Monday, April 27, 2015

Transfers End.

Well it's going to be another great transfer with another powerful companion. I have been able to be talk to Elder Stegelmeier - My new companion - a few times, and he seems like an extremely focused and humble missionary. He has a lot of integrity in his work as well, so I am excited to learn from him and grow all the more because of it! You know, it's just how things work out here on mission. You learn from it all... the good and the bad.
Elder Freitas is leaving, and it's a bummer, but I know he will do great in applying the things he has learned in his life and everything back home. I am excited for him. He for sure went out with a bang though. We were able to place 40 copies of the Book of Mormon this week (Sadly not 60), taught and invited MANY to come into the waters of baptism, and we saw several miracles. The zone is doing great. Everyone is a little antsy about transfers, but we have assured them the Lord has called them and their new companions to serve together, and everything will be alright. I know it'll be great to work with all these new elders coming into the Zone. I look forward to it. 
Miracles: While in Elder Williams' district meeting we heard uTata in the hall yelling, "Molweni!" So Elder Freitas and I went out to greet him. He then told us he wanted a Book of Mormon in English.... So we were all excited. We got him a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet, he proceeded to tell us in broken English that a couple months before some missionaries gave him the pamphlet, promised to come visit him in his home but never came back. He said that he has been reading it every day since he got it. He was flipping through the pamphlet showing us pictures and saying different things. He was almost pamphlet teaching us. He flipped to the first vision saying, "This is my father who is from heaven, he is with Jesus Christ and they came to Joseph Smith when he prayed and became a prophet." WHOA. We were blown away. He powerfully testified and said he wanted to know more. We invited him to be baptized right there and invited him to church. We are looking forward to seeing him this week. 
Then we also had a great experience while on an exchange with Elder Ntuli. We set some high goals, and said a prayer to start our day. We drove up to the area and I asked him, "Okay Elder Ntuli, tell me where and when to turn." Right, left, right - STOP - I saw a car and said that we should go try that house. We said a prayer, grabbed our pamphlets and walked up to the door. We walked inside the house and the sister that was sitting there with a few other people stood up - probably mid forties - and said, "Elders, how did you find me!?" We were looking at each other all confused. She then told us how she had just went through a divorce and had just recently, in the past couple of months, sort of fallen away from the church. She told us that morning, she had just moved back into Queenstown from Gauteng. She started tearing up telling us she couldn't believe the day she moved back, the Lord had led us right to her house. It was amazing. She is on fire now already after just seeing her twice.
So I mean, it'll be sweet to see how this transfer goes. We are teaching several father-led families and are super excited about it.
I don't have much time, I am in East London now and I am getting to visit everyone and just enjoy my time here since I have to be out of my area to plan for and prepare for transfers.
Also, I went on exchanges with the AP's. Elder Mchunu and I were loving it when we were together. Reunited at last.
Shoutout to Tal. Go kick it in Grandpa's old area in Ireland!
Well I have to go! Love you family!
Love - Elder Thayne I

Monday, April 20, 2015


It was a good week and I felt like we really did have a good experience with Zone Training. It was my first one, so in preparation and delivery I feel like I learned a lot. It was really powerful I think to have the members and less actives come to help role play and have the missionaries practice teaching them. Their feedback was great as well and they are all extremely excited for us to come and teach them and their families about how to pamphlet teach. Elder Freitas and I have a goal to place 60 copies of the Book of Mormon this week. I don't think that is as many as Dad and JR did in one week on their mission, but out here that is pretty amazing. We are going to be doing that while meeting with the members, less actives and recent converts, teaching them how to pamphlet teach, having them then turn around and teach us and then giving them a Book of Mormon to place. We are excited to see how it all goes.
We are teaching that Pastor for the Methodist church and it's going very well. We had a great lesson with him, for the first time since Elder Freitas had found him almost a month and a half ago. He had kind of lost interest. We taught him the Book of Mormon and applied the technique found in the Donaldson papers, we read with him from 1 Nephi and applied it to him verse by verse. He was so excited and couldn't stop smiling. We were extremely bold with him telling him that if the Book of Mormon is true, he would need to leave his church and everyone he was leading, and come join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It really hit him hard, but he said he will do it. He is on date for the 24th of May. We are praying extremely hard for him. I just saw him here at the e-mail shop and he is super excited for us to come over tonight, he said he has been reading a bunch.
Yesterday while following up on an investigator we showed up at his house for our appointment with him only to find his Bishop, who is over all the Victory Bible Church's here in the Eastern Cape, sitting there waiting for us. We walked into a trap. But it's fine. So we sat down and he started firing questions at us. We just responded ultra positively and asked all about his church and what he does. He then softened up a bit and we asked him if we could answer his questions with the lesson of the Restoration. He then told us he had been taught before, but the missionaries fought with him and couldn't answer his questions. He also told us he was a Theologian and studied in Atlanta Georgia. Anyways, he has read the Book of Mormon already. But he said he'd like to hear what we had to say. Anyway, we taught the restoration pamphlet teaching style, with just a few more quoted scriptures and thoughts. He was absolutely humbled by the doctrine and truth. He didn't once argue, he didn't try to tell us we were wrong. He just sat there taking it all in. We then invited him to be baptized after having prefaced it at the beginning with how to begin teaching, letting him know we would be inviting him to be baptized. He said, he would need to study the Book of Mormon, and pray again, then he will let us know. It was a powerful experience.
So many miracles, I really can't tell you all of them. Just different things. We taught a wonderful father led family yesterday and invited them to baptism as well. Just amazing. 
Life here is going so well. We are working ultra hard and becoming better and better. I love it. And I love all of you. Sorry for the shorter email! I spent more time on the individuals.
Mdala Thayne

