May 3, 2014
It's been an interesting week filled with ups and downs as we continue to try to build up our area. As I've mentioned before we had to "white wash" our area at the beginning of this transfer (about 5 weeks ago) so we've been starting from scratch. It's tough at times because we have other responsibilities pertaining to our leadership calling in the office so we are doing our best to balance that with working in our area. At times it can be discouraging when we have to continue to find, find and find but it's incredible how the Lord leads you to the elect as you move forward in diligence and faith.
On Monday we had a zone activity at President Zackrison's house which was quite a bit of fun. We were able to play sports, eat some nice food and watch a missionary movie together. The following day we had a "mini" transfer with a couple of Elders moving from the Botswana mission to our mission. We had some changes in the mission to accommodate the new arrivals so we spent the day arranging logistics and welcoming the new Elders. With the new Elders arriving in the mission we were able to open one new area in the mission where it was very much needed!
On Wednesday I was working with some Elders when I received a call from President that he wanted us to attend a Young Men's youth convention later that night. We agreed to go and we brought the 2 other Elders that we were working with. The convention was being held about an hour south of Durban at a camp with about 100 young men from the Durban stake. We were asked to encourage the young men to serve missions and share our testimonies of why serving a mission is so important. I shared my own experiences about my decision to serve the Lord and the tremendous blessing it has been dedicating these 2 years to Him. The young men from Margate were there along with Bro. Jean-Pierre who is the YM's President (we lived on his property when I served in Margate). It was my first time seeing them since I left in October 2012 so it was wonderful to see some old friends once again.
The next day my companion and I were in our area when we decided to check on a family that we had contacted last week. We found that they were not home but we felt prompted to do some finding close by. We traveled down a road where we found a complex with the outside gate open so we decided to walk in. It was a holiday so we knew that it would be a good time to find families at home together. We immediately found a house with multiple cars where we knocked on the door and the father with a surprised look on his face decided to invite us in where we found him and his wife. We explained to them our purpose and told them that we love to answer peoples questions such as "Why are there so many Christian churches?" Of course that question is on the minds of many South Africans because of the thousands of various denominations here so that father immediately wanted to know the answer. We started into the Restoration and as we were teaching it was incredible to see the interest of this man. After explaining the apostasy he said:"So your telling me there is no one that can communicate with God anymore? What are we supposed to do?" I'm always excited when that question comes because it shows that they understand the apostasy and it leads perfectly into the restoration. We shared the story of Joseph Smith and the spirit in the room was undeniable. We left them with the Book of Mormon and as we were about to close he asked: "But before you go I want to know where I go when I die?" Hmm... It took me a second to respond because we had already been there a really long time and that's a long topic but we promised him we would talk about in more in depth next time and we testified that life does not end at death. He was anxious to learn more which is always a good sign and it was wonderful to find a full family! It's extremely difficult to find families here so that was a real blessing. We are hoping and praying they'll be able to progress.
I have been reflecting a lot on the scripture in 1 Ne. 1:20 that states: "the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he has chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." I love this scripture because I've seen it come to fruition time and time again as I exercise faith in His wisdom and timing. His tender mercies truly are manifested in our lives daily but we don't always recognize them. I am truly grateful for His hand over this work because I know without His help none of this would be possible. We are out here to find the elect and that we will do with His help! The work will roll forward despite the opposition of satan because the truth cannot be stopped.