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!
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...