of repentance. He was really touched as we read Enos 1:27 which talks about how we can feel when we see the saviour again if we have lived the right way. He then, through his tears, told us of how his life has changed ever since the Lord sent us into his life. He has taken all steps of repentance, he is changing who he is and turning himself over to the Lord. It's amazing to see. He comes to church, prays and reads everything we give him. I had a realization, if I leave this area, without anything else, I can feel confident in the fact that through my efforts, and the Lord's blessing, at least someone's life has been touched. Thankfully, many have been blessed, myself included.
Really quick cool story. Saturday night, I have started doing this the past few weeks, I prayed for all my recent converts by name. Well the next morning Elder Black called me and told me that two of my recent converts, that had gone less active, randomly showed up at church and just felt like it was time to come back and change.. Prayer is real.
Well everyone, I love and appreciate you all. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Prayers are ALWAYS coming your way.
Last thought, in a talk in Stake Conference Elder Thomas, a senior couple missionary, said, "In order to have faith to move mountains, you've got to carry a shovel with you." - I now live by that.
-Elder Thayne
Dad. We had Taco salads annnnnd Lemon Meringue pie last night! Be jealous!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ndicela obe yiValentine yam - Will You Be My Valentine?‏

Sunset from our backyard.

Yeahh. I didn't have a Valentine. So Mom, Dad is going to have to share you with me this year! Don't think I didn't try though. There were some mama's that we are really good friends with that I asked if they'd be my valentine, they said no. Then I had an old woman at the spar who I said, "Ma, do you have a valentine?" She said, "No, I am too far away from the man I'd want to be my valentine." I said, "Well ma, how about you be my valentine and I give you this valentine card? (which was a pass-along card with a picture of Jesus on it that I pulled out.) Please ma?" She then said, "Vutsek man, I don't want either of those." Now, Vutsek is a VERY mean way to tell someone to get lost here in SA. If I said that to someone outside, I'd probably get stabbed. I have only been told that word one other time on my mission, when I told a preacher he was preaching false doctrine and was leading others away. So yes, the point of this story was, I didn't have a valentine. 

