It’s been a quiet week. Back to normal. ES has been teaching with the Jrs. all over the place…from Lydenburg to Hazyview. One of our old investigators has returned from school and called the missionaries. They were able to teach him again. He’s back on target.
One of the non-members who attended Bears and Prayers asked to meet with the Elders. They taught him about the Godhead, and answered some really interesting questions he had. He commented on how positive our teaching is. He has investigated several churches and was blown-away about how simple and pure and positive our teaching is. He said that in his experience that the churches or pastors he has had contact with are negative with cutting remarks about others beliefs. He felt so impressed that he wants his entire extended family to be taught. Way to go Lydenburg!
The man I was speaking about above is named Sonnyboy… yep, just like it sounds. Many years ago when the white man owned slaves here and registered the men as property (sound familiar?) they had to have two names—one was their native name and the other was what the owners called their Christian name. The practice resurfaced during Apartheid as they registered all the Blacks and Colored (mixed races of any sort). When they went to the office of Home Affairs to get their Passbooks they had to choose a white man’s name. Now, just out of habit they all give their children two names. Like Kwasi Esther, Calisto and Christine’s baby.
So, Sonnyboy, has come to church, has been taught another lesson and is anxious to learn more.
Amidst all the events we have had we got a new missionary. He is from Zimbabwe and brand new. His name is Kuyangeipie. Nice young man and a great teacher already. Elder Pickup is his trainer and by default so are we. We will train him to eat lots and laugh lots—the fun part of being on a mission with a senior couple.
Last Saturday, our Branch had an M&M day… Member Missionary—not the candy. The Branch Mission Leader was in charge. We had a small showing of members but we had enough to divide into groups of 2 and 3. ES and I took Laheri with us to our street in the CBD (the Central Business District). Our goal was to give away 3 Book of Mormons, 5 pamphlets, and 10 pass-a-long cards. We hadn’t even rounded the corner when we ran into a young man who works at McDonalds. We gave him a pamphlet and invited him to church. Going a bit further we met several men who were sitting inside a small television store. One man, the technician, was a bit hostile at first but when we told him we were not soliciting money and that we do not get paid to teach he calmed down. He also said he would come to church and check us out. Laheri stepped up and began talking to the passing women. She was bold and sincere. Because she could speak Shona/Zulu she had great success with passing out the items. By the end of the hour we hadn’t made it to our assigned area but we had given away all our stuff. We returned to report and have cookies and juice (soda as we would call it). Everyone came back with the same success.
That very afternoon the Elders got a phone call from one of the street contacts. He is searching for a Christian church. They have made arrangements to teach him! Yeah!
The next day, Sunday, saw another convert baptism. Senzo, a friend of one of our YA members, was baptized. He is the one who said, “”I am ready to be born again,” the first day he came to church. The Elders told him he needed to have the lessons and attend church a bit longer. Now, he is a member. He receives the Holy Ghost this coming Sunday. He came to the M&M event and boldly testified of the truth of the gospel and how it can change lives.
We have another child of record baptism as well this coming Sunday. Michael Weitsz was baptized on the 13th, then Senzo the 20th and now Stephan McCarthy will be on the 27th. It has been an active month with baptisms. Next month, October, we have already scheduled, Philadelphia, another friend of Melusi’s and two children of record—Thabiso and Lawrence. Thabiso is the son on Thandiwe and brother to Nolwazi and Lawrence is the oldest child of Simon and Lindi who were among those we taught and baptized from Lydenburg. The area is growing! We are super excited to be able to watch and to bring the Lord’s gospel to the world.
It is pretty amazing to actually see prophecy fulfilled and to be a part of the process.
“The standard off truth has been erected; No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposed of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” Joseph Smith.
Our mission in New York was filled with miracles and remembered events but nothing like this one. We have seen so many lives change. Many dreams fulfilled and joy replacing despair. It is as if we are standing at the edge of a large pond watching as the ripples move towards us—each ripple is filled with the joy of the newly converted. All of these people who we have had a role in their conversion have been seeking for this gospel. All of these people have loved the Lord but felt something missing. The joy of the truth has filled that hole in their souls. They have come home and they openly express these feelings of gratitude to the Lord for what He has done for them.
I am so grateful to be able to stand still and watch the power of the Savior as He is the only one who can touch a person’s heart and fill their soul with understanding. My life has been changed because of these ripples that touch me.
