Monday, October 28, 2013


Area- Pretoria, South Africa
Companion- Elder Louw
Letter #99

Hey you can't use big words like that when you talk to me! I've been working on simplifying my vocabulary for the past 2 years! :P But yes, my denouement is gonna be powerful. My last Sunday Mona Lisa is going to be baptized! We have been working with her every week since I got here (6 months) and she is finally ready! I think she is very excited even though she doesn't really show her emotions on the outside. She says that she is going to buy a new dress because it is such a special occasion to her. We are going to have her interview this week and then she will be ready! We are always advised to have the interviews for baptism at least a week early just in case there is a situation where our Mission President would need to come and do a second interview. We are positive that Mona Lisa will pass but sometimes people decide not to say anything till the interview. We were asked to do an interview for a sister in Mamelodi on Saturday night and her baptism was scheduled for the next day. I interviewed her and she had a wonderful and personal testimony of Jesus Christ and of the restoration but because of history she wasn't able to be baptized because she needs to meet with the Mission President first. I'm sure she will be fine and the second interview is just protocol but if there was a week gap from the interview to the baptism there would be no problem with postponing the baptism. It was really difficult to tell her that she couldn't be baptized the next day especially when she was so excited and had probably already told her friends and family about it as well. I have had to tell a few people that they are not ready yet but seeing this lady's face and the heartbreak she must have felt was different than all the previous times. In spite of how sad she must have been it truly is amazing to see how powerful the truth is to change somebody from not really worrying about religion to it becoming their whole life and their baptism being something that they cannot live without. 

We were teaching Sipho the other day about the Law of Tithing. Most people don't understand how important it is and what it should really be used for. Sipho is definitely one of those people. When we teach him things he never knew before he always get this surprised look and then says something like "Oh! so when I was doing that (or not doing that) I was sinning! Sir, I am so sorry. I am going to keep this commandment from now. I never knew that I was doing wrong but now I must obey. Thank you, Sir, for telling me this thing that I was doing wrong so that I can change." the thing that I love about Sipho is how humble he is, that allows him to learn like a child and use his agency to act with power according to the new knowledge he has obtained. I think I said it before but I will say it again. Most of my areas we have had tons of people to teach and had to sift through the ones that are really ready for the gospel as that time. In this area it is so difficult to actually get investigators but when we do get them they are ready and prepared. 

I am going to miss being a missionary so much. People keep asking me how long I have left and I was saying a month but then the other day somebody said "Don't you go home on November 12? That's not even three weeks!" People keep saying its soon but I keep telling them that it is far cause of how much we still need to do. I feel like I'm just going to be a missionary for the rest of my life cause it's just what I've been doing for the past 2 years. It's more regular that school was!

You wanted to know more about my companion. We are having a great time together! We have very similar personalities. The only difference is that he is not much into sports but big into music and he is a chef. He plays drums and guitar. When he gets home he is going to open a restaurant in Cape Town that I am going to go to called The Avo Tree. I was scared my whole mission that I would get a companion that I would hate but I never got it! All my companions are super good friends! Brother Foote and Brother Jenkinson just sent me emails so I hope I will have time to reply to them today.

Have a great week! Thanks for making that cool announcement! The only thing I don't look forward to is speaking...It feels like so much pressure that I'll have to wow everybody. Don't get your hopes up for a powerful sermon!

Love ya!
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, October 21, 2013

Teaching Moments

Area- Pretoria, South Africa
Companion- Elder Louw
Letter #98

Heyllo! How ya doin!? 

So I'll share with you my miracle from the week/something I learned. 

We were teaching a lady named Yolanda the previous week and we invited her to be baptized. Without even hesitating she said "I've already been baptized." Sometimes with Afrikaners it is hard to tell if they are like raising their voice or if it's just the way they talk. So we thought that she was very against getting baptized again. Her husband started talking about authority and how he believes that it has been restored. He is a member. But then he talked about something else and we weren't able to bring it back to baptism. But this past week we have been reading some talks by Elder Bednar that he asked we study in preparation for him to visit on Oct 31 (which is super exciting! Cannot wait!)  So in one of his talks he teaches how we need to seek learning by faith and as teachers to teach by the spirit and help our investigators seek learning by faith as well. It kind of goes back to preach my gospel that we need to listen to their needs so that spirit can tell us what they need and how we can present it to them. The way that we can listen is by making them talk and we do that by sharing something small and then asking inspired questions. 

So we were trying to figure out how we were going to help sister Mona Lisa progress. We figured some questions that we were going to ask her which turned out very good and the lesson with her was also a miracle cause we received confirmation that she is ready for her baptism whereas previously we were kind of unsure. Elder Louw has that Color code book by Dr. Hartman (who is a member and was the mission psychologist for our mission and was just released a year ago) so we figured out what color we thought Mona Lisa is and we went to the part where he tells you things that will help that color feel comfortable. So we went to the lesson giving her compliments and just being really nice. It was almost like a movie being extra nice. I kind of wondered why I couldn't always be that nice. So it went well, she opened up, shared her feelings and testimony of the gospel and even asked us tons of questions. Her date for baptism is the 10th of November

Now back to Yolanda. On the same path of trying to help our investigtors seek learning by faith we recommited ourselves to being guides and not lecturers in our lessons. It has been powerful to see how people learn when you just act as a guide and let them teach themselves basically. We haven't been able to visit yolanda this week but we are going tomorrow. Relating to her being baptized we want to ask her. "We know that you have already been baptized but, why do you think that we would still ask you to be baptized?" Lots of times we immediately try to remind them of the authority or something like that. I am excited to help her think of the answer herself. Her question is why do I need to be baptized again if I already have been? We know the answer but she needs to know the answer and us telling her is not going to make her also know. So basically the miracle was that my teaching improved! I feel like I've also been able to gain more love for the people we teach because it does take a lot more love and patience to help somebody else seek learning by faith than to just give them all the answers.

