Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy new year everyone!

I hope you all had an absolutely amazing Christmas! I had a fantastic Christmas, it was so great to hear from home! For Christmas we had a way fun day. My companion and I went to the branch Presidents house to kill and skin a rabbit for Christmas lunch. The branch president has a lot of rabbits. So my companion killed the rabbit and then we helped skin it. Yeah that was a really interesting experience and I got some great pictures! Rabbit tastes just like... well chicken. Everything tastes like chicken I've decided. So us 4 missionaries had a great Christmas lunch. Then we decided to go out and sing Christmas carols for all of the members. I made about 200 of our famous Summers family cookies and delivered them as we went caroling. Most people here don't do much on Christmas and people were so excited when we showed up at their door! It was a ton of fun and it was great to see the smiles on peoples faces.

Today for p-day we had the chance to hike this huge mountain here in QwaQwa. It was a ton of fun except I am really really sunburned right now. We left at like 5am so I wasn't really thinking about sunscreen at that time, I realized it about half way up the mountain as the sun was coming up- big mistake!! So we have some really great pictures from the hike, it was one of the most beautiful scenes since I have been on mission. We didn't see a single person on the mountain until coming down when we found this local tribal guy that looks after the mountain. We talked to him for a minute and he was talking about Jesus Christ a lot. I gave him a Book of Mormon that I had and he mentioned that he had heard of our church when he visited Michigan. First time placing a Book of Mormon while wearing p-day clothes on the side of a mountain! Haha.

Well it was kind of an interesting week to do missionary work. A lot of people are just super busy for the holidays so it is difficult to meet with people. Especially tomorrow since it is New Years day. People here like to drink alcohol A LOT on the holidays. Every single day we have a different guy come up to us who has had just a bit too much to drink, we usually give them a pass along card and just keep walking. Not a lot more to report this week, sorry I don't really have many cool stories! Just a typical week but it was great to spend Christmas here and to hear from you guys back home.

Keep moving forward in faith and never give up!

Love you all,

Elder Summers

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas everyone!!

Wow I can't believe it's Christmas, it seriously doesn't feel like Christmas. It's really hot and there is a huge thunder storm outside right now, I'm used to the snow at this time of year! Anyways, I hope you all have a lot of fun plans for Christmas and are planning to eat lots of great food! For me I'm really missing American pies and turkey... If I eat anymore chicken and rice I might die haha. They really like their rice here and this stuff called "pop" which is like compact rice I guess? Not really sure how to explain it but it's nice.

This past week has been fantastic and a lot of fun. Serving others is just a blast each and everyday! I had the chance to give a talk in sacrament yesterday and I decided to talk about well... Christmas of course! Luckily we got the December Liahona just a couple days ago so I was able to look at President Monson's Christmas message. Honestly in all of my times giving a talk I have never felt the spirit more strongly. It's probably my first talk where I literally used hardly any notes and I just said what came to my mind. Everytime I have the opportunity to testify of the Savior's birth, ministry and resurrection I have an indescribable joy come into my heart. I know that Jesus Christ really was born at Bethlehem and came into this world to die for each of us. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much he sent His only begotten into the world for us!

I've never quite felt the true "Christmas spirit" until coming on mission. I feel as though we can really feel the Christmas spirit when we are serving our brothers and sisters. The way we can find happiness at this time of year for ourselves is to help others find happiness. It is such a blessing to go out each and everyday and serve God's children. Despite the challenges and trials we face as missionaries, the memories we create and the joy we feel from the work makes every moment worth it.

I'll share one quick story from this past week. We were going to meet with one of our investigators but as we got there our appointment feel through with him. We decided to go check on one of our investigators to fill the time until our next appointment. As we were walking to this investigators home, I had an audible voice come into my head that said go left not right and go down that road. I shrugged off the thought at first as though my mind was playing tricks but then I had the exact same thought come into my mind and I could not deny it. I told my companion to turn around and lets go down this road. He was a little confused but my companion is really humble so he didn't argue. As we were walking down the road we stopped the first guy we saw. It was a man in his 30's who had just come out of a home. We talked to him for a minute and he told us he was searching for someone. He just "happened" to be in this area although he lives quite far from where we found him. Well we spoke with him for a minute and soon he began to tell us how his family is really struggling and he has a drinking problem. We spoke with him for a few more minutes and scheduled an appointment to go meet with him. We are meeting him after Christmas. Now I don't know if this guy will make progress or what will happen but I do know that the Lord needed us to talk to him at that moment. Do I know why? No, but I know everything happens for a reason.

After talking to that Ntate, we decided to keep walking. Later down the road we saw one of our investigators and her sister carrying a large tub fool of biscuits. We stopped them and asked if we could help them carry it (it was pretty heavy). She thanked us and asked if we could help her sister carry it the rest of the way because she really had to head back home because she was in a rush. So we helped her sister carry it (pretty dang far haha) to the home where they were having a funeral the next day. Now this might not seem like a big deal but had we not originally turned around and acted on the spirit we would have never met that Ntate and we would have never been able to serve these 2 sisters. The Lord wants us to help His children but he is never going to make those service opportunities just "fall" into our lap. We have to listen to the promptings of the spirit and be willing to act on them. Each and everyday we pray for opportunities to serve those around us and it's incredible how those service opportunities arise. Serving those around us is not always convenient, it doesn't always fit into our schedule (carrying that tub of biscuits took a long time) but it's what the Savior would do and it's what our Heavenly Father expects of us as disciples of His son Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is to have the opportunity to serve God's children. It just reminds me of the scripture in Mosiah 2:17. "When ye are in the service of your fellow being, ye are only in the service of your God." There is an indescribable joy that comes from serving those around us and I hope we may all remember to try and help those around us at this special time of year.

