Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year! Dec 30, 2013

Happy New Year everyone!

Christmas was amazing this past week, it was so great to be able to see some of you over skype and to see that you all are doing well. Apparently I talk funny now but you know you are all just jealous of this South Africa/American mixed accent! Alright so I have a lot to share but I'll go day by day with the main events.

Monday (PDAY)- I got up and made about 200 cookies from my mothers world famous cookie recipe. We then went Christmas caroling for about 2 hours in Osizweni and gave the cookies away. It was so exciting to see just how happy people were when 12 of us missionaries showed up at their door to sing for them.

Tuesday (Christmas eve)- Before skyping with you all we had a Christmas party as a zone. We all were given R50 ($5) before the party to buy a gift, then we played white elephant. I got a nice new game of spiderman uno which I didn't really need so I gave it to Bro. J's son on Christmas. His son was really happy so I was grateful to be able to do that! Then we watched the Durban Mission year end slideshow, we got to see all of the pictures from throughout the mission from this past year. It's amazing to see how many friendships you develop as a missionary with Elders, couples, investigators and members. Then we played Settlers of Zarahemla which I got from you guys in my package and of course I dominated those greenies in that game, no mercy in settlers!

Wednesday (Christmas!)- No gifts around the tree but instead we went to work in our area! We had a lesson with S____, he told us he is moving to Durban so he can't get baptized here now. We'll send his teaching record there to the missionaries and he'll be baptized, he is all ready so that's a golden refereral for those Elders. After visiting with S____ we had a Christmas party with one of my favorite families, the B___ family. They fed us lunch, then we shared a Christmas message with them. Then we went to visit Bro. J to teach him more about the restoration and Book of Mormon. The lesson was great, he is so anxious to get into the water! Then we went to the Newcastle Elders area to do Christmas caroling there for a couple of hours.

Alright I'm going to skip a bit because I don't have time. On Saturday we met with N____ to work out the last minute details for her baptism, she explained to us how she was nervous but excited. I related to her how every time I have made important steps forward in the gospel (serving a mission, receiving the Melchizedek priesthood, etc) I have had that same feeling. I know that I felt so excited but at the same time nervous of the unknown, she was reassured and felt prepared to take the step. Then we taught her about temples which made her really excited! She was blown away by the concept of having temples today, I believe it was further evidence to her that this is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth.

The next day we woke up to find it was cold and raining. Ahh! I was a bit nervous because our baptismal font is outside! We had been fasting with N___ for her baptism so we said a prayer that the weather would be OK. The church services went great, we had almost all of our investigators who are preparing for baptism at church (7 of them). I was excited because I know that when investigators witness a baptism their chances of being baptized sky rocket because they feel a spiritual confirmation of the truthfulness of that ordinance. As church ended the rain was only a drizzle but we were nervous because the water was going to be cold! I said a prayer that everything would be alright as I stepped into the water, as I stepped in I cracked a joke about how warm the water was and then I winced because it was COLD. Then the most incredible thing happened, as I raised my right arm to the square and I began to say the prayer the water instantly became warm. I am not joking! I paused in the prayer when I felt it, then I continued and put her under the water. After coming out she told me it didn't even feel cold, I was blown away by that miraculous tender mercy from the Lord. I didn't even want to get out of the water because it felt nice! As President Monson says... The Lord is in the details of our lives. As the scriptures tell us, miracles do not create faith but miracles follow those who have faith. After the baptism N____ gave a powerful testimony, she testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and that we are led by a living Prophet today.

After church I was pretty exhausted but we had to keep working. We briefly stopped by Bro. J because we were following up on a referral he had given us. We took him in our car and he brought us to his friends house who wants to meet with us. As we entered this home we found a father, mother and their 5 children. This families name is the S___ family, a very humble and loving family. Bro. S___ is good friends with Bro. J, he wanted to meet with us because he said he has seen a huge change in Bro. Jele. After teaching the S____ family they told us how they need a church to raise their children in and that they need to learn more about God in their life. Uh yeah we can help you with that! Wow, the Lord is just leading us to so many people who are prepared. It is incredibly difficult to find father led families in this country due to cultural traditions called La Bollah that keep people from getting married and raising families. Once again I have continued to witness miracles this week, the Lord is over this great work.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year! A fresh start for all of us to recommit ourselves to working on our weakness and becoming better. May the Lord bless you all.

Elder Summers

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