Sunday, September 1, 2013

White Washing the Hills

July 29, 2013
Hello to everyone from the coast of Durban!
It has been an absolutely crazy week with many unexpected things happening. When I got the transfer news last week I was really surprised I was getting transferred because President Zachrison had told me in interviews only a couple of weeks before that I would be staying another transfer. Well let me explain why that all changed. I have been transferred here to Marian Hill in Durban to white wash this area with my companion Elder Wambuzi. White wash means that the 2 Elders here were taken out and the 2 of us have replaced them. The crazy thing is that my trainer, Elder Jallah, white washed this exact same area after he finished training me about a year ago! That is extremely rare to have the same area white washed in a year. They said that hasn't happened for a very long time. I was not aware I would be white washing the area until I got here. I remember my trainer said it was really hard white washing this area and now I can see why! 
My companion is from Uganda and he has been on his mission for a little over 4 months. This is his second area now and I'm his third companion. I am getting companions from all over Africa.   Anyways, my comp is very humble and quiet but a good missionary. He joined the church in 2011 and he is the only member in his family. I'm excited to work with him.
I was talking to President Zachrison on the phone when I got here. He told me he wasn't going to transfer me but then he felt he needed to white wash the area and he felt inspired to put us here. I'm not going to question inspiration, he holds the keys for the mission. Now let me tell you a bit about the area. 
There are 2 others Elders staying in our apartment with us. They go to the same branch and their area is right next to ours. One of the Elders in that area was also transferred so there is only 1 Elder here that knows anything. The problem is that he only knows his area because they are walking while we have the car. So he doesn't know anything about our area because the other Elders would drop them off in the morning and pick them up at night. The 4 of us meet together at church in a small primary school. The school isn't the nicest but it's OK. The branch is very close to becoming a ward so a lot of the auxiliaries are filled. I was mistaken when I wrote last week that this was a ward with a chapel, I was thinking of another ward that is close by. While our area is called "Marian Hill" the branch name is the Umbedula branch. 
White washing this area is not easy at all. Addresses and street names are impossible to find. This isn't like the United States where I can type in an address and find the house. I had to buy a GPS my first day here or we were going to be completely lost and not be able to do anything. This area is HUGE. The area is all hills and mountains. I have heard of this area before because it is referred to as a climbing area not a walking area. I am really glad we are the ones that have the car and the other Elders are the ones walking (climbing... haha). I love walking but here it's tough! I'm tired just after getting out and going tracting. I can't imagine walking in this place all day. The area is absolutely beautiful though and I'll show you some pictures. The weather is just perfect right now in the winter time, it's not cold like my last area. 
So since the GPS doesn't really pick up addresses or street names we had to have some members show us around. There is also an Elder in our zone that served in this area for 6 months that showed us around for a day. They were able to show us where people live and I could save that location in the GPS. I am very grateful that Elder served here and just "happens" to be in our zone. That is a tender mercy from the Lord! We would have had serious troubles finding anything if that Elder wouldn't have shown us around. 
The people here are Zulu and very different from my previous 2 areas in the Free State province. They are extremely friendly and willing to invite us into their homes. We didn't know where many of the previous Elders investigators were so we did quite a bit of knocking on doors. The people are very humble and willing to invite us back. Although I've been very stressed and overwhelmed this past week, I felt peace in my heart that the work will move forward here. I have a feeling I'm really going to enjoy this area. The members are so willing to help us and finding new investigators is pretty easy from what I can see. 
Thanks for all your support and prayers, I really felt them this week I can assure you. I feel that the Lord continues to challenge me to help me grow. I can see my patriarchal blessing fulfilled more and more as I go throughout my mission. The Lord really does know us! 
Love you all,
Elder Summers

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