Monday, July 29, 2013

I Love Being a Missionary!

Area- Pretoria, South Africa
Companion- Elder Center
Letter #88

What's up family!? It was sweet to hear from y'all! Thanks! The fact that you were all at the beach made me super jealous, but guess what?? I'll be there next time! Can't wait to to go to the new campsite.

Elder Center and I have been seeing great changes in our area and even in the whole zone. When I got here there were three dying missionaries all going home on the same day and they were all literally dead in a
missionary sense, so we've been doing a lot of re-building. We only have 12 missionaries in the zone so basically half the zone was not doing well. We are well on track to achieving the mission vision of
every companionship baptizing at least once a month which is awesome! Dad, you talked abut how misisonary work is not abut baptizing people but about getting them to the temple and that is 100%. If you baptize somebody that you're not sure if they're gonna make it to the temple then they are definitely not ready! Currently in this are we have not been having any baptisms but I keep hearing stories of people that I
taught in my past areas that have been getting baptized which is super cool. I wish i could be there to see them but it makes me so happy jsut to hear that thye finally made it instead of "yeah, we dropped that guy" ha.

We have started to have quite a bit of success lately. It hasn't been from our finding or from the members that we have visited but it has been completely random people. A few minutes ago a member that I've
only met but never really talked to called us and gave us a referral. he said that he was talking to some guys who are catholic and were complaining that their church cold not give them answers to the
questions that they had. He told them "hey, I know some guys that can come over and give you all the answers you need" They accepted and we are gonna give them a call very soon! It seems that just the
committment of the ward to do this 40 day fast is already producing blessings! The fast doens't startuntil the 1st of August! Just cause we don't see results from the tracting and handing out passalong cards
and v isiting members that we do, Heavenlyt Father sees the work that we are doign and sends those whoa er ready to us whether we have talked to them or not. I feel like the members are really starting to
gain our trust and will give us more people to teach. the bishop this week said that every time we have a baptism he is going to organize a linger longer so that more people will stay to watch the baptisms. I
think he is super excited that we actually have some baptisms coming up. I love it when the leaders of the ward start to catch the wave of missionary work and encourage the rest of the members to help!

It's sad that I will be coming home pretty soon but I am pretty excited too cause there is so much to do! I for sure will not stop being a missionary and sharing the gospel with all that I can. I am
def the same person but now that I have a greater knowledge of the gospel and have seen the expereinces of others who have received it who never knew it previously, I think I understand better why it is so
important. I'm so thankful that I have all of you, an awesome family that I can look forward to spending time with, having loads of fun, and preparing to go live in the celestial kingdom! Some people would
think that the more dedicated you become to the gospel the less fun you can have but it is really the opposite! When yo are living a good life, helping others, changing your own bad habits and just generally doing good things you feel free and more able to enjoy all the great blessings that God has given us. Surfing is a blessing that He has given us and I am gonna be a better surfer than Nate when he gets home! :P The church is also a blessing that he has given and I hope to never fail in a calling that I receive and to partake of the sacrament every single week until I die!

Have a radical week! I love you guys!
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Elder Jenkinson says that I need to say radical more cause I'm a surfer haha

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Missionary Miracles

Area- Pretoria, South Africa
Companion- Elder Center
Letter #87

Hey there family!

Well this week was awesome. Let me just share a little miracle that happened.

