Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31, 2016

Hello everyone again! 

Mthatha is still the promised land. Yesterday we confirmed those whom we baptized last week and Saturday we have the baptisms of the two Bikitsha boys (the mom and daughters were baptized last week). It'll be fun to see their whole family baptized. 

Brother Albert is going to be a very strong member. He loves the gospel and he will probably be getting the Aaronic preisthood and a calling this coming Sunday. It's fun to see him progressing so well. 

We're running out of investigators so keep praying that we'll be able to find more people to teach, and also pray for fellowshippers. We can't teach without them and many of ours are getting busy with work so some days we can't teach. But we'll keep doing our best here in Mthatha to help everyone. I keep telling Elder Zongoro I love it here because I really do. It's great to be serving the lord every single day and gaining an even stronger testimony and understanding of the scriptures myself while helping people with their testimony. 

Elder Goss is our new greenie in the boarding. He replaced Elder Faingata'a in the Mthatha South Area. He's from Alpine UT and seems like he's going to be a great missionary. He loves to cook too so that's not a bad thing either. We'll miss Elder Faingata'a though, it's always fun to have a Tongan around.

Monday for P-Day we went to a big mountain and drove around and man, Africa is beautiful. I don't know if I'll want to leave. The bottom of the mountain reminded me of pine valley mountain but with a lot more pine trees. As we drove higher it turned into a jungle and yo! It was beautiful. There was a waterfall and stream through part of the road and man it reminded me of the jungle cruise and the queue for the indiana jones ride at disneyland. The birds sound so amazing hear and it really is weird to think I'm in Africa. It's pretty awesome. We took our fellowshippers Brother Q and Sabelo and a member Misouli. It was a blast driving and hiking around!

Unfortunately we had to get our car serviced on Friday for the 30000 km service so we couldn't proselyte and when we went to pick it up on Saturday they said they were closed until today, so we've been carless. And I'll just say, I'd rather be a busy missionary than a lazy one because it stinks not having anything to do. I must admit I got some good study time and a nap in but it was really not my favourite. Teaching people is WAY better. 

It was hard to find out that my Great Grandpa Reeder passed away on the 24th. It's been the only time I've cried on mission but it's great to have a knowledge that he's in a much better place because of the Plan of Salvation. I can't wait someday to be able to see him again and it's fun to think that he's up there watching. He was a wonderful example of someone who served their family, country, and lord with all their heart, might, mind and strength. I miss him a lot but I know he's just on the other side of the veil in a much better place than here. 

All is well, keep praying for the investigators and recent converts. Everything helps!

Elder Smith

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 24, 2016

Time flies, 

2 months already..... Transfer day is tomorrow and it's sad because we'll be saying goodbye to Elder Faingata'a but Elder Hernandez will be training Elder Goss. I'm officially no longer a greenie! It'll be fun to have a new face around but we'll all miss Elder Faingata'a.

We had a lot of appointments and a lot of DA's this past week but the best part was yesterday (Sunday) for sure! Elder Zongoro and I had 4 baptisms, 

Mama Bikitsha and her two daughters (her two sons will be baptized the 6th of November)
and Brother Albert. 

Mama Bikitsha is the best! She's a very loving mama and is very converted to the gospel. A week before her scheduled baptismal date three weeks ago her husband passed away and it's been hard on the family but they've all stayed strong and are looking forward to the day when they can go to the temple to be sealed! It'll be a wonderful day for sure.

Brother Albert began being taught with his family in Cape Town but he moved back to his other home in Buntingville to check on the place and wanted to continue being taught so Elder Zongoro and I finished all of the lessons and were able to baptize him. He is a very powerful guy and I can see him being a bishop or something someday. He can't wait to help teach his wife and son too when he goes back to Cape Town. 

The other Elders (Hernandez and Faingata'a) also had the baptism of Boniswa yesterday. And because one of the Bikitsha girls wanted Elder Hernandez to baptize her all of us missionaries in Mthatha were in whites. It was powerful to see all of us in white together. 

Please keep these recent converts in your prayers. We don't want them to go less active and we want them to continue being the strong people they are. It was a wonderful day for sure. 