Thursday, April 16, 2015

That's What I Love About Sunday's.‏

Well everyone I am still loving my time here in East London and loving the chance I have to be a missionary in this part of the Lord's vineyard. It's been wonderful. 
BUT. The sad thing is my time here in East London is coming to a close. President saw me and took me aside on Friday and told me that I'd be leaving somewhere this week. So I need to get the area book and everything in order for the new elder to come in and join Elder Pope in working in this area. I'll tell you all where I am going in just a little bit.
The other day while we were at a members home, he was playing this song by Craig Morgan, and it was just too fitting, so I had to send a few of the lyrics.
New believers gettin' baptized.
Mama's hands raised up high.
And a hallelujah good time.
Smile on everybody's face.
By: Craig Morgan
We baptized six people into the East London 2nd Ward yesterday. Ohh it was so amazing. The spirit was so strong and so apparent. The ward really showed up in numbers to support the baptisms and all the people that were investigating the church. It's just interesting how you can remember almost every lesson you had with someone. All their trials and fears and all their successful moments. You just feel such great love for them. Me being able to see these people enter the waters of baptism as well as the two others from the other elders area that I also worked with be baptized was SO amazing. It was the perfect way to end my time in East London. I know I did what the Lord wanted me to do while I was here. And that is the best feeling ever. My joy, at this time, is full.
I am going to Queenstown to serve. I know it is to teach me and help me become better. It's what I need. I am going to learn so much. I am honestly feeling very humbled. I have a ways to go and SO much to learn, but it's going to be such a great growing and learning experience. It'll be a big change. So I'll have to grow and learn a lot really fast. I have some big shoes to fill, I am replacing Elder Malpage who is going AP. So he is a dang good missionary. It'll be great. Queenstown is doing really well, I hope to even help it become better.
We had 18 people at church and the other elders had 10, so the ward had 28 investigators at church yesterday. It was amazing. The Lord is working. I am sad to leave East London, but I know in order for me to continue growing I need to go.
My new companion is named Elder Freitas. I think he is from Brasil. He is a very intense missionary, but I hear he is SO good at what he does. I know I will learn a lot from him and it's going to be a great experience. Honestly, I have had great companions and I know he will be another great one. So this will be a great experience for me as I learn and grow. So you should see a lot of change in me over the next little while.
This week was really great because we had a Zone Conference with President Merrill. He spoke to us about the first vision and had us study it in preparation for the past few weeks. He started taking it from an Anti-Mormon perspective. And gave us facts to help us know and understand all of this. It was really good for me to hear and come to know the first vision and the arguments surrounding it a bit better. But all in all, my testimony of the first vision and the prophet Joseph Smith have just become more and more firm. It's been wonderful to testify of that every day of my mission.
Cool story. This week Elder Pope and I had prayed early in the day that we would find someone who needed to be touched with the gospel. Well then Elder Pope had the thought to follow up on a previous investigator that we had taught the restoration to and never seen or heard from him again. So we went to his house. We went and knocked on the door only to have a lady answer, tell us he wasn't there, and tell us she wasn't interested in hearing our message. So we walked away from the door kind of wondering why he had that impression. 
All of the sudden as we are putting our bags in the car there was this total totsi (gangster) guy walking by us. I stopped him and started asking about who he was. He was so shocked that I was talking to him. He then started opening up telling us that he was going through very difficult things in his life and wanted to find a way through them. Honestly, the Lord was just planting thoughts in our minds of what to say, I asked him, "So am I right when I say that you have tried just about everything under the sun to be happy, EXCEPT for Jesus Christ?" He then told us that was exactly right. He had never before prayed or even been to church in his life. Wow.
Well we set an appointment with him, Luyanda, and went to see him the following day. He had two of his friends there, Yoacham and Luciano. Well we sat down and taught them the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were feeling the spirit. We introduced the Book of Mormon and it really hit them between the eyes. They were blown away by it. We told them we wanted to come back and see them that weekend, they said no because they were going to be smoking weed with their friends all weekend, but they want us to come to meet with them again and help them come to church. It was pretty amazing honestly to see these hardened men be so humbled by the simple and true gospel.
I honestly think that if it hadn't have been for the hard trails and circumstances in which they found themselves in at that time, they wouldn't have ever taken time to hear our message. Brigham Young said, "Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation." For these brothers, their trials and experiences had given them the chance to change. It made them WANT to change. So salvation, if they take this seriously, is at hand.
Shoutout: To TAL. Brother, I am so proud of you. Keep preparing and becoming better and better as you are about to embark on the greatest adventure and experience of your life. Look at these pictures of this baptism. That'll be you, just in Scotland.
Well everyone, I'll tell you how it is in the new area and everything once I get there. Thank you all for the love and support that is constantly coming my way.
I said bye to several people that I have grown to truly love. The Mlindazwe family, the Human family, the Ngamlana family and SOOOO many others. I'll finish my goodbye's tomorrow. Enjoy the pictures!

