Monday, December 31, 2012

Pictchas!!

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion- Elder Wilkinson
Letter #60

This was another grrreat week! I got another super companion! haha. We get along really well and are dong lots of good work. We set up a booth like I did in Bots and it was a success! We found tons of people and one of them came to church on Sunday and loved it! We met a guy named Wilson who felt the spirit really strong while we were teaching and started to make funny faces cause of it. He accepted a baptismal date and we are going to be teaching the rest of his family this week! Maggy and MacDonald are having a tough time right now. they are having lots of financial problems and are being threatened to be kicked out of their flat for the second time in 2 months. They really want to be baptized and love the gospel so much but they are also having a tough time being ready for that step.

We are having fun and spreading the gospel like nobodies business! :D That's a little a bout my week.

Have a happy new year!
Love you all!
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Elder Jenkinson with his sons Elder Madebe and Elder Dirkmaat and his grandson Elder Wilkinson!! Haha


 I saw this place and thought you would like a picture mom! haha
 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merrrry Christmaaaas!!!

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion - Elder Wilkinson
Letter # 59

Hey family!!

It was nice to hear from everybody!! :D I love you too Ollie and Sophie! You can have me back for christmas next year dont worry ;) I didn't get a message from Nate though! Shamboc him for me okay? ha.

It's been a really great week especially since I got a new companion and I'm training! My companions name is Elder Wilkinson form Alpine, Utah. He's such a great guy and has a lot of energy to do lots of hard work! We are gonna have a great time together and we already get along really well. At first I was nervous and scared to train but now I'm realizing that it's easy. Just do what I'm supposed to and help him get used to everything and learn how to be the best missionary he can! He's already a great missionary. Sometimes trainers talk about how they have to everything and teach the whole lesson or cover for their mistakes but that's not how it is with us! Elder Wilkinson loves to teach and talk and he's already really good at it! He's the "golden trainee" haha.

We had a baptism for Brother tau yesterday and it was wonderful!! baptisms are the best! I forgot my camera thast day so I have to get the pictures from Bishop but hopefully I'll be able to send them next week! Tau was so happy and said that he had the greatest feeling ever. We went to visit him later in the day and he said that he still had it! He learned so much in the past month and he can't wait till he goes home in April to Zimbabwe to share it with his wife and children.

Can't wait to talk to you all!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!!! :D

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, December 17, 2012

Elder Dirkmaat is on Fiiiirrrreeeee!!!

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion - Elder Mabuza
Letter # 58

Hey wena's!

How goes it in the Dirkmaat household?? I wish I could be there so bad!! I miss you all so much!
Thanks for the addresses.

For the Christmas card I think you need to change my picture to the one in my congolese outfit! haha. jk but i liked it a lot, thanks for sending it!

I did draw something for the clubhouse but I was not aware that we were gonna come here to email straight after playing soccer with the ward so I don't have my camera with me to send you the picture... sorry neh. i will next week!

So here's the big news for the week. Elder Dirkmaat is training! Eish... ha. No I am really excited. People have been telling me I'm going to be trainer since I got done being trained and so it feels weird that I am actually gonna train. Where do you think he will be from? It's sad that Elder Mabuza will be leaving but he's gonna be powerful wherever he goes!

I heard that Ian got his mision call to go to Chile!! Sweet deal! There are gonna be tons of missionaries from our ward serving all over the world! We are gonna be like a Utah ward with like 15 missionaries haha.

Well, Stewart was confirmed yesterday and is going to receive the priesthood next week! Tau is gonna be baptized next week as well! We are so excited. We are unsure about whether or not Francis will be baptized. he has a lot going through his mind right now and isn't fully committed. He old us that himself. We shall see.

We met an awesome new father led family this week, brother MacDonald and his wife Maggy with their 3 children! We met them on Thursday, visited them again on Saturday and they came to church yesterday and loved it! They are a solid family and I am so excited to help them learn the truthfulness of the restored gospel.

I think that my new companion is gonna be very happy when he gets here and be able to gain lots of experience teaching all kinds of different people!

Yesterday Elder Mabuza and I gave talks on missionary work along with a recent convert. The members of the ward were not very excited when they knew we were speaking. "Oh great we're gonna hear the same thing 'every member a missionay'" But we didn't do that! Most of them came to us after and were saying wow that was awesome I have never heard missionaries speaking lik ethat! We thought it was gonna be so boring! hhaha so it was a great success. Then at the end Elder Collin H. Bricknell spoke for a few minutes and that was  powerful. I love to hear members of the seventy speak and to feel the spirit they bring. After Sacrament meeting he came to greet us and says "thanks for the talk elder" and then he punched me! hahaha

Well that's a bit about my week!

I hope you have super week! Pray that I can be a good trainer!

Love you!
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, December 10, 2012

Letter & Photos!

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion - Elder Mabuza
Letter #57

Pictures!!!
Elder Mabuza and I in front of the Johannesburg chapel


Brother Stewart and Brother Tshabalala with Elder Mabuza and I just before Stewart's baptism


Me in my Congolese outfit made by bishops wife with Mama Gqibitole and Mama Tshabalala in their Xhosa and Swati(?) outfits respectively


Me with Bishop Mulombo


The Johannesburg Elders with the temple in the backgound.  Left to right:  Elder's Dirkmaat, Coon, Rakotondramanana, Mabuza

Hi!

It has been a great week for missionary work and Elder Mabuza and I are loving it!
Brother Stewart was baptized yesterday! Such a great experience for him. He was telling us afterwards that last night he couldn't sleep cause of how excited he was for it. He's been waiting a long time since the missionaries who were teaching him previously before he moved here had given him the date for the 25th of November. President Omer was the one who interviewed him and afterwards was telling us that he could see Stewart being a gospel doctrine teacher in no time. Another member, Bro Tshabalala who is the Stake Public Affairs representative, was fellowshipping Stewart and so Stewart chose him to be the one to perform the baptism. Next week he is going to be confirmed by a recent convert who just got the Melchizedek Priesthood a few weeks ago so we are gonna go to his place and help him know how to do it. Also he is going to get the Aaronic Priesthood next week! It was a great day for him and we could feel the spirit as he bore his testimony. That's always one of the best moments for a missionary when they get up after their baptism filled with the spirit to bear their testimony.

Brother Tau was able to be there for the baptism and we went to visit him afterwards. He was telling us that he wishes he could have also been baptized and didn't have to wait till the 23rd. I also wish he could have because he is ready it's just that we really need to make sure that he is truly converted and well established in the church. One of the guidelines that we have is that they need to attend church 5 times in a row before they can get baptized. I think the extra time really allows for them to gain a strong testimony. Then again I have also heard of people being baptized within a week of meeting the missionaries and never looking back. Elder Mabuza and his brother were baptized in a little less than 2 weeks from meeting the missionaries.

We have been late to church 2 weeks in a row now. Last week it was because the car wouldn't start and when we got there the stake president was on the stand. A few weeks earlier he had told our mission president that he was tired of missionaries coming in late and not singing the hymns. The first time I'm ever late and it has to be after he sent that complaint ha. Then this week we were waiting for one of our new investigators, Terry, so that we could walk with him since he didn't know where the chapel is. It was nice to walk to church with him. We haven't taught him yet so while we were walking it was perfect time to get to know him.

Elder Mabuza does not like christmas at all so i am trying to think of something that I can do to help him have a really nice christmas. I already have some ideas but I also want to have yours as well. This week he got a package from St. George, Utah FILLED with presents! So he is starting to warm up to christmas, but not all the way yet.

We got invited to go to a Nigerian families home for christmas dinner. SKETCH! They make super weird food! I'm scared.

We jst got news that we are not going to have transfer meetings anymore. Instead we just leave from our old area and go to our new one. Pretty cool! Even though I love transfer meetings.

Chelsea is going on a mission, really? That's great news! What's her address? So i can send her a letter to congratulate her. Oh! Also, I still need Josh's mission address, not MTC address.

That's a cool idea for a fort! I'll try to think of something and see if I can send a pic next time. You should talk to Brother Mathis! That reminds me, I think I wanna be a contractor instead of an architect. Thoughts? Lets hope the housing market gets better!

