Monday, December 21, 2015

Call me Manqoba

Jabulela Ukhisimusi! (Merry Christmas!)

It is certainly the most wonderful time of the year! 

With Christmas in full swing I have been enjoying the Christmas traditions here!! Christmas in South Africa is VERY different than Christmas in Utah! However, the change has been thrilling! 

Instead of bundling up in ugly christmas sweaters and sipping hot cocoa, here people are wearing their shorts and sandals and we're all braaiing! (a braai is the equivalent to a barbeque). This week we had our Branch Christmas Party; and although a lot of people are out of town for the holiday (everybody is going to the beach), we had a really great turn out! The Hind's gave out little presents to all of the Primary kids -- the boys all got little rugby balls so we had some fun playing some little rugby games outside of the church! But the best part (and this should be pretty predictable) was the food. HOLY SANTA CLAUSE THERE WAS FOOD. 

After everybody was stuffed and desert was served Sister Lethuma (bless her soul), our gogo in Newcastle, called me over and told me to take some chicken home; when she said this I though she meant the chicken legs and wings that we left over, so I went and got a little take home box and she said "No take this chicken" and gave me a grocery bag of 3 FULL CHICKENS!! While I was crying tears of sweet joy, another sister brings over a 2 litre bottle of cooldrink (soda) and insists that we take it home as well, then ANOTHER sister came and gave us a bag of crisps (chips)!! Boyyyyyy Elder Sixaba was feeling weclomed in Newcastle hahha! 

So after we looked at all the food we had, we decided to sponser a wecolming party to a new missionary who is being trained by a missionary in our district! So everybody brought a little summin summin and we had a nice lunch on Thursday! 

As I mentioned last week (and just barely for the manner) my new companion is Elder Sixaba! He is from the Eastern Cape here in South Africa! He is 22 months old on mission and odds look like he will die (finish his mission) in Newcastle! So it has been a really interesting experience serving with another greenie to serving with an old man!! Elder Sixaba and I have gotten along really well! We found out this week in a lesson that we want to study the same things when we get to University! I love American politics and he loves African politics!! Elder Sixaba also speaks 6 languages and loves to make jokes! We have laughed a lot in our week together! So I look forward to the rest of this transfer with him! (I think I will leave Newcastle at the end of this transfer, I'd be willing to be 10 Rands. Any takers?).

This week we were teaching a lesson to Strech -- he is Smanga's older brother! As I mentioned a few months ago, Smanga wants to follow his mother and his sisters in being baptised, but his father refuses to allow his sons to be baptised under his permission. HOWEVER, Strech is 19, so he can sign his own record and he told us that he wants to be baptised! And he passed his interview last week!! So Strech is being baptised on Sunday; and I feel so grateful that he asked me to do it!
 But anyway, we we're going over a few lessons before he is baptised and we talked about repentance yesterday and I learned something that I had never though about before! A crucial step in repentence is developing a new view of yourself, of God, and of the world! As I pondered this I felt inspired to share it in my weekly email (and obviously I'm not just going to ignore that), so I would encourage you to ponder that statement and put it into practice as of... right now! 

I also think that it's important to mention that I have also become a master chef on mission. This week I made biscuits and gravy. Like I MADE the biscuits. and I MADE my own gravy. And it was delicious. So by the time I'm finished with mission I should be able to open up my own 5-Star Gourmet Resturante. Just sayin'.

I really enjoyed reading an article from Elder D. Todd Christofferson that encouraged us to ponder the absolute significance of the birth of Jesus Christ, to take a few moments to think about the conditions of His birth, and to consider that "Silent Night". I would pass along his challenge to each of you, to relax from the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season to reflect on the birth of our Saviour, then go on and share your experience and help other remember the purpose behind our celebrations!

Also, Elder Sixaba nicknamed me Manqoba which is Zulu for victory or champion! So.. yeah.. Call me Manqoba! 

I love you all and I hope that you know that I love this gospel with all of my heart and soul! I know, through the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ's church, restored to our time to bless us and give us the knowledge and power we need to return to our Father's presence again-- to become just as He is now! Merry Christmas!

--

Elder Weiler

 The two newest members of the church! Nokwanda is standing next to me, and Khosi is standing next to Elder Benissan!! 
 This is missionary work?
 "It's braai-day, braai-day, gotta get down on braai-daay"
I woke up like this... FLAWLESS (We had to wake up at 5:30 to leave for Ladysmith by 6 AM)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Introducing The Two Newest Members of the Church!!

Okay so to be quick, I am in Ladysmith for the day because I dropped off Elder Benissan this morning, he is transferring to the coast! We don't have a chapel to email at here so I am at an internet cafe and we don't have very much time AT ALL. So this is going to be the quickest, most jam packed email in the history of quick, jam pakced emails. 

Habashwe.

So transfers were this weekend! I am staying in Newcastle! My new companion will be Elder Sixaba! He too is a native South African! However, Elder Benissan was Sotho and Elder Sixaba is Xhosa! So that will be an interesting turn of events! 

In other news, our "pet" cat (who we still haven't named) apparently has kittens??? We noticed on Thursday that we now have four cats living in our backyard! Can't complain. Names are on the way.

This week we also had a really powerful lesson with Ephraim, he invited us to have the lesson at his friend's, Lizo, house. We have taught Lizo twice before but it has been a long time since we have since him due to the festive season! But as we gathered at Lizo's house we were able to meet his older brother, Mdu. He sat in on the lesson with us and WOW it was POWERFUL. Lizo and Mdu were both very open and told us that they know they have lived their lives contrary to what they know is best for them and their families. Mdu stopped us in the middle of the lesson and told us that he knows our message is true and that he is willing to do anything to continue to take these lessons and come unto Christ! It was a really special night. I am so excited to continue teaching Lizo and Mdu! 

On Saturday we received a phone call from a member in Volkrust, which is about an hour away, and the sister we spoke to said that somebody needed a blessing ASAP. We asked her to call the Elders in Volkrust and she informed us that we were the closest missionaries to them. So we had to drop everything and venture out to Mpumelanga Province to administer to a Sister with severe appendicitis (I don't know if that is spelled right but remember this is quick and jam packed). We discovered that there have never been any missionaries in Volkrust, which became very obvious because EVERY single person we talked to asked us who we were and nobody had ever heard of our church!! We collected 5 referrals in 30 minutes! I talked to President Zackrison and I have hope that one day Volkrust will see the truthfulness of this gospel!

This week was also a relieving and uplifting contrast to last week! I feel as if last week was a test of our steadfastness and our patience, and this week was the reward for enduring it well!! This week we were able to see Khosi and Nokwanda be baptised and we are expecting 3 baptisms in 2 weeks! I am so grateful that the Lord has allowed us to carry His spirit with us, to testify of the truthfulness of this message! It is so uplifting to see people that you love come to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ and make covenants with our Father in Heaven!

Okay so I said this would be super speedy and packed full of missionary goodness so I think this is going to be the end! I am afraid to send pictures because this computer is really sketchy and I don't want my camera to be corrupted! hahaha so pictures and more stories and testimonies to be borne next week! 

Thank you for all of the support and the prayers! I can feel it! I love you all and I appreciate this opportunity I have to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary!!   