Ohh, and the picture with Elder Pope and I standing on either side of sister knipe with bishop next to us was after one of the BEST DA's I've ever had.
Okay I am just throwing up a TON of picture from this week of awesome things that we have done and people we have been with. It's been a great one. :] As you all can see. I love all these people so much.

Monday, April 13, 2015

TIA - This Is Africa‏

Moloweni Usapho! (Hello Family!)
Well it's been an amazing week this past week! We as an entire Zone are doing MUCH better than we were last week. I'll start with my companion and I. We really focused BIG time on testing Gods promises and applying 30 minute or less lessons and pamphlet teaching. It has made all the difference in the world! As we have been working and striving to get things done the Lord's way and applying faith we have seen major success. Not only with teaching lessons, but also in strengthening and supporting the ward. My companion and I have been going through the ward list and have been visiting/finding many less actives and establishing contact with them. We are really excited about it. 
Also, we had the thought to really get the members involved. So we picked a family per investigator. Example: The Ndabeni family (members) are responsible for smsing, scheduling and hosting the Danileyo family for lessons. They also will be helping them find a way to church next week. Or the Labazi family with the Anthony family. etc. So we are really excited to see how that goes. We are giving the part member families a visit as well. We have 6 recent converts in our area and they are all sisters, so we are hoping to pull in some of the guys in their lives as well. We need Priesthood here.
Last week I had exchanges with Elder Williams in my area, and Elder Freitas and Elder Kjelson had exchanges in Illinge. As for Elder Williams and I we had an incredible exchange from the very first moment. We contacted former investigators, followed up on others, and met with members challenging them for referrals or offering help/service. We had a wonderful exchange. Elder Freitas and I have been pamphlet teaching (which is basically teaching the message of the restoration purely off of the pictures in the pamphlet and asking, like the angel asked Nephi, "What beholdest thou?" then teaching based off of what they see in the pictures. It's fast and really simple. It helps us missionaries get out of the way of the spirit and let him do the real teaching), but I don't think I received my witness fully until this exchange. We were in then out of the house within thirty minutes of all 8 lessons we had that day. It was incredible. Elder Williams was so dang excited about it. He was just talking on and on how he wants to come serve with me in eZibeleni next transfer and keep this going. He was so stoked that he presented and had his entire district meeting on pamphlet teaching/short and powerful lessons. He really is a great elder and is pumped about the work. It was awesome to see how as a leader, you can influence and inspire others to want to be and serve better.
Two weeks ago we had 12 lessons, and this week we had 30. Faith makes ALL the difference. Rejection has been good for me though. I haven't experienced as much as my cousin Sarah has in her mission in Finland. I have had hard times, but not day after day rejection and trials like I have had the past couple weeks. It's been so good for me. I have learned and grown a lot. So yes, things are good for me. I am feeling so happy and so content with my service and with the efforts we have been putting forward. Sometimes we forget that the work can be the reward.
Shoutout to Talmage!He should be in the England MTC right now killing teams.Love you brother.
Well I have a couple stories for you this week to make you chuckle.
A drunk mama came up to us very concerned. She told us how she knew us Mlungu's held salvation. So she asked us if we could come teach her family and her. We said we of course would and she took a pamphlet of the restoration out of my bag then held it up to her chest and proceeded to bear testimony of how Jesus is her Lord. She said that all of us here in america should send food, clothes and money to her family so they can live like Jacob Zuma (SA's president). Since you are all good Christian people, I am sure you will send all of that this way.