There are also many we have taught who reject this gospel. Who turn away thinking there is something better or who simply like their church better. Many just grow tired of trying to understand the teaching by using their own method. They refuse to read the scriptures but expect an answer anyway. Some simply give up. Life is very hard here. It is difficult to get to church when you need to take a bus or taxi for over an hour. Taxi’s here are small buses. The drivers need to fill up the vans before they leave their area. So even though you may catch a taxi on time it may drive around looking for other people before getting you to your destination. Taxi’s cost money. Many do not have funds to bring their families to church. I have great empathy for these wonderful people. It is hard to sit and watch the people you love suffer.
But, those who persevere and hang-on receive all the Father has. Maybe not here in South Africa but one day when they live again they will be blessed beyond our comprehension. I feel so sad for those who have abandoned their Father in Heaven. I weep for them as my heart is broken from grief for all they have given up and replaced their testimonies with. The world has nothing to offer those who truly know the Savior and I pray every day that all those that I love will always love what I love—the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am reminded everyday how precious life is and how blessed we in the States are. Even though these are crazy times our lives are filled generously to overflowing with gifts from Heavenly Father. And with gifts come responsibility. I am grateful for the responsibility Heavenly Father has entrusted to me.
I am so proud of Hannah who is serving a mission in Phoenix AZ. She writes about the changes in her life and in the lives of those she serves and teaches. I only wish all of my grandchildren would have or will choose to serve missions. It is a life-changing experience if you do it right.
Well, the weather is nice right now. Warming up a bit but its spring here so the days are always changing. We are supposed to have rain tomorrow and Friday. That usually cools things off. So not looking forward to summer when it will be hot and humid. Eish.
But, still no monkeys in my kitchen which is a good thing.
P.S. The weather has changed and it is HOT! We had rain last night so this morning the weather is nicer. We had another child of record baptism on Sunday for which I made 65 cupcakes. I make them during the week and freeze them. Then on Saturday night I frost them. On Sunday I taught my Sunday School class and then RS. We got home about 2 and hit the napping position. We were both very tired. I fixed dinner for the Elders and then ES and I settled in to watch Netflix… NCIS. Reruns of course, but fun. Due to our naps we stayed up kinda late. Then on Monday we were both a bit draggy. We did our usual shopping and then off to the movies with the Swans. We saw The Intern. It was a good chic-flick. Not bad but not amazing either. But we liked it.
So that gets us up to date. I know I haven’t been really consistent with posting but I’m trying to do a bit better. Still no monkeys.
|Off we go on our M&M day. This is the street adjacent to our branch.|
|Our parking lot and ES coming to meet with us.|
|Elder Kuyangepie, Malusi, and Senzo ready to teach the gospel|
|Senzo practicing for bearing his testimony|
|blurry but this is the M&M group|
|ES took this of the cloud in the middle ground but this is a typical country road|
|Senzo with ES and our Jrs. Pickup and Kuyangepie|
|baptism day for Senzo|
|Senzo and Siabongna... I have noticed that Africans love their pictures taken. I think it is because they have sweet spirits|
|Kwazie almost walking. This is her new Sunday dress|
|Once a week someone cleans the rafters of the shopping center. This area is always clean and neat. I am very impressed by the overall cleanliness of SA and its people|
|John, the owner of Cicada, our favorite restaurant... with his little boy|
|AT Cicada with the Jefferies, the Seminary and Institute directors for Johannesburg mission (the Swans are there as well)|
|Elder Kuyangepie. Sorry, figured out how to turn the photos but forgot this one|
|teaching someone... Don't know this man yet|
|teaching Vincent and Senzo at Sister Jennifer's home|
|Michael Weitzs' birthday. His entire family|
|The Nkosi girls + one who parked in our parking lot then walked across the street to another church. It is Heritage month so it is proper to wear you country dress|
|The Elders preforming an impromptu service project out in Lydenburg|
|This lady was trying to move all this gravel by herself. Our boys jumped in and helped her. She said, "God sent me angels today."|
|Our kids wanted to do a service project for someone here. They are building a house for a family. We are so proud of their generosity and love for people they don't even know.|
|This is Aaron the builder.|
|Heritage day with all their traditional dress.|
|teaching Philadelphia, Senzo, and Vincent|
|Ah, unknown person|
|Laheri with her science project. It is like the game Operation. Buzzes when you tough the wire|
|Cleaning after dinner. Elder Edyouch's last dinner with us. Good cake but kinda messy.|