I never knew that Bro Gammet plays the cello. Noice! Tell him and also Nick and Chandler hello!

IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!!! I'M SO EXCITED! :D

Have a great week family!
I love you!
-Elder Bobby Dirkmaat :D

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hey hey!

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion - Elder Mabuza
Letter #56

It was a good week for sure! Thanks for all the pictures! loved em! I have an awesome family ;)

Frances, Tau, and Stewart are all doing super well! Stewart is going to be baptized this Sunday and then Frances and Tau on the 23rd just before Christmas! I am super excited and they are even more excited and the members are surprised! haha Not all of them but some that we tell there is going to be a baptism next week they say "oh really? great!"

Stewart is ready for sure. He is so humble and even excited to have a calling in the church. we might go visit the temple with him and Frances this week. He came to church yesterday with a white shirt and one of the members that he knows who will also baptize him is going to get him a tie for next week when he is baptized!

We gave brother Tau the Book of Mormon on Friday and when we went visit him yesterday afternoon he had already read up to 1 Nephi chapter 16! His favorite chapter was chapter 8 about the tree of life. He is making great progress towards the 23rd and he has a super friend in the church who he stays with that supports him so much.

Frances is excited for his baptism but he seems really nervous about it even though he knows so much and even realizes tat this is what he needs to do. He is still having a hard time recognizing his answers. Last week when I asked him to pray about the Bom right there with us I could feel the spirit so strong and I thought for sure that he could also feel and got his answer. He always admits that he feels good but doesn't seem to want to take it for an answer. I think he is still remembering his past experience in cape town where a lot of the members are racists and so now because of that he is a lot more reserved. He has said that he really enjoys this ward. I hope it's not the same situation as it was with Sister Candasemy where she got offended by the members and couldn't join the church cause of that for years. I believe that Frances will be ready for the 23rd. DO YOU???

On Saturday we had a ward cultural party that was super fun! Everybody came with their cultural outfits and food to share and we had a great time! There are people from all over Africa in our ward so that's why we had the cultural party. A month ago bishops wife made me a Congolese outfit so I got to wear it and I took some pictures! We'll see if I get time to send them today.

I am so thankful to be a missionary right now! It is one of he greatest blessings in my life and I know that the things I am teaching are true and nobody can take it from me! It's amazing to see how people change when they learn the truth and feel the spirit confirm that truth.

Have a great week!
Love you!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Heyyyy! ! !

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion - Elder Mabuza
Letter #55

What a wonderful week! I am jealous for your week cause I didn't do ANYTHING for thanksgiving. ha. I actually forgot on Thursday and then remembered on Friday. It's good that we can be thankful for things every day of the year and not just on Thanksgiving cause there is way too much to be thankful for! On Friday we watched a Mormon message with a family called Thanksgiving daily and it just helped us all to realize all the small blessings that we have and the importance of noticing the good things in our life so that we can be thankful for even more and we start to realize our blessings. At the end It was a clip of Pres Monson speaking when he told us to "cultivate an attitude of gratitude." Then also in the Liahona for October the very last article on the very last page that I almost skipped and didn't read was a story from a young adult who realized the blessings that she had in her life. She was sitting around talking to friends one night and thought "good things just keep on coming." She talked about how she had had past friends and moved to new places and continued to make new friends and to joy and happiness throughout all the changes that she was going through. She realized how blessed she was because no matter how many good things happened and passed away, there were always more good things coming and all she had to do was allow them to come instead of wishing for and missing the past. I liked it and it was inspiring to me!

This week we have continued to have success. We met a new guy named Tau who is a friend of a member and has come to church twice now. He is such a humble man and trusts us so much. He wanted to come to church with his friend because they had used to be drinking and smoking buddies but over the past 2 years he has seen his friend change and become a happier and better person. Tau was inspired and wanted to know what he needed to do to be like his friend. See how much of an example we can be to all of our friends?? We can be missionaries just by doing what is right! Anyway the first time we visited we asked how he felt his relationship with God was and he said very good. Then the next time we went to visit him he asked us what he could do to improve his relationship with God. i think that when we came we brought the spirit with us and then when we left it also left slightly and so when we came back he realized that he needed to change something in his life. It is such a great thing when the person you are teaching is really trying to be better and is open and humble so that the spirit can touch him. We were there to say the things that needed to be said and to provide the guidance but I am sure that it is the spirit that is teaching this man and not us. I love it!

We visited brother Frances on Wednesday and as we were there I felt that i needed to invite him again to be baptized on Dec 09 since previously he had been saying "I'm still praying" and then last time " I just need to get a suit." This time after I asked he sat and thought for a little bit and finally looks up and says, "Yes, I have to. I have been coming to church and developing my faith and it is time to take the next step." We had been reading Alma 32 with him about faith compared to a seed and how we have to take the actions to show our faith. Once again it was the spirit that prompted everything to happen. Me to ask and him to respond that way. He felt the spirit say yes and so he followed the prompting. I am super excited for him and Steward to be baptized in two weeks. They are gonna be so happy! It is such a great experience to be bale to see people change, progress, and feel the love that the Savior has for them to inspire them to know the truth and act on it. Sometimes I feel like the investigators we are teaching are more humble than me and as we teach them and invite them to do things, I think to myself how lucky I am that I was born as a member of the church cause I'm not sure that I would be willing to make the kid of changes that these people are making. They are incredible and are going to powerful examples to other people!

Family, I love you and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to be here as a missionary even though I don't get to see you for 2 years! Guess what though! It's gonna be two weeks less than 2 years! ha. Due to the age requirement going down there is going to be huge influx of missionaries and so to accommodate, they will only go to the MTC for 2 weeks instead of 3 which also means that all the current missionaries have their missions shortened by 2 weeks! I will be home for Thanksgiving and not have to miss 3 of them!! haha :D

Love you all!
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, November 19, 2012

1 Year!!

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion - Elder Mabuza
Letter #54

Hey there!

Happy Thanksgiving! Have fun in Utah! Jealous haha. I think you should go for Christmas instead of Thanksgiving. You know what I mean? ;D I hope it is a superb week though! we don't do anything for Thanksgiving. At least I don't think so. We get to have a Christmas party but not Thanksgiving. We can still make our own though with the members or something!

I finally got an email from Nate! ha. Sounds like a good plan to me. Except his availability should be for Jan 2014. JK! Pres Monson says his availability should have been a couple months ago! That's exciting though. It's weird that he is already doing all this stuff and that I won't see him for so long! What am I gonna do when I get home?? Oh that's right, hang out with mom and dad and grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles! Maybe I should write them some more letters so that they will have good feelings towards me when I get back so that they will want to suffer my presence. Ha. Family, I love you all! I promise!

I am excited for December! Frances and Steward are gonna get baptized! Frances says that all he needs to do is to get a suit so that once he is baptized he wont be coming to church in colorful button down shirts and jeans. Stewrd is also ready. He just got a job and so I really hope that it does not interfere with his church attendance. that's the thing about investigators with no jobs. They pray and we pray that they can get a job and then they do get a job and they have to work every day of the week and they stop coming to church! But so far so good with Steward. he was there yesterday. Nokwanda moved less than 1 kilometer out of our area and into another area so the other elders are now teaching her. Well they would be if she wasn't home for the holidays. But she is def gonna be baptized in Jan if her parents agree! So as much as December is gonna be a really good month, it might also be a really difficult one because nobody that lives in Joburg is from Joburg so they are all going to be going to their home towns/village for the holidays including members so we are gonna have nothing to do. Hopefully that will not be the case but that is what it seems is gonna happen. :/

I'm gonna be a year on Saturday! what in the world!? It's not a hump though! It's only a hump if you don't enjoy your mission. For me it's more like...I dunno, not a good thing or a bad thing. ha.

I didn't get to watch the videos cause the internet is slow and I have to download each one of them. I'm guessing they are about surfing at the beach? Amber was surfing too??

Thank you for all the things that you write to me each week! I love to hear from you and hear what your thoughts are and everything like that! The church is true! I'm so thankful to have a family that I really am excited to live with for eternity! :D

Love ya!
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, November 12, 2012

Good Things & Bad Things

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion - Elder Mabuza
Letter #53

Good morning family!