Jesus Christ was born into this world to set the example for us of how to return to our Heavenly Father. May we always strive to emulate His example. I know that I still have a long ways to go but serving a mission in Africa is helping me understand how I can grow closer to my Savior and how I can strive to be a better example to those around me.

Thanks for all of your support and prayers. Merry Christmas once again!!

I love you all!

Elder Summers

Monday, December 17, 2012


Hello my dearest friends and family,

So you may be wondering what "QwaQwa" means right? Well let me explain. QwaQwa is the area we are serving in, it's similar to saying "Utah County" but the actual city I'm in is Phutadijthaba. It's just fun to say QwaQwa because the Q makes a clicking sound. Well the weather here in QwaQwa is so crazy! One day it's blistering hot and the next day it's way cold! This past week it was raining, so hot I had to take like 3 showers and one day I could see my breath because it was so cold. It makes missionary life interesting to say the least.

This past week was just an overall fantastic week! Let me say there is a real power in fasting. Our investigators are making a lot of progress and we are on track to have quite a few of them baptized in January. We have been teaching a family of 5 named the M______ family. We taught the Plan of Salvation this past week and it was incredible to see just how many great questions they had and how much they are learning. They are making a lot of progress and we are hoping to challenge them to baptism soon, the only concern is that they have been members of a certain church around here their entire lives. That is one of the biggest difficulties here is that most people have grown up in a certain church their entire life but it's incredible how the Lord can work miracles.

Like I've mentioned before, the branch here is new and struggling. We are currently trying to find a place to meet for church and we have been having to move around different schools. They are attempting to find land to put a temporary chapel but there is just no land here in QwaQwa so it's a serious concern right now. The school we have been meeting at was not approved by the church for the next year because it's apparently too small so we have to move to another school that is really far from most of the members. It's really not a good situation, there is a huge concern that a lot of people will go less active once we move to this school in January. The Lord will provide a way though and were really hoping for a miracle, we've run out of options.

It's crazy that this year is almost over. We have been getting a lot of people asking us if the world is going to end. I tell each person without a doubt in my mind that the world is not going to end and not even the angels in heaven know when the second coming of the Savior will be. I tell each person we can schedule an appointment for the 22nd then laugh about all the people that are worried it will be over on the 21st haha.

Christmas is fast approaching! We have been watching this Mormon Message quite a bit with President Monson that says "What Shall We Give?" If we simply take off the last syllable for the Spirit of "Christmas" it becomes the Spirit of Christ. What shall we give for Christmas? What shall we give for Christ? A great question to ponder in our minds as we remember the birth of our Master and Redeemer.

I love you all and wish you a great week in preparation for Christmas!

Elder Summers

Monday, December 10, 2012

Keep Moving Forward!

Hello everyone,

I know I've said this before but it's incredible how time just fliesby. I can't believe it's already been 6 months. Transfer calls come in next Monday, I'm pretty sure I'll be with my companion for another transfer. One missionary in our flat is finishing his mission so we'll be getting a new missionary here in our district.

Well I didn't send a general email home last week because it was honestly a pretty tough week but this past week was a lot better despite my sunburn! We did quite a bit of service this past week and I forgot to put sunscreen on- big mistake! I'm getting really dark so I don't think people will even know I'm white by the time I leave here  haha.

I've learned that mission is not always easy but the Lord humbles us in order to bring us higher and to develop attributes of Godliness. The branch here is struggling quite a bit with less actives and members that aren't "anxiously engaged" but we are doing our best to help it continue to grow. As I've mentioned before, the branch here is very new. The branch president just joined the church a year ago but he is energetic and doing his best to keep the branch afloat. We are currently having difficulty finding a place to worship on Sunday, we have been moving around different schools. These are not very niceschools by the way but it's incredible to see that the venue doesn't make a difference when we are gathered together as saints. The spirit is felt no matter where we have church which further strengthens my own testimony.

This past week we had some great lessons that definitely left an imprint on my heart. We have been teaching this very humble family of 4, the M________ family, for about the last month I've been here. We decided on Wednesday to review the restoration because we felt as though they did not fully grasp the priesthood being lost and brought back in its fullness. Well after reviewing the restoration and using some illustrations to help them understand it more clearly, the Ntate (word in Sotho for father, like Baba) began to tear up. It was evident that the spirit touched his heart and he truly understands our message. He said that he really feels something and clearly understands what we are teaching now. The family has agreed to be baptized in Janurary so hopefully they'll continue to progress. They have already agreed to keep the word of wisdom which was shocking considering the father drinks and the wife and daughters all love their tea and coffee. We followed up with them on Sunday though and they have been keeping the word of wisdom and feel great!

Another quick story. My companion and I were walking along the road when an Ntate stopped his car and wanted us to come over to him. He started talking to us and asked what exactly we do. We explained that we are missionaries and a little bit about the message we share. He said he has seen us many times before but he felt prompted to stop his car and talk to us. He said my companion and I are like "BFF's" because we are always together haha. He wanted to talk to us because he didn't understand how "A white guy could be walking around with confidence in a black community" haha. That's literally what he said, it made me chuckle a bit. It's true I'm pretty much the only white guy but I don't really feel like I stick out. I have confidence in our message so I have no problem sharing it with anyone. It just reminds me of the scripture in 2 Timothy 1:7: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." So true! God endows all of his servants with power and authority, I've
seen this manfiest time in again on my mission. Never be afraid to stand up for what you believe and to share your testimony! Anyways, we gave him our information and told him a little more about the church. Hopefully something comes of it!

Best of luck to all my friends at BYU for finals this week, one of the blessings of being on a mission is that I don't have to stress about exams for 2 years haha!

I love you all, the church is still very true!!

Elder Summers