Please send all donations for this Mama to:Elder Mitchell Ryan ThayneSouth Africa Cape Town MissionP.O. Box 181, ObservatoryCape Town, 7935Republic of South Africa
Naturally, I'll keep half the donations for myself as a finders fee.
Just kidding. Don't actually send anything.
Another story real quick before I close. Brother Labazi, who was just called into the Stake high council, called us Wednesday morning and asked us to come over. We headed out the door right after studies to see him. Once we got there we saw that HALF of his house had been burned to a crisp. He told us he heard a tapping on his window, woke up and opened his bedroom door only to have fire burst into his room. He got out and they threw lots of sand and eventually put it out. Not after a lot of damage had been done though. We walked into the house and asked Mama Labazi how she was doing. We fully expected her to say things are hard or something of the sort. Rather, she said, "We are so blessed. God is so good to us my elders. We could have died, but he saved us and also kept half of our house." Wow. What a woman. So sweet and so sincere. AND SO FAITHFUL. We gave them blessings of comfort, prayed with the family and went on our way. 
This tragedy, while really sad, is huge blessing for our fellowshipper brother Siya. He is preparing to go on mission. While the Labazi family lives elsewhere, he is getting paid by the insurance company to live in their half burnt house so no one robs them. He needs the money so badly so it is such a blessing. And it is a blessing to us as we have a hard time getting a fellowshipper. Now we can take him out everyday. It's something we had been praying for help with. So awesome. I'll attach pictures with him.
Also, there is this guy named Lelethu who swore we would never teach him. We had a really funny relationship with him where whenever we would see him we would ask, "Hey, can we come teach you today?" He'd laugh and usually say something like, "You wish! Get lost!" Well one day we were talking to him and he invited us to come over for his birthday. He was turning 28. We came, brought a little cake and sat down with everyone there. He turned to us and said, "Alright, pull out your Bible's. I know you want to share something with us." Well we then pulled out our scriptures, said a prayer with everyone there and started to talk about how he is growing up, and how he has the potential to one day become like God. We stressed how he is His son and how important he is to heavenly father. Well, he started asking questions like, "So do we die then it's just heaven or hell and that's it? Will we really be burning forever in hell?" We addressed his questions and talked with everyone about everything. The spirit was extremely strong as we bore testimony of the Atonement and told him all this will be accessed by baptism. He was blown away. He couldn't even pull sarcastic remarks out. He just said, "Alright elders, let's set an appointment for next week." Elder Freitas and I just stared at each other for a second then fumbled for our planners. Then Lelethu, of course not wanting to show that he was at all interested said, "Of course this isn't a formal thing. I just want you elders to tell me about the pretty girls in your church."- Haha what a joke. Nice try man. We all know you want this. Anyway, yesterday, a couple days after his birthday party, we were driving past his house and saw him outside, we yelled the usual, "Hey Lelethu,can we come teach you today!?" Then he said, "Sure, why not? Come over in 30 minutes!".... I think I just about wrecked the car when I heard that... WHAT? "Well...uhh... Okay! Sweet! See you soon!" Haha didn't see that one coming. We then taught him the restoration and addressed his questions. He said, "Alright, well I need to go, but I'll pray or whatever, then you guys can come for our ACTUAL appointment on Wednesday. Remember, I don't really care about all this though." - haha... Yeahh.. so he says. Anyway, we are going to see him wednesday and let you know.
Things are good. The church is true. We can't stop smiling. And that is all because we are doing everything we can to live up to our purpose. One of my now all-time favorite scriptures is Isaiah 61:1. It says what we are out here to do. Mom, if you can, change my mission plaque scripture to this one.
Love you everyone.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne

Monday, April 6, 2015

What is MY ministry?‏

Here's how it goes.
I've always been a kind of "lead from the front" or a "come follow me" sort of missionary. I have a hard time telling the elders to do and be better, when as far as statistics goes, we aren't doing good at all. Honestly it's been the hardest time on my mission as far as the work goes. Our work and prayers aren't yielding huge and obvious results. The Lord is teaching me patience. 
I think He, the Lord, is trying to see if I will continue to pray, act and live according to the faith I have EVEN when things aren't going super well and we aren't seeing the success that I have grown accustomed to on mission. It is very humbling. My whole mission I have been the elder that president puts in a dead area, with a struggling companion, and says, "Go to work." But now I am in an AMAZING area, AMAZING zone and with an AMAZING companion, but we are struggling with the work. This zone used to lead the mission, now we are all suffering. Lots of car accidents and issues as well. It's been humbling for me. But Pres. Uchtdorfs talk in Priesthood session was SO good for me to hear. I am not here to pretend like everything is amazing. I am not doing this to receive recognition for the good or the work that I do. I am here to give my all to the Lord and working on blessing the lives of the individuals. And that is honestly what we have been doing. Yes, statistically we aren't on top, but we are giving it everything we have. We are following every prompting, serving and talking with everyone we feel we should. 
I was counselling with my companion about all of this last night and I told him I feel like we need to work on the Christlike attribute of hope. Faith is belief in the action, but hope is belief in the Lord's promise. We take action, but do we really believe the Lord is going to bless us? Anyways, I told him of my desire to gain more HOPE. Then I sat down for studies, opened my scriptures right to Alma 22:16 16 "But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest." Then I followed the footnote to Ether 12:4 "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."
Well, that was straight from God. I need to pray and repent of my lack of hope/faith and I will receive that hope. Which will be an anchor to my soul in these struggles and hard times I am having. S'all good. I know I got this, with the help of the Lord.
In our Zone we have 14 elders. 7 companionship's including us. So not TOO many, but enough to keep us busy with one thing or another just about every day. The power goes out every once in a while, which is annoying because then our food in the fridge goes bad. But we are doing great.
Don't worry about me. I just wanted to share the struggles so you could see how the Lord has reached out and sustained and helped teach me. Mission has been so good. And tell Tal, to look forward to the times beer and stuff is thrown on him. Those will honestly be some of his most treasured memories. It's all about being a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you are a good one, then there WILL be hatred and opposition every step you take, but there will also be the Light of Christ leading you forward with every step you take.
Real quick, during conference I got an SMS from Elder Mchunu (who is now our AP) telling me the Leroux Family (Reactivated the parents and baptized the children) were all at conference. They said they got their temple and patriarchal blessing recommends as a family and are preparing to go get sealed in the temple later this year. And then I just received an email from Monwabisi (or Happiness) in Khayelitsha/Mandalay telling me that he just got his mission papers from Bishop and is starting to fill them out just now. So cool. My joy was full.
Also, do you remember brother G? Brother Gcina from Khayelitsha. Used to be the Elders Quorum president when I was there. Anyways, because of extreme struggles in his life (father figure getting murdered by gangsters of his past, family getting robbed and attacked, wife kicking him out of the house after being unfaithful to HIM) he has gone less active. I had the feeling to call him and check up on him the other day because him and I are best friends (best friends with a 32 year old retired gangster) anyways he had just picked up a gun and was going with three of his friends to "put an end" to all of those other guys. I called him to repentance and told him he is a priesthood holder and cannot turn his back on all of this. He then hung up the phone. I gathered my district and we knelt in prayer asking God to help brother Gcina. I called him a week ago, he told me right after he hung up on me as they were driving to put an end to those guys, a cow ran in front of their car and they hit it. It ruined their car so they aren't able to go do that. He said it was my prayers and the Lord stopping him. He is still struggling, but he is doing better. The Lord DOES answer prayers. It happened right when my district and I hit our knees. It's real.
I learned a lot from conference. YOU KNOW Jeffrey R. Holland was amazing. But so were SO many others. I loved the talk by Dale G. Renlund. He kicked trash. He talked a lot about SA, so everyone here was very attentive. Anyways, when he said something along the lines of "... Then we would be called Latter-day hypocrites." The whole chapel burst into people saying, "Yoh, yoh, yoh!" Mama's and Tata's were put back in their seats. So awesome. They loved it.
Well, "I'm no saint, unless you think a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying." - Nelson Mandela. And that is exactly what sets us apart from the world. We try.
E. Thayne