I did hear that Obama won. bum deal. I know missionaries aren't supposed to talk about politics but lets just say that I don't wannna come home anymore. Haha. It's all good cause as long as we still have the prophet as the President of the church then we should be okay!

That's super cool that Eric is going on mission! Did he have long hair up until last week?? Hahaha. I'm excited for him and hope to hear from him. He's gonna be a solid missionary. I wrote him a letter a few months ago. Do you know if he ever got it?
Nate never emails me back so I have to ask you...Has he started his papers yet or is he waiting till he gets home? Sara says she is starting them this week!

It has been a pretty good week for Elder Mabuza and I. Transfers are tomorrow but we're not going cause he's staying and I'm not training! That means he will be until dad's bday and then most likely leave that day. We shall see if I will train. Everybody says that I'm going to but that's what they've been saying since I was a greenie ha.

We had quite a few lessons this week. We'd been getting 15 or 16 but we got it up to 18 and we've had 9 referrals in the past 2 weeks! We are starting to work a lot on creating the ward mission plan for 2013. the mission plan for this year was going well until about July/Aug so we have to make another good one and the important part is going to be that when a new missionary comes into the area he knows what the plan is a doesn't go doing other things. The goal for this year was to have 22 baptisms and right now we are at 15 so probs not gonna make that but hopefully we will have Frances and Nokwanda and even yesterday guy named Steward moved from another stake and has been taught everything and had his baptism date for the 25th of this month so hopefully when we got to visit him on weds he will still be on track for that! We are not allowed to tract in our area so it's super good that we are getting many referrals! It's interesting how Frances and Nokwanda are both basically members in all ways except for the fact that they are not baptized and don't have a calling. Frances stays with a member and has been coming for like 3 months straight now and Nokwanda used to stay with a recent convert and has been coming since January! I really think that they are both very close to baptism though. The spirit that we can feel as we visit them and especially the way that they are applying the gospel principles to their lives shows that they are there. Nokwanda just needs parents approval as she goes home this holidays and Frances says he still needs an answer. Which I think he has.

You said you also wanna hear the bad things? OK. A guy almost beat Elder Mabuza and I on Tuesday! Ha. He walked up to us with a stick in his hand and started yelling and cursing, more especially at me. He asked if we know how to pray and suggested that we start praying now before he changes his mind about him wanting to beat us, more especially me. he was angry that he had to see a white guy and was saying that I think I'm a God. Then he started talking about how he was angry at God and wanted to hunt him down and kill him. It was really scary the things he was saying and I was praying hard! HE had alcohol on his breath but I;m not sure he was drunk. Finally after like 10 mins he just said "thank you very much" and quickly walked away.

I'm enjoying this area a lot especially that I now know the members a lot better and know what the area is like. I think there is going to be tons of success in the near future! We are still in the finding process but lots of those we have found are starting to progress and come to church and everything!
I'm also really glad that Elder Mabuza is staying another transfer cause we have a good time together and I get to learn a lot from him. He is a recent convert of about 4 years so it is super cool to see how strong his testimony is and help him to learn more about the church even as he is a missionary and teaching others. H is kinda like how I used to be where I was nervous tot alk to people and hated to talk on the phone. During lessons I am usually talking a lot more so I just gotta be quiet so that he can be more comfortable talking a lot! I did better on that this week.

Have a super week family! Love ya!
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Howdie Do!

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion - Elder Mabuza
Letter #52

Glad Halloween was so great! Mine was also great cause I got your package the day of! Haha. Thanks! I think it's super funny that Oliver gets so scared but he still wears scary costumes every year. I guess it's kind of like "little man syndrome" where short people drive huge trucks... Nate has the worst luck with playing soccer! How long is he out for? I'm happy he is alright though. He still didn't e-mail me back answering all my questions so the only things I know about school and his girlie friend are from you! You said she's from Texas but Sara said she's from California? Ollie is already a Boy Scout?? What in the world! That's exciting though! I notice that his hair is always buzzed now instead of long. Isn't that kinda how it went for me also? I used to have long hair and then eventually it was always short?

So today I forgot my planner at the flat and am having a very difficult time remembering what I did this week! That's why we keep journals right?? BTW, I am writing in mine! There was a 2 or 3 month period where I didn't but I repented. ;) That also reminds me that I need a new one soon! I would buy one here but it's nice to have uniformity ya know?

I'm really glad that I have Elder Mabuza as my companion. It's so nice to have a companion who also wants to work hard and get things done. It's tough sometimes cause he didn't really get any training so he's still learning a lot but I am also learning tons from him! I dunno if I would be a good trainer cause now instead of being the one that is super scared to talk to people, I'm the one that can't keep my mouth shut and sometimes I feel like I don't give him enough opportunity to talk! So if I train and he is scared to talk then I'll just talk myself. That's bad cause we are companions. Elder Mabuza isn't scared to talk it's just that he's not as quick to answer or say something as I am. It's weird how I talk so much now. Elder Jenkinson wouldn't believe it! It's interesting also. If you know about the color codes like Red are dominant characters, whites are shy, etc, You would think I'm a white right? Well Missionaries randomly say to me things like "Man, you're such a yellow." Even members say things like "Wow, Elder it's great you talk so much! We thought you were gonna be really quiet."

I'm so grateful for all the support that you give and the love that you show. Thanks for everything you do! It's crazy that it's been a year at the end of this month! Time flies! I am loving being a missionary! I learn new things everyday and gain a stronger of testimony of the peace and love that really exists because of our Heavenly Father and the sacrifice his son Jesus Christ made for each one of us! I love you family and hope you have a super week and holiday season!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kunjani from Joburg!

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion - Elder Mabuza
Letter #51

Kunjani! Means hello, so you were correct ha. Chesse boy! Means you are rich ha. It's not something you would say if you are talking to somebody you don't know but with you're friends, it's just a joke. For example, I have not run out of allotment this month so I still have money while lots of other missionaries do not so they all call me cheese boy.

But how are you family? Camping again?? Man I miss camping. glad that you're getting to go to all these cool places though! Nate is funny. I guess that's how I was too. Since being on mission I've been able to learn how to go for 2 weeks without money! Proud? ha. But I have also learned, as so demonstrated this month, to not have to do that. Instead, i bought my district lunch the other day cause I'm "cheese booooy!" haha.

This week has been great. We have still been visiting all our investigators regularly. We were expecting to have 12 people at church yesterday and we only had 4. We were so happy they came but it was honestly weird that the others didn't come. A few of them were supposed to come with members and the members had gone to pick them and they were not there and would not answer their phones either so even us, we were not able to go visit them later in the day cause they just disappeared. We did get to visit one of them though. Brother Onethe. We found him at his place alone and asked if we could come share something with him. He let us in and told us that he didn't come to church cause his wife had just arrived that morning from Zimbabwe. I asked if he was happy his wife is here and he just shrugged and said "eh." The whole time we were with him he seemed a little scared or nervous and then when we were about to go his wife came back. She walks in, doesn't say a word even when we greet her and sits down and starts watching the t.v. We continued and then 5 mins later all of the sudden she blows up and is yelling at us in Zulu. Good thing Elder Mabuza could understand. She lives in Zim and came to visit and found her husband wanting to go to a different church and so she got angry at him for that and didn't allow him to go to church that morning. She told us that she had people outside waiting to come inside and pray for her from her church. Then she was angry that he didn't tell her we were coming (He didn't know we were coming. Basically she was talking the same thing over and over and just being angry. We said okay we are going to leave. Onethe wanted us to pray before we left so we did. She was so disrespectful, talking during the prayer and then when we finished she stood up and shewed us out. When we got outside we found that she lied, there was nobody outside. I gotta be honest, I was mad at her. Of course I didn't do anything but it makes me so angry that she can be like that. Onethe loves the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and church and still wants us to come back and she is basically a tyrant in the home. Why is it always that the investigators you have the most success with are the ones who are the most difficult to be baptized? Pesky little Satan eh? My week was really good but I guess I got carried away with that story. i am still happy and optimistic for this area and even for Onethe!

Here's some good news. Remember Donny from Kanye who moved to gabs? He got baptized last week!!!

