June 10, 2013
First off I just want to congratulate my dad and my new step mom on their marriage! I wish I could have been there but unfortunately there are quite a few miles separating American Fork and Welkom, South Africa haha. I am so excited for the 2 of you and wish you all the best moving forward. It's interesting about a year ago this time I went through the temple for the first time to receive my endowment at the very same temple you were married in. That's pretty cool!
This past week was pretty amazing. We had some awesome spiritual experiences and we found some great new people. We were able to find a couple of fathers that are pretty interested in our message in Phahameng. The difficult part of serving in Phahameng is the language barrier. The majority of the community is very impoverished. The schools there are not teaching English adequately so we struggle to communicate. Most of the older people only know Sesotho and Afrikaans (learned Afrikaans in school during apartheid) so Americans like myself really struggle. We almost always have a translator with us but it really is just too hard to teach the gospel having everything translated. Anyways, these fathers we found actually speak English pretty well so we are hoping to progress with them. And by the way, we don't face many language problems in Welkom because it is an established community so almost everyone knows English here.
We had a really funny lesson this past week when we were teaching a father, his daughter and the brother in law. Only the daughter knew English and the 2 older men don't speak English. One of the men speaks Xolsa and Sotho and the other one only knows Xolsa. Our translator with us only knew Sotho so we were having English translated to Sotho then Sotho translated to Xolsa. We literally were talking in circles but they were such humble men and they really want to learn. We are hoping to focus on the daughter because she knows English very well and wants to learn. Hopefully we can help her be converted and she can help her father and brother in law learn.
Then on Saturday we had a lesson that I'll never forget. We went in to teach a young mother for the first time. Her younger brother has been less active and when we were visiting with him she asked if we could come teach her. When we sat down and started teaching her it was obvious she doesn't know much about the gospel. She is very confused by the many different Christian churches and stopped going to church a while ago. She said every time she goes to church the pastors just dump information and she doesn't learn anything. As we began expounding the basic doctrines of the church the spirit instantly filled the room. We were helping her understand basic questions such as who is God and what is the gospel. Those seem like such simple questions but they are incredibly misunderstood here! As we began answering her questions and teaching her both my companion and I got the same impression from the spirit: "Challenge her to baptism." At first when that came to my mind I said: "What? It's only our first meeting with her!" But as we challenged her to baptism she accepted and she was so excited. I have never seen someone so happy to hear to gospel and be baptized.
She said that every time we come to visit in her home with her brother she "feels something different." She said that every time we leave she feels something leaving with us. We helped her understand that's the spirit and asked her if she would always like to have that feeling. There are also a few members who live around her and she says that she sees something different in their lives. They are always blessed and seem happy and she said she wants that. This just goes to show that example speaks louder than words! You never know who is watching and I am very grateful to the example of those faithful saints in living the gospel. Because they are living the gospel it has prepared the way for another sister to enter into the waters of baptism. When we were teaching her I couldn't help but smile, I don't think I've ever felt that happy in a lesson. And the best part is that this has motivated this less active brother to come back to church. He has been at church the past 2 weeks after not attending for a few months.
Keep living the gospel, you never know who is watching.