It is so awesome to be able to learn and grow as a missionary and receive a stronger testimony as I see others learn the truth. There was a baptism for two 8 yr olds in our ward yesterday and Bantu brought his 2 daughters. One is 10 and the other is like 22. On Friday Bantu's 22 yr old daughter was there and she was very interested from when she had attended his baptism. We taught her a lot about the Book of Mormon and how it can answer the questions that she has. Bantu of course bore powerful testimony of that. She told us that she has never felt so good at another church ever in her life and that she kept having this feeling to come back. Well on Sunday she came with Bantu. We hear the baptism talks in the chapel and then move to the other room for the baptism so after the baptsims were performed everybody was going out back to the chapel and she walked by the font where Elder Louw and I were and she was looking at the font and I said kind of in a joking tone but serious inside ( if you know what I mean) "That's gonna be you soon!" she smiled real big and said "Yes I think so!" ...Didn't expect that. 

Thanks for all that you do for me. I know you are working hard to make sure that everything goes smoothly when i get home. I am excited! Don't stress too much. I love you mucho!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pretoria on Fire!!

Area- Pretoria, South Africa
Companion- Elder Louw
Letter #76

Wait for me to get home before you fix the car! I wanna help and learn! Elder Center was a diesel mechanic so he has told me lots about cars. Now I just need to experience it.

I am setting Pretoria on fire for sure! In fact, the whole world! We have been getting tons of referrals lately so we are happy. Hopefully some of them pan out. I really do enjoy being a zone leader. We teach a zone meeting once every transfer based on the things that we learn in a meeting called Mission Leadership Council with President and the assistants. This transfer the focus was on the gathering of Israel which was a powerful topic. I won't be able to explain it all now so you'll have to remind when I get home to teach you what I learned but basically it was all about how we have been chosen to be here at this specific time in this specific area and that we were foreordained to hold the priesthood (Alma 13) and to be part of the gathering of Israel. The only 2 promises in the Abrahamic Covenant that have not been fulfilled yet are that Israel will be gathered and that Jesus Christ will come a second time. The Book of Mormon was a sign that the gathering has commenced (3 Nephi 21). When God called Joseph Smith to be a prophet and to translate the Book of Mormon he was thinking about gathering His lost sheep by first going to the gentiles and then from them to Israel. Just thinking about how important of a role we play in that great plan is a powerful thought. The missionary work is starting to roll forth in a way that it never has been before. It is being talked about more during conference and even President noticed that there has been a pattern over the past few years that the general authorities are addressing the mission presidents more and more about the the gathering of Israel. 

"A great and a marvelous work is [going] forth among the children of men!" Thanks for sending me that part of my patriarchal blessing. I have often thought about what those words mean and if I have accomplished it to some degree or another. I feel like I have but just like you said, there are still more people in darkness whose light needs to be kindled! 4 more weeks! That part of the blessing and Alma 13 go hand in hand with one another and I never realized it until you quoted that.

I hope that you have a wonderful week! Be examples to everyone and find every opportunity to be a missionary! Thanks for your support and love. Can't wait to see you! 

Love you tons!
-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

6 More Weeks!!

Area- Pretoria, South Africa
Companion- Elder Louw
Letter #96

Hallloooo!! ---  that's a Disney quote, name the character and the movie.

This week has been fantastic! I got a new companion, Elder Louw. he is from Cape Town and he's not a greenie but he is almost a year on mission. Pretty close! haha jk. I still feel like I'm a year. He is going to be teaching me some Afrikaans in my last few weeks. I am already saying lots of things and the members love it! hahah.

Zone activity at the Voortrekker Museum! That place is awesome! The voortrekkers are just like the Mormon pioneers!

I just sent an email to Nate, I hope he has time to reply. How much time does he get on p-day? I got a letter from Eric Kennedy and he is loving Brasil! Yes I did get the package, sorry I forgot to say something, I'm bad at that... Thank you!! I read the book already and the pillow case is being well used. i actually had an extra pillow with no case on it. ha. The package came from Germany so we were all really confused as to who sent it but opening it solved the problem. ;) 

I think this is going to be a great last 6 weeks. This week we had like 4 new investigators all from referrals which was awesome! 2 of the people we met are fathers and we are going to be able to teach their families the next time we go visit. the only problem is that they both wanted the return appt to be 2 weeks from now so we are gonna have to be patient. Passing pass along cards at the street lights is a success! We got a call from a guy that wants to meet with us and for us to bring the DVD to him this Wednesday. He is also probably a family! ALSO, Bantu's son called us this week and he said that he is really serious now about finding the truth and that he wants us to help him find and to help him be able to read and understand the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Powerful! He said he got tired of hearing his dad always talk about the church and everything and that he just wants to know for himself. Bantu is a powerful convert. I know that he will be active for the rest of his life and I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of his family joins as well! When we went to meet his son we also met his ex wife and she also seemed pretty excited to see us. 

We did get to watch conference! It was pretty inspiring. In the words of Bantu, WOW!  I don;t have a favorite yet cause we were late to the Saturday morning session. we were teaching a lesson. and we haven't seen the Sunday afternoon yet. I'm not sure when we will get to see it. 

I thought I was gonna write a lot more but I just had a mind blank. Sorry. I hope you know that i love you! Spreading the gospel is such a great blessing and privilege. This last six weeks will definitely be my best!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D