Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9. 2012

This week was actually a pretty good week, because we were actually able to work for a solid week. I also was able to have my first interview with my mission president, President Omer. My first interview in the field anyway. It was pretty cool, he's a really nice guy and I can tell that he genuinely cares about all of the missionaries, and that he spends all of his time thinking, praying about and serving the missionaries here. It's really cool.

On Thursday this week Elder Blake and I got stuck in the rain for several hours, and despite our best efforts to get inside people's homes to get out of the rain, we ended up getting drenched. Soaked to the bone, I never thought it was possible to be that cold in Africa. Even the appointments with the members that we set up that day cancelled at the last minute, making us have to bike in the rain even longer. The next day Elder Blake punctured another bike tire so we had to walk to all of our appointments. We spent like 5 hours of the day just walking in the sun. The sun was out and way intense too so we both got really sunburnt. I now have a ridiculous tan line where my watch was.

Other than that though, the rest of the week went very well. Most of our appointments kept and the people we are teaching all seem to be keeping their commitments. Marcus, our investigator who has progressed the most, is now 7 days without smoking. If all goes according to plan he should be baptized on the 29th. That is still the only thing holding him back. Other than his smoking, he's been ready to be baptized since I got here. We have also been getting him involved with the branch members a lot more lately. On Tuesday, we took him to do some service (painting) at the home of the branch relief society president. Ever since that day they have been hanging out a lot together, and she is helping him stay clean. She's divorced and so is he, and Elder Blake and I are pretty certain that they are going to get married down the road. All thanks to us. Because we're awesome.

We also taught the Ntshonyana family again, but this time we brought a member of the branch who is a recently returned missionary. It went awesomely. We went over the entire restoration with them and introduced all 5 people who were there to the Book of Mormon, and challenged them to read and pray about it, which they all accepted.

We also taught Sharon and her son Umro again. I don't know if I've mentioned them before but they are both Afrikaans speaking, and the only person who has been able to translate for us is the lady who is hosting them in her home. The hard thing about this is that the lady is a muslim, which makes things a little complicated because she keeps throwing in her own understanding of God in the translation process. Anyway, we planned a lot for our lesson with them this week and it paid off. They have both been reading the Book of Mormon and seem to be liking it a lot.
The final significant lesson that we had was with the Stake President's neice Jessica Doyle and her friend Jai. It was cool though because they both are motivated to learn more about the gospel, and when we asked them to be baptized they were both excited to accept. They should get there by the 5th of February.

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting, and I was actually very glad that very few of the people we challenged to come to church showed up, because there was this crazy Africa from Mozambique who showed up and got up and was yelling into the microphone pretty much. He speaks portugese and very broken english. But he went on forever and all I could understand was at the end when he gave out his phone number for some reason. There was also another man who we've never seen before from Zambia who came to our class that we teach. He was very nice and knowledgeable, but I don't think he's ever taken a shower in his life. His smell filled the whole room and I almost started to choke when I walked into the classroom. I had to sit next to the open window to be able to breathe at all.

I feel good this week becaus I was able to work pretty hard and, some funny stuff happened. I just wanted to remind everyone that they should all have and study from Preach my Gospel. It's really helpful, not just for teaching but for learning as well. It has a section on prayer, that has truly helped me to understand it's importance, and as I have been praying more earnestly I have felt a lot better throughout the day. It truly helps a lot and I want everyone to see how important it is. I've also learned how important sincere scripture study is in life. So much so, that I've been waking up an hour early every morning to study more. It has been helping me to grow and understand very quickly.

Also if you get a chance to watch Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration, you should. It's pretty awesome.
I love you all and hope that you know that I pray for you all the time. Thank you so much for all the letters and support.
-Elder Balmforth

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