--

Elder Weiler

Monday, December 7, 2015

Trouble in Paradise

What's up everybody. Sorry I missed last week. Wild lions roamed into the chapel and Elder Benissan had to fight them with our bare hands. Long story short I have a new suit made of lion skins.. 

There actually wasn't any trouble in paradise this week, it just sounded like an interesting subject. This was actually a really great week!! The following is a piece of my email to my weekly email to Presdient Zackrison that I wanted to share with each of you as well! 

"This week was an excellent week for growth. I truly believe that this was the greatest week for my own personal development. It has been frustrating to work so hard for so long to see so little fruits from our labours. Elder Benissan and I have worked so hard to bring every progressing investigator to a baptismal date and to help them to prepare to make covenants with our father in heaven as much as we possibly can -- and although we have seen very real and very genuine growth in the majority of our investigators and less active members, we are really struggling to get them to the waters of baptism. We have 9 people on a baptismal date and ( I believe the Holiday season LARGELY contributes to this ) but we can only see 3 of them actually being baptized by the end of 2015. 

I allowed myself to become discouraged this week, and in so doing, my mind and my heart were not nearly as involved in this work as I know they must be. However, I am so glad to report that prayer, repentance, faith, and true love for the people in Newcastle and love for this work have enabled me to come back fighting! Although I may have hit an obstacle in my expectations, I am so grateful that my Father, my Saviour, and my companion were able to help me hurdle over it and continue forward in achieving all of the goals and hopes that I have for Newcastle! 

I look to the future with a brightness of hope and a joy in sharing this gospel! I know that as we continue to act in small, simple obedience, we will begin to see greater growth than we ever have before!"

I feel like that was the biggest lesson and the greatest experience I had this week! However, there were definitely some other really great and really fun days this week as well! 

On Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder Canamala! He's from Mosambique and he is the zone leader along with Elder Faganello! I really really enjoyed teaching with him! He is a very powerful missionary!

The transfer ends this week and Elder Benissan and I are biting our nails to see what's happening... the odds are like one in a million that we stay together ( "SO... you're saying there's a chance?") So we are waiting in very anxious anticipation! 15 missionaries are leaving this transfer! Which is sooo sad but I am also so excited to have so many new missionaries in the mission! President Zackrison says that new missionaries are the greatest blessing to any mission! I am shedding a few tears because Elder Faganello is going back home to Canada on Friday -- we have been the best of friends in the past 3 months!! 

This week Elder Benissan also found ourselves teaching Primary at church!! We were walking to the toilet during third hour and we heard absoute commotion in the primary room, so we poked our heads in only to find that none of the teachers showed up for church!!! #BranchLife
So we ended up teaching about 1 Nephi 3:7! It was actually really fun! 

All in all, this was a really great week! I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ; and that each of us can be enabled to overcome any trail that we face!! 

I love you all!! 

Shap shap!!

--
Elder Weiler 


Real men play with bubbles




There is an abandoned nuclear plant in Ngagane, it's so eerie, I just had to take pictures of them!
 There is a playground right near the plant, which adds to the value of every picture, so we got creative



The Prodigal Email

Aa!! Ninjani??

This week was super DUPER great!! Zone Conference was a very refreshing and motivating couple of days! I could not be more grateful to be serving the Lord at this time in my life! Especially here in South Africa!! 

(It was so nice to see a couple of the Elders from my MTC group at ZC! Elder Lesuer and Elder Thorson!)

On the drive to Durban, we received permission to stop in Hillcrest and visit some of Elder Faganello's converts from his first area! He really wanted to see them before he went home and it was so awesome to meet them! And I FINALLY met nice white people!! The Van Brugens. I found out that Hillcrest is where all the white people live, so a little part of me hopes that I will be assigned to serve there! 

The only down side to Zone Conference was that it took us 6 HOURS to drive home. We didn't get home until 1 am; and I have not stayed up that late for a loooooong time, so that was a struggle. On the drive home, there was a crazy traffic jam and people running up towards where the stopping seemed to begin, and Elder Benissan says "Whenever you see black people running, you know there's trouble." So we were afraid that there was going to be some crazy mob justice going on... hahaha it turned out to be construction. Thanks the heavens.

I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving!! Obviously, we don't celebrate the coming together of the pilgrims and the native americans here... But the Hind's hooked us up, BIG TIME! We got our district and the Madadeni Elders together and had an amazing Thanksgiving dinner and celebration! Thank goodness for the Hind's.


At Zone Conference they also showed us the new initiative for this Christmas season! HOLY MOLY. I love it so much! I am so grateful for this Christmas season! It is such an amazing time to reflect on the life of Jesus Christ, his attributes, and His sacrifice! I could not be more honoured to wear his name over my heart! I have grown so much during this opportunity I have to work as his servant! 

I think one of the funniest experiences we had this week was being humbled in a very.. unexpected way... When allotment runs thin, the struggle becomes more and more apparent to every missionary in the mission. Because of Thanksgiving in the USA, our allotment was postponed, and Elder Benissan and I began to worry... We made the best of what we had and, with a little bit of hesitance, and hoped that the Lord would provide. WELLLLLL obviously the Lord saw our doubt and decided to show us his ability to provide for his servants; we were fed like 5 times throughout the day!! Oh my days I have never been so full in my life!! 

Amongst those 5 meals, we had a braai ( a BBQ) with a brother named Sbu in Madadeni! It was a blast!! We had half of our zone there as a farewell to Elder Faganello and Elder Payne!! 




Amongst our braai-ing we were interrupted by some drunk guys looking for something to do on their lonely Saturday night. Fortunately ( and unfortunately), Sbu is a very very giving and loving guy, so he brought all 10 of them into his home and we rationed our spoils. It made for some awkward conversation when we told them that we were missionaries, sent to share the message of Jesus Christ... hahaha! But it turned out to be a very successful Braai! 




One of my favourite lessons that I learned this week was that choosing to follow the commandments from our Heavenly Father is choosing to receive the blessings of Heaven!! 
It's not a matter of what we can and can't do -- but rather, do you want to receive answers to your prayers and blessings from the Lord?

I love you all! And I am so grateful for the support and the prayers! 

Sale kahle!!

--

Elder Weiler



Monday, November 23, 2015

Holy Habashwe!

Dumela! 

As usual, another FANTASTIC week to be reported! The following are exciting and noteworthy events:

First and foremost, we are leaving for Durban in an hour! So I guess you could say that we're getting pretty excited... I am so excited to see other missionaries from my MTC group! This week we went paintballing for a Zone Activity and that was a blast! I think we're on the path to being regulars there.. hahaha!  (I'm not sure about the rest of you, but as a mother who wouldn't let her boys play with guns, this picture is terrifying!  It looks like a scene right out of "Freetown".  Okay I'll stop and let you enjoy the rest of his letter :) )


I think the funnest part about this week was going on exchanges with Elder Faganello in Osizweni!! YO. Going from a bigger town like Newcastle to a township was a HUGE difference! But it was a blast!! Not to mention Elder Faganello and I get along really really well! The umlungu's took over the township! 

