Monday, September 28, 2015

Imbinjani icaweni? -- How was church?

First of all, I do want you all to know I HAVE read the White Hand Book (Missionary rules/guidelines basically) once or twice, so I am aware of the whole - "Do not proselyte at or near the houses of worship of other faiths." But I think we are onto something. And no, we were not proselyting or handing out anything.

So while we were talking with our Ward Mission Leader this week he was talking about how he really feels that we need to get the name of our church out there by building positive relationships with other churches and local congregations. I shared with him something that we had started doing while out in Queestown, it was called the "Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy Initiative." It had to do with home teaching and stuff like that. But our bishop was really working hard and building relationships with the members of the Methodist church and getting our name out there in a really positive way. So as I shared about that our Ward Mission Leader looked like a kid on Christmas Day. His eyes got all big and he just kept saying, "THIS is what we need to get our ward going! They need to start living their faith so others can see!" So basically he gave us a charge to go to other churches and start reaching out to the Pastors there. 

Elder Martinez and I really took it to heart. We went and got details from the Trinity Presbyterian Church of South Africa and told them our bishop and ward council would love to get in touch with them and planned some inter-faith activities. Then we went over to the Catholic church. We spent a good 45 minutes talking to two Monks. Brother Richard and Brother Gavin. Both have taken on them an oath and are serving God completely til they die. It was pretty inspiring. We just knocked on the door, told them who we were and where we came from and said we wanted to start bringing the Christian community together. We used the tactic of curiosity. We just asked all about them, what they do and what they believe and were very honest about what we admired. Then after us saying nothing, they just started asking all about why we are here and what we do. They were very impressed and grateful. They even said they want to get our bishop, or maybe the stake president, to become part of a council that is held with like all the major Christian Churches in Cape Town about the issues of today and what not. It was really amazing to start building that friendship. So now we are like best buds with two monks from the Catholic Church. Too sick.

Then last of all we went to a church called "Connect Church." Not really sure who from their marketing team came up with that name, but it's fine. We went to the church and got to know the Pastor pretty well after the service. He talked with us for a good 15-20 minutes asking about our beliefs and he had a lot of questions about us Mormons. I think we really blew his mind when it comes to what us Mormons actually believe and how we try to live. He was really impressed and grateful that we were there and just wanting to reach out to other Christian churches and build that relationship. He asked for our contacts and said he wants to get in touch with our Bishop and do some service activities and things like that. These churches are all within a two or three minute drive from our chapel. So I really think that these relationships can blossom into blessing a lot of people.

It was SO good for me, and I think the whole district of missionaries, to just go and see how others are doing their best to live their faith.  Yes, there were some huge differences with the whole singing and dancing and what not, but they are really trying to grow closer to our Heavenly Father and live in a way that He would have them live. I really learned a lot and received a witness of Gods love for all of His children, and I think several churches received a witness yesterday that Mormons really must be Christians too.

Also as a side-note, we had a little fireside right after church yesterday. We basically had our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Michael Tonkin, speak and share a quote from Elder Bednar's talk "Ask in Faith" and then get them all pumped. One by one we just went up and bore our testimonies on specific subjects. Afterword everyone was so excited. Many came up to us, wiping away tears asking us when we could come to their homes. Our bishop, this is the first time he had ever said more than "hi elder" to me, afterword said, "Elder, I love what was shared. I really think you guys are ready for this. Can you still come over tomorrow night so we can make this plan and really focus on the less actives? As you were all sharing I really started to have people come to mind that I KNOW are suffering outside of this gospel. They need to come back." - Wow. The spirit really worked on him and many others. We had another sister walk up to Elder Martinez and I saying that there was a friend that she hasn't thought about in YEARS that came to her mind over and over as we were talking and she asked if we could reach out to her and teach her. 

The Lord is making it happen. It wasn't the smoothest of weeks, but I feel that we are laying a foundation for a great work in the future.