I think all of the people that we are teaching want to be baptized and are looking forward to that day but they each have individual issues that are stopping them. One with repentance. One with working on Sunday. Another has to come for 6 months straight cause he is only 15. One is 18 and she is scared of her parents so might just wait till she is 21 when you are legal in South Africa. Is that how it is in America also? Or are we legal at 18? I'm pretty sure 18 but I've been gone too long ha.

Good luck with the neighborhood party!! I hope that all goes well and that everyone enjoys! Make sure the spirit is there! That's THE MOST important part!!

Love you family!
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kunjani (Hello)

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion - Elder Mabuza
Letter #50

Kunjani family!

This week was another great week! I'm starting to learn Zulu and French! haha. I have a French BOM and a french English dictionary. Think I can read the whole Book of Mormon?? That's exciting for school to be out! Are you all gonna go to the beach and learn how to surf and surprise dad at the end of the two weeks??? Enroll in a surf class so you can go every morning! That would be too legit to quit! that's crazy that they are using ipads in fifth grade(Ollie you're in fifth grade neh?). I hear that they are also testing ipads in certain areas for missionaries also. Wouldn't that be so cool?

We are having great success with the people that we are teaching and even finding a few more to teach each week. It seems that the people we are finding are all prepared and ready for the gospel. it's so nice to teach people that are interested and have questions and contributions and all that good stuff. We had a stake meeting yesterday in Sandton which is a cheese boy area like 30 mins north of here. You wouldn't really expect any investigators to be there but we had 4! that's what happens when you get the members involved! The 4 all came with one of their member friends and it was great! We got to hear the temple pres and his wife speak, stake pres and his wife speak, and also Elder Carl B. Cook and his wife! It was fabulous! Ha.

I'm glad that the members are starting to warm up again to the missionaries. We have been going to a lot of dinner appointments that people sign up for and they keep[ calling us like an hour early just to make sure that we are still coming and then when we get there they say that they were just making sure cause the missionaries were just flaking out in the past. Sometimes they even say things like we haven't had missionaries here for the past 3 or 4 months! ha. Crazy ha but just the fact that we are showing up to dinners, the members are loving it. They keep telling when we are about to leave and have just shared a spiritual thought with them that they are gonna go out and find some referrals to give to us. they are excited to do missionary work! So it's been a great week for sure.

We went to a dinner appointment last night and one of our investigators was there. I don't know what happened but there were no scriptures close by(I know bad missionaries :P ) and they asked me to share with them a spiritual thought. i asked if they had any scriptures around and they said "no, don't you remember what we learned from Carl B. Cook this morning? Go by the spirit Elder, it will tell you what to say" So I shared a thought about smiling. In my white handbook aka missionary rule book aka white bible i have a picture of a kid with a huge smile and it says "smile. It's contagious." I told them about how important it is to be happy and positive about everything we are doing or challenges that we face. That is what we as members of the church are supposed to be like. Jesus Christ didn't have a sad countenance as he went about his work. he was happy and joyful even when the scribes and pharisees and whoever else mocked him. through everything Jesus Christ was happy because he knew the eternal consequences of what he was doing. it's the same with us. We have to think about why we are here. "We are on a homeward journey to our Heavenly Father"(President Armstrong) so we better be happy about it! it also reminded me of the first part of the fourth book of Nephi where he talks about how blessed and happy the people are for the two hundred years after Jesus Christ appeared to the Nephites. it says something like there could never be a peaceful and delightsome people. That's because they were living the gospel of Jesus Christ. so remember to smile, laugh and remember the blessings that Heavenly father gives you every single day. He loves us all!

Have a super week! I love you family!

-Elder Bobby Dirkmaat :D

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm in Joburg Now!

Area - Johannesburg, South Africa
Companion - Elder Mabuza
Letter #49

I'm in Johannesburg now. The Joburg 1 ward. There are 2 areas in Joburg so we are the west side. Straight city. And this one is even more dirty than Pretoria was! haha. My companion is Elder Mabuza and he is also a Swazi and way older than me just like elder Dlamini was. Dlamini was 25 and Mabuza is 23! He just got finished being trained so i am his follow up trainer. We are having a great time and lots of success! Before i got here there was 1 person on date and only like 2 other investigators. They hadn't been to a dinner appointment for 2 months and 90 percent of the lessons taught were recent converts. Now we have 4 on date, 8 others, have been fed every night so far except for 2 and half of our lessons are recent converts. the members don't have a lot of trust in the missionaries right now so we are doing our very best to regain that trust and be a blessing to the ward and not a burden.

We went to contact a referral that had been given to us like 2 months ago and found a super sweet guy named Frances. He was taught by the missionaries way back in 2003 in Cape Town. His friend came over and found them there one day and also had them teach him. the friend joined the church but Frances did not. Now Frances stays with his friend here in Joburg and we are teaching him again! He has been reading the gospel principles book on his own and wants to know if everything we are teaching is true. He has a date to be baptized for Dec 09 and wants to make it. He got to come to conference yesterday and he absolutely loved it! He was smiling so big at the end of it. We are going to his place tonight to have FHE with his friends family and then teach him a lesson as well. I am so excited for him! Every time we go to teach him there is a different feeling. A more spiritual feeling and you can really tell that he is taking everything to his heart. He always has questions for us that show his desire to learn. We always know people are interested but he kinds of questions they ask us. At the end is when he shows the most sincerity by the way he prays to heavenly father asking about the truth and to help him to understand. He is from DRC so he speaks french and I get to practice my french now! Actually like more than 1/2 of our ward is from DRC.

There are two other young guys that we are teaching that I am super excited for. One is Charles and he is 16...almost, and the other is Sandile and he is 18. Sandile is a recent convert of 3 months and is now preparing to serve a mission! He is honestly doing everything he can to please god and make his life better. last Sunday during priesthood opening exercises he stood up to make an announcement that the Sunday school class he was in had no teacher and he was disappointed in that because he came here to learn and feel the spirit. We all know most of us would have been so happy to not have a teacher at that age. Charles is his neighbor and they are really good friends. Charles trusts in us so much and is also very sincere in his efforts to change. He stopped drinking tea last week over the course of 2 days! he is another person that you can really see the evidence of his sincerity in the prayers that he says at the end of our lessons. Charles is just one of the happiest most energetic kids i have met so far and can't wait for him to be a member of the church!

In my last area Kanye i heard news that elder Dlamini and his new companion did not get along and so the area was whitewashed. 2 new missionaries just went up on Friday. I really hope that all those people we contacted at our BOM booth are still going to be taught even all those people that we were preparing for November! We did so much hard work to make that a solid area!

Love you family!
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pics from Kanye and down to Joburg!

Mike and Sazi and family!

The goat and I were best friends but we got in a fight and I won... Sorry neh.


We caught a donkey! was gonna ride it but felt bad cause it was a baby and super scared

Do you miss the rains down in Africa?

Caught in the rain!


Cleaning the baptismal font with Elder Kuseni and Elder Stamp

Molebatsi Family!

Botswana Wedding! It was cool! I want mine to be like it! ha. I don't know if you can see the people dancing...but they are.



T.I.B. (This Is Botswana) and the reason we don't get investigators to church! That and the cattle post...


But it's fine cause I'm Johannesburg Central now! Ha. This was the last place I thought i would ever be but i am enjoying it! We are in the Joburg 1 ward and my companion is Elder Mabuza. I got another Swazi companion! Two in a row! haha. That's all for today cause it took FOREVER to upload all these pictures. 
Tilll next week!
-Elder Dirkmaat
P.S.
I love you family!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Transfer News!...

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter #47

Elder Dirkmaat leaving Kanye and returning to South Africa. Will remain a private until further notice. I'm excited to go back to South Africa but in some ways i wish i could stay in Botswana for the rest of my mission. I love it here! I hope i will get to come back up sometime soon though. They messed up when they did my residency so instead of June 2014, they put June 2013 so I have to come back before that! It's exciting to be able to go to a new area again. My district leader elder Fackrell was so excited to go to a new area but the call did not come and so now he will be staying for a total of 9 months and the end of this transfer. He was very upset. I felt bad for him cause we were all excited to leave and he was sad. Elder Jenkinson has also been in Bots and so now both of us are going to our third areas at the same time ha. He got called to be a district leader somewhere in South Africa. I really hope that Elder Dlamini gets a good companion that he can get along with otherwise i would be seriously worried that he just takes the car and drives home. Maybe not but he's been thinking of a lot of good reasons to go home and not finish. i'm gonna miss Kanye for sure and can't wait to come back.

