I'm back in my nice comfortable bed in Durban!! Unfortunately I wasn't able to write last week due to our hectic schedule. We have finally finished up our tour throughout the mission of introducing the "My Family" booklet. This past week we started our travels in Pietermaritzburg (1 hour north of Durban), then continued to Phuthaditjhaba, Lesotho and ended in Bloemfontein. It was fantastic to be able to work with the Elders in their areas in addition to conducting the training meetings.
We worked with the Elders in Pietermaritzburg which was great. They are training and as I've said before I love working with the trainers. We had some great lessons including a lesson with a sister who recently lost her mother. She is a member of another denomination and this was the Elders first visit with her. We asked if she knows where her mother is and she said: "That's the question we want an answer to but no one can tell us." Well we testified of the Plan of Salvation and I shared my favorite scripture about the resurrection from Mosiah 16:7-8. The spirit is always powerful when we testify of life after death and it furthered my testimony that this life is not the end. I really learned a lot from those Elders and it was a great day! Here are Elders Peterson and Wilson:
After working with the Elders there we moved to Phuthaditjhaba. We were going to conduct a training meeting for the "My Family" booklet for the zone there but we had an emergency. The new couple missionaries for that area had arrived the day before only to find that the car from the old couple missionaries was no longer there! The old couple missionaries had driven the car to Johannesburg which we were not aware of. So when we got there instead of helping President with the training we drove halfway to meet up with some other couples driving from Durban with their new car. Whenever there is an emergency we seem to always be involved but I guess that's part of the call! We worked it all out and got he new couple their car. President had to take over for our part in the presentation but I guess it all went alright.
Then we attended church in Phuthaditjhaba the next day. It was great to be back in my old area and be able to attend church in their new chapel there! The best part was to see the progression of Brother Benjamin who was baptized my very last Sunday serving in PJ (last week of April last year). He taught the Elders quorum lesson and he conducted the baptismal service after church. He has grown so much in the gospel and it was incredible to see him testifying of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the divinity of the Book of Mormon. These experiences make serving a mission all worth it! I would have never thought he would be at this point when we tracted into his door over a year ago. His son has also been baptized and was passing the sacrament.
The next day we traveled to Lesotho where we spent the day with the Elders. No problems crossing the border this time! Although I was greeted by the border security as "Hey white man, how are you?" Welcome to Lesotho I guess. It's a nice country though and it was great to spend some time with the Elders there. Elder Turner (Elder working in Lesotho) gave me some of his poptarts from the package he got which was awesome because I haven't eatten those things in years. Elder Turner is actually doing this really cool GPS program in Lesotho at the moment. He has been working on it for awhile; he goes around tracking down where less actives and members live and inputs it into a GPS (It's more sophisticated then that but I don't know all the computer stuff...) The goal is to have all of this information accessible to members and missionaries so that people are not lost. There are no addresses in Lesotho so there are hundreds of less actives that have been lost and are difficult for missionaries to find. It's a great program and it's already leading to a lot of success!
We then traveled to Bloemfontein where we ended our tour. I was able to visit sister Happiness who was baptized over a year ago. We tracted into her family in PJ and she is now a dedicated member in Bloemfontein. She introduced us to one of her friends who had a lot of questions so we shared a short lesson with her, gave her the Book of Mormon and referred her to the missionaries in Bloemfontein. It's wonderful to see the continued progress of those who have found the restored gospel. We then traveled back to Durban; it took an entire day to drive all the way from Bloemfontein which was rather exhausting! It has been incredible to drive through the mission and to see this beautiful country. I'm learning a lot as I continue to work with the Elders and with President Zackrison.
Thanks for your love, support and prayers. Remember that no matter the challenge, question or trial you may be facing the best response is to be a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ! That pathway will always bring peace, joy and hope.
(We saw the worlds smallest church while driving)