Monday, March 30, 2015

Mthatha road trip.‏

I have very little time this week. I tried to spend more time responding to and encouraging all of you who wrote me individual emails.. Thank you by the way!
All in all it's been a real learning and growing sort of week. The Lord definitely has been pushing and encouraging me to be better and be more than I now am. We had only 2 1/2 days in our area this week. Which is really sad compared to what I am accustomed to. We had several meetings with different people this week. One with the mission president, a couple with Elder and Sister Stapely, one with the Mthatha branch presidency, one with the Mthatha district and one with our Ward mission leader. Yeahh... we are dead tired. But we got a lot of work done that really needed to be done. And I think our work really was able to help the work move forward in other wards and areas other than our own!
We were able to accomplish some good work in our area with our wonderful fellowshipper Brother Siyamthanda. Or Siya. He has been so great. He submits his mission papers in just a week or so! He, like Talmage, is extremely excited to serve and is going to be such a powerful missionary. We started just hunting for potential priesthood holders that we could invite to learn and hear more. We met a few brothers on the street. Then we were talking about how we need someone who could provide transport to others here in eZibeleni to town for church... Just a minute later we saw a brother, driving a big Cara Cara (Taxi Van) down the street. I told my companion to turn around. We chased him down all the way till he parked at a shibeen... which is basically a trashy bar. Well, okay, we may have a word of wisdom issue with this brother, but it's fine... So I walked up to the window and just started talking to him. Eventually we left him with a pamphlet and got his contact details. We should be seeing him sometime this weekend! Hopefully that turns into something!
We also are teaching a Methodist pastor that we found last week with his two sons Azola and Aviwe. They are all LOVING our message. Azola is a fireman for Queenstown and always has a sweet story to share. Last week, there was a guy, who was mugged by two totsi's, then he watched them walk away and saw where they were going, he went inside his house, got a grenade (don't ask me where he got that) then threw it and blew them to kingdom come. It was crazy. I guess the guy just was crazy and shooting and yelling and then the shacks all got on fire and everything. That happened just right by where we work. Whoa. Anyways, we invited these three brothers to baptism and they committed! Score! I'll let you know how it progresses with them.
Then quickly, we took a road-trip to Mthatha to help a wonderful district of elders as well as have a great meeting/training with the branch presidency of the Mthatha branch. We had a training with the Mthatha branch presidency and ward mission leader while we were there. It was really good and I think they heard what we were saying. They have had issues with holding PEC and Correlation. We addressed that. We commended them for their enthusiasm and involvement with the work, but urged them to get things more in order and use the resources they have. We are going to be following up with them on some commitments we left as well in the next couple of weeks. I did hear they didn't hold PEC again this week, much to the frustration of the Mthatha district, but we will see if they do in the future. The Branch Presidency as well as the Mthatha district both separately requested two more Elders to urge the work forward in Mthatha. I explained that they first need to work with what they have and use the elders that ARE there to their potential. Because until that happens, I said they may not be able to receive more. The work really is exploding though!
I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Lafond. He is a great elder. Really laid back and easy going. He is from Wyoming. He said he struggled with finding, I told him that was my forte. So we went to work and had some great success. We also went to teach a few Recent Converts and I shared with him that I had found, that instead of teaching and reteaching and reteaching the lessons to the recent convert, start training them and then having them teach you. So we taught this sister and brother how to teach the restoration, and they taught it really powerfully to us. Really made them excited about missionary work since they were able to give it a try with teaching.
Well that is about it for this week. We had another two baptisms in our ward and had our bishop pretty much invite and commit the ward to come this year and gain as much as they can from general conference! I am so excited to see and hear from our Prophet and Apostles. We are so blessed to be able to hear from them.
Life is good. The struggles and challenges we go through are so important for our growth. Something that has been great for me to think about is a quote from M Russell Ballard, "It is impossible for us to fail when we do our best while we are on the Lord's errand." Thankfully, I am on the Lord's errand and I am doing my best. I know I'll be successful in the Lord's way and in His time.
I love you all!
- Elder Thayne -
Elder Mitchell Ryan ThayneSouth Africa Cape Town MissionPO Box 181, ObservatoryCape Town, 7935Republic of South Africa

