Sowubona friends and family!
A great and busy week here in Margate. This past week I had the chance to go on exchanges with our Zone Leaders. I'm not going to lie, being a new missionary I was a little nervous to go and teach with the ZL's but it ended up being a great experience. So my comp and I are about an hour and half away from the closest missionaries, we're the only companionship here in Margate. My comp stayed in Margate and I went to Umlazi for exchange. Umlazi is a massive township divided into different sections, about 10 missionaries cover the township of Umlazi. It was entirely different from Margate. Houses don't have gates, there is much more poverty and surprinsgly enough people speak English much better there and are WAY more willing to meet with you. Everyone was incredibly friendly and humble, the gospel is growing rapidly there. For the two days I was there we had an appointment every single hour, we didn't even doing an tracting. It was a great learning experience and I took a lot from my two days there.
When I got back to Margate I felt like a new missionary and felt very motivated once again. My companion and I have really been thinking about how we can find success in Margate. Missionaries have come in and gone out of this area with minimal success, we don't want to do that. The power of prayer and fasting is a real thing, it made a huge difference this week. We felt prompted to look at former investigators in this area and we have started tracting in entirely new areas. We are also getting the members much more involved. We are already seeing a profound difference in just a few days. We met with multiple former investigators and they were extremely excited to see us, hopefully some of them will be able to progress. Tracting in new areas has brought results. The 5 investigators we have with baptismal dates right now are making progress and will be a great strength to the branch.
This past week we got a lot of crazy questions, the things you hear or face as missionaries are nuts! I feel like I'm making some of these up.
1. "Why did God give us lust if Christ said lust is a sin?" Uhh, I think you got lust and love mixed up buddy. Haha.
2. "Are you two saved? Because our house is saved."
3. "Oh your the mormons, the one's who don't believe in the bible!"
4. "Do you believe in the devil?"
5. "Why can bad people perform miracles if they don't hold your priesthood?"
6. "Do you two have girlfriends?" Hmm... how to answer that one haha.
7. "Where are these gold plates? Is there a picture or some evidence I can see of these gold plates?" Why yes, yes there is.(I point to the Book of Mormon in his hands)
Yeah we had even more then that but you get the idea, weird situations as a missionary!
Saturday we had car problems AGAIN. We go to our car for our first appointment when sure enough our car doesn't start. I can tell the battery isn't dead so I couldn't figure out the problem, it sounded like something was wrong with the ignition. We had a bunch of appointments that day so this was terrible timing. My comp and I said a prayer, after we prayed I had a thought come to my mind. The past week we had replaced the old key which was slightly bent, I decided to pull out the old bent key and try it in the ignition. Well after wiggling it into the ignition, sure enough the car starts up! The power of prayer is a real thing! It's a good thing because the closest church mechnanic is TWO hours away in Durban.
I have been reflecting a lot this past week on how we can recognize promptings of the spirit in our lives. How do we know when it's really the spirit prompting us? Overpowering spiritual experiences do not happen often, how do we recognize the spirit in our daily lives? Well there is a scripture that we use a lot as missionaries that directly answered my question when I thought about it. Ephesians 5:22 tells us the feelings of the spirit: Peace, love, temperance, etc. I have seen the difference as a missionary as I have dilligently searched the scriptures and earnestly prayed to the Lord for guidance. I constantly feel at peace, even at times of discouragment (which happens quite often as missionary). I always feel like doing good and I've seen such a profound difference since I have come on my mission. When people slam doors in your face, tell you they are not interested or don't accept your teaching, I think normally I would be upset but honestly I just feel sorrow. I feel sorry for that person that they don't know what they are missing and I keep moving forward in faith at all times.
A lot of times as a missionary you can feel discouraged or overwhelemed, but there was something I read the other day from Elder Holland that hit me really hard. "Don't hyperventilate about something that happened in the morning when the grace of God is trying to reward you in the evening-" We have a lot of appointments that fall through here (all 7 of our appointments Sunday feel through) but often times I find that the Lord blesses us later on. We cannot be so caught up on the disappointments in missionary work that we lose focus on what really matters. No matter how much we may be struggling, no one can sink lower than the light of the Savior's atonement. The atonment is a real thing and our Heavenly Father will always be there for us.
Love you guys.