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. 


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