President Omer always tells us that if we are not experiencing miracles in our service then we are living far below our privileges and abilities as His chosen servants. How cool is that?? We are entitled to see miracles as a result of our diligence and faithfulness. This week we experienced a miracle. It's funny that they always happen to others and due to the changes that they make, and we are just there to help them along the way. anyway, Bantu was watching SABC (a news channel/tv show channel) and he saw a program about the Mormons. He got really interested and looked it up online, found a chapel in Centurion(Del Mar to Encinitas is the same as Centurion to Pretoria), drove to it the next day and found the groundskeeper who told him to come back the next morning, so he did. When he got there he found some members and one of them took the time to talk to him and show him around the chapel. The member called us and gave us his details. We called him and were in his home that evening. He told us that he has been searching for the truth since 2005(?) when he became a christian and hasn't been able to find it. His son was there as well and had the same feelings. He had already read about Joseph Smith online and knew a lot and told us that he feels like he has finally found the right place. We went back on Saturday and he was already into 2nd Nephi and before we even started the lesson he said, "Guys I am going to be baptized in this church. Do you know when I will be baptized? Let me tell you. Joseph Smith received the plates of gold on the 22nd of September. I was born on the 22nd of September which was a Sunday. This year I am turning 50 and it will be a Sunday. i want to be baptized on the 22nd of September." then he asked if it was alright and of course we said yes. As we were teaching the lesson his son asked how he can know if these things are true and Bantu told him. "Son, you must pray about it and ask God to show you. that's what Joseph Smith did, that's what I did, that's what these Elders have done." He bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon and it was almost like we had a member present lesson. THEN when he came to church on Sunday he received more fellowship from the members than I have ever seen my entire mission! He came a couple mins late and sat next to the relief society president during Sacrament and met the Bishop, High Priest Group Leader, and Stake Patriarch before we even got to him from across the chapel! Before the end of the three hours he had met the entire bishopric and the Elders Quorum President. He was the happiest guy on Earth!

Miracles are real and hopefully they are happening often in our lives! They don't have to be big ones but the ones that really matter are the ones that change hearts and give testimonies and opportunities. They always happen at the right time and for the right reason. Remember what we learn from the Book of Mormon. i can't look it up so it's gonna be off a bit... "Have miracles ceased? I say unto you nay. And if they have wo be unto the children of men for it is by faith that miracles are wrought." That's probably a terrible paraphrase but that's the jist of it!

I love being a missionary and seeing things like this. When somebody is prepared and is bale to receive a testimony of the truth is something amazing. I know that the gospel is true and that it has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ is our saviour and Heavenly Father loves us so much that he sent His son to atone for us and allow us the opportunity to return and live with Him in eternal happiness!

Have fantastic week! Stay Classy! Love ya!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bok & Fowl on the Golf Course!

Area- Pretoria, South Africa
Companion- Elder Center
Letter #87

Hey there!

So I guess you got both of my emails from last week. Good Deal. A new Bishopric eh? That's sweet! Now everybody is different than when I left! I remember that there was talk of splitting the wards again, is that still a possibility? Or was there never even talk of that? ha.

A couple weeks ago you asked if I was at the activity in Kwa Guqa. No I was not, we only get to go there like twice in a transfer. Cool fact though... The bishop there is from France. He served here and came back to marry a girl and now they live in the township that she grew up in. He is a super chef and cooked us some nice lasagna when we went there a month ago.

That was a sweet experience that Br. Holmes had! Miracles are always happening! This week we were super excited for Mona Lisa. She had some plans for the weekend but we really had to have an interview for her baptism and it is really important not to miss church the couple weeks before your baptism. She decided that her baptism was important enough that she could change her plans and travel to Joburg after her baptism and confirmation. Well, we were able to have the interview and she was solid of course but then there were transport issues on Sunday and she wasn't able to make it. Such a bummer when things like that happen. We haven't been able to visit her yet but we are probably gonna have to postpone her baptism to August.

Even though we don't have many people to teach we still have awesome people to teach! Mona Lisa is almost done with the Book of Mormon for the Second time and has started doing her home showings on Saturday instead of Sunday (She is a Realtor). Lesego is committed to be baptized in August as well. We taught him the Law of Chastity this week and he said it will be difficult but that he can do it. Obviously that is a huge problem with people his age these days so he doesn't have much support but he says he will do it. He met with the Bishop on Sunday and Bishop took off the tie he was wearing and gave it to Lesego, it was even one of his favorites! Maybe it was his reward for wearing a white shirt and taking out his earrings ha. William is still powerful even though we still don't have a way for him to get to church on Sunday. We have a Kilometer limit so we were not able to make it to visit him this week but when we told him he said he will do his best to continue learning and reading on his own and that his biggest concern was that he wants to come to church so that he can unite himself with the church of Christ and be of service to Him. The guy in our ward who stays close to him is also having difficulties coming to church cause of the tough economic times and has to work on Sundays right now. I really hope and pray that we can figure something out soon! 