This week we met so many sweet people who are eager to learn the gospel! We had 8 new investigators by Wednesday but then the rest of the week everybody was going out of town cause this weekend is the Botswana Independence (Sept. 30, 1962?). The work we did at the stand paid off because everybody that we met was intelligent and had written their names down with a purpose to find the truth. We went to visit one guy and he told us that him and his friend had been talking a lot about how they need to reshape their lives and come unto God. They both drink A LOT and are still single, they look like they are in their 30's. We taught them a bit about the Book of Mormon and he said that "this the book for me. I know I need to read this so that I can increase my faith and change my life." I love it when people say that instead of 'Why should i read this? I already have the Bible." When people recognize the truth it so amazing and inspiring to build your testimony and courage to share it with as many people as you can! With one of the other people we visited we brought a recent convert with us to help. The guy was super interested. Our companion was doing a great job helping us teach and build a relationship of trust but then as we were teaching him to pray about the Book of Mormon he told the guy that the best time to pray is at 12 midnight cause that is when you are at your spiritual high cause that is when the days are separated. :? We just continued teaching and didn't comment but I guess that's what happens when you bring recent converts! haha.

This week was a great week and as much as we had success we also didn't cause of all the people out of town. I think on Thurs, Fri, and Sat we had only one or two lessons each day. Oh! I forgot. one of the people who came to our stand invited us to her daughters wedding so I got to go to my first African wedding! It was so cool! All the singing and dancing and traditional stuff. It was a traditional/white wedding so it was kind of similar to ours but other things mixed in. Instead of walking down the aisle, they danced down the aisle! ha.

Well that's pretty much my week. Sounds like Ollie had a super Birthday party! HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLLIE!!! What a big kid! Lucky you, I get to email ON your b-day :D I love you brother!

I was going to send pictures today but I'm in gabs and all of my things are already in Joburg :/ Sorry neh.

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book of Mormon Stand!

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter #46

Dumela majitas!

 This week was super mongovious! We had like 22 lessons and the Book of Mormon stand was off the wall!! We have over 50 people to visit this week!

Elder Dlamini and I are still working hard and giving our best effort. The Gofhamodimo family are not coming to church anymore or even reading so we have not been able to visit them as often. We are not exactly sure why. It seems that the mother does not want us there and also one of his daughters found a lot of anti mormon doctrine and even received a lot of crticism at school in Gaborone. We are sad for them but we have not completely given up hope yet.

The time seems like it is flying by the past few weeks. We are teaching many people and having lots of success. WE have been working to get less actives back to church and part of that is finding out where they live since there are no addressses here. There are two families we are especially helping the Lenong family and Mologkadi family. They both have strong testimonies of the Book of Mormon but did not have much fellowshipping or friends at the church which is the reason we have found that most people are inactive here in Kanye.

Another highlight of the week is that we did a Book of Mormon stand Tues and weds and saturday morning and we received 58 names of people to go visit this coming weeks 35 of which were males over the age of 18. We worked hard to get only people who showed real sincere interest to give us their details so we are hoping for a high percentage of success out of these people. We fasted and prayed for the stand to do well last Sunday and so far it seems that things are going very well. We were able to visit two of the fathers last night to deliver them their book of Mormon and also to share a lesson with them. Both of them were very weel ducated and had many qiestions for us.

As part of the book of Mormon stand we also enjoyed giving law of chastity pamphlets to as many immodestly dressed people as we could. Oh and a makua(white person) came up to me and asked me where I was from. In my mind I was thinking "I'm from Botswana! What the heck are YOU doing here!?" haha She is in the peace corps and they start training in kanye. She is from Salt lake but NOT a Mormon ha. Elder Dlamini tried to give her a bok of mormon and of course she said no and we even tried to convince her to let us come teach her so she could have a cool story that she grew up in utah but got baptized in botswana! haha. We have here number so we might be able to teach her.

I'm sorry i forgot my camera this week... I took tons fo pictures and I was excited!

So there are transfers next week! Guesses? Staying? if yes, new companion? going? where? leadership? or will I be a private my whole mission? haha

So I'm also suoer glad that we had a successful week cause it also could have gne the other way to to the fact that Elder Dlamini found out somebody that may or may not have been very special to him got married last week. i know he still wants to be amissionary but since he only has 3 months left he says he just wants to go home now.

Sala Sentle Family!

Love you all!

-Elder Deekmaat(as elder Kuseni says)

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Slaughtered a Goat?!

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter #45

Family!!

 Glad you liked the pictures! I'll have more next week for sure.

To answer your question:  We can tract and teach in the morning its just that not many are avaiable to be taught in the morning so we don't usually have appointments and if we tract, then all we find is old go-go's who don't know a lick of english. So we serve! We're called to SERVE anyway ;) Even if people are not available we can still do things for them when they are not there or if just the wife is home we can still go work in the yard or soemthing. This week we did a lot of service. painted more house, dug a trench, set up some tents for a funeral, and pushed somebodies truck cause it was broke down. So we taught many people this week but it doesn't seem that we had any really special lessons or anything. The investigators that we found last week, we are still visiting them but they didn't come to church. It's weird, last week we had those 6 investigators at the ysa activity and then one at church and then we had 5 at our Kanye Monate Night on weds where we watched "The Other Side of Heaven" and then on sunday we only had 4 and they were all different from the ones who came to activities! The only one who goes to everything is this guy Sam. He's come to everything for a month straight now. He is an interesting guy. He's 25 but it seems like he is 17 or 18. He doesn't know hardly any english. He can understand and read but not speak so when we teach it is difficult. He loves God and Jesus Christ but he is not super smart. He's the kind of guy where you have to say hi to him or else you feel bad but if you do, you know he's gonna be by your side for the next 4 hours. ha. We love him :)
 
So finally the bad news. I slaughtered a goat on Saturday. I can send pictures if you want ha. I felt sick after and then I also felt really bad cause they didn't tell me how to do it properly so I made it suffer :( Not planning on slaughtering an animal again.

 Have a happy week! I miss ya family!

Love ya,

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fantastic Week! + Pictures

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter #44

Howdy family!

 Man, your week sounds like it was way fun! The pictures of nate at the apartment are making me miss college so bad! ha. I can see that you set him up nice. I remember that at first I was embarrassed that you were with me but then it was super cool to have you there! I got all the inside knowledge and swwet hook ups! Even Zac kept telling me how cool my parents are haha. I guess Nate is having too much fun at school already cause I haven't heard anyting from him. In those lobster pictures you both look like teenagers! Dad looks like he's a premissionary again! haha and Thanks for taking Sara out too! That's awesome. Be careful when you put dares out cause she won't back down! haha

 
The week for me was also fantastic! We got to do a lot of service in the mornings. Between 10 and 12 we can't tract and we can't teach so we decided to schedule service opportunities. On tuesday we helped a lady clean her yard after a year of not taking care of it. They all have dirt yards and so I learned how to rake a yard and make it look...pretty! haha. On Weds and thurs we helped a family paint there house. It took for ever which is why we had to go back thurs and we are finishing tomorrow.

I exercised everyday of the week! Proud? you better be, ha.

We had 8 new investigators which is the most we have had since Elder Dlamini has been here. Lots of the investigators we have are not progressing so we need to find some more people to teach! It sucks not to teach all day. At the beginning of mission I used to be so scared of teaching and would secretly hope that they would ditch but now I just can't go without teaching! It's getting to where I have fun teaching. Even when the people are difficult and don't want to understand or accept what we are saying, it is still fun to figure out how to help the person and try to feel the spirit to let it guide you.

We haven't been able to see Donny this week cause he has been in Gabs but he told us that he is going to be around for a while and most likely even until Nov 11 which is baptismal date! The next time we see him i wouldn't be surprised to find out that he has read the entire Book of Mormon.

On Saturday there was a stake YSA convention in Kanye and Mmokgodumo Dam and we had six investigators come! The activity was pretty cool and good thing that we decided to go cause we had to help the investigators interact with everybody else.  Even though we had those investigators at the activity on saturday we still only had one at church. Confusing? You bet! I dunno what their deal is! haha.

