Okay the caption seems a little intense.. But man.. Afrikaaners are difficult people.
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!!
Okay wait the camera is being kind of difficult so yeah.. Pictures next week!