*writer's note -- I am so scatter brained because our whole district is here and we're just talking about Durban so this might be a little spastic*



One of my very favourite things about South Africa so far is Kota. Kota is a food that you can really only buy in the townships, and it is usually only served in Tuck Shops ( A tuck shop is pretty much a tin hut that somebody builds in their front yard and starts selling food out of it. It sounds sketchy.... and it is sketchy.... but it's cheap and delicious) But Kota is like a heart attack in a bag, but oh I love it so much. So much so that I actually took pictures of Elder Faganello and I eating them....



 
Elder Faganello were also tracting around the town and it's not unusual to see cows just roaming around, however, we were walking back from a door we knocked and saw a cow eating out of a rubbish bin! hahaha it was actually really funny. So I took a couple pictures of that as well!



We also had a baptism on Sunday, but it doesn't really count because they are children of record, but Namhlange asked me to baptise her so I guess I got my first baptism!! hahah! It was nice practice and it was sweet to reflect and remember my own baptism day! It was almost 11 years ago!! 



I think the coolest experience we had this week was meeting an RM who served here 2 years ago! We were getting together for our nightly devotional and a guy pulled up in a car (he was white so we were preparing ourselves to receive some heavy fire) and he starts telling us that he used to live here! His name is/was? Elder Jenks! He came back to visit the mission and he so happened to have PERFECT timing! So we invited him in and we all talked to him about what's going on and he reminisced; it was really cool! We learned a lot from him! He was so excited to be back! 

Even better, the next day Elder Benissan and I were having comp study when we were interrupted by a knock at the door, it was Jenks! He told us that he wanted to take us to dinner! Elder Benissan and I almost cried because we were so happy. He took us and the zone leaders to Spur ( A steakhouse with an American Indian theme ) and we had a blast! It was so sweet to have him around! 

Well aside from being told how terrible America is by an angry Baba, I think that's about it for the week! hahha I am so grateful that the Lord has entrusted Elder Benissan and I with His authority and spiritual power! I know that each of us can be endowed with spiritual gifts, power, and blessings when we are worthy, faithful, and determined! I have learned that enduring to the end doesn't just mean staying faithful and keeping the commandments until you die.. But it means magnifying and expanding our baptismal covenants, our faith in Jesus Christ, continually repenting, and always striving to be worthy of the presence of the Holy Ghost! I am so grateful that the Lord has allowed us to make promises with Him and that he blesses us so immensely for keeping them! 

The church is true!!

--

Elder Weiler

Monday, November 16, 2015

I Hate White People

Okay the caption seems a little intense.. But man.. Afrikaaners are difficult people.

Hello All!


This week was a great week! I feel like I have grown and learned a lot this week! Perhaps one of the coolest experiences this week was just sitting with Elder Benissan and Sister Lethuma, eating dinner and chatting, and feeling right at home. I no longer feel like a stranger in Newcastle, but I feel like I was raised here! The more the language barrier deteriorates the more I feel like I really fit in! 

Okay, I know that the Missionary Handbook says that we aren't allowed to keep pets, but it seems that every animal in Newcastle wants to live with us!! This week Elder Benissan and I noticed, during our personal studies, a chicken just roaming around in our yard.... So we watched it for a minute and then went back to our studies. The next day, as we are leaving to go out and get some work done, we see the same chicken just roaming in our yard! Day after day this chicken has not left us without a visit. hahaha we don't know where it comes from, but we did find a nest made in our backyard! We were going to name it Izi (short for 'Izinkuhku' which is Zulu for 'chicken') but we have decided that it is a 'he' and his name is Thabo (tah-boe). So Thabo likes to hang out with us. We also have a cat that likes to chill at our place as well, the cat isn't nearly as welcomed as Thabo is. Elder Benissan and I don't trust cats... So we haven't named her yet. The most inconvenient of all of our 'pets' are the birds here; I have NO idea why, but every bird in Newcastle finds a way into our boarding!!!! It is not unusual for us to hear a bird flying around, in a helpless attempt to get back out the small window it flew through or to walk out of our room to see a bird hopping around; unfortunately I haven't been smart enough to take a picture yet.. *makes note in planner*.  It is really inconvenient. 

Birds -- Please stop pooping in our home. 

Speaking of pictures, I bought a new camera. I'm sorry mom, but the old one was so bad. hahha I have been having other Elders send me the pictures they took and then attaching them to my emails... BUT I got a nice camera for cheap! I have been playing around with it and I have really enjoyed it! So I've got a few fun pictures to share this week! 

Last week we got to drive to Ladysmith to pick up our new Zone Leader, Elder Canamala! He is from Mosambique! He's a great missionary! It was also really fun to see a new area! Unfortunately, we're in a really bad drought here, and the Ladysmith Elders have it worse than anybody else. They have no running water, they just have gallons and gallons of water bottles sitting around the house, but the Lord is certainly providing for them, even in this time of struggle!

On the note of road trips, we also received some VERY exciting news this week! WE ARE GOING TO DURBAN!! Next week there is a zone conference for all of the coastal areas, and I guess Newcastle was included, albeit the fact that we are nowhere near a coast. Elder Benissan and I literally jumped for joy and cheered. hahah we are very very excited to take a REAL roadtrip through SA! Durban is about 5 hours away and we'll stay there for 2 days! I am so excited to see other Elders from my MTC group! Many of them stayed coastal! 

This week we received a phone call during our companionship study and we pick up and all we hear is "Is this the missionaries?" and we're like "Yeah! We're the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Who is this?" and all he says is "You must stop interfering with my wife." and we were like oh crap. We thought it was Babba Mlambo (Smanga's father) and we keep asking "Who is this?" and after this guy starts to get really heated he just starts busting up laughing! It was the Second Counselor in the Branch Presidency! Hahahahah we were SO nervous! We didn't have the number that he was calling on, and he hid his Indian accent really well! That was hilarious, he even mentioned it in Sacrament Meeting. His name is President Pillay, he is a FUNNY guy! I really like him. He and his family are the only Indians in the branch, and I think that is kind of hard for them... I know that struggle! But we manage!! haha!

This Sunday was very exciting because we had 6 investigators with baptismal dates come to chuch! We have finally arranged transport for each of them to come to church! It is not like the US where everybody just has a car, nobody really has a car here; so you have to either take a taxi or walk if you want to go somewhere. But it was so awesome to see that they really do have a desire to come to church as long as they can get there! As far as I noticed they all really enjoyed church! The members here are becoming more and more accepting and inviting to investigators and less active members! It is so important that as members, we are always welcoming new faces each week! Your hospitality will reflect on the whole ward and on the whole church!! It has been so exciting to see the growth of this branch! On average, we have 20+ more people attending church each week than when I got here 7 weeks ago! I am so excited to see what more we can accomplish as a branch in the next 5 weeks! 

The last noteworthy event this week is that it was Diwali! Or, Indian Christmas! So there was a lot of Christmas-sy lights up, and on Tuesday night everybody was lighting off fireworks! So we met up with the Zone Leaders for devotional at 8:30, drove up to the highest mountain in Newcastle, and watched the whole city celebrating Diwali by lighting the sky! It was awesome! Elder Faganello also bought some fireworks so we also got to contribute a little bit! (I am actually not sure if it was allowed that we had fireworks but Indian Christmas only comes once a year people)

But that's my week! I am so grateful for the sacred trust that the Lord has in Elder Benissan and I! I am so honoured that He has entrusted a small portion of His vineyard for us to watch over! It is such an amazing opportunity to be here on mission, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! 

