Monday, February 11, 2013

New Companion

Hello friends and family,

Time just flies by as mission gets better and better. The older I get on mission the more I seem to enjoy everyday and just relax. My new companion arrived late Tuesday night. His name is Elder Ng'ambi and he's from Zambia. He joined the church in 2011, he has 8 in his family and most of them are members. His branch back home is super small, only about 20 people at church every week but apparently about 90% of the members in his branch are less active. There are just a ton of less active members throughout Zambia which is unfortunate to hear. One of the biggest struggles with inactivty is that the chapels are often too far for people or they have to work on Sundays to support their families. It's definietly a struggle we are facing in this mission.

Well I have just a couple of short stories from this past week. We got a referral from a YSA sister to visit her friend who stays in our area. The referrals name is F____ and she is really cool. We met her for the second time on Saturday and we had a powerful lesson with her. After teaching her half the restoration (up to the apostasy) the first time we met we left her with a pamphlet. Well we came back on Saturday to finish the restoration and found that she had read the whole pamphlet. She had about 2 full pages of notes from the pamphlet and questions. She understood the restoration incredibly well and she was so happy that we gave her a Book of Mormon. She kept offering us money for the Book of Mormon but we had to just keep explaining that it is free haha. She has great potential to progress and were excited to keep meeting with her. It is so much easier to do missionary work when we get referrals. We would have never met this girl if not for this referral because she lives pretty far from the central area we do proselyting.

It has been exciting to have the opportunity to train so far. My companion isn't even that green and I can tell he is going to be a great missionary. I've already learned a lot from him and he has reminded me of the importance of bearing a simple testimony. There is nothing more important in teaching lessons than bearing testimony. Often times we receive difficult questions about whether God is really there or other struggles people face but each time I bear testimony there is an undeniable spirit that enters the room. The most important thing in teaching is sharing testimony, when we say the words "I know" or "I testify" it invites the spirit instantly. It's incredible how many people constantly comment that they feel the spirit or peace when we visit them. I think that I sometimes forget the simple feelings of the spirit such as peace, hope and joy that I feel in my everyday life. The spirit doesn't have to be this overwhelming feeling, it's the calm reassurance that God lives and that He has a plan for us. I know this to be true and I'm so grateful for that hope in my everyday life.

Love you guys,
Elder Summers

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Work is Hastening....Transfers

Hello everyone!

What a crazy past week it has been and I don't know where to begin this email. I have so many different stories but I'll have to stick to the main points. First off we had zone conference on Wednesday. We drove to Bloemfontein which is about 4 hours from PJ, Bloemfontein is a beautiful city that reminded me of Las Vegas interestingly enough. At zone conference President Von Stetten said that the work is hastening and he talked about the huge announcement from President Monson at General Conference. He said our mission will be opening NINE new areas by July, that's incredible. There is going to be a huge influx of missionaries and he said he needs more trainers, more leaders and more obedient missionaries. He said this is the greatest time since the church was founded in 1830. He said that he spoke with the Area Seventy here after the missionary announcement, the Seventy said that the decision for the age to be dropped has been made just a couple days before conference and the ONLY people who knew about it were the 15 brethren. This was not some announcement that had been planned for a while, it was direct revelation to the Prophet only days before conference.

President Von Stetten also talked about the latest priesthood manual we are studying this year, the teachings of Lorenzo Snow. He spoke about how President Snow in his early days of the church was called in general conference to stand up and accept a call to start art the mission in Italy. He was given only TWO weeks to prepare to leave for Italy after he had settled down with his family. Then President Von Stetten proceeded to say: "Just as general conference of old, I want the following brethren to stand up. Elder Munson, Elder Summers and Elder Kyimba. You are herby called to serve as trainers of new missionaries coming this transfer. Unlike President Snow, I'm giving you one week to prepare." My heart was pounding quite a bit because this was infront of about 70 Elders all gathered together for zone conference. President said that these missionaries aren't just green, they are dark green like martians. The reason being that this is the first group of missionaries to come into this mission that have their time cut down from the MTC. They have been given only 10 days in the MTC instead of 3 weeks. I was reflecting on my time in the MTC and how vital that full 3 weeks where for me, there is no way I was ready at 10 days! So we got transfer calls last night, my new companion is from Zambia. His name is Elder N'gombi. He is one of the only Elders from Zambia in the mission, I'm super excited to meet him tomorrow. I'm kind of nervous to train a new missionary but I'm pretty excited.

A few other things from this past week. There is a girl named H_____ that we found while tracting at the end of December. We taught her for about 2 weeks and discovered she was a golden investigator. We referred her to the missionaries in Bloemfontein when she left at the beginning of January. I spoke with the Elders at zone conference who have been teaching her, she is going to be baptized in 2 weeks! She has gone to church there every single week since we reffered her to the missionaries. It's pretty cool to see her progress and that she is taking that great step towards joining Jesus Christ's church. We have also been teaching her mother here in PJ. Her name is V_____ she accepted our challenge of baptism on Thursday! Mother and daughter will both be getting baptized but in different places! There is kind of a funny story about how we found H___ and her mother V____. We were walking to an appointment and while we were walking I see this house that has a car parked out back. I am always attracted to houses that have cars because they are kind of rare here and if the family progresses it is easy for them to come to church. I know it's kind of biased but hey it's the truth! Well we go and knock on the door but the lady we find (V____) actually doesn't live there, she lives next door. So the car didn't even belong to them and the car was out of commision. The Lord works in mysterious ways! It's cool to see how this family has progresses in the gospel.

Another cool story from church on Sunday. In our investigators class we talked about baptism. After the lesson our investigator named L_____ who I spoke about last week came up to me. He told me that he received an answer to his prayers in a dream, he dreamt about being baptized and he wants to be baptized by the end of the month. He is ready and we are so excited! That seriously made my week! I have been praying and fasting that he would receive his answer and have the desire to be baptized. He is keeping all of the commandments and he has been coming to church every week. He is planning on being baptized on the 24th of this month. Real quick another story, I succesfully street contacted and gave a Book of Mormon to a white person here! You might be saying: "So what?" In my first area of Margate it was about 50% white, 50% black and I didn't hand out a single Book of Mormon to a white person the entire time I was there! White people just didn't want to meet with us or hear our message. I only taught one white family my entire time there and they were eternal investigators. Anyways, this lady we met was sitting on the grass outside of the college here. It was odd to see a white person around here (PJ is 99.9% black, the .1 being us 2 white missionaries) so we started talking to her. We found out that she works as a secretary at the college but lives about 15 miles from PJ. We started talking to her and found that she had actually met with missionaries before in Johannesburg. She really wants to meet with us again and she didn't know we are here. We went back the next day and gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to church. Hopefully she'll be able to come, she was seriously the nicest white person I have met here in South Africa.

Well it was a fantastic week overall and the Lord is really blessing us here. We have some baptisms coming up and the branch is starting to improve. We even found some land for a chapel and we are really hoping it will go through. Thank you for all of your support and prayers, I feel it here!

Elder Summers