Sophie,. I haven't seen many interesting animals lately cause I'm in the suburbs but, we did go golfing today and there were some Gemsbok and Springbok and one other Bok and some Guinea Fowl on the course! How cool is that!?


Guinea Fowl

Ollie: I have had many doors slammed in my face! This week a guy drove by, stopped, reversed, rolled down his window and I said "Hallo, Oogandit?" and he said "You guys need to take your funny nonsense somewhere else! You don't believe in the Bible! You are in a false church!" I think it is hilarious when people do that. I wish it was possible to talk to them, I try, but they are just too full of anger and all I can do is laugh when they are gone. This must be the ONLY true church on the face of the earth if Satan puts so much effort into filling peoples hearts with anger only against us. I probs won't be able to get you a parrot. I can't believe you still remember that! Honestly, I only said that so you would stop crying your face off. ;) But I'll see what I can do. I'm not sure how many I've baptized. I have a list of all the names and addresses so when i get home I'll show it to ya and you can count it. Deal? 

One more thing, we finally got the idea of teaching members the lessons in their homes down! We passed out a sheet and people signed up that we will visit this week and even when Elder Bricknell came and taught priesthood last week he told us that instead of sharing spiritual thoughts after dinner we will teach short lessons. It's pretty sweet and we have enjoyed it! Hopefully this will work for us to be able to get more referrals! We got to teach 3 this past week. 

Well that's all I've got. Oh, I got the package! Thank you! The Eggo's were destroyed and completely rotten but everything else was great. Still enjoying it! 

Love you!
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ek is dors! Kan ek water kry?

Area- Pretoria, South Africa
Companion- Elder Center
Letter #86

Hey there!

So the subject is my phrase of the week. I have a small book that gives some phrases in Afrikaans and for some reason that is the phrase that I could remember the most. It means, "I am thirsty. Can I have some water?" 

It's been a pretty good time here in Pretoria. We could possibly have 2 baptisms by the end of this month for Mona Lisa and Lesego! Mona Lisa had a difficult time coming to church for the first few weeks I was here but now she has come three times and we are planning to have her baptism on the 28th. When we taught her the word of wisdom a while back we found out that she was doing 3 of the five no-no's and we thought it was gonna be a huge challenge but she has completely stopped everything! her biggest problem, used to be smoking but she hasn't had a cigarette for a month now! Powerful! Yesterday at church we saw her talking to like 5 or 6 different people and it seems like she is really becoming apart of the ward now which is awesome. Lesego is also gonna be ready for the 28th. He is really serious about deciding if this is the right thing for him and last time seemed like a tuning point in his decision. He let us know that he was really scared that he was signing a contract with God, which is correct, but the thing he is scared of is if he makes a mistake after baptism. He felt like he had to be perfect and no longer mess up otherwise he would be "fired" immediately. We helped him understand and it really eased him. We helped him understand that repentance is a continuing process for the rest of our lives and that if he messes up it is not the end of the world. I think all of his mistakes and things he knew he had to work on started to pile up and he got overwhelmed with it all. I'm glad that he was able to understand. He is a powerful young man and I know that he is definitely on the path of conversion. Sometimes he tells us how sorry he is that he is always asking questions and tings like that and we always tel him how great it is that he does that. It really is a blessing that he will voice his concerns and tell us when he doesn't understand cause there is nothing harder than teaching somebody who has absolutely no concerns and questions and you have no idea whether or not the person is ready.

We got to visit William again yesterday and he was excited again to see us. During the week he asked us if we could get a nice leather quad for him and that he would pay for it. We got it and he said it felt like Christmas when we gave it to him. Right when we got to his house there were some Jehovah's Witnesses leaving and we were kinda worried and thinking, "what is this guy up to now?" We found out that they were just there to visit the owner of the house and she had asked him to sit in the lesson with them. He even asked them what they thought about the Book of Mormon and some other questions that he had asked us last time. Turns out he was not satisfied. He told us that when he talked to that missionary in Durban and when he learns from us it is the first time that anything about the gospel coming from anywhere but the bible has ever made so much perfect sense to him. He really has been prepared to receive the gospel at this time. His only problem is still going to be transport since he stays so far away.