Well, paintballing was such a hit that we're doing it again today, but with the whole district this time! So I've gotta run, there's missionaries to shoot!!

--
Elder Weiler

Okay wait the camera is being kind of difficult so yeah.. Pictures next week! 


Tot Ziens! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sanibonani from SA!!

Hello beloved friends and family!! I have good things to report this week! But I am gonna do them super duper fast because I'm kind of like a zone leader right now (that will make more sense later) so I get to ROAD TRIP down to Ladysmith to pick up some new missionaries!!! So I've gotta get going! 

BUT FIRST. the presentation of my week. (in like 5 minutes)

Last week, monday, we FINALLY went paintballing! Our plans fell through 2 weeks ago and we got to go for P-Day! It was SO much fun. I can testify that there is no greater way to come closer to the Elders in your zone and district than to shoot them!! hahahaha we had a blast! 

We have had more and more prayers answered this week! We picked up 2 new male investigators!! They are both very captivated and interested in the message of the restoration! We were teaching a man named Lizo about our Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness and we only got halfway through because we were having such great discussions on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, so we reached our time to go and before we could even ask he says "So when can you guys come back?!" and we were like "When can we??" and he said "Can you come tomorrow night?" hahaha it was so awesome to see his enthusiasm to learn the rest of his plan. Unfortunately we were pretty packed for the weekend so we have to wait until later this week to see him.

We also started teaching a guy named LSK ( that's just what we call him. His name is too hard.) As we were teaching him the restoration we told him about the priesthood and how we have temples on the Earth today because of it; we showed him a picture of the Salt Lake City Temple and he was like "Woah. Is that Heaven?" and we just laughed and said "Yeah..pretty much." and we had an awesome talk about temples! 

I am so grateful for the Lord for hearing and answering so many of our prayers! Our YSA class was PACKED this week. Literally all of the seats were taken up. That was an amazing sight. Our priesthood class was also packed! It was truly a miracle to see! I promise that the Lord recognises our prayers when we pray genuinely and with real intent or promising to God that we will act on the answer that we receive! It is crazy to see how much the Lord understands our needs and delivers blessings to us EXACTLY as we need them! God is good!!!!

This week was transfer week! I am staying in Newcastle with Elder Benissan to finish my training! We had a little scare, somebody implied that one of us was going to be transfered to Bloemfontein! But we made it! Thank goodness! Unfortunately, Elder Jase (one of our zone leaders) finished his mission and went home this week! I'm gonna miss that guy so much!! Fortunately, Elder Faganello (his companion) stayed with us for the weekend!!! So we were in a tripanionship! It has been a BLAST! I have loved the time the three of us have had together! We are driving to Ladysmith to pick up his new companion! 

I have felt really blessed this week too because my Zulu improved A LOT this week! I am finally starting to hear and understand words and phrases when people speak! Zulu is also starting to feel more natural coming off of my tongue! However, I am told that I still have a thick American accent, which is pretty funny I guess... hahahaha

I don't know if it is mission or if it's South Africa but I have been in touch with my artistic side recently! My favourite thing that I have created so far is decorating my new planner! I will send a picture next week. It is pretty sweet. It is covered with a picture of Samuel the Lamanite standing on the city wall with the words "Take a stand" in the middle. I love it because it is an entertaining cross between a pun and an inspiring religious thought!

I think one of the funnest things that we did this week was having a little "going home" party for Elder Jase. We went to a pizza place called Panarotti's. Man. Pizza is the best. It was one of those all you can eat places and I ate 13 slices of pizza, each one a different kind.

It was divine.

After we took our bokkie ( a pick up truck in American terms) up to the highest mountain in Newcastle and had our last nightly devotional up there. It was really cool to look out over the city and reminisce over life and mission! It was a really cool night! 

Fun fact for this week: I am learning to drive manual! Elder Faganello says I'm a natural! So that has been a lot of fun to drive the bokkie this week!! 

Well, that all for now!

Love you all! 

Thank you for the support and the prayers! PLEASE keep them coming! They're working, and they're greatly appreciated! 

Elder Weiler


An action shot from paint ball! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

THIS is why you bless your food.

You know, growing up, I always thought blessing the treats or the refreshments after an activity seemed a little silly. I mean, cookies and chocolate milk needs to be blessed? So I guess I always thought it was rubbish.

But I was wrong. 

Oh, so wrong.  (to be explained later)

HOWZIT?? (I say that like a million times a day)

Life here in South Africa is exactly as you would expect it to be! Intimidating and equally as exciting! Everyday holds so many adventures! I feel so at home here! Newcastle is an amazing place to begin my mission! It isn't quite a township, but it isn't quite a city.. So it's a comfortable middle ground. We get to see both sides of South Africa, the posh and the poor. This makes work here really interesting! The diversity does not hinder the truthfulness of the gospel! There is always something that people can find through worthy membership in the gospel that will enable them to improve the quality of their life! 

This week was another packed with stories of the best of times.. and the worst of times. Literally. 

One of the best announcements that Elder Benissan and I received is that our boarding is being sprayed for roaches! FINALLY. I hate those things. (I can literally hear mom panicking at the thought that her Londy-Boy is living with cockroaches). But yeah, I literally cheered when the Hind's told us.

Real quick I wanna give a shout out to Styles for his birthday! Ladies, don't even think about it for another year.

Also, thank you for all of your prayers! I am so excited to report that there has been so much growth in the Newcastle branch! Especially in the Priesthood!! We have almost doubled our numbers! We have been ECSTATIC at the number of men that are finally stepping up to their priesthood obligations! Keep the prayers coming! I can see good things coming our way!

Also, I am astounded by the kids here. There are like 3 year olds speaking zulu and english without a second thought and I'm struggling to even speak my first language. hahahaha. They are also some of the most loving kids in the world!! Every once and a while I feel something brushing my arms, when I turn around it is always a kid feeling my skin; they can see that it's different, but they don't know why! They also love to play with my hair! hahah

I want to share my excitement for some of our investigators! We are teaching two sisters, Khosi and Lucy (her birth name is Phile), they are very devout in their faith in Christ! When I came to Newcastle they had been meeting with missionaries for about a month, but they quickly started to think as appointments with the missionaries as a bible study or a nice little thought, they didn't really have motivation to be baptised or to accept the challenges from the missionaries. After teaching them like this for another month Elder Benissan and I started to lose hope in them, so we decided we had to make some changes and see what happens. It is AMAZING what happens when we prepare and plan prayerfully (that was definitely alliteration)!!! Our lessons have TOTALLY changed. They have gone from being some of our most lukewarm investigators to our most solid investigators! They are preparing to be baptised in two weeks! I am SO excited for them! 

Fun story: We don't celebrate Halloween in SA. People think that it's the Devil's birthday so they are all super scared of even talking about it hahha! Fortunately, the Hind's opened their home to trick-or-treaters! So I had the priviledge of taking Elder Benissan to his first trick-or-treating expedition! It was nice to get some sweets. 

