Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28.2012

Hello All,

This week has been a good one, but sad at the same time. My companion, Elder Peterson, has been baking a ton of cookies, which are really hard to come across here. Good American cookies. It has been awesome. The bad news is that he is leaving at transfers on Tuesday, and that I'm going to be training some new missionary. It sucks. I don't really even know what to do, how am I going to teach some new missionary what to do? It's kind of freaking me out. I hope I get another American at least. I really only hear nightmares about the African missionaries.
We've been working a lot. We've still been teaching a lot of lessons even though the number has been dropping. For some reason we can't get anyone to keep any commitments, which means that they'll never progress. It really sucks and is super discouraging. We keep on catching the people we're teaching doing horrible things. For example there is a family we are teaching, the wife is pregnant, and she sneaks off to smoke all of the time. Lots of things like that keep happening. Sometimes when I stop and look around at the people in these townships, I really can't imagine a more lost or fallen people. All you have to do is imagine the most horrible things that a person can do, and you can bet that it happens on a day to day basis here. And to top it off this week almost everyone in our flat has been sick, which is making it really hard to be diligent. I fail from time to time, but I'm trying.
A good thing is that having a green missionary will probably help me to be better at serving and loving the people. Another good thing about this week is that I finished the Book of Mormon again, and I applied the promise given in Moroni 10:3-5 and I can tell you that it is true. Without a doubt I know that this is the true church. I can't even begin to describe the worth of the scriptures in my life. They help me more than anything else really. They do make me feel like crap about myself a lot of the time, but they are what makes me humble and willing to serve. I promise that if you all make them a priority in your life, you will only be more and more blessed in every way. But you have to bite the apple to see what it tastes like for yourself.
Oh, and I also hit 6 months this week. 1/4 the way done.. What, what..
That's all that really happened. I am grateful for all of your prayers. I love and miss you all. 
Elder Balmforth

1. My burning a tie at my 6 months. I failed horribly. It was incredibly anticlimactic. 
2,3. Me eating a chicken foot.
4. My companion's look of disgust after I made him eat a chicken foot.

5. I just thought this one looked cool.


Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21. 2012

Hello All,
This week has been a good one so far. We had the chance to go to the temple again. I don't know what was different this time exactly, but I learned a lot more than I have in past visits. I love going to the temple, but the temples back home are a lot nicer I think.
We taught a ton of lessons this week. It has been crazy. However, it is also kind of sad. We've gained around 35 new investigators since we've been here, and yet only 2 of them can really be considered progressing. Almost none of them will keep any sort of commitment, even though every one of them will swear up and down that they will do anything that you ask them. I know it's not the biggest problem that we could have, but it's still getting annoying. We have taught more lessons this week than I ever have in a single week before though.
Other than that though, not anything has really happened. It's just the normal story of getting ditched by a ton of our appointments. Even the most promising ones. It's ok though.
If anyone has sent me anything recently, I may not get it. The postal workers are striking and burning mail and stuff in my area, so I don't know how much is getting through right now.
Anyway, I love you all and miss you more than anything in the world. Be good.
Peace out. 
Elder Balmforth

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14. 2012

Hello All,
This week was a pretty awesome one although I don't have a lot to talk about, especially because I talked to a lot of you last night.
We have picked up a lot of investigators, and have found a lot of potential father led families also. I don't know why, but I get so much more satisfaction teaching a family than a single person. Probably just because families can support each other in the gospel, and a single adult has to rely on the incredibly dysfunctional branch to continue strengthening them. Another reason is that the family is the basic unit of the plan of salvation, and I really want to be the means by which a family gets sealed together before I leave.
We've been working hard, even though it sucks a lot of the time. We did have a zone conference this week centered on chapter one of Preach My Gospel, which is about our purpose as missionaries. I think it is because we've got some really apostate missionaries who really don't work very hard, and the President centered the conference on this in an effort to straighten out some of the missionaries who have strayed. He wasn't harsh or angry, but it was as if the entire mission is getting scolded. On a lighter note, even though Elder Peterson and I have only been companions for 3 weeks, and are both in a new area, our Zone Leaders picked us as the most valuable companionship in the zone which felt pretty awesome. 
Not much has really happened though this week other than our teaching and finding efforts seem to be gradually paying off. We are continually gaining more and more new investigators which takes away from the time that we have to spend contacting which sucks. And that makes me happy. 
Also, one of the area seventies came by and pretty much got mad at our branch for not helping us more and giving us more referrals. It was pretty funny to see.
That's it though. All week I have been just looking forward to calling home, and it was awesome. I'm so glad that I had the chance to talk to all of the people I did. I wish That I couldve talked to more though. I love you all and hope you all have an awesome week and had a very awesome mother's day.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7. 2012

Hello All,
This week was a pretty interesting one. First of all I found a place that sells Dr. Pepper and it was awesome to taste America again. Probably one of the highlights of the week.
We have picked up a ton of investigators this week, and the best part about it is that they are almost all ysa age men, which is good  because the mission goal is establishing the church in Africa right now. And that is mainly done by baptizing potential priesthood holders. The names of the people we have begun to teach this week are: Terrance, Kagiso, Winnie, Reggie and a few others, including some father led families.
The most interesting story though is how I met Reggie. It happened when I saw a kid on a skateboard (which doesn't happen too often in township), and I asked him if I could try it since I use to skate a lot. As I was playing around on it the friend of the guy whose board I was using approached me and started talking to us. It was awesome because not only did we pick up an awesome investigator (he's planning to be baptized on the 17th of June), but I found out that I can still kick flip, heel flip and some other things (all the while in dress shoes). The only bad thing that came of it is that I ended up breaking the board and having to give the kid money for a new one.
Elder Peterson and I also got to go to Sandton and see the Wiggill book launch. The people who were hosting it were freaking loaded. The house was massive and they have their own private pool, tennis courts and tons of other stuff. It was awesome though. I was in the spotlight for a while while Theo introduced me as the one who had come from the furthest away. We met some cool people, and even though we didn't really proselyte at all, now when my distant cousins think of their ancestors they'll think of mormon missionaries. Or vise versa, or however you spell that. Hopefully we at least planted some seeds.
Finally, today we just barely came from a Lion and Rhino park near our area. It was awesome. I was able to go in and actually play with lion and tiger cubs. It was cool but they ended up tearing holes in my shoes and jeans. Those things are only a couple of months old, but they're strong and hurt. But now I can say that I've been bitten by a lion before, which I don't believe many people can say.
Over all this week has been pretty awesome. I have been sick the past few days though which really sucks. Especially when I'm walking all over the place and trying to talk to people with an upset stomach and a sore throat. It's ok though. I think I'm getting over it. It's like day 3 now so it shouldn't last much longer.
We were also supposed to be having a baptism for a girl who was progressing before we got here, but she has to go in for a second interview by our mission president for some reason. It's not anything bad though.
That was the week though. It's still hard to keep going, but I'm having fun too. I love and miss you all. Thanks for everything.
Keep on keepin' on..
Peace out,
Elder Balmforth