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!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 59

I'll be brief because I don't have much time to email. Today is our zone Christmas party! It will be held at Elder and Sister Hicks' place. They are our beloved senior couple missionaries here in Bloem. Last year we had a huge multi-zone Christmas party, but this year they split the parties by zone to create a more intimate spiritual environment.

Elder Simayile and I made great progress in Rocklands this week! We set a goal to prayerfully seek to find father-led families. We also established an area near the chapel where we do 80% of our work. This will allow us to get to know the people in the area well and save travelling time. During the week we were blessed to find many potential priesthood holders and a few families! We have been fortunate enough to work with many different members throughout the week. One of them is William, a 26 year old guy. He was baptized 3 months ago and he has already read all of the Book of Mormon and most of D&C!! Working with him was a blast and he has a powerful testimony. Great guy.

Just a few more weeks left in the year! I am so grateful for all of the cherished experiences and memories I have of this year. I am also very grateful for all of you for showing your love and support to me. I truly feel that I have many people watching over me from back home. It is such a blessing to be able to hear from all of you. Thank you!

Until next week,
Elder LaHue

Monday, December 4, 2017

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 58

December is here!! Things are going well in South Africa. I'll never get used to having Christmas in the summer... just kidding it's always summer in Florida. We have a new Christmas initiative this year: 12 days of service. 

We are so excited for this holiday season and for what is represents - the birth of our Savior!

This Christmas we are turning our hearts to Christ, and doing acts of service for
12 DAYS!


On Thursday we left for the leadership counsel in Durban. 3 of us were crammed in the back of a truck for 10 hours! It was horrible! Anyways we got to Durban around  5 pm and I got to see 2 of my former companions, Elders Hicks and Dos Santos. There were 18 total missionaries there representing different areas of each mission. We are representing Bloemfontein Zone. The meeting began on Friday and lasted through the day. We spent most of the time discussing this Christmas plan. There is a lot of work involved. We have to plan a big service project for the zone, as well as work out many other details. For lunch we had burritos from 417, a nice Mexican restaurant in Durban. By the time the meeting was over I was exhausted! We drove for about 6 hours and spent the night in Phuthaditjhaba. Then we woke up, drove some more, and finally made it to Bloem at around noon on Saturday. Immediately upon returning home we went to work. Welcome to being a missionary!

My new companion, Elder Simayile, is awesome. He is from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape province, SA. Very humble guy and works hard. We have been out on mission the same amount of time. All of the guys in my group went to the Johannesburg MTC except for me. I still have no idea why they sent my to Provo! We are running in the mornings together and eating lots of fruits. He got me hooked on peaches. I am pretty sure that this transfer will go very well!!

I love you all! I hope that this Christmas you will be able to feel the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. On Saturday I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the first time on mission. As I read each morning I was filled with Christ's love in my heart. I know that the book will do the same for you if you will read it carefully.

Elder LaHue

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 57

Transfers are here!! Elder Mnisi is leaving to a high baptizing area named Ezakheni. I am getting Elder Simayile, who is in the same group as Mnisi and I, and is also from South Africa. I have heard many good things about him so I'm excited! On Thursday I'll be traveling over to Durban for MLC. I haven't been there since March!

Missionary work is improving here. A challenge that we will face pretty soon is the holiday season. People are either drinking or out of town around this time of year. We have found quite a few new investigators recently so let's hope they stick around! We should have a baptism during the middle of the month, maybe a few more as well. November has treated us well.

I am almost done with the Book of Mormon challenge we were given in August! We were invited to read it in 100 days and record any spiritual impressions we have. I am almost at Moroni, the last book. This will be the first time I've read the Book of Mormon completely through as a missionary! I'll share some of my experiences with you when I have finished. For now I will encourage you all to read it every day!

I found out that BYU offers a Xhosa class for language study. It is one of the languages spoken here in the Free State. I am interested to take it when I get home, but who knows! For now I can only say a few words.

Attached is a pic of yogurt biscuits I made. We didn't do anything for Thanksgiving since it is an American holiday, so this is what happened instead.

Much love,
Elder LaHue

Monday, November 20, 2017

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 56

On Saturday, we went on exchanges to Kimberley so that means... road trip! We took our member friend Thabang with us and drove for 2 hours to get there. Kimberley is in the Northern Cape province. It is the only branch of our church in that province. It is also the furthest area away from Durban in the mission! Some missionaries call it outer darkness. We enjoyed!