Okay. So Elder Benissan and I went to Ncandu Combined to teach and do some service activities with the students! Today, they were even generous to share some of their snacks with Elder Benissan and I! So we had a few muffins (which we delicious) and some juice out of a bucket (which was not as delicious), but Elder Benissan and I never even thought to bless it. This is where we made a terrible mistake. Later that day, I had to visit a toilet at every house we went to... But that wasn't even the worst of it... Friday morning Elder Benissan and I woke up in the morning and wow.... I have NEVER been so sick in my life. We were convinced that we were dying. So we had the priviledge of staying inside all day and vomiting... Talk about companionship bonding. Although I do feel very blessed; the other missionaries in our district and zone, including the Hind's checked up on us frequently and took really good care of us!! The transfer ends this week and it breaks my heart to think that I will have to say goodbye to so many of the other Elders that I have grown to love so dearly. 

So please. For the love of all that is holy. Bless your food. EVEN the muffins. Also, I would not recommend drinking juice that comes out of a bucket...

However, being sick was a blessing in a few ways; two specifically. 1. I didn't realise how much I LOVE missionary work until I didn't do any of it for a whole day! I am so grateful to be a missionary!! 2. My testimony of the fast has been strenghtened so much!!

Although Elder Benissan and I had only eaten once over the weekend, we did our best to fast for as long as we could, as we fasted we prayed for investigators and our branch. WOW. Yesterday was amazing!! Although not every investigator came, it was amazing! To be honest, before I came on mission, I was always lukewarm in my fasting.. But this week has strengthened my faith in the power of the fast! In the power of sacrifice in general! I am so grateful for our loving Father in Heaven who hears our prayers and blesses us when we show the faith necessary to perform whatever we have asked for!!

Smanga even bore his testimony in fast and testimony meeting!! I talked about him a little bit last week. He bore his testimony for the first time ever; it was so sincere. He talked about his desire to be baptised, that he wants to follow God. His dad is a firm believer that he has to follow in the traditions of praising and worshipping his ancestors, and not God. I am so amazed by his testimony, his endurance to cling to the iron rod even when his own father is against him. I am so thankful that I was able to be born and raised in a family that was supportive and encouraging towards my spiritual development! I know that God never leaves his children alone to suffer. We are NEVER alone. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here to see the change that comes when people accept Christ into their lives. I love this gospel. I love missionary work!! 

Doctrine and Covenants 82:3 -- "For of him whom much is given, much is required."

That's all for this week! 

I love you all!

Tot Ziens!!

--
Elder Weiler


Sad Bois!  This accurately shows how Elder Benissan and I felt after the Boks lost to New Zealand... Also that our jersey's aren't cool anymore...

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sons of Thunder!!

Awe awe awe! (Pronounced "away away away")

I know I say this a TON but another great week has gone down in the history of Elder Weiler and Elder Benissan! I made notes so hopefully this email won't be so spastic.

We FINALLY got to watch conference!! Watching conference here is very very different than watching conference in Utah! On saturday I was on exchanges in an township called Osizweni; we watched conference in a school classroom without air con. TIA. ( "This is Africa" -- my new favourite acronym). But both days were amazing!! It is so interesting how every year conference has its own personality! The biggest themes I noticed were exercising and increasing faith, opening our hearts and changing into the person that our loving Heavenly Father needs us to be, and the sacrament! 

It was so impressed with the testimonies of the 3 new apostles! I love the leaders of our church. Elder Bednar's talk was the perfect end to conference. I must admit. I missed conference tweeting... So I may or may not have taken 25 full pages of notes throughout this weekend... #LDSConf

I have also really enjoyed reading articles from the Liahona in my free time; I read a talk from Elder Ballard that he gave at a devotional a few years ago that I wanted to share some thoughts from:

The talk was titled 'Men and Women and Priesthood Power'

"Let us never forget that we are the sons and daughters of God, equal in His sight with differing responsibilities and capabilities assigned by Him and given access to His priesthood power."

"Just as a woman cannot conceive a child without a man, so a man cannot fully exercise the power of the priesthood to establish an eternal family without a woman... in the eternal perspective, both the procreative power and the priesthood power are shared by husband and wife"

"While the authority of the priesthood is directed through priesthood keys, and priesthood keys are held only by worthy men, access to the power and blessings of the priesthood is available to all of God's children."

This went hand in hand with the talk from Russell M. Nelson. I am so thankful for the assignments of gender that the Lord provided to us. I know that His plan is ultimate and perfect. That men and women have been given divine roles in our world and that it is crucial that each of us magnify our callings as men or women!

On Monday we got to watch Forever Strong for FHE! It was so nice to watch one of my favorite movies! I think everybody loved it! It was also perfect timing to watch a movie about rugby; the World Cup is happening now and the Springboks have been killing it! Because the games have drawn so much attention, work has become almost impossible for missionaries. So we have been allowed to watch the past 2 games!! All of our zone went out and bought springboks jerseys so that when we get together we are all in our fan gear! It's been really fun. 
If there is one thing I have learned about myself out here in South Africa, it's that I LOVE rugby. I have always enjoyed watching and playing football with friends.. But rugby is the best. We play a lot. We are actually going to play a match after we finish emailing! 
The springboks lost in the semifinal round against New Zealand; our biggest rivals. As far as we care, that WAS the final. It was a really good game! It was so unfortunate that we lost by only 2 points... But it was way fun while it lasted!

It is rumoured here that when your missionary tag is crooked that somebody is thinking about you. I have found my tag crooked quite a few times this week!! Thanks Mom! hahahha
But more seroiusly, I am so grateful for all of the prayers. I can literally FEEL it when somebody is praying for us here in the SADM. It is a spiritual pick-me-up. I am so grateful for all of you that support me through your prayers and through your faith. It is making a great difference in the work here and in my personal welfare here!!

Elder Benissan and I have officially named our companionship; I was reading in "Jesus the Christ" the other day and learned that the apostles James and John were, not only brothers, but referred to as "The Sons of Thunder" for their zeal in sharing the gospel! So Elder Benissan and I have proclaimed ourselves the Sons of Thunder! (This is also ironic because there have been ridiculous lightning storms all this week.. It's actually been a little terrifying... Just a little though.)

Tender mercies from the Lord are in great abundance! Every night we meet up with our missionary district and share our tender mercies from the day. It is so powerful! Fewer things will invite the sweet spirit of our Heavenly Father than acknowledging and thanking Him for what He has done for us! This works so well with us missionaries that Elder Benissan and I have begun to do the same thing in almost all of our lessons! I would encourage each of you to do the same, both personally, in a journal and in personal prayer, and in families! It will bring you closer to your Father; and you WILL feel His love for you.

Perhaps the greatest tender mercy we experienced this week was breaking down some walls with a hostile father of an investigator who is begging to be baptised. His name is Smanga, his mother and his sister are members but his father wants them to be "'real' Zulu men". He thinks religion is feminine and means that one is weak minded. He really hated us, and didn't want us to enter his home anymore. It was causing a lot of contention in their family that he was preventing his son(s) from pursuing something that was important to them. However, we had a lunch appointment at their house yesterday and Elder Benissan and I were really nervous about going; but Sister Mlambo insisted. So as we went, the father was sitting in the lounge watching TV, as usual. We greeted him and he told us we could wait on the couch for somebody to come get us. We noticed he was watching soccer and started a conversation with him. We found out he is a professional soccer coach! After about 10 minutes we were having very natural and genuine conversation! After that he had no problem with us staying for lunch. What a blessing!! That was the answer to many many prayers and Elder Benissan and I hope to continue building a relationship of trust with him!