Well it was a powerful weekend at Stake Conference. Everyone was hanging on to President Merrill's every word, including the missionaries. Everyone would start to take a nap once he finished speaking. It was a great weekend. We also had quite a few people that came to church, so all in all, we couldn't stop smiling.
This week we went on an awesome exchange with Elder Black for two days as he worked alongside us in our blessed area. He is a machine. He put us to work for sure. We were teaching/finding non stop. And we loved every moment of it too! I know I learned a lot from him. He really was showing Elder Pope a lot of support and love as well which I think was really good for him! He really grew to love Elder Black in those few days. And he, like me, looks up to him.
Well this week we really have thought a lot about zeroing in on our investigators and particular families. While praying last night I felt a very firm impression that we need to start applying the 5, 5, & 5. Five Investigator families, five recent converts and 5 less actives that we are really focusing on. We are currently working with 12 father led families, believe it or not. So we want to prayerfully select five of those to really put a lot of time and effort into helping them come unto Christ. Jesus Christ changed the world by the individual. That's how we need to do it as well. We can't help our entire pool of people if we don't just narrow in and focus on them. So I'll let you know how that goes.
I'll give you all the report on my district that I sent to president as well, so you can get to know them a bit better.
Elder Pope himself is doing really good. He has really stretched himself this past week and is working hard to grow. He is so willing to do and be whatever I ask him to. He also is a champion in the mornings. At 6:30 his knees hit the floor. He is really trying. And that is something I respect. I also have noticed he is getting more confident with teaching and connecting with people, which makes me grateful to God for helping him with that.
Elder Soko is also doing really great. He has such a desire to learn. And he is so humble and submissive. The life that he came from was a place where he had SO much less than he has now. So everything he has he is so grateful for. It really always reminds me of what a blessing this gospel is to people. Because of this gospel, he has so much hope for the future. Anyways, him and Elder Johnson are getting along so well! They are working hard and very unified in the work. Elder Soko is very teachable, as well which makes a huge difference. He looks up to Elder Johnson and trusts him when he shares with him how to be better. 
Elder Johnson, what more can be said than already has been said? He is a workhorse. Elder Soko and everyone adores him. He loves the work and is 100% focused on it. He is never overbearing, just firm with the work. And I think that really gives him such a great advantage as a trainer. He is extremely good at it. Anyways he is finding the vision more than ever. We always are talking about ways we want to lift not only the district or the Zone, but one day how we hope we can uplift and inspire the whole mission to a higher level of serving. He knows why he is here.
I am doing great as well. I am happy everyone. I am doing my best to lay on the alter of sacrifice my pride and anything else that is holding me back. Something my friend Brendon said to me is just like when you get closer to the mirror you start to notice more and more blemishes on your face, the closer you get to the Lord, the more weaknesses you can see in yourself. Luckily though, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we have the hope that those weaknesses can be taken from us. He makes up for where we lack. - I love that.
One story I have time to share today is of these two brothers that we saw yesterday while prayerfully trying to find some potential Melchizedek Priesthood holders. They were sitting on the curb and we were in the car. I hopped out at the stop sign when Elder Johnson said we should talk to them. I sat down on the curb next to them and started talking to them with Elder Pope. Elder Soko and Elder Johnson parked the car and came over and started talking with all of us. The conversation so naturally moved towards why there are so many different churches and why people all misunderstand the Bible. We then kind of each took one of the guys and started talking to them individually and answered their questions. The brother, Athi, that Elder Pope and I were speaking to was telling us of how he feels like there should just be one way that Jesus made for everyone. We shared with him the Book of Mormon, and as President had told me, we placed the book in his hands and he immediately could feel of it's power and importance. We set times to see them this coming week. One was in our area, and one was in Elder Johnson and Elder Soko's area. Blessings are always coming down.
Okay and the last story I will share is about how elder Pope and I were walking to go and do some contacting at around 11 am. We had prayed that we could find someone who was truly seeking. Anyways, we were standing there and I asked, should we go left to spar or right to shopright? He said we should go right. We walked over to shopright, gave a couple of guys some pass-along cards and started walking towards the shop. A car pulled up with a well dressed 30 somthing year old guy who asked us if he could talk to us for a second. We said yes and he pulled over and got out of the car. He told us that he saw us wave to him in the car, we don't remember doing that, and felt a really strong "urge"to come back and talk to us. He said that he had woke up that morning with the absolute determination to fix his life and get right with God. He has a wife and two kids. He, for the past ten years, had lied about his degree and basically had been posing so that he could get clients and jobs to make a lot of money. So he had built up a big client pool and was working for some other guy and making lots of money, but not being very honest. So that morning, when he work up, he called/visited all of his clients and got straight with them. He told them of how he had been dishonest in the past but wanted to fix that. He then told his boss, who fired him. He applied for school in Port Elizabeth because he actually wanted to get his degree and be honest. So he said he wants to know more about what us "mormons" think and come visit church with his family. We gave him the book of mormon and he said he wants to take the steps of the repentance promise and get right with God. We will only get to see him on weekends, but he is a VERY powerful guy.
He (Stephen) is the second person, of my mission who had a very strong impression that he had to talk to us. And if it goes like it did with Thabo (the first guy) then his life will be changed forever and he will be a faithful and powerful brother in the church. So that was a pretty amazing miracle that we saw this week. 
East London is a dream. By far my favorite ward and area. There is so much success here. We are loving it. The district is great. Being a district leader has taught me SO much. Honestly. Here are some pictures. ENJOY!
Love you everyone! Don't let down on the letters. I am loving them!
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne
South Africa Cape Town Mission
PO Box 181 Observatory
Cape Town, 7935
Republic of South Africa
Elder Thayne