Yesterday we were handing out cards at the robots and a guy drives up and says "How many wives you got?" I was so tempted to say "3, and you wanna know a secret, every time I baptize somebody I get another one." I told him the truth though and it was funny cause he was completely lost for words. The light stayed red for a long time so we got to talk to a few people. I walked by one guy and he didn't take the card and a little bit later he pulled up next to us and started asking us questions and became very interested. He said that he wanted to invite us for coffee one day and talk about the things we told him some more. I said, "sure that would be great, we do this everyday!" Not thinking about the coffee part, and then he says "You do coffee everyday?" oops. I really hope that he calls. His wife was in the car and I think they had 3 young children as well.

I guess that's all for this week. Elder Center and I will be together for another 6 weeks as we just got the news on Saturday. Cool deal!

Have a super week! Jealous I didn't get to go kayaking and snorkeling!!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, July 1, 2013

Miracle of the Transfer

Area- Pretoria, South Africa
Companion- Elder Center
Letter #85

Hey there! the writer that we met is Nico Van Der Merwe. He has a pretty sweet pharmacy business and hearing aid distribution...thing. We are gonna wait maybe another week or 2 before we go back.

I'm just gonna tell you about one happening this week cause it was definitely the best thing that happened.

We got a referral from the temple about 3 or 4 weeks back and we called the guy, his name is William. It turns out that he stays like 100 k's away but there is another member of our ward who stays kind of close by so we figured it's in our area. We tried to make appointments with him but it never worked out cause he got busy and one week he got sick. Finally yesterday we were able to drive out and meet him. We had to follow some pretty crazy directions and we didn't make a single wrong turn and made it there 5 mins before 3(the scheduled time). On the phone he had told that he was very sorry he had to cancel and that he really was very serious about us coming to teach him more about the gospel. So we finally go there and he told us how he found out about the church. This is his story. He was in Durban on business and somebody dropped their carrying bag so he picked it up and ran it over to the guy. When he turned around he saw that the guy had a name tag on and he turned out to be a missionary from our church. he started to ask him some questions and we don't know exactly what they talked about, it was brief only like 5 mins., but something that the elder said really touched his heart and made sense compared with everything that he had read in the Bible. A month later when he was back home he looked up 'Mormons South Africa" on goggle because that was the only ting he could remember. He called the first number and it turned out to be the temple! Finally a month later we got to visit him! We tried to teach him the message of the restoration but he already knew everything! We would share the beginning of one of the points and he would take his Bible and teach us the rest of the point! He knew everything except that the gospel has been restored through Joseph Smith and he basically knew everything about the plan of Salvation except for the spirit world after death and the three degrees of glory. he even knows that we all came here to become Gods like God is a god and that our families area a representation of God's eternal family. this guy knew all of these things and he had only been able to study from the Bible. We gave him a Book of Mormon and i'm sure that when he reads all the things that he has put together already will become so much clearer. He doesn't go to church cause he doesn't feel right about any of them but he says that he has already felt the spirit tell him that the things we are sharing with him are true!

That was our miracle of the transfer. We can get a million doors slammed in our faces and insults thrown at us all day long but for God to lead someone that prepared to find the missionaries throws all the bad things that have happened in the trash to be remembered no more...except the funny ones. I have never felt offended or discouraged about people not accepting our message; it just makes me feel so sorry for them and I always remember that only the elect will receive and even then, the very elect will be deceived. We are sent out to find the 5 percent who will accept. William is one of those 5 percent.

I just got an email from a recent convert in Voslo and at the end he signed "your future missionary". That's what it's all about! :D I've received many emails from recent converts and it always makes my day when they say things like that. So stoked that I've been able to help people become converted to the restored and true gospel of Jesus Christ and that He has given me another opportunity to teach one of his prepared children! Siyabonga! Baie Dankie! Ke a leboga! Merci beaucoup! Muchas Gracias!

I hope that you have a powerful week! Missionary work is the best! I love you!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D