We are still teaching the Gofhamodimo family and they are having a difficult time now. They used to be really excited to do the things necessary to be baptized but now they are lazy again and don't seem to care as much. They keep telling us that their cattle post is what makes it difficult for them. Elder Dlamini and I decided that our service activity for this week is to burn down all the cattle posts in Botswana. The only thing the cattle post is good for is making people not come to church and lose their place in the kingdom of heaven!

Elder Dlamini is starting to get very anxious to go home. He is so worried, scared, excited, and thinking way too much about everything! But it's fine, he's still doing good missionary work. ha.

I got to go on exchanges this week with elder Fackrell the dl. I got to go to lobatse and for the first time out of 16 exchanges here in Kanye i got to leave the area! haha. It's good to saty in your own area but we all love to go see another missionaries area, to meet new people and see a new place.

I'm probably gonna be transferred this time on Oct 2. Am I gonna stay in Bots or go back to SA?? Oh, you need to set up the flag pole in the front yard and fly the botswana flag ;)

Well that's my week! Love you family!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D
Missionaries in Botswana


Me and Elder Dlamini hangin' with the locals


Me and Caiphus, a YSA from Gabs, won't be my friend until I put his picture on the blog!


Playing with the kids in Kanye

Monday, September 3, 2012

More Pictures!

My Companion Elder Dlamini

Homemade Exercise Bikes!

Nice House in Bots

Transportation in Bots!

Brother Donny!

Area- Kanye, Botswana
Companion- Elder Dlamini
Letter #43

NATE! "I'm a big kid now!" haha. That's crazy, i still can't believe Nate is going to college! I wanna go with him! MOM! It's yo bday this week! HaPPy BIrthdAy!! You're still only 30??
 
Well I've done so many things this week that I can't remember anything! My favorite part of the week though was yesterday. It was fast and testimony meeting of course and the guy that we met last week, Donny, asked me if he was allowed to go up and testify also and of course I said yes!  He went up and bore a powerful testimony.  He talked about how he had been reading the Bible and looking for answers and he met the missionaries. They came and taught him and as they taught all of his fears and questions were answered and even especially as he has been reading the Book of Mormon he feels something that he can't explain.  He's already more than halfway through and can explain what happens better than I can!  Now he's come to church and he said in his testimony "I seem to have been converted" with a huge smile on his face.  A few minutes later one of the members, brother Monty got up and told how Donny is his childhood best friend.  Everything so far is going perfectly with Brother Donny and we are SOOO EXCITED! haha.

Elder Dlamini and I are having a super time in Kanye. We got to do lots of member lessons this week since I got my license! and we are gonna do more next week!  I love having fun while doing missionary work, it's so great.  I would be happy to stay in Kanye a transfer after this all the way until November with Elder Dlamini.  I love having good companions! Haven't had a bad one yet! haha. Not to jinx it or anything haha.

Man, I don't know how I keep running out of time so fast.  It seems the more I have to say the less time I have. :( I will send some pictures next week.

Love you family! Have super week! Don't miss Nate and I too much!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, August 27, 2012

What's In Your Backpack?

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter #42

So I guess the speakers chart was a bad idea... Yesterday none of the assigned speakers showed up to church! One of them came 30 mins late but that's it haha. The second couselor comes and whispers to Elder Dlamini and I just as the sacrament is finishing and asks us if we can both give talks to fill the rest of Sacarament meeting. We both gave nice taks and filled the time but I didn't know what I was gonna talk about until I was already halfway to the pulpit! Funny thing is that this week was tough cause I had a lame cough the whole time so on Sunday I was super tired and was planning on committing a sin of ommission that is, not try to stay awake during sacrament meeting. God knows all and he was prepared! I won't do it again, promise!

Despite my illness we still had an awesome week. Last sunday two sisters randomly showed up at church, we got to teach them twice this week and they are preparing to be baptized on November 11th! Also we met another guy as we were walking to an appt. He was walking toward us and I said "Dumela Rra" he says "Dumela, what's in your backpack!?" haha. He said that he always sees us everywhere carrying backpacks. "I have some books" "Do you have Bible's" "Uh, yeah kinda, let me show you" I didn't have a Book of Mormon with me but I had a lot of pamphlets. He said "Man, I could read this in 20 mins. I was something I can READ." So i gave one to him and told him that we could bring the book of Mormon the next day to his house and talk about it with him. We came the next day and he was super excited to see us and told us he had read the pamphlet and it was nothing new besides "that Smith guy".  As we talked we found out that he loves to read because he is journalist. For the past two years he has been reading the Bible and really trying to understand the gospel. He had never been religious before. We taught him some of the message of the restoration and he had lots of questions and we invited him to be baptized. He said yes but the only problem is that he will only be around for the next week.  Turns out he is a blacklisted journalist and is moving to South Africa so for the 4th time this month we have to give a solid prepared person to other missionaries. As much as I'm glad that he's ready, it's so lame that the best people in Kanye are always leaving right after we meet them!

Well, I have no idea how I only have 5 mins left but time is up. :/ I have tons more to say and pictures to send and I have no time! Sorry.

Have a great week family! I love you and miss you!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hakuna Matata!!!

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter #41

Ayta! How's it!?

Ha sorry, I just got a bucket of water poured on me that's all :D I was waking out of the bedroom and BAM! I dodged most of it but it was soooo cold!!

Man, everybody is getting so old! Ollie can't be in sixth grade by the time I get home! Not fair! And Nate going to college... So weird. i wish I could go to school with him. that'd be so fun. You need to make sure that Nate turns his papers in on March 3rd and no later so that he can be called to the Joburg mission and be here in time for me to train him before I come home. Sound like a plan stan? ;)

The car sounds Lekker! I'm excited! :D Yep, i got the picture, thanks!

The attempts to revitalize the branch are going well so far.  Recently a family from gabs moved in and they have been members for 10+ years and so they really know how to get things done and even the father is a returned missionary. Things are really starting to turn around now. Going to church used to be so stressful but now things are staring to be a lot more relaxing and enjoyable when we go to church. no matata! Did you know that... hakuna matata is setswana? Well now you do! matata means problem. i can't remember what hakuna means but you can pretty much guess what it means from the song.  Anyway, yeah the branch is doing great. There is now a speaker calendar so everybody knows when they are going to give talks for the rest of the year and so they are all excited and preparing and now us, the missionaries don't have to worry about filling in. I've given three talks since I've been here already! ha. Sister Molebatsi was called as the primary 1st counselor so she is excited for that but she is super nervous for the talk she has to give on october 8th. She is already praying so hard that she can do well. It was funny when they sustained her in sacrament, bro molebatsi didn't hold anything back. he double sustained her by raising both arms as high as he could! They are a great family and are doing their very best to be faithful members, maybe one day he will obtain his dream of being branch president! haha.

We were making a lot of plans to bring members teaching with us but on my birthday my drivers license expired so we can't bring members with us anymore. We can, it is just a lot more difficult cause of how far away everyone stays from each other. when we get the bikes back I'm gonna take a video of the path that we take to get to Mike and Sazi's place. We literally go through the bush to get there. We need that 4runner here in kanye! but question: how do I get my license renewed? is it possible? I know i was supposed to send it or something before it expired but is there anything I can do now?

Man, the dennis' moved? Should I still send that Scripture case that sis dennis asked for? You could also let her know that I found a nativity set but I'm not sure when i will be able to go back and buy it since it was in Pretoria.

Dad, what a boss! haha I'm absolutley positive that you are more in shape than I am. I can barely make it through a ninety minute soccer match as i found that out a couple weeks ago when our branch played another church here in kanye ha. I'll have to get on it for sure. Give me some tips on motivating myself to exercise in the morning. I gotta be honest, I sit on the couch and watch every morning... :/

So I guess you could have assumed by now that I didn't get transferred! :D it's gonna be my first 6 month area! Then again that's what I thought about sunnyside as well and then a week later got Emergency transferred ha. hakuna matata though, I'm excited to be here one more transfer. we've had a lot of random people coming to talk to us and telling us that they want us to come teach them. The Gofhamodimo family is definitely going to be baptized in september. they couldn't come to church yesterday cause they had some family obligations. There's only one thing that sucks about staying here. Elder Dlamini is going home in december and so he is starting to make plans and talk about what he's gonna do when he gets home. He's trunky as the back of a car but he still works hard. Just makes me think about home more when he talks about home so much. i'll survive! Stay focused on the work!

