Saturday, November 26, 2011

First few days in the MTC have been fabulous!

Area - Johannesburg MTC
Companion - Elder Bregg
Letter #2

JOHANNESBURG— Wow, so I guess e-mails take a while to get to you! ha. Glad to know you were all so anxious to hear though :D  Tell Ollie I'm sorry but the parrott is gonna take a while to obtain but will be ASAP. I love you all too! I miss you a lot but I am also having an amazing time here in South Africa as well!
I'm sorry to report that I do not have any baptisms yet... Actually nowhere close :/ But, the first few days at the MTC have been so great and I like it a lot. The spirit at the MTC is incredible. We started classes yesterday and it's nonstop all day long. At fist I thought the day would take forever to go by but when you are learning, having fun and feelign the spirit the day goes by fairly quickly. Love is the key to success. LOVE LOVE LOVE! I think I already knew it but when we have our lessons and watch videos of missonaries in action it shows you just how important it really is. I am learning so much after just one day it is hard to remember but it makes it easier that we are only concentrating on learning how to teach and be good missionaries so we are always talking about class. Not to say that we don't talk about other also. My companion is Elder Bregg(not sure if I already told you that) and he is the one who is also from San Diego and that was on the same plane with me. He is a funny guy and even though we are so different we get along well and have a good time. I like him. I have earned the reputation of Elder Kent since all the missionaries think that I look Clark Kent with my glasses on. There are a lot of Africans here from all over Africa like Liberia, Zimbabwe and Zambia and few are from here in South Africa. There are also 2 missionaries from Cananda, 1 from Australia(he is one of my roommates) and 1 from England. They feed us so much here it is ridiculous. By dinner time I can't even finish my whole plate! It's funny, during meal time if you leave your chair and don't tuck it in and someone catches you, they say "chairs out" and then you have to sing a primary song. i have not been caught yet haha. So all my friends told me to bring tons of ties, so I did. Turns out I am one of 2 others that have m ore thatn 8 ties. I have 20 and the other guy has 30! But it's all good cause everybody wishes they had brought more. I on the other hand am wishing that I was a better travel packer. A bag to holld my toiletries nnd another from laundry wouuld have been smart to pack. ha. Oh and if you ever you ever send me a package and you also happen to find my keychain lying around, could you send it to me? I can't find it anywhere.
Ask tons of questions so that I can think of things to tell you easier haha It'[s hard when I only have thirty minutes to write but if you ask questions I mught be able to tell ya more stuff.
I love you guys tons and I'll send ya an e-mail next Saturday! :D
Elder Dirkmaat

Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm Alive!

Area - Johannesburg MTC
Companion - Elder Bregg
Letter #1
JOHANNESBURG— I got to the SAMTC (South Africa MTC) a few hours ago and have gone through all the cool paperwork and interviews and finally get to let ya know how I'm doing. Not a lot of time to write but I will tell you as much as I can type ;)
This has been a long 3 days and I realized it was the longest period of time I have ever gone all indoors, never going outside. I was happy to find that I had a companion on my first flight and din't have to be all alone. We didn't sit by each other but going through the Heathrow airport was easier.  The first plane flight wasn't that great because I couldn't sleep at all and it was 10.5 hours. Ha. I decided as we circled London to land that I HAVE to go back and visit. I've always wanted to but actually being that close and not getting to leave the airport was killer! We met up with about 25 other elders and one sister there and sat around and waited for like 5 hours. I was expecting to go the whole way all alone and I was so glad to see tons of other missionaries as well. I found out that we are all going to the SAMTC but some of them are going to the Durban, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Cape Town missions. We are all pretty good friends already and the Durban missionaries have their own little group called the D-boys. The second flight down here wasn't as bad because I had a whole row to myself so I could lay down and get a little more sleep. The only bummer was that there were tons of clouds so I didn't get to see any of Africa besides when we landed. Despite being uncomfortable and not being able to sleep, I decided that I have a new and quite expensive hobby of flying and traveling.
It's so crazy that I am finally here! It is really cool to see how different South Africa is. There are a lot of similarities but too many. It's weird to see a bag of Frito Lays chips with a different name and picture. They are called Walkers instead. Driving on the other side of the road...don't get me started...let's just say, that is going to take A LOT of getting used to. I tried my best to pay attention to how we got here from the airport and I don't think I could more than 2 miles away. Guess I won't be coming home anytime soon even if I wanted to!  Johannesburg in general is so much less...nice than where we all live. Every single fence has barbed wire or some other sharp thing to keep people out. Everything is kind of dull and the same color everywhere which I guess was really surprising coming straight from San Diego. I didn't think Johannesburg would seem this much different but it really is full of poverty. This is going to be a big culture experince for sure and I am really excited to be bale to go out teach theses people! Gotta wait three weeks though. 
 I feel like I haven't said much but honestly not that much has happened, just a lot of sitting and trying to sleep. Also, I promise I will become a faster typer so that I can give as much detail as possible.
How are you guys doing??? Who cried longer, mom or Ollie? How's your relaxing day of Thanksgiving? I don't think we are doing anything special.
I love you guys and hope you are doing well! I miss you tons!
Bobby :D Elder Dirkmaat ;)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

He Made It! - Photos of Goodbye

SAN DIEGO— Bobby finally made it to Johannesburg today!  Here are some photos from the day he left...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm off to teach the people! The wonderful people of South Africa!

SAN DIEGO— Finally the day has come that I get to leave for South Africa! It seemed like it would never come but now it seems a little bit all of the sudden. Tomorrow I will be getting on a plane and not coming back for 2 years. Such an awesome thing to think about and also scary at the same time! Despite how nervous and scared I am, I even more excited and happy for this opportunity. It will be the best 2 years.

Last week I gave my farewell talk about looking for the good. My brother, Nate, also got to speak along with my friend, Jared. Hopefully my mom will be able to figure out how to get the audio and the written versions of it onto my blog, since I cannot figure it out, for those of you that were not able to attend. 
My family also got to celebrate Thanksgiving on Sunday since I won't be here on Thursday and it was wonderful. It was gonna be weird for me not to have Thanksgiving with family but I guess that'll have to wait till next year.  
Speaking of thanksgiving.... I'm so thankful to all the people that were able to come and for those who could not come still wished me luck. Having the support of other people makes everything in life so much better and easier. I really am so grateful for everything like words of encouragement and kindness and the prayers and faith that I know I will need.

I don't really have much more to say except that I am going to miss all of you so much! Keep me and all the other missionaries in your prayers! And write letters please! :D It will make me so happy to be able to hear about the things you are doing no matter how small or big they could be.

Reporting next time from South Africa,
Elder Dirkmaat