Here is that Elder Bednar quote. I think it is really something important that all of us can start to think about. 

"I long have been impressed with the truth that meaningful prayer requires both holy communication and consecrated work. Blessings require some effort on our part before we can obtain them, and prayer, as “a form of work, … is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings” (Bible Dictionary, “Prayer,” 753). We press forward and persevere in the consecrated work of prayer, after we say “amen,” by acting upon the things we have expressed to Heavenly Father.

Asking in faith requires honesty, effort, commitment, and persistence. Let me provide an illustration of what I mean and extend to you an invitation.

We properly pray for the safety and success of the full-time missionaries throughout the world. And a common element in many of our prayers is a request that the missionaries will be led to individuals and families who are prepared to receive the message of the Restoration. But ultimately it is my responsibility and your responsibility to find people for the missionaries to teach. Missionaries are full-time teachers; you and I are full-time finders. And you and I as lifelong missionaries should not be praying for the full-time missionaries to do our work!

If you and I would truly pray and ask in faith, as did Joseph Smith—if we would pray with the expectation to act and not just to express—then the work of proclaiming the gospel would move forward in a remarkable way. Such a prayer of faith might include some of the following elements:

• Thanking Heavenly Father for the doctrines and ordinances of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which bring hope and happiness into our lives.

• Asking for courage and boldness to open our mouths and share the gospel with our family and friends.

• Entreating Heavenly Father to help us identify individuals and families who will be receptive to our invitation to be taught by the missionaries in our homes.

• Pledging to do our part this day and this week and petitioning for help to overcome anxiety, fear, and hesitation.

• Seeking for the gift of discernment— for eyes to see and ears to hear missionary opportunities as they occur.

• Praying fervently for the strength to act as we know we should.
Gratitude would be expressed, and other blessings might be requested in such a prayer, which would be closed in the name of the Savior. And then the consecrated work of that prayer would continue and increase.

This same pattern of holy communication and consecrated work can be applied in our prayers for the poor and the needy, for the sick and the afflicted, for family members and friends who are struggling, and for those who are not attending Church meetings.

I testify that prayer becomes meaningful as we ask in faith and act. I invite all of us to pray in faith about our divinely given mandate to proclaim the gospel. As we do so, I promise doors will open and we will be blessed to recognize and act upon the opportunities that will be provided."

I know that this is ALL of our work. We are not here to force our belief on others. Rather, we are here to invite all to come unto Christ. I know that as all of you not only pray for my success, or others success in missionary work, but pray for and get on your feet and work to have your own success in missionary work, the Lord will openly and abundantly bless you in your efforts. 

Brendon Neilson, my friend back home, just played a big part in baptizing a British rapper. Someone who had never even thought God existed. But as he lovingly and continuously invited her and lived his faith, she saw the fruits of living the gospel and she made the change.

I love you all so much. The is God's work. Yeahh, the weeks here are hard, and the days are long, but the reward is worth ever effort.


Mdala Mitchell Ryan Thayne

    And a picture at an FHE with the Dobbins where they gave us a cake for Elder Martinez' and Elder Manqele's birthday.

I sent a selfie just in case you missed me. Since many may have not, well that's alright. Here is a selfie of me being a dweeb anyway.

Then that was us outside of the NICEST house I have been to in a long time. A family, the Knightons, who are originally from Idaho invited us over for Heritage Day and we had a real great Braai.

Elder Labrum from our own Lehi North Stake
Then some pictures of us lookin down, Elder labrum, Elder Muller, Elder Manqele and myself at our own braai.

With President and Sister Merrill

Cape Flats Zone

And a picture at an FHE with the Dobbins where they gave us a cake for Elder Martinez' and Elder Manqele's birthday.

A picture by the ocean.

A white girl named Stacey that Elder Radebe and I started teaching. Then she moved to East London and just got baptized by one of my best friends Elder Prisbrey. So awesome. He is doing great work.

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