Thursday, January 18, 2018

Amanzimtoti Area - Week 64

I'll recount this week like a narrative. On Tuesday morning I arrived in Durban via bus. Elder Hinnen sat next to me until he got off in Ladysmith at around 3am. I had been asked to stay awake to make sure nobody misses their stop, so we talked and caught up, sharing funny stories. It was pleasant. Once the missionaries got off I slept for around 3 hours and got off of the bus in Durban. I was pretty drained at this point.

The APs drove some of us to the mission home where I met my new companion, Elder Sala. He is from Harare, Zimbabwe. He is very funny and I enjoy being with him! I drove to Amanzimtoti, which is about 30Ks away. I dropped off my bags, bought food, and unpacked. Except I didn't actually unpack because our boarding is filthy. I cleaned the bedroom for over an hour to at least make it decent. Then we drove back to the mission home to pick up the missionaries who work in Umlazi and take them to their home since they are walking. After that we got home at night and I was finally able to unpack and get some sleep. It was a very long day. On Thursday we had our missionary leadership council for 2 days. This one was way too long but we learned useful techniques to apply in our teaching and ways to help and inspire other missionaries.

Amanzimtoti is a beautiful area. We live right next to the coast. It is hot and humid here, basically everything reminds me of Florida. Luckily I am pretty deep into my mission now, otherwise I'd be missing home too much. Every time someone tells me that we can't come because they are going to the beach it still hits me a bit.. haha. The ward is very nice and they love missionaries. They also love feeding the missionaries... One of the members is named Gordon Greg, and he used to be a bishop for a ward in Florida!! Not sure which one. This is the first area I've been that is in town, and also the first ward with white people. Still adjusting.

I hope that you all had a great week and are doing well! Until next time!

Elder LaHue

Monday, January 8, 2018

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 63

President Thompson really loves to switch things up... I am being transferred out of Rocklands again. That makes 6 months total here. I found out Saturday night and I'm getting on the 10 hour bus ride to Durban tonight. Not really much time to prepare or say goodbye to people, but it's okay. I was able to contact everyone I needed to and wish them farewell.

I am being transferred to Amanzimtoti in Durban. Toti is a coastal area and the boarding is right near the beach. Why is someone from Florida being put right next to the beach? In the summer? I'm not sure. It's going to be very hot and humid so I'll have to mentally prepare for that. I'm not 100% excited yet because I love Rocklands so much, but this will be a great new opportunity to experience actual Durban and serve there. Plus I can finally learn Zulu now!

Not much else to report on other than the passing of President Thomas S. Monson. May he rest in peace in the presence of our Father in heaven.

Attached is a pic of Thabang, William, and Elias. We take them to help us a lot and the great work here wouldn't be possible without them. The next pic is of Karabo Mahloko. Same goes for him. He just put in his mission papers and will get his call within the next few weeks. These guys are true friends and of the highest class!!!

Elder LaHue

Monday, January 1, 2018

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 62

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!! I am so excited for 2018! This is going to be a great year. Why? Several reasons, but number one is because I go home this year!!

I have 3 New Year's Resolutions which I'll share:
1) Help a father-led family make covenants to bring them closer to Heavenly Father.
2) Eat healthy.
3) Finish my mission strong!

We ended off 2018 with a bang. Here are the highlights of the week:

Earlier on in the transfer we found this 17 year old guy named Vuyo. We have been teaching him and he has been very receptive! We also taught his grandpa once (who he lives with) and gave him a Book of Mormon in Xhosa. At the beginning of the week we took President Nyatshoba (the stake president) to work with us and he came to see Vuyo. When we were there Vuyo opened up about how he wanted to quit smoking, and we didn't even know he had that problem. President said that he sees a future missionary in him!

Flash forward to our next appointment. Vuyo's grandpa was drunk. He basically talked down to us for 30 mins and kicked us out of his house. The whole time Vuyo was apologizing to us. On Sunday, Elder Simayile had the great idea of having one of our returning members, Bro. Jubane, give Vuyo a ride to church in his truck. We came to his house and I think his grandpa was still drunk, and he started saying a bunch of things. I was worried he wouldn't give us permission to take him to church. But when we asked him he said okay, just bring him back. So Vuyo came to church, and President Nyatshoba was there as well so he basically took him under his wing.

Then after taking the sacrament, something even more amazing happened. We are teaching a recent convert's husband, Ntate Jobo. Mamsy Jobo, his wife, was baptized in July but hasn't been to church since October. Ntate Jobo has been progressing very well and is on B-Date for Jan 28th. After taking the sacrament, he walked in with his Mamsy, their daughter Lerato, a family friend, and 11 other children that live near their home!!!!! Imagine the shock on my face when that happened. I probably looked funny with my mouth wide open during the middle of sacrament meeting.

God is a god of miracles. Miracles still happen every day, we just have to be paying attention to see them. I can testify that this is true.

2 Nephi 2:11 "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility."

We will not be without challenges during this new year. Without challenges we will never grow, progress, become better, etc. I hope that you all have a great year, notwithstanding the challenges that may lay ahead. We have a loving Savior, Jesus Christ, that will be with us every step of the way.

Happy new year,
Elder Austin LaHue

Monday, December 25, 2017

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 61

Merry Christmas!!!!!

I won't write very much or reply to people because I will being calling my family later today. That leaves no time to email. I'll respond next week! Hope you understand!

Last night we went Christmas caroling at a retirement home complex in Bloem. We sang carols for over 2 hours with all the missionaries in our zone. The people loved it!!! They kept giving us candy, but we gave away everything to other people. We felt that they deserved it more. I had a great time singing, and it really brought the spirit of Christmas in my heart!

This morning we handed out Books of Mormon to families for 3 hours. We went to our area and gave out 20 of them as a gift! We met so many families that warmly welcomed us! We even set return appointments with 8 families!!!! Giving out those Books of Mormon was such a joyful experience. 

This has been the most spiritual Christmas of my life!!!

Elder LaHue

Monday, December 18, 2017

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 60

I have a ton of pictures for you all!! A lot happened this week. I'll go in the order in which events occurred.

First, we had our zone Christmas party on Monday! I conducted the event. We held it at the Hicks' home from 11-3pm. We watched a Christmas film, heard from President Thompson, had an amazing lunch (ribs from a restaurant named Rocomama's), played a game, and finished by watching the 2017 Christmas slideshow. The APs put together a collaboration of pictures of all the missionaries from this year. The party was a success and we all had a great time!!

On Thursday we drove to Thaba'Nchu for exchanges and interviews. We did a service project in the morning where we cut down some cacti. The place reminds me of Texas! The weather was dry and I got sunburned. Solid day and we were close to Maseru so it made me miss all of my friends in Lesotho.

Saturday was Reconciliation Day. It is a holiday in South Africa where everyone drinks and nobody is home. Fun for them, not good for missionary work. We made it work though. In the morning we did a service project for Sibongile Feza and her family. A year ago my trainer and I baptized their family. I was flipping through my journal and it turns out we did exactly the same service project for them that we did a year ago! We helped clean up the weeds around their house.

On Sunday we had the baptism of Nomathamsanqa Qinisile! We call her Thami for short. Her family was baptized right before I got to Rocklands in October. We have been teaching her for a bit now and she has been really excited for this day. The baptism went smoothly and the spirit was felt. No complaints here!

Today we went out for Rocomama's for lunch. I got a peanut butter milkshake and a huger burger with mayo and guac. One of the best burgers I have had in a long time. Thanks to my family for an early Christmas present!!

Such a good week. I hope you are all excited for Christmas and had a great week as well.

Merry Christmas!