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