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
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.