Monday, January 30, 2017

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 14

Last week of training!! I am happy, but I'm going to miss Elder Dos Santos. He has been a great influence in my life and has taught me many valuable things during my mission. He is going to do great things in this mission and in life!

We worked so hard this week. For some reason people were not keeping their appointments with us. Three, maybe four times a day we would show up to a home and nobody is home. When nobody is home, that means we go knock houses. And it's hot. It sounds like I'm complaining, but the week actually flew by. I truly felt like I was "filled with the Spirit of the Lord this week". Heavenly Father always provides a way, even when we feel we can't continue on. I remember at one point someone bunked us and I turned to my companion and we just started laughing so hard for no reason. We were so tired! Funnily enough, the rest of the day went by quick after that.

I have been learning a lot about the gospel lately. Whenever I have free time, I find myself reading books. I am in the New Testament now reading about Christ's mortal ministry. I just finished "Our Heritage", and now I'm also reading Teachings of President Joseph Fielding Smith. I feel like my knowledge has increased so much in a short period of time. The best part is that I am able to use this knowledge to bless the lives of other people, with the help of the Spirit of course!

"We are passengers, love is the driver." Keep learning, keep living, keep loving!
Elder James Austin LaHue

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rocklands Area 2 - Week 13

Short email this week! No time to write. I'm almost 3 months out now, it's nice!

We have been working hard lately trying to find and teach people, and we have seen the fruits of our labors. We found several families to teach, and taught some cool guys as well. One of the miracles we have seen is in a person we have been teaching that is trying to give up smoking. In just a period of 2 weeks he has quit drinking completely and has cut down his smoking by 75%!! We bought him some candies to use as a substitute, so hopefully that him help. We have seen a complete change in his countenance recently, and he looks brighter and happier. What a miracle it is to share the gospel.
2 Nephi 31:10
And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?

This week I have been trying really hard to be humble. I urge you all to as well.
Elder LaHue

Monday, January 16, 2017

Rocklands 2 Area - Week 12

Elder Dos Santos and Elder LaHue attending Zone Conference

Two main things happened during the week: my first zone conference, and I got sick!

As far as the missionary work, it was a slow week. We spent one day preparing for zone conference, the next day in it, and the following day I was out of commission with the flu. Conference got me motivated to work though, and I am looking to bounce back this week and give it my best!

Matthew 4:18-20: "And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him." 

We are promised many blessings when we exercise our faith. Faith is a principle of action. Jesus' disciples immediately dropped their nets and followed Christ. The same can apply in our lives. As we give up unnecessary things and focus our attention on the things that matter most, we exercise our faith in Christ, and it grows!

One of the promised blessings in our call letters we receive when we are called to our missions is that we will gain an increased knowledge and testimony of the Restoration. I have seen that to be true in the short time I've been out here. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that he was called to restore the same church that Jesus Christ established when he walked this earth. A common theme I have seen out here is the appearance of rainbows. One day as we were sharing the Restoration with a young couple, I looked out the window and saw a big beautiful rainbow. 

I know that God loves me, and he loves you too.
Elder LaHue

President Thompson motivating the Elders

Monday, January 9, 2017

Rocklands Area 2 - Week 11

Hello everyone! 

We had 3 baptisms last Saturday! There is a mother named Sibongile and her daughters Tankiso and Nti, who are 10 and 8 years old. We have been teaching them since we got here and now their special day finally came. They were so excited to be able to be baptized all together as a family. The Lord has blessed us missionaries for our hard work and diligence and he has blessed this family as well. I am grateful to have made an impact in their lives by bringing them closer to Christ.

So much soccer has been played lately. We play at the University of Free State every Monday for about 3 hours. We also play early Saturday morning sometimes before we go out to work. I used to not be too interested but now I am getting a lot better so it's fun! I miss playing basketball, but I got to play for a bit before the baptism so I am satisfied. Plus all the running from soccer is a great workout, and I am becoming tan as well. 

I don't have a scripture to share this time, just some general thoughts about my mission so far. My first thing I have learned is that everyone matters. We are all children of our Heavenly Father, sent to this earth to gain a body and to learn and grow. Everyone has their challenges in life. As a missionary, I get to see firsthand the many different trials of life. One of the things people need most in their life is a good influence around them. Often people are left asking for help with nobody to turn to. People don't just automatically start making mistakes in their life, it's a process that starts with how they are being influenced.

I invite each of you this week to be a good influence to somebody you know. Be kind, friendly, and loving. Listen to them when they speak, and pay attention. I promise you that this world will be a little better off each time we do an act of kindness to someone. 

The days are starting to blur together, which is a good thing in my opinion. I don't think about home as often. Slowly, South Africa is beginning to become a second home to me. I love you all.

Elder LaHue

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Rocklands Area 2 - Week 10

Elder LaHue standing in front of a statue of Nelson Mandela

Happy New Year! Sorry I had to email a day late, all of the email shops were closed yesterday because it was a holiday. It seems like every day is a holiday here. 

We had a baptism on Sunday! Her name is Siphokazi Ngogodo, 26 years old. Elder Dos Santos and I have been teaching her the last 2 weeks. Her sister and mother are both recent converts. It was a wonderful experience! During the baptismal service I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and peace. What a great way to begin this new year.

2017. This will be the only full year of my life on my mission. Meaning, I have one full year to serve the Lord and other people. This is going to be an experience of a lifetime. My resolution this year is to be diligent in all things that I do. Often missionaries get burnt out and tired, but I don't want to finish my mission knowing I could have done more. I want to give it my all.

Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." 

Lately I have been studying the words of Isaiah written in 2 Nephi, with the help of a teaching manual of course. As it states in this scripture, if we put our trust in the Lord he will give us strength. He will lift you up. Whatever your goals may be for this year, I know that if we rely on the Lord he will help us.

Elder LaHue