Family I love you tons! Keep being a super awesome family and examples to others!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thanks for the Birthday Wishes!!!!

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter #40

Thanks for the birthday wishes family! :D You da best! it was a good birthday indeed other than the part where I got drenched by a bucket of water! ha. That is a story for anther day though. here s\is one that easier to explain... president Omer called while I was taking a shower in the morning and so the other elders were all anxious to know what he was gonna say, and of course I was even more anxious than them.So I called back twice and he didn't answer and then he called again during church when the phone was silent and so i called again twice and then finally i called later at like 3 and he answered and finally i was gonna get to hear but the "big news" was. Remember that last time I got emercency transferred he called on Sunday morning. Also the xone leaders were telling me that he was gonna give some big calling. So i was so nervous and all that and so i finally get a hold of him and he says "oh Elder Dirkmaat! Sister Omer and I and the AP's just wanted to wish you a happy birthday" Ahhhhh! all that for a bday wish ha. it was great to have pres call to say happy birthday but I got so worked up! haha. it's also funny casue that had crossed a ll of our minds that he just wanted to say happy birthday but nobody ever gets a b-day call so we "knew" it wasn't gonna be that. ha.

Anyway this week was great! Success once again! We had many lessons and were able to see great progress from the Gofhamodimo family. thay came to church again and they have given us a solid commitment that they want to be baptized on August 26th! Hopefully i will still be here cause transfers are on the 21st :/ We were so excited to see them and they have come such a long way from the first time that we visited them and they hardly cared what we had to say to them. As much as I wish they could be baptized a lot sooner, i am so glad that it is taking this long to help them truly make a real change in their lives and not just something that last 1 or 2 months of their lives and then they forget about it. There are people that are ready quickly but I'm sure that those people are the exceptions to the norm.

Elder Dlamini and i have been focusing a lot more on the members this week and you know the crazy thing? we had more lessons with investigators than we have in he past weeks! The member work is super important here in Kanye especially because to be honest the branch is not as unified and strong as it can and should be and so by us the missionaries visiting them it is going to help strengthen them individually and even assist int he missionary work to help people become converted and to have a testimony in the gospel and not in the missionaries. There's one thing that i have been exposed to a lot and that i ave learned, is that when you have a task at hand you CANNOT do it alone. If you do it alone then you are a fool. ive been a fool for 20 years(what the heck? 20!?!?!) of my life and i'm just barely getting the hang of it for reals. First and foremost is that of course our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ, need to be in it and along with that we need to enlist the help of others. Without others an idea will go nowhere, a project will go nowhere. Of course we can do great thing on our own and of our own free will but in the gospel of Jesus christ we are working together for the salvation of Gods children, our brothers and sisters. NOT ourselves. No matter how well we do on our own, Heaven won't be Heaven unless we bring as many of or brothers and sisters as we can with us! Imagine heaven without your mom or dad or brother or sister or best friend or children or whoever. It would be that great. Heaven is eternal and perfect happiness. We can't be perfectly happy unless everybody is there with us!

Another story, We got bikes finally two weeks ago. 10 mins later...Broken! Gt them fixed and back in kanye. 5 days later...Broken! Sad day. Either i am not meant to ride bikes or bikes are not meant for kanye. ha.
Well i love you so much fmily and so glad that eveything is going well! Have another super week! Just cause you had success selling the car, don't go sellin everything else! ha jk. Have a super week!

-Elder Dirkmaat

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dumela family!

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter # 39



Botswana!


Elder and Sister Moss. They are from Carlsbad!  The Carlsbad stake though

Another fantastic week?? MY goodness you are loving life! Guess what! So am I! :D Funny story:
The subject in your email and Sara's email were both "Hey there" ha. Just thought you should know that!

Well this week was not even as successful missionary work wise as even last week was. Bummer. But I still got to learn and grow lots! We had zone conference friday and interviews with President saturday so I was on a spiritual high! I don't know why but no matter how spiritual you are trying to be out in the field it is difficult to feel the same spirit as you do at zone conference and when around President Omer. Better change something, yeah!? In interviews with president we were able to talk a lot about our investigators not keeping their commitments and one thing that we decided I really need to let them know as guided by the spirit the impact and importance that each of these commitments will have for each for the rest of their lives. So many people just take us for granted and are glad that we are there to teach them about the gospel of Jesus Christ but don't realize that our purpose is not to teach them. Our purpose is to invite others to come unto christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy Ghost and enduring to the end. All those steps require them to make changes in their lives. No matter how close to Jesus Christ they are, they need to make changes and those changed truly will bring them happiness if they choose to act. One thing President told me is that not everybody we are teaching is not ready at that time and that we need to listen to the spirit as we try to discern if they are. Something I have never done yet is dropped an investigator that we were regularly visiting. The only people I have "dropped" are the ones who ditch appts, are never around or too busy, or who tell us that they "have their own church" It's something I hate doing cause I don't want them to go but PRes helped me understand that if they are not progressign after a long period of time then we need to tell them that we need to find those that are ready to act on the message we share and that we will keep in contact and visit less often adn if they don't have a change of heart when they realize we wont visit them if they don't do the things we are asking then they probably aren't ready. It's difficult cause you love these people and you want them to receive the gospel in their lives! It is important though cause we can't, for lack of a better term, waste our time visiting them who just like us for friends and thats all.

We still have many of the same people to teach but in the coming weeks we will be sifting the wheat from the tares. I'm super glad that Elder Holman and I were able to revive the area and get many people to teach but now Elder Dlamini and I have to perfect the area and keep it going strong before it falls back to nothing again. I guess that's how it goes and as much as I hate seeing people go, it has to be done. I'm way excited to start finding new people to visit and bring the restored gospel too! It should be fun! We are still teaching Mike and Sazi and the Gofhamodimo family and they are still progressing small small. The Gofhamodimo family more so recently and I'm actually really excited for them! There will not be any baptisms this sunday but we have planned them to be on Aug 26th now. The other day when we were at the Gofhamodimo's home they had a friend walk in towards the end of the lesson. A week previous we had taught them to keep the sabbath day holy. Rra asked if the friend would come to church with them on Sunday and he obvi didn't want to. Then Rra started to explain how he needs to keep the sabbath holy and how he can perform his labors in 6 days but sunday he must go to church and do "sunday" things. It was way exciting for me and I had the hugest smile on my face! They ended up no being able to make it on Sunday casue of problems at the cattle post ans they weren't back in kanye until sunday afternoon. But that was def a sign of change in him! I really wish you could meet him. I will have a picture of him hopefully next week. :D

Well family I am so glad you are having such a great summer! Keep catching all the waves for me!
Love you all!

-Elder Dirkmaat

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Teaching the Asians!

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter #38

Good afternoon!
 
Man, beach week #2? Jealous! sounds way fun though.  I have such a cool family! haha. Dad, I'm trying to learn the uke also! Elder Dlamini has one. He also has a guitar so we practice our skills. We are hoping to be able to play a song at the next baptism.  Should be sweet!
 
Well this week was good but at the same time it was a big dissappointment come Sunday.  First off the fair was super fun! ...and tiring. We got to talk to tons of people. The sisters in Gabs set everything up and all the missionaries in the surrounding areas got to come on certain days so us, the Kanye elders, got to go on Saturday.  Our booth got first prize out of all the others!  If you go to LDS.org > languages > South Africa > English > yellow box on the bottom of the page you should  be able to see a some pictures of us in a few days.  The fair was all week long and each day we had sheets and sheets of paper filed up with peoples names, numbers, and addressses who wanted the missionaries to come visit them and receive their own copies of the Book of Mormon.  Although there were not many referrals for Kanye there were hundreds for the Gabs missionaries. They're gonna have some work to do this month! ha.  I loved talking to all these people because it was crazy how different people are when they go to a fair than when you knock on their door.  It's way easier to get them interested.  I think I taught a mini version of the restoration or the plan of salvation or the gospel of Jesus Christ each at least 10 or 15 times that day.  Sometimes I would go sit down to take a break and feel like man, I dont want to talk or stand another minute but then I would and the second i started to talk to somebody i didn't have to think about what to say to them or questions to ask. They just came! All of the sudden it wasn't me trying to get them to say something it was them asking more questions than I could answer right then and there.  I'm sure that they could fel the spirit especially with 6 missionaries and the senior couple there.  We were on fire! haha.  Sometimes there would be so many people that wanted to see what was going on or hear what we were saying that there was no space for others to pass.  One time I was talking to this guy and within two minutes there were like 5 or 6 people crowded around me trying to hear more!  I felt like I was a missionary back in the day when they would preach in the streets.  It was cool!   
 
