Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23.2012

This week has been crazy, we set a record for the number of investigators that I've ever had at church, taught a ridiculous amount of lessons, and our schedule is already booked almost solid for the entire week ahead. It has taken a long time, but I feel like the area is really finally starting to take off. It's so cool. I hope I get to see some baptisms while I'm here though, if not I think there will be a lot in the weeks after I go.
The thing that I have been noticing lately, is how true it is that the Lord is truly in control. I keep finding myself in situations where it feels as thought the Spirit has truly led us and set up the situation according to the needs of the people that we are finding. I have never really realized the omniscience of God. It's hard to explain, but it God is really in control. It's kind of comforting and discouraging at the same time because He already knows where each of us is going to end up as a result of our decisions. It's not that Heavenly Father has already set what is going to happen, but rather he knows us so well, that he knows what will happen. You all may have already figured this out, but it's new to me and I'm still trying to grasp the concept completely.
I have been seeing so many blessings lately, and I have been getting better and better at teaching and helping others. I still have lots and lots of room to improve, but looking at where I was, and where I am now helps to make me feel better.
Sorry that not much has really happened this week to talk about, but I am really grateful for all of your support and the letters and emails from home. They help the time move by faster.
I love and miss you all.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16.2012

Hello everyone. This week has been relatively uneventful in terms of crazy things happening. We have had some crazy cool lessons happening though.
Tuesday was the last day of the transfer and one of the Elders in my flat, Elder Calaway, left. The new missionary in the flat is from Grantsville, UT and his name is Elder Richeson. He goes home in like 4.5 months, but he's really cool. I like him a lot. This is probably my last transfer in Munsieville also. It's going to be refreshing to leave, but sad also since all of the investigators that we have that are progressing are probably not going to be baptized until the transfer that I leave. There is a lot of them now. It's been really hard working with the mess that the previous missionaries had left us, but now we're starting to pick up a lot of really awesome investigators. And I feel like we're starting to get the branch to function a lot better now too. It's so strange that here, missionaries are almost vital to the function of wards and branches in the townships.
The only funny thing that has been happening, is that the guy who tried to kill Lucky is always around and we say hi to him all the time. We actually helped him with a little bit of work he was doing in his shack the other day. It's really strange.
Also, it has been the coldest that it has been since I've been in Africa over the last couple of days. It's so wierd that there is no snow here but it seems to me to be even colder than at home.
Anyway, I love and miss you all. I'm going to start taking pictures I promise.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 8, 2012

Well this is the last week of the transfer, which means that I'll most likely only be training my son for 6 more weeks and then I get to peace out to a new area. Whitewashing and training in this area has been really hard. There have been a lot of missionaries here who have kind of trashed the image of the church in the minds of the people here. It's really sad, but we're beginning to see the fruits of our labors finally. We've gone from almost no investigators at church to loads each week, and less active members too. It's really cool, we have, finally, a bunch of people that I am very confident will be baptized and will strengthen the church here in Munsieville. If not while I am here, then probably very shortly after. It's still really hard, but it's nice when you can see that your work is paying off a little bit.
I injured my knee while playing sports for a district activity after district meeting on friday. It hurts pretty bad, especially because I have to walk such long distances because I'm in the only strictly walking area in the mission. I had to go and get it x-rayed yesterday, and I have to get it checked out again tomorrow just to make sure everything is ok. It's not hurting quite as bad anymore but is still pretty stiff and swollen. I'll be ok though.
There has been a lot of success this week, even though I've been limping around the area the last few days. The only really interesting story is that one of our investigators, Bheki (Daniel), hasn't been able to make it to church since we began teaching him and his friends because he works on Sundays, and it's been really hard for him because he sincerely has a testimony of the things which we have been teaching him. We've been counseling him to pray and ask our Heavenly Father what to do over the last little while though. Finally on Friday he got up the nerve to just quit his job so he could attend church with us, and shortly after on the same day he was given a job where he doesn't have to work on Sundays. It was awesome. Especially since we'd been talking with him about how Heavenly Father does hear and answer prayers. This Sunday was the first that he attended with us and he seemed to really be into it and participated, and listened and read and asked for all of the manual that we read out of during class so that he can finish reading the lessons over the week. It was pretty awesome. I know we hear stories like this all the time, but it was so cool to see it happen first hand.
I recieved a bunch of packages this week. Thank you so much, it made me feel awesome to get them all. I love and miss you all.
Sorry that I haven't taken any good pictures in a while.
Elder Balmforth

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2. 2012

Hello All,
This week was actually a really uneventful one. We are still cycling through so many people it isn't even funny. It's pretty frustrating too. People just don't seem to understand what we are telling them. I mean, I don't expect to believe the message of the restoration right off the bat, but for some reason no matter how much we explain it. They just don't seem to grasp it. It's ridiculous. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills sometimes. We explain it in a way that children could understand, I guess they much not be really listening. We're basically explaining that 1+1=2, then asking them 1+1=?, and they say 3 even though we just told them the answer and are basically holding up a massive sign with a giant 2 on it saying "The answer is 2, say 2, look at the giant sign that says 2!!!"
Anyway, that is what I'm struggling with right now. We have met some families this week that seem to have a lot of potential which is awesome, I just hope that they don't ditch us before we get the chance to actually sit down and speak with them. I am grateful for all of your prayers this week. I really need them, and so does the area. This area is super small compared to most of the areas in the mission, and it's really old so like everyone knows who the missionaries are, and a lot of them I think gossip and pass around rumors about the church, and since the area is so small and secluded, it is making the work really hard here. We're still plugging along though.
The people we have on date for baptisms seem to really be interested though. I really wish that we could find a family that is ready and willing to hear the gospel. I want to teach a family so they will have a support system. There are tons of single inactive people on the branch list, because without the support of a family, their friends eventually drag them down. It kind of makes sense why the gospel is so family oriented, and why all of Satan's power is aimed at destroying families. 
Sorry about no pictures. Nothing is really happening that is interesting.
I love and miss you all though, and am grateful for all that you do, and the great people you are. We really are blessed being from where we are and having the gospel in our lives. Being here is making me start to think before I complain (which I am working on, but is still a lot), about my problems and say "is this a first or a third world problem I am having right now.
Have an awesome week.
Elder Balmforth