Sunday was a special broadcast from Salt Lake City directed to the Area Southeast Area. It was similar to a 2 hour stake conference. Speakers included Tad R. Callister, Kevin S. Hamilton and Carl B. Cook of the 70, Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, and Elder Neil L. Andersen. The church is developing at a rapid pace in Africa, and the members have been encouraged to participate in programs such as self-reliance. Other topics included the growth of the church in Africa and strengthening our current and future families. It made me excited to get back to weekly family home evenings with my own family, and eventually my future family!

Not much on the work side to report other than things are moving at a usual pace. No baptisms this transfer, but we should have a few lined up in the coming weeks. We worked 58 hours last week, which is the most I have ever worked on mission so far. Heavenly Father is definitely blessing us with added physical capabilities as we perform His work!

With love,
Elder LaHue

Monday, November 13, 2017

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 55

Being a missionary means you never really have plans. You have them, but something always comes up to change them. Appointments cancel, other missionaries do crazy things, people call with tasks for us to do, etc. During the week we went on many exchanges with other missionaries. I'm glad that today I finally got some time to relax!

This week we have changed our focus a bit after talking with the Bishop and Stake President. Pres. Nyatshoba showed us a video while we were sharing the stake missionary report. It was a training about how to work with less active members (and recent converts). The insight we gained from that is to bring back members and also use them to find new investigators.

Saturday was a great experience for us! There were 3 hours open in the morning where we had nothing to do. We figured it would be a good time to find some less active members. We used a GPS, an old ward membership list, and my memory from being trained here. We found 4 less active families at home and were able to set appointments with all of them! We are planning to share the First Vision with them to revive their testimony. At church another LA family, the Jubane Family, showed up. There is a husband, wife, and daughter who are members. When we taught them I was with Elder Blamoh. He felt prompted to talk about the temple so we did, and they expressed desires to be sealed as a family. In addition, the whole family came to church on Sunday. Brother Jubane has 2 potential referrals for us!

Today, November 13th, is my sweet mother's birthday. She is __ years old!! Hahaha. I love her to death. She did her best to raise me right, teach me correct principles, and love me with all her heart. After school I would always come home and talk to her about my day. I can turn to her for anything, and I know she will do her best to help me. Please take the time to wish her a happy birthday!!

Elder LaHue

Monday, November 6, 2017

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 54

It's back to being hot in Africa!!! We reached 34°C (93°F) this week. The weather is dry as usual. That doesn't stop the missionaries though!!!

Work this week has picked up quite a bit. Our teaching pool is slowly broadening. We had 12 new investigators, and 6 investigators at church. We walked 1 hour to church in the heat with a woman named Palesa. After church we talked to her and she said it was great! I felt so good after walking with her. We had offered to walk with a mother named Brenda and her kids as well, but they ended up getting a ride from her brother and came to church as well! We also met with the Bishop yesterday and talked about working with some less active priesthood holders to help them come back. We passed around a sign up sheet during Elder's Quorum yesterday and many of the brethren wrote their names on it. Next week we are working with and meeting with the stake president.

On Monday, we had zone conference at the Bloemfontein chapel. Elder Hamilton of the 70 came to address us. I was given the opportunity to conduct the leadership meeting we held before the conference. Counseling with Elder Hamilton gave us a great opportunity to learn and grow. His wife spoke to us about what it means to bear pure testimony: keeping it brief and stating truths you have come to know. Elder Hamilton taught us about how teaching people is about more than preparing them for baptism. It is about preparing them to enter the temple and make sacred covenants with Heavenly Father. Looking at others with an eternal perspective is the right way to be able to feel God's love for them.

With love,
Elder LaHue

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 53

P-Day got moved to Saturday, this week because Elder Kevin Hamilton, President of the Africa Southeast Area, will be presiding at our zone conference this Monday. 

This week Elder Mnisi and I have been working very hard to try and find new investigators. We knocked quite a few doors this week. We are still looking, but I'm sure we'll find some promising ones soon. Yesterday we committed a man to be baptized and he accepted, so that was our bright spot for the week. Hopefully he'll be able to come to church this Sunday so that he can feel the spirit of it.

Not much else to report on there, things are slow right now. Instead I'll share a scripture from the Book of Mormon that I read this week.

Alma 48: 11-13,17:
"And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery; 

Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.

Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.

Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."

I love the example that Captain Mormon set for his army. He was strong, but completely relied on God for strength. He was "firm in the faith of Christ", gave much thanks to God, and labored much for his people. If we were all like Moroni, then we would be able to overcome any challenge thrown at us! Which we can now, as long as we try to emulate the example of Jesus Christ like Moroni did.

Elders Mnisi, Nielsen, and I all turned a year this week. To celebrate we went to a fast food placed called Stadium and ate ice cream! Later that night we burned a pillow. The celebration was short lived though, because the work we have isn't finished.

Take care and with love,
Elder James Austin LaHue