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.

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