Monday, June 29, 2015

Africa's Ice Age.‏

 I found a crazy nasty zombie dog here that started barking at me and chasing me. Ebola.

It's cold. It's dang cold. I mean, at least for me. My blood has definitely thinned out since I was in Utah, the land of the frozen. So, I just felt the need to complain. I bought a new jersey this week and I will probably need to get more new shoes and socks. 
The Good:
-Miracles have not ceased in Queenstown. And I don't think they ever will. The members, elders and even investigators faith is too strong.
-Elder Stegelmeier and I had about thirty spare minutes two weeks back and we wanted to really test God's promises. So we decided we wanted to teach three lessons in those next thirty minutes. We prayed we would be able to have at least two of those be potential priesthood holders and that one of those lessons would turn into someone really being a solid investigator who is seeking for truth. So we prayed and right then and there covenanted with God to do our best to make this happen. We hit the streets running... literally. We taught the first two lessons right off the bat. YES. Then we had about ten minutes left. So we started jogging down the street looking for a house we felt impressed to go knock on, because up until this time we had been street contacting (we prefer street contacting to tracting because we can actually see and target our focused group, MALES). So we saw a door, felt the impression of the spirit to go knock. We did and a guy opened up the door, invited us in and we meet the guys mother. We sat down and taught her and her son (somewhat) the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She was really receptive, while the guy was just kind of looking around probably for some reason to dash out the door and not come back. She (Sister Margret Mpotsha) asked that we come back next Tuesday and meet her HUSBAND. Elder Steglmeier and I discreetly fist-bumped each other and said we would love to come back and meet with them. She told us how her husband is about to become a Mfundisi (pastor) for some church. 
Well to make a long story short, we came back Tuesday and uTata Kenneth Mpotsha had read the whole pamphlet and basically taught us the great apostacy and the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. He then was asking about the Book of Mormon, so we left it with him. We came back Wednesday and he said he had read through the testimonies and was praying about Joseph Smith. We came back on Thursday with brother Jabanga, who was the first Xhosa who was ever baptized in Queenstown. Brother Jabanga and him spoke Xhosa to each other (amazingly elder stegelmeier and I could understand a good chunk of it) and then uTata Kenneth then told the story of Lehi's family up to when then recruited Ishmael's family to join with them. So he had at least read from the introduction of the Book of Mormon to 1 Nephi 7. It was amazing. They are both so receptive and so prepared. They understand things so well since they are very educated. Elder Stegelmeier and I can't stop praying for them or thinking about them. I think we love them, just a bit.
- Plus, four of our 18-19 year old guys investigators are out of town. One of them, almost daily has smsed us and reported on his reading of the Book of Mormon and his understanding. Total champions.
-I played basketball at 530 three times this past week. So in the battle of my health and overall good looks, I am starting to try and fight back.
-Our Zone Training went really well. Elder Stegelmeier talked much about working with members and pamphlet teaching. The elders have already been reporting back on great experiences they had while applying what he had taught. It was really cool to hear their testimonies during reports. Then also the elders seemed receptive to what I shared about accountability and helping others achieve their potential. They also said they all want to step it up in their work and efforts. We have the best elders ever. We really all love Elder Stegelmeier. He is a great leader and I think leadership has taught him, just as it has me, a lot. He has only three weeks left. But I don't think anyone can tell! He just keeps working and keeps loving and looking towards the future. What a stud.
The Bad:
- I got smacked in the face by this kid with pudding on his hand while at church. I am pretty sure I practiced every Christ-like attribute all at once there. I am proud to say, I am the bigger man.
- Almost all of our progressing investigators our out of town in Cape Town or in Cofimvaba. So it makes teaching our stars a bit of a struggle.
- Xhosa people are so nice that even when they sure as heck don't want to meet with you again, they tell you it's fine to come back. Only this time, when you walk up to the gate, you find a padlock on it and no one comes outside when you yell.
The Funny:
- I was on exchanges with Elder Sengane (who is a new missionary) and we decided to walk over to these two tata's and talk to them about the gospel. Upon further investigation we found these guys were almost swimming in their whiskey. So as I tried to keep on our way Elder Sengane wanted to teach them. I complied and we taught them the restoration until we got to the picture of Jesus Christ ordaining his apostles.. The guys started freaking out saying that Jesus is black and we shouldn't try to confuse their people. They kept saying, "We saw when you two walked up that the black guy was walking behind you! HE IS CONFUSED!" Then turning to Elder Sengane they said, "You don't need to do this. Apartheid is over." We laughed and walked away. Classic.
The Truth:
If you want to be happy, then forget yourself and think about others. I have had this taught to me over and over throughout my life and ESPECIALLY on my mission. As Spencer W. Kimball said, “The more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. We become more significant individuals as we serve others. We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!”
It is true. So my challenge?: Pray every morning this week for a chance to serve someone that day. Then go throughout your day looking for someone to lift and help. Then follow the impressions and thoughts that the spirit will place into your mind and heart. Once you complete that act of kindness and service for your brother or sister, kneel down and thank your Heavenly Father for the opportunity, and ask what you might do next. Repeat this pattern every day for the next week, and report back to me how this blesses you. You WILL receive a daily opportunity and you will receive greater blessings and love for your fellowman.
I love you.
Mdala Mitchell Ryan Thayne

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