Monday, June 1, 2015

Always learning when I thought I'd be teaching.‏

This week we had exchanges in Mthatha. We left Thursday afternoon and just came back on Saturday. It was a pain because it took some time out of our area, but I think it was really important that we went. It killed us... I MISSED EZIBELENI SO MUCH! Elder Young and Elder Heninger are great elders. We were able to go out with them Thursday evening and do some good work. Elder Young and I prayed and were talking to someone at the gate, then a guy starts jogging by in his suit and tie, we started jogging next to him telling him what we were doing and what is going on. Well he let us into his yard where he was staying in one of the flats at the back, he then got really excited about what we were sharing and knocked on all his neighbors doors and invited them to join us. We got a father of a family to also join. We taught the restoration and it was extremely powerful. After that we went on to get five referrals from both investigators, and less-actives. It was really great. Elder Young was just so blown away and so excited. We talked about how our faith had made the difference. It was a great mini exchange. He really taught me a lot about being sincere with those he was teaching and having a real love for them. He is a great elder.
Then the next day I was able to go out with Elder Matini my old companion. That was really good for both of us I think. We weren't able to teach and do as much as we had hoped, but we were able to interview someone for baptism as well as teach a couple others. He most of the time, while stuck in traffic driving to the next appointments told me how he is trying so hard to make a real change. He is just doing his best to give his all to the Lord. I was really grateful to him for showing me that repentance is all about the little changes. He reminded me of how I still have so much more to improve on and do better with. It's all one big process. He is really trying and it was great to see. I miss that elder, so it's fun to have him in this Zone.
Also, we had a sacrament meeting all to us missionaries. My companion and I decided that Elder Crowell, Elder Stegelmeier and Elder Farnsworth should be the speakers. They did a great job talking about member missionary work and helping the members receive some more vision. The rest of us blessed and passed the sacrament which was cool! I finished blessing then stood up and the cloth started falling off of the sacrament table, just at the last second I caught it and put it back in place... phew. That is a missionary horror story for yahh.
The rest of the Zone is great. They are working hard and making it happen. Each elder seems to really be trying. Every time I am around them and talking with them I feel like I am learning so much. I am learning more from them than I am teaching them. I think the Lord called me to serve here so THEY could teach me. It's been really awesome to learn. Elder Stegelmeier as well teaches me a lot about humility and consistency. I don't know if you all heard that talk in conference about the "Shiblon's" of this world. But Elder Stegelmeier is definitely on of those. And it's been good for me to learn from him.
We are trying to work hard, involve the members and love the people. Sometimes they make it hard when they don't act on what they KNOW to be true. It's especially sad when you have been working with them for months. But I know hopefully one day what we taught will make a difference. Elder Ballard said, "It is impossible for you to fail when you do your best while on the Lord's errand." So that brings comfort. Because one investigator, Vuyiseka, just had to get dropped once and for all.. Hopefully one day she will realize what she is missing and truly commit, but you cannot force someone to change. I labored over her, prayed and studied, testified, rebuked, encouraged and cheered on Vuyiseka, but she just wasn't ready to really give it. So we had to tell her to come to church once she was really ready. I know that she will be accountable for the truth she is turning away from, so I hope that she will repent and change before it's too late. But I am reminded that NO effort is wasted. I know my efforts went somewhere. Even if it was only for my own personal growth, I know God has a purpose and he still loves his daughter Vuyiseka.
This week we had a campfire FHE with the Jabonga family and the Ndabeni family at the Ndabeni's home. It was so sweet. We ate food they had prepared, made S'MORES, and then had a fireside testimony meeting. Everyone was sharing theirs and it went around till Elder Farnsworth (Who reminds me of Grandpa Thayne like crazy and makes me miss him all the time) bore his testimony on why he is there and how much he is learning. It was at that moment I realized one of the reasons that I am here. I am here to learn how to truly love. More than just have a unconditional love, but something more like Charity. They just give and give and give and give. They don't expect anything in return. But they do receive MUCH from the Lord as far as personal character and peace in their hearts.
So Usapho, where are you seeing that I can improve? I want to be better. I have been studying and talking with my companion a lot about consecration. Elder Neil A. Maxwell said, "Consecration thus constitutes the only total surrender which is also a total victory." I have had tastes of that, but I want more. So any advice or suggestions? They are so welcome. I have grown so much on mission, but I realize that we can NEVER stop learning and never stop progressing. 2 Nephi 28:30 really says it all. We need to keep progressing, line upon line, trial by trial, prayer by prayer.
Real quick Zandile, our recent convert who has been struggling, is also doing great. I guess she was with some friends, they all were buying alcohol but she just got herself a cool drink. As the night went on and they got more and more tipsy they kept commenting how she had made the smart choice and they wished they had followed her. One of her friends was really touched by her standing alone. So a week later she said how she had been watching Zandile and how she had seen her change. She then asked to come to church and came with her! IT was powerful! I have noticed when we get people involved with missionary work they seem to kind of sort out their own problems. "Forget yourself and go to work." Amen. It is the recipe for success with anyone who is struggling. Give them an assignment to help someone else and they will sort out everything.
Ohh yeahh, by the way, it has already been almost six weeks that I have been with Elder Stegelmeier, we are having transfers next week. So I will find out if I am staying here in Queenstown and killing him (meaning he finishes his mission with me after two years then goes home) or if I will leave to serve somewhere else. Whatever happens, I have grown to love eZibeleni and the elders and the people here SO much. It has been such a learning experience for me. We will see what the Lord has in mind for my further progression though. I'll let you all know next week!
Thanks for everything. Mom, I am still rocking my tablecloth tie and have gotten many compliments on it. Great style choice.
Mdala Mitchell Ryan Thayne

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