Monday, March 23, 2015



Queenstown: Not at all like anything I have experienced thus far. It's so quiet where I work. I work in a little township just outside of Queenstown called eZibeleni. We have about four member families that stay out there that we work with. We have several individuals that are progressing towards baptism, but they are all females! We want to get a few powerful brothers in our pool as well. :] The girls are handling us guys. We need to do some catch up gentlemen. 
Well, I have so much to say, but as always, I have so little time. So I'll just start to rant until I run out of time, nehh? 
Wednesday was transfers! So after saying goodbye to all the amazing people in East London, my new companion, Elder Freitas and I were getting ready to leave. Then we received a call informing us that we would be staying overnight to have a meeting with the Stake President the following day. We then stayed at the Mdantsane Zone Leaders boarding and went to work with them in their area the following day. Elder Sanders and I, while on exchanges taught 9 lessons and committed several people to baptism. So I am glad the day I was there had a good impact on their area.
We had a meeting later that night with our Stake President, President Bell. He is a wonderful Priesthood leader and really has such a love and drive for missionary work. He really is wanting to have missionary work become more and more of a focus as he continues to influence and inspire the Stake. It was almost like a correlation, just on a Stake level. We agreed to have a meeting at the beginning of every transfer. He was extremely pleased with the level of obedience and work that he is seeing the missionaries put forth. I know that will continue to happen and the work will yield more and more fruit as we work along side the members of our wards.
We then slept over for a second day at the Mdantsane Zone Leaders boarding then headed back home first thing in the morning, for the first time, to Queenstown. We had a training with our Zone that morning talking about Hastening the Work of Salvation and helping the members catch the vision and become involved with our side of the work. We really stressed and talked about the issue of little to no communication with the Ward Mission Leader. President Bell is going to send a high councilor around to start training them on their duties which really should help, and from our side we encouraged the Elders to work with and remind the ward mission leader as much as possible of their duties. When the mission culture changed it was because the expectations were raised from where they had previously been. Then the missionaries answered the call. We feel like it'll be the same with member missionary work. We need to raise the level of expectation of involvement from our wards and they will rise up to the call as well. 
We are going to go around and meet with the bishopric's and branch presidency's within the zone and train them on what is expected of them in hastening the work. Our bishop is already very involved and is having us present a training with him next week on the subject as well. So hopefully the fruits of that should be very noticeable within the next couple of transfers.
Sorry for such a boring email telling about the details of the work. I just wanted you all to know what is up so that you can hear the success that will come because of the measures that are being taken in future weeks.
Okay, so now for a few stories.
Saturday evening, after finding and meeting a new investigator named Simphiwo, we made a plan to go visit his mother and his family that night in the hospital. His mother has diabetes, and has an issue with her foot. He told us she was going to have to get it amputated. So he asked us to go visit and "pray" for her. We went driving there that night. Found the hospital, but didn't even know the Mama's name. So we just started walking, while Elder Freitas (My companion) started talking with the nurse at the desk I felt like I should talk to this brother who was sitting down on the bench looking really stressed. I sat down next to him and struck up a conversation asking how everything is going and who he was visiting. He then proceeded to tell me how his girlfriend had been stabbed by some gangsters in the street of the location just outside Queenstown where he lived. He said he had been told that she wasn't going to live. I spoke to him about faith in Jesus Christ and how miracles still happen in our day. By this time Elder Freitas was standing there waiting to go find the room where uMama was staying. I told the brother on the bench that we would be back in a little bit to talk to him about our message. 
We then walked down the hall looking for the room. We walking into a room with like seven mama's laying in different beds, Elder Freitas walked straight up to one mama and said, "Hey are you Simphiwo's Ma?" (Don't ask me how he knew) then she said, "Ewe Buthi.(Yes, man.) I am so happy you are here." We explained what we were doing there and how Simphiwo had invited us, even though he wasn't there, and opened up to James 5 and talked about giving her a blessing of healing, just as Christ did. She said yes and showed us her rotten foot. It was awful. Honestly when we saw that we wondered about how on earth that foot could be saved. We then pulled the dividing curtain around her bed and gave her a blessing. It was a very special experience that I won't go into too much detail, but the Lord is, without a doubt, working in our lives. 
Afterwords we walked back to the bench where that brother was sitting. He was so excited he stood up and couldn't stop shaking our hands. He then said in his broken English, "Maybe two or three minutes after you pastors left, I was thinking about Jesus, then I saw some nurses walking and I called to one and said she must tell me how my girlfriend is doing. She said that they figured it out and the doctors stitched her up and gave her some jabs. She should be okay by weeks end! Jesus is real mdala (elder), Jesus is real." 
There you go. Sometimes, we don't need to actually lay our hands on someones head to give them a blessing. Sometimes we just need to encourage others to exercise theirs on behalf of those they love. Faith has to be practiced. Sometimes we don't see such immediate results of our faith, but every once in a while the Lord will give us those faith confirming experiences so we can receive our own witness. So then, during the dark times of our lives, we can wait patiently upon the Lord with faith, knowing that He WILL answer the call, in His time.
Shoutout to my cousin Reggie for getting his call to the:
Washington Federal Way Mission!
Uyamboza. (You're a champ)
I kind of forget what stuff is weird back there in America for you guys. So you'll have to ask me questions for specifics. We do see everyone walking around barefoot all the time. We also are seeing cows and goats walking everywhere in eZibeleni. I actually got really close to milking one till she kicked at me and ran away. Close though. I am back to being one of the ONLY white people at church. Just us Elders. It's pretty awesome. I love my Xhosa people. I am also learning much more about the language and I hope to be quite a bit better at it by the time I leave. 
I love you all. As always. CTR, pray and read your scriptures. Do everything you can to actually LIVE your faith, not just profess your faith. Once you do that you will come to know God just a bit better. It's a beautiful relationship to have.
Salakakuhle, nehh? Cheers!
- Mdala Thayne -
Pictures consist of a dinner with Elder and Sister Thomas and other Elders in a meeting. Brother Shakes and I in Mdantsane with a bunch of little kids. Then Elder Freitas and I with the Ndabeni family. They bought a Cara Cara, which is basically a big taxi van, just to drive people in eZibeleni to church. AMAZING people. Also us eating at the Ndabeni home with our fellowshipper Brother Siyatanda. (He just turned in his mission papers YESTERDAY!)
Love you all! Letters, as always are delicious.

Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne
South Africa Cape Town Mission
PO Box, 181, Observatory
Cape Town, 7935
Republic of South Africa

I forgot to tell you about my companion.

Elder Felipe Freitas is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has been out for 23 months already. So he goes home at the end of April from mission. He enjoys sports, has a girlfriend who he plans to marry (sorry ladies) and looks forward to a long walk on the beach at the conclusion of his mission. He is the first person from South America to ever serve in South Africa.  He basically destroys at missionary work. I look up to, and love him a lot.
That's all.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Let's Start A Riot.‏


Another day another dollar...but not really. It's just been another great week. We had MANY investigators show up to church and are having many people progress and show greater and greater commitment and desire. It's really amazing to see how the work has improved so quickly here in the past three months I have been able to serve in this ward. It's been great.
It's been really fun to have Elder Matini still close by. He calls me a couple times every week asking me to define things for him, asking me for scriptures talking about certain things or asking me for advice on investigators. It really made me happy that we worked hard and did great together. Because we worked hard, he was happy, and he has trust in me as a missionary. That's what it's all about. We definitely have a real strong brotherhood! Us being together was a turning point in BOTH of our missions.
Elder Pope is doing really well. He is getting more and more independent. His knowledge of the scriptures and teaching has taken a very dramatic turn. He is doing great with all of that. I am excited to see who he will work with this coming transfer and see how he continues to grow and improve. I love him a lot.
The area itself is progressing very well. We have four people we are preparing for baptism. They are all very prepared people and all have a lot of support. They have shown great commitment as well, so it'll be great to see them progress in the gospel and grow in the church. Brother Songezo, Sister Priscilla, Usi and Litha. Mama Priscilla was the lady I met my FIRST day in this area. She said hi to me, then I asked where she lived and if we could come teach her. She said yes, we taught her, and invited her to church and she hasn't missed a day since. Usi was found when Elder Johnson and I were on exchanges tracting in the pouring rain. We were wondering if we should just head back to the boarding and wait it out since we weren't getting into any houses, but we decided to kneel down and pray and then go knock on a few more doors. Elder Johnson said, "Lets go to that house." I told him I thought we had already been there before, but let's give it a try. We did and that is the day we met Usi. She has been powerful since then. She defends the Book of Mormon to everyone who opposes it and has a really strong testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Then Songezo is the guy who has made HUGE changes in his life. Anyone and everyone can see it. He openly acknowledges the Lord's hand is his life and is going to be a powerful priesthood holder. He is brother Senzo's brother. And then there is dear, sweet Litha. She is Sister Linda's (Senzo's girlfriend) daughter. We are baptizing her as well. She is basically like my second little sister... Don't worry Afton, you are still my favorite sister in the whole world. But litha is so fun and so sweet. She asked me to baptize her just yesterday actually, so that will be awesome. We as missionaries are really trying to have the members to the baptizing and confirming, so mama and usi are having the members be involved with that which is great.
Anyway, that was just an ultra long and detailed description of our investigators.
I was able to interview two brothers that Elder Soko and Elder Johnson have prepared for baptism, and that was such a powerful experience. To really come to know and hear from them the WHY of them joining the church and their testimony. It was great for me to see the change they have undergone and the stories of their conversion. One of the brothers, named Tanyaradzwa, was actually walking down the road wondering what he should do with his life. He said he was depressed and just sort of at a loss. Well then he saw Elder Matini and I walking, and he waved at us. We came over, taught him a bit about the restoration of the gospel and invited him to church. Since that day he has never missed a day of church and has had the blessing of being taught by the other elders. It was special for me, being one of the elders to find him, to be able to interview him and see that change. It was a little love note from the Lord.
I also received an email from Elder Manzini! He is doing great and applying what he has learned from mission back home! I guess things are going well for him! I was happy to hear from him. He was our AP last transfer!
Well transfers are coming up this coming week! I should know by the next time I email where I am going and who I will be with! Exciting times as always. This past transfer and my entire time in this area has absolutely flown. It's almost sad how fast it went! The area though should be doing really well for a very long time.
This week we had a huge riot that went down all day in Scenery Park. Huge fires and they started setting up little barricades so that cars couldn't get in. People out here will riot because they don't have enough schools. So then they will burn down a school in an attempt to prove their point. Pretty interesting way to go about it!
We also went to the Zoo and got to see the giraffe again that I saw at the beginning of my mission. Then we swung by Mdantsane and I was able to see several of the people I baptized back there still strong and faithful in the gospel.
This weekend as well we were asked to teach all the youth in the stake. We were to focus on preparing for our mission. So we really encouraged and had a great lesson with 300 youth about all of that. We had a lot of them come up and thank us for it. Really cool learning experience for my district and I.
Well, the Lord is good and the work is amazing. I really can't complain. I attached a recording of one of the songs the people sang at the Old Apostolic church we visited last week.
I love you all!
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Monday, March 2, 2015

