Not much time to email today, sorry! The week went by quick. We worked long hours, so we fell asleep exhausted as soon as we got home each night. Saturday we worked for 14 hours! We helped a member to start building a fence in her backyard. She lives on a hill, so it was hard to navigate the materials and the wheelbarrow around. We started at 6:30 am and finished around 12 pm. Then, we went home and showered, ate, and went right back to doing missionary work the rest of the day. Needless to say I haven't had very much time to process things and the week was a blur.
This morning we had a zone activity where we hiked up to a waterfall in the rain. It was held in Hillcrest. We were walking through the jungle! There were slippery rocks, mud, animals, and a great time. I am blessed to serve in this area because everything is so beautiful. After the hike, we played ultimate frisbee and had a braai (BBQ).
Something that God has been helping me work on at this point in my mission is patience. Things get tough sometimes, and the weight of missionary work takes its toll. But I know that through the grace of Jesus Christ, our burdens are able to be lifted and we can continue in the work!
Our investigator, Tobile, now has a baptismal date for March 12th! So there's something to look forward to.
First of all, this place is absolutely beautiful. It looks like something straight out of Avatar: The Last Airbender or something. Hills are everywhere, and the place glows green. The townships rest on the hillside and often we have to walk up narrow pathways and other cool things. I have never lived in a place like this before, and I still get blown away each time I look outside.
Since this is the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, I am now in the land of the Zulu people. I'm doing my best to pick up some Zulu, since it is the custom around here and it's a beautiful language. The Zulu are a very warm people, and you greet them by extending both hands, shaking with your right and holding the bottom of your forearm with the left. It is hot and humid here, just like back home in FL. Some days the members don't have water so we go and carry these huge buckets to them. When we are finished we are covered in sweat!
My new companion is named Elder Hamilton. He grew up on a farm in Colorado. He loves the outdoors, especially fishing. He did wrestling in high school and likes to work out. He also cooks a lot, and is very kind and offers me food he cooks. My favorite thing about him is that he is a very hard working guy.
In KwaDabeka, there are hundreds of less active families. People that were converted and gained a testimony of this gospel and of our Savior, but fell away for various reasons. A big focus of the missionary work here is finding these people and doing our best to bring happiness and joy back into their life. We are starting up a reactivation program where we go with members of the church after Sundays to visit people. I am enjoying the service I am doing for the people here and I know God will bless them as they strive to come closer to him.
Matthew 18: 11-14 "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish." As missionaries and representatives of Jesus Christ, we get the privilege of finding these lost people and bring them home safe! I love my calling.
I have completely unexpected news..... I am being transferred to KwaDabeka! It is in Pinetown, near Durban. Tomorrow night I take the 10 hour bus ride back to Durban. We all thought I would be staying in Rocklands at least one more transfer! There is a shortage of missionaries though because 10 are going home. President Thompson has had to close some areas. So, Rocklands 1 & 2 are combining and I am leaving. I am excited though!!
Yesterday at church I had to say my goodbyes, and it was harder than I thought it would be. I have met some amazing people in these last three months. I have grown to love them like family. South Africans are truly wonderful people. One of my most memorable experiences came yesterday when I was saying goodbye to Brother Mokgadi, an investigator we have been helping overcome a smoking and drinking addiction. With the help of Christ, along with his own desire, he has come so far since we first met him. He said to me, "Change other's lives the way you changed mine". That was so powerful. This work is not my work, it is the Lord's work. I am humbled to be a part of it.
Lately I have been studying in Matthew about the parables of Jesus Christ. Christ was so smart. He taught in parables so that only those who are spiritually in tune can understand his teachings about the gospel. Those who had unbelief would not be able to understand "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven", even though Jesus was right there explaining them.
Matthew 13:44 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field."
If we understood everything about heaven now, we would give up all we had immediately in order to even have a chance to enter into the presence of God. But why not start now?