A good lesson that I learned this week, that I think is perfectly applicable to all of us, is to take personal inventory when we are agitated or frustrated with others. Before we speak out of our frustrations I would encourage you to ask yourself these questions:

"What have I done to contribute to this problem?"

 "What can I do to improve this situation?" 

Then, prayerfully ask for help in doing ALL that you can do to make amends with yourself before you point fingers and criticise. Your problem will often be solved before it is communicated!

I have also began to realise that mission is not about me. It is purely about the Lord and His children who stand in need of the message of His gospel! As I have realised this missionary work has become a new idea to me! It is also much easier to put in more and more work everyday! I am so grateful for the opportunity each of us have to continually reflect and ponder on our actions and our purpose here! We can always adjust our lives to more strict accordance to the Lord's plan!!

My last realisation is that of the importance of members of the church; both in missionary work (finding and teaching) and fellowshipping (building relationships and helping investigators feel welcomed and wanted). Members are as crucial to the conversion process as the missionaries are! So to those of you who are members, PLEASE reach out to everybody; those in your ward, even if you have known them for a long time, extend welcome and invitation to visitors and new faces in the ward, it may be an investigator or a less active member!! You will feel more fulfillment and happiness as you help serve in the work of the Lord in bring more souls unto Him!!

My last thought is a simple phrase that I have come to fully understand and appreciate on mission; 

"Don't wait until your mission to be a missionary."

Please ponder this phrase and pray to know what YOU can do to help Heavenly Father spread His love and touch the hearts of His children.

I love you all so much! I love this work and I love this gospel with all of my heart! I testify that living in accordance to the standards and commandments placed by inspired leaders of the church will bring greater joy than anything else! You can make a difference in the lives of others through your example of faith, obedience, and kindness. SO DO SO.

Thank you all for your support and prayers. They do not go unappreciated or unnoticed.

--
Elder Weiler


A few super candid and unplanned photos of Elder Benissan deciding what to eat for lunch and cooking lunch. (It's the closest thing to a snapchat story I can make right now) Again, these photos were not staged.


One of our investigators owns a ladies fitness centre and Ephraim wanted to take a picture by it! hahah 


Monday, October 19, 2015

Eating Chicken Feet and Much Much More!

Okay I don't even have time for a clever introduction because our Zone Leaders just called us and said we are gonna go paint balling in like 30 minutes so this has gonna be QUICK!

But nonetheless; incredibly uplifting and probably hilarious.

probably.

ANYWAY, this week was the best week I have had on mission yet! Quickly summed up:

On monday we met a girl at a resturant named Jimmy's, she straight up asked us to bear our testimonies to her and she told us that she knew as soon as we walked in that we were servants of the Lord! WOW. She is so prepared to hear the gospel! Her name is Mpume! She came to church yesterday and that was a VEEERY interesting experience. I'll explain later.
On monday I also cut Elder Faganello's hair and I've gotta be honest.... it looks pretty bad. hahhaa it actually turned out really well!! 

On Tuesday we had an amazing opportunity come up, we now get to go to a school twice a week and teach the standards of the For Strength of Youth and help rebuild and refurbish the school. The school is in the middle of nowhere and it's really run down. Our district is really excited to begin working on it! The youth there come from troublesome areas, so the school hopes that we can provide good examples to them! 

We also went back to the school on Thursday because they challenged us to a soccer match! So we got a little team together and went back to play.

That game was no joke.
We had the WHOLE school watching us, we were playing on a pitch that
 was just dust and a couple rocks to indicate goals, and the kids were WAYYY good. If there is one thing I have learned about South Africans, it's that they LOVE soccer. It's actually one of our greatest finding/reactivation techniques. If you tell people there is a match then every young man in Newcastle is there! We had 6 guys come to church that we met through soccer!!! So needless to say, I've gotten pretty good at soccer. I actually scored a pretty good goal in our game at Ncandu (the school) and all the kids started cheering "UMLUNGUUUUUUU" and I asked what that means, apparently the whole group was cheering "WHIT
E BOYYYYYY" hahaha every time I touched the ball I could depend on the same group to root for me hahaha

I think that biggest blessing this week was the perfect answer to many many prayers. I mentioned last week that the biggest struggle for our branch is the lack of priesthood leaders and men who are willing to be active fathers. We have 2 father lead families in our branch; it is what Elder  Benissan and I dedicate most of our time to. On Friday we received a call from a man named Ephraim, he said he wanted us to come teach him; Elder Benissan and I were both really excited, but also confused because his name was already in our phone.. But we went on Saturday and met him, he is an excommunicated member who is eagerly doing all of the things he needs to do to be re-baptized! He has a very genuine and sincere love for the gospel. Best of all, he had two of his best friends over because he wants them to hear this message! They both have a firm faith in Christ and good backgrounds in Christian families! Elder Benissan and I were ecstatic to have 3 new MALE investigators! Hopefully that means priesthood holders and husbands in the Newcastle Branch! Ephraim is a returned missionary so he knows what we do, he told us he has plenty of references for us! We could not have been more blessed! Our prayers were answered PERFECTLY! My testimony of prayer and our Father in Heaven has deepened. I know that our prayers and heard, considered, and answered according to the will of our Father; that all things may work in the best accordance to us and to His plan! I am so grateful!!

Although I often speak of miracles in my email, which I am INCREDIBLY grateful to the Lord for, the small tender mercies that we receive every day are the things that help us the most. Seeing God's hand so active in my life bring me so much joy and peace! I know that our Father in Heaven cares for and watches over each and every single one of us! No doubt! 

Okay two last stories then I'm gonna go shoot other missionaries:

Every Friday night Sister Lethuma, our grandma in this area, feeds us an amazing home cooked meal. I always look forward to a nice meal, refreshing discussions about gospel principles, and good company. But this week I was in for something I never could have prepared for. As I was sitting back and enjoying some discussion on scriptural prophets and stories, Sister Lethuma was preparing something that was about to scar me for life. As she placed a full plate of food down in front of me- my eyes beheld one of the most disturbing things I could have imagined. COOKED.CHICKEN.FEET. Claws and everything. I looked around in dismay hoping that this was a joke- but to my utter horror this was no bad dream; but a haunting reality. It was no sooner that I realised that chicken feet are supposed to be some kind of special treat. Elder Benissan was SO excited when he saw them. I looked at him with big, fearful eyes as he began to tear apart the thin bones and sucked off all of the skin and meat he could find. I have eaten some strange things here. But I was no match for these feathery feet. I noticed that eyes began to turn on me and I sat there, shocked. So, hesitantly, I picked up a foot, broke off one of it claws, and put it in my mouth. Nods of approval surrounded the table as I attempted to enjoy this strange entree. Elder Benissan whispered "I'm proud of you, my son" and took the other foot when Sister Lethuma wasn't looking, he finished it and put it back on my plate after. Man, I wish I would have been warned. That was probably the hardest thing I have had to do my whole mission. hahaha but I must admit.... they don't taste THAT bad.

