April 26, 2014
Dear family and friends,
It's been another wonderful week here in the South Africa Durban mission! On Monday we were able to go and play some basketball for the first time on my mission. Almost every sports activity on my mission as revolved around soccer so it was nice to be able to play a sport where I actually know what I'm doing. On Tuesday we had our final zone conference here on the coast with about 80 missionaries. The zone conference went well just as the other ones and it was great to be able to see so many Elders gathered together in such force. When that many missionaries are present the spirit that illuminates the room is undeniable and we all feel strengthened by each others presence. I know that I felt very motivated to finish strongly after coming out of zone conference!
President and the couples have been gone for a few days for a couples retreat at a game reserve. So we have been put in charge! (Not really but sort of in a way...) We've had to handle all the office stuff and it's incredible how many things can go wrong when all the couples are gone. It's always great to serve the Elders here in the office though and I have to laugh at some of the experiences they have at times. On Wednesday night we got a call at about 9:30pm that our fellow Elders in our ward were stuck at a gas station because their card wasn't working. They didn't have enough cash to pay for the gas so we had to drive 15 minutes to meet them and pay for their gas. It's a good thing they have a reserve bank here in the office! Haha.
We've been doing quite a bit of finding within our area to try and build up our teaching pool as we are brand new to this place. We had a couple of neat experiences that I'll share with all of you. On Thursday we were walking away from a house where our 4pm appointment had fallen through. As we were walking from the house there "just happened" to be a taxi that dropped off an older lady with a lot of groceries. There were way too many groceries for her to carry so we offered to help carry them to her house. Her house was further then expected and by the end of walking to her house my arms were finished! The mother didn't really speak English but she was very grateful for our help. After departing from her house we were walking back to our car when I recognized the name of street we were on from a former investigator record in the area book. I couldn't remember the exact house number but we decided to try and find the house. I know that the Lord places opportunities in our path for a reason so I felt strongly we were in this area for a reason.
We couldn't find the house that was a former investigator but we did find some other wonderful people. The first house we found a father who was slashing the trees next to his home. We offered to help him but he said he was OK so we told him we would come back on Monday to do service for him. He accepted and was very friendly to us so we left him with a pamphlet and we're hoping that through doing service we'll be able to teach his whole family. It's difficult to find a friendly father like that who is willing to talk to us so we're excited that there is potential there. After visiting that house we walked up the hill where we knocked on a few more doors. We found another father who was quite friendly to us and invited us to come back and teach him this weekend. Then we knocked on the house next door to him and found a 21 year old young man and his mother. They were extremely friendly to us and we sat down and taught them part of the Plan of Salvation. It was just so nice to be able to go from house to house and find potential priesthood holders who were willing to talk to us. That's something that's not easy to do in any part of the world so the Lord has blessed us with some great potential investigators.
Yesterday we went into an apartment complex searching for a couple of former investigators. We knocked on their doors but none of them were home. As I mentioned before the Lord leads us to certain places so it's important to always be following the spirit and looking for opportunities. As we were walking down the stairs we knocked on a door where a young man opened for us. He told us he wasn't interested in the gospel and that he enjoys doing other kinds of "stuff." At first it seemed like a door where we say "Okay, thank you for your time and have a nice day." but he mentioned something that got us talking. He said he doesn't like all the churches fighting with each other and the confusion among churches with the same Bible. I asked him: "What if I could tell you why we have all that confusion and the reason we do this as missionaries is because we know that answer to that?" That made him pause for a moment and he said lots of people have tried to give him the answer but they can't. We asked him to give us 10 minutes and we'll give him the answer. He invited us in for 10 minutes and we instantly went into the establishment of Jesus Christs' church and the apostasy. After explaining the apostasy he said:"So your saying everything is gone and were all screwed?" I wanted to laugh but it showed that he understood what we were saying unlike most people when explaining the apostasy. It gave us the perfect opportunity to share the restoration and the story of Joseph Smith. We left him with the Book of Mormon and he invited us to come back Sunday night. It's interesting how a door contact that seemed like it was going no where led to a wonderful lesson where the spirit of the Lord was felt. The Lord is mindful of His children and he will lead all honest seekers to a knowledge of the truth.
Until next week!
Love you all,