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.
THAT'S WHAT I LOVE ABOUT SUNDAY'S.
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.