We also got to watch the Sunday session of conference yesterday and it was wonderful to hear the words of the prophet and apostles again. I liked this sessions focus on the family and scripture study. The family is ordained of god and is the most important social unit in time and in eternity. The family is the best place to teach, learn, and apply gospel principles. The family can be a place of safety, peace, and joy. These fundamentals are all important to the family. 

Also last Monday for P Day we went to a game reserve at Mthatha dam and saw some cool animals, we want to go back and see some more. 

We saw some crazy birds and Springbok and Impalas. Impalas are gigantic deer things! It's amazing to see them right up close when you can drive up next to them and have them snorting and making noises at you. I felt and it looked like I had just walked straight into the lion king movie, all of the tall grasses and african animals, yo it was crazy!

Anyway, all is well in Zion (Mthatha) haha

Until next week!

Elder Smith

Baptism Sunday

Sunday Swag

Cutest Kids

Food from members



Monday, October 17, 2016

October 17, 2016

My Favorite Kid
Climbing a tree at Mthatha Dam
Eating at Spur with Brother Q
Hello everyone! Back in Mthatha now and definitely better than Queenstown haha. The area is doing great and it's been fun teaching our investigators. We have some pretty powerful ones that we hope to baptize and will be baptizing so keep them in your prayers. 

One mama, Mama Mfene is the best. (one of our investigators, she's like our mom here in Mthatha. she's the best. Her daughter is in the top 10 of SA Idol, like american idol so she left for Johannesburg Friday. Pray for her to accept because she'd be a powerful member. She always makes us feel welcome and calls us her Bhutis (brothers or sons). She loves having us stop by anytime and will usually make Rooibos and pastry crackers. She is the most loving mama and I love seeing her progress but she needs your prayers. 
Mama Mfene

I've been blessed to watch the Saturday session of conference on the 15th, sadly yesterday Sunday the chapel had no power (like always in Ikwezi) so we just had sacrament meeting. 

I loved conference and I felt they really addressed some important topics concerning the church. There is a weakening of faith and apostasy in the church and we need to strengthen our faith. As we do we will become rooted stronger in the gospel and doctrine. The basic foundations of our faith must also be understood. The first three missionary lessons we teach were addressed heavily in conference, the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the plan of salvation, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we strengthen our testimony of these we will increase our strength in Christ. Our best source of guidance addressed is prayer. It is truly the best and we are able to talk to our father in heaven. As we do so we will find peace and the love of our father in our lives. Also addressed was the importance of sharing the gospel with everyone. It's not hard really, and PLEASE help the members whenever possible giving them referrals and fellowshipping with them when possible. It's the greatest way for success in teaching. I can't wait to learn more in the following sessions (hopefully) this weekend. 

I've found myself resorting to one of my side hobbies in my downtime, writing poetry. 

Father Did You Cry?
Elder K.Smith 14/10/16

Oh my great God, Elohim,
upon thine throne above-
who hast sent thine perfect son
his purpose in thine love.

To be born of virgin birth,
a carpenter by trade. 
Shepherd to his chosen flock,
saviour to the same.

He would cause the lame to walk
and cause the blind to see. 
In the end, was crucified,
and suffered there for me.

Thy son bled from every pore
and cried in agony!
"Father, if it be thy will,
let this cup pass from me!"

Did'st thou shed a thousand tears
and weep amidst the sky?
That thine son had bled, and cried,
"Abba! My Father! Why?"

But thou knew his chosen plan
to suffer for us all.
Resurrection's miracle-

to save us from the fall.

Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10, 2016

Hello everyone!

Mthatha is great! I went on exchanges with Elder Mmomotong Tuesday (the Zone Leader from Queenstown) and it went well. I didn't forget the area or get lost at all! Thanks for your prayers! 

Our 5 baptisms is now three (hopefully five) because the two boys in the family went for break (spring break) so they weren't able to get interviewed and we had to reschedule the baptism for this coming sunday on the 16th. But all is well! 

We went on district exchanges too so I got to spend Thursday with Elder Faingata'a and Friday with Elder Hernandez. They're great missionaries and it's fun to learn from them. 

