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!
I woke up like this... FLAWLESS (We had to wake up at 5:30 to leave for Ladysmith by 6 AM)