Friday, June 22, 2012

Elder Summers Arrives in South Africa

I made it! I arrived about an hour ago at the MTC here in Johannesburg, it was an hectic two days of flying to say the very least! It is quite a weird feeling to be typing to you while sitting here in South Africa. The weather is amazing here and it's so weird to see people driving on the left side of the road. It looks like I'll get 30 minutes to write home so I apologize to my friends if I can't get to your emails, I'll do my best to type fast haha.

I'm going to recap the last couple of days in airports because it was quite the experience. Flying out of SLC there were 6 others Elder besides myself that I met up with. When I flew out of SLC to Chicago I sat next to a lady who had actually been to Durban multiple times and has travelled all over the world. She told me all about Durban and many wonderful stories about the country, she started bearing her testimony to me while we were flying and started crying! It was cool to feel the spirit on my way to Chicago and helped me relax a lot. I actually found out that she is the daughter in law of Dr. Kearl, he teaches the evil Econ 110 class that everyone hates haha. She said her daughter does consulting work out of D.C. in Africa, I told her that I have a huge interest in doing something international after my mission so she told me to remember her daughters name Rachel Kearl and she would be able to help me. It's amazing the people you meet and how this name tag changes you.

While waiting for our flight in Chicago, we had multiple members of the church come up to us and talk with us. We even had a couple give us $60 for ice cream! The flight to London was 8 hours, it was impossible to get any sleep on the plane. The one brightside was that our dinner was surprisingly good! After landing in London we had a 10 hour layover so we decided to go tour London instead of sitting in the airport all day. We visited the Buckingham palace, Big Ben and some other historical buildings. I had fish and chips for the first time ($20!!) and it was really good. While walking around London we ran into some members who are the neighbors of the mission president in Johannesburg, what a small world! After that long day in London we finally took off for South Africa last night, it was an 11 hour flight! My flight experience to South Africa was interesting to say the least. I had the chance to sit next to two women who were sisters and were going to Durban. They grew up in Durban as children and they were going back because their dad had just passed away that day in Durban. They were extremely friendly but it was apparent they had no idea what the LDS church was haha. I began talking to them and they gave me a bunch of information about Durban. After talking to them for a bit, they asked me a few questions about my church. The only thing they knew was that we don't have sex, we don't drink alcohol and we wear weird trousers. They asked me about why I'm serving a mission, why I was wearing nice clothes and other various questions. They kept thinking I was going to do a little service and get lots of time to tour South Africa, so they were giving me lots of recommendations on beanches and bars to visit haha. One of the girls had mentioned that she really missed her dad and hoped he was in heaven. She was confused by our church and our beliefs so I gave her a pass along card with "Familes are Forever" and told her to visit if she was interested. You never know what will happen! 

After talking to them for a while they kind of had a little bit too much alcohol! They were very depressed from losing their dad so they said they were trying to "wash their grief away." They were getting a bit rowdy so some of the people on the plane started complaining, the flight attendant said they would be arrested if they didn't calm down and she offered me to change seats. I just stayed in the same seat and they finally calmed down, although I think they though that I was the one complaining to the flight attendant because they stopped talking to me the rest of the trip, oh well! Yeah so it's been kind of a hectic two days of flying but I'm here and I'm excited!!! The MTC has 32 missionaries (smallest MTC in the world) and I found out my companion is from Ghana! He isn't here yet and apparently he is the first missionary from Ghana to come through this MTC so that's kind of cool. There is one other American Elder going to Durban, the rest of the American's are going to Johannesburg.

Thanks for all of your support and all the letters I have already received! I love you guys and I'm grateful for all of you. I can't wait to begin teaching the people of South Africa and bring others the peace that the Gospel brings to my life.

1 comment:

  1. Great start to your mission! Love all of the detail you wrote about! You are my kind of traveler! Why sit in an airport when you can go explore and have an adventure! YOu are in my prayers....Cathy Smith