November 25, 2013
Dear family and friends,
I am just so happy right now! Wow this past week has been incredible even though it's been tough not having a companion. I have been sleeping with the 4 Elders in my district in their house, we have an awesome 5 man district. We got to celebrate thanksgiving with the couple missionaries in our area last night, that was awesome! I have been working with a YSA all week in the area, he is preparing to leave on his mission soon. We had a tiring but exciting week and I have some stories to share. I'll start off with transfer news first; my new companion is Elder Armstrong, he is an American and my first American companion! I know him a little bit from my previous area and I'm excited to work with him. I will be picking him up tomorrow and it will be nice to be able to move back to my apartment, sleeping on a couch all week has not been too much fun! Haha.
So last week I spoke about 2 guys that started coming to church around the same time a few weeks ago. The first one is named D___ and he is a really cool guy. He lives over 5K's from the chapel and he walks all the way! It's incredible how we found this guy and how the Lord has prepared him. He is 23 years old and he has been struggling a lot with direction in his life. Well he showed up at church 3 weeks ago and I didn't even recognize him, I thought he was the other Elders investigator! It wasn't until last Sunday that I spoke to him and we started teaching him this week. He said that he read the whole pamphlet we gave him that day (Plan of Salvation) and he liked it so much he decided to come to church. When we met with him on Tuesday he told us he wants to be baptized and he loves the church so much because he said he feels "special."
We have started teaching the whole family and the mother made me laugh when we met yesterday because she said: "I see D____ wants to follow you guys but I'm afraid when he joins he will be taken away from me for 2 years just like you!" We explained to her how it's voluntary and that made her feel better. She then said: "If you are willing to do this for 2 years then your message must be true." Yeah, she was exactly right! She also told us that since D___ started coming to church he has completely changed, he isn't smoking or drinking anymore. Wow, that blew me away because we haven't even taught him word of wisdom yet!
The other guy we are teaching is named S____. He is also 23 years old and he is one of the most humble guys I have taught my entire mission. He is progressing incredibly fast and he is planning to be baptized on December 22nd. Only 2 days after we gave him the Book of Mormon he had almost finished all of 1 Nephi. He loves church so much and he will be an incredible addition to this branch. He has been through quite a bit in his life with the death of his mother and sister at a younger age. He doesn't have much family around him, he is pretty much by himself and he really wants to start serving God in his life, he is an incredible guy and I'm very humbled that the Lord has led him to us.
We have been teaching a sister named N____ for about 5 weeks now. I think I spoke of her last week but I can't remember now. She is 20 years old and she has been progressing so well! She originally wanted to be baptized a few weeks ago but then she became scared of leaving her church. We kind of slowed down with her and just encouraged her to read the Book of Mormon and really know this is true. She is a very intelligent sister and she has been blazing through the Book of Mormon with incredible understanding. Well we had an amazing lesson with her yesterday that changed her whole perspective! I could see in her eyes that she really knows this is true and we challenged her to baptism again. We really tried to help her understand that fear comes from satan, satan is trying to make her scared so that she will not act on the truth. I simply asked her: "Do you know the Book of Mormon is true?" She looked back at me and said: "Yes I know this is really true." I then told her that nothing else matters! When we find the truth we have to act on it. She accepted to be baptized next month and that she will lay her fears aside. I can't wait to see this sister baptized, she will be a powerful member if she joins the church because she has gained a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon.
One last story about sister S_____ who we have been teaching. This is the sister that has been helping us purchase the old supermarket to renovate as a chapel. It is simply amazing how the Lord led us to this mother through the supermarket! Not only have we found somewhere to build a chapel but we have also found someone searching for the truth. She came to church again yesterday and we met with her afterwards. We read with her from Mosiah 18:8-11 and when we read v. 11 her face lit up and she began to smile. That verse says that after Alma had told the people about what they need to do to be baptized the people "clapped their hands for joy and exclaimed this be the desire of our hearts!" I asked her if this was the desire of her heart and she said enthusiastically: "Yes!" She said that she has never felt this happy in her life since we started meeting with her. Before we found her she said her faith had been wavering and she wasn't sure if God really lived but that since we have met her she has received so many answers to her questions. After she told us all of that I couldn't help but have a huge smile on my face! We are also planning on baptizing her on December 22nd if we can prepare her in time. If everything works out we should baptize these 2 brothers and 2 sisters on December 22nd.
It has been an incredible week and has helped me continue to see the Lord's hand over this great work. I am so blessed to be serving here in Osizweni and I can't wait to see what will happen with all of the people we are teaching. Thank you everyone for your prayers, I truly feel them and I know the Lord hears them. Love you all.