Then we went to teach at an investigators house named Indi only teach everyone she was living with! Don't worry, there is a guy in there. He had the sweetest dreads ever! We are seeing them again tomorrow! So powerful!
Elder Pope, Elder Black and I after our exchange! So awesome.
 #walkingmissionaryprobs picture. Flooded streets after crazy rain. 
us and our mission president, president merrill, and elder Thomas.
 Then Sister Thanya and her daughter. She is a recent convert! 
And then me when I broke my toe while fighting Elder Chapman this last P-day. 
Never go one on one with a Tongan. Good news though Dad. I won the fight... 
but with the toe, I definitely lost the war.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Have Miracles Ceased? Nay.‏

Tsup you beautiful people?
How are things in the land of the free and home of the brave? I saw a girl wearing pants that looked like an american flag the other day, which lead to thoughts of fourth of July, which of course led to thoughts of family, fireworks and good times. God bless the USA!
Anyways, things out here are great. I personally am doing real good. The adjustment to a new missionary companion is ALWAYS weird. But it's fine, I know in time the adjustment will be made and Elder Pope and I will get in the full swing of things. I just took him out his first day and tracted his buns off. It was the first time he had tracted his whole mission. So he was a bit apprehensive at first, but it all started to become a little more routine and he wasn't worried about it by like the 30th house. He told me he wanted to become a good person and a good missionary, so it's my intention to help him do that. We have a wonderful area and district. So we just gotta put our heads down and work, then stand and watch the Lord's hand work miracles.
District meeting was nice. It was my first one, so it was really different, but I learned a lot as I prepared for it and delivered the message I felt inspired to give. It was really based on how we as missionaries have this purpose, "To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." We all have that commission. I shared how we all have been given the authority to do so. Articals of Faith 1:5. We always hear the words power and authority said clumped together, but we don't really think about what they mean. We all have authority or permission to do this great work, but the way we gain power in what we do is how we live and how we serve. The power part is what gives everything we do the umph... The authority isn't enough. We must be worthy, obedient and diligent, while also exercising faith, then we can be assured the Lord will give us the spiritual power and prepare the way before us to get this work movin'. Anyways, then as a district we set goals and expectations for what we want to do this transfer, and I told how we need to earn that spiritual power in order to have these miracles happen that we are expecting.
The area itself is doing good as well. Things started to pick up more this week! We worked real hard and did some great finding as well as helping those we teach progress. We, as a companionship and then as a district, set some real high goals and set expectations for ourselves in what we want to accomplish, with the Lord's help, this transfer. 
This week, while doing our usual, walk through the area Sunday morning, we were blessed with something amazing. A little back story, we had three of our progressing baptismal dates move away to jo-burg this week. Which of course put a huge damper in the work. We were sad because we had really high hopes for them, but we know all things are done in the Lord's wisdom. So we still went to work, despite the heavy hearts. While walking we had a tata, from the gate, wave at us. We walked over to him and started talking. He told us how he had once been taught by the missionaries a couple years ago. Said he knew about the Book of Mormon and really wanted us to start coming back and visiting him, his wife and two kids again. He said he always has Sundays off and would love to come to church.. best part? HE HAS A CAR! A Mercedes at that. So we are going to see him this Thursday. While walking away from that we had a tata that we started talking to who was walking home from work, he works night shift. Anyways, he told us how his father was a member and he really want's to know what he needs to do to be baptized and come to church. So we shared the Book of Mormon with him and gave him a baptismal date right there. We are seeing him this Tuesday.
I almost forgot. On Saturday, after four appointments dropped in a row, we were walking to try and follow up on an investigator we meet with in Emerald Sky. While walking a tata, slightly drunk walked up to us super excited about seeing us. We started talking with him to find out he ALSO was taught by missionaries in Mdantsane for a while. He said he would come to church every week, he just has a weakness for alcohol. He told us that since then he has been divorced and was recently remarried. He then called his wife over who said they wanted to start coming to church together and bringing their whole family. Kids: Ages 21, 20 and 18. They said they want to be taught all the lessons, help him kick his habit and be in the church. Another miracle. Then also we found two more coloured guys who just moved here and are looking for a church, but I don't have time to tell you that story as well. 
Well alright everyone. Sorry I don't have time for more talk of miracles and all that good stuff. Just know, as always, I am one happy son of a gun. I have a wonderful district, a great area, and wonderful people back home supporting and loving me.
Pictures: We went to a rugby game. So dang cool. It was our investigator Senzo's. He played like a champ. I also had a tatoo drawn on me by elder Matini the other day and he gave me the name Malosi, which means strong in samoan. Then I took a page out of Elder Tanner Cleggs book and got a nice drinking of the coke shot for all of you. Love you. Then me saying bye to our baptismal date vuyo who just moved away along with two other people we were preparing for baptism. :[ but it's fine, the Lord closes one door and opens up three others. Life is still good here in SACTM.
It's the best. I love it.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Monday, February 2, 2015

