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


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 > 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