Elder Dlamini and I got the opportunity to teach a couple of Asians.  There are tons of Asians in gabs which is super random but of course most are not Christians. The two that we talked to signed the paper and want to learn more!  They thought the Book of Mormon was very interesting and we even taught them about how they believe in sprits and ancestors and we related it to how we help our andcestors and beleive in the Holy Spirit. That was the most exciting part of the day and yet I don't have much to say about it ha. 
 
One last funny story from the fair.  Elder Kuseni, my zone leader, was talking to a couple of 20 year old girls and they asked about anointing or something.  Elder Kuseni asks me if I have any oil to show them.  I said yes and went to get it.  Meantime he told them that I could anoint them and heal them.  I got back and he says teach them about the oil and quickly dissolves into the crowd.  "anoint us! anoint us!" joy rapture... So i had to explain that I can't just pour oil on their hands and they will be healed but that it has to be done a certain way and they got mad at me!  They were telling me how it only matters about faith and stuff.  Elder Dlamini saw and had something to say to them, I don't know what and I don't care cause right when he started talking I left.   
 
So the rest of the week we had a lot of ditched appointments and only got to teach 9 lessons.  I know that's a lot for some missions but coming off of weeks of 20+ lessons it didn't feel very good.  We really concentrated on helping make commitments of reading and praying and it seemed like it was working cause everybody was excited to come to church.  How many at church? 0.  Not even our 4 recent converts were there.  This week we aren't going to be able to improve much cause we have only 4 days to do missionary work cause of zone conference and presidents interviews but we are def making plans for the following week to help these people.
 
The Molebatsi family scared us when they didn't come to church on Sunday cause the other day we visited them and they said that they believed that other churches were also true and we told them (for the umpteenth time) this is the only true church. They didn't seem like they took it too well so them not being at church was scary!  We went there after church and they were just sick.  And they laughed when we thought that they took offense.
 
I got the packages! BOTH of them ;) the post office corrected it.  They know the church! ha.  Thank you!!!   I'm sorry i didn't wait till my birthday to open the wrapped goods but I knew what it was and i couldn't wait another day to take a picture.  :D  I think you can forgive me yeah?
 
Well that's my week! Talk to ya later!
Love you!
 
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Become Converted to the Gospel

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter #37

Hi Family:

Who is this new Steeze guy? I wanna meet him! ha jk. Everything is already gonna be so different when I get back! When I was in the MTC I remember all of us were talking about how we didn't really think much would change...WRONGO! I'm still curious as to whether or not I will be coming back to a different house?

I'm glad the week was so great! It seems like you have registered Ollie and Sophie in every sport known to man now! When are they gonna choose one!? haha. Is nate still surfing and playing soccer everyday?

Thanks for sharing the spiritual experiences you are having each week. I love it! Last week when Mom talked about the teachings of George Albert Smith in Sunday School we had just done that lesson 2 weeks earlier and she helped me to take a different idea on the things that I had learned. In Sunday School and Priesthood we don't have as many of the insights that I'm used to back home since everybody is so new in the gospel so it's good to hear your thoughts as well.   Also Dad, when you talked about Corinthians, Grandma had sent me a letter with scriptures to study about charity a month ago I think and so I was studying in Corinthians and when you gave me these new meanings in greek I need to go read it again! I've been thinking a lot lately that I want to take spanish when i get home and I still want to but maybe I'm gonna have to also take greek and latin! I've been making a list of classes/talents I want to develop when I get home....It's REALLY big ha. Good thing I don't have to worry about that yet right? One last thing, Alma 26 has become one of my favorite chapters over the past few months. I love how joyful Alma is when we talks about that rials and tribulations they went through to bring the people to a knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. One thing that was interesting to me is in verse 2, he is talking about "since we began..." and I thought, how long has it been since they began? I checked and it goes all the way back to the book of mosiah - 15 years! All I am doing is 2 years. They really did leave everything behind to serve the Lord. I wanna be like Alma and the Sons of Mosiah.

Hahaha mom, now everybody is gonna think that my family is Catholic and that I'm the only member in the family! Did you check Deseret Book for some pictures of Jesus? ;) Hopefully the package with the wrong address still gets here eh? I'll have to check with the mission office on Saturday if it will be okay. We are going to Gabs to run a booth for the biggest fair in the country! The booth will be going all week but the Kanye Elders will be manning it on Saturday. Should be pretty fun! Apparently some of our investigators are going to be there on Saturday also with their friends so hopefully we'll get to talk to them!

Elder Dlamini and I are having a great time here in Kanye. The work is going very well even though we had a reduction in the number of our lessons taught. That is due somewhat to the fact that we were gone for a week and so some of our investigators started to loose some of their commitment. I'm thinking I probably should have a done a lot more calling than I did while in Gabs. The Molebatsi family were confirmed yesterday along with Ashley and Atang! The Molebatsi's weren't around last week cause they were at a family reunion in Francistown and Ashley6 and Atang didn't come last week cause they were too cold... TIB (This is Botswana). Mike and Sazi are doing alright. They didn't come to church because Sazi was not feeling well. Since they have still only been to church once we re-extended a baptismal date for Aug 12. We are really trying to help them gain the sincere desire to read the Book of Mormon. They like reading it but only when we are around, otherwise they are lazy. That's really the only issue with them because they have already told us that they want to be baptized it's just a matter of them actually doing the things they are supposed to instead of just knowing what they have to do. The Gofhamodimo family also did not make it to church because of illness. They are kind of on the same boat as Mike and Sazi in that they have been taught everything and knwo what to do thy just have to start reading and coming to church. We re-extended a date for them as well to be on Aug 12. Should be a good day for me! :D ha. Church attendance is still the biggest difficulty here and we haven't figured a successful way to overcome it yet. One of main goals for this transfer is to start visiting people at least 3 times a week and possibly 4 or 5. I have never really "learned" how to do that even though I've always been told that I should and now Elder Dlamini has come and he is used to doing that. I'm excited though because it will help people remember and feel he spirit much more. Lots of times we come for an appointment and we ask "Do you remember what we talked about last time?" "...no"

We had a great experience while at a member home the other day. We were helping them to learn the member missionary program and we were going around sharing conversion stories focusing on a friend that helped us. Since being a missionary I have realized a lot things that have helped me become converted to the gospel.  At first it just seemed like it narutally came cause I born in the church but I have been able to recognize specific experiences now. One of those I didn't realize until the other night with these members. When it was my turn to share I just joked and said "Ah, I was born in the church" but then I felt bad and tried to think and started to say random stuff that I'm not even sure what I said but as I was talking I slowly came to realize a friend who had helped me. While living in San Jose there were 3 brothers who were huge examples to me. I always wanted to be like them even though 2 of them were younger than me. They were active in church and always happy. I went to church and enjoyed it but didn't get the meaning. Eventually I was able to understand why church was so important because I was always trying to be like these guys. Then we moved to southern California. All of the sudden I was with no friends and was called to be the priests 1st counselor. The new guy was supposed to be the example to all the rest! Luckily I had friends in the past who were examples and so now I knew how to be an example. At least I was more capable than I would have been. There was one in the quorum who I became really good friends with especially this past year since we were together almost everyday for 3 months at least straight. Now of the 5 people talked about including me, one is home from mission, one is on mission, one has his call, one has probably submitted his papers by now (I'll have to find out), and the other will in a couple years ha. And Nate, you will submit your papers in a couple months!! Woot Woot! :D

Well family, it was good talkin to ya. have another great week! I love you too much!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D