Monday, March 27, 2017

March 27, 2017

45.5 C (114 F) Hot Hot Hot, the next day was cold and rainy

Brother Mgagula's Birthday!!

Donkey carts we see all the time

Elder and Sister Stubbs from Paragonah

Our recent convert's friends she's been inviting to lessons

P Day township recording with Elder Greengrass
Hello everyone,

Well 7 months is by and by now so times just flying. Elder Milne and myself only have about two more weeks together we predict so we're trying to make the most of what we have left. 

Monday I was with Elder Greengrass helping him record a song he wrote the lyrics to and I helped write the lyrics. Hopefully we'll be able to send that home sometime if it sounds decent.... we recorded it in one of his less active's home recording studios. 

Tuesday-Friday we were busy with the work, trying to find and making sure those we are teaching are progressing and keeping the commitments we give them. This week we took another one of our recent converts fellowshipping named Phillip. He is such a stud and actually walked with some of our investigators to church which was awesome! We hope he'll be able to serve mission because he'd be an awesome missionary. 

We were teaching one of our best investigators Sive and he invited his friend Carl to join us. Carl is very interested in the gospel and with these two guys they're really struggling with peer pressure and the influence of the world during teenage years. I really liked when Carl said, "I feel like the world is getting so bad and I think I was born to stand out." it was awesome. We talked that the gospel and light of Christ really helps one stand out among the crowd and how when we follow god's commandments he will shape us into who we want to become. The gospel allows us to stand out. Further in the lesson we were talking about repentance and he had another comment, he had asked if he can repent everyday and we said "of course!" He was super excited and was yelling "Yes Jesus I never knew that!!!" haha, oh it was funny but very true. It's awesome he realized he can repent anytime of day if he has a sincere heart and wants that change to take place in his life. We taught that repentance is a daily thing and as we confess our sins to god with a willing heart and real intent to change, God will be able to forgive us. 

Saturday we had Zone Conference with President Merrill and it was a very wonderful conference and we also watched 2016 and 17 worldwide broadcast's for missionaries. The 2017 one is very awesome because we learn from the Apostles and church leaders in one of their weekly meetings in the church office building and it's a very awesome setting for the training. What was amazing is because it was just one of their meetings, Elder Bednar opened with a prayer and it's amazing to hear the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ pray because that is something we so rarely have the chance to see. Many times we just hear their words in General Conference. 

Speaking of General Conference because our chapel has a satellite receiver I'm excited to watch some of the sessions live! 

Sunday we had our interviews with President Merrill and it was a wonderful opportunity to meet with him. He is an amazing guy and I'm going to miss him when he leaves in July but I'm excited to learn from the new president. 

Sunday evening we celebrated Brother Mgagula's birthday and we had a wonderful dinner and cake! Wohoo!

Unfortunately though Zwide area will be shut down for a time so Elder Allred is flying out today to his new area, Fish Hoek, and Elder Lane will be driving to his new area later this week, Knysna. It's sad they'll be leaving but we're all young so we'll probably be together again at some point. 

All in all a very good week and we're excited to see what this week has in store! Hopefully not 114 F heat again followed by a day of cold cold rain. Port Elizabeth is very bipolar with it's weather. It keeps us on our toes though! 

Until Next Week!
Elder Smith

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20, 2017

Woohoo! Time flies when you're having fun! I'll be hitting 7 months this Saturday, but I still feel green.

Because last P Day I wrote about last week, I'll keep Monday brief, but to sum up, we went to Addo Elephant National Park and saw many beautiful African animals. 

This week we've really been trying to build up our teaching pool. We've got a few progressing investigators but we've really got to get some more people to teach. Along with building our pool we've been on many splits because Zwide is still closed. We've been doing splits between the Zwide elders and Uitenhage so we've been working double in our area. Last week our total appointments (investigators, recent converts, less actives, and members) was 42 which was awesome but we just wish we had more of those investigators.

In solution to that we've been doing some finding and on Saturday we had an awesome finding activity in one of our areas called (Kwa)Dwesi Extension. We (Elder Milne and myself) were with Elders Allred and Lillback and our fellowshippers Khanyiso (recent convert) and Mzi. It was an awesome time! 

Khanyiso we really want to build the missionary spirit so he can one day serve and he took the lead on many of the people we saw and it was amazing! He taught with the spirit and with simplicity and he really had a chance to be a missionary. He really enjoyed it and we hope to involve him more so we can get him excited about mission. He's truly an awesome guy!