Sunday I had to give a talk and teach elders quorum (like most Sundays) but I've realized that as I rely on the spirit I can teach really well. As I practice I think these teaching experiences will help me further in life with my public speaking and possible career as a Professor. Mission is great because not only does it teach you qualities about yourself, but you improve your spiritual self, physical self, mental self. It is a wonderful experience. As we turn to God He really helps through all things. 

Sunday we also drove to Queenstown for Zone training. We had a miracle on the drive. We started the drive with 200 km and 3/4 tank petrol. We didn't want to have to buy petrol on Sunday so we prayed that we would be able to make it. As we drove and reached the sign that said 107 km left, we had 1/4 tank petrol. We all realized we didn't have enough petrol to make it but we didn't want to buy on Sunday so we prayed and kept driving. We passed the last petrol station with 70km left to drive. We kept driving with 1/8 tank. Somehow we made it the last 107km with 1/4 tank petrol. The car ran on empty the last 20km but the fuel light didn't go on at all. When we filled up this morning we filled up more fuel than our tank would've been empty with. It really was a miracle. Test the promises of god. As we keep his commandments and rely on him he really will bless our lives. 

Today I'm 19, I don't feel any older and almost forgot about my birthday but I only have one more on mission. I can't believe how time flies. 

Well until the next email. 

Love and care from Queenstown, EC, SA

Elder Smith

Monday, October 3, 2016

October 3, 2016

Hello everyone from Mthatha!

The weeks are flying here in Mthatha. We've been doing a lot of contacting referrals lately and tracting but the best part is we have 5 prospective baptisms this coming Sunday and another in two weeks! The work is progressing but it's slow and it really has to be worked for. I'm sad I won't get to watch conference until this coming Saturday and Sunday because we're so far away we have to watch it tape delay -- so don't give anything away haha!

The area is really big and I'm still trying to learn it. It's amazing to see how humble the people are here. One thing that still gets to me is how grateful all of the kids are. Many times when they pray they thank heavenly father for money to catch a taxi to get to church, or the fact that their parents got paid, they have food, or they have a blanket to stay warm. I really think we take a lot for granted in the United States a lot of things but we really need to be thankful for the little things that we have that many of these people don't. We went to an old Mama's house and we offered to help with the dishes because we noticed there was a lot and she said it was ok but I felt the water and it was freezing and we asked her if she wanted us to boil some water but she didn't have enough money for gas for her stove. Yet these people are still happy with a roof over their head, the gospel, and their families. 

I'm still struggling with Xhosa but I've picked up a few words,
Tata (for an old man)
Mama (for an old lady)
Bhuti (pronounced booty- means brother)
Sissi (pronounced sissy- means sister)
Tsotsi (pronounced toe-t-zee - means thug or gangster or the people who rob you)
Mholoweni (Means how are you)
Ndi pilile en kosi (I'm good and you)
en kosi gukulu (thank you so much)
umbuso (question)
tandazai (prayer)

These words don't use clicks, which is why i can say them, but man the different clicks for Q, X, C, and K are hard to get used to, especially when people talk really really really fast. 

But aside from all of that the work is going well and all is well here. Keep praying for the area that their hearts may be softened so the work can go forward. There are a lot of Born Agains that are "saved" and don't want to hear our message, it'd be nice to teach them because they are very nice people. Hopefully soon (within the next two years) Mthatha Branch will be a ward, we just need more active Priesthood holders and members that regularly come. 

"The Standard of Truth has been erected [in South Africa]. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing [here in Mthatha]. Persecutions may rage, mobs [and tsotsis] may combine, armies may assemble and calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, 
'Till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime [of the Cape Town Mission], swept every country [in Africa], and sounded in every ear, 'till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say, the work is done."

- Joseph Smith Jr.
     the Wentworth Letter

Until next week, Elder Smith
Elder Zongoro and I and our sometimes crazy fellowshipper Sabelo

Pap and potatoes and fried greens - yum

service at a Tata's house we found tracting. He's a born again christian.

The district
-When the power is kicked out by a storm and you sit on your porch watching lightning