Sunday, September 1, 2013

Expect the Unexpected!

July 22, 2013

Dearest family and friends,

In missionary work you should always expect the unexpected, especially with a new mission president. There were huge changes made on Sunday night with transfer news. 7 of the 10 companionship's in our zone changed including me! That's right, I'm getting transferred which I am really shocked by. I'm being transferred to Marion Hill in Durban. I'm finally leaving outer darkness! I haven't even been in Durban my entire mission and I haven't even been to the mission office in my 13 months on mission! For those of you that don't know our mission boundaries are HUGE. Anyways, entire zones around the mission were changed and President Zachrison is definitely taking a different approach as our new mission president.  Everyone in our district of 6 has new companions and they were all pretty shocked I'm being moved. When I received transfer news from the ZL's there was a mix of emotions as I found out I'm being transferred. I'm really excited but at the same time rather sad at the moment. I'm leaving on a bus tonight, it's a 9 hour bus ride to Durban, leaving at 11:45pm tonight and arriving at 9:30am. I wasn't expecting to leave so I didn't say goodbye to anyone. I'll be able to say BYE to a couple of people here in Welkom today but I didn't get pictures or anything with the people in Phahameng which is unfortunate. I'm really going to miss my current companion, Elder Mokoena, and some of the other people here. I formed some great friendships in these past 3 months that will not be forgotten. 
I was hoping to be here longer as the work is starting to move forward and everything was going smoothly but President Zachrison holds the keys and if the Lord needs me somewhere else then I will go and do as Nephi says! It will be exciting to serve in Durban where the church is very well established and people can speak English very well. One of the difficult things about serving in Freestate (that's the province where Welkom is and my previous area) is that language is sometimes a problem. The further away you get from major cities the less English people speak. Now that I'm going to Durban that will be a Zulu area where schools are very good. All of the schools here in South Africa teach in English but once again the more advanced the city the better the schools. I've been around Sotho's and Afrikaaners here in Freestate. Now it's time to pick up on some Zulu again. There are too many languages in this country, I was starting to learn a lot of Sotho! 
Anyways, my new companion is named Elder Wambuzi. I'm pretty sure he is from Uganda or Kenya, somewhere in northern Africa. He is younger than me on mission. My trainer actually went from training me to serving in Marion Hill. He was telling me over the phone last night that it is a really nice area where the members love the missionaries. It's a ward and I'm pretty sure they are meeting in a chapel. This is definitely going to be very different from my first 3 areas! In my first 3 areas the members were very spread out and there were no chapels (except Welkom). All of the branches I've served in have had attendance under 60 every Sunday so it will be interesting to serve in a ward that is well established. It's such an incredible and humbling experience to serve among all different kinds of branches and people. There is so much diversity here in South Africa and it's so amazing to meet these people from various cultural backgrounds. Heavenly Father is mindful of all of His children and is no respecter of persons. The gospel of Jesus Christ is for each and everyone of God's children no matter what they believe or where they come from. 
Welkom has taught me a lot in these past 3 months. I have grown more in these 3 months than in any of my other areas. Sometimes the Lord sends us to sanctify an area and sometimes we are sent to an area to be sanctified. I felt as though it was the latter in this case. Serving in Welkom was not always easy. There is a reason that Welkom is the oldest branch in South Africa and still has some work to do to become a ward. It took a lot of hard work but I felt as though I gave it my all here. In Preach My Gospel it says that we should strive to leave our areas better then we found them. That has been one of my top goals since serving a mission and I feel as though that has happened here. I hope it continues to move forward and that some of the seeds my companions and I have planted with continue to grow. I am grateful to the Lord for the strength He has provided me and the doors that He opened for us. I know that it is only through Him and the guidance of the spirit that we can minister in this great work. 
One of those seeds that was planted happened yesterday after church. We have been struggling big time here to find families. We have been praying and fasting to find families but nothing seems to be happening (or so we think). We seem to only find YSA's and young people. Well after 2 of our appointments fell through I had an impression to check a house. We had been teaching a large family (former investigators now) with a mother, 5 daughters, and a young boy. They weren't very serious about our message but the 4 times we went there we always found a boy that was their neighbor. He was always playing there. He seemed somewhat interested and we asked him where he lived. This was about 3 weeks back. Well his image came to my mind and I remembered where he told us his family lives. We visited their home last night and the father invited us in. We sat down and taught the restoration to the father, mother, son and daughter. They are very humble and friendly and currently are members of no church. I hope and pray this family will accept the gospel and that this is a family the Lord has prepared. Time will only tell though. 
Sometimes we have to be patient and accept the Lord's time table and not our own. That is a lesson I have been repeatedly taught since serving a mission but I can't seem to understand this at times. I know that as we wait on the Lord and accept His will be done and not our own, miracles will happen. 
I love you all and wish you another great week. 
Elder Summers

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