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!
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!!
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