And my last story to close this week's edition of "The Chronicles of Elder Weiler and Elder Benissan" is one of disaster (with much less drama and detail because I spent WAY too long on that last story) 

Sundays are very different when you're a missionary and the branch relies on you for almost everything. Good, but different. So we got to church at 8:30 and started the routine, we had left our keys at home (we also walked to church) and coincidentally every other person did too. But we were surviving and we thought that we had finished everything. We thought. So as we carried on preparing to start church, Elder Benissan invited me to play piano ( I've been practicing ) and I confidentally accepted. So after we think everything has been prepared we meet Mpume at the front of the church and show her around and sit her down in the chapel. She went to every person already there and introduced herself! Unfortunately, our branch is NOT good at fellowshipping. So everybody was kind of indifferent to her. So that was bad. We literally had to ASK people to sit by her and talk to her. So if that wasn't already an awkward start, 9:00 rolls around and our branch president isn't at the chapel yet. So we're all panicking and he comes in at like 9:10 and there still isn't more than 20 people in the chapel for the sacrament. Also, we realised we don't have any bread. So after scrambling around we got bread about 5 minutes later. So sacrament starts like 15 minutes late and people are finally starting to show up (SIDE NOTE: We actually had 87 people come to church yesterday and that an AMAZING turn out. We also set a goal for 85 so we are incredibly grateful for the Lord's help in accomplishing that goal.) 

So we begin the meeting and I did really well on the first hymn, so we are finally starting to relax a little bit. But the hymn for the sacrament was a whoooole new story. I start playing and the conductor is shaking her head at me saying that I'm not playing the right hymn. So I check the hymn book and start playing again and Elder Benissan is shaking his head yes. So there was a solid minute of confusion because I didn't know what to play if this wasn't the right hymn, but the chorister was not having it. So we sang acapella, which was a little awkward, but that's fine. So as the sacramental prayer was being said, nobody could hear it... That's when we realised that the microphone wasn't on. And nobody has the keys to get into the room to turn it on. So we stuck out sacrament meeting with very quiet prayers. 

Then, we asked one of our investigators, Stretch, to take us back to our boarding to get the keys. I wish there was a camera there, because they definitely could have used the film for the next Fast and Furious movie. We FLEW back home and back and got the microphone on for the last talk. 

To make this more awkward for Mpume, the lesson in YSA was on the Law of Chastity. 

Awesome. 

Did i mention the teacher didn't show up? So Elder Benissan had to teach the lesson. impromptu style. 

I'm not complaining.... But it was awkward. We actually didn't get to talk to Mpume after church so we are anxiously awaiting our appointment with her so that we can ask her what she thought. hahahaha 


All in all, IT WAS A GREAT WEEK!!!! I'm sorry for all the typos but I have no other choice!


Picture of us with a class of students from Ncandu! I'm the awkward white spot in the back...


The losing team of our match... Heads high and smiles on our faces!


The Hind's found this shirt at the mall????


a very candid and profound photo of Elder Benissan and I in our study.

--
Elder Weiler

Monday, October 12, 2015

"You're the coolest white person I have ever met" - Elder Benissan

Heeeellllloooooo family!! (And friends),

I don't have a ton of time today, but MAN MISSIONARY WORK IS THE BEST!!!!

Elder Benissan and I are BFFs. We get along so well! I am so grateful that the Lord put us together as companions! I definitely do not mind spending 2 transfers with him! However, we just discovered that transfers are on December 20. Right before Christmas!?!? That's a crime. I am so bummed to think that we might not be together on the greatest holiday of the year!.... My birthday....

Just kidding. Christmas is the best holiday of the year, no argument.

The work is ripe here in Newcastle! Elder Benissan and I stay very very busy, which is SO nice! I am really starting to love this little branch of ours. This week, at 8:55 the branch president asked me to speak... IN THAT MEETING. So I scrambled through my scriptures trying to find a topic that would be applicable and effective to our congregation, much to my despair, my mind was running blank. I had nothin.

So I decided to say a prayer and ask for the guidance of the Holy Ghost to help me know what I needed to speak to the branch about. I was no later prompted to open up Preach My Gospel ( which I felt strangely inclined to bring to church that day ) and began to search through the index. My eyes stopped on one word; "Charity". So I began to collect and stockpile quotes, scriptures, and my testimony of charity. I was assigned to the last speaker spot, but the two speakers before me took, collectively, 10 minutes. So I approached the pulpit with a prayer in my heart that my tongue would be loosed and that my mouth would be filled with the words which would mean the most to this congregation. I calmly delivered my sermon on charity and the blessings that we receive as we exercise and ask for charity. I think it went perfectly! I am so grateful for the loving attention that our Almighty Father in Heaven gives to us! He knows exactly what we need, exactly when we need it! I am so grateful for the tender mercies we all receive, every day!!

Elder Benissan and I had incredible experiences with the spirit guiding us this weekend, my talk only being one of them. On saturday night's we always visit a family on recent converts. The Shange's, the Hind's (the senior couple in Newcastle, they're the best. ) always come with us. The kids loveeee them! They always bring little games that we can play after we teach a short lesson. But this week the Hind's called us and told us they couldn't come about an hour before we were supposed to be at the Shange's, so we are calling members, trying to get somebody to come with us, but nobody could. So we grudging took the long drive to Ngogane to teach by ourselves. When we arrived, they had 3 of their Gogo's with them (Gogo is a Zulu term for an honored family member that is a female, usually a grandma or aunt), so our lesson had to change. So we called an Omaha and tried to figure out what we needed to teach, having no idea, we prayed. Elder Benissan then took out his pocket hymn book and asked the family to turn to the hymn "Love at Home". We began to speak about how we can strengthen our family relationships and how we can receive great strength and security within our families. We asked the family to go around in a circle and tell what they loved about their family members ( cheesy I know but please bear with me ). So it was tender and sweet, and when the oldest daughter began to speak she broke down and started sobbing, through her tears we discovered that she had been running away from home a lot recently, and that her family had always written her and accepted her no matter what happened. We could see that there was an elephant in the room, that has just been dismissed, the rest of the family began to cry and it ended in a very sincere group hug. It was amazing to witness. God's love prevailed in that lesson; and I am so grateful that Elder Benissan and I had the opportunity to act as God's mouthpiece and deliver the message that he would have delivered if He were with them! I know that God knows each and every one of us and all of our needs! He waits for us to pray and ask so that He can answer our prayers!! I love the way that the Lord blesses us. I know that he is mindful of you and is always watching over you! The lesson was really sweet, but I must admit that it got a little awkward after they hugged for like 5 minutes.....

We had a few more experiences of the same caliber, all having different and profound experience and opportunities, for the sake of time I wanted to share the one that was the most special to me!

Well, I'm just about out of time, and Elder Faganello ( my Canadian Zone Leader) is about to cut my hair, so please wish me luck. 

