Saturday, November 26, 2011

Week One

Hello everyone,
The flight here was ridiciously long and I wasn't able to sleep for any of it because I was sick and had to keep heading to the bathroom the whole time. And the layover in London was particularly horrible; no one there ever smiles especially when they saw that we were Americans. Being here in South Africa is really cool, there are about 30 missionaries here. Most are from the U.S. but there are 7 or 8 from all over africa, some from england, canada, and australia. We've all spent a lot of time making fun of eachothers' cultures. Its been pretty fun except that I'm super tired all the time from the trip here. My companion is from Zimbabwe and his name is Elder Masaya, I would send pictures but we're not allowed to while we're in the samtc. The mtc president said that this is the smallest mtc in the world. My bedroom alone has 8 missionaries in it and its only like 15x15. I'm still really sad because I miss everyone at home, but now that I've had some time to get to know the other missionaries it's getting a lot easier. A lot of the Elders here are really cool people to be around. This place is so different from what I had imagined. It is all very modern and seems very much like home apart from the hot humid weather. Everyday we have classes here from early in the morning until we go to bed at night, and it's exhausting. I keep finding myself nodding off in the middle of the lessons because everyone here speaks so softly. Yesterday we got to go outside and play sports for a while and we had a pretty intense game of basketball going with a ton of the elders and it was really fun and a good break from being inside. My companion and I also taught a lesson to a pretend investigator while it was being recorded for the other missionaries to watch, and I don't know really how lessons are supposed to go, but I know it shouldn't be like the one we gave. If the spirit was talking to me, I was sure having a hard time hearing it. I hate awkward situations and it was probably one of the most awkward things I've ever done. My P-day's while I'm here in the MTC are on saturdays but as soon as I get out in the field they will be on mondays. I love and miss everyone.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

South Africa

I'm in at the South Africa MTC now. It's crazy cool here. But flying here was terrible and I caught something on the way and I feel way sick, and I haven't slept since I left home. Hopefully I can sleep tonight. I don't have my mom or dad's email addresses, so if you could please get them for me and send them. Or just have them email me. I can't write a whole lot right now, but I wanted to let you know that I arrived safely, and that I love you more than anything in the world.
P.S. Thank you for the letter. I love it, and I love you. I'll write you on monday. Sorry I can't call I thought that I was going to be able to.
I love you,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Heading to South Africa...

The last couple of days have all blended together with visiting, final goodbyes, plenty of tears, a final lunch of Sushi and a wonderful setting apart on Monday night by President Webb. Josh will be in good hands as he serves the people in South Africa.

His Dad became his companion until the airport. I think he was delighted to serve in a 12 hour mission with Josh.

This morning we got up early and took Josh to the Salt Lake airport. Not knowing what to expect, I think we were all delighted that a group of LDS missionaries were gathering... all headed for the long trip to South Africa. Some of these young men may be his companions in the coming two years. I felt so relieved that he wasn't alone, it helped in saying goodbye. We came home and crashed... adjustment time. For Josh, his adventure begins today.

Kelsie's sisters and brothers, along with Larry & I made her a countdown chain for each week... every chain is filled with an activity that one of us can do with her :)

Josh & his Grandma, I don't think anyone is more proud

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Farewell

This day seemed to take forever to get here, yet yesterday it seemed to come too fast and didn't seem real. Bittersweet. I am learning that it is possible to want someone to stay and to go at the same time. But seriously, there is no place we would rather have him be, yet he will be very missed. I think of all the miracles that have happened in his life to bring him to this point. God is good!

He spoke in church today about finding joy in service and did a thoughtfully good job. His Dad his here from Michigan and Josh is so happy he is here. His grandparents did a great job feeding everyone afterwards. Other than Josh, the food was most talked about... the presentation and the food was that good!

He will be set apart on Monday night and will be leaving on Tuesday morning to South Africa. His adventure will begin immediately... and we are all looking forward to hearing about the experiences that will shape his life these next two years. We love you Josh and will keep you in our prayers.
Josh and his Mom & Dad

Josh & Kelsie

Josh & Phoebe

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mailing Instructions

For all letters & packages using international postage:
Letters can be sent in envelopes using appropriate international postage. Packages should be kept small, clearly marked "Missionary Supplies" and be valued less than R300 [$40] to avoid high customs, which will be paid by the missionary. One of the less expensive ways to send a package is by the US Postal Service using their Priority Mail International Flat Rate envelopes. The cardboard envelope can be sent for about $13 for up to 4 lbs. Be sure to tape the envelope well with packing tape. A Priority Mail International Flat Rate box may also be sent for about $38 for up to 20 pounds.

Elder Joshua Balmforth
Private Bag X4
Ansfrere 1711
South Africa

For letters sent through physical delivery mailers:
For letters or packages using hand carrier systems needing a physical address, please use this address:

Elder Joshua Balmforth
3 Phillips Avenue
Discovery 1709
South Africa

For letters sent through the pouch:
Letters using the church's pouch system are limited to a single sheet of paper, folded into thirds and taped along the top edge using two pieces of tape about one inch in from either end [No envelopes are allowed]. In the top left hand corner write your name and complete return address, write the following address in the middle and affix first class postage in the top right corner. Pouch delivery is only for mail coming to the mission.

Elder Joshua Balmforth
South Africa Johannesburg Mission
P.O. Box 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

For all e-mail:
You can also email him through "". They will print the email out and physically mail it to him in the pouch.