Sunday we were able to confirm Zikhona and it was awesome! In church Elder Milne and myself had the whole meeting to ourselves because the speakers all cancelled the night before which was great......... but we were able to talk according to the needs of the ward which was nice. Elder Milne talked about prayer and personal revelation and I talked about Tithing and becoming Temple Worthy and going to the Temple. 

We also had a Lunch Appointment after church and then right after we went to our bishop's house to talk to him and he fed us eggs and 6 slices of bread and we were stuffed. Yet..... there were no excuses, we had to eat haha. I'm gaining weight which isn't the best thing but it's better than starving any day! 

People here in South Africa are the best and I'm really going to miss them! But the good thing is, I've still got a long way to go! Well until next week!

The girls singing hymns with us

Fun appointment with the twins and their friends

We put up the nativity on the other elder's shower

Monday, March 13, 2017

March 13, 2017

Wohoo! Another week in KwaMagxaki!

The week started out with a chill p day in Uitenhage with the zone. Did some basketball and jammed with Elder Greengrass.

We've been working hard building up our teaching pool again after we've had those baptisms and we've been able to find a few more people which is going to be great. 

We've been trying lately to also work with our recent convert priesthood holders and get them in the missionary spirit. We took one of them, Khanyiso (19 and finishing Matric year=12 grade, already been to the bush) on Friday and it was an awesome experience for him and us. He was able to help us teach and bore his testimony at the lessons we went to and it was powerful. One of the young member girls asked, "hey wasn't this the kid that was just baptized? How does he know so much?" haha it was awesome. It really shows how when you build that foundation on reading the Book of Mormon how it strengthens you and your testimony. 

On Sunday I confirmed him and gave him the Holy Ghost. We took him and our other priesthood recent converts with us to the mission prep class at church and they loved it. I hope this interest has sparked and he will have that desire to pursue mission to help others. 

We were able to have our first lesson with his sister and aunt and cousin following church on Sunday and he said it was a day of blessings because he was there to help us and his aunt was quite receptive and wanted us back! 

Our highlight of the week was Zikhona's Baptism on Sunday! She is a very powerful girl and has a strong testimony of Christ and the Book of Mormon. One of the lessons we had with her we were talking about how Jesus Christ performed the Atonement, the time of his life where he suffered for our sins not only in Gethsemane but on the Cross, and she mentioned how sad that must've been and it made me realize she truly loved Christ as her older brother. While it was a sad experience we also mentioned how much good it brought to the world. 

The Atonement of Jesus Christ allows us to be forgiven of our sins, to make ourselves clean. As Christ commanded us to be perfect even as our Father in Heaven, that is not possible without the Atonement. After baptism, where we are washed of our sins and start a new life through Christ, we can use the sacrament each Sunday to renew that covenant again and be forgiven as long as we have sincerely repented. 

Since this email is a little later, Today for P-Day we went to Addo Elephant National Park and it is the biggest Nature Reserve I've ever been to. Although we saw no lions or Hyenas, we saw several Elephants, Zebra, Cape Buffalo, Fox, Ibex, Dung Beetles, and several other beautiful African animals. And on the drive, we saw hundreds of monkeys along the road and they're so funny when they wrestle and jump around. 

I've learned to love the beauty of Africa. It is a whole different world here full of the beautiful creations of God. I feel truly blessed to be here, we just need a lot of rain. Port Elizabeth is in a drought and there are water restrictions each day. We need rain a lot, please pray for it! 

Thanks for the support and until next week~

Elder Smith

Monkeys along the side of the freeway

District Photoshoot: The Uitenhage Gents (Elders Ondracek, Lillback, Lane, Allred, Milne, Smith

Zikhona's Baptism

Monday, March 6, 2017


March 5, 2017

Hello everyone! Another week bye already!

This week has been an interesting fun week. 

We've been doing a lot of splits lately because the Zwide elders' area is still closed for the time being so I've been serving with 3 companions, Elder Milne, Elder Allred, and Elder Lane. It's pretty fun to get to know them and each of the ways they teach. 

Elder Milne and I had the house to ourselves Monday-Friday while the Zwide elders were with Uitenhage elders which was really weird because it's really really quiet when there's only us there. But it was fun. 

On P-day we went to the Oceanarium and Museum! hehehe it was really really funny. 