God Is Love.‏

Creepin' on the low low‏
I have to say, that is probably my favorite response that people give out here once we teach them a principal of the gospel. It usually comes when they don't understand you or don't really listen to what you say/ask, "So Tata, will you come to church this sunday?" he replies, "Ewe buthi, God is love." *palm to face* That honestly happens more than you would think. It's nuts. Lemme tell you.

Anyways, gosh, what to say this week. I honestly don't have too much to report. 
I am getting Elder Pope on Wednesday! New companion. Party. President is putting me on special assignment to turn this kids mission around. He said, "Elder Thayne, you and the Lord just turned Elder Matini's mission around. I need you to do it again." So yeahh... that's my news and about all I know. I am sure he will be great though. I am excited for the opportunity.
Elder Johnson is going to be the only one in the district that remains behind with me. Elder Shabalala and Elder Matini are leaving. They are moving over to Mdantsane. So they are staying real close by. Elder Johnson is going to be training a new elder here from South Africa. So that'll be really cool. It'll be a very young district. Elder Soko (New Elder)- 2 weeks old, Elder Johnson- Six months old, Elder Pope - 4 1/2 months old and then me- 14 1/2 months old. I am the grandpa here... which really is so weird for me. First district where that has been the case. I still think I am going to learn a LOT from all of them though.
Something that my president said to me this week is, "Elder Thayne, how many bodies have you had? One. So don't you stress when you aren't perfect at this whole life experience. Just wake up each morning and pray and tell the Lord what you are going to do better today, than you did yesterday. Then do it." - That's some advice for all of you. Yeahh, we aren't perfect, but this whole thing is a learning process. Mistakes of yesterday don't define you, they refine you. 
This week has been a bit hard for me and our whole district. Honestly it's been so different. The work has been slow. The days have been dark, dreary and rainy. Which kind of blow, but it's fine. Just keeping the ETERNAL perspective. Sometimes as people we get our face so close to that pile of crap on the ground that we fail to see all the beauty and the journey ahead of us. We just need to sit up, take in the view and take a step over that pile of crap.. You know? "Instead of looking for a new landscape, find new eyes." What is the Lord trying to teach us with all this stuff we are going through? Humility? - Probably. I mean, knowing us it's that. We need to learn how to submit our will to the Lords. Take a look at that eternal perspective everyone, and tell me how the view looks from up there!
I'll send y'all a bunch of pictures that I took this week. The one where we are with the family is the first councilor's, Brother Chamberlain's, family. Then one picture is with all the Young men and Elder Matini and I. We gave them a big lesson all about the importance of mission and how they should prepare. Then a picture of Elder Matini and I outside our flat. He is all buff and shirtless in the background wearing his lava lava. then a failed jumping picture with a sunset in our backyard. And me standing by a sign over by our boarding. Haven hills is where we work!
Okay. Sorry for not including more detail. There isn't much to say.
Love you all! Keep in touch and remember, CTR.
-Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Elder Matini and I out tracting!  Us at Senzo and Linda's house! They are doing SO well! Me fishing at the Nahoon dam.  Then me studying in the lava lava and the rest of my swag I've collected on mission.