Pretty sure I love it so much. I have been able to come to one of the most BEAUTIFUL parts of South Africa, Port Elizabeth. Sadly, my entire mission I was never able to serve this side, but now I get a little taste of it.
This past week was pretty crazy. We went to three different Zone Trainings in Cape Town and were able to hear a lot of sweet counsel and testimonies from our Zone Leaders. President Merrill's training was of COURSE amazing. Really hit the nail on the head and is giving us more vision than ever on how we can move missionary work forward by sanctifying ourselves, setting long-term and daily goals then holding ourselves accountable to them. It's cool to learn from all these Elders and their different experiences.
One Zone training was all about how mission and our companions really prepare us to be a good priesthood holder and a good husband to our ETERNAL companions... AKA my future wife. So all in all, I guess I am going to be a pretty sweet husband by the end of all this. I know, I know, I have a lot to improve on, but it was eye opening.
So after all the Zone Training's and everything we flew out here to PE. Friday was pretty cool, we were able to go on some real quick mini-exchanges with my son (the missionary I trained), Elder Dryer. Gosh it was so good to see and talk with him. He has really grown so much and is doing some great stuff. He has turned the area, which was once dead, completely around that he is serving in. Such a sweet guy, and I am really proud of him.
Then on Saturday & Sunday I went on exchanges with a STUD of a missionary. I was with Elder Branch. We had a great time talking, teaching and learning together. We have a lot in common. He plays for the Dixie baseball team and is a super good player. So I guess I got a sweet connection there! Anyway, we were able to really focus and talk a lot about growth on mission and what service to others really ends up doing to us. It's just awesome to try to pour the things I have learned into other missionaries, and at the same time learn from them as well. Anyway, the moral of the story is, he is a total stud.
We went to spur and got some icecream, as an early birthday celebration for me. Anyway, he got all the workers in the place to sing for me and do this cheer thing. So after they all sang and everything was good I was super stoked and put my hand up to give them all a high five as the walked away... one by one they walked past me now even acknowledging that I had put my hand up
Cool things that happened: This week I met a family, the Chimuti's, who are best friends with the Dube's. Yes, Edward Dube of the Seventy. Anyway, they asked me if I would be willing to take something from them over to the Dube's who are staying in Sandy, Utah. I am so down. So yeahh, I get to meet them when I come home! YAY!
Also, the Sunday we came to PE there was a baptism. It was funny because Elder Branch and I were helping put it all together. People were asking me stuff like, "Where is the Bishop? Elder can you get everyone inside? Who is baptizing who? Elder, how can I help?" Haha I was just thinking, "What the heck? I am totally not a member of the ward and this is my second day here, but whatever!" So we just took care of business. It was a cool baptism.
Then the highlight, I want to talk about was a little talk that Elder Martey (my companion) and I just had. He just pulled me aside and sat me down apologizing for how he has been "prideful." He brought up a few comments that he had said or things he had done that as he thought about it, were a bit prideful and inconsiderate. He pulled out his scriptures and asked for my forgiveness and help to improve and learn how to love people and be happy. Wow. How amazing is he? His entire life he has been fighting just to survive. He lived on the streets most of his life and put himself through high school by going to school in the day then driving a taxi all night. He was on his own. People never have loved or helped him his entire life until President and Sister Merrill and a few who helped him get out on mission. I have learned a lot from him and his life, and am continually amazed at his humility and desire to grow and improve.
Of course, while talking to Elder Martey as he spoke about moments where he felt like he was prideful, which were super small and almost unnoticeable, I felt like I was the real prideful and spoiled one. I just had a good look in the mirror moment as I compared myself side by side with him. I realized I still have a long ways to go, but serving, loving and learning from him will really make all the difference for me in the long run.
So yeahh, life is about others. "If you spend your life just focusing on yourself, we are ultimately destined to end up all by yourself." - Elder Branch. Check the newest Mormon message. It hit home for me. http://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/reflections
I love you so much family... and friends. I am learning so much. I am super happy. I MISS YOU ALL!
Mdala Mitchell Ryan Thayne
THINGS ARE GOOD! Here are just a few pictures from the week.
A picture of Elder Payne, from an island in the west indies, and I.
Elder Martey, Elder Winebrenner, Elder Ludvigson and I after a zone training.
A picture of me and my future wife holding hands and an up-close.
A picture of us with a couple I had met in Mdantsane who moved this side.
A picture of elder branch, me, and a sweet fellow-shipper named Brandon just taking some selfies!