We started in the museum portion and saw some amazing (plastic) fish swimming around in the glass tank at the aquarium portion. We also saw some terrifying dinosaur action figures. We then went to the curiosity corner and learned that Unicorns are real... and have massive 7 foot horns. We then went to the scariest part of the museum...... the dreaded snake enclosure which reminded me vaguely of Petco haha. Aside from that we did see some awesome parts of shipwrecks that happened off the coast of South Africa and Port Elizabeth. When we went out to the live exhibits we saw some seals which was quite cool, one just sat there and watched us for a while. They also had some penguins, sea turtles, and two alligators. It was a truly enlightening P-Day haha. 

The rest of the week we have been trying to get our teaching pool back up because after baptisms you lose investigators because they become recent converts. The problem is tracting was banned in our zone in light of the stabbing so all we can work with to find new people is member referrals. We need your prayers to help us find father headed homes so we can baptise families. We've been working with one girl who we're hoping to baptise on Sunday which is really awesome. 

We've been stressing the importance of the Book of Mormon with our investigators and recent converts lately because it contains the doctrine of salvation and the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Alma 371 And now, my son Helaman, I command you that ye take the records which have been entrusted with me;
 2 And I also command you that ye keep a record of this people, according as I have done, upon the plates of Nephi, and keep all these things sacred which I have kept, even as I have kept them; for it is for a wise purpose that they are kept.
4 Behold, it has been prophesied by our fathers, that they should be kept and handed down from one generation to another, and be kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord until they should go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, that they shall know of the mysteries contained thereon.
7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
 8 And now, it has hitherto been wisdom in God that these things should be preserved; for behold, they have enlarged the memory of this people, yea, and convinced many of the error of their ways, and brought them to the knowledge of their God unto the salvation of their souls.
12 And it may suffice if I only say they are preserved for a wise purpose, which purpose is known unto God; for he doth counsel in wisdom over all his works, and his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.
13 O remember, remember, my son Helaman, how strict are the commandments of God. And he said: If ye will keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land—but if ye keep not his commandments ye shall be cut off from his presence.
14 And now remember, my son, that God has entrusted you with these things, which are sacred, which he has kept sacred, and also which he will keep and preserve for a wise purpose in him, that he may show forth his power unto future generations.
15 And now behold, I tell you by the spirit of prophecy, that if ye transgress the commandments of God, behold, these things which are sacred shall be taken away from you by the power of God, and ye shall be delivered up unto Satan, that he may sift you as chaff before the wind.
 16 But if ye keep the commandments of God, and do with these things which are sacred according to that which the Lord doth command you, (for you must appeal unto the Lord for all things whatsoever ye must do with them) behold, no power of earth or hell can take them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words.
 17 For he will fulfil all his promises which he shall make unto you, for he has fulfilled his promises which he has made unto our fathers.
We related these teachings from Alma to his son Helaman to our investigators and pretended they were Helaman. They've been entrusted with the Book of Mormon and it (the Book of Mormon) can bring to light the things they need to do to achieve salvation. For that is God's wise purpose. We've been given the commandment to read the words of God and as we keep the commandments we will prosper. But like it says if we don't make the Book of Mormon a part of our lives Satan can sift and tempt us. It's simple, Keep the Commandments=Blessings. Read the Book of Mormon=Power from God to overcome Satan

Read=Power, Power strengthens our effort to keep the commandments, Commandments=Blessings

Sunday we had stake conference and I had to play the piano for our ward choir who was singing which was fun......haha...... although one of the songs was Master the Tempest is Raging and they sang it in Xhosa which was cool. Our mission president was there as well and he and his wife delivered powerful talks and testimonies. Stake conference was awesome. 

We celebrated Elder Ondracek's birthday Sunday night as a district and had a lot of food and also our 27kg watermelon haha that we turned into a hat for WaterMilne. Elder Lillback is a new elder in our district from Germany and he is very funny. We're going to have some fun times!

Well until next week!

Elder Smith
A massive ship came to port... probably the biggest I've seen

After we ate our 27kg watermelon, WaterMilne


Family Pics

Elder Ellis @ Zone Training/Conference with Port Elizabeth and Kwano Zones

Our colourful cake for Elder Ondracek's birthday on Sunday

Saw some awesome fish

Sitting in a train (we saw some more)

The terrifying snake exhibit

Township Surgery

Unicorns are Real