Akho ngxaki. - No problem.‏

Satan tries to take us down, God just lifts us up. I ain't got no worries.
Well it's been a new week with different challenges, but nothing we haven't been able to overcome. There are so many stories and miracles that have happened, I wish I could tell you all of them. Just know, the Lord's hand is so obvious in this work that is happening, that many people including the Bishop of our ward got up and testified of the miracles that are happening here.
Well something I wanted to mention which I have observed with a lot of missionaries and from the stories I have been hearing about. I feel like as a mission we have really developed the faith to find. Miracles happen on the daily with testing God's promises to help us find those who are prepared. I have seen it in not only my area, but others that are around me. Anyway, my point is, I can see that as a mission we really need to take that faith and reliance on God to the next level. We need to apply that faith to not only finding, but also teaching and baptizing. I am seeing many missionaries, at times including myself, have these wonderful experiences, but then letting these prepared people sort of slip through the cracks. We aren't really working with and helping those we have progress. It's just a thought I had, we need to apply testing God's promises on preparing these people for baptism and, one day, the temple.
The area and everything is going great. We have had, like I said, many miracles happen here. If you ever feel like hearing a couple good stories, just call Elder Pope and I up, we have a few for you. 1 (800) U-CNT-CALL-ME. Sorry. :[ Mothers day! Can you believe that is JUST around the corner?
One of those miricles happened while on exchanges with Elder Johnson. We had about 30 minutes before we went to the Humans for our DA. So we started specifically praying that the Lord would put us in someones path to help bless. Well we started driving... and far off in the distance I saw what looked like a graveyard. I felt an impression to go there and teach someone visiting the graveyard the Plan of Salvation. Elder Johnson was a champ and agreed. We eventually got there and found two sisters that were visiting their mothers grave. She had died 3 years to the day before. While talking to them one told us how she was struggling in her marriage and needed something to help her hold on and put it back together...plan of salvation.. and she didn't know where her mother was... plan of salvation.. Then the other sister told us how she used to go to our church, but her mom never wanted her to join or meet with the missionaries, but then right before the mother died she had told her daughter she knew that she needed to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She told her to go and be baptized into the church once she dies... the girl was kind of choked up and said we made her day. She knew that we had been sent there three years to the day of her mothers death to talk to her about all this. So we got their contacts and the missionaries in 3rd ward are going to start meeting with those two sisters... AMAZING! Specific prayers lead to miracles.
A couple more stories, because that is all anyone reads these emails for anyways... Elder Pope and I were standing in line to pull our money out to go shopping for some food this past Saturday. Well we were standing in this MASSIVE line for the ABSA ATM while there were like five other ATM's that no one was going to. Elder Pope kept saying, "Elder Thayne, why don't you just go to that one?" I for some odd reason really felt determined to wait in this line for this ATM though. Well we kept waiting only to have a white couple tap me on the shoulder. We turned around and started talking to them and telling them what we do. We explained we are members of the Lord's true church here upon the earth again. We told how we meet with people in their homes and allow the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bring the change in their lives. Well they were so excited, they told us how they had been talking that morning about turning their lives and relationship over to God, because things have been very hard for them. Anyways, we said thanks, and the man, Brother Charles, said that I am a "beautiful young man". We then just left the ATM line after getting their contacts and went on our way. I realized I never even needed to pull out the money. 
