Queenstown: Not at all like anything I have experienced thus far. It's so quiet where I work. I work in a little township just outside of Queenstown called eZibeleni. We have about four member families that stay out there that we work with. We have several individuals that are progressing towards baptism, but they are all females! We want to get a few powerful brothers in our pool as well. :] The girls are handling us guys. We need to do some catch up gentlemen.
Well, I have so much to say, but as always, I have so little time. So I'll just start to rant until I run out of time, nehh?
Wednesday was transfers! So after saying goodbye to all the amazing people in East London, my new companion, Elder Freitas and I were getting ready to leave. Then we received a call informing us that we would be staying overnight to have a meeting with the Stake President the following day. We then stayed at the Mdantsane Zone Leaders boarding and went to work with them in their area the following day. Elder Sanders and I, while on exchanges taught 9 lessons and committed several people to baptism. So I am glad the day I was there had a good impact on their area.
We had a meeting later that night with our Stake President, President Bell. He is a wonderful Priesthood leader and really has such a love and drive for missionary work. He really is wanting to have missionary work become more and more of a focus as he continues to influence and inspire the Stake. It was almost like a correlation, just on a Stake level. We agreed to have a meeting at the beginning of every transfer. He was extremely pleased with the level of obedience and work that he is seeing the missionaries put forth. I know that will continue to happen and the work will yield more and more fruit as we work along side the members of our wards.
We then slept over for a second day at the Mdantsane Zone Leaders boarding then headed back home first thing in the morning, for the first time, to Queenstown. We had a training with our Zone that morning talking about Hastening the Work of Salvation and helping the members catch the vision and become involved with our side of the work. We really stressed and talked about the issue of little to no communication with the Ward Mission Leader. President Bell is going to send a high councilor around to start training them on their duties which really should help, and from our side we encouraged the Elders to work with and remind the ward mission leader as much as possible of their duties. When the mission culture changed it was because the expectations were raised from where they had previously been. Then the missionaries answered the call. We feel like it'll be the same with member missionary work. We need to raise the level of expectation of involvement from our wards and they will rise up to the call as well.
We are going to go around and meet with the bishopric's and branch presidency's within the zone and train them on what is expected of them in hastening the work. Our bishop is already very involved and is having us present a training with him next week on the subject as well. So hopefully the fruits of that should be very noticeable within the next couple of transfers.
Sorry for such a boring email telling about the details of the work. I just wanted you all to know what is up so that you can hear the success that will come because of the measures that are being taken in future weeks.
Okay, so now for a few stories.
Saturday evening, after finding and meeting a new investigator named Simphiwo, we made a plan to go visit his mother and his family that night in the hospital. His mother has diabetes, and has an issue with her foot. He told us she was going to have to get it amputated. So he asked us to go visit and "pray" for her. We went driving there that night. Found the hospital, but didn't even know the Mama's name. So we just started walking, while Elder Freitas (My companion) started talking with the nurse at the desk I felt like I should talk to this brother who was sitting down on the bench looking really stressed. I sat down next to him and struck up a conversation asking how everything is going and who he was visiting. He then proceeded to tell me how his girlfriend had been stabbed by some gangsters in the street of the location just outside Queenstown where he lived. He said he had been told that she wasn't going to live. I spoke to him about faith in Jesus Christ and how miracles still happen in our day. By this time Elder Freitas was standing there waiting to go find the room where uMama was staying. I told the brother on the bench that we would be back in a little bit to talk to him about our message.
We then walked down the hall looking for the room. We walking into a room with like seven mama's laying in different beds, Elder Freitas walked straight up to one mama and said, "Hey are you Simphiwo's Ma?" (Don't ask me how he knew) then she said, "Ewe Buthi.(Yes, man.) I am so happy you are here." We explained what we were doing there and how Simphiwo had invited us, even though he wasn't there, and opened up to James 5 and talked about giving her a blessing of healing, just as Christ did. She said yes and showed us her rotten foot. It was awful. Honestly when we saw that we wondered about how on earth that foot could be saved. We then pulled the dividing curtain around her bed and gave her a blessing. It was a very special experience that I won't go into too much detail, but the Lord is, without a doubt, working in our lives.
Afterwords we walked back to the bench where that brother was sitting. He was so excited he stood up and couldn't stop shaking our hands. He then said in his broken English, "Maybe two or three minutes after you pastors left, I was thinking about Jesus, then I saw some nurses walking and I called to one and said she must tell me how my girlfriend is doing. She said that they figured it out and the doctors stitched her up and gave her some jabs. She should be okay by weeks end! Jesus is real mdala (elder), Jesus is real."
There you go. Sometimes, we don't need to actually lay our hands on someones head to give them a blessing. Sometimes we just need to encourage others to exercise theirs on behalf of those they love. Faith has to be practiced. Sometimes we don't see such immediate results of our faith, but every once in a while the Lord will give us those faith confirming experiences so we can receive our own witness. So then, during the dark times of our lives, we can wait patiently upon the Lord with faith, knowing that He WILL answer the call, in His time.
Shoutout to my cousin Reggie for getting his call to the:
Washington Federal Way Mission!
Uyamboza. (You're a champ)
I kind of forget what stuff is weird back there in America for you guys. So you'll have to ask me questions for specifics. We do see everyone walking around barefoot all the time. We also are seeing cows and goats walking everywhere in eZibeleni. I actually got really close to milking one till she kicked at me and ran away. Close though. I am back to being one of the ONLY white people at church. Just us Elders. It's pretty awesome. I love my Xhosa people. I am also learning much more about the language and I hope to be quite a bit better at it by the time I leave.
I love you all. As always. CTR, pray and read your scriptures. Do everything you can to actually LIVE your faith, not just profess your faith. Once you do that you will come to know God just a bit better. It's a beautiful relationship to have.
Salakakuhle, nehh? Cheers!
- Mdala Thayne -
Pictures consist of a dinner with Elder and Sister Thomas and other Elders in a meeting. Brother Shakes and I in Mdantsane with a bunch of little kids. Then Elder Freitas and I with the Ndabeni family. They bought a Cara Cara, which is basically a big taxi van, just to drive people in eZibeleni to church. AMAZING people. Also us eating at the Ndabeni home with our fellowshipper Brother Siyatanda. (He just turned in his mission papers YESTERDAY!)
Love you all! Letters, as always are delicious.
Elder Mitchell Ryan Thayne
South Africa Cape Town Mission
PO Box, 181, Observatory
Cape Town, 7935
Republic of South Africa
I forgot to tell you about my companion.
Elder Felipe Freitas is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has been out for 23 months already. So he goes home at the end of April from mission. He enjoys sports, has a girlfriend who he plans to marry (sorry ladies) and looks forward to a long walk on the beach at the conclusion of his mission. He is the first person from South America to ever serve in South Africa. He basically destroys at missionary work. I look up to, and love him a lot.