But South Africa is an amazing place and I could not be more grateful to be here!! Right now is especially fun because the whole country has World Cup fever! The Springbok's are headed into the Quater Finals against Wales this week! Although we don't watch the games, we hear about it alllllllll week after every game! So it's a blast to be here now! I cannot explain how much I love serving the Lord! There is no greater pleasure than knowing that I am fulfilling the promises that the Lord has made, that the gospel will be spread to every end of the Earth! 

I know that last, fulfilling, and true happiness comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through exact obedience to the commandments of the Lord, we can receive blessings that the Lord is saving for us! I know that my Redeemer lives, and I know that He has atoned for all of our sins; that through Him we may be forgiven of ALL things. We can always start over, we can always grow closer to Him! 

I love you all and I am so grateful for all of the support that I have received from all of you!!

Stay on the straight and narrow!

Talk to you next week!


--

Elder Weiler

 Every Monday we have FHE, with our district of missionaries, members, investigators, and all others who enjoy wholesome activity and treats, at the Hind's house!
All of the people around me are recent converts!! From L-R: Siyanda Nxumalo, Ayanda Luthuli, and Nonto Buthelezi




It was Elder Benissan's birthday on Tuesday, so we celebrated with the Hind's!


In the word's of Sister Hind: "Obviously, a companionship made in heaven"

Monday, October 5, 2015

"If you aren't hungry and tired you aren't doing it right!"

Dear Brother and Sister Weiler,
We wanted to let you know that your son arrived safely yesterday to the South Africa Durban Mission, and spent the day at the mission home with President and Sister Zackrison, and the other 8 new elders that arrived from the MTC in Johannesburg.  He has been assigned to work in the Newcastle area in the Newcastle Zone.  His trainer companion is Elder Benissan.  His P-day will be on Monday, and you will be receiving an email from him then.  We will be sending a picture soon also.  We know that he will be a great addition to the South Africa Durban Mission!



Sawubona!

This week's subject brought to you by my trainer, Elder Benisson! I read it and realized that it sounds really harsh.. But we were joking around when it was said hahha It is our new motto. 
It's very true. I never realized how much it means to feed missionaries until I came on mission hahaha Whenever I see a dinner appointment I cry sweet sweet tears of joy that I dont have to eat another sandwich or bowl of cereal haha!!!

Just kidding, it's not that intense. But still. You get the point.

Whatta week!! I finished up at the MTC ( I was so ready to get out here ), took a 45 minute flight to Durban, met the president, and got my assignment!! I am in Newcastle, South Africa! It is a 6 hour bus ride from Durban! It is in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Province of South Africa! (Kwa-Zulu means "Home of the Zulu" in the Zulu language) Zulus are crazy people hahaha we have run into a few Afrikaaners but the population here is OVERWHELMINGLY black. I see like 3 white people all day hahaha 

My first night in the mission field I got to sleep over with the APs because I was traveling so far, so I didnt actually get to Newcastle until Wednesday afternoon! It was really sad to say goodbye to my MTC group! But I am so excited to hear about their adventures!

Elder Benisson is a great trainer and companion!! He just got here 3 months ago so he is also new to mission! We are often referred to here as "Greenie Fire" by the other missionaries in our Zone! I take that as a compliment! There are a lot of old missionaries who are on their last transfer and you can see how exhausted they are! So I think it's good that there is green fire here! I call Elder Benisson my baba, which means Father in Zulu! He is from JoBurg! It is so nice to be trained by a native African! 

Most of the people here speak Zulu, so I am trying to learn that. hahah it is WAY harder than Malagasy (yes, Zulu is the clicking language. C,Q, and X all receive a different kind of click. I can't really explain it over text.... But I am getting decent at it!) Because almost all of the older generation speaks very limited English I have a really hard time communicating with them.. But I get along really well with little kids and Young Adults who speak fluent English! Apparently I have a really thick American accent (Who knew??). I have to simply my language A LOT. which is a struggle for me because I spent my entire high school life expanding and elaborating upon it! So I'm striping it down to the basics! 

Here in Newcastle we have one branch. One branch that HEAVILY relies on the missionaries! We fill every single calling that isnt assigned, which is almost all of them!!! We have about 60 members here but only 14 priesthood holders, including Elder Benisson and I. We are ALWAYS searching for men to teach, but Zulu men are very against religion, they are very manly men who believe that religion is feminine and weak. So it is a really big struggle to bring families to church. 

FUNFACT: I am the only white person in the branch. hahaha I am the victim of a lot of White jokes. It's so weird to be the minority here! But I think I am finally starting to get some color under the summer sun here! 

Also, I am a little bummed. We don't get conference for 3 weeks!!! Although we did get to hear who the new apostles were! We were all crossing our fingers for Elder Dube!!! WE NEED AN AFRICAN IN THE QUORUM OF THE 12!!! But I was so excited to hear about all of them! Especially Elder Renlund!!!

I am so amazed by the members here. They have the most faith I have ever seen. These people have given up their whole lives for the gospel, they have changed everything because of their testimonies of Christ and modern day prophets!! I feel so inadequate to teach them! They are very very amazing people! I love them so much! 

I have been blown away by the few priesthood holders that are here, 12/14 are 18 and under! The third counselor in the branch presidency is graduating in a month!!!! The Elders Quorum President is in his class as well. They have such amazing testimonies of their priesthood responsibility! Many of their fathers have left or aren't members and aren't very participating fathers; so these 16/17/18 year olds are the patriarchs of their home, and they DO NOT disappoint! They know how to rise to a call to action! They give everything they have to their families and to their callings in the branch. It is incredible to watch them serve! Not to mention, they're some of the coolest kids I have ever met! We take at least on of them out every day to our lessons, they're like our best friends! They have incredible testimonies and teaching abilities and to add on to that they are way good kids that like to have fun! I love our branch!!!

People are so ready to receive the gospel here! We have to book people for next week for teaching appointments because so many people are so eager to be taught!! People will ask us to come twice a week because they want to receive all the lessons so that they can be baptized sooner! We have some really amazing investigators! They are so eager to learn and grow to Christ! But unfortunately, we don't have any male investigators... YET! 

Anyway, missionary work is the most amazing experience in the world! I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to wear the name of Jesus Christ on my chest each day! I know that it is because of Him and His loving sacrifice that I am here today, doing the things I am doing! Two years is the least I can give to Him for all that He has given me! I love the gospel and the joy that it brings me! I know that my called was inspired and that I am needed here! I love the work and I love all of you!! Talk to you soon!!

--
Elder Weiler

PS. My inbox was FLOODED with loving and supportive emails when I opened it this week! Thank you all for the kind and motivating words! I love you all and I will do my best to respond to everybody!


It was Heritage Day last week and one of the workers at the MTC was all dressed up in her traditional clothes.


Sister Van Syl, our teacher, finally smuggled in some treats after some convincing hahaha (From L-R: Elder Eastmond, Elder Oliverson, and Elder Casperson)



Elder Rakotomalala and I were dethroned from our throne in Bobby, by our teachers!!! 


We hosted Sunday Scrabble in our room every week, it was pretty much the highlight of the week! haha


Elder Rokotomalala and I unintentionally matched on our last day in the MTC! #compgoals


I tried leaning back in a roller chair... Ask me how that worked out....Love, Elder Weiler