Monday, January 27, 2014

New Transfer

Start of a new transfer. 
Well like I said, elder smith was transferred. So that was pretty crazy saying goodbye to that stud. I was honestly bummed about it, but I know he will be killing it in Cape Town. And with him gone I am able to become even better friends with my companion. Sounds funny, but it's true. We were both way tight with him, so now we are jut turning to each other when we have funny things to say or do. So that is really good. My companionship with Elder Capozzoli is really starting to hit a good stride. I feel like we are both starting to gain an understanding and respect for each other. I have tried in the companionship to be submissive and humble as he has taught me things. I still have a ways to go, but I feel as though that has made a difference. 
I have found that with people, when you take a sincere interest in them, it really makes all the difference. Like my Dad said, "curiosity, is viewed as the most basic form of love." When you are curious about people's lives and who they are and when you show that sincere interest in them, it comes across as a simple form of love or appreciation. It has really helped me over the years develop friendships and as well has made a real difference in working with the people here in South Africa. I don't know or understand their culture yet, but I show them that I view them as an equal and have interest in them and they open up. It's really amazing. 
I'll skip right to the highlight of my week because I just can't wait to tell you all about it. I had my first baptism on mission! Siphinathi got baptized! (I finally learned how to spell his name.) the baptism was amazing. A few days before it happened we asked who he would like to preform the baptism and he asked me. Being the junior companion I assumed that he would ask elder Capozzoli to baptize him, but he asked me! They were a bit late getting there but, we got to the chapel and all got dressed in our whites. All the brethren that were above 18 except for like two people were there. So we had some great support. The ward mission leader spoke on baptism in Xhosa, so I didn't understand any of that, but I felt the spirit so I am sure it was good. Then brother Mbatani spoke on the Holy Ghost. In his talk he told Siphinathi that WHEN he would become a missionary that he would rely on the spirit all day every day. Not IF he became a missionary, but WHEN he would. It just felt so right. The spirit was so strong and Siphinathi is definitely someone I think that will go on a mission. He is a real kingdom builder. 
After the talks we went and got ready to go into the font. I was running through the words like thirty thousand times in my head because I didn't want to mess up when I was saying the words. I showed him how he would hold my arm and how I would baptize him. We went into the brown/yellow water in the font and it was FREEZING cold. We both were feeling quite frosty. When I put him under the water I almost had to shove him down, he was stiff as a board, but he went under and came up super happy. The spirit was just too strong and so noticeable. It was almost a tangible feeling inside of me. It is hard to describe. Siphinathi afterwords thanked me over and over. His older brother Mlondolozi came up and thanked me. He kept saying how my companion and I had made them so happy with the gospel. He said how it was changing their whole life. He kept saying we had saved them. I just reminded him how we just pointed the way that they needed to go and the things they needed to do to be happy, and then they did the hard part, they acted on their faith. It really is amazing. The crazy thing about the baptism was both Siphinathi and Mlondolozi were late to the baptism because they were out trying to find their father. He has been missing for a few days and they couldn't find him. They need the money that he brings home from his job to eat and survive, but they said they know everything will be alright. They still came to the baptism and then church the next day with him missing. After going home they said he finally came home and that it's alright. They are probably a 45-60 minute walk away from the church. Their faith is apparent. Faith, like talmage always said, is an action word. They show their faith by their actions. 
Other than the baptism things have been pretty normal. We visit and teach less active members and recent converts as well as teach and talk to our investigators. We have 8 investigators that are progressing at the moment so that is great. 
The work is moving forward. I feel like I have found my place as the Lords servant here in Africa. It's the greatest feeling. We have a new guy in our district, his name is elder Mchunu. The C makes this weird clicking noise at the front of your mouth, but he is real great. He is from Durban and so ready to be a missionary. Elder Okech is training him, so that is pretty interesting. Mchunu is so prepared. Missionaries in Africa by the time they go out on a mission have already probably gone fellowshipping with the missionaries a good 50-100 times and helped in lessons and all types of missionary stuff. They are so much more prepared than us boys from the states are. 
On Wednesday we planned with a few of the YSA girls in the ward a surprise goodbye party to Luvuyo. Luvuyo has been essential for the work in mdantsane. He has been helping missionaries for a long long time and now is finally on his mission in Ghana. But on Wednesday we took him out fellowshipping (the day before he left) and were helping him say goodbye to a couple of mamas that we teach. Then I made up a story about how his brother texted and asked that I blindfold him and take him to his house so he could have a surprise goodbye present thing. I was like, "yeahh it's just a little present. I don't know why on earth he wants you blindfolded, but lets just do it to make him happy." He said yes then we led him into the house. And took off the blindfold. Almost EVERYONE from the ward was there. Tons of our investigators, less actives and recent converts. A lot of old mamas that he visited. His family and friends. It was great. He was SO happy and SO surprised. It was great to see his face. People got up and talked about Luvuyo and what a difference he has made. My companion talked about how he helped us so much and how he would be a great missionary. It was awesome. Luvuyo was the first member in his family. His dad has had children with like five or six different women and has like 15 kids so he never sees him. His mum and brother aren't members but his little brother Yonella is a member, because of Luvuyo. The guy is powerful and made a huge difference. So the party was a total hit and that was great. We scheduled a lot of appointments too which was good. 
Now, probably because of Luvuyos example, his brother came to church and wants us to teach him. So on Tuesday we are going to meet with him and get him on the road to baptism. His name is Lamla. Then we are going to start teaching his mother next week! Pray for us! This will be such a blessing to Luvuyo and his family. Exciting!!!
I went to the zoo! I saw some of THE coolest animals and things. A lady was holding a monkey behind a glass door. I asked if I could hold it too and she looked around and then said, "okay come behind the building." I asked and we received!! Me and all the missionaries got to hold this baby "blue monkey" I think is what it was called. It was AWESOME. Only eight weeks old but so cute and so fun. I'll send pictures for sure. Then after that we walked around and I saw some lions, but those were all boring and snoozing. An the pictures I got of them had a big old factory in the back so that kind of took away from the whole jungle/African safari feel. BUT I did find some African pigs! Reminded me of the pigs at the ranch. I got some videos of some and everything so that was cool. I also got a couple pictures ill send as well. I thought you'd get a kick out of that dad. Then we went and saw a giraffe that I named Kevin. Ha he was too smooth. We petted him and took a lot of sweet pictures. Yay. 
Mission life is wonderful. Obviously, it is very hard, but I am really starting to enjoy it more and more. We are all just so blessed living in the United States. We can't take for granted all that we have. We have good food, clean streets, less violence, stronger families, more money and just a better life with more opportunities. A lot of peoples goal here is to move to or at least visit the states. We are just too blessed. Keep that in mind. Count your blessings and remember that the Lord is ever mindful of ALL His children.
Elder Thayne

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