Well to make a long story short Elder Johnson and I went to go see them just a few hours later only to have brother Charles open up big time telling us all of his sins an addictions that he was struggling with. He told us how he wants to come to church and get rid of all these things holding him back. He wants to actually achieve his potential. There was so much that was said and done, but what came down to it is we testified that is EXACTLY what the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into people's lives. Hope. Hope for a peace in this life and eternal happiness in the life to come.
He told me while we sat with them that he knows the Lord sent me there. He kept saying, "You stood in line, talked to us, then walked away without even drawing money. You never used the ATM." He told how he knew the Lord used us as His angels to help him turn his life around. I was taught a very important lesson at that moment. Sometimes we will have thoughts/impressions come to our mind. Well we may even at the time not recognize that they are from God, but as we heed them and do what we feel we should do, the Lord will use us to bless others and be an answer to THEIR prayers. It is so important that we always stay worthy and ready to do the job the Lord needs done. We kind of did a hand off for that lesson over to Elder Johnson and Elder Soko. Charles and Brenda stay in their area. It's alright though, I'll see them at church, and one day, I'll hear of their baptism. It was really special.
One more story, yesterday we went to the Old Apostolic church just to visit a Pastor named David that Elder Soko and I found while we were on exchanges. While there we were brought to the front row to sit in front of the 200 and something people that were there at church. They were so excited. Just screaming and preaching in Xhosa. People would come bring their offerings to the front "seeking after the praise of men" and also they would be overcome by the spirit and start shouting gibberish in the church. Honestly it was pretty crazy. Us elders would just flip from scripture to scripture pointing to each other how they have gone off track with the truth. I could feel how badly these people wanted to be close to their Saviour and do what is right, but I could see how far off they were. Revelation is KEY. They need the gospel so desperately. Our church surely is the Lords. Anyways, so after church Pastor David called us and said he will organize with the Elders of his church for a lot of people to come visit our church next Sunday. We are praying that happens! I think it really can! :] So pray that people will be prepared and have the desire to come next week.
Elder Pope is very humble and willing to work. I just want him to continue gaining confidence and growing. I think these upcoming baptisms will really help him on his pursuit to become better. We are trying to really get into a stride as companions. We are very different, but I am trying to just love him to death and help him all that I can. 
All in all our district is doing great. The other Elders, (Johnson and Soko) have helped 4 less actives return to church and start preparing to receive the Melchizedek priesthood. Elder Johnson knows that he doesn't ONLY need to baptize to be a successful missionary, but on the other hand, he is also really coming to a better understanding of the fact that he CAN baptize. I am going to suggest for him to be the District Leader here once I leave. He has the trust of the ward, he knows what works here and he honestly is ready for a bit more responsibility. Whatever happens though will be the best thing for the ward and the district.
We have been working with the ward a massive amount. It is making a huge difference in the work. I feel like we have truly won the trust of the ward, I pray that the missionaries that come in the future will not take that lightly. I think that may have been part of the reason we were sent here. To raise the wards vision and expectations from missionaries. Their standards and expectations for missionary work were so low. They were always surprised when even ONE investigator would be at church. PLEASE. There is so much more potential here than that, and I think they see that now.
Well I love you all. CTR.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

I thought you'd enjoy this one as well. Last shot for y'all. Elder Johnson and I partaking of the delicacies of this blessed place we call Africa.